Friday, January 15, 2016

Saturn in the 12th House: Accepting Aloneness

Having Saturn in the 12th House of your birth chart is not an easy experience and that’s something that those of us with this placement have to own up to. I’ve already written an article about Saturn in the 12th. But 12th House planets are so complicated that you could easily write quite a few posts about them. Seeing as how I have Saturn in the 12th House, my own experiences with this placement have led me to realizations that I want to share, in order to expound on it.  

The 12th House isn’t called the “house of isolation” for nothing. But, as I’ve said a few times before, let’s not limit it to prisons, asylums, hospitals, and monasteries. That’s how they classified the 12th House in the olden days, when it got labeled by traditional astrologers as the gloomiest, scariest house. Keep in mind, though, even though I’m not a fatalistic astrologer, I do think that the 12th House is quite possibly the scariest house in the birth chart, alongside the 8th House. It’s not because it’s a “bad” house but because it represents the thing human beings are taught to fear: aloneness. So, having Saturn in your 12th House can feel like a burden, if you let it feel that way.

We live in an extroverted society; at least, speaking for Americans and those in the Western world. That’s become truer and truer as in this modern age. It’s why introversion can be such a misunderstood thing by people. As you probably have already heard, introversion does not have to equal shyness, fear, insecurity, or some sort of emotional problem. It’s simply the feeling of being able to recharge while alone; something that the majority of people with 12th House planets can relate to. But, the state of aloneness can be perplexing, depressing, terrifying, or strange to many people. The reason why is because to be alone is to be faced with the end. 

The 12th House represents where we feel alone and how, in some ways, we must be alone. It is not a direct, obvious house and planets here do not have to be, and actually cannot be, all out in the open and in your face, even if they are conjunct the Ascendant. They don’t function that way. Instead, they are meant to function on a mysterious other plane. Planets in the 12th House operate behind a veil that separates this world from another: whether it’s vivid dreams, the fantasies that fuel great art, the musings of the soul, or the spiritual awareness that takes you to another realm. But, essentially, all these trips to a different realm are connected to one thing: death. 

Saturn in the 12th House is a deeply existential placement, then. The 12th House represents the end, so it is innately connected to what it feels like to die. It’s not like the 8th House death of something passing on, only to be transformed and reborn. The 12th House is the feeling that inevitably tells you that you’re going to have to leave this world alone. You can’t take anything or anyone with you. All of the things that you’ve accomplished in this life are just going to drift away, as you prepare to head off into the next one. Now, again, this death doesn’t have to be taken so literally. Just like the 8th House has metaphorical “deaths”, so does the 12th. But, essentially, your responsibility, with Saturn in the 12th, is coming to grips with what it means to be alone.

Therefore, life just cannot be as lighthearted and carefree for you as society wants it to be. For us 12th House Saturn folks, we can try very hard to make it that way. Since planets in the 12th House are often repressed through conditioned shame, we were made to feel ashamed, particularly by our caregivers, of our unshakable awareness of life’s deeper, sadder elements. We were brought up in an environment that was desperately cheerful or oblivious, with at least one of our parental figures doing whatever they can to avoid their unhappiness. So, we were taught to avoid our own unhappiness or sadness, remaining in denial of the angst-ridden depression or the consuming anxiety that keeps making life challenging for us. In the denial phase, we experience it like some sort of outside force that’s trying to get us, instead of a dark unrest that’s inside of us.

It’s ridiculous, though, that the process of soul-searching and quiet, solitary reflection is somehow looked at as “weird” or “depressing.” But, that’s the society we live in. People with Saturn in the 12th House have a responsibility to accept aloneness because of the chance it gives us to reflect and to develop our internal life. In order to do this, we have to figure out how to regularly disconnect from a world that often discourages such introspection and to, instead, find strength and purpose in it. That can be difficult for some with this placement to do until their Saturn Return. You may sometimes see those with a 12th House Saturn running from solitude, seeing it as too difficult or frightening. The other world it opens us up to is what can be feared, even for those of us who embrace our solitude. Just about anything that involves a surrender can feel like a terrifying death.

