The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – Astrology and the Angular Houses

“There is a fine line between compassion and a victim mentality. Compassion though is a healing force and comes from a place of kindness towards yourself. Playing the victim is a toxic waste of time that not only repels other people, but also robs the victim of ever knowing true happiness.”― Bronnie Ware, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing

Whenever I read some articles about the Australian Bronnie Ware’s book entitled ‘The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing’ I start to give my life a little bit more of passion, not that I don’t do this on regular basis, but you know how inspirational facts can warm you up, and is not every day you are in the mood. The author herself said that the book shall ‘help people to act today and don’t let certain things for tomorrow and then regret later’.

The famous nurse, made millions of people to be aware that their death is surely, is coming, and will get to us eventually. She knows it best as she works with people with terminall ill, a specialist working in a palliative care in Australia, is accustomed hearing elders their regrets, a range of feelings that is negative in essence, a conscious reaction to our past acts and behaviors. It makes the person feel guilt as she/he compromises her past, making impossible to convert:

“For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last 3 to 12 weeks of their lives. People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them” – Bronnie Ware

Top-5-RegretsAlthough there were so many more as she points out, Ware reunited in her book the most 5 common regrets people in general have while waiting their death to come. Focusing on their own growth as she explains each regret objectively. Our growth is never too late, no matter the age, pure knowledge is always what keeps us fresh and young, even when it is a life lesson, people tend to grow as they have to face their own mortality she says. Saturn in astrology is the classical lord of death, wise old people and hard lessons, a lesson could be taken into account even when death is knocking on the door. Remembering that her patients generally were people who had no chance of recovering or could die at any moment.

“Life is over so quickly. It is possible to reach the end with no regrets. It takes some bravery to live it right, to honor the life you are here to live but the choice is yours. … Appreciate the time you have left by valuing all of the gifts in your life and that includes especially, your own, amazing self.” ― Bronnie Ware, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing

And what that has to do with astrology? Everything I say, astrology projects life, life’s cycle, tendencies, and more. However, what called me attention was that the top 5 regrets as described in the book are actually the astrological angular houses, the popular cardinal houses, why? Well, the angular houses are 4 and not 5. Let’s explore more.

Think the houses as spheres of experiences, your life that passes by and you experience the best and worst of each house, of each knowledge and eventual growth you have by them. The Angular houses in astrology are the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th. They are also known as cardinal houses (in the order – Aries/Mars, Cancer/Moon, Libra/Venus and Capricorn/Saturn), because they represent major starting points in our life and major shifts, the houses relate to the directions east, south, west and north, indicating primary actions. The angular houses often display immediate power, because they better describe ‘you and the world’:

  • 1st house – the self – the self-consciousness
  • 4th house – the inner world – feelings
  • 7th house – the other – one to one
  • 10th house – outer public life – work and status

Remembering that when the houses are not in oppositions to each other, they form a square (90º degrees away), meaning they are areas of life that is hard to achieve such equilibrium, whereas they are oppositions (discordance) or square (stress). In this regards, I feel like cardinal houses are extreme sensitive areas of our astrological charts that make us vulnerable and courageous to deal with life in the primary force that we are expected to prosper and overcome. And nurse Bronnie, captured exactly the foundation of the angular houses. She said that common themes surfaced repeatedly. I will put the list bellow of the top 5 regrets, and I will add the house in which I think serves best its description and entitlement, and will also add some insights of my own:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.


In this regret, we can see people feeling upset about doing what the other thought was the best for them, and not the opposite (1st house). Most of them told the nurse, their dreams were taking away by satisfying other people’s needs and dreams.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.


In this regret, the nurse told that many of these were male patients, due to the fact that most were old people, from old generations where women at work was a taboo. She said “All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.” Perhaps what they were trying to express, is that they didn’t have much time with their families (4th house), or their general projects in life.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.


In this regret, the patients expressed they suppressed much of their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As many developed illness because of that, the result is that they regret expressing their true feelings to others and ended up by settling a mediocre existence for themselves.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

This was the regret I less found it to be part of the angular houses, it is a 11th house theme “friends”. However, due to the 7th house representing ‘the other’ and ‘one to one’ relationships, I would say that this regret comes from the people they miss hanging out with and lost contact with. The nurse said that every patient missed their friends when they are dying.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.


This regret is last one of the common ones she could describe, and it is surprising, being the theme of a 1st house, it is true that most of our times, we tend to live to please others than ourselves, our nature is so evasive to the point we want the other to live a life that we didn’t have. We are humans and we think for ourselves, but we have a tramendous heart that knows we must serve the others. But we also have to acknowledge that happiness is a choice.

The nurse also said that every patient she had in touch with, found their peace before leaving this world.

Bronnie Ware

Bronnie Ware

 * I won’t copy all the article here, the original one is here (, if you want to read one by one I invite you to read it, it is short and very inspiring.

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