House Foundations: The 11th House
As we continue our circuit around the horoscope, we come to the Eleventh House. Here, we think of friends, associations, groups, astrology, humanitarian causes, freedom, originality, and anything new, different, progressive or on the cutting edge of change. We can also think of anarchy, chaos and rebelliousness.
I must warn the unwary reader: my eleventh house contains Moon, Jupiter, Ceres, Mercury, Venus and the Antivertex (all in Taurus). Perhaps that will help you spot biases in my column(s). We all interpret in the light of our own experiences and character.
Mars in the eleventh ties identity to all things Uranian. Depending on aspects, how much fire (confidence) etc. exists in the chart, we can go from one extreme of the chronic rebel to the opposite of the individual who gives all his/her power away to friends: “Tell me how to be. I need you.”
People with this placement may express themselves by being super- pioneers, full of original, inventive ideas. They may fight for equality, for any variety of humanitarian causes (including astrology). They may be aggressively different (even strange, weird). They tend to seek exciting friends and want their associations to be active and free. There is often one friend (perhaps at a time) with whom the native identifies and has a strong bond. (If not handled, they may compete with said friend, and/or argue, fight.)
People with this placement are learning to express themselves spontaneously in an Aquarian context. The fire-air blend is good for a sense of fun, an ability to move on. This combination is very restless. If bored, individuals may leave friends, associations, etc. often (or choose those who will leave them). They may pick fights or set up an argumentative situation in order to depart. They tend to resist being tied down or hemmed in.
There is an identification with uniqueness, with being different, and often with friends. There is, as usual, a slight difference of emphasis between Uranus in the First versus Mars in the Eleventh. The first is more likely to be spontaneously unique, instinctively different, intellectual, transpersonal, etc. The latter is learning self-expression (including assertion) through friends, causes, groups, etc. The latter position is more likely to deal with Martian issues with friends, associations, etc. There is more of a danger of projecting the Martian energy in these areas, and attracting people and situations to express that for the native. (In the beginning, Mars can be exciting, stimulating, active, forceful. As we continue projecting and not developing that side within ourselves, it generally becomes more aggressive, even violent, argumentative, self- centered, etc.)
Venus in the eleventh desires pleasure from Aquarian things: be it pleasure through knowledge, astrology, progressive ideas, friends, groups, and/or one’s own uniqueness. There is often a comfortable relationship with friends: mutual support and pleasure. Associations may be easy-going and fairly stable. The person may be open and tolerant—at ease with her/his own uniqueness and accepting of others.
However, Venus (as ruler of the Second House) squares the eleventh house. The passivity and unmovingness of Venus are at odds with the need for change symbolized by the eleventh house. This most often manifests as a security versus risk dilemma. People can play that out in several ways. One see-saw involves resources. Venus says: “Play it safe with money.” The eleventh house exclaims, “I’ve got an idea for this wonderful new mousetrap that should make a million!” The dilemma may also come out sensually. Venus is into old, comfortable indulgences while the eleventh house knows that variety is the spice of life, and loves to experiment with love and elsewhere. Venus is also quite physical; the eleventh house is mental.
Since the planet is the strongest statement, Venus in the eleventh is likely to ground and stabilize Uranian tendencies to float off into the stratosphere with wild ideas and strange associations. Similarly, Uranus in the second will suggest a “What’s coming next?” uncertainty to Taurean activities. Both placements may express any artistic talent in unique, creative ways (or off-the-wall, kooky expressions). Since Letter Two is pleasure, with either placement, the individual may over-indulge in Uranian activities and energies.
If we project the Venus, we may attract physically beautiful friends, or associations, organizations where artistic or beauty pursuits are important. We may pick friends to do the security number for us, and come to resent their stolidity, stubbornness, passivity, indulgence, etc. We may WANT them to make our relationship a thing of beauty and a joy forever, and resent that they cannot. Etc.
