Posted by: Donna Cunningham | August 27, 2010

Readers Ask: Q & A about the 6th House

©8-27-2010 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

We’re engaged in a series of posts where readers ask questions about a particular house in the comment section and I answer them.  We’ve covered the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, and 12th, and had a great time doing it.

The sign Virgo is naturally connected with the 6th house, and people with a strong 6th house often share Virgo’s focus on work and health. Since the Sun is now in Virgo, it’s high time we did a Q & A about the 6th house.  Bring on the questions, Readers!

The sign on the 6th house cusp,  the condition of any planets in that house, and the ruler of the 6th all combined describe your work life, including work habits, specific types of job tasks, and relationships with coworkers.

It also describes health  issues, especially occupational health concerns that arise from the kind of work they do. In my experience, many health care workers have a strong 6th house, whether or not they have planets in Virgo.

I can’t answer medical questions, as I am neither a health care practitioner nor a medical astrologer, and the medical establishment frowns on unlicensed individuals giving medical diagnosis or prescriptions. That particular establishment is not one you’d want frowning on you. 

 I am happy to entertain general questions like these:

  • What’s the difference between a 6th house Sun and Sun in Virgo?
  • Why does the 6th house represent both work and health?
  • If a 6th house planet squares the Midheaven, how does it affect the career?

That sort of thing, phrased in 25 words or less.

There’s one earlier post in this series that I may refer to in my responses.  It answers basic questions about houses and how they are set up that apply to all houses. If so, here’s the article I’ll be referring to: Readers Ask: Basic Questions about the 12 Houses.

Update:  the comment section is closed. To read other people’s questions and answers—scroll down below this article to the comment section.   Thanks for your many good questions. I’ve enjoyed our dialogue. Watch for another Q & A session in the next few weeks. We still have to talk about the 10th house, another of the vocational houses, and I suspect that’s what we’ll tackle next. Donna

Readers Ask Series:  (Readers’ questions and my Answers are in the Comment Sections)

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  1. Hi Donna! I’ve read that this is not a great house for Venus. It might manifest positively as someone who likes to work in the beauty profession or in pleasant surroundings or even someone who loves their work. But does what are the negative effects for a person that has Venus in the sixth or in Virgo? Or in the sixth in Virgo 🙂

    Looking forward to learning more about the sixth on your blog.

    • Hello, Neeti, Venus in the 6th, like Venus in Virgo, can mean that the person feels they cannot be loved unless they are serving the person they care for or else working very hard and doing well at a job.

      If well-aspected, of course, they may be well-loved by others, yet they don’t always believe it, just feel they have to go to great lengths to earn love.

      I have also observed that many with the 6th house strong come from working class origins and are such hard workers that they are upwardly mobile, yet can have a complex about it. With Venus there, it might show that they continue to feel socially out of place due to their background.

      Again on the positive side, they can have good, warm relationships with coworkers, maybe even meet someone on the job for a long-term relationship. Donna

      • Would Taurus, (ruled by Venus), on the 6th house cusp manifest similarly?

      • Oh, dear, that’s a bit of a problem for me that I’ve been putting off addressing–and will doubtlessly have to talk about when doing the test for Libra. The thing is, I DO believe that Venus rules Libra, but I don’t really believe that it rules Taurus.

        To give you the short version, when Venus is conjunct the Ascendant, Sun or Moon, the person behaves and reacts in ways that are extremely Libran. They are strongly focused–even obsessed, some of them–on love, relationships, and beauty. They couldn’t care less about the earth and you’d never catch them with dirt under their fingernails.

        I believe that Taurus is ruled by the one known planet in the solar system we have never assigned to a sign–the earth itself. A person with Taurus on the 6th is not focused on finding love, but instead is well-grounded, focused on productivity and making the business grow and prosper. They are conservative in terms of not welcoming innovation or change, but in preserving what has worked in the past.

        That’s all I have to say about the subject at this time–there’s time enough for me to come out as a card-carrying weirdo when the Sun moves into Libra. Donna

      • Thanks for your reply, Donna, and I appreciate your going slightly off-topic to answer my question. Allow me the opportunity to bring us (slightly) back on-topic. I don’t think I noticed anything about Virgo’s rulership anywhere in this discussion. Mercury?

      • 50/50 Chiron/Mercury.

