Posted by: Donna Cunningham | June 3, 2011

Readers Ask—Q&A about Sibling Relationships by Brian Clark

©6-3-2011 by Brian Clark

For an introduction to Brian’s perspective on sibling relationships as shown by the chart, see his article here: The Astrology of Sibling Relationships—and How They Affect Us as Adults.

Donna Cunningham says: I’m very pleased to introduce my long-time colleague, Brian Clark, an internationally known astrologer and one of Australia’s most respected teachers and authors. He’s made a special study of the astrology of brothers and sisters and wrote an exceptional book on the topic, so I’m excited that he’s agreed to answer questions about it today.

 How the Session Works:  The process is the same as previous Q&A sessions here on Skywriter. Readers will pose questions related to the topic in the comment section. Brian will write his insights beneath them. We’ll continue until he’s answered as many of the group’s questions as he has time for.

What to ask:  Brian will be focusing here on questions about the 3rd house or Mercury aspects as they relate to your sisters or brothers. The question should be about your own personal chart rather than someone else’s. Give the 3rd house sign and planet or your Mercury’s sign, house, and aspects, but not your birth data.

He also notes that it might be helpful for you to think about and include in your comment your sibling constellations, i.e. how many sibs? gender? position? and also if there are complexities, step sibs, half sibs, blended families, separation, death etc. And also to reflect on your birth order. 

UPDATE: The questions are closed, but if you scroll down below this post to the comment section, you can see the questions and Brian’s answers.  Perhaps one of them will be similar to your own.   

Past Q&A Sessions by Guest Bloggers:

Brian Clark is the co-founder of the Chiron Center, now located at WellBeing at the Convent, a wing of the Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne, Australia dedicated to alternative healing therapies.  He has written numerous articles on psychology, mythology and astrology, is a contributing author to Intimate Relationships (Llewellyn: 1991), the author of The Sibling Constellation (Penguin: 1999) Celestial Tarot (U.S. Games, Inc. 2007), Ancient Feminine Wisdom (oracle cards U.S. Games Inc. 2008) as well as a series of astrological publications designed for students (  

 His books have been translated into Japanese and French and articles have been translated into Italian, German, French, Spanish and Dutch.  As well he is the author of Kindred Spirits and Vocation and co-author of Goddess, report writers distributed by Esoteric Technologies ( Brian facilitates a comprehensive distance learning program through Astro*Synthesis; teaches mythology for the Nexus program, co teaches a course on Tarot and leads tours to the sacred sites of ancient Greece through Odyssey.  Brian also lectures internationally.  He has a private counselling practice utilising astrology from a psychological perspective.


  1. Hi, i’m not sure wether this has started or not, but i’ll give it a try.

    This is from my own chart: Mercury in Capricorn in the 7th house, conjunct Venus + descendant, opposite Saturn, forming a t-square with 10th house Jupiter/Chiron.
    What would this mean in relationship to my siblings? Am i forever the responsible one?
    (note: Mercury is also inconjunct 12th house Moon)


    • Hi Maaike

      First, just to say when I answer this is my way of thinking about the aspects, not saying that this is the way it is.

      I think of Venus as an image of sister as well, and with Mercury-Venus in 7th this speaks to your role as sister or with a sister or the sister story. It also speaks to the familial attitudes towards the feminine roles, like that of sister. Also in 7th this tells us that the sister archetype enters adult relationships and that it has been influenced by the earlier relationship with sibs and early childhood peers. Therefore how do you separate being a companion with being an equal partner?

      Opposite Saturn yes it speaks about being the elder, and even if you are not, you feel that compelling feeling to be responsible for others. Yet this also is influenced by Jupiter Chiron, your urge to explore the boundaries might have been inhibited by this responsibility or the lack of it in the family system meaning that you might have slipped into the vacuum of this lack.

      Yes it is worth reflecting on the patterns of the early sibling relationship to see how your adult attachments are influenced by them.

