©6-20-2010 by Donna Cunningham, MSW
The 3rd house of the horoscope has as many levels as the 5-story walk-up building in New York’s East Village where I had my first apartment. It describes many diverse influences on our lives, and they’re all true simultaneously. Here are some of them:
- How we perceive things—all 6 senses and which ones dominate
- Our thinking and reasoning patterns
- Speaking, listening, writing and other forms of communication
- Learning patterns—how we learn best
- Education through high school, short-term coursework
- Sisters, brothers, and their influence on us
- Aunts, uncles, cousins, and other near relatives
- How good we are with our hands
- Our sense of humor
- Neighbors and how we relate to them and our immediate surroundings
- Short journeys, commuting, and day trips
Are the items on that list similar to Mercury? Yes, they are, and Mercury and its aspects in our charts provide additional—and sometimes contradictory—clues to other levels of that 5-story walkup. The mind is a complex entity, and medical research is discovering that the brain has many separate regions with different functions.
For today, let’s stick to the wealth of information we can gather about ourselves by examining the 3rd. We’ll focus on an in-depth portrait of Neptune in the 3rd as a way to show how planet and house work together. I’ll use my own 3rd house Neptune and describe the Neptunian ways I operate in areas on the list above. I don’t usually like to write about myself, but it’s as good a case example as any.
(Incidentally, if you have a Mercury-Neptune aspect or Pisces planets in the 3rd, you may relate to much of what I describe. Mercury in the 12th isn’t quite the same. You could be very present and articulate but absorbed in 12th house matters like service or spiritual practice and thus not very communicative with the outside world.)
Perceptions, the 6 senses: I am extremely near-sighted, and without glasses, the world around me resembles an Impressionist painting. No one noticed that until we had a unit on music in the 7th grade, and the teacher wrote the keys on the blackboard. I was entirely at sea and failed a test about it because I couldn’t read what she wrote. I was always an A student, and apparently up to then, I’d just been guessing—successfully—what my teachers wrote.
That hazy view of the world up to age 12 shaped my perceptions of it. On many levels, the world remains a blur to me. Even today, I like that version better and won’t wear glasses in the house. I still love the Impressionists best.
Thinking and communication patterns: I’m Neptunian in my thoughts as well—extremely intuitive, sensing feelings as much as what’s said, looking toward the spiritual and universal patterns.
I’m zoned out a lot of the time in an utterly silent world of my own. (Thankfully, I also have 4 planets in Gemini to help me emerge from the haze from time to time.)
I’m uncomfortable with ideas that are purely theoretical and abstract, wanting to know more about the emotional impact of a situation or behavior. While my verbal abilities test very high, my math, science, and mechanical skills test down around the 20th percentile. In terms of the 4 elements, I’m water smart, and there’s no test to measure that.
I’m a good listener–too good for my own good–but I don’t just listen with my ears. I’m an empath of the first order and listen with the empathic part of myself. Sometimes I don’t even say anything, but people feel better for having been heard. Unfortunately, I soak up the feelings and even the physical pain of the person psychically if I don’t remember to shield myself.
How I survived summers with my crazy family in my teens was to become a bookaholic. The librarians only allowed me to check out 7 books at a time, so I biked to the library every other day to get my allotment. Even today I am a voracious reader but only read mysteries. I haunt garage and rummage sales all summer, gathering stacks of books for a quarter a pop to squirrel away for the winter.
Writing: It’s my addiction, my daily fix. It transports me to a higher level of existence and attunes me to the world of spirit. The process itself is sometimes torture, as I struggle to express the inexpressible world of my perceptions and attempt to portray universal but uncomfortable emotions and experiences. I do have writing partners who aren’t of this world who whisper inspirations in my ear. Neptune shows how we give service, and writing is how I share what I know with a far greater number of people than I could reach one-on-one.
The first writing I did as a teen and young adult was poetry. I hung out in the poetry circles of New York City, but I was such a lousy poet that I was convinced I couldn’t write. It was only after I got into astrology, and everyone who looked at my chart told me I HAD to write, that I settled into the niche of writing about spiritual and self-help topics.
Neptune also shows secrets, and throughout my nearly 50 years of writing, I’ve never written (for publication, at least) about myself and my family secrets. When I started this blog, one of my goals was to be more self-revealing. It’s been a scary process, but I’m getting there.
