Posted by: Donna Cunningham | September 28, 2010

Readers Ask—Q & A about the 9th House

©9-28-2010 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

We’re engaged in a series of posts where readers ask questions about a particular house of the astrology chart in the comment section and I answer them.  This time we’ll look at the 9th house.

The sign Sagittarius and the planet Jupiter are naturally connected with the 9th. People with a strong 9th house—like having the Sun, Moon, or several planets there—often share the Sagittarian focus on higher education and seeking answers to life’s bigger questions.  Bring on the questions, Readers!

The combination of the sign on the 9th house cusp, the sign and aspects of any planets in that house, and the ruler of the 9th describe our experiences with education, religion, philosophy, law, publishing, and foreign countries.

, I am happy to entertain general questions like these:

  • Why would the 9th describe such unrelated areas as law, religion, education and foreign countries?
  • Can the 9th house show if someone will win a lawsuit?
  • If a person wants to go back to school for a degree, can 9th house transits show timing?

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.

After 27 questions about the 9th house, the comments are closed. To read other people’s questions and answers—maybe some that would include your own questions–scroll down below this article to the comment section. 

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

Posts about Jupiter:

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  1. Hi Donna,

    How about a nice explanation of the 7th house courts vs. the 9th house courts? I’ve always viewed 7th as civil suit stuff, where 9th is more along the lines of criminal proceedings. I think that would be a good one to cover! Oh, and if you feel like indulging me a bit further, how you feel family court fits into the mix (ie child custody, divorce..) I’m sure you must have seen a ton of that over the years with the time you spent as a social worker. Thanks!

    • Wow, you managed to stump the teacher, first question out of the hat! Really, I have never heard that distinction in all my 40+years of astrology, ever. Where did you hear that, and what is the reasoning? You may well be right–and, hey, what house would rule Judge Judy et al on tv? Donna

      • LOL! Judge Judy – now she is a pisser! 😛 Oh, and a made-for-TV judge has GOT to be a 9th house thing if I ever saw one!

        Oh, gosh – have heard it many times over the years from other astrologers. Wish I could tell you exactly who, but can’t say for sure. It may come from Isabel Hickey’s school of thought a la 7th house “lower courts”/open enemies vs. 9th house “higher courts”. I tend to think that the 9th has more to do with the upholding of societal laws because it concerns in part morality and religion, and if you look abroad there often is no separation of church and state like we have here in the US. In some places, religious law IS THE LAW and if you break it, you’ll wind up in the clink no questions asked.

        7th house territory has often been described, among other things, as the open conflicts we have with others and may lend itself more to civil suits – ie getting sued by Joe Schmoe, a family member, a neighbor, or what have you – if you’re following that “lower courts vs. higher courts” way of thinking. Perhaps this is why I’ve heard a distinction made between the two houses and their hand in legal involvements.

        On a side note, it may interest you to know that in tarot Libra holds an association with the Justice card in the Major Arcana. As Libra is natural ruler of the 7th and perhaps because of this sign’s interest in fairness and equity it may have become attached to legal matters as a result as it has in tarot. Just some food for thought!

      • Very interesting, Alethea, thanks! Isabel Hickey was definitely my idol. BTW, you can hear a voice clip of her on the Astrologers’ Memorial. Donna

  2. How do the third and ninth houses relate to each other? I remember learning that the third house deals with “everyday” types of learning and the ninth is “higher education.” Is there really any connection there?

    • They parallel the opposition between Gemini and Sagittarius in a way–Gemini being the collector of a million bits of random pieces of information and Sag looking for the total picture of how those bits fit together.

      So the 3rd is elementary learning for children through high school, as well as more random types of learning for adults (the odd adult education course not leading to a degree, such as how to use a computer, French cuisine, etc. etc).

      And the 9th is more specifically toward a degree or certification that leads to employment–or at least employability, no guarantees today–given that the 10th house follows that. But if you don’t master the basics like reading and math (3rd house), you’ll have a very difficult time going on to higher learning. Good enough? Donna

  3. Could the ninth house indicate whether or not someone will go to jail or have legal problems?

    • I do an advice column for Dell Horoscope, and I often get questions from prisoners (or their families) about their legal status. And, yes, transits to 9th house planets (or transits through the 9th house by tough planets like Neptune or Saturn) seem to correlate with stages in their conviction, or the appeal/parole stages. Especially a square from the 12th to the 9th. But their release seems to correlate with transits to the Midheaven.

