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The Real Houses of Astrology: The Real Fifth House

The Real Houses of Astrology: The Real Fifth House

What do sex, the stock market, games, entertainment, bribery, creative expression, children, and real estate agents have in common? You can find them all in the Fifth House. By all accounts, the Fifth House is all about amusement, but there's more to it than that. Games have winners and losers. Risk is exciting, and winning is a rush; but when you lose, you have to live with the consequences. The Fifth House is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there. It's time to meet the real Fifth House.


Succedent House: The Fifth House is a succedent house; it follows and supports the Fourth House. The Forth House is your family and your ancestors; the Fifth House is your children and your offspring.

Prominence: The Fifth House is not a particularly prominent house. It's not associated with an angle, so it has no direct access to the outside world, and it's below the horizon, so it's hidden. However, the Fifth House is considered to be a fortunate house, and planets that occupy the Fifth House receive a +2 score in prominence.

Relationship: The Fifth House describes your relationship with your children, and with your casual romantic partners.

Triggers: Triggers to the Fifth House and/or the ruler of the Fifth House affect your pleasure, entertainment, creativity, and amusement. If you have children, triggers to the Fifth House may involve them, but it's important to recognize that triggers to your Fifth House only influence your stories and perceptions about your children or your relationships with your children; they don't affect your actual children. 

The Fifth House in the Natal Chart: Recreation and Procreation

Traditionally, the Fifth House is the house of "good fortune." It's always enjoyed a reputation for being a place of fun and enjoyment. Pleasure is a quality that links the various activities that live in the Fifth House. The other linking quality is creation, because the Fifth House relates to all forms of creation, including both re(creation) and pro(creation).

First and foremost, the Fifth House is the house of sex. Sex, of course, embodies both recreation and procreation. Love affairs and casual romantic relationships relate to the recreational aspects, and children relate to the procreational aspects.

The Fifth House also relates to the dynamics of risk and reward. Games, competition, gambling, and speculation all belong to the Fifth House. When evaluating the Fifth House in a natal chart, it can suggest your natural tolerance for risk and uncertainty. This shows up in your attitude towards money and investments (mutual funds or a night at the casino?) as well as your attitude towards sex (rhythm method or Planned Parenthood?). Every amusement and recreational activity has a cost. The condition of the Fifth House and the ruler of the Fifth House suggest what you're willing to pay.

The Fifth House has also evolved to include personal creativity and self-expression. This still carries a common theme. All Fifth House activities involve you risking something personal and giving of yourself, with the hope that you will receive recognition, love, appreciation, validation, or good fortune in return. Whether it's through art, sport, gambling, or sex, Fifth House activities make you aware that you are alive and connect you with the joy of life. 

Planets in the Fifth House

Planets that occupy the Fifth House want to have fun. They're more interested in play than in work, and they will take center stage during games or competitions.

The Ruler of the Fifth House in a Natal Chart

The planet that rules your Fifth House represents your pursuit of fun, creativity, and self-expression.

Aries or Scorpio on the Fifth House

If you have Aries or Scorpio on the cusp of your Fifth House, Mars, the Archetype of the Warrior is your fun, creativity, and self-expression. When you play a game, you play to win. You are a fierce competitor, and your Warrior self takes over when you engage in Fifth House activities. This may not always be appropriate, especially if other people involved don't share your competitive nature. Remember that you ultimately compete against yourself. The objective of the real game you play is to embody the Truth of your authentic "Big S" Self (the Sun).

Taurus or Libra on the Fifth House

If you have Taurus or Libra on the cusp of your Fifth House, Venus, the Archetype of the Beloved is your fun, creativity, and self-expression. Shared experiences matter to you. Whatever you enjoy, you enjoy it more if there's someone enjoying it along with you. Your personal creativity is a way for you to embody your Core Values and share that experience with other people. But you must remember that the connection you seek is within yourself.

Gemini or Virgo on the Fifth House

If you have Gemini or Virgo on the cusp of your Fifth House, Mercury, the Archetype of the Storyteller is your fun, creativity, and self-expression. The whole point of a story is entertainment, and when Mercury rules the Fifth House, the playful side of the Storyteller expresses. You tap into the power of words to create reality, and use your words, ideas, and perceptions to flex your creative muscles. But keep in mind that Mercury is also the trickster and the liar. It can create unexpected disruptions in your story just to make it more interesting.

Cancer on the Fifth House

If you have Cancer on the cusp of your Fifth House, the Moon, the Archetype of the Reflection is your fun, creativity, and self-expression. You look for safety through your self-expression and creativity. You may create attachments to the thrill of taking risks, although your personal tolerance for risk may fall anywhere on the spectrum. But what matters to you is that you have the freedom to choose. You see beyond the appearance of your creations and care more about the emotional essence.

Leo on the Fifth House

If you have Leo on the cusp of your Fifth House, the Sun, the Archetype of the Hero is your fun, creativity, and self-expression. You discover your authentic "Big S" Self and your Personal Standards of Integrity when you are enjoying yourself. How you approach creativity, self-expression, games, risk, and friendly competition reveals much about your identity and how you want to be a Hero.

Sagittarius or Pisces on the Fifth House

If you have Sagittarius or Pisces on the cusp of your Fifth House, Jupiter, the Archetype of the Dreamer is your fun, creativity, and self-expression. When it comes to fun, you're the master. You grow, expand, and develop faith with games, entertainment, creativity, and art, and your joy and delight in these pursuits is contagious. You must be careful not to overdo it, however. Overindulgence and gluttony can lead to ruin. Pleasure and enjoyment must be balanced with restraint and responsibility. It is possible to have too much of a good thing.