        The reason I can’t let go of Mercury entirely is because a Virgo (especially Mercury in that sign) can talk you to death faster than any Gemini can. And with the Virgos, it’s all the freaking details, especially about physical ailments. They are the best, most helpful, modest souls in the whole world, but it’s like a terminal case of TMI. And nobody ever mentioned anything about Chiron the centaur being a motor mouth. Donna

  2. How is an empty 6th house impacted by 12th house planets?

    • Ah, the long lost lostshoe is back! Good question. If the 6th house is empty but the 12th house is strong, it could indicate a number of things.

      It might indicate a 12th house vocation, such as working in institutions like mental hospitals, prisons, or nursing homes. Or, that the person is devoted to helping those who are chronically ill or somehow unfortunate. Or, that there is a devotion to spiritual pursuits and practices like meditation or yoga.

      On the less evolved side, this could be someone who is so enmeshed in self-destructive pursuits like addiction that work performance –and physical and mental health–would suffer.

      we’ve recently had a series of articles about the 12th house that starts here: Donna

      • Does it work this way for opposite houses in general, in terms of the interaction between an empty house opposite a very full one?

      • A good question, Petals, and one I would have to think through. I do believe that the pairs of opposite houses are strongly related–for example, the 2nd-8th house axis, or the 4th-10th house axis. That set of relationships would make an excellent article, though not one I’m prepared to write at this point. Hmmm. Still thinking.

        So if one end of a house axis is full and the other empty, does it generally signify that the life purpose or life tasks is pointed toward the full one and away from the empty one? A similar consideration to the question of the North Node being in a certain house and the South Node in the opposite one. I would say yes, though there are always exceptions depending on the planets in that house, their signs and aspects. Donna

  3. Hi Donna
    What about Pluto and Mars ( not in aspect) but both in the 6th house say about employment or health

    • This sounds a lot like a personal question since you mention two placements and that they are not in aspect. I went to great lengths to explain that I won’t answer them. Refer to the rules above. Donna

    • Hi Adrienne – I was curious about Pluto and/or Mars as well, especially since some may consider them both to be malefic planets. One site I found (Ken Ward’s Astrology Pages) mentions Pluto in the 6th as lending itself to healing energy work – such as Reiki – as well as the tendency to become a workaholic. You might want to check it out.

      Donna, I hope you don’t mind me suggesting this alternative source of information, in lieu of your own unique perspective. I would’ve enjoyed reading your insights on these placements, just as I’m enjoying all of your answers. We learn a lot from these Q & A posts.

  4. Does Jupiter in the 6th indicate luck in finding work? Does it indicate a career in law or would that be more likely with a 10th house Jupiter?

    • Hi, Jen. Jupiter in the 6th could mean employment in any of the 9th house related fields–law, publishing, education, travel, or anything to do with foreign countries.

      The difference between a 6th house and a 10th house Jupiter is in the person’s comfort level with being in the spotlight. A 10th house Jupiter wants the world to see them, but the 6th house Jupiter, who may be every bit as talented and deserving, is more comfortable behind the scenes.

      The 6th is a bit like Virgo. The 6th house planet is the worker bee; the same planet in the 10th is the Queen bee.

      Thus a 6th house Jupiter worker bee in the legal fields would be less likely to be a high-profile trial lawyer and instead might be the 2nd chair in a trial, the legal researcher back in the office, or even a paralegal.

      This pattern of taking the back seat can change during transits that help the person realize their own abilities and contribution to the workplace. (An example might be Saturn crossing Jupiter but trining the Midheaven)

      Is it a lucky position? Jupiter in the 6th–depending on its sign and aspects–does often show that the person enjoys and recognizes their work as the opportunity to grow and to contribute to the world. The luck you mention can be a matter of bringing an attitude of openness and optimism that attracts people and situations that favor the career. Most of the time, we create our own luck, good or bad, through our attitudes.

      If there is a downside to this placement, it can be that of overexpanding to the point of hurting the health or pushing their luck too far. Donna

  5. I liked your sample question: What’s the difference between a 6th house Sun and Sun in Virgo. How does that placement affect a fire sign Sun, for example?

    • Sun in Virgo is Virgo through and through. A 6th house Sun shows much of the same focus on work and/or health, but it’s modified by the Sun’s sign and element in terms of how the person deals with 6th house matters.

      For instance, in dealing with routine job tasks, a fire sign 6th house Sun would probably not take pains to handle details in the manner a Virgo Sun would do.