  2. Hi Brian (and Donna) – I’m prepared for the possibility of my question being rejected because my Mercury/3rd house is too complex for the purposes of this Q&A. So if that ends up to be the case, I’ll understand. Either way, thanks!

    My 3rd house has Scorpio on the cusp, and my Mercury in Scorpio sits right on the cusp of the 2nd/3rd and is conjunct both Jupiter and Neptune (also in Scorpio) – these three planets rule all of my chart’s angles. Mercury sextiles my 12th house Pluto in Virgo and squares my 5th house Moon in Aquarius – this Mercury/Moon square is the closest aspect in my chart, and my 4th house Saturn sits at the exact midpoint. I don’t know if it matters or not, but rulers of my 3rd house cusp – 12th house Pluto and 9th house retrograde Mars – also form a close square. Pluto is conjunct my Ascendant and Mars is conjunct my MC.

    I have one younger brother (an Aries), and we’re not at all close. Although there’s no tangible evidence to suggest it, I’ve always sensed I may have another sibling out there somewhere. My question would be this – is this most likely wishful (Neptunian) thinking, or does it seem at all likely based on the astrology? It’s occurred to me that my suspicions may be based on my early childhood longings for a deeper connection.

    My husband’s Sun is exactly conjunct my Mercury/3rd house cusp, so maybe he’s the lost person I was picking up on – thankfully he’s nothing like my brother!

    • Hi LB

      Yes this is complex but already I can sense you have had a lot of reflections on this complexity.

      Always some of the simple statements are the most profound and with Scorpio on the cusp of the 3rd and its ruler Pluto in the 12th there is a deep need for close attachments but feelings of loss pervade. Other ruler Mars is R intensifying this and square to Pluto this might speak of something being severed or unable to hold the competitive and the equal spirit together. Mercury – Neptune can symbolise estrangement with siblings and with Jupiter magnifying this there is a dream of a companion to walk alongside with. Yes expectations but of course disappointments. I feel it is important when an outer shows up in the 3rd to watch when it crosses the Dsc.

      How inadequate it feels to answer such a profound question but deep inside yes there was a sense of loss; we might speculate there is a lost sibling-other, but this not necessarily must be literal. And yes you take this experience into the 7th of adult relationships to rework. And with Pluto across the horizon the theme enters again; yet this time you have more choice and consciousness to address these feelings.

      Yes a potent early impression about equality that now is addressed in adult life.

      Thanks for your reflections –


      • Thank you Brian – for your very kind, very thoughtful answer.

  3. Hi, Maaike, you were a bit early, but we’re a bit late, so you’ll be hearing from Brian in just a bit.

    Greetings, Folks! I’m very excited to have Brian here to teach us more about a part of family life that has been neglected in astrological literature–brothers and sisters! So, go ahead and post your questions. Donna

  4. I have Mercury in Leo in the 10th house (sextile AC in Libra). I’m the big sister to my brother 4 years younger. We’ve always been very different from each other; as we grow older I worry that we will simply drift apart more & more. Any advice? Thanks! (My 3rd house is empty.)

    • Hi Indigirl

      I don’t know if I have any advice but perhaps a way of reflecting on this – it is often common that as we grow older we also grow away from our sibs. But as we also get closer to later life when our common parents are fading and eventually die, this relationship is the one that knits the family together and often we either are able to knit it closer or on the other hand it unravels.

      And so I always encourage where possible the healing with sibs. I find this is one of the tasks of the 11th house task, and even though we might not be able to do this with our real sibs we can with friends and colleague. Believe me we need our friends and company as we age. But you have Mercury in Leo right up there –you are supposed to be the dramatic big sis! And I would say with that placement simply start to create the space for play, fun, self expression – take the lead, start the dialogue and then as much as possible to fan the flames of te relationship. Sisters are much better at this than brothers.