Capricorn or Aquarius on the Fifth House

And if you have Capricorn or Aquarius on the cusp of your Fifth House, Saturn, the Archetype of the Judge is your fun, creativity, and self-expression. You thrive on limitations, restrictions, and apparent adversity. Rules, structure, and a lack of options fuel your creativity. Hard work is fun because you develop skills, earn your rewards, and have the satisfaction of knowing that you have created something real. You enjoy the challenge (and the accomplishment) of creating something out of nothing.

Houses Related to the Fifth House

It's important to understand how the Fifth House is related to both the Seventh and Eleventh Houses in the context of relationships, and how it's not remotely related to the Eighth House in the context of sex.

The Fifth House relates to love affairs, and casual romantic and sexual partners; the Seventh House relates to marriage and committed romantic relationships; the Eleventh House relates to platonic friendships.

Questions about love and romance make up a big part of present day natal astrology. When considering these questions, it's helpful to look at the connections between the three major relationship houses: the Fifth House, the Seventh House, and the Eleventh House. Casual dating and romantic encounters belong to the Fifth House, but as soon as a romantic relationship becomes serious — when the couple live under the same roof, legally married or not — it becomes a Seventh House relationship. Eleventh House relationships are platonic friendships.

Consider the rulers of the three relationship houses and all connections between the rulers and the houses they rule. This can indicate how easy or difficult it is for a person to move his or her relationships between the various relationship houses. A strong connection between the ruler of the Fifth House and the ruler of the Seventh House means it's easy for a casual relationship to become serious. But if the two planets are in a hard aspect to each other, especially an opposition or a quincunx, casual affairs stay casual and never become serious. If you want a Seventh House marriage, the relationship has to start that way without any pre-commitment sex.

Connections between the ruler of the Eleventh house and the ruler of the Fifth House and/or Seventh House indicate if you're able to turn a friendship into something more, and if you're able to stay friends with your former romantic partners.

The Fifth House is the house of sex; the Eighth House is the house of death; no one confused the two until Freud came along.

The first recorded example of anyone associating sex with the Eighth House appeared in a 1910 edition of The Key to Your Own Nativity by Alan Leo. Here it is, in it's entirety (the emphasis is mine):

"The Eighth House of each nativity governs legacies, and money coming from others, such ass co-workers, partners, etc. It is also concerned with occult affairs, mysterious and secret undertakings; it indicates the sex tendencies."

That's it. Five words. Five words that fly in the face of two thousand years of sex belonging exclusively to the Fifth House.

I suspect that Alan Leo was influenced by the newly popular ideas put forth by Sigmund Freud, who, when he wasn't blaming his mother for all of his problems, associated sex with death. The modern association of sex with the Eighth House is probably also due to the entirely useless and incorrect idea that the Eighth House has some inherent association with the sign of Scorpio, which is apparently the only sign of the Zodiac that relates to sex.

If you want a more comprehensive argument that explains why sex belongs in the Fifth House, read "Sex in the Natal Chart: Where to Find It" in the September 2016 issue of Talented Astrologer magazine. 

The Fifth House in Horary, Electional, and Mundane Astrology

Fifth house questions in horary astrology generally involve pregnancy and childbirth, although these questions are far less common today than they were before the advent of modern medicine and birth control. Questions about risk and investments — such as whether one should buy or sell a particular stock — are also associated with the Fifth House.

The Fifth House also shows up in horary questions where you have an agent or ambassador working on your behalf. In a real estate transaction, the Fifth House, or more specifically, the ruler of the Fifth House, represents your real estate agent.

In Electional Astrology, the Fifth House plays a part in wedding charts (if children are a priority for the couple). But it's also useful as the house of social climbing, patronage, favors, and bribery. When you need to enlist the help of someone, especially if you need them to act as an agent on your behalf, choose a time when the ruler of the Fifth House is strong and inclined to support you. The Fifth House was also used in Electional Astrology to choose the optimal times to hold feasts. This was important in the time before refrigeration when the effects of spoiled food was a bigger concern for both hosts and guests than the minor inconvenience of a hangover.

In mundane astrology the Fifth House represents diplomats and ambassadors, and (when diplomacy breaks down) the ammunition of a town under attack. It represents the creative and artistic expression of the place in question, including theaters, art galleries, parks, and all places of publicly-sponsored recreation and enjoyment. It also governs all things related to children, including the birth rate, attitudes towards sexuality, and the primary education system.

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Rave Reviews for Principles of Practical Natal Astrology: Talented Astrologer Training Book 1

Mary Plumb, in her review in The Mountain Astrologer says:

“An excellent guide to astrology that is far more than a typical beginner book. Not only is Burk a skilled communicator (who has studied how people learn), he is also a funny, self-revealing fellow with an astute foundation in traditional astrology (and human psychology) … His book is an in-depth presentation that is spaciously formatted with color in the text and in the cartoons, charts, and tables. His knowledge of traditional astrology, informed by modern views of human development, and his obvious gifts as a teacher combine in this most useful training manual.”

Donna Woodwell, M.A., former Board Member of NCGR and ISAR says:

“A masterful step-by-step guide for learning traditional foundations of chart interpretation in a way that’s accessible to the modern astrologer. Brimming with tips and techniques, it’s fun and practical — the perfect addition to anyone’s astrological explorations.”

Find out what everyone’s talking about! Print and digital editions of Principles of Practical Natal Astrology are available here. Plus, you can download sample chapters of the book for free.

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