The appropriate question here isn’t “what is covered by the Sixth House?” It’s “what isn’t covered by the Sixth House?”
Here’s the thing: the Sixth House covers a vast array of life areas, all of which are intertwined. It deals with the hours in your day and how you tend to spend them. Your health is governed by this House. It reveals the kind of work to which you’re drawn — but not necessarily your career (we’ll talk specifically about career in the Tenth House.) This House is about your daily rhythm. Service to others. Volunteer work. Productivity. Exercise. Hobbies. How you handle physical limitations.
Virgo is the natural ruler of the Sixth House and the Virgin ideals are governed by this House. “What,” you might ask, “are the Virgin ideals?” Well, for the answers let’s take a look at the sign of Virgo. Hard-working, dedicated, detail-oriented, health-and fitness-minded, and always willing to help another. Hence, service to others, your general health, and everything that falls under that Virgo umbrella will be examined in the Sixth House.
So you’re looking at your natal chart and wouldn’t you know it: your Sixth House is completely empty. You squint and study it, but you’ll be damned if you can find a planet, asteroid, or node anywhere. With the exception of an occasional cricket chirping, you’ve got nothin’. Does this make you a selfish, lazy couch potato whose only hobby will ever be being a selfish, lazy couch potato? Of course not. Okay, then it must mean your health is less than stellar, you haven’t been productive since…well, ever, and the most strenuous exercise you get comes from changing the batteries in your remote or a trip to the bathroom or the fridge? Sorry, wrong again. As I’ve previously discussed in the preceding House articles, an empty House is gonna happen…in everyone’s chart. It’s inevitable: there are ten planets (in astrology, the Sun and Moon count as planets) and twelve Houses. Would you like me to do the math for you or do you see where I’m going with this? Not only will everyone have at least two empty Houses (meaning devoid of any nodes, planets, asteroids, etc.), it’s very likely that you’ll have more than two.
A vacant Sixth House can be interpreted in a number of ways. It can mean something as simple as the areas of life governed here don’t happen to be priorities for you in your day to day life. This isn’t to say that hard work, health and fitness, or helping others doesn’t matter to you. In fact, for example, you might even be a dedicated volunteer worker on a regular basis. It might just infer that those things aren’t your primary life focus. And that’s not a bad thing. Another possibility is that these areas of your life are already so well-ordered that you don’t need to expend a lot of energy on them. Definitely not a bad thing!
We can also look at the natural ruler of the Sixth House — in this case, Virgo — and examine the qualities associated with that sign to see how they apply to the way you handle issues covered by this House. Furthermore, we would examine the ruler of the Sixth House in your own natal chart and its qualities, which are also indicators of your approach to these areas of your life.
So for those of us who do have a planet or two hanging around in the Sixth House, let’s read on and see what their placements in the House of Service and Health mean on a personal level.
Sun in the Sixth House
I’ve said it to death and — that’s right — I’m gonna say it again now: wherever the Sun is in your natal chart is where you feel a need to shine. The Sun’s influence in the Sixth House of Service and Health gives a native whose identity, for all intents and purposes, is tied directly to the type of work they are drawn to as well as what they are able to do to help others. A Sun-in-Sixth reaps great joy and gratification from being productive, to feel as though they’ve accomplished something and made a difference in some way. The Sun doesn’t like to be the subordinate, and they perform at their peak when they aren’t slaves to a schedule. There is a tendency here for the Sixth-House-Sun to connect their self-worth to the amount of praise and accolades they receive for the work they do…and to be hypersensitive when receiving criticism (whether or not it’s constructive.) There is often a weakness related to physical health in an individual with this Sun placement that must be overcome. Yeah, you’re right: that is a pretty broad statement. Let’s look at a few of a multitude of possible examples of what to this might refer: a congenital disorder such as cerebral palsy, chronic illness such as multiple sclerosis, or perhaps having to re-learn to physically function after an accident. A dyed-in-the-wool perfectionist, the Solar-Sixth-House native pays sharp attention to detail and this often leads to excellent job opportunities with loads of responsibilities; after all, with their love of detail and enviable ability to keep a cool head when it comes to deadlines or other crises, they are definitely the right person for the job. I have an Aquarian hippie friend with this Sun placement. He will wither away in angst if he is unable to work; furthermore, he is in a profession where he is able to set his own schedule (to a point) and he’s not the subordinate. He’s beyond detail-oriented, well into OCD territory, and he is probably the best in his profession, at least in his area. Know what else? He knows it. And he doesn’t take kindly to criticism regarding his work (no matter what he says!)