There are usually deep anxieties within those with this placement about what is unseen, unknown or uncontrollable that need to be overcome. Fear is already irrational but it becomes highly irrational with this placement because it’s a fear of what’s irrational. So, it’s fear feeding off of fear, basically. I’m not scared of what most people are scared of and I think that a lot of other Saturn in the 12th House people can relate to this. I’m not scared of heights, flying in a plane, public speaking, spiders, talking to strangers, walking alone at night. Things that scare me aren’t regular, day-to-day things. It’s this quality that can make Saturn in the 12th House people seem like we are just flat-out fearless or free of doubt because our fear usually doesn’t emerge in “normal” situations or contexts. But, I am scared of ghosts and the idea of losing my mind and the thought of getting a sudden illness and the possibility of dying without having done anything meaningful or important.

This is why we have such intense anxiety because what we fear the most are the things we can’t touch or that we don’t know. But, this is why we have such a duty to come to terms with these existential fears. It’s all something that will come to a head during the Saturn Return, especially the first. Throughout a Saturn Return in the 12th House, if you’ve avoided this process, it will be easy to feel like you’re losing your mind, bringing your worst fear to reality. It’s not something that many other people will be able to know about or discern. In fact, you can get yourself into difficult situations, during this time, where you feel lonelier than ever. A Saturn Return in the 12th can be increasingly isolating and if you haven’t made the effort to stay consciously aware of your fears, challenges, and sorrows, you can be the one isolating yourself without even knowing it.

But, for those of us with this placement, the time that our Saturn comes back around is the time where we have to face all of what’s within us. In doing so, we face all that’s within everyone. Even though the 12th House is about being alone, it’s also about realizing that you’re not totally alone because what you’re feeling is what anyone else has felt at any given time. This house is about the collective unconscious and it’s our job, with Saturn in the 12th, to tap into that. The collective unconscious is a rich, profound, disturbing, beautiful place, where everything lives and everything dies. So, by accepting the fact that you’re always going to feel alone, you’re going to clear the way and develop the strength to “pass away” into this other realm, where great spiritual wisdom, artistic inspiration, and universal empathy lie. You have to be able to do so by yourself.

That brings us to the father figure element of Saturn, as this is what Saturn represents. With Saturn in the 12th, you have to come to a place of peace by realizing that you’re probably not going to have much of one. There are feelings of abandonment, sorrow, or disillusion surrounding one’s father figure with this placement that need to be worked out. Maybe this is a parent who walked out on the family and never came back. Maybe the father died at some point in your childhood, particularly from some illness or weakness. You can also see a father figure who is struggling with some sort of addiction that becomes very absorbing. But, more commonly, perhaps, is the Dad who is there but not really there: emotionally absent and distant. So, the connection is always fleeting and even when the father is physically present, he is always somehow out of your reach.

But, life is fleeting and if there’s anything that a 12th House Saturn person learns from their father figure, it’s this lesson. I keep talking about being alone but that doesn’t mean that you will literally be alone. You can find a lot of people with a 12th House Saturn who have plenty of friends or a steady relationship. Still, the presence of others does not take away that loneliness, just like the physical presence of the father doesn’t mean that he’s really “there.” In the end, this is what we have to come to grips with, thanks to this placement. I’m not saying that you have to totally isolate yourself. However, in the end, you cannot look to other people to help you with your problems. You have to face them by yourself because the majority of people won’t be able to effectively help, anyway, particularly since your issues are of a more psychological, internal variety.

This is why Saturn in the 12th is one of the toughest placements of all but also one of the most rewarding. We have to develop the strength to face nothingness. There is this deep resistance within many of us with this Saturn to being a “loser” or a “nobody.” Instead of facing our duty to release earthly attachments, we can cling to them and desperately try to make it in the world. On the flip side, we may unconsciously set ourselves up for failure without realizing it. Either way, our Saturn Return in the 12th can bring us situations that make us feel like nobodies or losers, only for us to realize that none of this matters. The 12th House is about loss and Saturn in the 12th means that we have to learn to accept loss, while understanding that the only true losses are material.

