The Third House and the Primal Mind
Raj Kumar in, The Charisma of the Upachaya House, notes the third house is a kind of Freudian Id and carries core, primal, and unconscious energy like the urge toward sexual union and aggression. Venus in the third house may have too strong a sex drive that keeps one out of control.
Mars in the third, if afflicted, may be too violent even when it is thought to be good in the third house.
The third house has a strong sense of ego, selfishness, mental confusion, and unhappiness (twelfth from the fourth) which strives unconsciously to find happiness but often gets out of control with impulsive action, fury, or unbridled passion. It can take the form of an impulsive child throwing a tantrum. The third house needs to make friends and not fight.
A weak planet in the third house will become a constant source of mental trouble, depression, and headaches.
A weak planet connected to the third house may create a sense that the signifier of that planet is almost killing you. I have Saturn connected to my third house and there is always a sense of deep suffering around work that seems endless.
Secrets of the Third House: The Joy of Adventure and Pleasure
Vedic astrologers usually lump the third house into younger siblings, artistic expression, and communication, but it has deeper spiritual and psychological depths that is not discussed enough. John Frawley writes of the third house:
“Of all the houses of the astrological chart, it is probably the third house that arouses the least interest. In most birth-chart readings it will be quietly skated over, as the astrologer can usually find nothing there that warrants closer examination.”
Yet the third house is very profound. It is most connected to Mars and it is where we find our courage to express our self-willed interests and move toward our individuality. It is a kama house, a house of desire, where we sometimes exert our raucous sexual energies and fight with our siblings to exert our Martian prowess and exert our ego. It helps us develop and establish our integrity and personal strength. The third house enables us to exert our will in an effort to shape our world, to move forth and to conquer while exerting our ingenuity. It supports us with the courage to go forth in the world, to communicate, be curious, and to dance in the complex world of human development. It is a place where we learn to live in the world.
The karaka for the third house is Mars, which is connected to courage, siblings, and adventure. It is through sibling rivalry and fighting with our brothers and sisters that we learn to exert our own individuality, individuate our egos, and become who we are. The third house is a growth house because it tests our drive to fight for who we are and what we believe; to stand up for ourselves – to move forth in the world.
The third house is also connected to kama, desire, and fun; hence it is connected to casinos, boudoirs, bars, workshops and includes the athletic playing field where we go to have a good time.
It is a place of raw energy where “boys will be boys.” It is a place where we love games, the joy of writing, celebrate learning, finding new interests, and of expanding our Martian search for adventure and recreation. It is a place of adolescent fun and youthful folly wherein we may get into trouble while satisfying our momentary desires. In a sense, it is a very immature place but it forces us to test who we are and to find our place in the world. When it is afflicted, it can bring out selfishness, lust, and aggression – the dark side of Mars. The third house has an important Mercurial component where we love to debate and get into arguments. It also hosts our expression and individuality in writing. It is a place of creativity where we can explore the beauty of language and the wonder of making words and acquire new mastery of expression.
In the third house, self-expression and excellent mastery may manifest through singing, dancing, painting, playing of instruments, the domains of performance and fine arts, and so the third house is also celebrated as a house of creativity and the artist.
The third house is a place of neighbors and the neighborhood. Sometimes we have to fight for our territory and our rights, as I remember all too well when I lived in Sedona and the neighbors would report us if we left our garbage can on the curb an extra day or had too many friends over in the house and created parking problems. With a positive third house, we learn and grow from our neighbors, and they contribute much to our life by sharing their gifts with us providing friendship and being there for us in times of need. Mastering the third house of neighbors means turning our enemies into our friends.
Planets in the third house:
The Sun in the third house loves sports and competition and derives great satisfaction by doing and achieving.
The Moon in the third house brings emotional restlessness if afflicted and an inability to focus on action as the fickle mind wanders.
Mars can be too strong in the third house and may create major problems with siblings and ruthlessness. third house Mars may instill a love of sports and competition while leading to major clashes of ego.
Mercury in the third house brings greatness with communication, great intelligence but the inability to focus, as one flits from problem to problem.
Jupiter in the third house loses its spiritual and religious imperative and gets lost at the party.
Venus in the third house shows interest in art, dance, creativity, relationships, and beauty. With the third house being a desired house and a place of sexual expression, Venus can also get lost here in too much recreation and sexual self-indulgence. Venus may create people who are too nice and unable to stand up and fight for themselves or hold their ground.
Saturn in the third house may create people who are too practical and conservative and not able to venture forth with Martian adventure – fearing conflict and embarrassment.
Rahu does well in the third house where it enhances creativity and gusto for life through play and experimentation.
Ketu in the third house brings an urge to present ideas to others in ways that fascinate and creates great influence around them. Politicians often have this placement like Bill Clinton.
The cure for problems with the third house is that we have to nourish it regularly, clean and refresh it, block the chatter and gossip of neighbors, exert our own power, and rediscover our sense of adventure.