      Also, in responding to earlier questions about 6th house placements, I mentioned a certain self-effacing quality of taking the back seat despite their abilities. That would not be so true of a fire sign, especially Aries. The job tasks might not put them in the spotlight, but they would approach them with Aries’ initiative, fire in the belly, and energy in a way that would make them hard to ignore. Donna

  6. If you have Neptune in a fire sign in your 6th or ruling your 6th , what are some of the downsides and how could you avoid it?

    (Fingerpainting to Finish Fibromyalgia has no openings and does not exist. :-P)

    • Hi, Shakti, since Neptune is so slow-moving, the only fire sign that would apply is Neptune in Sagittarius. (Neptune in Leo was in in the 1920s, so they’re not in the workforce, and Neptune in Aries is a long time from now.)

      That’s an interesting generation, bringing both the ups and downs of Sagittarius or Jupiter to Neptunian pursuits like service or spiritual studies–the desire to teach and insipire others on the one hand, and the stubborn certitude that they and they alone have the right answer on the other.

      All of those qualities would apply to Neptune in Sag in the 6th. Thus, there can be the fire to convert others to their belief system as part of what they see as their life work. (Read my post on the Hyperactive Jupiter Syndrome here: .)

      If you read my earlier answer about Jupiter in the 6th, you’ll see more of the possibilities in that realm. There would also be some of potentials I wrote about in describing an over-active 12th, since Neptune has some similar qualities with the 12th.

      As for other downsides, there could be codependent relationships with clients and coworkers that you’d want to rescue or save from themselves. (There’s a series here about boundary issues that would very much apply, starting here: .)

      Health problems due to addiction are always a potential with Neptune in the 6th. Overdoing work to the point of workaholism is another–in Sag because of the zeal to convert others to doing the right thing.

      How to avoid these downsides? If I had the answer to that, I’d be writing NY Times Best Sellers, not a blog! Donna

  7. Hi Donna
    How does an intercepted 6th house function?

    • I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I’m not the biggest fan of interceptions, as in different house systems, different signs and planets may be intercepted.

      And in certain house systems (equal house, whole sign houses), there’s no such thing as an interception. So it all boils down to that terribly tired old question of which house system is the REAL, TRUE house system.

      To me, when there is an “interception”, both the signs in that house work, and so do all the planets there. regardless of what house system you favor. (In my experience, people generally espouse the house system that puts their own planets in the best light.)

      The strength of intercepted planets comes out because they become very active during a transit that sets them off. Donna

  8. oboy, oboy, i have an intercepted stellium and two signs in the 6th house . 6th house questions really trip my trigger. 🙂

    How does the 6th house affect your career vs the 10th house? I was reading that for example, capricorn on the MC would affect your career in capricornian ways; but what about all that business in the 6th house? Isn’t that affecting more than just the work ethic?

    • The 6th house shows your work habits and skills you bring to the job. If the 6th is more strongly emphasized than the 10th, then the person is less concerned with public status and achievements and more invested in work for its own sake. Also, as discussed in an earlier question, the 10th is the queen bee and the 6th is the worker bee, more of the person behind the scenes that makes the work happen.

      You didn’t ask about your 6th house stellium, but I was hoping someone would show up with one, so I’ll take this opportunity to address it. Readers, I don’t know if you were following this blog when we took up the question of stelliums. It’s kind of a mixed blessing.

      A stellium can be brilliant in the matters of the house involved, but it also creates a lot of vulnerability when things go wrong in that area of life, as it might if that house were having a series of transits to the planets in the stellium by one of the slower-moving planets. It’s a case of having too many eggs in one basket. With a 6th house stellium, the areas of greatest vulnerability are the workplace and health.

      See the beginning of a series of posts about stelliums here: . Donna

  9. Hi Mimi
    My 6th house is ’empty’ of planets except for a Neptune/Mars conjunction on the cusp. I dont see a big connection between the 10th and 6th in my case. Also have never felt ‘connected’ with a job or my current career. Could it be because the sign is intercepted?

    • It’s more likely to be because of the influence of Neptune, which is not generally focused on the workplace, but rather on sorting out spiritual, creative, or boundary issues. Donna

  10. Would the sixth house relate to work we do for pay exclusively? Or would it apply to, I am thinking, my hobbies and volunteer ‘work’, for example? How does the sixth house relate to the idea of a ‘calling’, is that where we might find clues to this, or is it in another part of the chart?

    • “Hobbies,” like painting or horse riding or whatever, would be more likely to be represented by the 5th house (leisure activities). Volunteer work might be 12th house, if it is giving service to unfortunate individuals, or it could also be the 11th (community concerns, social action).

