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Has the 3rd House Been Robbed?

 
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MarkF



Joined: 22 Oct 2003
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Location: Outside Washington, DC

Posted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 8:50 am    Post subject: Has the 3rd House Been Robbed? Reply with quote

I was reading Deb’s book The Houses: Temples of the Sky and I had a question about the origins of what the 3rd house signifies. My overall feeling is that what we associate with the 3rd house – brothers, neighbors and short journeys – are very insignificant things considered that the 3rd house is the house of the Moon, the Great Goddess. The things we associate with it don’t seem grand enough for such an important deity, and for one of the two luminaries.

I accept that Manilius called it the Temple of the Moon, and it was known to the ancients as Dea, or the Great Goddess. But I don’t see any of the power of such an important goddes in such mundane things as our neighbors, brothers, or the mail and messages. On page 33, Deb quotes Donna Rosenberg’s World Mythology as saying
Quote:
Death was an accepted part of the life cycle, for it was followed by a period of rebirth or new life. The people worshiped the Great Goddess to insure the fertility of their fields and themselves so that the community would survive.

So why aren’t there any associations with such powerful and timeless concepts of re-birth and fertility in the 3rd house? I can understand why the 4th house is connected with agricultural work, with the hard labor of farming. Saturn, whose symbolism defined the 4th house, is often depicted as the grim reaper. He may be death, but he is also hard work, the hard work of a farmer. So it makes sense that agricultural work is associated with the 4th house. And sure Venus has a lot to do with fertility, and so that’s the realm of the 5th house. But it still seems like the 3rd house has been robbed of much of the grandeur that we’d expect from being the home of the Moon.

Yes, I can see that since the Moon moves so fast that she is the “traveler” and hence the association with short journeys. And I accept that to the Egyptians the Moon, as Thoth was the god of scribes and so the 3rd house deals with communication and discussions. But these relatively trivial things are a far cry from what Deb says about the Moon.
Quote:
The Moon was epitome of the Great Goddess, whose essence pervade the earth offering nurture and protection; accordingly the 3rd house was called ‘Dea’ meaning Goddess.
She also quotes Ptolemy saying that the Moon
Quote:
bestows her effluence most abundantly up mundane things, for most of them, animate or inanimate, are sympathetic to her and change in company with her; the rivers increase and diminish their streams with her light, the seas turn their own tides with her rising and settings, and plants and animals in whole or in some part wax and wane with her.
These are very strong statements about the all encompassing effects of the most prominent of the ancient goddesses. Somewhere, somehow, somebody has stripped the goddess of a lot of her power by bringing it all down to brothers, neighbors, etc. I can’t remember where I saw this, but I read that the 3rd house gets the fewest questions asked about. I don’t think I have seen one on this Forum where anyone has asked a 3rd house question.

My problem is not that I don’t accept Deb’s list of 3rd house associations. I trust that she’s done her research well and that the ancients and medieval astrologers have limited the scope of the 3rd house to neighbors, brothers, short journeys, etc. My real question is, what happened? Doesn’t this seem like a big conceptual comedown for such an important ancient deity? Is this all the product of the ancient world’s chauvinism?
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Deb
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Posted: Fri Feb 20, 2004 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mark,

If you’ve been reading the Beethoven’s Uranus thread you’ll know that I don’t believe that planetary principles are capable of changing over time, although we should recognise that society’s shifts often bring different perspectives to our expectations. I’m sure that the houses, being primarily defined by symbolic appreciation, are much more subject to that shift. I like to believe that there is something more tangible behind the qualities of the spatial alignments that empower the symbolism but I’m not sure that we are effective in identifying it.

The shift that has affected the 3rd house seems to be the value we place upon community, and I was only thinking about this the other day. Nowadays people don’t seem to place much value upon their neighbourhood communities because we’ve become a global society – you think of yourself as American, I’m British, etc.