      My very best


  5. Hello Brian and Donna,
    Glad for this opportunity to participate in the Q&A.
    Well, this is an aspect in my chart that I find very hard to grasp: Neptune in Sag in 3rd house (cusp in late Scorpio) opposing mars in gemini in 9th house. Its is the spine of a kite involving also 1rst and 5th houses. My question is related to neptune in transit, in the next few years will be creating a T square. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to use this time and to understand the aspect, and how it relates to my sister. We are very much in tune in certain aspects, but completely different in others.

    Thank you so much advance!

    • Hi Sabrina

      As in last post Neptune in 3rd can speak about many things – enmeshment with the sibling, difficulty separating, often feeling sacrificed by or for the sibling, estrangement, as well as idealising others. It speaks of a language created amongst the sibs and the yearning and creative impulses with them that so often cannot be materialised. Longing for a mate. However you have Mars in II opposite and need that sense of competition and equality. Therefore I wonder about how you are able to feel that you can express your own desires, not give up on what you want, feel competitive but not threatening, be free but also be merged.

      As Neptune now starts to square you are in your early 40’s with life experience to begin to asset your desires and not feel that others will let go. Your sister becomes a great outer hook for these inner challenges and I would say hey! Let’s have a game of something together so we can feel close but also separate. You task over this transit is to feel you can flow with your own desires even if it feels that might be going against the flow of what your peers want. A learning curve looms

      And good luck


      • This is wonderful Brian! Thanks again and blessings your way…

  6. Basically, my big and only brother wants me dead (yes, really). I’d like to know WTH?

    My Mercury is in Taurus (his in Gemini) and (like his) in the 12th house. My Mercury opposes Jupiter in the 6th house.

    My Mercury’s also conjunct Chiron, in a quincunx with Pluto, and in a semisextile with the North Node.

    I’m female. We have an older half-sister we’ve never met. Our parents are alive, no thanks to him. He had a lousy relationship with our father and a great one with our mother.

    We grew up together, and while we had a slightly intense sibling rivalry, the whole wanting me dead deal went beyond any expectation.

    • Hello Brian, hello Donna. I forgot to say “hi” and “thank you”. *blushes*

    • Hi Mina

      How often do we as younger children feel the heat and anger of the older sib? However when it extends beyond the nursery and classroom then we do have a problem. But this started before you were born as there seem to be fractures beforehand that have not been repaired. the Mercury in the 12 might speak to your those spits in previous generation that have never healed.

      Your Chiron/Mercury points to the feelings of disenfranchisement and marginality in the system. You have another sister that has not been part of your life. It sounds as if your first system, the family, could not hold these feels of exclusion and handling the splitting was not easy. You and your brotehr seem to be holding this tension.

      But Chiron also points to our healing journey and with these two in tow it begins in the sibling relationship on some level. And in the 12th begins in your inner life which will be rewarding

      My very best for that healing


      • Thank you. =)

  7. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for your contribution.

    Birth order-> I’m the older sister of a brother; my mother is a younger sister of brothers and sisters; my father is a younger brother of brothers and sisters. I noticed that in the recent past I’d date men who wanted/sent signals to be mothered, and as older sister, I did the mothering willingly (complementary scripts you could say.)

    Not that keen on that now, as I want support in relationships.

    My mercury is 29.10 aquarius, conjunct the IC (29.10 t00) and conjunct venus at 22 aquarius. It trines 8th house mars in gemini and sextiles 6th house jupiter and chiron in aries. It inconjuncts 9th house saturn in cancer, which rules the third house. Mercury rules my 8th house and my 10th house (intercepted virgo.)

    Oh, forgot the trine to 12th house uranus conjunct my ascendant. That’s all. Thanks
    I’m curious about how my relationship with my brother is reflected in my relationship to my peers/classmates. Hope you can share your insights. Thanks again.


    • Hi Cris

      Regarding the birth order it is interesting to note that both parents are youngers and the question is who takes the lead – also as younger they are more akin to that position and not necessarily to yours as the elder.

