by Marilyn Muir, LPMAFA
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
The most important thing that we do in our experience is to relate with one another. To not be able to relate successfully makes life very difficult for many. I have done thousands and thousands of sky maps for thousands of people over my long years of being a professional astrologer. Probably the single thing that was most important to the person being read was relationships of all varieties. At the end of life, relationships or the lack of them, were what was valued most, regretted most and controlled the end of life circumstance the most. At the core of relationship issues are the initial and primary relationships we form with our early family. Here is where our values are established and developed to become the basis for the relationships we build for ourselves in our future. As we mature, we form our own individual family circles plus a myriad of other relationships into which we enter. Family is where we begin our journey to understand and develop all relationships.
In previous articles I have written about the parental axis, the 4th/10th houses of any sky map, as well as the individual maternal and paternal roles. However, the family is not just our parents or lack of them. Each of us has a long, rich history within our family, good guys and bad guys. There is a genetic heritage. Yes, we can see the physical characteristics that are handed down through the gene pool. But there is far more than what we inherit from our families on other levels. I am exploring this family astrological heritage step-by-step through a series of articles.
Any sky map is constructed with the earth (on which we all exist) in the center and the cosmic energy pattern existing around that central core. If we were on the Moon, sky maps would be constructed with the Moon in the center. On Mars, Mars would be in the center, etc. The wheel shape is called “the chart” and the divisions are called “houses”. There are twelve divisions of the houses just as there are twelve sign divisions for the zodiac. The signs show mannerisms and expressions, and are descriptive in nature. The houses illustrate twelve compartments or arenas of physical experience. Each of those twelve houses therefore must contain numerous issues and also the people in your life. The whole of the wheel maps the whole of your life – every single thing. The trick is to learn to read that sky map successfully, which can be more involved than it seems. Our focus for this article will be on the people represented by the houses, particularly the members of your family.
Houses General house information will help us reach the point where we can see the validity of the “people representations”. Remember that the twelve houses begin with the ascendant and are listed counter-clockwise from that point around the wheel. Psychologist Carl Jung divided human expression into four categories: intuition, emotion, sensation, and thought. In brief:
- The left half of the wheel (rising planets) represents the development or the interests of self.
- The right half of the wheel (setting planets) represents involvement with others or the interests of others.
- The bottom half of the wheel represents the time from dusk to dawn; the introspective, internalized, reflective self.
- The top half of the wheel represents the time from dawn to dusk; the externalized, participatory, extroverted self.
- The four angles of the house wheel represent the point of beginning for each of the four quadrants of the chart.
- The general activity of all four chart quadrants are in this order from the Jung perspective: intuition, emotion, sensation, thought.
- The ascendant is the angle that begins the personal, subjective first three houses of intuition (1, 2, 3).
- The IC or 4th cusp is the angle that begins the subjective, other-involved next three houses of emotion (4, 5, 6).
- The descendant is the angle that begins the external, other-involved three houses of sensation (7, 8,9).
- The midheaven is the angle that begins the external, self-interest three houses of thought (10, 11, 12).
These few sentences describe the hemisphere and quadrature influence of houses. In addition,
- The angular house for each quadrant is dynamic, active, visible, directly related to the individual.
- The succeedent house follows the angular house in each quadrant (succeeds the angle) and represents establishing, building, formalizating of that quadrant’s issues.
- The cadent house follows the succeedent house and represents adaptation and promotion.
- In brief, the angular house activates, the succeedent house formalizes, the cadent house promotes the issues of a quadrant.
- The round of the three types of houses begins again at the next angle.
There is one more explanation of the cadent house that will help you understand its role better. Adaptation is the key word here because the dynamic influence of the angle is followed by the establishment influence of the succeedent house, which is a logical sequence for experience. However, it would be difficult to move from building brick by brick (establishment) to the dynamic activity of an angle because form would tend to resist the initiation of something new. The cadent houses bridge this gap between the establishing principal of one grouping of three houses (quadrature), and the dynamic principal at the beginning of the next grouping of three houses (quadrature). Using this rationale:
- The 3rd house bridges (adapts) the subjective self-aware first quadrant as it encounters the subjective awareness of others or emotional quadrant initiated by the 4th house. Intuition gives way to emotion.
- The 6th house bridges (adapts) the subjective awareness of others quadrant as it encounters the objective awareness of others or sensation quadrant initiated by the 7th house. Emotion gives way to sensation.
- The 9th house bridges (adapts) the objective awareness of others quadrant as it encounters the objective awareness of self or thought quadrant initiated by the 10th house. Sensation gives way to thought.
