You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Another Essay on Love Astrology: The 5th House and Identity

Try to stay alive long enough to experience the joy of melting onto the object of your affection at least once. It’s totally worth the wait.

The fifth house is the house of romance and the house of self-expression. That’s not an accident: we tend to crush on and pursue the people who represent something in us that we want to express.

Because opposites do not actually attract. Your descendant is as much a part of you as your ascendant. The opposite sun sign is probably just alright with you. The people who are actually your opposites tend to repulse or annoy you. 

Don’t look across the table for enemies; look askance.

Look at the signs inconjunct your sun sign. Look at where your empty signs are (a sign with a mathematical and/or important midpoint is not empty). Look at the signs opposite the apex planet in a t-square. Those signs represent the people who are your “opposites,” as in opposed to you, not your opposites as in your fascinating, complementary other.

The sign on the cusp of the 5th house represents the kind of person you go for and likely pursue out of romantic/sexual fascination. The nature ruler of that sign, by sign, house, and aspect, tells you the kind of person you crush on.

Because you know, not everyone manages to have a relationship with someone they once had a crush on. Limerence is a type of love and vital to one’s sense of self and satisfaction in life (says me), but fifth house fascination doesn’t always turn into 7th house relationships. 

I have actually never had a relationship with any boy I ever had a crush on, come to think of it. Come to think of it, they either didn’t like me or didn’t know I existed, or if they later came around, I was already over it.

The ruler of my 5th house, the Moon, is in first house Aries, opposing Saturn in 7th house Virgo. The Sun in Sagittarius trines the Moon. 

Ceres is conjunct the Moon. 

Having a Martian-ruled Moon is difficult enough, though I can’t say I remember any different, and I can understand all other Moons intellectually though not experientially. But this kind of placement says that I will crush on guys who are like me (first house), probably not very sophisticated (Cancer) but very very male (Aries), and disinterested in committed relationships (Sagittarius), but he won’t want me or even know which girl I am (Saturn), if ever (Saturn) or only after I have given up and moved on (Saturn), especially since my way of maintaining a crush is to attempt to help him (Ceres) and engage him directly/chase him (Aries), all the while creating a list in my brain of all the reasons why this guy sucks and I’m better than he is (ruler of the Moon and Ceres in 6th house Virgo), and that should the opportunity arise, I won’t talk to him in any manner that lets him know I’m interested because that kind of fleeting vulnerability feels like a hammer to the chest (Saturn conjunct the descendant in the 7th house).

Oh, and I have never had a mutual crush in my life (ruler of the 5th house opposite Saturn on the descendant).

Knowing that if I develop a crush that I doom the relationship makes life a little easier though. Of course, this could be the Moon/Saturn dynamic of self-defeat talking, too, but at least I know it’s all my own fault, and that these things fizzle out like a sparkler on a breezy summer night, and nothing comes of it. At 33, however, I finally learned how to let go, be pursued, be wooed, let a man with positive Saturn traits into my life, and we’re still together.

I finally figured out how to attract what I wanted and needed, and it wasn’t what my 5th house wanted.

I’m my fifth house in this relationship.

And I don’t know if I have personally hit the age when I may not have crushes anymore, but I think I’m close to the age where I know and embrace enough to not have to explore myself this way.

Because crushes are actually about the crusher, not the crushee.

But it’s more complicated than that, isn’t it? Most of us approach relationships the same way we approach other things.

A person’s general approach in life will tell you how they pursue pleasure and romance, too. A cardinal type will dive in as if pride doesn’t exist knowing that even though they’re sure this one is The One, there will always be another. A fixed type won’t do anything or they’ll move at a glacial pace until they have everything in place and conditions are absolutely ideal. A mutable type may live out an entire relationship solely within their imaginations or live it out in an instant and move on before the other person knows what’s happened, or be completely oblivious to the fact that the other person considers it a relationship.