My mind seems to have an inexhaustible fountain of creative inspirations, with more viable article ideas in a day than I could ever write. I’ve considered raffling them off to benefit the medical emergency fund for NCGR. Would any of you budding authors out there pay $10 for a raffle ticket to win a package of 5 article ideas?
My secret desire is to write fiction. My personal sorrow is that the 4 novels I’ve written have all broken my heart—no exaggeration—because no publisher would take them. Believe me, I’ve tried endlessly. Neptune’s house represents the agony and ecstasy of our lives.
Near Relatives: We were considered the “black sheep” of my mother’s family because she “married beneath herself.” (You’ve all met Mom’s sister, my mean Aunt Bernadine.) It would be an understatement to say that my father’s family was problematic. On both sides, there were lots of alcoholics and lots of secrets no one talked about. No close connections on either side, major feelings of shame.
Neighbors: Given all the family secrets, we were taught not to get close to the neighbors or to confide anything about the family. After many years of work on myself, I’m comfortable with my neighbors in a pleasantly superficial way. We do help each other out in a pinch, but not one of them knows I’m an astrologer. (Born Again neighbors DO NOT need to know that!)
Brothers and Sisters: One of each, both of whom have led seriously troubled lives, but they’re not my secrets to share. As I was the “Big Sis,” I carry huge feelings of responsibility and survivors’ guilt that no amount of therapy, healing, or objective reasoning have allowed me to shed entirely.
Neptune’s house is where we’re most likely to have boundary and co-dependency issues. Yet, it’s through my siblings’ suffering that I learned to have empathy for those who suffer, and I’ve long since concluded that I went to social work school to learn how to straighten my family out. It didn’t work, needless to say, but I learned invaluable skills and information to share with the world through my writing and teaching. Most of all, I’ve learned to encourage others to heal by communicating their pain.
Oh, and I had an imaginary older brother, as I was growing up. My best friends had older brothers who protected them and taught them the ropes, and how I yearned for one of my own! In fact, my parents did have a stillborn child before me, and I had a lifelong fascination with him. I marked his date of birth in the ephemeris, hoping to meet someone born that day. Finally, I did, and it was Arch Crawford, a well-known astrologer who predicts the stock market.
Wow. This article has gone way deeper into my family soap opera than I ever intended. I just wanted to demonstrate how many layers of meaning the 3rd house has and to give a detailed example. And now I don’t want to publish it.
Well, nobody’s Neptune house is a pretty and untroubled area of life. We all have our Neptune issues to straighten out, and it’s often a life-long process, better as we mature and evolve, but it’s still there in times of crisis.
How about you, Readers? Can you see how your chart describes the various levels of meaning of your 3rd house? Share some of them with us in the comment section.
UPDATE: I just encountered an excellent article on Neptune in the 3rd written by Jeremy Neal, who also has this placement. See it here: http://chirotic.wordpress.com/2008/12/09/lost-in-translation-neptune-in-the-3rd/.
LOST BROTHERS AND SISTERS: Several people have written in to say that they had half or step siblings they didn’t get to know until later. CJ Wright of Auntie Moon wants birth data from people who were adopted or who spent periods of time in their childhood where they were in foster care or lived with adults other than their parents ~ grandparents, other relatives, families of friends, childrens’ homes, or other environments, to see what placements go along with those experiences. I’m guessing that an outer planet near the IC is one signature, but I could be off. See the announcement at http://auntiemoon.wordpress.com/2010/06/26/research-on-adopted-or-foster-kids/ and write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Articles in this Series about Mercury and the 3rd on Skywriter:
- Understanding Mercury Aspects to the Moon
- Understanding Mercury-Saturn Combinations
- Understanding Mercury-Pluto Combinations
- Understanding Mercury-Uranus Combinations—It’s DIY Time!
- What your Astrology Chart Says about your Boundary Issues
- Readers Ask: Q & A about Mercury, Gemini, and the 3rd House
- Things You May Not Know about the 3rd and 12th Houses
- Four Kinds of Smart–Which One Are You?
- How Strong is your Mercury? Here’s the Score!
- Thought Forms and the Brain
- Legacy Thought Forms-Shake (off) what your Mama Gave You
- Neptune and the Cosmic Soup–How Psychic Contagion Depletes Us
- 20 Articles about Neptune on Skywriter
- The Best Thing God Ever Made—the Public Library
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