This is the one we’ve all been waiting for, haven’t we? What is the role of a relational house in a relational chart? Our eyes just naturally gravitate there, hoping to find a natural, naturally balanced two-ness in the seventh, or some sexual redemption and delivery in the eighth. And then–what the heck is the ninth house doing there, right after all that melding and merging?
The three together actually make more sense than we realize. In this quadrant we have taken our perfected (as much as possible) selves and presented them to ‘other.’ It’s the old one-two-three- of relationships: we come together in the seventh to see if we click, we merge in the eighth to test our boundaries and redefine ourselves through burning down and returning to ourselves anew, and then, in the ninth, we try to make sense of it all.
These houses describe a quadrant of the natal chart we all know well –but do they express the same things in a composite chart?
Yes and no. And it all has to do with the concept of ‘other.’ “Other” to a partnership is a different concept from ‘other’ to a single entity.
The Seventh House: The identity of a partnership, or how we define our partnership, belongs to the Ascendant (with the Sun almost tied for second place). It gives the general tone of who we are when we’re together, alone. So the seventh house of the composite chart takes us into some complicated territory. Who acts as partner to the partnership?
On the one hand, the seventh house in a composite can represent our awareness of who we are as a couple when we are relating to the outside world. It is our team ‘face.’ When we are dealing with the day to day as a union, we may come from our seventh house. That dynamic couple you meet at a party, who blow you over with their fiery Aries-style dynamic, may actually have peaceful Libra rising and not see themselves that way at all. When we have a packed seventh house in a composite, we are very aware of who we are as a couple and what we represent to others. There is usually a lot of charisma with couples who have a strong seventh house, because our energy isn’t wrapped up in ourselves, it naturally goes out to others, and they respond accordingly. If we have something fair-faced, like Venus there, or glamourous like Neptune, or electric, like Uranus–others will feel it. With a prominent Mercury in the seventh, we may be seen as intellectual, or at least, talkative. As with a natal chart, we may not be entirely certain of what we give off as a couple, and the seventh house of a composite is ripe for our composite projections–if we have Mars there, for example, we may be fairly aggressive in doing things our way, and yet it may feel to us that others are oppressive and difficult.
The seventh house can represent everyone out there who is close to us and with whom we have to deal on a day to day basis (outside of close relations and family, who are covered by other houses). In a composite chart, it’s whoever is ‘out there’ as opposed to ‘in here’ within the relationship. But in old fashioned terms, the seventh house used to be called the ‘house of open enemies,’ people who confront you and challenge you. The seventh house can show if a partnership is strong (Saturn there) or if you are subject to invasion from the outside, as when Neptune is on the Desc. Neptune or Jupiter there can indicate a partnership prone to being broken by third parties. As a couple, we may want to explore and have no boundaries as far as others are concerned. We may be generous to the point of fault, or we may be closed and suspicious of others (Pluto in the 7th). If the seventh house is packed, it may be that a great deal of our energy as a couple is involved with interaction of those we hold dear. We may be one of those people who are always tied up with others, for better or worse.
It gets complicated when we realize that the seventh can also describe our ideas of ‘other people’s partnerships,’ making us ripe for projecting our partnership issues on to other couples, or it can indicate the shadow side of our own relationship–the thing that can bubble under the surface, undermining us, without us knowing. This is the most important role for the composite seventh house to play. Neptune or Pisces there? Lack of boundaries, drugs and alcohol or a tendency for the partnership to drift and remain undefined may undo us. Scorpio? Jealousy, suspicion, possessiveness, power plays, all of the usual Plutonian suspects. Gemini? Too much connection (socializing) and not enough commitment (or too much talk and not enough action). Like the shadow in a natal chart, it sometimes takes time to grasp what the problem really is, because the shadow is elusive and the light ever-changing. If we have lots of planets on the Descendant or in the 7th, we may be the kind of couple that needs to go out and meet up with others all the time, and are unhappy alone in our homes. This might be fine for if both people are inclined that way, but it may be hell for a quiet Cancer or Virgo who just wants to stay home and cocoon with the partner.