And, of course: how one receives love, recognizes love, and gives love matters too.

I’ve been asked what I think of love languages. I think they’re nice, but I don’t do anything with them because it’s a very simplistic system. I think we all know that though, and we’re focused on predominant language. 
I know my predominant love language – the one I use to show love, and the one I’m most receptive to when receiving love. However, I think that humans are receptive to all the love languages, and there’s no one who is completely oblivious to one of the love languages if they’re actually receptive to love and to receiving love. 

I suppose if you’re interested, you can break them down by signs:

Receiving Gifts: Taurus, Capricorn, Leo

Quality Time: Aries, Sagittarius, Gemini

Words of Affirmation: Libra, Aquarius, Leo

Acts of Service: Virgo, Pisces, Cancer

Physical Touch: Capricorn (no, really), Scorpio, Aries

Actually, this really doesn’t mean anything, because all the signs like all the affection because we all really need all of these things from people to understand that they love us, because love is comprehensive and it touches everything. Granted, I suppose that we find it easier to show love in some ways and are receptive to love in some ways.

According to the love language quizzes, I tend to show love and feel loved through acts of service, which is probably a lonelier way to show love, because 1) it mimics duty, 2) it makes us look parental, 3) it’s subtle, 4) it requires labor, and 5) it’s therefore not really fun. If I wake up and make a fire to heat the house, if I fix the leaky sink, if I make you soup when you’re sick or I spend the day shopping for a shade of purple lipstick you like, or stay up with you to make a budget to pay off your school loans, or change the toilet paper roll in your bathroom, I’m not doing this merely so you don’t have to do this or because I enjoy this stuff for it’s own sake.

But it could appear that way at times, and I have also taken for granted all the little ways people have made life easier and more pleasant for me.

Do you remember the parable of Mary and Martha? I hate this parable. In this parable, Jesus and his disciples show up to the house of Mary and Martha. While Martha is single-handedly doing all the work to feed and house these guests, Mary is sitting and Jesus’s feet. Martha, exasperated, asks Jesus to tell Mary to help her (that was her mistake – being passive-aggressive doesn’t work), and he basically tells her no, that she fucked up by not sitting down and listening to him instead, that while it’s cool that she’s doing everything to house and feed all these guests as a woman was expected to do back then, she really should have disobeyed everyone in the world and fed Jesus’s enormous ego instead of trying to feed all the actual people with actual food.

And whenever I hear this parable, all I can think is Fuck you, Jesus. Make your own fucking dinner. Go do your magic and feed everyone and then magically clean up. Yeah, so the only thing you need is the Word of God? Yeah, well it’s kind of hard to sit and hear it when you’re starving and don’t have somewhere comfy to sit, like my house.

I mean really: if all he fucking wanted was an audience, then why did he let Martha try to feed and care for all those people (all of his disciples, too), all by herself, like a fucking fool, when he didn’t even want it anyway? Jesus knew damn fucking well that this is how Martha was going to show Jesus that he and all his friends were welcome in her home, and while there may have been some lofty lesson that she should just trust that god can take care of himself, he just took all of Martha’s loving preparations and told her they don’t fucking matter, because god can take care of himself.

And it was Martha, I believe, who became the first secular humanist.

But what is interesting to note in the love languages is that there is no “tough love.” Most people who use the term casually don’t actually know what it is and tend to use it as a euphemism for the abuse they’re committing. Tough love is actually a form of self-love, of setting boundaries with dysfunctional people who are abusive or harmful. It doesn’t actually work to change dysfunctional people, but it does help one to protect themselves from dysfunctional people. Yet, you’ll hear people use the term “tough love” incorrectly — “tough love” as in the abuse and exploitation of teenagers in private boot camps, “tough love” as in striking someone, Biblically mandated or not, “tough love” as in criticism, insults, alienation, or the refusal to allow someone their privacy or dignity. These things are abuse, not love, and there is no love in abuse, though abusers like to conflate the two.

