“As above, so below”; it’s an adage we hear time and time again. At its core, the phrase means that everything in nature is connected, that the same patterns are found in the smallest corners and largest stretches of the universe. It is an interesting scientific and philosophical principle to consider, but it also has some significant practical benefits, especially in astrology: we can learn about one area of our lives by examining another.
We often look to a particular house in our zodiac charts to understand an issue we’re experiencing. If we’re having trouble at work, we look to the 6th or the 10th for a resolution. When we’re unhappy in our relationships, we look to the 7th. But in order to have a full understanding of the issues we’re experiencing, we need to consider what’s happening in the house opposite the obvious choice. Why? Well, as the “as above, so below” adage implies, nothing exists in isolation.
The houses in the northern hemisphere (bottom half) of the chart are personal houses. They can be thought of as the “so below”, or the patterns we experience of an internal origin. The houses in the southern hemisphere (top half) of the chart are the interpersonal houses, the “as above”, or the patterns we experience in our external worlds. Sometimes we need to look at the bottom half to understand the top half, and vice versa. Below is an overview of themes that arise in each house polarity, along with some suggestions for reconciling the two opposite houses without focusing exclusively on just one.
The 1st house, commonly called “the house of self” governs our personality, which can be described as the energies we reflect most abundantly out into the world. The 7th house is the house of partnerships and gives clues about the types of relationships we form. In this house polarity, our level of self-awareness will have a significant effect on the success of our relationships. In other words, how well we know ourselves (1st house) will impact the strength of the bonds we have with others (7th house).
Balanced First-Seventh Polarity: We find balance between taking and giving. We know what we can control and what we cannot. We share equal space with our partner.
Imbalanced First-Seventh Polarity: We may either give our power away to our partner, or allow our partner to have too much authority over us. We may take too much blame or give too much blame.
Balance the Polarity through: Self-reflection regarding our actions and impulses. Understanding our interpersonal strengths and challenges. Being open to giving and receiving feedback. Knowing our limits and setting boundaries.
The 2nd house is commonly known as the house of stability. In this house we identify and collect that things that make us feel safe and secure. It is a house that helps us find control over our lives and therefore contributes to our sense of wellbeing. The 8th house, on the other hand, is the house where things can feel like they just happen to us. It is commonly considered to be one of the most mysterious houses and can certainly cause us to experience unexpected windfalls of luck or misfortune. When examined on its own, the 8th house is hard to understand and its impact on our lives can be somewhat unpredictable. However, when we examine it along with the 2nd house, we can identify clues about the types of windfalls we tend to receive. It turns out that the 8th house reflects what we manifest for ourselves. How well we do that depends on how well-adapted we are in our 2nd house.
Balanced Second-Eighth Polarity: We generally experience financial freedom. We feel safe in our surroundings. We tend to make it through hard times more easily than expected. We can compromise with others. We end a relationship on even terms (or may even come out on top!).
Imbalanced Second-Eighth Polarity: We may experience financial lack or extended periods of financial insecurity. We may experience difficulties when a relationship ends (e.g. losing a house in a divorce). It may feel like others are constantly taking from us, or we may take so much from others that we get into trouble.
Balance the Polarity through: Understanding our values; we often know what makes us feel stable, but we don’t always examine why. Building our self-worth and finding ways to feel worthy; we only manifest what we feel we deserve!
In the 3rd house, we learn about ourselves and the world through interacting with other people, objects, and our immediate environment. We receive feedback from our interactions that shapes our perspectives on how we should behave in the world. The information we gather in the 3rd house is the foundation of our belief system, and through our 9th house we expand on those viewpoints and share our beliefs with others.
Balanced Third-Ninth Polarity: We are able to understand others’ beliefs without feeling overpowered by them. We appreciate other perspectives without trying to change them. We objectively analyze our beliefs when we hear conflicting opinions. We do not close ourselves off from experiencing new things. We are fully present in our learning and teaching experiences.
Imbalanced Third-Ninth Polarity: We are quick to alter our beliefs based when they are challenged. We expend large amount of energy trying to change others’ minds. We close ourselves off from adventure, or we explore without allowing ourselves to integrate our experiences. We keep our ideas to ourselves and as a result, harm ourselves or those around us. We cross ethical boundaries to our detriment or the detriment of others.