Less than a hundred years ago, where I live at least, everyone had a much keener sense of playing a part in their community. Everyone would go to church or Sunday school and there would be at least one important community gathering a week. The calendar would be riddled with village fetes, town fairs, autumn festivals and such social gatherings. In my town, even when I was young, we had lots of sports days and seaside trips organised by the local colliery which is where most of the men worked. Everyone’s friends would live in their own neighbourhood – they were probably the sons and daughters of the friends their parents had; they would go to their local pub where they’d know everyone, share celebrations at weddings, share grief at funerals, everyone would know the local doctor and midwife, etc., etc.

Nowadays people use cars to drive to the supermarket, usually in a rush. People turn to the internet to build relationships, and often express friendship at a very superficial level. They commute into work and swap and change careers regularly. Most people don’t go to church, many families don’t sit and eat together at a collective mealtime. We meet our old schoolfriends at ‘reunions’ every 10 or 20 years. I couldn’t tell you the surname of the married couple that have lived next door but one to me for 15 years. Apart from my trips to the local shop when I run out of milk or bread, I don’t have any involvement with my local community. I drive to the next town to see my doctor, who is replaced each time I visit. My family have all moved into other parts of the country or abroad. With this great weakening of the community spirit, I’m not surprised that you are asking if the 3rd house has been robbed. You yourself say:

Quote:
brothers, neighbors and short journeys – are very insignificant things


Even so I’m not sure that the 3rd house gets the least questions. I doubt that many people bother to ask about their neighbours anymore, but brother and sister questions still figure quite highly, even amongst clients (as opposed to astrologer’s asking about their own brothers and sisters). I think this forum does get dominated by career and relationship problems, I’d like to see more variety of questions, but I guess that’s another reflection of the breakdown of community support – people feeling that they are more heavily defined by personal career expectations and relationships.

The other day when I was thinking about this, I was considering how the 3rd house was suffering because of a 9th house matter – how it actually cuts across the 3rd-9th house axis. With the advent of ‘new age’ spirituality, many people have dropped organised religion and the local church has stopped being the pulsating heart of the community. That’s true of me – I think it’s a shame but I get very little out of COE services except being in awe of the church environment and its history. We are living a life of great freedom to travel and do what we want for ourselves but I think that for all of the spiritual connections we make in philosophical studies and new age religions, most of ‘society’ feels empty. Under these conditions why should the likes of you and I feel anything else but that the Moon, as representative of the communal spirit of the earth, is failing to express herself or that the ‘Great Goddess’ is vastly undermined. The notion of community service is still a great one, and I’m sure there’s many places where it is fully expressed, but where I live it seems to mean little more than a term used for punishment of offenders.

I’m rambling, and not very cheerfully … just call me ‘Doom and Gloom Deb’ Smile
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MarkF



Joined: 22 Oct 2003
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Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2004 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naw, Deb, you’re not rambling but you do sound a bit down. You did take the discussion on a different track than I thought. Whereas you emphasized the shrinking role of community today, I was thinking more along the lines of why some of the features that I associate with the Moon are not present in the 3rd house, namely re-birth, the cycle of life and death, femininity, etc.

While I can see that some of these associations are taken up by the 4th and 5th houses, I still think that the 3rd house doesn’t quite capture the all-encompassing power that I thought the ancients saw in the Moon. I don’t know a lot about ancient cults, but maybe some cultures venerated the Moon more than others. For example, the Egyptian god (male?) of the Moon, Thoth does not seem to be as important to them as Isis and Osiris/Horus. On the other hand, I think it was the Mesopotamians who were obsessed with the Moon, under a variety of name that I can’t remember. I think the Moon was one of their primary deities, if not their most important one. So maybe the 3rd house took on the less grandiose associations of the Egyptian Moon god (scribe, short journeys, communication, etc.) instead of the more expansive things associated with the “Great Goddess” of Mesopotamia.

I just don’t see the Great Goddess in our current 3rd house.

As for what Deb said about how community has become less important, I agree totally. Community has become less important, or at the least our community has broadened and changed. No one would say that the friends we meet in cyberspace are as close to us and the neighbors of our ancestors (or parents even) were to them. But that’s the price of freedom. I grew up in a small town, and I can tell you, I like the people I meet on-line a whole lot more than almost everyone I grew up with. I grew up knowing that as soon as I hit 18, I was out of there, never to return. Did I loose something in the deal? Sure. But I was forced to make a choice of creating a life for myself on my own terms or living a much more diminished life in a small town. And as Deb has said, even small towns are not as neighborly as they used to be.