Moon in the Sixth House
When we take a sensitive, nurturing Moon and place it in the House that governs health and service to others, we have someone who has an emotional need to help others, to be productive, and to be healthy. They truly need this for their livelihood. This one’s health will suffer if they are stifled or unable to get out and contribute in some way. Even if it’s something as simple as volunteering in their child’s classroom, or walking dogs at the local humane society, that’s fine. They need something, anything to keep them feeling useful. The emotions of a Lunar-Sixth-House native are directly tied to their health. This one is likely to have a nervous stomach, feel nauseous, or develop wicked headaches when they are stressing over a problem. Their negative emotions, particularly the most extreme ones, will manifest physically, almost always. Luckily, the opposite is also true: when the native is able to keep stress at a minimum and be in a more positive emotional mindset, it shows physically because they are more energetic and feel better. But isn’t that true for everyone? you ask, to which my answer is: actually, no — it’s not. In fact, this Lunar placement often results in a hypochondriac native, or possibly someone who will exaggerate — or even feign — illness for attention and sympathy. Ever heard of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy? That refers to folks, often a parent, who will deliberately harm their own children or make them sick so the parent themselves can get sympathy. (Sick, sick, sick. I refer you to the case of Marybeth Tinning, who systematically murdered all of her children over a period of many years for that reason.) Well, there is a related disorder called Munchausen Syndrome, in which a person will fabricate or create an illness or injury in themselves for that same attention. Many Munchausen sufferers have this Moon placement, including a former girlfriend of one of my second ex-husband. She exaggerated and downright faked a potpourri of conditions: from black eyes and broken bones (claiming beatings that never took place–the “black eye” was poorly applied makeup, a perfect solid black circle around the entire eye area) all the way to claiming she was being medi-flighted to a major hospital due to a pancreatic condition. We checked out her many tales, none of which ever proved to have a single shred of validity. But it’s not all bad with this Moon placement. The native genuinely enjoys helping others, even trying to fix what can’t be fixed. They feel a responsibility to make everything better for their loved ones, which others often find quite frustrating as they might not want to be “fixed” or “changed.”
Mercury in the Sixth House
When the planet of communication is in the House of service and health, we have a native with an Energizer Bunny-esque mind that just keeps going and going and going…which can understandably cause them to be perceived as somewhat antsy, and that is a fairly accurate assumption. A Sixth-House-Mercurian is so detail-oriented, what with their endless list-making and their hyper-organizing, and their endless lists about organizing and organizing all the lists they make about organizing, that they frequently forget to step back and look at the big picture. This one is extremely helpful and loves to dish out advice, make arrangements, and plan everything to a tee. When I think of someone who might have this Mercury placement, my mind goes straight to Monica Geller, the OCD neat freak from the hit TV sitcom Friends (1994-2004) who was portrayed spot-on beautifully by Courteney Cox. (Remember when she planned Phoebe’s wedding? She went so far as to not allow the groom to use the restroom until a certain time, as it didn’t fit in with her rehearsal dinner agenda.) Because of this sometimes-unhealthy attention to detail, a Mercury-in-Sixth individual will notice little twinges and aches that most other folks would never think twice about, and this can lead to some degree of hypochondria. These natives work well with their hands and are often mechanically inclined. My now-deceased second ex-husband was a Sixth-House-Mercurian. Although he was no Monica Geller, he was a stickler about having things organized (even if he didn’t actually do the organizing), and everything we embarked upon had to have a plan attached to it, away from which he could not stand to stray. And a hypochondriac he most certainly was. He would mention the most random, weird twinges and blow them up to such an extent that he would declare it must be a symptom of some mysterious ailment that would ultimately result in his premature demise. Needless to say, he frequently did come across as having a nervous temperament: everything was an emergency with him.
Venus in the Sixth House
Venus, planet of love and pleasure and all things beautiful, gives a person with a Sixth House Venus a deep desire to do anything they can to help make their partner’s life easier. They express love in a helpful, practical way. This one will drop everything to be available at their partner’s beck and call, which can make them an easy target to be taken advantage of by their beloved. They especially enjoy doing the little things that show love, be it lovingly and cheerfully folding and putting away their laundry or knocking themselves out to make a favorite dinner, and far too often they will find that the reciprocity from their mate is just not there. Doesn’t matter. The Sixth-House-Venusian will continue to do so, as if they are trying to ensure that their partner will come to depend upon and need them; therefore, never leave them. The lesson here is for the native to realize these things, while incredibly thoughtful and admirable, ultimately mean nothing if they go unappreciated. They will be better off seeking out a partner who will not only appreciate their loving, giving nature and willingness to serve as well as treat them the same in return.
Mars in the Sixth House
Action-oriented Mars in the Sixth House of service and health results in a person who will frequently work themselves ’til near collapse. This one works best individually, as they quickly become impatient if, when working as part of a team, other folks are dragging their feet or otherwise not keeping up with the frenetic Sixth-House-Martian pace; they’re the ones who will push the slowpoke out of the way and say with obvious exasperation, “here, I’ll do it.” They are superb organizers, analyzers, and planners, and they have zero tolerance for procrastination. The native throws all their energy into a project and are quick to take offense at any criticism of their work or any suggestions given as to how it might be improved upon. Mars-in-Sixth puts forth a great deal of hard work, sweat, and toil into a project and expects (demands) the same from everyone else involved, yet when the time comes to get credit for the finished result, the Sixth-House-Martian has no qualms whatsoever about taking most, if not all of the kudos. The lesson here is to learn to suck it up and share the credit, especially when everyone else contributed as just fully as they did. The native might be surprised to discover that when they pat their colleagues on the back and point out the significant contribution they made, it also makes the native himself/herself look good as gold, secure enough in their own right that they are able to readily acknowledge the hard work put forth by others.