The seventh house can also describe our style of give and take with the world. Are we open and friendly as a couple (Sag) or are we very selective about who we let into our lives (Virgo). Our Virgo shadow may cause us to be hypercritical of others, when we let ourselves off the hook quite easily (Composite Pisces rising). The sign on the cusp of the seventh represents what we expect when we reach out. If Mars is there, we may feel that other couples are sexually motivated, or argumentative, and we may feel aggressive and hostile to others without realizing it. We may get into fights with the neighbors or the doorman and never understand why we are so besieged. As with natal seventh houses, it’s easy to project planetary activity there, far more difficult to own it as a couple, but own it we should because we’re only at the beginning of this quadrant’s journey. If we are projecting an outer planet, rather than owning those tendencies, our relationship may blow up in our faces without us ever really knowing why.
The 8th House: The eighth house is the most natural house to experience in a composite. The entire house is about merged energies, whether they be sexual or financial. On the surface, it’s about our style of sharing–how we use what we own as a unit. The eighth house will, to some extent, give a sense of the sexual ‘style’ a couple has, and planets there will describe how we accomplish our merging. The Sun there will describe a partnership that possibly revolves around sex and inner transformation. (Or you could go the traditional route and speculate that, depending on other aspects, it may be all about money, or possibly sex for money). It can be a deep, intimate, psychologically-directed house, where our most intimate vulnerabilities are exposed, or it can be primarily about how we use our resources. Note I say ‘use.’ The resources themselves will be shown by the 2nd house, but how we handle what we have belongs in the eighth. This can get very interesting when we’re not dealing with polarities. For example, a couple can have Venus in conservative Capricorn in the second, but have Gemini ruling an empty eighth house. Their nest egg might be solid, but they may tend to spend it on a whim, or may be addicted to buying the latest phones and video games. They might be the kind of people who value conservative spending but just can’t seem to do it themselves. If it were flipped, and Gemini was on the second and Venus in Cap in the eighth, this couple would carefully share their ideas and their connections with the outside world. They would take care of their Gemini resources, whatever they might be. This might be the couple who knows everyone on the block and makes sure that the older people across the street get dug out of the snow. They also might be carefully generous with local charities.
If a couple has a packed eighth house, there is a need for intimacy and deep exchange within the partnership. This might be okay for the half of the couple that is more Plutonian or depth-oriented. If the other partner is more air/fire this may make the relationship difficult–we will feel as if we are struggling to breathe every moment, while the relationship keeps pulling us underwater. This is true for any of the water houses (4, 8, 12) but is exaggerated in the 8th, which has a thrust to intimacy all its own. Even for those of us comfortable with transformation, this kind of intensity may not seem right for us at this moment, or with this person. This composite house isn’t about the dissolve (that comes in the 12th) but is about our ability to burn to the core of our known selves and come back to ourselves renewed. When this house is emphasized in a partnership, the fire may just be too hot. Outer planets or Saturn here may indicate a problem with intimacy within the partnership if fears and defenses are allowed to take over. The problem here would not be due just to one partner’s reluctance or resistance, but to both people feeling wary of losing emotional ground. The answer here is to look back on the second house and see what we really gain (and can get hold of) when we are together—something that neither party can obtain alone.
I’m going to switch gears on you and next time discuss why the 9th house is in this quadrant, then move on to the 10th and 11th. The twelfth house deserves space of its own.
Details for the upcoming summer classes, “Deep Cuts” and others, will be announced tomorrow.
Painting, oil on paper, ‘ancestors of the future, series: unborn, 2012’ by Hildy Maze. Please click the photo to see more of Hildy’s powerful work. The painting is copyright 2012 by Hildy Maze and cannot be reproduced without permission.