I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with the 12th House nowadays. I do have my Saturn and Neptune conjunct in the 12th House of my birth chart. But, in seven years of astrology study, to date, it hasn’t been until just recently that I’ve been so eager to fully dive into the depths of this house. Pluto’s been passing through there and my Saturn Return’s approaching in a few years. So, it definitely seems appropriate. The thing about the 12th House is that it’s so complicated, convoluted, transcendent, and mysterious that it’s hard to totally put your finger on it.
But, people seem so intent on doing so with this totally fatalistic language. When you read many descriptions about this house, you’ll see these keywords: hospital, prison, mental asylum, and monastery. And that having a 12th House placement (or two or more) means that these things will figure into your life, at some point.
Seriously? This is very old-school astrology, folks, when this spiritual practice was only a step or two away from doomsday witchcraft. In fact, that’s why many people today still have this unconscious association with astrology being something evil and scary and crazy. It’s definitely not. And there’s absolutely nothing in your chart that will signal some horrible fate for you. Nothing.
Also, I often see the 12th House being associated with the unconscious. I think this is quite off the mark, as well. The Moon is, in my view, what defines our subconscious mind, for sure. All of our memories, habits, feelings, dreams, etc. But, the 12th House is about dreaming, too, right? So, they obviously intertwine and this is where I think some people get the influences confused. Now, if you have your Moon in the 12th or your Moon in aspect to a 12th House planet (in my case, the Moon is sextile both Saturn and Neptune in the 12th) this intertwining will be even stronger.
But, the 12th House is not the unconscious, in my opinion. This is the house of the “collective unconscious”, which is something totally different. Our Moon sign rules our subconscious/unconscious because it’s a totally personal influence. It’s all about our feelings and our hidden motivations. Yet, the 12th House is not about us. It’s about everyone’s feelings and everyone’s hidden motivations. We’re just a small part of that.
Planets in this house don’t entirely belong to us and it’s a mistake to express them as if they do. We’re channeling them from somewhere else. It’s as if mankind, as a whole, is speaking to us through our 12th House planet(s). Have the Sun in the 12th House? You live with the intuitive awareness of everyone’s need to shine, to be an individual, to be special. Pluto in the 12th? You feel out all of the dark stuff that everyone hides and obsesses over. Now, this includes yourself as well. 12th House Sun people secretly want to shine and 12th House Pluto people have got some really intense stuff stashed away in their psychological cabinets. Yet, you have to gain awareness of these planets in ways that say, “This is everyone, including myself. We all have this in common.”
There’s no separation in the 12th, which is why these planets can be experienced through an unhealthy lack of boundaries. No separation and no boundaries are slightly different things. When we experience our 12th House placements with no boundaries, they are very overwhelming and confusing. When we experience them with no separation, however, we see that we’re all the same, beneath all of these external trappings and illusions of sex, race, age, class, social categories, etc.
This is why planets in this house are so hard to pin down and categorize. It’s also why they can bring such highly intuitive energies because we very easily read them in others (though it might not be so easy to read them in ourselves). That’s why Moon in the 12th House people are so good at picking up on others’ feelings. With Saturn and Neptune here, I’m very good at sensing the struggles of others (Saturn) and their greatest dreams (Neptune). The trick is to also be as accepting of my deepest struggles and dreams.
And everything here does get quite intense. These energies are definitely very chaotic because the collective unconscious is the noisiest place to be of all. Too many people in one confined place! I’m sensing that this is part of the reason why the 12th House is so associated with confinement. Hospitals and jails and mental wards are where people are trapped together, usually against their free will. And we’re all sort of trapped on this planet together, which is reflected through the collective unconscious. The pressure of all of the primal fears and hopes and aspirations and disappointments that we all stuff into it can make it feel very claustrophobic and dangerous.
So, it’s no wonder why 12th House people can often feel so trapped and desperate for solitude! It’s common for unexplainable anxieties, horrifying and uncontrollable thoughts, and odd phobias to accompany having an occupied 12th House, to a degree where it does feel like truly losing your mind. Actual claustrophobia and agoraphobia can be reported in more severe cases. Basically, as a 12th House person, you feel so much around you, so deeply, that it takes its toll. It’s comforting to know that it’s not you, however. The pain you’re awakening to is not your own!
I think the reason why the 12th House is so associated with dreaming is because it’s where we pick up all sorts of intuitive messages. Dreams, of course, are where these messages manifest. But, I think it’s important to tell if you’re having a Moon dream or a 12th House dream. A dream that speaks from your Moon will tell you something about yourself, usually. Now, if you have 12th House planets, you’ll often have dreams that tell you something about other people just as powerfully. I’ve regularly dreamed about others who I hadn’t even spoken to and was told something prophetic about them, in the dream, that either was about to happen or already happened to them.
As a result, 12th House people often have mediumistic abilities, as well, that might be deeply buried. Saturn is the planet of caution to the point of a crippling fear that needs to be overcome. With a 12th House Saturn, I’ll admit that the idea of speaking to the other side has paralyzed me with anxiety, in the past, and kept me blocked from this awareness. Yet, I do feel like it’s my duty to gain a firm hold on the spirit world. This is definitely something that 12th House people believe in. Again, other people are always speaking through us: not just the living but those who’ve passed on. And this applies to friends, relatives, lovers, and ancestors as well as people we might not even know. When a spirit has unfinished business, they will often contact a 12th House person to be heard.
Imaginary people can speak through us as well, just as strongly, if not more. This is why I associate a 12th House planet with art so highly and recommend that outlet. Those with an occupied 12th House do have a yearning to create a new world and artistic work is the perfect opportunity. We want to rise above ourselves, even if we’re not aware of this yearning for transcendence. We’re not fully satisfied unless we’re stretching beyond our limited ego-selves in some manner.
Eventually, I think a planet in the 12th House expresses itself as some sort of otherworldly ideal. It’s like what all human beings yearn for from that planet but never get. So, Mercury in the 12th House can be expressed as an amazing intellect that absorbs and assimilates information on an uncanny level. Venus in the 12th is wonderfully unconditional love while 12th House Jupiter is the divinely inspired spiritual guide. And we’re supposed to generously express these traits, through a dedication to others, attempting to heal the collective unconscious, one soul at a time. Serve or suffer.