I’ve experienced all of what Deb has said here in Washington. This is a city that has grown faster than almost any other American city. Up until the 1940’s this really was a small southern town. What this means is that we have a city where the first question you ask someone you meet is “Where are you from?”, because we all assume that everyone moved here from somewhere else. But I am a great believer in freedom and personal responsibility, so if I have chosen to move here, it is my responsibility to create a community here for myself.

I think it’s possible to create some of the feel of a small town life in a big city, without loosing the freedom that the modern age gives. Sure we have a lot more stores and restaurants to go to, hundreds of choices, maybe thousands. But in reality I go to one supermarket, and just a few restaurants. So I make an effort to talk to the person at the check out, the pharmacist, the waiters, etc. After going there for a year or so, I do get to know the people a bit and get more of settled feel even though I’m in a large city. Another thing is that I choose to get my hair cut not at the mall, where there is a high turnover of stylists, but at a store that is owned by the people who work there. I go to a large church (when I am not working on Sundays) so it’s hard to get to know people there. Ironically, I go to an Episcopal church, which is the American version of the COE, and it is very much what we call “high” Episcopal, lots of ceremony and display, but with a very American modernity in it’s preaching. This is one of the types of churches that is involved in the split in the Anglican community over same-sex marriages and clergy. So I get both the warm and fuzzy feeling of belonging to community of faith, and still get the freedom from the restraints of the past. I also have volunteered at the Zoo for almost nine years. Some of us have taken vacations together, and we get together for dinner every month or so. I don’t have kids, but I know that if anything kids have more activities to do, more sports teams, more cultural groups. And these sports are not limited just to boys like in the past. What I am saying is that I have had to make an effort to find a community for myself, and that’s been hard, but it can be done.

On the other hand, I don’t really get to know my neighbors, and as I found out when we had the blackout last fall and we all had to huddle together in the dark – I don’t want to get to know them. They’re boring and I am sure they find me a bit high strung and odd. So I wouldn’t automatically assume that someone is interesting to me just because they happen to live next to me. And if I think my neighbors here are boring, thank God I don’t have to deal with all the rednecks and backwoods, gun-toting yahoos I grew up with.

I grew up in a town where if you read a book, any book, that was a sign of lunacy. If you didn’t drink a six-pack every night you were not considered to “fun” or “normal.” I remember one incident where this one family fixed their house up, painted it, put up little shutters on the windows, planted a garden and, horror of horrors, put up a bridge and trellis over a stream. Their neighbors took all of this as a personal affront, like “who do you think you are, putting in airs like that?” Their house in turn had the traditional car up on the cement blocks in the front yard, no siding let alone no paint, just tar paper on the sides, and a yard full of junk like the garage had vomited on the front lawn. Anyway, this guy got drunk, got his kids together and they all set fire to the neighbor’s trellis. I have lots of stories about this place and they all involve violence, guns, drunkenness, incest, vigillanteesim and above all – small-mindedness. And NO, this was not in the South. This was in New York State, up about an hour’s drive from Canada.

And Deb made a very good point by saying that most of the questions here are about either relationships or careers. The self has triumphed over the family and over the community, so the most important parts of our lives are work and love. But before we bemoan the loss, let me bury the past first. Sure, maybe our parent’s had great friends in their co-workers in the old factories. But part of that was that misery loves company. Anyone here want to volunteer to work in a factory? Our parents had very few choices, and our grandparents had even less. And so what if lots of us struggle to form meaningful relationship and are absorbed in that struggle? Do we want to go back to the days of having just a few choices (or NO choices) based on who we happened to live next to in our neighborhoods? Or to arranged marriages?

There is no golden age in the past. Over here, the past is the Great Depression, WWII, the Cold War, segregation and the culture of conformity of the ‘50’s.