The third houses teach us to fight, stand up for what is right, and move with the courage to learn, to grow, and to experience personal joy. There is a great celebration of adolescent youth here when Mars expresses itself into the world, which leads to a trajectory of adventure and pleasure.
It reminds me of one of my favorite novels by Saul Bellow, Henderson the Rain King. In the novel, a Connecticut millionaire realized the fruitlessness of his life and collecting material things and goes off on a quest to discover himself. He helps a tribe in Africa and becomes “lionized” and when he returns he feels like a changed man.
As he lands in Newfoundland at the airport, he proclaims – “I felt like running, running, leaping through cool arctic airs of silence.” This is the kind of joy that third house adventure can bring – a sense of bravo, gusto, and joy in living if we complete our quests.
Secrets of the Third House: Primal Energies
The third house is connected to the reptilian brain that governs our core sexual drives and aggressive impulses in the primal mind. The natural third sign of the zodiac is Gemini, which in Sanskrit comes out as Mithuna, which means copulation. The third house is a very creative house of play in its higher octave, but in its lower state it can move us to unconscious sexual desire and aggressive energy than can run our life. Its primary karaka or signifier is Mars and with Mars comes wild, sexual aggression.
The third house is often put in the neutral category of creating minor problems or growth or talked about in terms of siblings but it is still a very difficult house. In the Varga charts, you do not want planets in the third house as it spoils them and the periods connected to them.
I wonder if the ancients failed to talk about the third house significantly or clearly, because sex and violence are taboo subjects and at the same time they are also such primal and natural urges of our society. Think about what sells in Hollywood and you get a sense of why creativity, sex, violence, writing, and artistic expression are so connected to the third house.
The third house is connected to amusement, adventure, and play.
It is connected to the natural sign of Gemini, representing how we communicate and is very connected to artistic expression and the arts. It represents the joy of our adolescent youth ready to go on short journeys in quest of sexual conquest and adventure. You do not want Mars in the third house because it will create too much Martian adventure energy for violence or sexual conquest.
Jupiter falls out of favor here and is the weakest placed planet and is considered Marana Karaka Sthana. Jupiter in the third house moves out of dharma and its natural quest for higher wisdom and instead falls into sexual play, laziness, and lack of motivation.
The third house is also a house of longevity as it is eighth from the eighth.
If you use up too much sexual energy from the compulsion of Venus and Mars, we reduce our vitality and weaken our immune system. If the third house is connected to the first and the eighth house through associations, it can create suicidal tendencies as emotional events can shake the core of our primal mind.
Like Gemini, the natural third sign, the third house is also connected to Mercury and the ability to make deep intellectual discoveries. There can be a Martian spirit of adventure in the third, which can also move into the joy of intellectual research. (I have a lot of Gemini energy in my chart and my deepest sense of adventure in Graduate school was to look for that one exciting book in the graduate stacks of the Indiana University Library. With my writing and teaching, I still have this great joy and sense of adventure in pursuing new knowledge in the quest of self-realization.
That comes through the constellation of Orion (Mrigashira in the Vedic system), which straddles Taurus and Gemini in its spiritual questing nature.
If your profession is connected to the third house (lord of the tenth in the third or lord of the third in the tenth or other associations), you may be drawn to science and engineering, research and exploration because of the intellectual and inquiring mind and sense of intellectual adventure that the third house brings.
You do not want benefics in the third house because the third house is about fighting and standing up for your territory. Put Venus, Jupiter, the Moon, or Mercury here and you will be too nice toward your noisy neighbors or fail to stand your ground in the schoolyards but you may have a great love of the arts, be a great writer, be friendly, love learning, and be compassionate toward your enemies. There is always a bright side if you look, but if low in dignity by sign, these placements may make you naïve about people who threaten you.
The third house is a kama house of pleasure and desire. In the D-9 or Navamsha chart it will reveal a great deal about your sexual energy and in the D-3 (connected to the third house) or Drekkana chart it will also reveal information about your sexual energies.
Moon and Venus here will make you passionate while Mars will make you too aggressive with sexual conquests. Rahu will be obsessed with sexual energy unless it has dignity in Virgo. Ketu here will be indifferent toward sex as it is a monk by nature. Malefics in your natal chart between the third and ninth house axis may lead to breaks in marriage during their dashas.
With Mars as the natural karaka, the third house is about fighting and competition and aggression. The more malefics you have in the third house, the more battles you will initiate. The more benefics you have in the third house, the more attacks you will receive and you will want to run away.
Disease from the third house is not past karma but created from karma in this lifetime. The third house can be seen as an armor of protection. It is your immune system and survival skills and rules the thymus gland, which creates T-cells that fight illness.
