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      Relationships: The Seventh House  

Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces Moons

When you take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience—one lifetime after another—you are apt to hold very mixed feelings about sex and money.










It's been a while since posting anything astrological, but the time may be ripe for such! My primary astrological mentor, Ivy Jacobson, used to say that the seventh house is where we agree to disagree. Traditionally, it is the house of marriage and partnership. Years and years ago, I asked students to look at the sign on the seventh house cusp and any planets that were in that house and to talk briefly about what they want in a partner . . . and dare we add "why?" The first person to respond said she wanted someone with dark hair, 6'2" tall and I asked her how that related to her seventh house. Obviously, there is no Zodiacal sign or planet that says "tall, dark, and handsome." These are our fantasies, born of who knows what.

Psychologists and sociologists might suggest that pheromones work mysteriously in crowded rooms when one is attracted to someone who exudes something that ignites all sorts of imagination. However, when it comes to commitment, women are alleged to be very practical, and men tend to speculate on how their genes will express if a woman has the right size hips and perhaps a few additional assets. I love the scene out of Don Juan DeMarco that plays with this component of the male psyche.

As you might know, astrologers, myself excluded, often earn their bread and butter by consulting on relationships and the issues that arise in them. I used to tell my students that when you date, you are doing things together, usually in public. What makes or breaks a date is how much you enjoy what you do together and whether or not you can converse well with each other. Normally, this depends on the relationship of the Suns and angles between the Mercury in one horoscope and the Mercury in the other. For instance, Ivy signed one of her first letters to me, "Forever Trine" and for an astrologer, nothing speaks more to the heart than these trines. If an Ayurvedic doctor autographed a book saying, "May your doshas always be in balance," it might be interpreted as a blessing, but to be in trine is blissful.

However, here's the rub, dating and mating are very different. Once we partner and actually set up housekeeping together, the solar trines surrender to the lunar aspects, and Venus steals some of Mercury's lightning. For instance, let's say you are shopping for furniture or trying to pick out a painting that both of you want over the living room sofa. Can you imagine the chaos if one person wants a print of Kandinsky and the other wants the Buddha floating on lotus petals?

Depending on one's sensitivities, abstract art might be interesting to one person and jarring to another. Likewise, to a very practical person who does not speculate about what he or she cannot prove, mysticism may be challenging or irrelevant, perhaps simply unwelcome, or perhaps uncomfortable. Obviously, we all want to be comfortable, but some people have no idea how to be comfortable. They have not experienced it before so they relate through what is known to them, such as conflicts and resolutions, you know: yell and scream and then kiss and reconcile. Unless we understand ourselves, we have absolutely no idea what kind of baggage and expectations we drag into our relationships.

This is supposed to be funny. If it isn't funny, you probably should close the page before reading further.

Our lunar energies are subjective. We have to work hard to bring them into awareness. Over the years, I have learned so much from my students. For instance, when we would take a lunch break, there were students who could not wait to start talking. For air types, sitting quietly in a class and listening without speaking can be agonizing. These people enjoy equal relationships, relationships between peers. It's not easy for them to accept either seniority or silence. They want to be included in the dialogue; and they thrive on the stimulation of conversation, so even if eager to learn, a classroom is not natural since air types prefer to socialize rather than to take notes.

There was one incident I will never forget because when we had a lunch break, most of the students rushed to their cars, eager to be with their peers or to eat. One student however stayed back. She moved over to a large window and sat quietly in chair with a book. She enjoyed the rest and relaxation of being free of outside stimulation, free of social pressures, and free of expectations from others. I so enjoyed her peacefulness, but if a person who loves peace partners with someone whose idea of fun is a night at the disco, that person will not feel understood nor perhaps be able to find herself in the din of the disco noise. Well, truth be told, I have never been to a disco, but I have heard about them from others.

I like to play games with my students. I ask them to pretend that they were suddenly given $100,000, a small sum in today's world, but nevertheless, not a regular paycheck. They have to spend this money with their important other and the one thing they are not permitted to do is divide the sum in half and each do whatever he or she wants. They must agree on how to spend the money. Try this with a friend or someone close to you. You will immediately see how difficult it is to agree. One wants to save the money for the children's education and the other wants a new sports car.

I hope you are laughing because it would be an incredibly rare marriage where the two people actually do agree. The reason is that marriage is seldom a reward for good karma, but more likely base camp for learning how to facet diamonds from the rough. Well, I probably revealed a lot about myself, and many would disagree, but the truth is chemistry is not necessarily predictive of what marriage will be like.