      With only the two of you the relationship becomes more intense and as opposite sex siblings the role of sib and partner are aligned. You do have Venus in 3rd and the sister role is important.

      Now Chiron and Neptune have just transited your 3rd for some time and scour now the bottom of your chart and so you are getting to the deeper base needs of your freedom – and with Uranus on the horizon and your Mars in II they speak of the need to be equal, competitive and part of the system and tribe. However Capricorn is on the gate of the 3rd house and the key that unlocks it is Saturn in Cancer and as you say you voluntarily took on mothering – yes this is a good role but once you are into the zone you need and desire freedom and equality. Perhaps it might be good to reflect on how those ingredients were mixed in the laboratory of your sib relationship. In adult life set up the structures to be autonomous and self reliant but then once they are in place you are very able to find that equality and companionship. Again reflect on how that might be with the early pairing with brother.

      But it is the transit of Neptune on the IC I feel is so important as it is washing away a lot of the debris that may keep you from really feeling safe deep down, that part that want to stay just a bit aloof – never mind it is melting!

      Great question and I would keep them coming as communicating with others is such a great communion for you.



  8. I have a couple of friends with siblings who have emotional/psychiatric problems. What they have in common is Neptune in the 3rd House. Does this explain it?

    • Hi Mary

      This certainly is an interesting pattern but I would not say that it explains but certainly gives us lots to contemplate. Perhaps we might say it points to the imagination and fantasy of the young never being adequately identified. It also suggests the estrangement of the sibs and for me it also points to the sensitivity of the sibling who might have been more in the other world than this one. Your friends with the Neptune in the 3rd are left only to have the possibility of what that relationship might be and the pattern of idealisation, longing and sacrifice enter relationship. Those who have had an impaired sibling know the sacrifices made.

      Be well


  9. My Mercury’s in Capricorn/9th conjunct MH/Aquarius, trine Saturn/Virgo and Ascendant/Taurus and square Neptune/Libra. I’m the oldest of 7, a female with 2 sisters/4 brothers. Interesting enuf, the 3 relationship houses are all empty of planets. I feel like my family of origin has been training for getting along with everyone. Any observations, Brian?


    • Hi Windflower

      What a great response – that your family has been in training for getting along – I do hope that to be so.

      Empty houses of course have rulers but I am drawn to your Merc in Cap and you are the eldest – right up there on the MC, in the Gauguelin sector that is so potent – and it is square Neptune and so there are a few challenges along the way but this is perhaps also telling us the necessity for adjustments and negotiations in the system.

      My observation helps to support the way I view a chart. I try and not impose myself, my ideas or theories on a chart, but listen to the client’s story and see how the chart responds to that and how I can mediate the dialogue in a way. So far that earthy part of you seems to have dealt with the issues and being in that 7th decade suggests you have had lots of experience negotiating interactions amongst others.

      Being eldest of 7 you had good training! And also had to develop a sense of humour and good insights



  10. My husband has a very full third house with Mercury, Sun, and Uranus, (all within 1 .5 degrees) as well as Pluto and Venus, all in Libra.

    I have often wondered how someone with so much going on in this house could have such a distant and uncomfortable relationship with his brother and sister as well as being very much an introvert.

    (I also wanted to let you know that I have really enjoyed your Goddess report.)

    • Hi Mari

      First thanks for your feedback on the Goddess Report – my love is mythology and the asteroids certainly allow that to speak. And when I understood the complex pattern of myth underpinning II, I also came to appreciate the instinctual depth of that sign.

      One way we can think about overloaded houses is to wonder if they get propelled into the opposite sphere as a mechanism of coping. Also Uranus in the 3rd can be a pattern of disengagement, even disassociation, with the sibling system and Pluto in the 3rd might talk about a deep sense of aloneness or loss in there. With all that energy there it might be safer to say adieu. One way I think about the planetary connections is that when we have the outers they bring in the larger patterns of fate into the personal realm overwhelming the inners. Sun in this realm might speak of favouritism in the sibling. So we see there might be an undercurrent of powerful feelings best left dangling.