      I also had a weird experience once, during a family visit. My sister, bless her heart, arranged a ton of readings for me to pay for the airfare, and a lot of them turned out to be bikers from the same club and their girlfriends.

      One after another of them asked if they would be facing any “legal difficulties,” which I thought was an odd question. I didn’t catch on until the end that they were drug dealers wanting to know if they were going to get caught.

      I predicted to one of them that he needed to be careful, that a friend could betray him and cause him to go to jail. Sure enough, I heard later that one of his “bros” flipped on him and he went away for 10 years. Made my reputation in that set, but afterwards I declined a repeat appearance. Donna

      • Thank you, that’s an interesting story.

      • Can you tell us more about that reading, please? How did the friend betrayal show up? A link between 11th and 9th? I’d sure like to know.

        Thank you!

      • Some nasty connection between the 11th and the 9th, yes. I believe it involved either Pluto or Neptune–don’t recall which. Donna

  4. What is the effect of having pluto in the 9th, especially concerning religon and foreign travel. I read somewhere people with pluto in the 9th have “interesting” foreign travel stories to tell and I was wondering if that was good interesting or bad. Also, I subscribed to your blog but didn’t realize I needed to send you the confirmation email -I’d love to have the booklet.

    • Hi, Cathie,
      What I’d say about foreign travel with Pluto in the 9th natally or by transit is that, yes, it can be transformative, but also something to be done with extreme caution. #1, I’d be sure to get an Astro*Carto*Graphy map or do the relocation for where you’re going, and would probably avoid places where Pluto was on one of the angles (Asc, MH, IC, or Dsc).

      I would also check for difficult transits where the 9th house was implicated, and not go then. If the transit were coming from one of the health houses (1st, 6th, 12th), I’d be extremely careful of what I ate or drank. Donna

      PS, you can also forward any one of the emails that has a post in it, so that I have your email address, and I can then send you the booklet for subscribers.

  5. Hi Donna, I’m interested the relation between the 9th and 12th. If someone has no planets in the 9th but it’s ruler is in 12th?

    just a note: the comments about jail freaked me out a bit, thankfully I know that are more constructive options… my dad had pluto and saturn squaring a stellium in scorpio in 12th and never had anything to do with it, but his spiritual quest was INTENSE

    • Well, any given negative potential (of any chart placement, but especially the 12th and 9th) only applies if the person is AT RISK due to self-defeating behaviors. That’s the sort of thing an astrologer determines during the session. If the person isn’t involved in anything criminal, then the jail interpretation is off the table.

      Not that you’d routinely ask a client about it, but if you’re getting signals like the bikers were giving me, then a subtly-worded probe is in order.

      And the only reason I brought it up here at all is not an inherent negativity on my part, but because one of you specifically asked me the question.

      But then we do have a population explosion in jails and prisons these days, so it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that an astrologer would get a question like that–if not from the inmate, then from a worried mom or girlfriend.

      As for more positive uses of the 12th and 9th, the relationship between them–in my estimation–is that the 9th tends to be a more traditional, organized religion, such as belonging to a formal church or mosque or whatever. The 12th is more inner-directed, more mystical, and tends to involve spiritual practices like meditation or yoga. If the ruler of the 9th is in the 12th, that would tend to go along, again, with a mystical belief system. Donna

      • Thanks Donna, I understand, it is actually a pretty good story!
        is just that I recently saw a chart with that connection and didn’t see the possibility until now. Maybe isolation because of political or religious beliefs? Anyway, it was good to hear the other uses of it.

  6. Hi Donna,

    With both Uranus and Jupiter retrograding back in to Pisces recently, what significance would this have if the transit is taking place in the 9th house?

    • The transiting Jupiter-Uranus conjunction in the 9th is likely to signify a new departure/innovation in 9th house matters.

