Lesson Two: Houses 1 to 6
2nd House: establishing (Taurus house - natural ruler Venus)
We have spent a great deal of time looking at the 1st house and at the Ascendant, and we need to move on now to the 2nd house. The 2nd house is the house of physical and material substance, of incorporation, our first experience of which is our relationship to our body. The 2nd house describes what we feel about our body, whether we can trust it, whether we value it or not, and how safe and secure it feels. This will often be a reflection of the way our bodies were - or were not - valued, respected, nourished, affirmed, and protected by our primary carers. This extends to our relationship to our possessions, our personal resources, and to what we feel we are worth. This also relates to money which, in our culture, is such a powerful symbol of personal substance and worth. So in a very material sense, the 2nd house describes how we earn our money, and from a psychological point of view it describes how we value ourselves and our attitude to the money we earn.
Audience: I have Neptune in the 2nd house, and I have read that this is a terrible placement, since money just slips through your fingers, like water.
Clare: Certainly, you may not have a particularly strong sense of your own physical boundaries or limitations, but this can also be an immensely creative placement. It could indicate that you earn your money in a Neptunian profession, such as advertising, charity work, film, fashion, dance, or as an artist. Ultimately Neptune in the 2nd house tells us about your values, which may well be more idealistic and altruistic than materialistic. Unless we actually value money, it is unlikely that we will bother to accumulate it. The 2nd house tells us so much about our values and attitude to substance of all kinds. Saturn in the 2nd house, for example, can describe a psychology of poverty which remains with us all our lives, no matter how much money we have in the bank.
Audience: What does Pluto in the 2nd house mean?
Clare: Pluto is about intense control, so it can describe someone who needs to have total control over their body, as in the case of athletes or ballet dancers, for example. Pluto is the planet of crisis, repeated purging, purification and ultimate survival, and I have seen it in the charts of people who amass huge wealth and then lose it all, as if there was a repeating compulsion to radically purge any substance or matter which has accumulated in order to be stripped down before once again emerging and building again from scratch. Sometimes people with Pluto in the 2nd house have been strictly controlled or manipulated, perhaps exploited, in their early years, and the personal battle which ensues can be an obsessive need for personal control, in order to avoid being controlled by others.
Audience: I have to be in total control of my body. Every day I do hours of exercise, and I am always putting myself on strict diets and purges. I wish I could find a way not to be so extreme or obsessive, but I suppose there is no hope for me.
Clare: Well, it may be that on some level you experience your body as dark or corrupt or unacceptable in some way. In Freudian terms, the 2nd house relates to the anal stage of development, when the child seeks for the first time to have control over its body and the products of its body, and a battle of the wills develops between the child and the parent. A psychological interpretation might be that you have 'introjected' this battle, which means that you may well be treating your own body in the way it was treated when you were much younger. If this is the case, then you have choices as an adult that were not available to you when you were a child, when the balance of power was inevitably unequal. It may be possible for you to listen to your body more, and to question whether it is really necessary to keep on punishing and purging it.
3rd house: learning (Gemini house - natural ruler Mercury)
The 3rd house describes our early environment, our exploration of and interaction with our immediate surroundings, the development of thinking, learning, language and communication. This house indicates how we absorb and process information, which in turn defines what and how we perceive, and for each of us this will be different. It also describes our relationships with our brothers and sisters, our experience of early schooling and of schoolteachers and neighbours. True to its natural Gemini association, the 3rd house also describes short journeys and local travel.
Audience: I have Saturn in the 3rd house and I don't like to travel - I always try to find reasons why I don't need to go somewhere.
Clare: I wonder if there is any connection here with your journey to school when you were much younger. With Saturn in the 3rd, it may well be that this was a fearful event for you.
Audience: That's right. Now I think about it, I used to be picked up every day by the mother of two children at my school, a brother and sister, and I always felt awkward and alone because they would ignore me, or talk about things which I didn't know anything about. And the reason I was taken to school in the first place was because my mother was a single parent and had to leave for work even before I left for school, so I always felt alone and abandoned. I remember pleading with my mother to take me with her and to drop me off at school on her way to work, but she wouldn't do that because it would mean I would arrive before the school gates were opened and it would be unsafe.
Clare: That story describes very graphically what it feels like to have Saturn in the 3rd house. It can also mean that you are an only child, that you feel you have been denied brothers and sisters, or, alternatively, it could mean that you are the oldest child, with early responsibility for your younger brothers and sisters. This can be tough, because it means that you have not had an opportunity to learn how to play or spat or fight with your siblings.
Audience: In my case, it describes the fact that I was an only child, but I have always wanted brothers and sisters.
Clare: Saturn normally describes what we crave and what we feel we have been denied, so this is a good example.
Audience: I have Neptune in the 3rd house, and I never had a clue what was going on at school.