Mercury in the eleventh is double-air and very intellectual. The mind tends to be quick and often original. Intuitive flashes are possible. There is generally an easy, open (sometimes excessive) flow of language. Curiosity is intense, especially regarding unusual ideas, societal issues, anything in the “new age” area. Friends and associates may share an intellectual bent or interest. (Or we can project our mind onto friends, and let them live out our thinking, communicating and/or detached side for us.)
Mental restlessness is high. The boredom threshold is exceedingly low. Individuals may jump from topic to topic in conversation and from one interest to another in life. They generally prefer learning in their own manner, perhaps an open group, but not a regular school structure. They resist mental bureaucracies and mind cages. They tend to challenge the dogmas of other people.
Any rebelliousness is likely to be expressed in thinking and perhaps in speech, but may not reach the action level. A sibling may also be a role-model for our Uranian expression: different or unique, mental, innovative, ever-changing. We will react positively or negatively to their example, depending on how we feel about doing Uranus ourselves. Siblings (relatives) may also be friends and friends treated like siblings: open, equal sharing.
The Moon in the eleventh combines mothering/nurturing with friendship. Generally, the mother or mother figure has a freedom-closeness dilemma. She does not want to be tied down to traditional home and family. She has transpersonal interests—perhaps astrology, humanitarian causes, or simply the personal freedom to not be limited. On a positive level: she may be a mother who is a friend—open, accepting, equalitarian. On a negative level, she may appear erratic, unstable or undependable. She may be intellectual and detached when the individual wants warmth and support. She may be too busy with humanity to tend to her own children.
All of the above also applies to the native’s nurturing instinct. S/he is torn between mothering and being free. Often there is a conflict between the security of hearth and home versus the open vistas of a wider world. People may unconsciously attract an unstable home situation because they are bored with a routine one. They may turn the whole world into home (nurturing and being nurtured by friends, associations) or bring the world (causes, freedom, astrology, intellectual pursuits) into their home.
Other factors being equal (which is rare), Uranus in the fourth is more likely to be an unstable home situation (in our early life and/or our own home), bringing the wider world and change into what was a stable nest. Moon in the eleventh is slightly more likely to take our home out into the world, nurturing and being nurtured by humanity. Uranus in the fourth is a very strong freedom-closeness ambivalence for that parent (and us). Moon in the eleventh (depending on aspects, sign placement, etc.) may be less intensely into freedom vs. closeness and the “mother as friend” option may be slightly easier. Both ways, there is a push-pull, for mother and us, between the emotions and the intellect, security and stability vs. risk, and transpersonal concerns vs. our close home and family bonds.
Sun in the eleventh house symbolizes one’s ego involvement with Uranian matters. People are likely to take pride in their humanitarian principles. They may seek leadership and an arena to shine in groups, equalitarian causes, intellectual, progressive ideas, their own uniqueness, astrology, etc. They seek excitement with friends, and can be each other’s greatest fans.
If not handled, they may feel ego-vulnerable to the whole world: “Unless you admire and appreciate me, I am nothing.” They may pick friends to play “Star” for them, and not develop their own charisma and magnetism. They may treat children as friends and/or friends as children.
We can see the subtle variations of the Dobyns astrological alphabet particularly in terms of projection. 5-11 blends are another freedom versus closeness dilemma. One side is being equal (11) versus being “special”—majestic, “better” than others (5). Another side is children (5) versus the freedom to pursue our transpersonal interests and activities (11). 5-ll is another variation of feeling versus thinking. With Uranus in the fifth, freedom/equalitarian/detached intellect issues are met and faced through creative acts, situations where we are the center of attention. We may project Uranian qualities onto children and lovers. With the Sun in the eleventh, Solar qualities are met through friends and transpersonal associations. With both statements, we have a dilemma (the natural opposition). But the issue and energy being dealt with has one focus for 5-11 and another center for 11-5.
With Ceres in the eleventh, we can recapitulate the sections regarding a mother figure teaching us (well or poorly) about freedom/closeness issues. This is another “mother as friend” and “mothering or being mothered by friends” potential. The mothering of the Moon is more purely emotional; with Ceres there is a more pragmatic, taking care of attitude.