      For instance, someone who’s only taken in-person coursework in the past might sign up for online coursework or even a long distance certification. Someone who’s only been published in print media might start a blog or bring out an ebook. And so on, whatever your 9th house is focused on–use your imagination. Donna

  7. Hi Donna,
    Among other things, 9th house rules publishing. Does this include internet as well? Any kind of broadcasting, radio, TV?

    Thank you!

    • Interesting question, Alicia. IS internet publishing still publishing? I think the copyright laws would hold that it is. However, I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that all those media (internet, radio, tv, and newspapers) are all 3rd house matters. They are emphemereal, fleeting, episodic and quickly forgotten (I Love Lucy notwithstanding).

      To return to one of the earlier questions, about the difference between the 3rd house and the 9th, I’d say that the 3rd house media are more elementary, particularized, and transient, where the 9th (publishing books) more complex, more detailed info on the big picture, and more permanent. Donna

  8. Hi Donna, I wonder if you could talk a little bit about the moon in the 9th. Thank you!

    • Hi, Lainie, as a person with a 9th house Moon, yep, I can talk about it.

      Some of it is quite literal. For one thing, two of my biggest books have been about the Moon, and have had particular appeal to women. Another is that my books and work have been widely translated in foreign countries, and I spent 10 years of my life traveling and doing workshops abroad.

      In the work of the Gauquelins, a 9th house Moon that is conjunct the Midheaven (within 10 degrees) is the strongest possible position for the Moon. It would make you highly visible for your work with issues related to the Moon, and you might be held as a role model for other women.

      It probably also would show that your own mother (and mother figures) was the dominant parent. If you were a parent, that would be a strong part of your life work.

      You might also be a strong teacher for others, in subjects related to the Moon. The Moon’s sign, of course, would be a keynote of the way you played out these roles. Donna

  9. Hi Donna,
    What could a stellium of the inner planets, Mercury, Venus and Mars in the 9th house indicate?

    • Since I don’t want to interpret a personal chart, let me talk about a stellium in the 9th in general. The more planets in a house, the more the matters of that house are likely to play a major role in your life, and the more of your energy is likely to go into working with and through the those parts of your life.

      In the 9th, it would be in some of the areas listed in the introduction: higher education, seeking answers to life’s bigger questions, religion, philosophy, law, publishing, and foreign countries. You are likely to wind up teaching some of what you’ve learned in these areas when you reach a point of mastery.

      In general, a stellium of the inner planets go along with an easier experience of those areas of life–Mercury and Venus would add warmth, humor, social skills and a gift of gab to the teaching or other 9th house endeavors. The outers produce a variety of challenges.

      There are a series of articles about stelliums on this blog, beginning here: Donna

  10. What would be the difference between a planet in the 9th and a planet in the 8th conjunct the 9th house cusp? It always seems like such a big leap from the 8th to the 9th.

    • While the 4 angles are the same in most house systems, the other (intermediate) house cusps depend on the house system you select.

      Personally, I don’t think we have a foolproof answer to that question, so I tend to take an “ask the client” approach to any important planet within 5 degrees of a house cusp. That is, I describe how the planet would be used in one and then the other of the houses in question, and then ask the client which one fits best.

      It often seems to work for both houses and may even act to draw the two houses together. So it would depend on whether, in your assessment, the planet really was working with the 8th, whether it seemed to incorporate the 9th, or whether it drew the two together. Donna

  11. How would you interpret Gemini on the cusp of the 9th? Short trips to distant places? And conversely, Sag on the cusp of the third?

    • Gemini could–and generally does–have several different meanings on the 9th cusp, not just travel.
      A long-distance commuter, e.g. a sales representative
      A facile, interesting, and funny teacher/preacher/writer of short, philosophical essays
      A reporter who focuses on legal matters.
      A tour guide who leads trips to foreign countries.
      A court stenographer or legal secretary.
      Etc. Etc.

      How gifted–and successful–they were at any of these enterprises would depend on whether there were planets in the 9th and on the relative strength of Mercury.
      Sag on the 3rd might have some of the same gifts, depending, again, on whether there were planets to back it up. Donna

  12. Does North Node in 9th house indicate living,setting up a home abroad?

    • The Node by itself would only indicate that one or more of the variety of activities related to the 9th is an important life task. Living abroad might be part of it if it were in the sign Cancer or in a good aspect to the Moon (conjunct or trine).