      Still the 6th is one’s work ethic, regardless of what work is being done…maybe even (shudder) housework.

      As for a “calling”–a lovely, old fashioned term that I relate to strongly–it might show up, I think, in either the 6th or the 10th, whichever stands out more strongly, or it might show up with some other strong vocational indicator like a stellium with the Midheaven ruler included. A calling is an imperative that cannot be denied without suppressing an important part of who you are, even if conventional wisdom says you’ll never make a decent living that way. For me, astrology and writing have been my callings, and yet none of the above vocational indicators apply, just my stellium in Gemini. Donna

  11. Donna, I always like your questions best. Sooo….

    Why does the 6th house represent both work and health?

    And, if you can take a second one here, here’s one from me: what does NN mean here? That one should work a lot…, be in service…? Or is it more important what sign the NN is in, rather than the house?

    • Ah, good, I was dying for someone to ask about work and health as dual concerns of the 6th.

      when asked for a definition of mental health, Sigmund Freud answered, “the ability to work and to love.” I can’t think of a better answer than that.

      What I observe about the connection between work and health, other than that the 6th describes both areas of life, especially in those of us who’ve been workers long enough for health concerns to show up, comes mostly from transits.

      When there’s a slow moving transit through the 6th (anything from Saturn on out), over time there often develops a crisis in both work and health. Examining the pattern more closely in the interview with the client, it usually becomes clear that they are related.

      Often, the person is experiencing a lack of fulfillment in their work–even work that they once loved–or perhaps working conditions have deteriorated. They yearn to make a change, yet feel stuck and unable to make a new start.

      (The chart’s natal and transiting planets will reveal more about why they are stuck…for example, if the 4th ruler is implicated or a natal or transiting planet in the 4th, then home responsibilities and needs of the family are such that they can’t leave a lucrative job.)

      When no job change appears to be possible, the person may become distracted and frustrated to the point that they are no longer attentive to health and safety needs, and so they begin to experience physical problems related to the work tasks.

      Natal or transiting Neptune in the 6th might indicate a sensitivity to workplace toxins, for instance. Or, with Uranus, they may have an on the job accident that serves a hidden purpose of getting time off work to rethink their work direction. (See the article about Uranus and accidents here: )

      Conversely, people who are happy and fulfilled in their work are usually pretty healthy. And people who are heavily invested in work (eg a 6th house or Virgo stellium) often don’t handle retirement well, and often develop illnesses upon retirement. Donna

  12. The amount of Virgo qualities that Sun in Virgo will display depends on the Sun placement and aspects, particularly in relation to the Ascendant. With a Sun in the 6th, the spotlight is on all 6th house issues. Aside from its warning to heed the “serve or suffer” adage, the 6th has much to do with one’s daily routine and habit pattern. As the 12th house of our partners, it’s easy to see how some of our routine actions can be so annoying to them.

    • Thanks, Karen. Folks, I asked Karen McCauley to add the reference to daily routine, as I hadn’t been familiar with that attribute of the 6th, but it does make sense.

      Karen is the speaker on Sunday this weekend for Kepler, giving the free webinar about Astro*Carto*Graphy. Donna

  13. I like both of Sea’s questions, so if you don’t want to answer both for her, I’ll ask whichever one is left over!

  14. hello i am wondering about 6th house planet opp ascendant point . How does that affect how people see you or do they see your work ?

    • Hello, Jens. A 6th house planet opposite the Ascendant does affect how we are seen. We may be virtually unnoticed unless the person has reason to encounter us at work. OR, let’s say it is a planet that stands out in some way–say Uranus in Leo–then the way we stand out (like a sore thumb, or more positively as a person with lots of style and pizzazz) may affect the person’s opinion of whether they want to buy from us or hire us. Donna

  15. In a similar vein to LostShoe’s question, what if the 6th house ruler is placed in chart’s 12th house?

    • If the 6th house is empty and the 6th ruler is in the 12th, it would have some of the same meaning as I described for Lostshoe, but not as strongly. Planets in a house are always stonger than the ruler. Donna

  16. Hi Donna
    I have an empty sixth house with aries on the cusp, mars in Cancer (8th) so not very strong. If the ruler of the sixth house sign is weak, would the ruler of the house, (Mercury in 10th) be more useful for looking at issues related to work or health?
    And why is work and health in the sixth house?