Clare: Neptune in the 3rd would indicate that you have a poetic and imaginative mind, and you may have spent your school years staring out of the classroom window and dreaming. With Neptune in the 3rd house, you are likely to absorb information like blotting paper and you probably need to feel things before they make sense to you. I suspect that you have a visual and holistic way of processing information. Logical analysis or rote learning would no doubt have been meaningless to you and you are more likely to respond to the way something is said rather than to the actual meaning of the words themselves.
4th house: belonging (Cancer house - natural ruler Moon)
The 4th and 10th houses are the parental houses, describing
the home environment we grew up in (4th house) and the family's relationship
to, or status in, the world (10th house). Generally speaking, the 4th and
10th houses tend to describe our perception of our father and mother respectively,
although to some extent that is interchangeable, since our parents play
different roles at different times in our lives, and our perception of
them can change. Nevertheless, we usually learn about the world from our
mother, who is generally the more visible parent (10th house), and we take
our name, our basic identity and our connection to the family line from
our father, who is generally the more hidden parent (4th house).
The 4th house describes our early home environment, the atmosphere we absorbed there, and the nature of our early physical and emotional container: our biological and social roots and origins. This is the watery Cancerian house, with the Moon as the natural ruler, describing the quality of the nurturing we experienced in our early lives, and how safe we feel about belonging to our family, clan or tribe. The level of acceptance, love and encouragement we receive from our family stays with us throughout our lives and describes how safe we feel on an emotional level. Our family can provide a firm and nurturing foundation upon which we can build, or, alternatively, at the other end of the spectrum, an unsafe, neglectful, critical, or leaky container, in which case we may never feel safe on a fundamental level. The primal matrix of the 4th house is eventually internalised, describing how we create our own home and family and where we come home to ourselves, which will include the sign on the cusp of the 4th house and the condition of ruling planet or planets, as well as any planets in the 4th house. In the equal house system, the IC - which is a much more personal point describing our own deepest inner foundation and root system - is not necessarily found in the 4th house. In other words, it is not necessarily tied up so closely with our parents. We will look at this in more depth next week, when we explore the angles of the chart.
Audience: I have Jupiter in the 4th house and was born into a very large extended family, with lots of uncles and aunts and cousins coming and going all the time.
Clare: That is a great example of Jupiter in the 4th. With this placement there is an inherent sense of the meaning and value of belonging to a family, which is often both very sociable and gregarious. It can sometimes mean a strongly religious background that supports family structures and values, so that the family itself is supported by a larger matrix in which it is embedded.
Audience: Well, I come from a large Italian family, so there is a strong Catholic background.
Audience: I have Saturn in the 4th house, and absolutely none of this Jupiter stuff applies to me. I remember reading that Saturn in the 4th is like 'Bleak House', which feels much more appropriate.
Clare: Yes, this is a very graphic image of Saturn in the 4th. I always think of the 4th house as being like a flowerbed. Some of us are planted in fertile soil and tenderly nurtured and watered so that we can grow tall and strong without too much difficulty. Some of us are planted too close together or too far apart, some of us are uprooted before we have had time to establish ourselves properly, and some of us are water plants or plants which grow in the air, like orchids. With Saturn in the 4th, the experience is often one of being sown in hard, dry ground from which it is difficult to draw nourishment, and in which it is hard to put down any kind of root system - we are like desert plants, having to survive on the very barest minimum of nutrients. And this eventually makes us very strong and self-sufficient.
5th house: creating (Leo house - natural ruler Sun)
The 5th house is the house of recreation - self-expression, enjoyment and pleasure. It describes what we do for fun, how we play, what makes us feel alive and glad to be alive. The 5th house describes our experience of being a child, and our attitude towards our own children. It also describes our attitude to romance, speculation and risk-taking: all those activities which make us feel as if we are at the centre of the universe, uniquely blessed, special, and favoured by the gods. The 5th house describes what we enjoy and do for fun rather than for any particular goal or result. We all have different ideas about what is fun. With Venus in the 5th house, for example, this might be love affairs, whereas with Saturn in the 5th house our pleasures are likely to be solitary and serious. With Mercury in Virgo in the 5th house we might be a stamp collector or train spotter, with Mars in Aries we might be a sportsman or woman, and with Jupiter in Pisces we might love to dance. 5th house pursuits are any activities which give us joy and make us feel really alive.
Audience: But I have Pluto in the 5th house.
Clare: That is a good example, because we have to make sense of what
this powerful god of the underworld is doing in the 5th house of creative
self-expression. The first thing we can say is that your pleasures are
likely to be intense and you may be rather obsessive about your hobbies.
I suspect that you won't really be enjoying yourself unless you are doing
something with total focus and intensity. I also suspect that you should
keep away from superficial party or board games, since Pluto is about survival
and the 5th house is about competition, so the experience of being beaten
is not trivial - it can feel like a personal threat, and you may find yourself
wanting to annihilate your opponent.
Audience: Yes, I don't seem to be able to play on a light-hearted level like most other people. If I compete, then I must win, so I have ended up not competing at all, because it is too painful and difficult.
