House Foundations

Maritha Pottenger

This issue takes us into the transpersonal realm of the horoscope. In the last four houses, we face large-scale societal questions. We deal with the big scene, the over-view. We are concerned with ethics, meaning, and “the greatest good for the greatest number” kinds of problems. Because of the detached perspective and abstract concepts often involved, it is sometimes more difficult to see the close personal relevance of these houses. Yet they, too, give clear reflections of the individual personality who owns the chart. As in the rest of our chart, we meet aspects of ourselves; re-own parts we have projected onto ethical, religious, educational systems, teachers, leaders, authority figures (including father), friends, social causes, and our own unconscious.

Anyone who doubts that one’s stance on wider issues has relevance to the over-all personality need only look at political mailing lists. I have been type-cast as a “liberal” due to past contributions, and now get pleas from the A.C.L.U., Committees for McGovern and Birch Bayh, N.O.W.’s Legal Defense group, etc. The pleas are couched in terms expected to appeal to a “liberal” conscience and personality: pleas for equal opportunity, attacks on oppression in a variety of forms. I do NOT get solicitations from the John Birch Society or National Rifle Association. If I did, I suspect they might appeal to my “conservative” appreciation of structure, law, and order.

One organization (Center for Law in the Public Interest) recently gave me two free tickets to a screening of Brubaker—not just any movie, but a movie with a message about prison reform. Obviously, these groups expect me to spend money, have certain personality characteristics, vote, attend appropriate movies and concerts, etc. They see a definite connection between my life as a whole and my beliefs/attitudes about society. I think they are right (to a degree). Even the car I drive is a political statement: plain, fuel-economy, no frills to appeal to the celebrated “American love affair with the automobile.”

All of us possess a world view (Weltanschauung): a set of belief systems about the nature of life, truth, reality, morality. Some are more complicated than others. Some are more open to change than others. But all ultimately rest on an act of faith. E.g., “I choose to accept the physical universe as the ONLY reality. There is no higher power.” is just as much an act of faith as “I chose to believe in a God, a Heaven, a Hell.” Etc. None are provable in any absolute sense.

Most of us started developing our belief systems when we were quite young. It is not the actual events which occurred that matter; what is significant is the individual’s experience and interpretation of those events. E.g., two people have “objectively” rotten childhoods, in terms of events. One builds a world view based on: “People will always be out to get me. I can’t win.” Another builds a belief systems on: “I must work very hard to achieve in this world.”

Once we have even a beginning Weltanschauung, we set up our lives to validate our belief systems. The self-fulfilling prophecy goes to work. Consciously and unconsciously, we strive to “prove” to ourselves that our understanding of the world is correct. Unfortunately, this “proof” often creates misery along the way, as in “proving” that “I can’t win.” As Rob Hand has put it, “People would rather be right than happy!”

Prejudice works this way. We have a given view of a sexual, racial, religious, or ethnic group. We unconsciously attract people of that group who will reinforce our stereotypes (positive or negative). We also tend not to “notice” the people who disprove our over- generalizations, or else only see a few, who become our “exceptions that prove the rule.”

Most of us go along blindly “proving” our assumptions about life and people, seldom questioning. We lock ourselves into clichéd thoughts and actions. Examining the “of course!”s of our existence is the first step to growth and change.

It is my suspicion that the ninth and twelfth houses are particularly useful in illustrating our Weltanschauungs. Indeed, I am tempted to call them houses of visualization: where we first “see” reality (in our belief systems) which leads to creating (“proving”) our visions in life.

This viewpoint meshes nicely with the research done by the Gauquelins. They found planets in the ninth and twelfth houses key-note themes not just for the profession chosen, but also for basic personality descriptions of the subjects. They “lived” their ninth and twelfth house planets to the full. If we see such planets as the foundation of one’s world-view, it makes sense that they are central in the character and also “proven” again in import through the profession.

It seems the ninth house concerns more our conscious visualization: our long range goals, ideals, values, ethics, beliefs about truth and meaning and reality. Here we categorize our beliefs—as philosophy or religion or education or science, etc. We can generally talk about our ninth house Weltanschauung, even though we may often not examine it, and operate from it rather unconsciously. If we look at it, we can generally put a lot into words.

