The Vedas define four goals of life: pleasure (kāma), stability (artha), morality (dharma) and freedom (mokṣa). Each one of these goals corresponds to a cardinal direction (W, S, E, N), to an elemental principle (Air, Earth, Fire, Water), and thereby to an astrological house and corresponding sign.
First let’s get more clarity about the four goals themselves.
The Four Goals
The Four Directions
The west is the home of kāma (pleasure), because that’s where the Sun sets, work is over, and we can relax and enjoy.
The south is the home of artha (abundance/stability), because if you look towards celestial south, you look down at the ground. The ground is the source of all wealth and stability. [If you’re in the southern hemisphere you have to research if perhaps the north needs to represent artha for you. I haven’t done this research yet].
The east is the home of dharma (morality, responsibility), because it’s where the Sun rises, the day starts and we get to work doing what we are supposed to do. The sun lights up things and defines the paths clearly, which is what morality does – defines everyone’s role.
The north [maybe south in the southern hemisphere] is the home of mokṣa because its the open sky, with just about nothing in it. It’s empty, free, boundless.
The Four Elements
Air is the home of kāma (pleasure) because air stimulates the sense of touch, which is the most pleasurable sense, and air is light and carefree. The mutual relationship with kāma causes air and the west to develop affinity.
Earth is the home of artha (stability/abundance) because earth is stable and produces food and wealth. Thus it develops affinity with the south.
Fire is the home of dharma (morality) because it is bright (illuminating the path we are supposed to adhere to) and also because it can be punishing. So fire and the east develop affinity.
Water is the home of mokṣa (freedom) because it is calm. Also because it is silent. Also water is reflective and can be deep, therefore it relates to the ultimate freedom: realizing one’s internal self and connecting to the kāma – ānanda that is effortlessly inherent within. Water and the north thus have affinity.
The Twelve Houses
The twelve houses represent the four goals because the houses are representations of the four directions. The first house is due east, the 10th due south, the 7th due west, and the 4th due north [again, hemisphere specific, maybe]. So the 1st represents fire/dharma, the 10th represents earth / artha, the 7th represents air / kāma and the 4th represents water / mokṣa. The rest of the houses follow this same pattern, sequentially.
You’ll notice that there are three houses for each goal, and that these houses are always trine with one another. 1, 5, 9 are dharma houses. 2, 6, 10 are artha. 3, 7, 11 are kama. 4, 8, 12 are mokṣa.
The first of the triads above is the root of the goal. The second exerts the effort towards the goal, its the way of working towards the goal. And the third is the result or fruit of the goal.
The 3rd (house of ambition) is the beginning of the desire for pleasure, the 7th (house of relationships) is where we work on realizing those desires and the 11th (house of enjoyment) is where they are realized and enjoyed.
The 2nd house (stability) is the root of the goal of stability, the 6th (house of work) is where we work hard to overcome obstacles to our stability, and the 10th (house of status) is where we reap the results of stability.
The 1st house (self) is the root of morality, the 5th (intelligence & education) is where we work to figure out how morality should work, the 9th (morality) is the fruition of morality – good fortune and ethics.
The 4th house (inner self) is the root of enlightenment, the 8th (mysticism) is where we work to attain it, the 12th (completion of circuits and dissolution of the tangible, ego‐centered self) is where we fully realize enlightenment.
The Twelve Signs
The twelve signs have the same pattern, because they are associated directly with the elements.
– Vic DiCara