In Vedic Astrology, the 11th house represents friends and groups.* I’ve found this representation to be consistent in the charts of people I know well and the charts of famous people I’ve studied whose lives are mostly public record. It’s also related to a sort of astrological “trick” that can help us find the friends and groups that are most likely to increase our fulfillment and happiness.
Planets that are either located in the 11th house or aspecting the 11th house lord impact our experiences with friendships and groups in two specific ways. They provide information about how fortunate we are in these matters and they also suggest which qualities will result in positive experiences with friendships and group activities. For example, a tight aspect from Saturn to the 11th house lord will probably result in at least some significant problems related to friends and groups as just an unavoidable part of life. However, choosing friends and groups that represent the positive qualities of Saturn can allow somebody with this aspect to make the most out of it and have many fulfilling experiences in these areas, as well. This might mean consciously spending time with people and organizations that are serious-minded, reliable, older than them, etc. Utilizing this sort of Saturn influence to form bonds with deep thinkers you can really trust and count on could be quite a blessing.
On the other hand, somebody with (for example) exalted Venus in the 11th house, absent other influences, will naturally be more inclined than average to have positive experiences with friends and groups. Yet, such a placement is hardly a “free pass,” as the Venus person could potentially end up with friends who are materialistic and self-centered – instead of artistic, devoted and refined – if her priorities are off the mark. Once you understand which planets are influencing your 11th house, you’ll be able to see how those planets have been represented by your friends and groups throughout your life. Then it’s up to you to emphasize the qualities that will enhance your life and avoid the ones that might drag you down. Mars in or aspecting your 11th house? Make friends with athletes and people with strong competitive drives, but try to avoid violent people and groups. Jupiter? Find knowledgable, generous friends but watch out for rigid ideology and fundamentalism. You get the idea.
Indications regarding friendship will be essentially “mixed” in many charts. To interpret a chart with multiple 11th house influences, just remember that they all count and nothing “cancels out” anything else. The late musician Prince had Pluto in his 11th house and his 11th lord conjunct Mercury in his 8th house. As one might expect, some of his friends were prominent or famous (represented by Pluto). His involvement with the Jehovah’s Witnesses (represented by the 8th house’s connection to unusual-seeming religious groups, which some people may consider “cults”) and his close friendships with people in the communications industry (represented by Mercury) were also important parts of his life. Prince was a devout Jehovah’s Witness, attending Kingdom Hall services regularly for the last 15 years or so of his life, and two of his closest friends were CNN political commentator Van Jones, who founded a program – with financing help from Prince – called “Yes We Code” that teaches inner city kids computer skills, and NBC anchor Tamron Hall, who was on the cover of one of Prince’s last single releases and took time off work to grieve following his death. Earlier in Prince’s life, many of his friends were fickle – (one of the less admirable indications of Mercury) – he even wrote a song in the 1980s called “Old Friends 4 Sale” with lyrics referencing people he trusted who betrayed him in unexpected, hurtful ways, such as selling personal information, mixed with salacious lies, to the National Enquirer.
If it wasn’t clear already, the point of this article is not to check your 11th house and rejoice if you have Jupiter and Venus there or mope if you find Saturn and Mars. While the state of the 11th house and its lord does help point out the likelihood of potential problems (or lack thereof) regarding friends and groups, the most important part of knowing about your 11th house is how you use that information to build a more fulfilling life. Difficulties and challenges can become our most important growth experiences, and if friends and groups are entirely “smooth sailing” for you in this life, I imagine it’s because your karma this time around is to focus on growth experiences in other areas (such as career, romance, spirituality, etc.). Besides, if you actually do have Saturn and Mars conjunct in the 11th house, that makes it easy – just befriend retired athletes 🙂
*Other areas of the chart can also give us relevant information about friends and groups – a few examples of this include general happiness and comforts (4th house) and, for many people, peers and competitors (3rd house and Mars) or business partners (7th house) – but the 11th house is the primary factor.