Read the first half of this article for an introduction and an overview of houses 1-6.
The Descendant begins the third quadrant, which takes us from the 7th through the 9th houses. This is the quadrant most renowned for relating specifically to others in one-on-one relationships, especially planets placed near the Descendant and in the 7th house.
Although the word “co-dependent” is overused, you can go ahead and apply it to many planets in this quadrant, particularly 7th and 8th house planets. This quadrant looks to others to solve problems and provide for them far too much, and is the quadrant that most needs to learn the kind of independence the first quadrant (Houses 1-3) possesses inherently.
On the other side of the coin, however, this quadrant pays more attention to others in relationship and takes time and care over others more naturally.
The relationship houses, if you ask me, are about the more serious side of relating, the social contract (7th), debts and mutual ownership (8th) and as I will discuss, moral obligations (9th) that are fundamental realities of relationships that last a long time.
While the 7th house is renowned for butterfly social types, the 8th and 9th houses find relating to others to revolve more around observing others and cautiously wading in to the social arena.
7th House Planets
Traditionally, this is called the house of marriage. Many people freak out if there are no planets in this house, afraid they’ll be alone forever. I wish they wouldn’t do that, for a few good reasons.
First of all, the 7th house and its association with marriage is a bit misunderstood. In fact, this is the house of formalized partnership, and that isn’t just about marriage, it’s also about business partners, legal partners, and any other lawfully-recognized, socially-sanctioned relationship of equals.
Think about Libra’s scales, and how Libra rules equality and partnership, and you’ll understand that this house is not, automatically, about white lace and roses, honeymoon cottages, and ‘happily ever after.’ There is no white picket fence house of ‘happily ever after,’ so don’t worry if your 7th house is empty, it doesn’t mean your life will be.
However, if you have any planets here, you are probably quite interested in other people, and that interest in others will frequently lead to marriage, since people like it when you show an interest in them. 7th house planets are not inherently romantic though, since the goal here is to work with others in balanced relationship.
“Balanced” does not necessarily mean absolutely equal or fair, though; it just means that both people will pull their own weight, with each performing their end of the bargain to keep the relationship in balance. In fact, it’s entirely likely that not only is your primary relationship not inherently romantic if you have more than one planet in this house; it’s likely that you actively chose your partner (or will choose) for the purposes of enacting a social contract.
The 7th is very much about Self versus Other, or Self in relationship to another, and so you see many highly argumentative, contentious people with planets in this house. Conversely, you might find that planets in this house lean toward a great desire for harmony, which the native will enforce even if the marriage partner is not easy to get along with.
Seeing Saturn in the 7th tends to worry people. I suspect they read somewhere that Saturn in this house meant they would be alone their entire lives. In fact, Saturn in this house seems to bring marriage later in life, or marriage to an older, more established partner (Jennifer Aniston is my current preferred example of a Saturn in the 7th house person who seems to have finally figured out what she really needs, not merely what she wants, in a life-long partner).
In other words, your special person will find you, but you might have to wait longer than your friends to get married, even for the first time.
Every other planet that could fall in this house seems to, in some way, describe the marriage partner, or it describes the quality or character we need in a marriage partner. With Pluto here, though, one can question the extent to which one “needs” a powerful, controlling partner; perhaps some do, but it’s also entirely likely that any planet here describes the inner qualities we project on to others, who either then behave the way we expect them to, or struggle against that projection for as long as the relationship lasts.
Eighth House Planets
There is no more misunderstood house than the 8th, and if you have many planets in the 8th, you might like it that way, since the denizens of this house like to cloak their motives and maintain their secrets. 8th house people can be dicey to be in relationship with. They expect to live and die alone, so adding you to their list of interests and responsibilities is a big decision.
Most of the 8th house people I know make a decision about whether to leave or stay in a relationship quickly, primarily because they comprehend who you are and what you’re hiding moments after your first hello. Although Scorpio’s rulership has muddied the waters, traditionally the 8th house has not been about sex. Prior to this association, the 8th was seen as the entry to Hades (with the 2nd house the way out of Hades).
Instead, the 8th has long ruled death, and this is why 8th house planets are ambivalent about ending a relationship. The more planets you find in this house, the greater the likelihood the native will experience relationships as a form of ego-death. It takes a lot out of the 8th house person to be in a relationship in the first place. As this house is associated with death, these people do better on their own, but ache for someone who understands their psychological depths.
However, since the 8th is one of the “relationship” houses, the focus here is on the marriage partner, particularly their “goods,” possessions, or material wealth (or debt, sadly, if the chart so indicates). Relationships with one’s family (both as a group or through a specific individual) speak of a family “inheritance,” such as the traits or behaviors we inherit, a bequest or legacy.