Have I lost something by moving from where I grew up? Sure, and maybe more than I realize. When I visit the town where I grew up (somewhat), I still refer to that as going “home”, even though I’ve lived here almost 20 years. Since I don’t get back there very often the place is veiled in memories and nostalgia. When my friend Andy and I went back there last year, I remember I nearly cried when I saw the house I grew up in and especially when I saw the Catholic school were I went. After I got back to Washington, I was driving around with Andy and we went past the place where he went to school and the neighborhood he grew up in. Andy’s from here. He’s born and raised in this area. His friends are people he’s known all his life. All of a sudden it hit me how disconnected I am from this area, even after almost 20 years here. It will never have the associations of home, of childhood, of growing up and all those memories. And I asked Andy about this and he tells me about how he remembers playing in this park, or going to this place with his mother. My friend Andy has all of the good things that Deb talked about. He’s friends with the kids of his parent’s friends, he goes to the same church they did, his friends go to each other’s birthdays, weddings and funerals. But as anyone who has read my other posts about him, Andy may be part of an unusually close community, but he lacks the freedom that I have because of it.

To sum this all up, community is great but it often is stifling. The modern age has gone too far in the other direction. But at least we have the freedom to form new communities, whereas in the past, or in a lot of small towns now, the people there don’t have the freedom to live their own lives.

But to return back to my original point, that I still think of the Moon as more than community, brothers and messages, I have to say that I think Deb took my quote out of context. What I said was
Quote:
what we associate with the 3rd house – brothers, neighbors and short journeys – are very insignificant things considered that the 3rd house is the house of the Moon, the Great Goddess.
I am not saying that these are insignificant in themselves. I just don’t see them as being on the same level as the transcendently powerful ideas of the cycle of life, regeneration, femininity and rebirth. That’s how I see the Moon and the Great Goddess.
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Deb
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Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2004 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not down Mark - I'm just naturally negative Wink I was worried that I might be side-tracking your point, but since I’d been thinking about all this stuff I couldn’t help myself Laughing

What we have to remember about the houses is that there is no clear continuity, there has been amalgamation of various strands of symbolism in the house meanings we accept as the traditional norm. But usually there’s a core principle that will show up whichever approach you take. One of the core principles for the 3rd house (besides community and neighbourhood issues) is writing, messages, rumours and reports. The point of my text was to show that the Moon’s joy in the 3rd doesn’t detract from that, and may have helped to inspire it.

Quote:
it was the Mesopotamians who were obsessed with the Moon, under a variety of name that I can’t remember. I think the Moon was one of their primary deities, if not their most important one. So maybe the 3rd house took on the less grandiose associations of the Egyptian Moon god (scribe, short journeys, communication, etc.) instead of the more expansive things associated with the “Great Goddess” of Mesopotamia.


The Moon was extremely important for the Mesopotamians, but it was a masculine deity. The main Mesopotamian Moon god was Sin, and like Thoth he was a scribe. His principle associations were writing, sacred wisdom, knowledge and logic. He was the constant measure by which time was recorded. There was nothing unstable or unreliable about him - except everything fell apart when his light was lost. The classical culture made the Moon exclusively feminine, and it was classical astrologers who referred to the 3rd house as the ‘Great Goddess’. But Hellenistic astrology incorporated a great deal of lore and astrological vision from the Egyptians and Mesopotamians so it’s probable that although the named the 3rd house goddess and included aspects of the Moon as the great mother, they also kept the focus on writing, scribes and messages that had existed in Sin and Thoth.

We had a recent discussion that probed the Moon’s connection with writers, since this was one of the associations that the Gauquelin research seemed to support. Tom looked at the charts of famous writers and found the Moon was relevant. Bonatus and Lilly both stress the role of the Moon in relaying messages and Cardan claims that it governs writing and grammar.