There might be a lot to be said for arranging marriages astrologically except that we need all experiences for a family to be complete. So if one is missing some energy, it is almost certain that one will attract what is missing, not what one enjoys most. For instance, if one has no planets in water signs, one will attract someone who is watery. If we accept and understand this basic fact, it may reduce some tensions and allow us to get through some crises with humor. For example, I often ask people to take the most stressful aspect in their horoscope and give it a nickname. This exercise usually goes much better than the seventh house questions. The nickname needs to be crisp and clear and shared with important others. We have lots of control freaks in the world at the moment. Most people who are control freaks know they are control freaks so they might give themselves a nickname like "Commandant". The game here is that if one does not like being controlled by another, one needs to give an early warning signal to alert the "Commandant" that the behavior that is about to intensify is also going to pinch a bunch of nerves. One doesn't have to use salutes and loud language if you have a standing agreement that when certain tendencies become obnoxious that an early warning shot will be fired, you know like a cannon ball over the bow of a ship, not a direct hit in the artillery room.

Or, let's say, someone is an inveterate nitpicker. When that person winds up as a prelude to a litany of complaints, you could signal your irritation by running your finger over furniture as if to check for dust. It means, "I know this game, but I hate the game so let's play a different game." The point here is that we have indeed agreed to disagree over certain matters so it behooves us to find graceful ways through the ordeals of disagreeing. After all, under all the tension and irritation, there is usually also a lot of love.

We also want to take a moment to ask why we chose to partner with a problem rather than our fantasy. In so doing, we are taking responsibility for our decisions as well as our own need to learn from experience. It helps tremendously if both people can be sincere enough to win respect for their differing points of view. Normally, I enjoy learning from others, of course, only up the point that the panic buttons are detonated. I suspect this is true of everyone. At the right moment, with the right tone of voice, one can be receptive to complaints and constructive criticism. However, day in and day out advice on how to reform oneself is probably not congenial to anyone.

Of course, we all need to learn how to resolve crises that arise. Every personality type solves problems in a manner unique to that type. For example, let's say that one of the greatest fears in relationship is infidelity. What happens if one is confronted with the reality of infidelity. Over the years, I have seen that earth types often seek control over assets. I.e., the response to the partner is not, "I will divorce you if you don't give up the other person," but rather, "If you put our finances at risk, I will seize the assets and take charge of everything you have heretofore controlled." This is tough. It puts a price tag and limitation on what is acceptable, but depending on the temperament of the partner, the strategies may not have much influence over behavior, especially not if the philanderer is someone like Donald Trump.

A fire type would probably not respond at all in the same manner to the same circumstances. A civilized fire type might walk out the door without a word, which is probably a cover for emotions that are much more intense but unacceptable. In the early stages of such a revelation, the fire types might not find it easy to speak; however, this does not mean that they will not take action. The point is that the action likely to be taken by a fire type is very different than that of an earth type. I remember reading a letter once in which a man enumerated the reasons he did not want to be divorced. The bottom line was that he could not afford to replace his estranged wife with hired help that ironed his shirts and cooked and cleaned. He did not speak to her heart, but, as it turned out, he spoke her language and she went back to him.

In a similar situation, air types might want to have a discussion, even one that is so open that both disclose what is missing and why the eyes are wandering. It's not uncommon at all for the chief complaint to be, "I feel invisible." With water, there is likely to be a sermon about keeping the family together and playing the roles that are expected, not rocking the boat that both worked hard to build, and not taking the risk of unpredictability when the next person might not be any better than one who is familiar.

Obviously, life is very much complex than these thumbnail sketches suggest, but the fact is that we are complex human beings. However, most of us are more objective in our public lives and more subjective in our private lives. When we are objective, we are also more rational. We can listen to different points of view and "get it" that some adjustments are necessary in order to remain stable. Subjectively, we are ruled by instinct and imagination. We expect others to fulfill certain needs and these needs may or may not actually be understood by the important other. However, they are so powerful for the one who feels the emotions of the lunar self that it must seem that the subjective is visible to others. The truth is that even if one is very attentive, the hidden world can be quite invisible even if the emotions are dramatic.

Lots of people are writing to me about stress. Most of the astrological stress is now in cardinal signs, around 10 degrees, and since the two planets of change are involved, you might say that change is in the air. Cardinal types usually solve problems by making changes in the organization of their worlds: jobs, relationships, homes, and extracurricular activities. They are much less likely to invest time and energy in sorting out the underlying issues. We have anticipated this energy for a long time. It global, i.e., it is affecting the entire Planet, and lots of systems have to be replaced with new systems. We all feel the energy but have trouble imagining what might be around the corner. Of course, there is life after today and life after tomorrow so the issue is how to get from now to the future. Some people want to take matters into their own hands and force the change. Others are afraid of change and want to nail everything to the floor to prevent loss. My suggestion is to become very curious, explore widely, and invest energy in figuring out what would be ideal because if you know what is important, you can make changes that are meaningful and get you onto the right trajectory in life.

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Poulsbo, Washington