Another Look at the 7th House
The Place of Coniunctio
- by Rebeca Eigen -
“The Shadow,” a term coined by the eminent Dr. Carl Gustav Jung, is a part of all of us that we badly need to know about. Through his experiences, knowledge and practice as a psychiatrist, and his courageous self-honesty, Jung encountered a darker double, a doppelgänger, residing in all of us that can be a valuable asset to us and all of our relationships once we learn about it. Finding and integrating the Shadow doesn’t happen overnight. It is a lifelong retrieval process. It takes an investment of time to reflect and honestly look inside ourselves. For those who are willing to do the work, it is a boon like no other. Dr. Jung has given us all a precious gift — the gift of truly accepting our unique selves.
Shadow work is not solely for couples. In fact, ultimately it is the relationship we build with ourselves that will help us break free of old patterns and learn about these hidden parts that were there begging for our acceptance all along. Establishing a relationship with our Shadow can help us learn of an archetypal world within our being waiting to be discovered. Its discovery not only introduces us to our own personal unconscious, but holds the key that unlocks the door toward becoming whole and complete.
There is no better psychological system for recognizing our innate archetypal psychic structure and individual needs than through the study of astrology. Archetypes as described by astrology are universal in their content and basic to each human being. Our astrological birth chart shows which of these archetypes are more dominant in our character than others, but we all have them all.
A Natural Cross
The circle Diagram shows an astrological birth chart. Notice the relationship involved between Self and Other/Marriage Partner, and Mother and Father. It’s a natural cross that we all have to experience as part of being alive. Our relationship to our parents and to our marriage partner is a veritable cross, a crucifixion. This cross creates a tension in our psyches as we are striving to know ourselves, and knowing ourselves is each individual’s responsibility.
The 7th house is considered to be the marriage house, and it is also called the house of open enemies, i.e., the Shadow in us all. It is directly opposite the 1st house which is our persona or our mask. We also call this cusp the rising sign, as that is the sign at 6:00 a.m. of our birth when the sun was rising. The 7th house is exactly 180x opposite at 6:00 p.m.
When I first learned this information, I was immediately impressed by its accuracy. Not only did my marriage and business partners have the energy described by my marriage house, but every person I had a lasting relationship with after that also contained energies of the sign on my 7th house cusp. Planets in the 7th house and the sign on the cusp symbolically show us what the character traits are of people who so fascinate us when we meet them that we “fall in love” with them. This is the house of the “Other,” and therefore the most foreign to us. This “Other” is actually our own contrasexual side that we project onto our partners. Most people aren’t aware of this psychological dynamic that gets activated unconsciously when we get into relationships. I call this dance of opposites a Shadow dance.
The factors which come together in the coniunctio are conceived
as opposites, either confronting one another in enmity
or attracting one another in love.1
— Carl Gustav Jung
What we are feeling in their presence is love, but it is divine love, or what the alchemists called this process: a conuinctio — the mystical marriage or seeking the transcendence in a human being. The Greeks called it a hierosgamos. This inner marriage is taking place within each person whether we know it or not. When projection occurs, this alchemical process has begun, as the contrasexual images within us are now perceived in our partners. We will learn a lot about ourselves through the people we either extremely love or hate.
We call this chemistry when we feel the pull of the opposites within us, as we desire to unite with the beloved. This is, in actuality, a very long process that happens inside us over and over as we meet ourselves in the mirrors of our passionate relationships where there is indeed a “spark.”
Seen from the one-sided view of the conscious attitude, the shadow is an inferior component of the personality and is frequently repressed through intensive resistance. But the repressed content must be made conscious so as to produce a tension of opposites, without which no forward movement is possible. The conscious mind is on top, the shadow underneath, and just as high always longs for low and hot for cold, so all consciousness, perhaps without being aware of it, seeks its unconscious opposite, lacking which it is doomed to stagnation, congestion, and ossification. Life is born only of the spark of opposites.2
This would account for the passionate attractions we feel to others. Our unconscious is moving us toward wholeness and seeing our whole self. The problem is, in order for us to become whole, we have to differentiate from the person that we love. We have to have what the alchemists called a seperatio (a separation), where we can objectify and see our differences.
Again, we need to return to seeing our Shadow first, as that is going to be the starting point. We can’t get there any other way. Skipping this part of the process will short circuit us. Then we will have to start all over again with another person. Now we can understand why the ancients also called the 7th house the house of open enemies. Our partners become our enemies if we are projecting our Shadow onto them. Edward Edinger explains,
To the extent that the opposites remain unconscious and unseparated, one lives in a state of participation mystique, which means that one identifies with one side of a pair of opposites and projects its contrary as enemy.3
Writing about participation mystique, Jung says,
To put it briefly, it means a state of identity in mutual unconsciousness. Perhaps I should explain this further. If the same unconscious complex is constellated in two people at the same time, it produces a remarkable emotional effect, a projection, which causes either a mutual attraction or a mutual repulsion.4
Repulsion is what we will feel once the projections start to fall off. This can happen in a few months or a few years, but in order to differentiate from the beloved, this has to occur. Gradually, the initial blissful oneness is dissolved. Often, the other person becomes a stranger and we feel “I don’t want to be around you anymore.” This is called marriage and divorce and marriage and divorce again or just repetitive relationships that go nowhere.