- The 12th house bridges (adapts) the objective awareness of self quadrant as it encounters the subjective awareness of self or intuition quadrant initiated by the 1st house. Thought gives way to intuition.
- The cadent houses are therefore key to understanding the point of flux, adaptation, bridging within the chart and are definitely more important than surface reading would indicate.
If you will add this information on the houses with what you already know about the houses, this material should add a layer to your understanding. Read slowly and re-read as necessary.
People of the Houses Who are the people represented by the houses? Everyone in your life is in that wheel somewhere. We will begin with the four angles and the technique we will use is the derivative house system or what I call “wheeling the houses”.
Self Many are aware that the cusp of the first house is called the ascendant and represents the physical presence of the person or entity represented by that sky map. Much of the descriptive reading about a person comes from that cusp and that house as well as that person’s personal projection, response to their environment and coping skills. This is how the world sees us, through the filter of the sign on the ascendant and the planets in the first house. In brief, the first house and its cusp represent the most personal point of the physical self, the “me” point of the wheel.
Partner Diametrically opposed to the ascendant is the descendant or 7th house. This is the point of the chart that is farthest from the point of self and may be described as the “not self” or the “shadow self”. This point represents the qualities we do not want to embrace and that we project onto another (partner). It is interesting that this represents the point of committed or contractual partnerships whether those relationships are personal (such as marriage) or business (such as partnership). Our committed partner is supposed to represent all the things we do not choose to express. What action do we do at this cusp? We commit to a person, walk into a house, lock the door behind us and attempt collectively to turn the house into a home. The way to a successful conclusion is to learn from that partner and embrace our own lesson. That way we can be with a person because we choose to, not because we must go to school with them as teacher.
Parents The 4th/10th axis (cusps) represents our parents (or lack of them), the parental roles themselves. I want to back up for a moment and mention that this pair of houses is called the security axis and represents our internal and our external security needs. Our parents are supposed to fulfill that role or to at least prepare us for that role. There is a great deal of controversy as to which parent belongs in which of the two houses. I did cover that concept in three previous articles so I will not repeat that information here. Briefly, the 4th house parent’s job is to offer internal, subjective security, also known as the family. The 10th house parent’s job is to offer or prepare us for external, objective security, also known as making our way in the world successfully. Some people get lucky and the parents fulfill their roles well. Some people are not so lucky because dysfunction exists which can cause the individual lifelong problems. Not every parent is equipped for the role they have chosen. Some people take the lemons they received from their particular spin of the parental wheel and they make lemonade. I encourage that.
So far, we have ourselves (ascendant), our partner (descendant), our parents (both, either, or). What about all the other people that comprise our families? Where can they be found in the wheel?
Grandparents The parents have been shown to be the 4th (and its axis partner 10th) from the 1st house of self. Where are the parents of your parents? They must be located in the 4th house from your parent cusp. You always count starting with the house you are questioning, such as the 4th house parent. Put your finger on that house counting it as “one” then count forward (counter-clockwise), one house at a time, until you reach the 4th house of that 4th parent. That would be the 7th house. The same action would be taken for the 10th house parent but it is unnecessary to repeat the exercise, just look to the axis partner of the 7th, which is the 1st (you). So, your grandparents (you have four) are found on the ascendant/ descendant axis. There are only two houses in this count, so two grandparents belong in one house and two belong in the other. It will take a little work on your part to sort this out, but this is where you go to find the answers.
You will probably have genetic hand-me-downs from your grandparents. Two will have great similarities to you, those who are represented by the 1st house and ascendant. Two will seem less related as they occupy your 7th house of not-self. That probably is part of the generation gap. Physical and non-physical characteristics from those grandparents will evidence in you just as you will pass on certain characteristics to your grandchildren. My deceased father’s contribution to my kids and my grandkids is a specific sense of humor. My mother’s love for dancing and music has shown up as well in my kids and my grandkids, as has my paternal grandmother’s beautiful singing voice. My parents and their parents are alive and well in the genetic contribution they gave us all within our family. Thank you for the gifts.
Partner’s parents and grandparents What if you marry? The 7th house will describe your partner and your marriage. It should tell you what and who you are looking for, what you want someone else to do in place of you, and what you are not comfortable with within yourself. At times you are grateful. At other times you will fight the process (and the person). That partner has parents, and so those parents will be the 4th from the 7th (and its partner) and we are again back to the 4th/10th axis in the chart. Hmmm. So far, we are getting a large number of people in very few houses. Perhaps that will help explain why astrologers concentrate on the angular houses. Hang in there, and we will move outside the 4th/10th axis shortly. Your spouse has grandparents (4) as well and they will be shown by the 4th of the parent or the ascendant/descendent axis. Getting crowded isn’t it? Again, this can take some effort but this is where you begin.