    • Hi, Natalie, I’m a bit confused as to what you’re asking when you say Mercury is the ruler, when Aries is on the 6th cusp and thus Mars is the ruler. It’s a personal question, too, so not right for me to address. (The question of the connection between health and work is answered in another comment.) Donna

  17. I’m also interested in the nodal axis from 6th to 12th house: Does having the South Node in the 6th house mean that one’s karmic path leads one away from work?

    • There are a couple of questions about the nodes in the 6th and 12th, so let me answer them in one reply. I see the house and sign of the North Node as something we need to work at and develop in this lifetime, ONE of our major tasks to master.

      (Not THE task, mind you, just ONE of them. We have to clear up a lot of karma and accelerate our development in this lifetime, as who knows how long we will be able to keep coming back to this planet we are abusing so badly.)

      The South Node, in my view, relates to a collection of lifetimes in which we’ve done and ultimately overdone the matters of that sign and house, to the extent that it’s too easy for us to fall into doing it–what they call the path of least resistance. It becomes a bit of a trap or easy way out, and when we fall back on that, we either sabotage ourselves or, at the very least, shirk the work of the North Node.

      If the North Node is in the 6th, South in the 12th, then we need to focus on being productive and grounded in the world of work, rather than hiding out in the 12th house pursuits. We also need to focus on keeping ourself well rather than falling into addictions and other abuses of our bodies in self-destructive behaviors.

      If the South Node is in the 6th, North in the 12th, then we may be workaholic and/or so involved in the daily grind that we neglect our spiritual development and our need for times of quiet contemplation away from the world. We may also shirk the need to give of ourselves to those who aren’t so fortunate as we are. Donna

  18. Thanks for you reply, Donna. Please allow me another that I’ve not seen addressed herewith. How would you read Chiron in the 6th, particularly as seem to favor Chiron having Virgoan tendancies?

    • I am wondering about Chiron in the 6th, too. “Wounded” and “healer” seems to relate to both the health–work aspects of the 6th.

      • Yes, it could make the person a healer of some sort, possibly in rehabilitation/physical therapy. Though a lot of Chironic types are drawn to alternative health fields.

        However, this placement could also signify a “wounding” around the meaning of work per se, like maybe the person has a hard time finding their true work or may for some reason not be able to be trained in or practice the field they consider their true calling. Donna

  19. I heard the 6th house rules over pets? Would that be because of the daily commitment that is required to care for animals?

    • Ah, interesting question, Vah, that relates to how life has changed in the last 70 years or so. The 6th WAS the house that ruled domesticated animals, but my belief is that now it’s the 5th house’s jurisdiction.

      The reason I say that is because once our animals WORKED FOR US, when we were more rural and self-sustaining. Dogs herded animals, cats kept rats and other pests down by hunting them, chickens laid eggs, cows gave us milk and meat. They served us, like employees do.

      Now, however, our pets don’t have any jobs except to provide us with love and keep us entertained. They become like children to us, especially those who are childless. So that’s much more of a 5th house function than a 6th house. It’s just my opinion. Donna

      • Donna-
        Is the reason you now place pets in the 5th house due to them replacing children for many people in the modern world?

      • Yes, exactly. Donna

      • that’s a great idea. however, I’m finding a hard time reconciling it with others. For instance, the 5th is how the individual expresses himself/herself. while animals may be treated as kids and replacing them, the animal does not take forward one’s legacy (being hereditary or plain education). As a combination of their parents’ DNA, the kids are a form of ‘creation’, made out of ‘parts’ of their parents, a reflection of them.
        every hobby tends to fill that part – reflect its creator and their ego.

        on the other side, having a pet is more responsibility than fun. it changes your daily routines, having to care for the pet becomes almost like a job. you become, in a way, its servant. you’re no longer free to come and go as you please and your time and energy are no longer your alone.
        they also have a wonderful effect on moods, disposition, health, and so they are often used for that purpose.

        for these reason, I still tend to think of pet as a 6th issue. then again there are those people who compete with their pets in all sorts of competitions… I’ll have to think about this one.

        thanx for the idea!

  20. Hi Donna..
    I am fascinated by the 6th house because as a Sag I am in awe of the traits associated with Virgo, that being their meticulous attention to detail and their ability to literally memorize a face or scene. Garbo (a Virgo) in Queen Christina, memorizes the room of the inn she shares with her lover.