Jupiter in the Sixth House
Jupiter is abundance, and the Sixth House covers, among other things, health. Here we have a native with a marked tendency toward overindulgence in fatty foods which you don’t need an astrologer to point out can cause them a lot of heartache (no pun intended) down the road. Jupiter-in-Sixth is an honest individual, especially in matters related to serving others. They usually feel rather lucky (wherever Jupiter is, we feel lucky) to have what they have, and they share generously with those less fortunate. A problem here is that the native themselves is honest and trustworthy and assume others are the same way…sadly, that’s not the way the world always works, and this one could find themselves scammed by someone’s hard luck story. If a Sixth-House-Jupiter should ever win the lottery, they need to remain anonymous; otherwise, long-lost relatives, “friends,” and even strangers will come out of the woodwork to prey on the native’s generosity, which the native finds difficult to ignore. So then what happens? Lottery winnings gone faster than you can say “sucker.” While luck easily comes to the native when job searching, this one is at their best in a position in which they get to move around quite a bit (Jupiter rules the legs.) The native’s coworkers are usually fairly easy-going, and frequently come from other countries.
Saturn in the Sixth House
Remember, the Sixth House governs how you work and your working environment, not your career (that’s the Tenth House.) Wherever Saturn is in the natal chart, it places obstacles and limitations, as it’s the “schoolyard bully” planet of the solar system. In the Sixth House, this frequently manifests as difficulty seeing much on-the-job success or not earning as much money as one should for several years after beginning work. This in turn leads to frustration, the native will go in search of something better, and the cycle starts all over again. A Sixth-House-Saturnian will often decide to go into business for themselves for that very reason. The native is a hard worker, highly organized, and despite the numerous setbacks, they will at least take away a lesson from their experience when they eventually get there: they will wisely invest and save every penny they worked extra hard to earn because after all, who wants to go through that bullshit again?
Uranus in the Sixth House
Eccentric Uranus in the Sixth House of service and health gives a native who absolutely detests being hovered over by an authority figure while they work. They also cannot stand adhering to a typical 8-to-5 work schedule and require much more freedom in a job. The ideas presented by the native at work are usually viewed as either ridiculous, insane, or pure genius (remember that fine line between genius and madness?) The native’s work area is in all likelihood a sty because turning the daily mundane into something creative and different is more of a priority. Those with this Uranus placement can expect to quit or get fired more often than most, and no doubt the native sees their coworkers as complete imbeciles. As an employee, it is guaranteed that this one will say things that shock (and sometimes appall) their coworkers, at least from time to time. Others aren’t always sure how to take a Uranus-in-Sixth. The native excels in unusual lines of work (duh) and/or any field involving technology and innovation. In health issues, this one is usually pretty well-read on the latest advancements in medicine but even so, they still have their own more unorthodox views about health and fitness.
Neptune in the Sixth House
Sensitive Neptune in the Sixth House of Service and Health gives a native who seems to be surrounded by way too many psychic vampires on the job. What this means, for those of you who have never heard that term, is a person who is absolutely emotionally or mentally draining to be around. And these spirit suckers are all-too-quick to sap the life energy from the unsuspecting, yet tenderhearted Neptune-in-Sixth, who frequently finds themselves being taken advantage of because of their nature to help anyone who needs it. This one is also a procrastinator, often putting off important tasks ’til the last possible minute as if they secretly hope that the longer they wait, the more likely the dreaded task will magically disappear (hint: it won’t.) A Sixth-House-Neptune person tends to have strange ailments that are difficult to diagnose, along with allergies and sensitivities to certain drugs. Alternative or homeopathic remedies are of great interest to the native, and many have an extreme soft spot for animals.
Pluto in the Sixth House
The native with Pluto, planet of extremes and obsessions, in the Sixth House of service and health requires a job with a fairly high degree of intensity. Something they are passionate about; so much so, this one probably brings their work home with them (both figuratively and literally.) Depending on other aspects in the natal chart, violence from coworkers or others with whom the native comes in contact as part of their job is more likely with this Pluto placement. Furthermore, their work often deals on some level with beginnings or endings. This could be anything from the more literal examples of midwife (birth) to funeral director (obviously, death.) It can also represent careers that deal with more figurative beginnings and endings such as divorce lawyer or sanitation worker. In any event, power struggles on the job are commonplace here. This one is a truth-seeker by nature and they thrive in jobs involving research or detective work. A Pluto-in-Sixth is often instinctively drawn to homeopathic remedies before traditional medicine.