      So it is a huge area and of course as life unfolds these issues will present. One way is through other closes associations like you being his adult partner. You will get a glimpse of some of his patterns through how he has dealt with the sibs.

      An offside at this point – reflect on your partner’s birth order and the gender make-up of their sibling system and yours –

      So yes the question might be what does it truly reflect in his life?

      My best wishes


      • Thank you. You have given me plenty to ponder.

  11. My Mercury is 19*33’21” Capricorn in the 6th house. It inconjuncts Pluto & Moon Leo 1st; trines Saturn Virgo 1st; squares Mars & Neptune Libra 2nd; semisextiles Chiron Sagittarius 4th; sesquares MC.

    I am the only child of my parents who separated before my birth. I have an older brother from my mother who was adopted at birth. Both parents remarried and had 5 living children each. My mother also had 1 stillborn child – her youngest. I was raised with my mother until I was 13, then all of her children were separated. My father began his second family when I was 17. Two of his children are younger than my two children, three are younger than my eldest child.

    I have great difficulty seeing my siblings in my chart – if you find this question interesting, would you please give me some pointers? Thanks.

    • From Brian:
      Hi Marie

      I was interested in the comment that you have difficulty seeing your siblings in the chart, as with such a complex and traumatic arrangement, I say no wonder. It would be hard to contemplate on some levels.

      My experience has taught me to respect when someone says they cannot see something in a chart. There may be good reasons for this. And so perhaps we could see Mercury as the carrier of sibling themes and each aspect as part of this –

      Thanks for your story


  12. Brian, Thanks for coming here and thanks to Donna for hosting you.
    I am an only child that found out as an adult that I have a half-sister by my father. I have met her but we are not close because she does not seem to wish close contact and does and says things that keep me away. My question is how can a chart show being an only child with half-siblings with whom one is not close? One of my issues as I age is that lack of close kin.

    I have nothing in Gemini or in my 9th House, but I have Chiron in 3 in Sag square Mercury/Saturn in Virgo in 12. My Chiron in 3 is trine my Sun cazimi Pluto in Leo in 11 and exactly trine my Neptune in Libra Ascending. How would this configuration show my sibling relationships or more in my case, the lack thereof? I will also add that Saturn/Cap rules my 4th House.

    My half-sis’s Moon in Gemini is opposite my Chiron and her Moon, Mercury and Venus in Pisces square that mess. Her Sun in Aries is conjunct my Vertex in7.
    Thank you for any input.

    • Hi Mel810

      Thanks for your sensitive question.

      While there are certain archetypes more attuned to being alone or only, my way of thinking is that when they are combined with the images of siblings then I am wondering about the sense of being alone in a system.

      And you have told of at least 3 major ones- Saturn (alone) is conjunct Mercury (sib), Mercury (Sib) is in 12th (hidden) and Chiron (marginal) is in the 3rd (territory of sib). That then tells me of your feelings of marginality and attachment in that realm. These simple statements are huge in that they reflect that deep sense as you say of connection as you age.

      How might we reflect on this fate? Well again I imagine a deep inner life and yes while there is a sense of pain of being alone there is also the sense of the way it is. You make your friends and your close companions outside the system and this system that you are outside is the sibling one. But it is not a rejection (although it may feel this way) but belonging to another system.

      When I was researching sibs I pondered a lot about only children – both my Mom and Dad were only children (not a great combination) and I recognised that the urge for siblings was still a huge part of their life and so they found friends who became life-long sibling substitutes. I hope you too find your companions even though they are not destined to be part of the blood line.


  13. Hi Brian and Donna. I don’t have any relationship with my two sisters at all. We have different fathers, same mother. I have seen my sisters – one older, one a lot younger – twice in 25 yrs.