Secrets of the Third House and Past Lives
The third house brings in strong desires from past lives into the chart because it is eighth from the eighth. Put both Mars and Venus here and you may have too much primal, unconscious, and uncontrollable energy that may get you into trouble. It may bring deep karmic challenges with marriage if the seventh and third houses are connected. It may be important for timing sexual initiation in a woman’s chart and connected to marriage and consummation of the relationship. If there is a connection between the seventh and the third house, there may be a karmic connection for marriage from a past life. I have this in my chart and my wife and I both remember being married together in the Italian Renaissance when I was the stable boy and she was the lady’s seamstress.
The darker energies of Mars can easily come out here bringing impulsiveness, force, future, anger, passion, rage, and mental confusion. The frustrated quest for happiness (twelfth from the fourth house of happiness) may lead one to think that sexual conquest and adventure will quiet that energy and lead to calming it, but Mars is difficult to tame, like a wild horse let out of the stable and can cause more problems than good.
By nature, the third house carries our fighting energy because of the deep connection to Mars. The remedy is always Mercury/Gemini, which needs to move into friendship rather than fight. Mars is unhappy in the fourth house of home and domestic tranquility. Mars needs to get out and flex its muscles and prove his manliness in the third house – 12 houses away.
If we channel our third house energy away from sexual conquest into artistic expression, we can move the energy up to create great art. Connect Moon to the third house and it can bring joy in singing and poetry. Connect the Sun to the third house and spiritual reading and playing musical instruments may develop. Put Venus here then painting and dance may erupt, and Mercury here will become a creative writer.
The Third House and Mental Rest
Planets in the third house will show how much mental rest is needed to restore energy and resist stress. Because the third house is twelfth from the fourth house of the mind, it shows how much we need to retreat and rest in order to overcome stress.
This can be studied from the Moon chart or from the natal rising sign and may help with planning vacation time but some planets placed here usually do not practically allow enough time for vacation. Sun in the third house needs 6 months to recuperate while Saturn needs a whole year and Rahu 8 months and Ketu 3 months. Most of us do not have the luxury to take that much time off.
The Moon can recharge in the third house with a 48-minute catnap so it can move through stress more quickly. Mars needs a day or maximum 7 days. Jupiter needs a month, Venus needs 2 weeks, and Mercury needs 2 months respectively.
If you have weak planets in the third house by lack of dignity or connected to malefic energies, planets in the third house may become a source of mental troubles and depression and headaches.
Venus or Jupiter in the third house will create mental tension from women or spouses. Saturn in the third house will create excessive mental tension around work, and Mars in the third house will create excessive tensions from fighting with sibling or neighbors.
Planets debilitated in the third house may create such anguish that you may sense that the signification for that planet is actually killing you. Put Rahu here which is said to be “good” in the third house and you may be plagued by unethical and unscrupulous people. Afflicted Moon here may create constant worry from work. Again, planets need to be afflicted or weak to cause mental distress.
The remedy may be to strengthen the third lord to eliminate the stress. If a weak or afflicted Venus owns the third house, then spending more time with women, creating art, or going to a movie may release tensions. If Jupiter owns the third house, you may need to teach, visit your spiritual place of worship, or find a Guru.
Having the first lord afflicted in the third house may lead to excessive beating up of oneself and causing one’s own problems through bad judgment, and this may lead to depression.
If the lagna lord is strong and well placed, it will not be an issue. The rule is that you want malefics in the third house because you need some aggression to fight your enemies, but so often they cause trouble there also because there is usually some affliction. Still, we need malefics in the third house to support drive and courage to get us through our challenges. Benefics in the third house may support family life and friendship. Jupiter in the third house needs a Guru to initiate it and get it on the spiritual path or it will fall to party energy. Malefics in the third house in a woman’s chart may lead to a divorce (dharma of marriage is hurt) and ninth from a male chart may do the same.
The Third House and Secret of the Elements
If water planets like the Moon or Venus are in the third house, there will be a deficit of fire element in the chart, and the person will lack initiative, courage, and organizational strength.
If Saturn or Rahu (air planets) are in the third house, there will be a shortage of water element in the chart and marriage and family may suffer.
If Mars, Sun, or Ketu is in the third house, there will be a shortage of earth element and financial instability will not be there and there, will be problems with learning and problems with acute disease or dangers from operations.
If Mercury is in the third house, then there will be a shortage of the air element ruling strength, physical and mental endurance, and responsibility.
Remedies for the third house require bringing in the second house i.e. food, family, and money. Sometimes you have to bring in the values of the afflicted planets in that house:
- If you have Jupiter in the third, bring sweets and support teachers and support your father.
- If you have Moon in the third house, do something for mother or family.
- If you have Saturn in the third house, support elders in your family.
- If you have Mars in the third house, support brothers or veterans in your family.
- If you have Venus in the third, take yogurt or sour things and support women or wives.
Special thanks to Bill Levacy, Komilla Sutton and Zoran Radosavljevic for their insights on this house.