Audience: I have nothing in the 5th house. Does that mean I am not creative or that I won't have any children?
Clare: Absolutely not. In this case you will need to look for the planet which rules the 5th house, and the story will be found there.
Audience: I have Chiron in the 5th house in Cancer, with Cancer ruling the 5th house. The Moon is in the 4th house in Gemini.
Clare: Well, there is something of the wounded child in this placement, and it may well be that you have always felt as if you were an outsider, perhaps that you didn't belong to your family in some way. And with the ruler of the 5th in Gemini in the 4th house, I wonder if you had two homes when you were a child.
Audience: Well, that is amazing, because I was fostered at a very young age, but I did spend periods of time with my birth family. So I never really felt that I belonged anywhere, and you are right that I have always felt like an outsider.
Clare: And this could mean that your gift is your sensitivity to children's feelings. Do you work with children at all?
Audience: Yes, I work in an adoption agency, but the part I like best about that is going into the families of people who want to adopt and checking that the children will be safe and properly cared for there. I also run an animal refuge, where I look after animals that have been abandoned.
Clare: That is a wonderful expression of your Chiron placement in the 5th house. No doubt it gives you great pleasure to be able to find homes for the children and to look after the animals.
Audience: Yes, it does.
6th house: perfecting (Virgo house - natural ruler Mercury)
Clare: Let's move on to the 6th house, which completes the personal hemisphere
and is the final house of self-development, in which we perfect ourselves
and develop particular skills that can be put into useful service. The
6th house is the workhouse, describing how and where we earn our daily
bread. It also describes how we approach, cope and deal with the demands
and details of everyday life at home and at work. The 6th house says a
great deal about our contribution and attitude to work, and the kind of
work situations we find ourselves in. It also describes our relationship
our relationship to work colleagues and to those who serve us.
The 6th house describes how we serve and service our bodies, whether we feed them properly and give them enough rest and exercise. In this context, we can see our body as our servant. How do we treat it? Is it overworked, driven to exhaustion, starved, overfed or overindulged? The 6th house can also indicate the kinds of health issues that might arise if we neglect or abuse our body. With Jupiter in the 6th house, for example, we might have a tendency to over-work or to over-indulge generally, which could eventually lead to liver problems, since Jupiter rules the liver. With Mars, which rules the head, in the 6th house, we might be prone to headaches. The 6th house also describes how we treat and care for our pets. These two things are not so far apart, because we can easily appreciate that small animals that are in our care need to be looked after, loved, and fed at regular intervals, but it is sometimes much harder to appreciate that we need to care for our own bodies in the same way, to ensure that they are properly cared for and get the right diet and exercise and enough rest, for example.
The 6th house, therefore, describes how we navigate unequal relationships: those who work for us - it is traditionally the house of servants - and those for whom we work. Let's look at some examples. What do you think would happen, for example, if you had Uranus in the 6th house and went to work for the Civil Service?
Audience: You wouldn't last long.
Audience: You wouldn't go there in the first place.
Clare: Not if you knew your chart. Uranus in the 6th will fight against being hemmed in by red tape or bureaucracy. It can't bear these kinds of restrictions and will no doubt rebel against the system. Uranus describes where in the chart we refuse to engage, so we may well refuse to submit to the demands of duty, work and service.
Audience: I have Uranus in the 6th house, and it is also the ruler of my chart.
Clare: So presumably this applies to you? It could also mean, of course,
that you work in the area of invention or science, or that you are involved
with new technology of some sort. Or that it is important for you to be
in a work environment where everyone is equal and works side by side. The
ideal solution for Uranus in the 6th house would be to go freelance, so
that you can work on your own terms, in which case you might sometimes
be free and sometimes very busy. Or you might work in a co-operative serving
a shared ideological vision. What sort of 6th house work do you do?
Audience: Well I am not working now. I also have Pluto in the 6th house.
Clare: Do you find that you are drawn into any kind of power struggles at work? It could well be that you have a well-developed nose for hidden issues or any kind of corruption which might be going on under the surface in your working environment. Alternatively, you might even work as a private detective, or in some kind of healing area where people go through intense transformation.
Audience: Well, I used to work in a small company doing office stuff, managing the library and the accounts and taking my turn at the reception desk. But I found it very hard, actually, and I did get into power struggles with a woman there, so I left. I am now unemployed, but I am thinking of training in some kind of healing work, and maybe working as an astrologer.
Clare: With Uranus and Pluto in the 6th house, I suspect you will want some kind of work that brings about powerful change and transformation, because this combination is very high voltage, so working with healing on an energetic level might suit you well. It would also give you the opportunity to work for yourself, and I suspect that you would prefer work that is non-routine. Eventually, since you belong to the Uranus-Pluto in Virgo generation, you are likely to want to radically rethink and change the way things are done, and this will no doubt apply to any area of work you find yourself doing. I doubt that office work or sitting behind a desk is right for you.
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