When it comes to determining how you approach relationships–after we’ve assessed the Ascendant, which represents the way we automatically respond to others, and the Descendant, which represents how we attract others to us (as well as the type of people we’re likely to attract)–we can move on to look at the astrological chart house by house, taking quadrants into account.
The first 3 houses
The first three houses of the chart form the first quadrant. This is renowned for its inner focus on self. Here we can become self-absorbed and selfish but also self-aware and inclusive when supported by other factors in the chart.
When reading through the following, there are three things to keep in mind:
- Start from the information your Ascendant and Descendant give you first. The location of the Sun and planets are important, but receive context by virtue of being placed in houses, which is only possible once you know your rising sign.
- Take seriously the houses where any planet is located. Planets in houses tells you that the way you respond or approach others is qualified by the expression of the house.
- Having no planets in a house does not mean the area of life is unimportant. You look to the sign on the cusp of the house and see where the planets ruling the sign are located to see how that house is influenced.
1st House Planets
Sun, Mars, Pluto, and Saturn in the 1st house all tend to be capable of being loners; a person with these placements is set to walk his or her own path in a way that others either can’t or don’t necessarily follow.
Planets near the Ascendant and in the 1st house tend to dominate the life path due to the importance and strength of the Ascendant/Descendant axis.
This person is meant to lead, not follow, and won’t adapt easily to others’ demands, since these people tend to be dominating, rather than placating or submissive (this is particularly true with Sun, Mars and Pluto in the 1st; Sun, Mars or Pluto on the Ascendant itself is the mark of a unique path, one that only the individual can find for herself, and adding one more person to the excursion may or may not work out.)
My advice for people with strong 1st houses and nothing in houses that lend themselves more naturally to working with others (collaboration not being the 1st house’s natural skill) is to decide if you want to be in a relationship that lasts, because if you do, you’re going to have to adapt to others’ needs.
Venus, Moon, and Mercury in the 1st can usually be persuaded to at least listen to other people’s perspectives. Pay attention also to the pliability (or lack of same) of the signs involved; some signs are better than others at being in relationship.
It would be a rare Venus in Libra in the 1st, for example, who would put up a huge fight in order to spend a lot of time alone, but she could be a very lonely Venus in Libra if opposed by Saturn in Aries, for example.
How 1st house planets are aspected
Always look to see if 1st house planets are aspected by an easier-going planet like the Moon, or a harder energy, like Saturn or Pluto. Squares from 1st house planets to Saturn can make someone very unpleasant, whereas a Saturn or Pluto trine from the Ascendant can have exactly the opposite effect, turning a 1st house dominating planet person into someone much easier to get along with.
The influence of Fire on this house (by virtue of the connection with Aries) makes it much more likely that no matter what planet or point is involved here, the individual is much more difficult to control than otherwise, for those who need a compliant lover. The 1st house is the “wild stallion” house, in other words, and these people can be hard to “break.”
2nd House Planets
Whereas the 1st is a house with very little room for more than one person (unless he or she learns how to share, or has other indicators in the rest of the chart that s/he is learning how to collaborate) the 2nd house and/or Taurus on the Ascendant is more concerned with showing another person, and sharing with another, the fruits of his labor.
2nd house planets build, create, devise, and work for their own sake, but with the Taurus influence, do not intend to live and die alone. Eventually the individual attains most of what he wanted to accomplish and it becomes pleasant to find someone to take the burden off, perhaps relieve him of some of the details of his empire, but only after the initial phase of creation has been accomplished.
In other words, this person might very well spend much of his younger years building, formulating plans, and attaining an empire of sorts, preferably and quite consciously alone.
For some people, these goals might be difficult to articulate and then they are just always too busy to see you, or too busy for a fully-committed relationship. This is especially true if you find Sun, Jupiter, Mars, Pluto, orSaturn in the 2nd.
What the 2nd house shows
Consider that the 2nd house is the house that shows what resources–internal and external–you bring to a relationship. Where the 1st house is just now learning how to be on the planet, how to be incarnated in a body, the 2nd house’s concern is how to best use the resources she incarnated with, and beyond that, go look for more outside herself.
2nd house people know, or learn over time, that life is easier if you get help with your projects, and so she will, over time, reach out to people for that help. Depending on your perspective, though, that’s not ‘romantic’ in and of itself. Venus in Taurus, for example, might be very demanding and not necessarily give enough in return, but much depends on how that Venus is modified, whether by the softening influences of the Moon, or the dreamy, poetic influences of a potentially romantic Neptune.
2nd house planets are not here, in other words, to fall in love, necessarily, they are here to build a life big enough for two (or more) to share or at least benefit from, but the key to this is that the 2nd house person needs time.