You don’t hurt someone because you love them. You hurt them because you place your own desires above their needs, which is the antithesis of love. Truly, can you imagine what it would be like if we still spoke to survivors of spousal abuse the way we talk to survivors of child abuse?

How you give and receive love also depends on ones own experiences of love and what wasn’t love but had to pass as love so the individual could survive. 

The Sun-Moon relationship does shed light on how easily a person loves other people, in how they manifest (Sun) emotions (Moon) as part of their consciousness (Sun) instinctively (Moon).

One thing you’ll notice in sibling charts is that the 10th and 4th houses are different, as are the Sun and Moon. The Sun and Moon, 4th and 10th houses aren’t the parents in the chart so much as they represent the subjective experience of the parents. Children don’t experience the parents the same in all families. For example, in many dysfunctional families, one or two of the children are the scapegoats upon which the abuse and neglect is hurled while the others manage to escape with little or no abuse or neglect. They grow up to be adults who don’t understand each other because they had two different upbringings. In families where there are significant age gaps between siblings and sibling groups, or where there is misogyny or misandry, the siblings have two different family experiences.

You’ll also notice that the siblings had different love experiences, and that they experienced familial love differently, as well as the love or lack of love between the parents. For example, one sibling could have the Sun and Moon trine, but that doesn’t actually mean that parents loved each other; it means that the subjective experience or knowledge of that individual sibling when he or she was a child was that the parents were in love and got along. The child doesn’t necessarily know what went on in the parents’ hearts, or what happened behind closed doors or in the bedroom, but the child believed their was harmony between the parents, regardless of whether their was harmony with any other people and the parents.

Another child in that same family, born later, could have the Sun and Moon square, showing that this child was born around the veneer of romance had long worn away to show the pulp and rot underneath. Or, this child may have been the one who was aware of the truth.

I think it’s a worse early love experience to be lied to, to be told that your parents love each other when they actually don’t, or that they love you when they actually don’t. This way, instead of searching for the love that wasn’t there, you’re also trying to get rid of early conditioning based on the lies.

If I’m recalling correctly from the memoirs I read as an undergraduate, Vivian Gornick’s Fierce Attachments contrasted the relationship between her own parents and a neighbor couple’s relationship. As a child, Vivian was always told by her mother that her parents had this amazing, wonderful, fated romantic relationship — and it was her mother who told her that. Yet, her parents didn’t have a bedroom – they slept in the kitchen. There was no privacy, and yet, Vivian couldn’t recall her parents ever being really intimate, even in an innocent way. Yet, the neighbors, who fought, had a sex life, an intimate world of their own that her parents did not seem to have. As children, we don’t necessarily understand when someone is laying it on a bit thick and seems intent on convincing the world of something that with one’s own eyes, one can see doesn’t really exist. We just know what we’re told.

Vivian Gornick has the Moon closely inconjunct the Moon, and the Moon tightly trine Pluto, which is her strongest aspect. Venus is a singleton. I don’t know when she was born though, or in what house the Moon would be, and I don’t venture to guess, though I think she looks a bit like a Capricorn rising:

I don’t intend to do a chart analysis of Vivian Gornick, but I do want to show a “fierce” attachment of the Moon and Pluto here, trine and in mutual reception. In a later blog, I’ll write about the tragic trouble with trines, but for now,

I once knew a very, very sick woman who would discuss the Biblical role of marriage in this way:
God made it easy for wives. He only commanded them to obey their husbands. But he commanded men to love their wives. To love them! Can you imagine just how much harder it is to love your spouse than to obey them? How much harder that actually is to actually love your spouse?

And she didn’t mean to love the spouse unconditionally and to be willing to lay down your life for her as Christ loved the Church, which is actually what was called for in the letter to the Ephesians. She never got that far, and I don’t think she understood what that kind of love means. She literally just meant love in general, and she thought it was difficult for a man to love a wife because 1) she didn’t think men were really capable of love without God commanding it from them, and 2) wives were not inherently lovable. 