      I’d be more inclined to give living abroad–or far removed from the birth place–as a prediction if the Moon, Cancer planets, or the 4th house ruler were were placed in the 9th. Donna

      • That’s really interesting! I have Cancer in the 9th; it houses my Sun AND my North Node. Guess what?

        I was born in India, raised outside the country, and moved to North America around college age (I’m being deliberately vague, sorry for not being more specific). Anyhoo, pretty 9th house!

  13. kind of following inna’s question, how would one interpret the south node in the 9th?

    • It could mean a number of things, depending on the sign and aspects. You might have spent many lifetimes as a wanderer/nomad/gypsy and that itinerant life calls to you, but it’s time to stay closer to your home community. Hmm, might have been a religious figure (priest, eg) in many past lives, and you expect that kind of spiritual authority in this one, but you’re meant to just be a humble seeker/follower in this one.

      I dunno–make up past lives that could lead you to 9th house excesses in this one, and you might just hit on it. Donna

      • See, that’s really confusing to me.
        What’s a 9th Cancer Sun to do?
        Have long distance relationships with family (i.e Keep family close while Travelling across water bodies)?

      • Well, that’s what you’d call a life lesson. Suck it up! (Smiley face) Donna

  14. Since the mid heaven is such an important part of the chart… I have often wondered when a planet transits the 9th… how does it relate to the midheaven, especially if the ruler of the midheaven is involved. Thank you for such a great, long term education 🙂 pretty 9th house wouldn’t you say? long lasting info that enlightens 🙂

    • Thanks, Merrily, I AM a Jupiterian, after all. In dealing with clients for over 40 years, here’s what I often see happening when a slower-moving planet transits the 9th and then goes on to cross over the Midheaven. This is true, even for those you wouldn’t think would go back to school due to their age.

      Many of them feel stagnant in their work and yearn to grow and be more advanced in it or to switch to a more challenging career. (This is especially true of those with 6th house planets that wind up getting aspects from planets transiting the 9th.)

      So they go back to school (if they’re lucky, they’ve applied for scholarships or grants while that planet was in the 8th). The transiting planet has a lot to do with the type of program and how much time they are committing to go to school (Jupiter might be a one-year program, Saturn a 2-2 1/2 year degree, but Pluto often signifies a PhD-length program. With Uranus there can be interruptions or an unconventional type of program–e.g. lots of independent study.

      So,, they go through the program, maybe by fits and starts if it’s a long transit. By the time the transiting planet begins its series of crossings over the Midheaven, they are ready for a job, even if it’s work-study. Donna

      • Just to confirm what you’ve written, Donna – I have had Pluto in the 9th for some time and I am working on my post-doctoral project, which I have to do if I want to get a tenure – waaaay more difficult and complicated than my Ph.D.

  15. What factors would inhibit a person with a stellium in the 9th from being passionately interested in “seeking answers to life’s bigger questions”?

    • Hmm. good question. You’d probably expect a strong Saturn (maybe square to Mercury) or perhaps Taurus and Capricorn planets, the more conservative and pragmatic signs.

      Virgo might still seek answers to life’s imperfections, but with a great healthy heap of skepticism. Still, I’ve known any number of Virgos who began looking at astrology in order to debunk it and wound up making that their profession. Donna

  16. I’d like to ask the Question YOU suggested:

    If a person wants to go back to school for a degree, can 9th house transits show timing?

    And adding to that – would a Tranisting conjuction – like our current UR/JU there, within orb of the MC bring anything into the mix?


    • Hi, EJ, I’ve pretty much answered the two questions in my responses above to Tamara and Merrily. Short answer, yes, transits through the 9th are the timing I most often see for schooling (see the response to Merrily for the differences between the transits).

      However. I do also see transits from other houses to 9th house natal planets sending people back to school as well. For those transits, however, the person has to juggle responsibilities and needs from those other houses too, so there are distractions that make it difficult to give school their full attention. Donna

  17. Does the 9th house rule government agencies like the IRS? Would a tax audit be indicated by transits to the 9th house, or would that be more like a 2nd house thing?

    • Unfortunately, I can tell you about the IRS first hand! It’s governed by the 8th house (debts, other people’s money) and thus you’d look to transits through the 8th or to planets in it.

