The Tenth House
The 10th house (zenith of the chart), represents our true vocation; our destiny and dharma. It is called the house of profession; it is our “calling,” or what we are called by life to do. It is not necessarily what we literally do as a job or profession (in the common use of the word). The “job” is the sixth house; how we earn money is the second house. For the lucky few who really do have a profession (do as a job and receive financial compensation for that which they love and feel “called” to do), the eleventh house represents income.
The cusp of the tenth house, the Medium Coeli or M.C. is a “second ascendant,” for it is how we are perceived by the world as a whole. Since it is the “world mask,” it is easiest to see in famous people, those who have made an impact on the larger society. It is how people who have never met you describe you.
There can be a vast difference between how we are perceived by the world and how we actually are, or how we initially present ourselves in personal encounters. Jackie Kennedy Onassis, with her Leo M.C. was judged a noble lady, a queen, a woman of dignity, warm, and a playgirl. In person, she appeared shy and reclusive. Some who knew her called her the “ice lady.” They knew her through her Scorpio ascendant.
The tenth house is our reputation, the world’s opinion of us and how we are remembered. It describes what we desire to achieve in the world and how the world will judge our achievements.
The fourth house is our private, inner self, while the tenth is our public self, or, for most of us, “latent public self.” The fourth house is the grave and the tenth is our posthumous honor and renown. The fourth is the nurturer; the tenth is the protector and provider. These two houses form the “parental axis,” the backbone of the chart. We have to look at both houses to check a person’s attitudes towards his parents and his own role as a parent. Men tend to project their fourth house and marry women who become mothers (to their children and to them), while women tend to project the tenth, and marry a father or authority figure.
One client was a very frustrated, angry lady. She had Sun in Aries in the tenth, Moon in Cancer in the twelfth. She had been married for years to a career military officer (her 10th), and had been playing her Moon and 4th house (Libra). She was tired of being in the background in a supporting and sustaining position (Moon in the 12th), playing “nice lady.” She wanted to do something on her own and wanted it the day before yesterday! Needless to say, when she started to take back her projected 10th house Sun in Aries, her power, her husband did not like it at all, and the marriage eventually fell apart. She then started her own business and went happily on her own way.
Most people do not have a universal, public-world life or impact, so it is hard to relate to the tenth house. Most of us are not “actualized” in the 10th house, and we have a hard time connecting with it on an individual level.
When there are planets in the natal 10th house, some sort of public recognition or attention is almost inevitable. A person can “go for it” or spend lots of energy trying to avoid it, depending on other parts of the chart and life conditioning. Sun at the top of the chart gets into leadership positions, even though not terribly qualified; Saturn there will work hard for it, then may lose it to scandal; Moon there will alternate between being “on stage” and “out of sight.” Mars in the 10th gets one involved in the action, or he is the creator of the action; the outer planets in the 10th make it difficult to decide on a direction in life, and people tend to project magical or diabolical qualities on them. For example, Edgar Cayce had a Moon-Neptune conjunction along with Pluto in Taurus in the 10th. He is known as the “sleeping prophet” (Moon-Neptune) and is still referred to as an authority on coming “earth changes.” His 10th house Pluto in Taurus squares Uranus in the first (Pluto-Uranus is earthquakes, volcanoes and reflects a deep fear of earth’s power and changing ground).
Watch what happens to you when planets transit your 10th house. If you do not feel anything, take a good look at the people and situations you are attracting and encountering. When Neptune went over my 10th house cusp, I found myself dealing with near strangers who were confused (often due to the influence of alcohol) and who saw me as an authority who, through astrology (Uranus was right up there too!), could provide some magic (Neptune) to clarify their lives and directions.
A Saturn transit of the 10th will bring rewards for hard work, honestly performed. For Richard Nixon, it brought “a fall from grace.” He reached the zenith of his career only to lose it, the reward for past unethical thinking and conduct. Jupiter will bring lucky career opportunities. Pluto may bring latent healing powers into the consciousness, and give the ability to make profound changes in the lives of others through ones career, or totally change the life direction.
About the author:
Eleanor Buckwalter has studied, practiced and taught astrology in Los Altos, CA for more than twenty-five years, including three years with the late Richard Idemon, a psychological astrologer. Her primary astrological focus of interest is parent-child relationships and family dynamics.