Personally, I’d rather be asked to lay down my life for someone I love than be asked to obey some random dude blindly because his imaginary friend said I had to do so. Of course, again: the relationship is supposed to be symbiotic, and I suppose it’s easy, or easier, to obey someone you know would give their own life so that you would live and it’s not just talk, but that’s not what she meant, either. Also, she’s not from a culture in which arranged marriages occur. She really took it at face value.

And it’s stuck with me, this conversation, or lecture I guess, for what it is: a confession that she doesn’t understand love and may not actually experience it. 

And that frightened me, because this tells me two things:

First, it inadvertently tells me what kind of wife this woman may be. Second, it tells me that there are people out there who find it difficult to love the people they choose to bring into their lives.

See, even for someone like me who has a lot of karma surrounding lack of love, alienation, and learning to love, trust, and be open to love, I’m still very capable of loving people, even despite myself, even if I don’t show it except in weird ways, like offering to make them an excel spreadsheet of their expenses, or to make them bread when it’s cold out. We all find it difficult to love the people we don’t choose to bring into our lives, but find a way to do it anyway. Many people love their parents and their siblings. Many people make friends with people they wouldn’t otherwise be friends with only because proximity brings them together. Many of us are still friends with our old classmates, for example. We share experiences, and those experiences mold us, and if we are loving, we allow ourselves to be shaped in a way that makes our shape fit better with the shapes of the people around us.

Yet, it’s another thing to find it difficult to love the people you chose to bring into your life. Your spouse, your children, your friends, your pen pals – whatever. Aren’t these the people you love despite yourself? And having been divorced and having a pretty bad first marriage, I understand the kind of erosion that has to happen to go from love to hate, or that some people don’t actually really love other people at all even if they say they do…but even if they say they love and don’t actually love, don’t they at least believe they love?

One of the things about being a person who tends to live a solitary or low-social life is that I have had relatively fewer experiences in which I was so upset I didn’t want to be alone, or wasn’t okay with being alone, or that I was so happy I needed to share the experience with someone else. It’s not that I don’t like people or socializing, actually: if everyone has a social cup in which social activity is poured to quench their thirst, mine is a thimble or a shot glass. Sometimes my cup is bigger, but lately it’s been smaller. I get a lot from very little. And yet, the people I keep in my life regularly are very important to me. I don’t have the time or energy for people who simply pass the time or fill in a gap because there aren’t really any gaps to fill. I am also never the type who dated to simply have a boyfriend, because that’s tedious and distracting.

So I can’t imagine entering into a marriage, or any long-term relationship without either the intent or the capability of loving the other person. While the early Christians were likely in marriages that were arranged for them, or were more like business deals, it’s still hard for me to imagine not feeling love for someone who does things for you all the time and shares experiences with you unless they’re super terrible to you all the time, but even then, the human mind tends to find a way to work around that for the sake of togetherness.

You notice this more with parents to their children, but spouses may confuse an interest in possessing the other person with having love for them. In the kind of work I’m in, it’s something I see more and more: parents who don’t actually love their children, who don’t actually have their best interests in mind, but want to possess the children because they are theirs. And I think that children-as-possessions is a particularly interesting interpersonal phenomenon, because, for the most part, people don’t want to think of parents not actually loving their children, even if those parents simply want the children because they have half the parent’s DNA, and they feel the child belongs to them.

You see that when non-biological fathers take off once they discover the child they’ve thought to have been their child for years is some other man’s child, even though they raised and cared for that child. But that’s different, you say.

And I say it is not; it’s just one way we socially sanction conditional love — this kind of love, like all idealized, conditional love, is a kind of parental limerence, and parent-child relationships and love are also ruled by the 5th house.