By contrast, our visualization in the twelfth house is not intellectual. It is emotional: our yearning for infinite love and beauty. We seek a connection to the cosmos, usually in less than fully conscious ways. Our creation of the reality we envision here comes through Neptunian roles: artist, savior (healer) and victim. Our approach is much more the intuitive, little the “rational.”

In a very real way, we can read planets in the ninth house as “ultimate values” for that individual. S/he may manifest them in character, in profession, etc. The energies symbolized by those planets are a major thrust in life, where (in what) we place our faith. And, if over-done and exaggerated, we can expect appropriate difficulties.

Mars in the ninth (or twelfth) the Gauquelins found prominent in sports champions and people in the military. This makes perfect sense in the context of an individual who makes action, assertion, aggression and/or physical activity into an ultimate value. They are manifesting their belief in physical action and self-assertion in societally approved fashions. Character-wise, these people were described as active, energetic, assertive, courageous, etc.

Obviously, over-development in this area could be quite unpleasant: aggressive, self-centered, pushy people. One variant of that is what Zip Dobyns calls the “missionary” which can occur with any one-nine combination. Such people are convinced they, personally, possess the one and only truth about life and its meaning. Their way is the only “righteous” path.

Mars in the ninth ties the personal identity to one’s ideals and values. Such people tend to become very personally identified with their vision/version of “The Truth.” This helps them resist dogma from others, but they may be too identified with their world view.

There is a tendency to be idealistic and the identity may also be tied to religion, philosophy, education, travel (any form of searching for understanding). The pursuit of knowledge tends to be active, personal, and may become aggressive. There is a willingness to fight for one’s beliefs, values, ideas.

Since Mars is one key to our basic identity, we may say, with this placement: “I am or I should be perfect.” The ninth house Mars may symbolize someone who believes: “I am perfect, ideal, the mouthpiece of God. I have the only, the true knowledge. I have the right to anything I want, because I am so perfect and ideal.” Another variation is the perfectionist: “I ought to be perfect: know all the answers, never make a mistake, etc.” Such people may set impossibly high standards for themselves. Particularly if critical factors (Letters Six and Ten) are involved in identity as well, the individual may be chronically dissatisfied, always feeling s/he should have done more or better or more perfectly in some way.

Our identity and personal action are tied to an ultimate, the search for meaning and understanding. We may be perpetual seekers, questers, searching for the answers to the universe. We may make assertion and action an ultimate value and central in our life. Either way, the double fire is restless, unsettled, craving expression, action.

Venus in the ninth may make beauty, sensuality, pleasure, or love into an ultimate ideal. We may idolize art or food, money, sensual indulgence, or a romantic partner. We can expect a love or pleasure object or money or beauty to supply our meaning and purpose in life. We may demand perfection from loved ones, pleasures and possessions, etc.

We may make comfort and security our ultimate goal, visualizing and actualizing a stable, easy-going existence. We may pursue beauty as our source of meaning: be it in art or religion, philosophy (beautiful ideas), travel (beautiful places) or people. We may adopt hedonism as the ultimate lifestyle.

If we link the perfectionism to romantic partners, we may search forever for the perfect partner, the perfect relationship, and never be satisfied. Or we may try repeatedly, each time disillusioned when our idol reveals his/her clay feet. Or we may “marry God” through a religious vocation. Or get involved with someone who believes s/he is perfect. Or try to play all-wise, all-knowing, all-perfect to our partners.

Venus in the ninth links pleasure to all ninth house activities. Often people love knowledge, books, philosophy, learning. Religion, ethics, morals, travel, teaching may be sources of intense personal enjoyment.

There is an inherent searching, seeking for more with fire houses. The ninth, especially, wants to GO FURTHER. However, the restlessness will be modified by planets in and ruling the house, aspects, signs, etc. Sometimes, with Venus, people may try to make their search for meaning a secure, comfortable one, in which case they are attracted to conservative, stable religions, belief systems, etc.

