Astrology basics–the houses of the chart (part 2)
Continuing to move counter-clockwise around the chart, we come to the fifth house of the natal chart. Like Leo, the fifth sign of the natural zodiac, the fifth house of your natal chart relates to all forms of playfulness. This house reveals the direction of your creativity, your sexual style, your interest in gambling and your children. Think of the fifth house as a astrology’s version of a cross between Las Vegas, an artist’s studio and a kindergarten. The planets in your fifth house and the sign sitting on its cusp (what astrologers sometimes call the sign which rules the house) reveal something about your attitudes and approach toward these arenas of life.
In contrast to the fifth house’s emphasis on fun, the sixth house relates to mundane but essential matters. This house shows how we take care of our health, and how we handle our obligations to our employers or employees. This segment of the chart also shows obligations we choose such taking care of small, domestic animals and doing volunteer work. Like Virgo, the sixth sign of the natural zodiac, the sixth house relates to our service to others, the way we organize our lives and our ability to form disciplined habits which provide long-term rewards.
Houses one through six form the seeds which reach their outward expression in the houses above the horizon line. When we move from the sixth house to the seventh house, we cross the horizon line of the chart. Astrologers speak of the twelve houses in terms of six pairs, with what is seeded below the horizon in more private, local or inward form reaching more public fruition in the opposite house. At the same time, the opposite houses form polarities which must be balanced.
Just as the cusp of the first house is called the Ascendant, the cusp of the seventh house is known as the Descendant. The theme of the seventh house is relationships, encompassing our mode of interacting with other people, especially relationships which have either an implicit or explicit contract—spouses, close friends and business partners. If we use the astrological alphabet, the seventh sign of the zodiac, Libra, symbolized by the scales, relates to the seventh house. Many people choose a mate whose strengths will balance and complement their personality. However, sometimes the scales measure a darker kind of balance, in the form of our relationships with rivals or open enemies.
The eighth house of the chart carries some echoes of Scorpio, the eighth sign of the natural zodiac, and is opposite the second house of property and values. The eighth house relates to joint resources, such as the property that might be shared between spouses or business partners. This house also relates to kind of property matters which can be prone to dispute such as loans and credit, legacies from a will, child support, taxes and investments. Just as the second house includes not only tangible property but values and opinions, the eighth house includes the kind of values and opinions often deemed taboo. Our notions about sexuality, death and metaphysical matters relate to this house.
(This is the second of a three-part series on the houses in an astrology chart. You can also read part one on houses 1-4, and part 3 on houses 9-12)