Planetary Joys: The Third House Temple of the Moon Goddess
By Demetra George
Planets rejoice – that is they are exceedingly happy – when they are located in certain houses. And when a planet, like a person, is happy, it generally supports better more positive outcomes regarding the matters it represents in the life of an individual.
What makes for a happy planet? First of all there are several conditions where a planet rejoices when it is located in hemisphere, zodiacal sign and solar phases in accordance with its sect status in a particular chart. However, the most potent rejoicing occurs when planets occupy certain houses. Mercury rejoices in the 1st house of Life; the Moon rejoices in the 3rd house of Goddess, Venus rejoices in the 5th house of Good Fortune; Mars rejoices in the 6th house of Bad Fortune; the Sun rejoices in the 9th house of God; Jupiter rejoices in the 11th house of the Good Daimon, and Saturn rejoices in the 12th house of the Evil Daimon.
The ancient Hellenistic doctrine connected with the joys of the planets the ancient names of the houses, the rejoicing places of the planets, triplicity rulerships, and sect considerations in a simple and elegant schema. This schema provides the theoretical underpinning for the houses in a manner similar to what the thema mundi does for the zodiacal signs. Note that it is completely different than the 12-letter alphabet used by many contemporary astrologers where Mars is likened to the 1st house and Aries, Venus to the 2nd house and Taurus, and Mercury to the 3rd house and Gemini.
This essay, however, will narrow our focus to explore how a rejoicing planet contributes some of its own significations to the composite topics of the house. In contemporary astrology, the main significations for the 3rd house are communications, short journeys, and siblings. The ancient texts called the 3rd house by the name Goddess, citing that it was the place where the Moon rejoiced. Sacred rites and observances as well as dreams and divination were included in the 3rd house sector of human experience (Firmicus, Mathesis XX).
Looking to the schema, note that the 9th house, opposite the 3rd house, is the rejoicing place of the Sun and it is called God. The 3rd and 9th houses, God and Goddess, are the rejoicing places of the two luminaries and sect lights, the Moon and the Sun. Using derived houses, the 3rd house is the 7th from the 9th, the house of partners. Greek artists portrayed the Moon Goddess as Selene and the Sun God as Helios, the divine sister and brother, who drove the chariots of the Moon and Sun across the night and day skies.
Here we see the foundation meaning of the 3rd house as siblings. The Moon Goddess Selene reflects the light of her brother as poetically phrased by Manilius writing in the 1st century in his exposition that the 3rd house “…acknowledges the Moon as mistress who beholds her brother’s realms shining on her from the other side of the heavens…”(Astronomia 2.910-17). The 3rd house meaning of siblings is directly derived from the Moon’s connection to this house.
Some contemporary astrologers are puzzled as to the ancients classification of the 3rd house as “the least good of the good houses and the least bad of the bad houses.” In culture where primogeniture is the law of custom, the entire paternal inheritance of wealth, properties, and titles goes to the eldest son or male relative. This explains much of the long tradition of rivalry and hostility between brothers as evidenced in the biblical story of Genesis that recounts fratricide between the Abel and Cain.
The images of the Helios and Selene driving their solar and lunar chariots across the skies provide the explanations for the significations of long and short distance travel being placed in the 3rd and 9th houses. The Moon has a shorter journey around the earth, making a complete circuit in one month, in contrast to the Sun whose travel I much longer, taking an entire year, to circle around the earth (as perceived by those holding a geocentric view of the universe). In the course of short journeys through the local community, a person meets and greets neighbors and kin, exchanging news and information. This mirrors the many aspects that the Moon makes to each of the other planets in her monthly circuit through the entire zodiac. The Moon Goddess’ travels and contacts add the topic of communication to the 3rd house repertoire.
Magical ritual speaks of ‘drawing down the Moon.’ The Moon is the closest body to the earth and as such it transmits and grounds the effluences of the further divine realms. The Moon in the 3rd house draws down the religious dogma of the 9th house and puts it into practice through religious observances, sacred rites, and divination. Vettius Valens writes that if the Moon is lord of Ascendant or Fortune and is located in the 3rd house along with the Sun that that the native will be a priest or priestess of the greatest goddess. If the Moon is with Jupiter, he will be a prophet” (Anthology 2.14). Under the auspices of the Moon Goddess, for those who have planets in the 3rd house, “some receive revelations from a god, and they prognosticate the future, and they prepare sacrifices, prayers, or votive offerings” (Anthology, 4.15).