Mercury in the ninth is a natural opposition. The air-fire mixture is quite restless. Here are natural teachers, students, travelers: an intensely curious mind. The desire is both for knowing the here and now reality and also ultimate answers. Usually communication is facile and may even be too quick. The connection of truth to communication, if misused can manifest as foot-in-mouth bluntness. (“I’m only being honest!”) “Telling it like it is” may be over-valued. Impulsive speech (before thinking) is possible.

The mind tends to be an ultimate value. The ability to think and communicate are the native’s meaning in life. Faith, religion tends to be handled from a rational, intellectual perspective. “Can you explain it? Does it make sense?”

Since Mercury is a natural ruler of the third house, a sibling (or other collateral relative) may play an important role in our search for ultimate values. We may idolize and look up to a sibling, making him/her a role model for our attitudes/approach to life. If it is moderate, the sibling may be a helpful source of inspiration. If we over-idealize, eventually we must realize (through loss or disillusionment when the facade of perfection cracks) that said sibling is human and we need to look for “God” elsewhere. (We may even project our own capacity to handle wide issues: “Oh, my brother is the smart one who knows philosophy,” and have to face that eventually.)

Another danger would be us playing “God” to a sibling (relative). We may try to be perfect—know all the answers, never make a mistake, never be at a loss for what to say, etc. No one can play “God” successfully, indefinitely. Eventually, our humanity shows through.

If the idealism, the questing is shared, we may have a great relationship: sharing ideas, trading books, discussing philosophy, traveling together, etc. The native needs constant mental activity and challenge. This may be aided and abetted by or discouraged by the relationship with a sibling (relative). We learn to stretch our ideals and ideas to constantly seek more knowledge, truth, and understanding.

If we carry the Mercurian energy to an extreme, we may be scattered—trying to know everything about everything. We may over-value trivia, gossip, everyday knowledge, or intellectual detachment.

With the Moon in the ninth, we connect nurturance and emotional dependency to our ideals. Mother (or mother figure) is often a role model (positive and/or negative) for our search for meaning, faith, and truth. Alternatives include an idealistic, religious, or perfectionistic mother. We may idealize her and think she is perfect; she is a source of faith and meaning to us. We may wish she had been perfect and be disappointed at her falling short of our expectations. We may feel she has impossibly high standards which we can never satisfy.

The Moon in the ninth is a natural quincunx. It implies a mother with a freedom-closeness dilemma. She may be too busy traveling, studying religion, philosophy, teaching, etc. to provide us with a lot of emotional security. She may over-do “truth” and bluntness. She may do the supportive, nurturing role, but feel trapped, wanting to get out into the world to seek and quest. Or she may provide an integrated model: warm and nurturant while also meeting her freedom needs through studies, travel, spiritual or religious interests, etc.

We are likely to play out the freedom-closeness dilemma in our own life, especially in terms of our nest, our home, and our own mothering instinct. We, too, may feel torn between the urge to be a mother (a nurturer, warm, supportive) and our needs for freedom to roam the world (especially intellectually). We may idealize closeness and a secure foundation, yet sometimes feel trapped by it. Often people will travel a lot as one solution (including the traditional “home in a foreign country” at some point.) Or find their emotional security, dependency in the mind, idealistic or spiritual pursuits, quests for knowledge and understanding. Or search far and wide for a sense of safety, security, emotional closeness. The latter can lead to a conservative, stable, “safe” religion (belief system). Such people may bring their home out into the world: traveling, teaching, etc. or bring the world (books, ideas, ideals, religion) into their home.

Nurturance, empathy, dependency, the emotional connectedness to other people may be idealized, seen as an ultimate goal. Such people may be quite sensitive to themselves and the moods, ideas of others. This need for dependence/nurturance cries for integration with the freedom urges of the ninth house.