Ceres here is also a work/friendship blend. We may mother humanity. We may work with new, unusual, progressive areas (including astrology), in groups, with social causes. We are likely to seek a free, open working environment. We may form friendships at work, or find work through friends. We may be practical and analytical in our personal associations. We may turn our casual relationships into a job, and be overly practical, judgmental, or critical.
Vesta stresses focus and hard work even more, lacking the softness of Ceres. This is a super rational, detached outlook, unhindered by gentler considerations. There may be a clarity of vision: real practical application of far-out ideas. This can be humanitarian principles brought down to earth and made functional. There may be a harsh, critical approach towards friends, groups, unusual ideas, one’s own kooky, creative side. The natural quincunx (Virgo to Aquarius) shows in the conflict between concrete versus abstract thinking; solid accomplishment versus intellectual curiosity, and exploration for the fun and stimulation of it; work versus friendships; a nit-picking, flaw-finding focus versus easy, open tolerance and acceptance; and immediate versus future issues. Any of these ambivalences can be a focus for learning and growth.
With Vesta (or Ceres) in the eleventh, we are more likely to project Virgonian qualities onto friends, associations, humanity. If not integrated into ourselves, these qualities will cause us discomfort when seen “out there.” With Uranus in the sixth, we are more likely to meet our independent, free (chaotic, rebellious, irresponsible) side through colleagues and co-workers.
If we coop up and tie down the Uranian side, we may develop nervous tics and twitches from the blocked energy, or more serious illnesses or accidents. If we ignore the Virgo side, we may roam freely, flit from job to job, but never accomplish much. Etc.
Putting Pallas or Juno in the eleventh ties partners to friends. These double-air blends tend to be open and communicative. We may turn friends into partners: literally or figuratively (treating the intermittent, casual Aquarian relationships with more commitment and emotional investment). We may turn partners into friends, value freedom of association, open expression, tolerance of differences. We may remain friends with partners even after a divorce, break-up, etc. There is often a strong sense of justice and wanting “fair play” —a desire for equality and balance in relationships. Of course, if we can’t have equality through cooperation, we may be just as happy with the equality of competition!
These placements also indicate a freedom-closeness struggle. Letter 11 gets bored easily and hates to be tied down or hemmed in. Individuals may have free, open or unusual relationships. They may choose humanitarian causes and transpersonal involvement over a one-to-one partnership. They may project and pick free souls who leave them. Etc.
Generally, Juno and/or Pallas in the eleventh are a bit more likely to get closeness needs met through friends and transpersonal activities. With Uranus in the seventh, people are a bit more likely to face their needs for uniqueness and freedom in a partnership.
Pluto in the eleventh is a natural square and yet another freedom/ closeness conflict. This is a friend/mate blend. People tend to want their friends to be as close and intensely involved as mates, and mates to be friends. Ideally, friends become mates and mates remain friends even after a parting. Often, friendships are less numerous, but more intense and deeper than is generally the case with eleventh house relationships. Friendships are a mirror for knowing and understanding the depths of one’s own psyche. There may be intense emotional exchanges, an unconscious bond and/or psychic rapport with friends. People may do something close to therapy (on self and others) in their relationships.
If we project, we may attract free souls for mates (slightly more likely with Uranus in the eighth) or intense, powerful friends (whom we may see as manipulative, controlling, jealous, possessive, etc). Through these relationships, we learn to balance our own inner tension between: sensual/sexual intensity vs. intellectual detachment; security vs. risk; close, emotional attachment vs. open, uncommitted relationships; the need for a mate (with time, energy commitments) vs. needs (with time, energy commitments) for friends.
With an eleventh house Jupiter, we have the freest, most progressive minds. Here are the truth seekers who will venture past all ordinary limits in pursuit of knowledge and understanding. Here too is tremendous resistance to any barriers. This is a super-restless combination, difficult to pin down. The exploration for knowledge is never-ending. There is often a passion for justice. Honesty and bluntness may be over-done (for their own sake, or as a badge of individuality, or an unconscious way to keep distance and remain free).