Multiple Partnerships All committed relationships are a 7th house issue. It illustrates what you are seeking in a partner because you are avoiding it as yourself (shadow). What if you have more than one marriage or partnership? To differentiate, skip the 8th house and go to the 9th house. The 7th/9th illustrates your second committed relationship. Skip the 10th and go to the 11th. The 7th/11th is your third committed relationship. More? Busy little beaver, aren’t you? Do the same routine: skip/choose. Just skip a house, go to the next one and join it to 7th. This combination should describe each individual person as represented in your life.
Children of all varieties Children are thought to be a 5th house issue. These would be natural children of the body (kids) or the mind (creativity). The oldest child is also described by the 5th. The second child would be the 7th along with the 5th. This 7th house child would be most like your spouse. The third child would be the 9th along with the 5th, and so forth around the chart. If you were to have 5 children, the 5th child would be most like you because that child would be represented by the 5th and the 1st houses. Children of your spouse, adopted children, fostering of children are each represented by your 11th house. Same procedure, maintain the base house but do the skip/choose procedure for each individual. Spouses of your children would be shown by the 7th (partner) of the 5th and additional house influence (child).
Grandchildren A child of your child, your grandchild, is the 5th house from the 5th house or the 9th house for all grandchildren and particularly the first one. Again, the skip/choose procedure applies for each additional grandchild. The child of your spouse belongs with the 5th from the 7th or the 11th house as its base and skip/choose applies here as well.
One last “child” that may be found in the 5th house could be small pets. Large animals such as horses or elephants are read from the 12th house. We all know people who treat their pets as a child with wraps or costumes, they may eat from your plate, are considered a member of the family, be the recipient of lots of baby talk, etc. I am not talking about the ordinary affectionate position of a pet within a family. There should be plenty of emotion and caring for any pet. As you know, some pet owners go beyond even that. With some, you may find the 5th house is active or gives a better description of their pet, particularly if there are no natural children or there are children but they are not available to the person. The pet becomes their child.
Siblings and Partners Do you have siblings? They are a 3rd house issue, all of them. However, we must differentiate for individuality. All siblings (and particularly the oldest one) are 3rd house. The next in age is the 3rd and the 5th in combination. The next in age is the 3rd and the 7th in combination. Each succeeding sibling would maintain the 3rd and add the next 2nd house skip/choose jump (skip the 8th and go to the 9th). This is how you would look at siblings in general and specific siblings in particular. The partners of your siblings are shown by the house opposite the one chosen for that sibling.
Siblings of Spouse and Their Partners If you were seeking information on the siblings of your spouse, look to the 3rd of the 7th, which is the 9th. This is often referred to as the general in-law house as well. Again the 9th would be all siblings of your spouse particularly the oldest one. Do the same skip count as your own direct siblings, the second oldest sibling of your spouse would be the 9th/11th, and so forth. The partners of your partner’s siblings are shown by the house opposite the one chosen for the siblings of the spouse.
Cousins, Aunts and Uncles of all varieties Cousins fall into the same house arrangement as your siblings (3rd). A spouse’s cousins fall into the same house arrangement as their siblings (9th). Your own aunts and uncles have their basis in the 6th house, same counting arrangement. Your spouse’s aunts and uncles have their basis in the 12th house, same counting arrangement.
In Brief We have looked at the generalities of the houses to establish a reasonable base for understanding our relationships with others, specifically those we consider our family. We then moved on to the relationships we form and how to find them in the wheel. You must start with yourself because you will always be one end of any relationship possibility in your own life. The other end will be one of a number of relatives. In brief:
- siblings and cousins = 3rd house
- parents = 4th/10th houses
- grandparents = 1st/7th houses.
- natural children = 5th house
- foster or adopted children = 11th house
- spouses of your natural children = 11th house
- aunts and uncles = 6th house
- spouse or partner = 7th house
- spouse’s children = 11th house
- grandchildren and in-laws in general = 9th house
- multiples of births or marriage are delineated by the skip/choose house count
Obviously, you will have more and different kinds of relationships as we have explored only the family in this article. Please re-read this article as many times as necessary to clarify. This technique is not the easiest task to do and it will take you a little time to learn. For additional assistance, look to articles or information on derivative house systems.
Recommended reading (the three previous articles in this series):
- “Where do You Find Mom and Dad in a Chart? The Parental Axis”
- “Parents – Who and Where is Mom in a Chart? – The Maternal Issues”
- “Parents – Who and Where is Dad in a Chart?”
Published on EZine online May, 2010, republished with slight editing.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.