These people can be content alone for a very long time, or coexist in a loveless marriage or some kind of relationship that requires a lot of adjustment, since they’re wired to accept life as a long slog through deep mud.
They don’t mind, not really, as long as what they are building or have built is not damaged or threatened. They would not be happy having to pay for divorce after divorce, but they will if it means they can return to the serenity and peace of being single.
2nd house planets do not like disruption, usually, because the influence of Earth means that when they put something down they like it to stay there.
However, because we are generalizing, there are always other influences within the individual chart that modify the nature of the 2nd house (check the sign on the cusp of each house to see how the person expresses the house).
If you add any Gemini, Sagittarius or Pisces influence to this house, because of the mutable nature of these signs, 2nd house planets will be more able to coexist peacefully with someone else, even if that person touches their things.
Third House Planets
The thing about the 3rd house is that it is indeed a “mental” house. It’s the house of communication and can show us why we think what we do. If there are planets in this house, they require a great deal of mental stimulation.
Relationships for these people are notoriously short earlier in life because they don’t know what they want or why they believe what they do, and yet they’re very happy being friends with you.
3rd house planet people might change partners a lot (too often, really) simply because they are looking for a relationship based on shared interests, and the other person needs more, which the 3rd house person might not know how to give.
The fact is, this house does not scream “relationship material.” This individual is good at talking and thinking about things, and if you two can talk and think a lot about those things, and if you’re equally interested in whatever these things are, the 3rd house person might be completely content and call it a romance, when in fact it’s an acquaintanceship (but they won’t know the difference).
They can get along with just about anybody, which is nice, although if you want to feel like you’re going out with your brother, be careful here.
The 3rd house person has to be shown that he is not your sibling, because too many relationships for these people devolve into sibling-style friendships, and everybody looks around and wonders where the sex went.
Ideally, the 3rd house person has other planets in other houses that will add to their repertoire of relationship skills. They are not terribly demanding, usually, because they can be the most calm and relaxed when dealing with other people, since the focus of their energy will be on problem-solving you as though you were a math equation.
This is not necessarily a bad thing; freaked-out Water signs can benefit from being in a relationship with calm and soothing 3rd house people, who can model coping skills based on intellect and reason, rather than vodka and pills. If you hear someone tell a Water sign to breathe, just breathe, it will be a 3rd house person. Or an Aquarius.
Fourth House Planets
With the 4th house, we begin a new quadrant; this quadrant’s emphasis shifts from awareness of Self–the individual’s reality and his or her body and mind–to the awareness of how others fit into one’s world. In each of the first two quadrants, the primary focus is on how you feel, or relate to others, in your highly individual and personal way.
The concern of these two quadrants’ relationships is expressed through family, neighbors, childhood friends, siblings, and close community (school, for example) so that the types of relationships formed in these first two quadrants are those of childhood, home, or nearby community.
In the 4th house, we find the Self preoccupied with beginning a project based on personal, not-yet articulated values that will nonetheless guide her through her life, usually influenced by immediate family or teachers–anyone important during one’s childhood years. The 4th is the house of “where we begin,” our origins, our earliest home life.
The sign on the cusp of the 4th tells us a lot about the way the individual experienced her early home life, as well as fundamental expectations she will most likely bring with her to all future relationships, since we never get very far away from what we learned at home.
A 4th house emphasis means that much of this person’s life will revolve around finding someone who reminds them of mom or dad–this process might happen consciously, which is best, or unconsciously, which means there will be a lot of work for the chosen partner to do, figuring out which parent they’re expected to fill in for.
The 4th house person is capable of being alone, but is not comfortable with it, since the state of aloneness is antithetical to one of the main purposes of the 4th house, which is to create a new home, away from the childhood home, that nonetheless reflects the values absorbed in childhood. Of course, the exact opposite occurs if the childhood home is something you’re running from. Then every potential mate is encountered as someone to help you escape your childhood.
This is the most serious house to have planets in when it comes to finding someone to settle down with. Serious planets in this house will make even the most lackadaisical sign rethink its desire to stay out all night with complete strangers.
Pluto in the 4th tends to ground the native, almost forcing them to deal with family and home, even when they’d rather not; Saturn has a similar effect, and makes the native determined to carry on traditions long past childhood.
Returning home to live in adulthood is not uncommon, because separation from family can be devastating. Creating a new family to call one’s own, but most especially a home of one’s own, becomes all-consuming. It’s entirely likely the closest relationships these guys are likely to form will be with their family of origin, so if the new paramour doesn’t fit in, it’s unlikely s/he will last. Parental approval counts for a lot with these natives.
The 4th house person wants you to capture their heart, but they also want you to immediately meet their parents, which is not everyone’s cup of tea. Fitting in with the family endears you to 4th house people, as does helping them create a new home.