The 3rd house is also connected with dreams as a means of divination. Greek myth ells how each night Selene would visit her lover Endymion who was eternally young in a state in slumber deep within a mountain cave. She bore him 50 daughters and 1 son, and this tale passes on the astronomical knowledge of 51 draconic months in an eclipse cycle. There was a cult of Selene in southern Greece with a dream oracle which suppliants would consult in sleep. The goddess would reveal in dreams whatever they wished to know.
The 3rd house is linked to women’s spirituality and provides the temple for the worship of the divine feminine in all her guises.
We cannot entirely dismiss Mercury as having an important influence in regard to 3rd house matters, even though he rejoices in the 1st. In Greek-ruled Egypt during the era when Hellenistic astrology was being formulated, the Greek Hermes (Mercury) was assimilated to the Egyptian Thoth, god of the Moon, astronomy, scribe, and diviner of the mysteries. They merged into the composite figure of Hermes Trismegistus, whom later Hellenistic astrologers cited as the fountainhead of astrology, alchemy, and magic. This syncretism points to an implicit connection between the intuitive divinatory powers of the Moon and the rational intellect of Mercury that finds its highest expression in the 3rd house.
Let us now examine a rejoicing Moon in the chart of Douglas Bloch (February 22, 1949; 10:54pm; NY, NY), a prolific author, teacher and counselor who writes and speaks on the topics of psychology, healing and spirituality.
The Moon in Capricorn rejoices in the 3rd house and is co-present with Jupiter, which gives him a good mind with practical bent to his intelligence. At first glance the Moon in its zodiacal sign of detriment is troubled, especially with a square to the 12th house Neptune. With tendencies towards depression and melancholy, Douglas has suffered from periodic l bouts of mental illness, inherited from his mother, and has been institutionalized several times.
However the Moon in her joy has power, resilience, the ability to survive the hardship, and even turn the suffering into beneficial outcomes. The Moon is the sect light in this nocturnal chart and applies toward a conjunction (within 13 degrees) and thus bonification with the benefic Jupiter. The Moon is also as a whole sign trine with her domicile lord Saturn which is located in Virgo in the 11th house of friends. She rejoices not only in the 3rd house but also in her nocturnal sign of Capricorn and as a waning moon in a night chart. The turning point in Douglas’ recovery was coincident with an ongoing prayer circle by his community of his friends. This can be seen by the Moon ruling the 9th house of spirituality and receiving help from her domicile lord Saturn in the house of friends.
The rejoicing Moon transforms the personal suffering into the caretaking of others by bringing down and communicating higher metaphysical principles of the 9th house into practical application through the use of words and affirmations as shaped by the Capricorn filter. He has written Words That Heal: Affirmations and Meditations for Daily Living; Listening to Your Inner Voice: Discover the Truth Within You and Let It Guide Your Way; I Am With You Always: A Treasury of Inspirational Quotations, Poems and Prayers and Positive Self-Talk for Children. His newest works are Healing from Depression: 12 Weeks to a Better Mood and Words That Heal the Blues, which have been acclaimed as “a lifeline to healing” for those suffering from mental disorders and their families.
On a personal note, Douglas Bloch was responsible for providing the editorial and writing assistance for my first book, Asteroid Goddesses. Several weeks after he began working on the project, the Moon Goddess brought him the woman who for almost 40 years later has been his wife and muse. Douglas is also the co-author of Astrology for Yourself.
In spite of the inherent weakness of the Moon as seen in his own struggles with mental illness, it has infused Douglas’ life with the blessings of the asteroid goddesses, voice of divination, the elevation of intuition and inner spiritual guidance, and brought forth multiple foreign translations of his healing and recovery works. A rejoicing planet can overcome other difficulties of its condition and move one towards the joy of expression.