We have to ask ourselves questions and be honest with ourselves. How many times have we walked out of people’s lives because we don’t want to be around anyone like them? We cut them out of our life and we condemn them as inappropriate. We judge them and their way of being. In many situations, we are just like them in the unconscious; we just don’t know it, or else they are what we need to learn how to be. They are having to carry our unlived life. Precisely, because we are unconscious of how badly we need that part of us, we can provoke them into the behavior we are also repelled by. There is always an unconscious collusion going on between partners.
I first learned about this information when I took on a business partner. Within six months lo and behold, she was exactly like my ex-husband! Our relationship became very uncomfortable. Luckily, she was open to studying Jung and astrology with me and we were able to communicate openly and honestly with each other. We made a commitment to our partnership, as we had been good friends for six years. Our friendship was a key factor. We could have walked away had we not been willing to work consciously together. It definitely takes two to make or break a relationship. One person cannot do all the work. Most couples split up their energy between them. You can see this happening over and over when you look at the charts of those who are married. One person is one part of their energy, and the other one carries the opposite pole, but they are usually a lot alike when you look at their respective 7th houses.
Talking about this information openly with your partner can help each do Shadow work. You will also see your differences as they will be much more visible once you know each other’s astrological data. In truth, we will no longer be in a state of oneness or symbiosis when we can consciously recognize we are separate human beings. That blissful state of unity is now gone. But, if we value friendship, then we will not be so disappointed. We don’t expect our friends to be exactly like us, so why do we expect this from our partners? The feeling of being “in love” will go away, but the love that replaces that unconscious unity is much more satisfying because it’s based on who each person actually is as a unique human being. There is more tolerance and acceptance of a person we truly love as opposed to a person we think we are “in love” with.
Making Our Shadow Dance Conscious
To the degree we are unconscious, we will experience the dark side of romantic love, but if enough of us begin to accept that there is no “magic other” as Jungian analyst James Hollis put it in the book, The Eden Project: In Search of the Magical Other, then we will be moving into the Aquarian Age with our eyes open. Detachment, objectivity, freedom and intelligence are key words for the sign of Aquarius. Aquarius is not a water sign, as most people who know nothing about astrology believe. It is an air sign. Air signs require authentic communication. This is what will be required of us collectively to move into a new way of relating. Friendship is also a key word for Aquarius. We will extend true friendship to our partners and not expect them to be our projection. We will want them to be themselves. Learning to be both our masculine and feminine sides is the Aquarian Age goal.
Real love is about accepting someone for their total self. Think about it. If a magnet seeks its opposite, if both people embrace their opposites, the spark ignited is love, but it’s within and without at the same time. That’s the divine marriage, what alchemists call the coniunctio. Then in relating to our partner, it’s not just getting, it’s giving because you lose your fear. The biggest fear is if I give you love, I’ll be left out because what if you won’t love me back? I can’t really give to you unless you give to you, too, so we have to stay in balance with giving and receiving. In this scenario, each person has to own his or her own Shadow because projecting our Shadow is so divisive. More relationships end because of Shadow projections being thrown back and forth. Real love is what they will have if they can both see the value of doing this work, but it takes two. In the end, it’s about freedom to just be. Non-attachment. No illusions. No romantic delusions.
The reward for being willing to do this work is what we all want most, deep inside — an experience of real and lasting LOVE — love for ourselves, love for God/Goddess within us and love for each other.
Kahlil Gibran puts it well in this poem.
Love has no desire but to fulfill itself.
To meet and be like a running brook
that sings its melody to the night.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart
and give thanks for another day of loving.
— Kahlil Gibran, an excerpt from The Prophet
1) C.G. Jung, Collected Works Vol. 13 - Alchemical Studies, The Philosophical Tree, Princeton University Press; Bollingen, 1967, par 335, pg 265
2) C.G. Jung, Collected Works Vol. 14 - Mysterium Coniunctionis, Princeton University Press; Bollingen, 1963, par 1, pg 3
3) C.G. Jung, Two Essays in Analytical Psychology, The Problem of the Attitude Type, Princeton University Press; Bollingen, 1953/1966, par 78, pg 53.
4) Edward F. Edinger, Anatomy of the Psyche, Alchemical Symbolism in Psychotherapy, Open Court Publishing, La Salle, Illinois, 1985, pg 187
5) C.G. Jung, Collected Works 10 - Civilization in Transition, The Undiscovered Self (Mind and Earth), Princeton University Press; Bollingen, 1957, par 69, pg 37acteristics chosen consciously can help us.
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READ ARTICLES by Rebeca Eigen
- published in the Indigo Sun Magazine and Intent Blog -
Rebeca resides in Houston, Texas. To make an appointment, call her at 281.799.2900.
Rebeca E. Eigen is a graphic designer, public speaker and Astrologer specializing in the 7th house (marriage) and aspects to Venus and the ruler of the 7th house.
She uses astrology, psychology and personal stories to illustrate how we create patterns in our relationships. Her Shadow Dance workshops make this difficult concept easy to use in our everyday lives. She is also available to do individual counseling sessions based on your birth data (time, place and date). Rebeca uses the astrological birth chart as a guide to evoke the symbolic and help you become more aware of your total Self. Your accurate birth time, date and place are necessary.