Each of the six complementary houses in an astrological chart–1 and 7, 2 and 8, 4 and 10, 5 and 11, 6 and 12 and the two that are the subject of this essay 3 and 9 indicate departments of life experience. The lower numbers represent the more subjective outlook we have toward our experience, while the higher numbers indicate what happens when that experience is to some degree objectified through relationship, first with one other person (7 and 8) then with a group of people (9, 10 and 11) and finally with extra-dimensional forces (house 12.)
In a sense, all of the houses are subject to extra-dimensional forces, however, this only becomes obvious to any of us when we consciously move into house twelve, the last house of the chart. It is then that we can become aware of what we refer to as the unconscious, the part of life that is usually invisible to human perception. Consciousness must first break through the barriers of its own ego defences for this to happen. As long as there is an experience of separation, a person is not able to enter this space.
The process of consciously experiencing the unconscious begins in the third house and is objectified in the ninth house. The key word for these two houses is perception
It is as if we are all watching the story of our lives on the screen of our reality in a universal theatre. The theatre is the Planet Earth; the screen is the part of the planet we are observing. When our awareness is centered in a space of consciousness represented by the third house, we sit close to the screen. We watch the projected film by noticing as many details as possible and our perceptions are fuelled by our personal wants and needs. When we move into a third house space, perception is both localized and fragmented.
When our awareness is in a ninth house space of consciousness, we move away from the screen and view the story from a distance. We are up in the balcony looking at the screen of reality from an elevated vantage point. The vertical vision that this perspective affords us alters our experience of the story we are watching. We are more detached from what is happening and thus no longer as personally involved. Disentangled from all the stories that have defined our lives up to this point, we can expand our minds and encompasses a more spacious and extensive understanding of the events taking place on the screen of reality. The ninth house perspective, which obviously occurs after we reach maturity, is not what is true; it represents what could be and most probably would be true if all of us embraced a bigger picture of life.
Everyone has both a third house and a ninth house in their astrological chart, yet some have more planetary energy to tap into in one than in the other while other charts do not put an emphasis on either house.
For those whose perception focuses more in the third house arena, the immediate environment is the main event and the popular culture receives the majority of their attention. They may be at odds with society, dependent upon their inherent nature, yet they keep up with the latest developments nonetheless and their information is usually in step with the times. These are the folks who shine whenever and wherever people meet to exchange what is happening around the planet at present. They have a plethora of opinions and ideas, they never seem to run out of things to say and they are quick to alter their views as soon as the occasion warrants it.
For those whose charts emphasize the ninth house arena, the everyday world and the culture that emerges from it is far less interesting than the framework that supports it. While perceptions in the third house are anchored in solid realities, perceptions in the ninth are enlarged and elevated through philosophical inquiry. The concepts based on the current physical condition of events are stretched out by the ninth house mind and converted into abstractions. Crystallized facts, considered by most societies to be the mainstay of average intelligence, yields to a more speculative flavour of thought in house nine.
While third house mental processing seeks to describe the facts of the matter, ninth house mental processes are concerned with explanations. An individual enters a third house space when working with the cognitive mind–the mind that wants to know–and a ninth house space with the aspiring mind-the mind that wants to comprehend the reason why. In the third house the aim is pinpoint analysis, while the ninth house traveller seeks to blend everything on hand into a dynamic synthesis.
Practical knowledge, an outgrowth of the third house, is valued above all else by the general public, for it leads to the production of things that are useful in material life. Gaining a greater understanding of what life is all about, however, is often viewed by the modern mind as an exercise in futility. “Do not ask why”, said the self-help guru at an Insight Seminar in Los Angeles that I was invited to over twenty years ago. “There is no why”, the workshop facilitator confidently declared.
To individuals who spend much of their time navigating through the ninth house space of consciousness, however, why is the most important question one could ask.
Can there be an answer to a question that seeks out the reason behind an event? For instance, can any of us know what our purpose is for coming here to the Earth?
No group or organization knows why any individual has chosen to be here and participate in the creative living process we call life; it is up to each person to arrive at the true answer on their own. One by one, individuals have the potential to discover their unique purpose for being because life continues informing all of us with every breath we take. Regardless of how our astrological chart is patterned, the truth of our lives wills itself out in every thought that flows through our mind, in every feeling that pours out from our heart, in every deed that we set into motion and in every interaction that we have with others.
Moment after moment, as we imbibe the breath of life, the truth speaks to us from all the living things of the Earth, as well as all the things in heaven. Still, one has to listen to and hear that truth rather than continually become distracted by the ego-driven creations of a three dimensional illusion that successfully markets itself as the real deal.
Third house perception takes place when a person is seeking the truth in the moment. The result of this truth-seeking may well be the very tool that is needed to take the next step and move from point A to point B. If the show must go on, the momentary truth must be grasped or else the energy flow will stop and lose its momentum.
Ninth house perception kicks in when a person leaves their familiar surroundings and ventures forth into foreign locales. This journey is filled with the spirit of unprecedented adventure and one’s mind must keep growing in order to process and internalize experiences for which it has no previous frame of reference. In order to tap into truths that are universally meaningful, a person must travel to different places around the world, interact with many people and listen to what each one of them has to say.
Individuals whose chart puts emphasis on the ninth house often go through life unnoticed by the general public. Some circumstance of their existence tends to keep both them and their evolving wisdom outside of the popular culture. Years, decades and even centuries may pass before their ideas filter into mainstream thinking. Like many artists, they must leave the Earth before they can be appreciated by the culture, as the truth they channel into the world is what is important, not their personalities.
As with all the complementary houses, the third and the ninth house represent the summation of human knowledge from the beginning of time to the present and into the future. These two houses offer all of us the potential to both know and understand the lives we are living while, at the same time, reminding us that what we know and what we believe we understand is but a drop in the bucket that holds the answers to the riddle of our existence.
Written by Paul Six (with the Sun conjunct Jupiter in the Ninth House in his chart)
October 18, 2009 London, England (en route to Bali)