The water houses involve the 4th, 8th and 12th spheres of the horoscope and are most referenced to in the psychology field concerning our “inner child” “repressed nature” and also relating to our “dreaming selves” and as Freud termed – “Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious.”
Everything contained within the water houses relate to the subconscious. It is all extremely Jungian/Freudian in nature and most psychological astrologers are particularly drawn to these areas in the natal chart. The water houses are in the realm of shadows, complexes and haunting memories from the past. If one is unable to find a particular emotion as having formed through the immediate family, they seek hypnosis or regression to take them back to early childhood and further back into past lives. It is believed that we can use the power of imagery, intuition, and the imagination to get in touch with our hidden, subdued, mysterious, locked up feelings.
Regarding psychology, there is also the term repressive-obsessives and to explain this idea in greater detail, there was an interesting case of a husband who had always been peaceful but who suddenly turned on his wife one night and beat her terribly. He was sentenced to jail, and his partner wanted marital counselling while he was out on bail. Many counsellors suggested it was a damaged childhood, and that the wife failed to see his abuse because she might have been abused and had suppressed her memory of it. The wife thought these ideas were true after reading a book about reliving your past, even if you don’t remember anything from the past the feelings from that time control and even destroy your life.
The husband was thought to be full of unresolved anger, and he ended up exploding. A therapist that also worked in neurology noticed that his eyes darted back and forth oddly. There was also a slight tremor in his hand that psychologists thought was a seething rage. The man was sent for a brain scan and found the presence of a rare kind of slow growing tumour that strikes in middle age, but can be removed if caught in time. However, the man died two months after the condition was diagnosed. Of course, this is an extreme example, but it brings home the message of being over-psychoanalytical and so we might not be as screwed up as we think.
In Seth speaks:
Psychoanalysis is simply a game of hide and seek, in which you continue to relinquish responsibility for your actions and reality and assign the basic cause to some part of the psyche, hidden, dark forest of the past. Then you give yourself the task of finding this secret. In doing so you never think of looking for it in your conscious mind, since you are convinced that all deep answers lie far beneath. The Nature of Personal Reality: Specific, Practical Techniques for Solving Everyday Problems and Enriching the Life You Know (A Seth Book)
When we enter into the watery realm of feelings we begin to look deeper into our inner selves. The water houses are those deeper levels of the unconscious, which we all have in common. Jung called them ancient riverbeds along which our psychic current flows revealing and underlying. It is the very basis of the way we perceive the world and the inner patterns of our psychic development. The water houses can be overshadowing, enveloping, sometimes smothering. The water houses as a whole, encompass the whole of the family tree and can be weighted with issues dealing with guilt, shame, negative feelings, addictions, grief, sadness, and victimisation.
The water signs/houses are in touch with their feelings, in tune with the nuances and subtleties that many others don’t even notice. The water element represents the realm of deep emotions and feeling responses, ranging from compulsive passions to overwhelming fears. Astrology, Psychology & the Four Elements: An Energy Approach to Astrology & Its Use in the Counseling Arts
Many of us have read books like the excellent Your Secret Self: Illuminating the Mysteries of the Twelfth House, and fully urged to face the ghosts of the past and meet with our inner demons and angels. However, there is also a need to find a healthy balance in this area of astrology psychology and not be irrationally obsessed with what is lying dormant in the unconscious, and only focusing on the negative, heading off in search of repressed memories that might not even exist. The water signs and houses and those with powerful aspects involving the Moon, Neptune and Pluto fall into the trap of being drowned by their inner-complexes, neuroses, and fixations. In dealing with this dilemma, Stephen Arroyo summed up the meaning and resolution of the water houses concisely in Astrology Psychology and the Four Elements:
The three houses associated with the water signs (4,8,12) make up what is called the “psychic trinity” or the “trinity of the soul. “All of these houses deal with the past, with the conditioned responses which are now instinctual and operate through the emotions. Planets in these houses show what is happening on the subconscious levels and indicate the process of gaining consciousness through the assimilation of the essence of the past, while simultaneously letting go of the useless memories and fears that hold us back. These “water” houses symbolize the most profound yearnings of the soul; for they indicate the process by which emotional residue from the past be purged before the soul can express itself clearly and actively. Astrology, Psychology & the Four Elements: An Energy Approach to Astrology & Its Use in the Counseling Arts
Although the water signs/houses and planets take us back in time, to relive the past, we also learn that Cancer/Moon/4th house remind us to look after our emotional well-being. Pisces/Neptune/12th house will develop our compassion, helping us to find our own source of spiritual nourishment from within. Through Scorpio/Pluto/8th house – there is the urge to destroy what we have outgrown. Pluto deepens and matures us through encounters with our life we would rather avoid, but it can offer a sense of inner rebirth. We are not trapped in the mire of our emotions and we can gain consciousness and also freedom, eventually, and move away from too much psychoanalyzing.