    The sixth house is the last house of the development of the self, the boundary between self and other, and therefore the way Virgos (especially women) are so meticulous about their dress. Their boundaries are so clear. (I noticed that some Virgos can be particularly messy, or sometimes suffering from weight problems, and for me that means that they are still on the journey of learning the meaning of their Sun sign Virgo and their own boundaries.) I know Saturn deals with boundaries, but I feel Virgo does also. (I guess that’s the association with routine.) I think we cannot go into the 7th house/relationship objectively unless we have truly learned the lessons of the 6th house.

    Also regarding work, I’ve read that the 6th is the house of apprenticeship, which also makes sense, because when we are not fully formed in ourselves we can allow ourselves to learn the finishing touches from an expert.

    As far as health, I have also read that the boundless creativity of the 5th house comes up against the limits of the self in the sixth, and therefore illness as limitation and boundary. THere’s a book called “All sickness is home sickness” or coming home to the body, which again is related to the 6th being the last house of the development of the self.

    I was wondering what you think about these things. I hope you don’t mind me sharing my thoughts here, but again, as a fiery and sometimes boundless Sag, striving for some of the 6th house/Virgo virtues is a life task.

    Thanks, Donna, as always ~Regine

  21. 2 questions about the 6th house itself –

    Does a intercepted sign or a retrograde planet have any bearing on this house via work or health habits issues – making a Weaker Sixth House?

    And, does the a planet in this house along with the corresponding sign on it’s cusp cause a stronger bearing on the house – making a super Sixth House?


    • I wrote earlier about my skepticism about interceptions. People tend to regard the cadent houses (the 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th) as inherently weaker than the angular houses (the 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th) but that’s because the angular houses describe areas of life by which people measure success (how you look, where you live, who you marry, and what you do for a living.) These are value judgements that say the cadent houses are a less important part of who we are. I don’t understand your second question. Donna

      • I don’t know what the intent of the original question was, but it game me a idea: how would a retrograde planet work in this house? As I understand them, they seem to say that the energy of the planet introverted, as more thinking than doing, more repressing than expressing. While I can imagine the health problems related to the repressing of any energy, I can’t see how it would apply to the job part.
        take Mars for instance. normally in the 6th would suggest a… physical job? something that requires putting a lot of energy into it. and so retrograde Mars would be like a… what? sitting at a desk, moving papers? (regardless of sign, of course).

      • It’s lots more complicated than that. the 6th works on so many levels, and so does Mars. Mars in the 6th also refers to leadership ability, taking the initiative, competitiveness, drive, and dealing with conflict in the workplace, and working with primarily male coworkers or clients and around primarily male interests and issues that men experience, including male health issues. It could also indicate careers in sports or the military. Any one of those could apply to a retrograde Mars. Donna

  22. Would the 6th house show if you should be self employed rather work for someone else?

    • It could, yes, if Uranus or Aquarius were strong there, either natally or by transit–or if Uranus or Aquarius were in one of the career houses natally (2nd, 6th, or 10th) and then transiting Uranus or Aquarius planets showed up in the 6th by transit, confirming the natal position. Donna

  23. What people are represented by the sixth house…i.e., the seventh house represents partners, open enemies, etc.

    • The 6th would represent coworkers, employees, customers or clients met in doing the job, and health care workers we go to for our physical well-being. Donna

  24. I have aries mars in the 6th house. I notice I get really bored if I’m doing the Same Thing over a long period of time. I like diversity.

    I don’t really have a question except:

    – the 6th house is the house of pets, right? But I’ve read somewhere that the 5th house is also the house of pets. The difference is the 5th rules smaller animals and the 6th bigger animals (like horses, animals that might actually help you in an everyday basis, in the chores).

    – In your (past) practice did you see it like this? Like small pets ruled by the 5th and big by the 6th? Or where all pets (and animals in general) ruled by the 6th?

    – Because it seems to me that there’s an evolution of meanings, that what before could be applied (like, 100 years ago) can no longer be applied.

    • Already answered, see above. Donna

  25. Would the 6th house or transits to a 6th house planet correlate with work related injuries? For example, if a person makes their living in a dangerous profession, such as in the forces, would injury, or the possibility of injury show up here?

    • It could, yes. Read the more detailed explanation of how and why health and work get meshed together in a long explanation earlier in the comment section.

      But if you’re asking specifically whether someone in the military fighting in a war could get hurt, I suspect it would be a lot more specific than that, possibly involving natal Mars and the 9th house for a foreign war–again, bringing in crucial transits or progressions. I don’t know that for sure, as I’ve never seen the chart of anyone with a war-related injury. Donna

      • Thank you, Donna.