One creative integration is writing: expressing one’s empathy, sensitive understanding of others through words, with enough space to not be enveloped in a relationship. The Gauquelins found writers had a high frequency of ninth and twelfth house Moons. Much of fiction is semi- autobiographical as well: authors share their feelings, reactions, lives with others by telling a story, with sufficient distance to feel safe. Successful characterizations would certainly suggest insight and empathy within the authors and openness to inner experience. (Travel may be another source of knowledge and insight to be shared.) Warmth, caring, emotional closeness may be seen as ideal and an ultimate goal. How we share is up to us.

Sun in the ninth is double fire—crying for expression. This may manifest as the ego made an ultimate ideal. A major life goal may be to shine, to bask in the approval and admiration of others. One possibility is: “I am so witty and charming and wonderful, everyone ought to applaud me.” Another is: “I should always be witty, charming, and wonderful and never slip up at entertaining people.”

Some will seek attention, admiration for their minds. They may flaunt their philosophical wisdom, advanced degrees, travel or religious expertise as a means to being in the limelight. Ninth house matters are their way to achieve center stage. They may feel already perfect in those areas or be continually striving to attain perfection.

Since the Sun is a natural key to the fifth house, idealism may get tied up with creativity, including children. Gambling, speculation or risk-taking might be seen as ultimate goals. Children could be idealized. Some people might seek only perfect children—or none. Others might demand perfection from themselves as parents and/or from the children. Creativity and artistic expression might be glorified and idolized. Or, individuals might be continually striving to create something more perfect, more ideal, never quite satisfied.

Since the ninth (and twelfth) house(s) deal with the infinite, displacement is a potential problem. Displacement is a misuse of energy: doing a perfectly fine part of life in an inappropriate time and place. The ninth house applies to our search for God in one form: our intellectual quest for meaning and understanding. If we over-idealize a part of life that is NOT infinite, we are asking for trouble. We may be perpetually disillusioned with the un-godlike faults of that part of life. Or, if we place too much faith in our own efforts, other humans’ efforts, or finite parts of life, we may eventually lose what we idolized in order to discover it was not everything.

Thus, the Sun in the ninth must not place too much faith in ego expansion, gaining applause. There is more to life. Nor should one’s children be put on a pedestal. Neither does mother as “God” work with the Moon. No human being can handle the role. Nor can we be totally emotionally secure, nurturant or dependent. We may expect too much from siblings (relatives) with Mercury, or attract relatives who expect too much from us. Or, we may over-idealize the mind, communication, knowledge, and intellectual detachment. With Venus, beware of turning partners or partnership into an ultimate ideal. Nor can money, pleasure and security satisfy all one’s need for faith. And if we have faith ONLY in our own personal action (with Mars) we are likely to over reach at some point. No one is an island. We cannot go it totally alone.

Ceres or Vesta in the ninth is one form of linking work to the ideal. We may look for the perfect job, never satisfied. We may seek work which makes the world more perfect (e.g. helping, healing professions). We may strive to do the job perfectly, never making mistakes: a hopeless task, of course. Or, we might make work and productive effort an ultimate value: our meaning and purpose in life. We can also connect the idealism to our health. If health or work is over-valued (a displacement), we eventually learn (through loss, or falling short, etc.) that there are higher goals to life.

Ceres ties idealism to the mother figure. Like the Moon, it may indicate a religious, idealistic or perfectionistic mother. We may idolize her, be disappointed in her imperfections, feel she idolizes us, or is disappointed in our shortcomings. Service and care-taking are likely to be highly valued.

Vesta puts priority more on single-mindedness: an endurance, a sharp focus. “Doing it right” (which often means doing it yourself) is seen as an ultimate value. The ethic of the careful crafts(wo)man is idolized. Criticism and analysis may be given extra importance as one means of doing a good job.

Pallas and Juno bring the vision back to the arena of partnership. Here again, we must be wary lest we seek the “perfect” partner, or “ideal” relationship. We may search and never be satisfied with the human beings we meet. We may marry God as a nun or priest. We may attract partners who try to play “God” to us, e.g. think they are perfect. We may attract victims who expect us to play “God” and save them.