      So I guess the rule would be, if it’s going to cost you money (or if they’re doling you out a pension), the government agency is part of the 8th. If it’s making laws, it’s the 9th, and if it’s enforcing the laws or otherwise in authority over you, it’s the 10th. The Supreme Court or other Federal courts, of course, would be the 9th. Donna

  18. If the 9th house is empty and the ruler makes no aspects to other planets, does this makes the 9th house matters less important to this person?

    • Yes, it would mean that education, travel, etc. would not be a major issue for the person–except during times there is a long transit through the 9th by the slower-moving planets that impacted important factors in another house in the natal chart.

      It doesn’t mean the person would never travel, go to school, etc, just that that’s not of major import in their scheme of things. Donna

  19. What does it mean when the ruler of the 9th is in the 8th? Generally, does the ruler (position, aspects, sign, etc) tell anything about the house matters?
    thank you.

    • Yes, the position of the ruler of a house does tell you something about the house, though it’s not as strong a factor as planets actually in the house. When the house is empty, the ruler shows where the energy goes that might usually be devoted to the matters of the empty house.

      This is another reason the house a stellium of several planets is placed in is important–the strong investment in that house diverts energy from several other houses (and the areas of life governed by those houses).

      If the 9th is empty, having the ruler of the 9th in the 8th sounds like potential trouble, if there are unsound or legally questionable practices that involve other people’s money. For instance, it could lead to owning large sums money that lead to court actions. Or, it can mean that lack of financial support for education gets in the way of needed schooling. My rose-colored glasses are hazy this morning. Donna

  20. Sounds like the 9th house would show a large part of a person’s outlook on life, the lessons gleaned from life experiences and relationships? I am thinking of the 3rd house as the house of the personal -me, my experience of myself and things I identify with, the brain I was born with- and the 9th as our mentality after the trials and tribulations and interactions with others along the way?

  21. Hi again Donna!

    What could possibly mean having the ruler of the 9th house afflicted (squared by Uranus, let’s say)?

    Thank you

    • A Uranian connection to the 9th would mean an unconventional outlook on religion and the big questions of life, possibly politically radical or espousing some extreme positions. Donna

  22. Two qs for you, Donna! (mea culpa)

    1. How will the house ‘landlord’ (ruler) of 9th – i.e Jupiter – affect the planets ‘tenanting’ (occupying) it? Especially when there is an aspect between the tenant planet and the ruler?

    2. How can planets in the 9th affect the Midheaven? After all, any aspects in the 9th can only be minor (30 degrees at best).

    Sorry if they’re too technical!

    • 2) The border between the 9th house and the 10th is the Midheaven, and any planet in the 9th within 10 degrees of the Midheaven is conjunct the Midheaven. The Gauquelins found that to be the strongest position in the chart.

      1) Maybe it’s caffeine deprivation, but I haven’t a clue what you’re talking about with landlords and tenants. Are you referring to Jupiter as the landlord of the 9th because it rules Sagittarius, the sign associated with the 9th naturally? Well, I can see that any planet in the 9th takes on a Jupiterian tinge by extension, because the energy is focused on some of the things that interest Sagittarian/Jupiterian types, if that’s what you mean. And if Jupiter were aspecting it, somewhat more of a tinge. But what Jupiter does in an aspect is to expand the planet it touches, so if it were Mars, it would wind up being more Mars-like than Jupiterian. Donna

  23. Hello Donna,

    Personally the houses series is one of my favorites and I wanted to thank you again for it!

    I wish you could share your thoughts about a venus ruled sign in the 9th with venus also there. Do you think the effects would be the same in a male and in a female chart ?


    • Hmm. Well, I think the pursuits of the 9th are gender free and can apply to both men and women–we all ponder the greater issues and questions of life; we’re all capable of higher learning; we all seek to know God; we can enjoy travel equally; and we’re all capable of teaching others what we know.

      One facet of Venus in the 9th is a love of things from abroad–food, ideas, exotic locations, celebrities from other countries. And one perk of Venus in the 9th is the possibility of finding the great love of ones life among people from abroad. I think that’s true of both men and women.

      Folks, this has been a great Q & A, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. The comments are hereby closed. Donna


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