  26. What is the difference between a health concern ruled by the 6th and one that would fall under the 12th?

    • Good question, Vah. The 12th is mentioned with chronic illness, especially the kind requiring long-term hospitalization. It’s also assigned psychosomatic illnesses due to repressed emotions and the physical effects of addiction and other self-destructive behaviors. Donna

  27. Hi Donna,

    New to your blog and astrology, in general.

    Could you elaborate a bit more on having the opposite sign of house ruler in 6th/12th house placements? So would there be any significance if 6th house planets were Pisces opposite 12th house planets in Virgo? Is this what is considered mutual reception?

    I know you said earlier that the planet’s sign is stronger than the house rulership sign, but would you take notice if the entire chart was mostly made up of this type of configuration?


    • Welcome to astrology, but watch out–it could become a lifelong fascination, as there’s always more to learn. I’m not sure if you’re asking about your chart (a no no here) or if that’s a made up example, but it’s not very likely that there would be two sets of oppositions between planets in opposite houses like that. And, no, that’s not exactly a mutual reception in the way we mean it.

      Mutual reception is when two planets that rule a sign are in each other’s signs. Like this:
      Mercury rules Gemini, but let’s say in your chart it was in Sagittarius.
      And Jupiter rules Sagittarius, but let’s say in your chart it was in Gemini.
      So if Mercury is in Sag while Jupiter is in Gemini, then that’s mutual reception.
      Even if the two planets weren’t in aspect with one another, it’s a kind of connection, a bit like they were. Hope that helps. Donna

      • Thanks, Donna. Got mutual reception down now! Is there a name for having the opposite sign of the house rulership?

        Also, how much weight would you give to the 6th house about personal health issues vs other health houses, such as the 12th or 1st depending what is there?

        And is the 6th the first place you would look, and then move on? I’ve read the 6th is also concerned with self-adjustment, referring to misalignment of ego expression causing manifestation in the physical body. Do you agree or do you view the 6th health aspects are just related to work conditions?

      • No, there’s no name for opposite house rulerships. I don’t think there is a difference in the weight of health issues between the three health houses (1, 6, 12) because poor health is poor health and difficult to deal with, regardless of where it shows up in the chart. It’s just that, of the three, 6th house health problems are more likely to stem from issues around work. Donna

  28. Donna, would you please compare and contrast Uranus in 6th House to Uranus in 2nd House?

    • Uranus in the 2nd relates to how you handle money and what you spend it on–Uranian gadgets, technology, etc–and sometimes to a rebellious, erratic, spending pattern or possibly a radical political stance about money. Money tends to come and go in spurts, unpredictably. It can also show that you have a business or sideline making occasional money through computers or other technology. Here’s an article about Uranus in the 2nd:

      In the 6th, Uranus pertains to job tasks and skills, what the daily work routine consists of, and your work ethic. All of those could be similar to uranus in the 2nd or 10th, and it could point to full-time self-employment once you reach a certain level in your skills and under transits to that position. Donna

  29. is there anything glamorous or intriguing about the sixth or is it pretty much summed up by the next colonoscopy appointment?

    • If you were in a glamorous line of work, maybe. Donna

      • Hi Donna – No question here, more of an observation. Among other things, I think the 6th house and Virgo represent the tedious, time-consuming details that go into the daily systems that help to ensure our health, safety and well-being; often they’re the very people and systems we tend to overlook or take for granted – not just on a personal level – but in terms of the world we live in. How many preventable disasters have happened because protocol was not followed and/or details were overlooked? I think Virgo is humble because he/she has learned that most people don’t give a hoot until after disaster has struck and the press conference is being held.

        I believe it’s where we’re asked to mindfully and humbly serve ourselves and others; whether or not we do a good job of it is up to us – God is in the details. 6th house concerns may not be glamorous, but they’re definitely worthwhile.

  30. Hi Donna,

    I’ve read through the thread of comments and your replies. The sixth house has always interested me because if the 6th is empty but the 10th is full (and I totally get the Queen vs. Worker Bee analogy), still usually for someone to ‘actualize’ their 10th house, they’re working in some way, shape or form. And the ruler of the 6th is not in the 10th or 12th, then what does the 6th actually mean for that person?

