The 6th House or as the ancients called it: The House of Bad Fortune

The twelve houses acts as fields of experiences for the planets to express their significations.  6th House themes include:

  • Illness & injury
  • Daily routines
  • Everyday work
  • Subordinates
  • Pets
Image by Dominique Vari Words 

Are you a list maker? I am. One of the first things I do every morning is write a list of what I wish to accomplish during the day. This list taps into the one of the core themes of the 6th House: everyday routines. It’s clocking in and the daily grind. It speaks to our work environment and how we prefer our hours to unfold.  For instance, Cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) on the 6th House cusp seek to initiate and respond whereas fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius) appreciated a steady day with predictable events. Mutables (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces) roll with the punches, adapting to whatever comes down the pike.

Even though we look to the 10th House for career and social reputation, the 6th is connected with work because here we find our lists and routines that fill our days. Our co-workers belong here as do the people we hire (dog walker, house cleaner, personal assistant, etc).


Whereas the 1st House speaks to our physical constitution, health and vitality, the 6th House indicates illness or injury. The ancients regarded the 6th House as one of the unfortunate houses. This is the house the Sun enters when setting, symbolizing a decline of the life force. Planets occupying the 6th as well as the cusp sign can indicate health conditions.

I recently worked with a client who was born at night and has Saturn in the 6th House. Saturn is especially challenging in night charts and can often manifest as injury or illness. This client had Taurus on the cusp of the 6th. Taurus is a fixed sign, often indicating a long term, chronic health condition. One of the main topics this person wanted to talk about was health. So here’s what I did so we could map out distinct times when health problems might arise:

  • Uranus entering Taurus signifying breakthroughs or changes to her health.
  • Major transits to her 6th House Ruler Venus. Whenever Venus is activated, the topics of her houses—Taurus and Libra—are triggered.
  • 6th House Profection year. This is when the topics of the 6th are highlighted. I write more on this in the column below.
  • Solar Return emphasis in the 6th House and/or Venus activated in the Solar Return

By matching these windows of time to her health history, we were able to contextualize the stress that accompanies her condition and also understand when she will feel better.

Planets in the 6th

So what if we have planets in the 6th? Are we meant to be sick or subordinate?  No, thank goodness. Sometimes, like the client I mentioned, there are health challenges. But what I have found is that people with a 6th House emphasis exhibit a high level of health awareness.  If they aren’t a medical professional themselves, they optimize their health and set a great example for the rest of us. These are the yoga instructors, the fitness coaches, and lifestyle influencers.

In modern astrology, we align the 6th House to the idea of service. There’s not only a focus on optimizing health, but on purifying the spirit so that the 6th House heavy beneficially serves others just by showing up. The 6th House is the last house the planets occupy before moving above the bottom half of the chart into the 7th, the House of Others. We can think of planets here of doing the important work of purifying, perfecting, developing, and bettering ourselves before we go out to meet the world. In the 6th, we’re getting ready to put our best foot forward as we enter the 7th.