Ideally, we make relationships and equality a priority, without expecting perfection from ourselves or others. We may share a spiritual/ religious quest with partners; pursue truth together; study together; travel together, etc. If it is shared, we can handle the energy. If we expect the partner to be an all-wise, knowing, sophisticated guru, sooner or later, our idol falls off his/her pedestal. Nor can we successfully stay on a pedestal if put up by a starry-eyed partner.

We may make relationships or equality an ultimate value. If we put too much faith and importance in our partnerships (or partners), we risk the “fall from grace” of eventual disappointment and disillusionment. We may make equality a priority and strive actively to attain it in life. We may seek beauty or balance and harmony as life’s highest goal. Whatever Libran qualities we visualize here as important and significant, we set up our lives to incorporate. (I have Juno in the ninth house.)

Pluto in the ninth may also fall into the “perfect partner” trap: expecting ourselves, the partner or the relationship to be ideal. The focus is particularly physical: shared resources and pleasures. We may over-idealize sex, sensuality and shared resources and money. We may pursue pleasures and material security intensely. We may be disillusioned when the physical side of life turns out to be not totally ideal and perfect.

We may idolize power, especially over others in the physical realm. This could lead to abuse and misuse. We may make self-mastery an ultimate value: continually striving to know, understand and control the deepest reaches of our psyches. Self-control can also be over-done.

The eight-nine combinations often symbolize a deep, relentless probing for knowledge and understanding. Both breadth and depth of focus are present. But if misused, the power of Pluto could go to extremes of fanaticism in pursuit of what that individual saw as “truth.”

There is a desire to dig beneath the surface, so studies and travel may delve into archaeology, history, investigative work, occult fields (including witchcraft), etc.

If the power and intensity of Pluto is shared, the native tends to have strong, enduring relationships. Mates can pursue the truth together. If the power is not shared, or if a part of life (self-mastery, sensuality, sexuality, a limited field of knowledge) is over-valued and placed above the rest of life, eventually the universe will demand a re-balancing. If we over-do with Pluto, we often must learn to release and let go. Death is the ultimate lesson in letting go.

Jupiter in the ninth has the extra intensity of being “at home.” Like Mars and the Sun, we have the restless extraversion of double fire. There is a strong desire to express out into the world. The avenue may be education, travel, religion, philosophy, etc. Often there is a strong sense of optimism and faith. This may in extremes manifest as a sort of “God is on our side!” blindness. Truth may be emphasized, but truth is subjective. If the self-righteousness is over-developed, we can find exaggerative, over-blown, arrogant, pushy people. (The Gauquelins found rising and culminating Jupiter with actors and politicians. An especially high percentage of Nazi leaders had Jupiter rising. It was also associated with the characterization “harsh.”)

People with this placement may idealize the “truth” and be very blunt. Or idealize a particular method of seeking understanding, be it education, religion, travel, etc. If exaggerated (as Jupiter can easily be), there is the potential of boundless faith in inappropriate areas or rash over-confidence in one’s particular belief system.

There may be lots of zest, energy, enthusiasm, and charisma with the double fire: a great sense of humor. However, if misapplied, it can be doubly destructive. Jupiter is especially prone to “If this is good, more is better.” Excesses of all kinds are possible. Whatever the native makes into an ultimate ideal may be ruthlessly pursued without a sense of proportion or balance. The potential is here for a wise sage, philosopher, seeker. But also possible is extreme self-aggrandizement: a compassionless pursuit of the native’s version of truth and meaning.

Saturn in the ninth may symbolize someone who values control, order, predictability and thoroughness. Often, the belief system is based on material reality alone, e.g. atheistic or agnostic. Or they may go through such a period, wondering if there is meaning, purpose to life before reaching a firm faith. Or they may seek a stable, conservative, “safe” faith to aid a sense of security—”knowing” what will happen and why. The Gauquelins have found this ninth house (and slightly less often twelfth house) Saturn common among scientists. It correlates highly with such character traits as careful, meticulous, disciplined, serious, etc. Obviously, if over-valued, these qualities could be uncomfortable.