Parental love, something I also don’t quite intimately understand and something that eludes me, but intellectually, I understand. Parents have to fall in love with their babies and idealize them because otherwise, there’s not much to love. Babies are discolored and lumpy and not very interesting when they first come out. Some have a salient feature we can say they’ve inherited from a parent, but other than the fascination with their tininess, little babies don’t offer much. They don’t have personality, they don’t engage, they don’t smile, they don’t really even look at you much. Eventually, over the weeks, they become the babies people love, but not right away. Parental limerence has to kick in first before parents can really fall in love with their babies.

It’s best that parental love doesn’t turn into 7th it 8th house love – emotional and physical incest are terrible, harmful, and there is no child who is the miraculous exception who benefits from the loss of childhood. So, how does 5th house love work when it comes to children?

I don’t know, because I think this isn’t in the stars for me, but I would imagine the joy of creation (5th house) and witnessing the evolution of self-expression (5th house) creates an attachment that becomes unconditional love for progeny. When we’re so proud of the things we make, we see the flaws but not the necessity to tear them away, lest we ruin the integrity of the entire thing. Some books and films are way too long for this reason. Some children remain children too long for this reason, too.

Those who don’t see the connection here are probably not inherently creative. The things you make take on a life of their own, separate from you, the maker, leaving you to witness sometimes that is both you and not you, both within your control and not in your control, both shaped by your wisdom and by things you never actually have given any thought. These things can anger you, drive you mad, cause you deep shame and sorry, force you to question your sanity and confront the worst parts of yourself as you see them acted out in front of you and the entire world.

This is how I imagine parenthood, too, and my ambivalence at probably not becoming a parent in this life is quelled by the relief that I have been creative in other ways and there is no menopause for creativity.

Limerence is ultimately a form of self-expression, and ultimately, a form of identity.

If you look at your crushes, your “types,” your flings, they say something about you. Romeo fell in love with every pretty girl he saw: Juliet just happened to be a bit tastier as she was the most forbidden fruit, but what would have come of it if there was no family feud, no one stupid enough to marry the two kids? The fire would have faded to embers and then ashes, and Romeo would have moved on to the next pretty aristocratic girl because that’s what he does: his identity is in his pursuit of these women and in his inability to have them.

But what was Romeo actually pursuing? He was pursuing Romeo. Juliet cried out into the darkness seeking Juliet, not Romeo.

And what they found in each other was their own mirror reflection of their own feverish states, rebellion, and teenage horniness. Again, any other pretty face might have worked if there wasn’t the family feud taboo to sweeten the deal.

We’re they actually “star-crossed lovers?” Well.l, if they weren’t then, they are now, because that’s some serious karma-making dumb shit they did. If they were real people, they’d likely be the kind of soul mate couple who keep incarnating and killing each other, over and over again.

I’m hesitant to think anyone has a karmic urgency to merely fuck someone unless there is some sort of pre-life agreement to make a baby or a porno together in this life. I’m more inclined to think that people rekindle past-life romances regardless of sexual orientation and gender in this lifetime. I think that the soul wants something even if the brain does not, and that sometimes, the power of chemistry overrides the seemingly static structures of the brain…

…but I’m not even sure if sexual orientation is inborn and static (though men’s orientations are more rigid — no pun intended — than women’s), or ever evolving, even if it largely remains focused on one gender or the other, because we become as we interact with the world. Situational homosexuality (and situational heterosexuality), for example, bro jobs, LUGs.

I have read somewhere that there are people in the world who may have a romantic orientation that is different from their sexual orientation. I find this fascinating because while I have a belief that sexual orientation and preference isn’t set in stone and that it actually develops continuously through interaction and in reaction, the idea that a romantic orientation or preference could develop separately and even irrespective of sexual preference is intriguing to this astrologer.

I understand sexuality – that’s the 8th house. I understand partnership – that’s the 7th house. I understand romance – that’s the 5th house. But these houses can all represent different types of people — sometimes there’s a type, sometimes an outlier, sometimes a dalliance, and sometimes a karmic connection that pierces the wall between incarnations and manifests in the here and now, irrespective of sexual preference. Those things are seen in the houses. I understand that.