We may turn friends, astrology, social causes or humanity into God. If not handled, we idolize and idealize that part of life until forced to realize it is neither perfect nor infinite. We may over-value the intellect, rebelliousness, non-conformity, or any Aquarian areas. We may have excessive, or misplaced faith in friends, the “innate goodness of humanity” etc.
If other factors are equal, the Jupiter in the eleventh is more likely to tie high values, expectations and idealization to friends, freedom, and uniqueness. Uranus in the ninth is more likely to be non-traditional in faith and totally unrestrained in the pursuit of knowledge and “truth” as defined by that individual.
Saturn in the eleventh ties the reality principle to this area. People may pursue a humanitarian, unusual, astrological, unique, or free career. They may work at clarifying and using realistically their wild flashes and unusual ideas/interests. People may seek to control (and can over-do it) their friends, their own individuality and free nature. Some may seek power through groups, causes, astrology, etc. There is often a conflict between status, conventionality versus non-conformity and freedom. “How much do I co-opt my principles in order to make it in the Establishment?”
Father or father figure tends to be a role model for Aquarian energies. Father may be like a friend: open, accepting, tolerant. He may be erratic, too freedom-loving, or non-conformist. He may be too detached and intellectual, too involved with humanity to spend time parenting. The native may father friends, or pick friends who father him/her. (If over-done, fathering can be dominating and controlling.)
For well or ill, father provides a model of blending responsible achievement with freedom and individual expression. Individuals face the same issues in their careers and with friends, groups, etc. They must learn when critical judgment is appropriate and when a tolerant acceptance is more beneficial. They need to know when to work and when to thumb the nose at “duties.” They need to distinguish times when following the rules are wise from times when rules need to be broken, and new ones devised. Drawing the fine line between freedom and license may be difficult. Distinguishing between responsible achievement and excessive conventionality and conscientiousness may be a challenge. How father and friends handle these issues give the people positive (or negative) role models. With Uranus in the tenth: freedom is more an issue learned with Dad. With Saturn in the eleventh: responsibility, power, realism are learned through friends, causes, groups, new ideas, etc.
Uranus in the eleventh is “at home” and slightly more powerful by virtue of its position. This is double air: very intellectual, detached, original, innovative, unique. Freedom and independence, especially of thought, are usually strong. Humanitarianism may be important in the life. This is a double statement for a resistance to any limits or boundaries. Rebelliousness or chronic non-conformity may be a problem. Unusual interests and ideas are common. The Aquarian nature is faced through friends, groups and causes. If projected, people may attract strange, weird, unusual friends, or rebellious, irresponsible ones, or super detached intellectual friends. The natives may be drawn to very weird, off-the-wall groups or causes. They may form associations with people of very different backgrounds.
If individuals over-do their Letter Eleven nature, they may be too revolutionary, trying to break all the rules. They may be too original and innovative—not tied to reality—or too intellectual and detached. They may be involved with humanity and large-scale issues and unconcerned with close, emotional relationships. Their lives may be chaotic and constantly changing. They may over-do unpredictability.
With Neptune in the eleventh, the vision of infinite love and beauty is tied to friends, freedom and the transpersonal. Idealism and the quest for equal opportunity, a better world, may be strong. These people may idealize humanity, putting “the common man/woman” up on a pedestal. Or, make freedom, independence or uniqueness an ultimate value. They may play savior/victim with friends. (If they idealize too much, they may feel victimized later—when they wake up and see their emotional over-investment.) They may attract weaker people who need rescuing, or simply always have a sad tale of woe and expect tea and sympathy. People can play out a similar pattern with groups or causes with which they align: over-idealizing and feeling taken advantage of later. Or, rescuing and trying to “make it all perfect” for the group, cause, or organization they have chosen to save.
People may expect beauty, harmony or artistic talent from friends. They are prone to utopian visions, schemes, and dreams. They may express their artistic talent in unusual, innovative ways. If handled, the quest for perfection, for the connection to the infinite is shared with friends, in causes, in innovative ideas and associations. If projected, we learn through our associations (positive or negative) to face the dreamy, visionary, emotional questing side of our nature.