The relationship with the father or father figure would be a factor in the individual’s beliefs and values. There could be an idolized, idealized father (who may or may not have been there. Sometimes idealization is easiest when a parent is away part or all of the time.) There may have been a religious or idealistic or perfectionistic father. The individual may have felt father was never perfect enough. Father may have felt the individual was never perfect enough. Father tends to be a role model (positive and/or negative) for the world view we hold.

Since Saturn is also a key to career, we may seek an idealistic, spiritual career: to make the world better. We may look for the perfect position. We may strive to do our work perfectly: ever more meticulous, critical of mistakes. We may make work, status, or power in the world an ultimate value and strive constantly to achieve more.

Of course, we often see several options at once. Life is generally cumulative. Thus, one potential would be a person who has a father who travels a lot and when home is difficult to satisfy. His perfectionistic standards seem impossible to meet. The individual takes more and more education and tries harder and harder to achieve solid accomplishments which Daddy might eventually praise. Meanwhile, the native has doubts and fears about adequacy and handling all s/he has taken on. The individual chooses a scientific field which offers a sense of control, security, predictability, and status. S/he works carefully, with great discipline, and builds a good firm body of work in the field. But no matter what s/he does, father always has quibbles. More is possible. The individual wonders about the worth of it all—struggles with a sense of meaninglessness. S/he searches through a variety of religious/spiritual philosophies, looking for a sense of dependable values. S/he may find something firm in the faith areas (which would probably include detaching from father’s judgments) or decide physical reality is all that’s really dependable (also eventually recognizing the critical parent in his/her head is more a problem than the actual parental figure.) Etc.

Putting Uranus in the ninth is the potential for turning uniqueness, freedom and independence into ultimate values. Our belief system will not be based on other people’s dogmas. It will be an original creation. Indeed, we may just chronically rebel against the educational or religious structures. We may seek freedom through travel. We may search continually for a more open system of education, a more tolerant religion, a broader-based philosophy, etc. We seek a limitless Weltanschauung.

We may idealize friends, technology, humanitarian causes. We may expect in-human perfection from them. We may be disillusioned when they fail to stay on a pedestal. We may attract friends or causes or a niche in technology that demands perfection from us. We may over-value the different, the unusual, the eccentric.

As with everything else in life and the horoscope, it is the very strengths of Uranus that are also dangers (of excess). Originality, willingness to be an individual, to go against the crowd; free-thinking; technological orientation can all be quite valuable, if not over-done. As with Mercury, if the detached intellect is too idealized, we may cut ourselves off from a lot of life.

With Neptune in the ninth, we have double perfectionism with the emotional intensity of fire-water mixtures. We may make our pursuit of the beautiful dream our highest value. We could place our faith in beauty, in healing, in mystical experiences, in God, or in any form of escapism: drugs, alcohol, fantasy, etc.

Whatever we choose to idealize, we are likely to give a central place in our lives. We could over-do any form of escapism. We could over-do faith in God: “I don’t have to do anything. The Universe will provide.” We could over-do healing and saving and end up martyring ourselves, giving too much. We could over-do the appreciation of beauty and ideals: “If it is not perfect and lovely, I want nothing to do with it.” A major danger with Neptune is being unwilling to face an ugly, sordid, imperfect world.

We could be a truly spiritual seeker, a loving, giving helper to humanity. We could make passiveness a way of life and expect the beautiful dream on a platter—manna from heaven.

Nine-twelve combinations are a natural square. The inner conflict may be head goals versus heart goals. It may include truth versus compassion. It may involve active seeking versus passive reception. We need to balance the inner dilemma: to integrate both sides into our vision of life, our values and goals.

In summary, whatever is involved with our ninth house is a part of what we value and trust most highly. We tend to make those sides of life into priorities. We visualize them (positively AND negatively) and set up life to re-affirm and validate our visualizations. If we do not like what we are seeking and manifesting as ultimates, we have only to change the focus. It may be as simple as finding a positive side of the energy we have been actualizing negatively, or doing less of something we have been over-doing, and more of what we have been under-doing. “The journey of one thousand miles begins with a single step.” May all your journeys be growthful and fulfilling!

Copyright © 1980 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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