If you’re lucky, you’ll marry or pair off with someone who fulfills the needs of the 5th through 8th houses (yes, the 6th house too), because these are the you-and-me houses. You’ll find someone who turns you on the way your 5th house says you should be turned on. You’ll find someone who can help you and someone you can help the way the 6th house tells you. You’ll find someone to be your equal partner the way the 7th house tells you. You’ll find someone to be intimate with and surrender to the way the 8th house tells you. You’ll be able to work out any karma you have concerning these houses so you can get what you want and what you need with ease.

Unless you’re of a mismatched orientation, an idea of which I am currently fascinated with because it’s not something I have ever experienced. I have Venus and Mars trine in earth signs. I don’t understand romance without sex, but I do easily understand sex without romance. I understand how these could be mutually exclusive, but I can’t see myself experiencing mismatched orientation.

And then I imagine what it must be like to say, be homosexual but hetero-romantic, or heterosexual but homo-romantic, and then I wish I had the astrology charts of some of these people, because I think it would be a combination of a Mars-Venus conflict and a 5th house/7th or 8th house disconnect or conflict. I’m trying to imagine what it would be like: do you have a partner to cuddle with, go on dates, and share your intimate thoughts, and then get laid on the side casually, no strings? Or do you commit to one partner because they satisfy your soul, but you wish they had different genitals? Or, do you partner with your gender of sexual preference but reserve the intimacy of the minds and hearts for non-sexual friendships? Because I think I see this pretty often among people who are just friends.

And I think I see this because what we’re looking for in romance comes later in the evolutionary timeline for humans than what we like to fuck, because romance implies something staying around for a while, something that requires talking and cooperation, the way that things in the houses under the horizon tend to do, a part of us that stays around.

Look at your fifth house. What is it telling you? And did you ultimately end up with your fifth house type?

And I bet you never forgot your crushes. What if your old (or one of your old) high school crushes walked in the door right now? Would you blush? Would you sit up straighter? Would you immediately reason with yourself why it’s good that that one got away?

Because you wouldn’t do nothing at all, because they’re still a part of you, whether you know it, whether they know it.

3 thoughts on “You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Another Essay on Love Astrology: The 5th House and Identity

  1. Beautiful and insightful article as always. It’s tragic and shameful that in this time and era people still confuse feelings of possession, loyalty out of tradition or fear of opinion of other people with feelings of love. If you truly love another, you love them for who they are not who you want them to be and it all of course starts with the love for oneself. If we are to experience even fleeting moments of such love, we must first learn to love ourselves. For the Other we discover in other people is only an echo of the Other we find in ourselves, if we only care to listen.

    So far I have been in love only once. It was a fifth house thing, with her mars barely making it into the fifth house but still and intense experience. My fifth house is in Sagittarius and Capricorn; her Mars was in Capricorn. My sixth house is in Capricorn and Aquarius; her Mars is actually a part of a stellium with Venus, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus and they also fell into my sixth house. Her Mon is in Aquarius, which fell into my seventh house, leaving only the eighth house empty, which is also the sad reason why this relationship never blossomed into something more and lasting; I couldn’t truly trust her and surrender. My eighth house is mostly Pisces, with a bit of Aries, and her Sun was Pisces as well but sadly at an early degree, thus falling only into my seventh house. The relationship made me a wreck, though it was still a wonderful experience that made me who I am today.

    In the end this basically means I’ll have to learn how to juggle the energies of Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces, a colorful combination to say the least, if I should ever hope to find a lasting romance. This should be fun. Oddly enough though, I don’t seem to meet so many Sagittarius people in my life, mostly Pisces..

  2. Pingback: Gratitude Attitude: Actual Gratitude in Astrology | Fugitive Umbrellas

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