Traditionally, the 11th House of the natal chart is said to represent our friendships, those people to whom we aren’t related and with whom we experience a rapport at some point in our lives. I’ve come to think this is a too-simplistic definition; what about those with whom we share a sibling-like relationship? Do we find them in the 3rd? And what about a spouse (7th) or lover (5th) who may also be a friend? And the boss or work colleague, employee or person with whom we have a semi-formal relationship, like one’s doctor, teacher, religious or spiritual mentor, or anyone who holds some form of authority or power over us (9th or 10th), where do we find the relationship that can develop out of these contacts? I think we may be able to do some sorting; the 11th seems to refer to one’s attitude toward and within a friendship situation of any kind. Then we locate the ‘friend category’ relative to the House where their designation falls. For instance, if we have Taurus on the 11th, we likely approach friendship slowly, warming up to someone over time, but remaining loyal over a long period as we share luxuries and experiences of the senses such as cooking and gardening. But this may also express the way others see us when they regard us as a friend. This can mean that, in the instance with Taurus on the 11th, others may see Taurean traits as emblematic of us; when they describe us, they may have abandoned a first impression (1st), ‘Soul’ (Sun) view, or a view based on emotional connection (the Moon), in favor of a Taurus-oriented perception such as “He loves to eat!” or “She usually dresses in velvet.” When we look at the person who says this of us, we find him in the 3rd (he’s our brother), with Virgo on the 3rd cusp. How do Venus (ruler of Taurus) and Mercury (ruler of Virgo) mix? If they are conjunct we may be very close, then intensely combative, by turns; but if Venus is combust the Sun, and Mercury is not, we may see an attitude toward the relationship (and toward friendship in general) that says, “Yes, I like to share a good meal, but ultimately, my energy goes to my life purpose,” greatly reducing the likely importance (and the potential for depth and harmony) in the sibling relationship.

I’ll be back in a bit with some examples of how we can look at our charts to, at least to some extent, see what others see, and to talk about how our ideas of friendship may mesh with the way we see others through the lens of our own chart.

Some excellent reflections on friendship are at http://zenhabits.net/

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