    I have jup/chiron in Pisces in the third, aquarius on the cusp. The conj is the focal of a kite, involving 12th (Nep Sc), 9th (Virgo stellium) and 8th (Mars). Both Neptune and Chrion is currently transiting my third house, and will soon get to the conj. Could you say something about how that might play out in regards to siblings?

    • Hi Natalie

      Again we are seeing the simple statement of Chiron in the 3rd synchronous with the disenfranchisement within the sibling system and my experience is also that this would be patterns from the familial past. And as you say with Chiron now in Pisces it has crossed the cusp and approaching its return in the 3rd. This speaks to the acceptance of this situation; as we reach 50 there are many situations and experiences not of our choosing or of our choosing for someone else’s goals. And at 50 we wonder what can be redeemed and what must be finally accepted as is. Jupiter-Chiron speaks about a cross cultural theme in the system and can you reach beyond that. What is the cross cultural patterns that have kept you distant from your sisters and can that be bridges or must it now be left? As Neptune also approaches dissolution takes place and I would imagine that you feel much more accepting of this situation and hopefully accept your own values, views, ideas and insights as your own valuable property.

      Monitor your feelings around this and rather than [perhaps feel excluded, realise that you are culturally or in some ways very different – you do not need to be inside to belong

      My very best for your Chiron return –


  14. Hello,
    I’m the oldest and my relation with 2 sisters and one brother is bad. I have one other brother who died at 4.
    I’m kind of rejected by them and isolated from my family , much more since my father died. I think this bad relationship is mostly the consequence of my mother’s behavior. Although we had some fun, there was alot of competition between children and not much justice. She encouraged bad behavior between us, no brotherhood, respect nor forgiveness or tenderness.

    My third house cusp is at the beginning of scorpio with neptune in 2nd close to the 3rd cusp and I have jupiter in scorpio (in 3rd) trine mercury in cancer (11th) but square the moon conjunct chiron in aquarius. I have saturn in 4th and pluto in 12th, a virgo ascendant.

    With jupiter in 3rd trine mercury in 11th, it is supposed to be a good aspect to have . This aspect gave me a gift for intellectual matters but no good relationship with my brother and sisters. What do you think of that?
    Thank you very much, Claire.

    • Hi Claire

      Well no matter how good our aspects are, we need to have a sense of close attachment, support and a healthy enough family system to be able to help contain our sense of safety.

      As you say Saturn is in the 4th and the Moon is conjunct Chiron (and Pluto in 12th) – it sounds as if these placements were not supported in a healthy way. Moon-Chiron often speaks to mother’s feelings of being marginal – Moon in Aquarius, a bright mother, intellectually, and perhaps unable to pursue this – as you say you have been able to accept this. Mother is marginal to being a mother. Saturn in the 4th might tell us about rigid and conditional attachment while Pluto in 12 speaks to what has been lost but never acknowledged, mourned or buried. And so the question might be how this family atmosphere can support a system of siblings? As elder, it is difficult with Jupiter in the 3rd as you want to move beyond the limits of this system but also as elder feel responsible, not knowing where to fit.

      I wonder if it might be liberating to reach both deep down (Scorpio) and way beyond your sibling system to explore what you need. Freedom from this system – they might be intrigued enough to ask.

      Thanks and best wishes


  15. No more questions, folks! I want to say a big thank you for Brian for sharing his experience and his percerptive astrological and psychological insights into such an important but not well-understood part of our lives. What a wonder the blogosphere is! He’s more than half a world away in Melbourne, Australia, writing to us as intimately as if we were in the same room. Donna

    • Thank you Donna for your support and may I say wonderful contributions to our astrological world. This was my first blogging experience – a virgin blogger – sounds like an oxymoron – at ime I do feel quite poly-moronic!

      Yes I am in my afternoon on a late autumn day in Melbourne – again thanks so much Donna and all your bloggers


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