The relational nature of the 8th combined with others’ material concerns means your focus here has a lot to do with what you receive from others. Although this is a “material” house, it is also, through Scorpio’s rulership, a Water-influenced house, so what you receive is not always material in nature.
It’s just as likely that what you receive from others is purely emotional or even psychological. The key here is, of course, as you’ve heard before–probably ad nauseum–transformation. The fact of the 8th house experience is the transformation of the self, the ego, however you want to put it. Your 8th house planets are on a quest down into the depths; darkness calls, and it’s seductive, hypnotic, and more interesting than watching reruns.
Relationships with 8th house people typically require more self-analysis than most people expect, want, or will be able to handle, unless they’re up for a lot of soul-searching. The 8th house person will not necessarily handle the requirement of transformation at all well; there could be a lot of screaming and slamming of doors (if there are Fire placements); whining (Water, particularly Pisces and Cancer); or attempts to understand and ultimately, rationalize these complicated life experiences (Air, sometimes Earth; although Earth might be okay with the excesses to which the 8th house is capable, justifying the extremes of emotion as an important “life experience”).
My suggestion is not to have more than one of these relationships in your lifetime, unless you’re into power dynamics, or you’re very grown-up and sophisticated and don’t mind getting your heart inadvertently broken by the 8th house need to control you, demand you change, and then leave when you don’t (or can’t) change to suit her. This house, ruled as it is by Scorpio’s planet Pluto (and Mars) is not subtle in its need to dominate you.
Ninth House Planets
I find this to be one of the most interesting houses, particularly when discussing relationships, for it asks you to clarify your personal values, but more importantly (and less obviously, I find, since people don’t seem to think about these things when they “fall in love”) it asks you to take on moral responsibility for others.
In this house, values are formed around ideals, goals, and aspirations. 9th house planets are on a quest, and typically attract (or would like to attract) someone who believes profoundly in something. More than one personal planet in this house leads to a personality who believes fervently in something, even if that something is atheism.
Although traditionally this was seen as the House of God, and the native whose planets fell within was most likely an ascetic, a monk, or someone devoted to a religious path, nowadays if you’re none of those, you might still prefer to walk your path pretty much in solitude, thinking profound thoughts about philosophy. If you do find yourself alone and you have more than one planet in this house, do not be alarmed. You just need to find the person who shares your quest for truth. People with outer planets in the 9th are unusual and might be off-putting to the masses they’re trying to avoid.
Of the three relationship houses, this is the house where I most often find someone asking me if they are doomed to be alone, largely because they are pursuing a quiet, often scholarly, life of the mind, which doesn’t appeal to just anyone.
Saturn in the 9th can feel particularly lonely when looking for a lifetime partner, it seems, because of Saturn’s inherent ability to isolate himself from everyone, no matter the house in which it is posited. In the 9th house, he will isolate himself from everyone as part of a search for something deeper to believe in.
The Midheaven begins the Fourth Quadrant houses: 10, 11, and 12. Here the focus is on relating–in the broadest sense–to an outside world with which we are not necessarily personally connected, but nonetheless feel some affiliation with, and even a sense of responsibility for.
In these houses, we see individuals take up protest signs or even arms to fight for someone else’s rights. It is in this last quadrant that individuals are interested in others they bear no personal responsibility for, and so this quadrant is seen as perhaps the most socially enlightened (although, as with any of the chart, there is always the potential for a dark corner or two).
The interesting thing about 4th quadrant relationships, though, is how self-isolating they are, largely in the sense that affiliation with groups of people often divides into hierarchies, and hierarchies need leaders, which people with planets here are good at being. And it’s lonely at the top in the classic sense that when you’re leading, or behaving like an adult, or performing charitable acts for others, your self-interests are squelched and people often forget you are an individual, with individual needs.
That this quadrant does not focus on the individual, therefore, might be good for society, but the native often goes without the kind of attention that a kid born with Sun in the 3rd, 7th or 5th, for example, might automatically receive.
10th House Planets
Largely due to the influence of the Midheaven, which forces us to be seen–whether or not we consciously want to be–relationships to others form primarily through our reputations, or that which they see of us as we go about our lives.
People with 10th house planets, particularly the Sun or Venus and Jupiter, are usually much more in the public eye because they consciously choose to put themselves into roles that others can then admire or, sometimes, revile them for. This house tends to create people as icons; it is considered the “fishbowl” house, where “everyone” gets to see how you live, and then comment on your choices.