Balance the Polarity through: Giving ourselves time to reflect on the information we receive before forming an opinion. Examining our thought processes and taking stock of how we learn best. Allowing time to integrate new experiences. Trying something more than once if we didn’t like it the first time…and being open to having a different experience. Talking with others about our ideas rather than keeping them all in.
The 4th house, although commonly known as the house of home, is the house the rules our psychology. The homes we create in a physical sense are reflections of our internal experiences. Similarly, the people in our natural or chosen families are connected to us through common psychological themes. The 4th house also governs our karma, or issues from our ancestry or past lives that we are working on resolving in the present. The 10th house is where we share the sense of self we’ve developed through the 4th house with the world. We can choose to recreate our 4th house themes in adulthood, or we can forge new paths through the actions we take and position we create for ourselves.
Balanced Forth-Tenth Polarity: We maintain a healthy work-life balance. We learn from the difficulties we’ve faced rather than being overcome by them. When we start families of our own, we correct the issues we experienced that were difficult for us. We feel comfortable sharing ideas related to our areas of expertise. We know when to lead and when to take a backseat to someone else who knows better.
Imbalanced Forth-Tenth Polarity: We have a hard time balancing work and home responsibilities. We expend too much energy trying to conform to societal expectations, or, we keep ourselves so far form societal norms that we cause harm to ourselves. We repeat harmful patterns in the families we create. We become tyrannical at work, or we keep good ideas to ourselves in a way that is harmful to ourselves or those around us.
Balance the Polarity through: Knowing what types of self-care practices work best for us, and engaging in those practices regularly. Finding a safe space of our own (e.g. an art studio, a room in the house, a comfortable place we create through meditation) and going there for respite time when needed. Participating in therapy to work though past and present issues.
In the 5th house, we create. We discover what makes us special and we put our unique print on the world through engaging in activities that bring us joy. In the 11th house, we work with others to create for the collective. We consider what the world needs and collaborate with others on making those ideas/structures/tools/narratives available for collective use. The manner in which we choose to express our 11th house is directly related to what we discover in our 5th house. Ideally, the groups in which we get involved will play to our interests and bring us joy.
Balanced Fifth-Eleventh Polarity: We understand our likes/dislikes, talents, and fears. We are not afraid of sharing those with others. We do not shy away from opportunities to display our talents, but we also do not overpower others. We form a community with others that share our similar interests and learn how to use our talents for the good of a group.
Imbalanced Fifth-Eleventh Polarity: We let fear keep us from expressing our talents, or we do not allow others the space to shine their light. We disregard the needs of the group to fulfill our own desires, or we disregard our desires to fulfill the needs of the group at our expense.
Balance the Polarity through: Seeking out opportunities to practice our crafts. Scheduling “play time” into our daily routine. Being present for others when they share their uniqueness. Occasionally going outside of our comfort zones (while staying safe) to try new things and express ourselves in new ways. Identifying how our talents can be of use to the world. Seeking out a group of likeminded individuals to share ideas and create with.
The 6th house governs our mind-body connection and our daily routine. It gives clues about the ways in which we do work and our attitudes toward that work. The 12th house, another mystical house, is our connection to the collective consciousness and all of the hidden knowledge we store in our own subconscious minds. The 6th-12th house polarity can give us insight into how spiritual imbalances can manifest as physical illness or disease. Sometimes, issues that are stored in our subconscious mind emerge, interrupting our routine. The 6th-12th house polarity can give us insight into how that process works for us.
Balanced Sixth-Twelfth Polarity: We find peace in the routines we carry out regularly. We stay mindful throughout those processes. We recognize when suppressed issues are arising and set aside time to work through those issues. We take care of our bodies and respond to our bodies’ needs with care. We find meaning in the tasks we complete and understand their benefit.
Imbalanced Sixth-Twelfth Polarity: We find it hard to find joy through completing responsibilities. We have trouble focusing or avoid taking care of necessities. We hyper-focus on our routines to our own detriment. We are inflexible to changing circumstances. We are lost in daydreams and fantasies, or we never allow ourselves to imagine other realities.
Balance the Polarity through: Regular meditation. Maintaining a schedule/routine. Keeping up with hygienic needs. Keeping a dream journal. Staying present while completing responsibilities throughout the day. Taking note of when dread/resentment/happiness/excitement arise while fulfilling responsibilities and examining those emotions.