As we’ve said, the first quadrant of the composite chart is largely about our identity as a couple, our definition of our ‘couple-ness’, how we act, what we own (both spiritually and materially) and how we communicate as a unit, including the way we react to our immediate environment, including our neighbors and cousins and siblings and anyone else who drops by. All three first quadrant houses are largely instinctive. The way we identify as a couple, our sense of what’s ours, and our way of connecting with others is mostly spontaneous. Once we get into the second quadrant, we start talking about the things that we put into place, the things that we may plan for ourselves. It isn’t that these houses stop being instinctive, but that they add another layer of awareness as the houses progress. We can be aware of our contribution as a couple in houses four, five and six the way we never were in the first three.
For those who really want to settle down, the fourth house in the composite is where its at. I have seen terrible synastries overcome tremendous odds by having a packed fourth house. For those people, building a life, a home, a base of operation was their modus operendi, and, with the intensity inherent in this cardinal house, nothing got in the way of that. When a house is packed in a composite chart, the people involved pour their energy into that area of life. It’s easier when the house represents something solid, like the fourth house with its emphasis on home and family and roots, because there is something for the composite energy to hang itself on. It’s more difficult if something like the 12th house is emphasized; all that energy pouring into a house whose task is to dissolve and resolve, to tap a higher power. Tricky, that one. But the fourth, yes, home, family, roots, all those comforting things, the meatloaf and mashed potatoes of the zodiacal houses…
Well, no, not really. At first, yes. All of the water houses lure us in with promises of comfort and understanding. When our composite has a packed fourth house we may buy a home and have kids right away, because we want to be a part of something, put our roots down in the world. But the composite fourth house represents something bigger than roots and belonging. It has to do with our conscious awareness of ourselves as a couple.
It’s different from the first house, because the first house is instinctive; the first house is about our initial way of being with one another, what happens when two become one. We have no control over the energy we give off in the first house. Any planets there define our togetherness to others, and are something others see right away, but we have little influence over them. In the fourth house, we come to understand ourselves as a unit. We are aware of ourselves as a couple and make conscious actions and contributions as a couple. It’s an important house, because if we are not aware of working together, we may begin to work separately. If we have outer planets on the composite IC, we may have difficulty establishing our roots–we may love one another intensely, we may try to build a life together, but may have to fight tsunamis and earthquakes, and storms before we can establish our emotional roots. That’s another keyword for the composite house–emotions. What we feel together might be tender or it might be stormy, but the composite fourth will show us the status of our deepest, most intimate points. The eighth house will describe our sexual intimacy, and the 12th our sense of spiritual oneness, but the fourth is where the intimacy is, and the sign on its cusp will tell us a lot about whether or not we let other people in. Scorpio or Pluto there can feel vulnerable, and hide our relationship from the outside world. Gemini will incline us to open our doors. If our sense of rootedness is secure, then the fourth house can show us our greatest strengths as a couple. Couples with a packed fourth house know that they feel stronger together than they ever did apart. This is because the fourth house represents the seat of personal power–the thing that we know can never be taken away from us. In a composite chart, it’s our bottom line as a couple, where we stand together, shoulder to shoulder, to face the world.
People tend to get all happy and smiley-faced around the fifth house. Why shouldn’t they, in the domain of sunny Leo? Think of all the fifth house represents–creativity, personal expression, children, chance-taking, play. When we are fully grounded in the fourth house, the fifth house takes care of itself, which is one of the esoteric truths of astrology and has to do with the yin/yang function of the Moon and the Sun and their respective houses–the Moon comes before the Sun for a reason. (More of this another day.) Who wouldn’t want the fifth house emphasized?
Couples who have the fifth house emphasized in the composite often put a great deal of energy and effort into their children. An outer planet there can indicate troubles conceiving, or the children become a disruption to the unity of the relationship. Depending on the planets, there may be creative work to be done together. I’ve seen the composite Sun appear in the composite fifth many, many times when two people come together to pour their energy into some creative project. The two people naturally express themselves as a unit. John Lennon and Paul McCartney not only had their composite Moon in the fifth, but the ruler of the composite fifth, Venus, was conjunct the composite Ascendant.
However, emphasis on the composite fifth may mean that the relationship is more about play than it is about settling down. We enjoy one another, but it may not be permanent. Longevity would be illustrated elsewhere in the chart. If there are squares between the fifth house and the eighth house, there may be issues around sexual fidelity and intimacy. Conflicts between the fifth and second houses may indicate that our values are in conflict with our natural ways of expressing ourselves in the world (or we just overdo everything, especially when it comes to tapping our bank account). We may encourage one another to take too many chances, or not take the relationship seriously enough, only to see it disintegrate through neglect or through assuming too much.
The sixth house, on the whole, is a highly misunderstood house, both in natal interpretation and in composite. In basic astrology, it covers health, service, the mundane tasks of our daily routines, and pets (or anyone else dependent on us for livelihood, hence, servants). That’s a lot of ground to cover, most of it a dogs dinner of rulership. I’m going to be covering the sixth house in detail, soon, in another article, but there is a common link between all these things that comes out especially clearly in composite charts.
The sixth house is the crossroads of the chart; it’s a mutable house, a Virgo house. As such, it’s about crisis–the crisis of becoming. It’s where we consolidate the unit so that it’s strong enough to meet the outside world. The sixth house is where we’re tested and refined. It’s where we discover what we’re about. Couples with the sixth house emphasized can lead a life of tests and trials to the relationship that either serve to make it stronger or allow it to fall apart. If there are afflictions and challenges to the sixth house, it often feels as if they come from ‘out of the blue’, and can feel very Job-like in their intensity. The question becomes, how strong, how whole, are we as a unit? Strength comes from working out our priorities as a couple and learning to live on an even keel. If we fill our lives with mundane details and superficial trivia, and never have a direction or a purpose to our existence, how strong are we? The sixth house rules health because health requires balance–body, mind and spirit working together. When the unit is strong, it becomes a vessel for the higher energies of the 12th house, which will use it to bring good into the world, and have our partnership become a living illustration of the way the divine is housed in the ordinary details of life. Sixth house crises are about becoming the vessel. If we fail our tests, the higher energies break us, and we may fail our tests and fall apart.
Couples who have the sixth house prominent are often interested in health and well-being; they may also be devoted to expressing the higher energies. If this is the case, the strength of their convictions will be tested. In all cases, a composite chart with a prominent sixth house will ask a couple to find devotion in the day to day. Their work in the world will have to encompass both their thoughts about their environment (3rd) and their visions and beliefs (9th). In the sixth house, we need to open ourselves to a higher power in order to make sense of life. The more we let the higher powers influence our decisions, the more successful we will be as carriers of those powers. The sixth house is about transition–the transition from the meaningless to the meaningful, a place where the the smallest thing can be the most significant. We find our compassion, because we understand that the smallest and the greatest things in life are one and the same.