I started studying astrology in 1985. I quickly found out that astrology is unsurpassed in its ability to help a person understand himself or herself. Most people who read the simple horoscope columns have no idea just how detailed and complicated it is. The subject is so vast you could spend your whole lifetime studying it, and there is so much to it that although I needed an understanding of the basics, I eventually developed a passion for learning specifically about relationships.
The 7th house is the house that shows us who we are and what we can expect when we are in relationships. And here is where the trouble begins, because it is a very misunderstood house (area) within the psyches of all of us. Most of us are used to finding our partners out there somewhere instead of looking inside ourselves.
A couple came to me for a reading recently, and they wanted to know “What is our compatibility?” These two people were in their mid-to-late 30s and had both been married before, and I asked them each this question: “Are you the person for you?” Yes, I know it sounded strange, but this is the real question at the bottom of our relationship struggles that we need to ask ourselves.
The people we are extremely attracted to are mirroring the parts of ourselves that we are missing. The curious thing is we can be repulsed and attracted to the very same person. When we have a feeling that we are “in love,” when we have that kind of fascination or compulsion toward anyone, it’s a real clue that it is a projection of our own unconscious contents. There will be an erotic, magnetic feeling within us when we meet someone who can carry the projection of our Shadow, our Anima or Animus as described in the analytical psychology of Dr. Carl G. Jung.
The Shadow is in us all.
This is why the ancients believed this house was also the house of open enemies, because the partner becomes the enemy that we will polarize with. At first all is wonderful. You feel you have met your true “soul mate.” But eventually (and this has to occur for our own psychological growth), the couple will begin to polarize, find fault with each other and a crisis (which is also a turning point in the relationship) will occur. The relationship will start to deteriorate so that they can differentiate, as John Sanford explains in the book The Kingdom Within. Unknowingly, they are BOTH carrying unconscious psychological contents for each other.
When we are “in love“, no amount of logical reasoning can talk us out of it either. We have to go through it in order to develop an awareness of our whole Self. Jung explained that deep within us, the Self is guiding us to our own wholeness, which he called the process of individuation. The alchemists called this meeting, the divine marriage or the coniunctio. Because it can wake us up and help us see many things differently, falling in love can be a very transformative and wonderful experience.
Then why is it so scary?
Because it can just as easily turn around and become our worst nightmare. Just as quickly as a relationship begins, it can end. The original love can turn to hate. When relationships end that violently, you know that neither partner was able to get past his or her projections. Unless they are both willing to do some inner work, they will just go on to find other partners and it will repeat and a pattern of victim consciousness continues.
As Paul McCartney sings in the song that he and John Lennon wrote:
I’m looking through you.
What did I know?
I thought I knew you.
What did I know?
You don’t look different, but you have changed.
I’m looking through you.
You’re not the same.
Why, tell me why, did you not treat me right?
Love has a nasty habit of disappearing overnight.
This experience in this song is archetypal because the Shadow side of us is unconscious. What’s interesting is that everyone else can see these parts of us and we can’t.
Inside us or outside of us, it is all the same — a reflection par excellence.
Whatever sign is on 7th-house cusp, whatever planets reside therein are a detailed picture of what we will develop in this lifetime with or without our intention or consent. So we might as well learn about this part of us and choose to develop it because then we can experience the more productive aspects of that energy.
I hear people with Mars (planet of action, male principle, directedness) in the 7th or ruler of the 7th telling me how violent their ex-husbands were, how they have attracted aggressive or angry partners. People with the Moon there tell me how needy and emotional their partners are, how dependent. Uranus … how unpredictable and detached, aloof. Saturn … how cold, unresponsive, limiting and critical. Jupiter … how opinionated, inflated, self-indulgent. These are simplistic descriptions, but an astrologer, knowing your 7th house, the aspects to your Venus and the ruler, has a very clear understanding of what your own specific needs are in relationships. We are all unique. Don’t feel something is wrong with you if you cannot live the cultural model of the white picket fence and the two-car garage. That may not be what your soul is requiring in this lifetime. So stop feeling guilty if you aren’t creating it.
Learn about yourself through your astrological chart so that you can make the conscious effort to be this part of you and learn to meet people — but only halfway. And that is the dance called Libra. So as Lee Ann Womack says in her song, “When you get the choice to sit it out or dance — I hope you’ll dance!”
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Rebeca Eigen, an astrologer for 25+ years and author of The Shadow Dance & the Astrological 7th House Workbook, specializes in relationships. Using your time, date, and place of birth, she uses the astrological birth chart to evoke the symbolic and help you become more aware of your total Self. Her study of the Shadow using Astrological tools has given her an invaluable awareness of the unconscious and the role it plays in the relationships that we attract into our lives. For more information, visit her Web site: www.shadowdance.com.