    My secondary question that is along the same line as the first is if a natal chart has no planets below the horizon, houses 1 -6 (maybe just a couple of asteroids) and all of the planets are in 7 – 12, obviously the person still has all of the 1 – 6 stuff going on but my interpretation has always been that it’s of less importance in this lifetime. Based on the idea that wherever the planets are located are where the major life focus is in this incarnation. I’m going to check out your blog on stelliums … think I missed that one but think I agree with the vulnerability aspect here.

    Would love to know your thoughts on this …


    • The 10th house isn’t just career, it also has to do with parenthood and one’s own parents, as well as one’s standing in the community, so you don’t have to be working for it to play an important role.

      The 6th doesn’t only refer to a job, it’s also health concerns, health habits, and work habits in any area of life. As for hemispheres of the chart, where the planets fall shows where our energies are concentrated, so empty sectors show areas that are less a focus for us. Donna

      • Interesting about the parenthood part. I knew that it represented the dominant parent, but didn’t know that it represented parenthood overall. That could be why I’ve had such a hard time accepting that I didn’t have my own child this go round. Hmmm … never got that before. Up until a few years ago, I still thought I’d have my own baby. I love children, helped raise my younger brother and sister and have been very active in the lives of my nieces, nephews, step-daughter and friend’s kids. I’m actually considering going back to school for my MS in Guidance Counseling so that I can work with young people to help them actualize their dreams … and leave the business world altogether. It would be a way of giving back in the last ‘decanate’ of my working life and something more enjoyable than chasing profits.

      • Empty houses has been mentioned several times. If the 6th were empty,would it be natural to assume that person may not struggle incorporating health regimens or routines in their life?

        I’m just wondering about the disparities between people who really struggle with their health vs those who can incorporate just about anything, i.e. exercise, healthy eating, etc. within their daily routine without any problem.

      • Health routines might not be a major focus of attention, but, again, during a transit to the 6th in which health issues come to the fore, they can become necessary.

        A person with several Virgo planets might find it natural–or even perhaps necessary–to pay attention to health routines, even if the 6th is empty. Donna

  31. Thanks Donna, guess I confused myself there. I was just wondering what if the ruler of the sixth is unaspected, and the sixth is empty – how could 6th house issues play out then?

    • WildHorizon and Natalie ~ The way I’ve always interpreted that is that the 6th (work, health, pets, service to others, etc.) would be approached and incorporated based on the sign on the 6th house cusp and anything going on with the ruler of the 6th. So even if the house doesn’t have any planets in it, the individual still ‘approaches’ what the house rules in the fashion of the sign it’s under and the planet that rules that sign.

    • Well, almost all of us have to deal with work and health issues at some point during our lifetime, generally while there are transits activating the 6th or aspecting its ruler. If it’s a slow-moving outer planet transiting through the 6th and aspecting a variety of natal planets, it might even be for as long as 20 years. Donna

  32. In traditional astrology texts Mars is said to “joy” in the 6th house. Aside from energetic work habits wouldn’t this possibly suggest aggression with or from co-workers? In the health department would fevers and accidents which affect health be suggested? Or would Mars in 6th strengthen your health? Why would the ancients have thought Mars strong in the 6th?

    • Hello, Kent, I hadn’t heard that about mars being in joy in the 6th, but medical astrology isn’t one of my specialities. Could it be that they felt it conveyed robust health and a good energy level? And why wouldn’t that robustness apply equally to Mars in the 1st, a house which has much to do with our innate physical constitution?

      And, yes, I’d think a person with Mars in the 6th natally might be more prone to infections and fevers–especially in the part of the body ruled by Mars’ sign. (Each sign rules a number of body parts, e.g. Leo rules the back, and thus there might be a disposition toward back problems.) Donna

  33. Mercury is the natural ruler of the 6th but it’s not obvious to me how to connect Merc with the work and health themes of the 6th house. Where does Mercury enter into the realm of the 6th?

    • Have a look at my discussion on the controversy between Mercury vs. Chiron as the ruler of Virgo. Donna

  34. Hi, Donna,

    My husband and I are retired. How does the 6th house relate to work when people are retired? Does it pertain to volunteer work?

    • Perhaps, if that’s part of regular daily routine and something you approach with a workman-like attitude and maybe use skills you’d developed in the course of your job history. The sort of thing where you become part of the staff. Bless you for still wanting to make a difference! Donna

      • That’s all, folks! After 43 questions and 43 answers, the comment section is closed. Thanks for your many good questions. I’ve enjoyed our dialogue. Watch for another Q & A session in the next few weeks. We still have to talk about the 10th house, another of the vocational houses, and I suspect that’s what we’ll tackle next. Donna


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