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Behind the HoroscopeCover

This is an excerpt from my newest book, “Behind the Horoscope.” The book covers the house placements of the Sun and the Moon. It can be purchased from this website, Llewellyn Publications and from Amazon.

Chapter One
The Sun in the First House

Everybody loves a sunrise, that fantastic light show the Sun gives us as it approaches the eastern horizon every morning. The milky grey of the dawn is slowly transformed into a natural masterpiece of pink, violet, and gold. There is great hope in a sunrise, and that hope is at the bottom of every interpretation of the Sun in the First House.

 The identification of the First House as a place of power within the horoscope has been with us since ancient times. The First House is an angular house. Its starting point is one of the most important points in the chart: the Ascendant. The linking of the Sun, the ultimate source of life, to this crucial angle has to promise great things.

So it is that people born at or a couple of hours before dawn seem to have won the astrological lottery. Just read what the texts have to say about the placement of the Sun in the First House. Some of the authors seem positively giddy, rolling out phrases like “strong will, abundant vitality, and intense self-awareness” or “great initiative and powers of leadership.


People with the Sun in the First House don’t necessarily seek positions of leadership. They are not typically driven by extraordinary ambition or a need for power. In fact, commanding other people may be the farthest thing from their minds. And yet, leadership is often thrust upon Sun in the First people because of the power of their personalities.

 There is nothing exotic about the source of this power. It comes from knowing exactly what they want and expecting, regardless of what other people may think or say, to get it. This gives people with this placement a certainty that other people often read as confidence, vision, and leadership. We follow people with the Sun in the First because they seem to know where they are going. This is not always the case, nor do their goals necessarily align with ours, but we follow them just the same.


Because of this certainty and their determination to have things their way, people with the Sun in the First might at times be called egotistic. However, there is nothing inherently wrong with a bit of egotism. It is through our ego that we get things done and make the world aware of our presence. In most cases, people with the Sun in the First House aren’t any more egotistic than anyone else. They are just more comfortable with the needs of their ego. The ego says, “You see it. You want it. Go get it.” For people with this placement, this is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a natural process.

Of course, a lot depends on how that egotism is expressed. When it is a natural process, when it is a simple expression of what the person feels or thinks (depending on the Sun sign and the sign on the Ascendant), then the person with the Sun in the First typically gets his or her way without causing a fuss or distressing others. However, when it is not a natural process, when the person with this placement feels compelled to push, to demand, or to bully, then we have a situation in which the expression of that First House ego can become toxic.

More often than not, however, we forgive people with the Sun in the First even when they get pushy. They have a star quality, an innate faith in them-selves, that makes it easy to overlook such lapses. A more prevalent challenge for these people is a tendency toward complacency. They become so used to everything falling into place for them, to getting their way, that they forget that it’s sometimes necessary to push, or demand, or work to accomplish their goals. All that strain seems unnatural to them, and they wonder why life, and other people, don’t automatically accommodate their desires.

Having It Your Way

There are other people with this placement, however, who do not hesitate to push forth their own agenda. They might not do it in a toxic way, but they are willing to do whatever they have to do in order to achieve their desires. These people with the Sun in the First can appear amazingly oblivious to criticism or public censure. They see what they do as a product of the natural order. What someone else has to say about it hardly matters. They are going to have it their way.

Of course, there is often a price to be paid for having things your way. There is a tendency to overindulge and overdo with this placement. It is sometimes difficult for people with the Sun in the First to recognize that what they want might not, in the long run, be good for them. It is also sometimes difficult for these Sun in the First people to hear the advice and heartfelt warnings coming from the people who love them. It’s not that they reject this advice—it’s just that it never seems to sink in.

There are also those instances in which the natural order of things seems to be broken, and instead of having things their way, people with this placement find themselves utterly blocked. This can be a difficult situation. The world can seem like a very bleak place when the ego of a Sun in the First person is stymied. In some cases this can result in dark periods of self-doubt, but these periods seldom last long. These people have the optimism of the sunrise on their side, and, sooner or later, they know that the natural order will be restored.

Your Mission

The house position of the Sun shows us the purpose toward which your solar energy should be directed. If you have the Sun in the First House, your mission has two parts. The first part is to understand the power that this placement of the Sun conveys. People are inclined to follow you. In some cases, they will be inspired by you. In other instances, they will be shocked at what you can get away with. Your good behavior seems to get a little more attention and praise while your bad behavior is somewhat more likely to spark outrage. You just seem to take up more room in terms of your ego and your sense of self than people with the Sun in the Second or the Third House.

The second part of your mission with the Sun in the First is to find something useful to do with this power. It is easy for people with the Sun in the First House to waste their advantage on things that only aggrandize their self-esteem. You have to understand the difference between having it your way and selfishness. You are here to lead, to be an example of what the ego can do when it is not limited by self-doubt and social inhibitions. When you use the power of this placement in this way, it becomes an asset—not just for you, but for everyone around you, too.

You also have to find ways to harness your powerful ego. You have to give it structure and purpose. For this reason, people with this placement often do best when they submit their ego to some sort of discipline. Two excellent examples of this are Bruce Lee and the Dalai Lama. One submitted himself to a physical discipline, the other to a spiritual discipline. In both cases, that discipline allowed that person to focus the power of the Sun in the First House ego and reach out to the world.

Obviously, most of us have neither the means nor the inborn talent to take on the extraordinary levels of discipline exhibited by Lee or the Dalai Lama, but there are other ways of getting the most out of the Sun in the First House. Sports, science, the arts, and religious or spiritual regimes can provide you with this necessary structure. Your structure could also be a cause or crusade. For example, Abraham Lincoln applied his Sun in the First House ego to keep the United States united. Lyndon B. Johnson applied his ego to getting the Civil Rights Act and Medicare passed. (The precise birth time of both these men is unknown, but Astro-Databank gives us credible testimony that both were born at dawn.)

Submitting your ego to this kind of discipline doesn’t mean that you can’t do things your way. It just means that your way is defined—not by your transient desires, but by strong principles or a higher purpose. The placement of the Sun in the First House can provide all the wonderful qualities listed at the beginning of this chapter. It can make you a leader or a star. But, like so many things in astrology, much depends on how you use it.

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