On Self-Giving and Self-Expressing

This article addresses the difference between the 5th and 11th houses.  These houses correspond to Leo and Aquarius respectively.  The 5th house (which relates to Leo) and the 11th house (which relates to Aquarius) are, in some ways, complete opposites.  This comes as no surprise as they are always opposite each other in the zodiac.

Leo, being ruled by the Sun, wants to shine and to be seen by others while Aquarius, ruled by Saturn, wants to work and serve and, as an air sign, is also social.  The combination of Aquarius and the 11th creates a tendency for social service.  Serving a greater purpose gives Aquarius its joy.  Selflessness is its motto.  In Vedic astrology the Aquarius ascendant comes with difficulties as the ascendant ruler also rules the twelfth house of loss and sorrow.  So Aquarius is not necessarily good for a life of personal enjoyment, but is very good for a life of service and self-forgetfulness.  It can also be a good sign for spiritual advancement.

These qualities of Aquarius help us to understand the 11th house.  People with strong 11th houses can find their strength by belonging to a group.  They can sacrifice their own personal desires and pleasures for the greater pleasure and security of being a part of a group or movement.  In short, they find joy and security in relinquishing their individual identity, to some extent, in order to support the group’s purpose.

Politicians, in theory, are examples of those people who identify with the group’s interest over their own interest and, therefore, feel called to enter into a life of service.  And President’s Day, for example, is celebrated when the sun is in Aquarius.  (Both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln had their natal suns in Aquarius.)

In short, the 11th house is about leaving behind one’s own identity in order to assume the identity and the concerns of a group or even of society.  It is for this reason that 11th house people can make great friends and public servants.

While Aquarius helps us to understand the 11th house, Leo helps us to understand the 5th house.  Leo is a sign of the Sun and loves to shine.  And it shines simply because that’s what the Sun does.  Its joy is in giving off light.  This light can inspire others to achieve greater heights or it can simply be an expression of egoism.  For this reason the 5th house, like Leo (the 5th sign) is a place of self-expression.  But this kind of self-expression can change from sign to sign and from chart to chart.

So then what is the difference between Leo and the 5th house?  Leo is a personality while the 5th house is an area of life activity.  A person with a purely Leo 5th house would, in theory, express himself simply for the pleasure of being bright and giving off light.  However, the 5th house can be in any sign and, for example, in Pisces the qualities of the 5th house would change dramatically.

In Pisces, it would still seek to express itself, but rather than expressing itself for the sake of shining, it could do so with the goal of nurturing or calming others.  It could, for example, express its energy emotionally and subtly to heal or relieve someone else’s pain.

So where the 11th house is about giving up one’s individual identity to more completely merge with the group’s purpose, the 5th house is about finding purpose through expressing one’s identity—whether as a builder, a father, a writer, an artist, an actor, etc.

When 5th house people have strong values and a deep sensitivity towards others, their desire to express themselves can inspire those around them to greater achievements.

The 5th and 11th houses can seem contradictory or mutually exclusive but there are good reasons for believing that they are actually complementary.

A group of people with strong 11th houses might come together to realize a purpose, but if there is no one to spur the group to action, they might end up just talking about what they want to do instead of actually doing something.

A group of people with strong 5th houses might come together with the desire to inspire and to lead other people but find that everyone is so interested in what they themselves are doing that they don’t have time to appreciate the other peoples’ gifts.

For these reasons, groups are stronger with both 5th house and 11th house people.  And even individually, 11th house people can benefit from having strong individual values and the ability to express themselves in order that they give something to their cause and not simply use a group in order to feel more secure.  Likewise 5th house people with a strong desire to express themselves can find a more willing audience if their desires are tempered by sensitivity to what other people need.

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