Fifth house fun

I’ve just finished reading a really interesting article by Dana Gerhardt about the fifth house. The first wonderful thing I noticed was her discussion of Lasse Halstrom’s effervescent film Chocolat. The next was the growing sense of enthusiasm I felt for all things fifth house.

It makes sense really. Traditionally known as the house of children, the fifth house speaks to us of childlike enthusiasm. Of fun. Play. Enjoyment. Of the heights we can reach when we do the things we truly enjoy.

Fun? Play? These are things we so often put aside when we ‘grow up’. Either that, or we channel our energies into pastimes that we are taught to think of as ‘fun’ – such as television, shopping and fashion magazines. These are safe pastimes – on an individual level (because we don’t have to push ourselves too hard or think too much), and for our consumer culture (we work all day to earn the money to spend on these things, which in turn means that we have to go to work again the next day). Meantime, studies – including this one, and this one, which was, ironically, televised – suggest that passive activities such as tv-watching actually have a negative impact on our happiness.

Increasingly, we are in fact actively discouraged from engaging in more creative and challenging leisure-time pursuits. Programs like Australian Idol and So You Think You Can Dance show contestants being criticised, even ridiculed, for being less than perfect. In this and so many other ways we are told: If you can’t be the best at something, then why bother? I call it the Cult of Perfection (because I like to make up names for things and capitalise them to make them sound more important – although, Googling this I note I am not the first).

Add to the mix commuting, long work days, office air-conditioning, tiny cubicles – only this week discussed so engagingly by Nick Cernis at – and it’s the perfect recipe for All Work and No (Real) Play Make Jack & Jill Very Dull (and Unhappy!) People Indeed.

Gerhardt says: ‘People often come to astrology readings because they feel stuck. A question I usually ask clients before the session is “What, if anything, have you been neglecting lately?” The stuck ones usually reply “Myself.” What they typically mean is they aren’t having any 5th house fun. They aren’t taking time off to play. They are being good little girls and boys and doing what’s expected of them’ (my emphasis).

We so often look outside for happiness. To our relationships, our work, our families. To our possessions. Our achievements. ‘If I have this car and this house and this marriage and this job’, we think, ‘Then I’ll be happy.’ Or, ‘Then I will start having fun.’ But when we buy that thing, or achieve that goal, for how long does it alone make us truly happy?

A fantastic way to start thinking constructively about our selves and what truly makes us happy is to look to our fifth house. ‘When you catch yourself having fun, you’ll find your 5th house archetypes indeed are tingling’ Gerhardt says. Steven Forrest, too, says that signs and planets in our fifth house give us a prescription for joy.

But there are no hard and fast rules. ‘You have to experiment,’ Gerhardt says. ‘Especially you must be willing to try things you might otherwise resist. The key to this house is spontaneity – and the willingness to take new risks. Pleasure often arrives in surprising packages. For many people, opening the fifth house chocolate shop starts up a chorus of inner voices: “You shouldn’t! How dare you! Who do you think you are?!”’

And even once you’ve pushed past this fear, success, brilliance and world fame are not assured. You may fall down sometimes. You may be discouraged. ‘There is a journey here’ Gerhardt says. ‘You must learn to pay attention to what you want. And you must be willing to learn from the inevitable mistakes you will make along the way.’

Even on So You Think You Can Dance the ‘losing’ contestants emphasise how much fun they had, how much they enjoy what they do. The joy is in the doing, in that moment of Being. Winning isn’t everything. Being perfect isn’t everything. In fact it is incidental. In real life (as opposed to reality tv) success, brilliance and world fame are not the name of the game. This time, the Real You is what’s important. And the name of the game is Fun.

It can be big fun, or small fun. A great, crazy dream, or something small and pleasant. I’m not advocating that you give up your job or leave your husband or sell all your possessions. But I am suggesting that you take some of that time spent in passive relaxation – tv, shopping, reading junk, mindlessly internet surfing – and direct it towards something uniquely your own.

As a start – have a look at your fifth house and the placements there. To guide you on your way, see what you think of Gerhardt’s full article, and other writing on the topic (I also recommend Steven Forrest’s chapter on the fifth house in The Inner Sky).

And listen to your inner voice. Not the one that automatically says ‘that’s ridiculous’. That is not really you speaking. It is merely your interpretation of what others might say.


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