Although elements of the ‘Great Goddess’ may have been impressed upon the 3rd house, the core principle of nurture is lacking and so perhaps not worth exploiting too fully. The quadrant between the 4th and 1st houses deals generally with issues of transformation and regrowth but those concerns were impressed upon the angles and rooted into the principle of the 4th house being death and rebirth (the old and the young) and the 1st house being emergence (and appearance).
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MarkF



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Posted: Sat Feb 21, 2004 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK. I think I’ve got it. So even though the 3rd house is called Dea it’s main symbolism stems from an older, masculine form of the Moon that is connected with writing and communication. I looked up and verified this in an old college textbook of mine. You know you’re getting old when your college books on ancient mythology are more faded and yellowed than a papyrus scroll. My old book, Middle Eastern Mythology by S. H. Hooke said pretty much the same thing - that the Moon was masculine, that it was the principal god in Mesopotamia of all the planets, more so than the Sun, that he was called Nanna in Sumeria and Sin in Babylon, but that by the classic period of the Greeks, the Moon had become female and was less important than their Sun god. And this book also talked about the Egyptian Moon god Thoth being Re’s scribe in the underworld.

So in the end, the 3rd house does not have a lot of the feminine, nurturing, cyclical qualities to it. It simply borrows its name from the classical period while it’s main associations come from an older, masculine conception having to do with writing and communication.

So where do we get the association of the 3rd house dealing with community and our immediate surroundings? This strand about community does not seem to come from the myths of Nanna/Sin or Thoth either, who both were gods of writing.

We know that the earth and the Moon are really part of a binary system, but the ancients didn’t. On the other hand, they did conceive as the Moon’s sphere as closest to the earth, hence their conception of it as moist. And I know that they knew of the Moon’s role in regulating the tides and connected its 28 day (approximately) cycle with the cycle of menstruation. And they must have known that the best time for hunting at night was on a dark, moonless night, just as it is now. So they could see that the Moon had a direct influence on human activity second only to the Sun. But how do we get from here to the Moon’s role over our sense of our immediate community?

Does it go something like this? First, the Moon the is closest sphere to the earth. It has a most direct effect on our lives, it effects the tides, menstruation, hunting and fishing, and they would say, even the growth of crops. So it effects things in our immediate environment. From there the next step is to connect the Moon as the closest heavenly sphere to the earth (our neighbor) with it effecting our immediate physical environment (tides, etc.) to finally to connect it with our immediate social environment, our neighbors, our town and our siblings. That almost makes sense.

I think I am about half way there in understanding this, but it would sure help if someone could quote an ancient source that connects the Moon with the sense of community.
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jane



Joined: 25 Mar 2004
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Posted: Thu Mar 25, 2004 10:44 pm    Post subject: The Moon and the 3rd Reply with quote

Hi ... I'm new here and realize this is an old thread but it caught my attention and hope you won't mind my comments.

The 3rd House is where the Moon rejoices but it's natural significator is actually Mars which is where the connection with journeys comes from as journeys were, in ancient times, usually prone to accidents, robberies and numerous other calamaties. That the Moon rejoices in the 3rd is partially due to the 3rd being opposite the 9th, where the Sun rejoices. She is Full when opposite the Moon, displaying all her 'light'. She is the natural signficator of the 7th House of women so I don't think anyone demoted her Smile

Bonatti, in Liber Astonomiae trans. Robert Zoller, Spica, 1998 gives a very detailed description of the 3rd, quoting a number of earlier authors:

Quote:
"Alchabitius said that the third house signifies brothers, sisters, close friends and loved ones, faith and religion, commands, messengers, changes, and short journeys and that it signifies the condition of life before death.

Adila said that it signifies both male and female blood relations, their condition, and changes from one house into other houses, forbearance And the like.


I really like this next bit
Quote:

Zahel said that it signifies contention in sects and all heretics.


Lunar religious sects would have been seen as heretical way back when.

Quote:

And it seems to me (Bonatti), that this house signifies all those things aforesaid, and that it signifies all blood relatives and kin who are younger than the native or querent, and neighbors, and even fellow citizens, as much masters as slaves, as much mothers as wives, as much the rich as the poor, as I have said above. It signifies blood relatives who hold him as their greater, who revere him, and obey him, and those wha re lesser than him in wealth, power, and wisdom, and who consult him in their deeds and in their necessities, and who as much as possible desire to perform their actions according to his counsel and assistance.


The bit about 'counsel' is quite interesting. I've never run across it before. It is certainly not the description of a house which lacks importance Smile
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