When we were small children, we didn't know much about this brand new world in which we were just born. We would learn doing all sorts of things with our bodies: moving, touching, grabbing, holding, crawling, putting objects into our mouth, walking on our hands and knees...
Have you ever seen a baby dropping an object and being so interested in looking at it falling? It was not simply obvious that things fall at that time. It was a discovery!
We were complete beginners. Before we learned, we didn’t even know that something that our mother would hide from us carried on existing somewhere out of sight!
As we became more acquainted with the ways of this world, we built mental representations of it. We became able to hold the memory of the Teddy Bear in our mind and look for it… (This is called "Object Permanence" in cognitive development)
In the sixth house, analogous to Virgo, we learn the material world, we experiment with our body and we build our mind in the process.
A long time later we will have built a useful mind for everyday activity, with a whole lot of mental scripts about how things work and how to deal with them.
As adults if we take a broom we know how to handle it. If we go to the restaurant, we follow a sequence of actions and events: pushing the door, walking in, being welcomed by a waiter and asked "how many people?", being shown where to sit, reading the menu... It's all easy because we are following a "script". We started with things falling and objects being permanent, and here we are, ordering food without Mum’s help, thanks to a well functioning mind.
If we had never been to a restaurant before, it would be an adventure, we would not know how to behave and would have to figure it all out. We would feel anxious or excited. We would look stupid or embarrassed. We would hesitate, ask weird questions... as we do in the ninth house when we visit another culture and don’t know the ways.
We have mental scripts for everything we usually do. A professional is someone who has acquired precise mental patterns about how to deal with a specific kind of activity, like repairing the central heating. They also have the necessary tools at hand. You look at the sixth house when you wonder what kind of work is suitable to the person you're reading the chart for. How are their patterns?
Our daily routines follow the same principles. Books with titles like "Seven habits of successful people" could be re titled: "Successful settings for your sixth house". Good habits are very powerful because once a script is written in the mind, we don't need much energy and attention to repeat it day after day. We run on "automatic pilot" and things get done.
For instance, if you're used to put your coat on a hanger each time you come back home, it doesn't cost you much to do it. If your new partner hasn't this script set up in their mind, he is likely to keep irritating you for a long time. You may tell him: "For God's sake, it's not difficult to put your coat on a hanger and your dirty socks in the laundry! Please keep the house where we are living together tidy!"
In your experience, it's not difficult. But for your partner, it is, because to change his habit of dropping his clothes wherever they fall, he will have to remember to bring his conscious attention to what he is doing in the present moment, stop following his usual script (taking clothes off - dropping them- grabbing a beer) Not following a usual script creates discomfort; our brains want repetition. Then, he will have to consciously hang his coat to the hanger, which is not that much of a big deal I admit, but it will be necessary to repeat the conscious behaviour a number of times before it becomes natural, and after the coat it will be the socks, after the socks, the bed, the broom, the cooking, the shopping, the cleaning, the paperwork... so it may become overwhelming for someone who has not acquired all these good habits to set up all these new mental scripts whilst their partner may not even acknowledge the real effort of mental reprogramming. A well functioning sixth is good for the seventh!
I've read somewhere that in Roman times, the sixth house was the house associated with slavery. It makes sense. A slave does what they are told to do. Whether what's they are doing is good or bad, right or wrong is none of their business, they are serving a master, no more no less. The sixth house serves you. It’s your own inner slave. Let’s say servant.
By extension, the sixth house rules relations between employers and employees, between superiors and inferiors, which include our relations with our pets. For information about your cats and dogs, look at the sixth house!
Do you know the story of the sorcerer apprentice? It's from German folklore. Goethe wrote a poem about it, Paul Dukas made music and Mickey plays the role in Walt Disney's Fantasia. It's a pure sixth house story.
The sorcerer apprentice has a lot of chores to perform, in particular drawing water from a well. He enchants a broom to do the work for him, but the broom, like an efficient sixth house script, keeps doing the the job again and again.. The apprentice chops the broom in many pieces to stop it, but then all the pieces become brooms and keep fetching water again and again... until the master sorcerer comes back and stops it all.
Our habits have the power of these brooms. In the long term, they can make us rich or ruin our health; if not mastered with consciousness and a bit of will power, we become their victims. We move in with someone we love and we end up with a relationship disintegrating over domestic affairs of socks and laundry.
The sixth house is the house of magic. A ritual is a script : a series of actions accompanied with words in a specific order. Every detail counts. If magic is, as I think, the art of giving precise orders to our mind, a ritual starts at the level of foundations: with material elements and our bodies. How our minds will make what we order happen... can be as simple as a modification of our daily habits, or as mysterious as any manifestation of the unconscious, and maybe even the spiritual world will follow, who knows…
As the proverb goes: ""God helps those that help themselves".
Now, if we say prayers or utter positive affirmations with our lips only whilst sending different signals through the way we behave with our bodies, the results we'll get, be them from God, from magical spirits or mere logical consequences of our mindset, will be in accordance with our physical attitudes. Our first language is the language of what we are doing and how. Magic starts with the way we hold the broom.
Once I had the opportunity to look at the chart of a rabbi. This guy was really meant to be a rabbi I think. The Moon was on the MC - The Moon means mother, family and where we belong; to be Jewish is passed on by the mother. He had the Sun in the sixth house. I asked him if he performed a lot of rituals, and of course he did. Mind, body, spirit....
Our daily routines include what we eat day after day and how we eat it and this has an influence on our health indeed. Our body is the basis of our experience of life, it supports our mind. Here again there are patterns, rhythms, cycles… We are not conscious of it all fortunately. Our metabolism happens without our meddling. Our mind is a baby compared to the complexity of all our bodily functions. As we evolve, we will have to expand our consciousness within as well. Let’s start with a little relaxation. Relax the muscles, listen to your breath. Life is not all about the patterns of the outside world only…
To end this article, I would like to mention another thread of meditation: the common root of the words "organic", "organs", "organism" and "organisation": the Greek word "organon" meaning "tool".
In an organism, for instance in our body, there are many specialised parts, each performing a particular function in the service of the whole. Health is when every part works well. A human society is an organism. Everyone contributes through their work. In a healthy society, wealth is created by all and fairly redistributed to all. Astrology doesn't say if communism is better than capitalism though. In my view, it's more a question of state of mind than political structures.
In an organic society everyone works as a service to the whole, and as a result of working well, every part benefits from the health of the whole.
The healthy mindset is "service".