It is also, with the 4th house, the axis of parental influence, so the primary life relationships may be with parents (either one; usually the individual has one parent they prefer). Relationships formed with future significant others take on a parent/child overtone, with one person acting as a “daddy” or “mommy” figure.
Two somewhat related things can occur with 10th house planet people’s attitudes toward relating. One is that they find it hard to relate to anyone unless the relationship revolves around family or business dynamics. The other is that the 10th house person prefers to be in charge of any relationship they engage in.
Both the 10th and the 7th are considered “marriage” houses. The 10th is technically the most elevated house; it is where our social status is most obvious, but it is also where an individual attains social status by virtue of performing certain coming-of-age traditions and rituals, such as marrying.
Marriage, even today with so many people all over the world delaying their nuptials, is considered a “grown-up” act. After you say “I do,” all the unmarrieds at your wedding gather around you telling you that you’re an adult now, better watch out, old age comes next. You have undergone a special, if not actually sacred, initiation, bringing you from one stage of life to the next.
Marriage is also considered a step up the social ladder. Marriage can change one’s social status through attainment of wealth or status through affiliation with one’s spouse, their family, or yours. Therefore, 10th house relationships are often “about” family, being in charge of a family, or turning one’s friends into family.
11th House Planets
These people, when not feeling or being incredibly isolated from society, are renowned for forming relationships through groups, especially affiliations regarding 5th house interests and hobbies, activities that bring a sense of belonging to a larger cause or entity. Avocational interests can also connect you with like-minded others.
People with planets in the 11th are too often loners with their noses pressed up against the glass of others’ celebrations. I used to wonder why this was until I considered that 11th house people are influenced by Aquarius and Uranus, and are either too “out there” or too intellectual to entirely fit in with the masses they are very interested in.
11th house people’s relationships are either kept at a cool, arm’s length distance, or they are engaged in as though the need for stimulating company and conversation were as important to them as air to breathe and water to drink. I think this may be the real reason why, if the 11th house person gets close enough to form a partnership, he is often the last to leave and the first to offer the shirt off his back to keep the connection going. Silence and solitude only hold so much interest; living beings are usually much more interesting than the ongoing conversation held with one’s self.
Saturn in the 11th is possibly the most isolating combination, for it seems to prohibit access to the group mind, creating a perpetual “observer” of life. Other planets here can make it easier to join in the fray, but Neptune brings strange friends who might become enemies far too easily, while the personal planets are usually easier to get along with but–if stressed through aspect to other things in the chart–will go along to get along, without feeling actual connection. The “danger” with this house is not feeling “normal,” and then cutting one’s self off from others.
12th House Planets
12th house relationships are interesting, if only because they so often split along the lines of privacy and secrets, and the feeling that you “know” the other in ways that are not based on facts. Although the 12th rules large institutions, I tend to eschew finding love in prison, although I suppose there are people with planets in the 12th who are attracted to the incarcerated.
Consider instead that the types of relationships engaged in by 12th house people tend to have unexplored edges, and are founded on emotional principles that range from compassion through self-delusion.
This is very much a rainbow-of-possibilities house, wherein others appeal because they’re so very different from you. You may never even meet them, and so this house is tailor-made for online, non-physical “platonic” pen-pals. The one connecting link between all 12th house relationships usually has something to do with pity, identification with your problems, and possibly a need to keep the other’s secrets.
Planets placed in the 12th tell you what it is you “just know” about other people, without having to be told. Frequently these planets pick up the emotional wavelength of the other person in that spooky-weird way where you have to tell them to get out of your brain, because somehow they “just know” a detail about you that you weren’t ready to share.
Then there are people with planets in the 12th who are in denial about whatever the planet represents, and their relationships are not formed at any depth. Instead, they find people who agree not to articulate what’s wrong, but just to “get along” with each other. Neither are expected to discuss the Large Pink Elephant in the room. An afflicted Venus in the 12th comes to mind here, as does an afflicted Mercury or perhaps even Neptune. Since the 12th is one of the three Water-related houses (along with 4 and 8) the unspoken rules these people live by can dominate relationships.
Ask them to clarify their feelings before you move in; set up some ground rules about communication and behaviors. You don’t want to find out, ten years down the road, that you’ve been assuming all was well, when in fact they’ve been carrying a secret grudge you knew nothing about. 12th house planet people are possibly more unaware of their own feelings than planets placed in any other house, so these people have to be spoken to directly to get them to wake up to others’ needs, and learn how to communicate. They rarely enjoy swimming alone in their bowl, so tell them how their behaviors affect you, otherwise they’ll assume you’re okay with whatever they do, and their unexpressed emotions can run roughshod over your sanity.