They are often torn between family and work-life, and though others find a way to balance the two, these people create a lot of angst around their guilt at leaving one or the other to languish. Ultimately, though, home will come first, but they do prefer to establish themselves before they make a serious commitment.
5th House Planets
In this house, the Self begins to make a determined break away from family expectations, and moves out as early as possible to begin a lifetime of self-expression. Similar to Aries rising, the strongest relationship is, I’m sad to say, likely to be with the self, since self-actualization, creativity, and ownership of an important project come first.
When and if this person finally settles down, it will most likely be with someone he met while pursuing his creative goals, because there is simply no point for this person to get involved with anyone who isn’t living an authentic life.
The entire goal of someone with 5th house planets is authenticity, but it’s also true that he doesn’t know himself early in life. If this person settles down, or appears to, by living with a partner for many years, it will be reflection of his earliest, most romantic vision of himself.
The two might be the best of friends, and the youthful relationship will be based on a romanticized idea of what friendship is. Later in life, though, if the person he chose so long ago no longer reflects his inner reality, he will be forced to slough him or her like dead skin.
The Saturn return (at approximately 28 years) is often devastating for these people’s personal relationships, for Saturn pushes them to ground their dreams in reality. The 5th house Sun, Moon, Venus, or Mercury are often forced to leave friends and lovers behind as they attempt to ascend the world stage. It is not true that applause on its own motivates them, but they are not immune to its power, and can be pulled away from the familiar by the siren call of someone who supports their creative vision.
6th House Planets
Now we are entering the Land of the Very Weird, where one of two possible realities occur. The most likely is that the 6th house person is just the nicest, most ‘normal’ person you’re likely to encounter. He will give you the shirt off his back. He will work like a dog for you. He will subject himself to all sorts of unpleasantness for you.
Wait. That’s not necessarily a good thing, and here’s where Weird begins.
The 6th house person is made to serve others, and accepting that makes this lifetime much easier. Sublimating the needs of the self to others is not a bad thing unless you’ve got planets in other houses and they’re in Fire signs, or you have a Fire sign rising.
Then your ego needs are going to rail against the location of your Sun, Moon, Venus or Mercury. The 6th is also a difficult house for Saturn, Pluto, Uranus or Neptune. Yes, just about any planet except perhaps Jupiter does not want to be in the 6th, although Jupiter in the 6th could bring a fair amount of wealth through hard work, I suppose.
Because the 6th house is the house of masters/servants and hard work (and small animals, just FYI), if you get involved with anyone, you tend to turn into their servant or you turn them into your servant. I have long considered this the house of a servant/Master relationship, since traditionally it is the house of servant/Master relationships, just not the kind we think of today (yes BDSM can easily come into play for people with planets here, no puns intended).
People with planets in the 6th tend to wonder what went wrong with their relationships, because they are inevitably mourning some relationship or other. It’s not that their relationships aren’t meant to last, it’s the way they die that’s so soul-destroying for the 6th house person, who is usually way too nice and does everything for the ungrateful wretch.
The key that opens the door to this house, if you find you have planets there, is to use that energy to work hard, but not always for someone else’s benefit. It would help if you wouldn’t allow yourself to be perceived as a doormat while you’re doing this hard work. Keep an eye on your Saturn to see if you are somehow adding more work to your load than strictly necessary, or more guilt.
If you can find a way to let yourself off the hook for mistakes, that would be good, but I suspect many 6th house people are not-so-secret masochists (or sadists, I suppose, particularly with Taurus or Scorpio here, who bring a different skill set to the 6th house relationship).
I find the hardest thing to convince 6th house people of is the necessity to have a strong relationship with themselves before they venture out into the cold, hard world of salt mining that they insist is the act of relating to (ungrateful) others. How do you convince someone to have fun when their soul lesson seems to revolve around taking care of (ungrateful) others?
Generally speaking, relationships with 6th house people seem to go best when both people have the same caretaking values. 6th house people do well with people trained in EMT skills, and make wonderful doctors and nurses. They are also cut out to be veterinarians, or date a veterinarian.
I know this probably sounds simplistic, but the 6th house is an either/or house. Either you find someone who reflects your caretaking values, or you end up serving at someone’s feet (and there are plenty of people who have no problem with that scenario).
The most successful 6th house relationship I’ve seen so far is that of two people committed to a spiritual path (12th house) who share duties and run a home for the disabled. I mean, seriously, who can top that for living out the 6th house ideals of working hard for someone else’s benefit. It’s not an exaggeration to say that 6th house people are the salt of the earth, working hard everyday to take care of someone like you, someone ungrateful who most likely takes them for granted.
Since the 6th is a notoriously unequal house, where one person is usually attracted to someone either higher or lower in social status, this idea that one can share the load with someone else (as equally as possible) is the healthiest outcome I’ve heard of for 6th house people.