So, by detaching from the material plane, we will grasp a greater, deeper sense of purpose on the spiritual plane. Of course, we all have to live and eat and house ourselves. But, with a 12th House Saturn, our purpose in life goes beyond that. We have to find success on spiritual levels. Our anxiety, depression, or just overall sense of melancholy will be managed once we learn that the realm of the spirit is where we’re meant to achieve. With Saturn in this house, we are not just living this one life. We are meant to be constantly prepared for another one. So, we find self-mastery in strengthening our intuition and our trust in the unknown. Time becomes an endless thing to us, transcending days, states of consciousness, identities, and even lifetimes.

It’s no wonder, then, why we can’t really be “helped.” People with Saturn in the 12th cannot seek structure from the day-to-day world, as planets in the 12th House have to be expressed selflessly. And it personally bugs me whenever I see someone protesting that. If you don’t think the 12th House is about being selfless, I’m sorry, you don’t know as much about the 12th House as you think. We have to learn to just give whatever is in the 12th to others, without expectation of it in return. Since you have to master whatever house your Saturn is in, I know this for certain. Somehow, someway, 12th House Saturn people feel like fatherless children. Because of this, we cannot look for that guidance and stability from everyday life. Instead, we have to seek it within or through some solitary pursuit. Then, our cup will be full enough to provide structure to other people and to help guide them toward the purpose and strength they need to be their own boss.

Compassion and empathy are required in order to achieve this. With this placement, I know that it’s easier to try and avoid your sensitivity. But, we have to really use our high sensitivity because the paradox is that it gives us strength. With Saturn in the 12th, we are demanded to find purpose in something that allows us to empathize with and/or heal other living beings. Because of this, we can carve out great careers in the visual or performing arts (a big trend for this Saturn), counseling, medical work (for humans and animals), relief work/charity, or anything spiritual/metaphysical. In some way, we will be able to succeed in work that allows us to exercise an otherworldly touch: through our imagination, our sensitivity, or our intuitive awareness. Yet, more artistic or nonlinear careers have a success rate that can be tough to predict or pin down. So, all of this hard work may not really “pay off” in pragmatic terms until one’s first Saturn Return in the 12th, reinforcing the importance of focusing less on material success and more on internal feelings of success.


  1. I loved this. I have sun in the 12th, squaring saturn, so I relate to the feeling of loneliness and being fatherless.
    I think a trap that anyone with planets in the 12th house can run into (and I certainly do) is to substitute true aloneness with escapism. I spend most of my time alone so I have come to think that I am really good at just being with myself, but in reality, I keep distracting myself, by being on the computer, reading, listening to music - even when I am alone, I'm still not actually with myself.
    I think if the time we spend alone is actually alone time (i.e. just sitting with our thoughts and emotions, journaling, meditation, no technology to distract us) we can recharge a lot better, a lot quicker, and are ready to face the mundane world (6th House) again - because we have properly experienced the 12th House, not somehow avoided the experience.

    1. What happens when saturn is conjunct jupiter in the 12th house?

    2. It's easier for you to find benefits through isolation and selflessness. But, Jupiter can also potentially blow your melancholy and loneliness out of proportion, as it adds excess to whatever it touches. Also, entering this "other realm" makes you feel free and uplifted, so anything spiritual or artistic is bound to be a positive guiding force for you.

  2. Just butting in here to say I love reading your posts, thank you for taking the time to write them! Your personal accounts of placements enhance them wonderfully. This is one of my go-to places when I feel the need to improve my astrological understanding. ^_^

    1. Thank you! I once worried a bit about possibly talking about my chart and myself too often. But, then, I realized that it helps it all relate more. I think when astrologers just totally remove themselves from the subject, it's not as easy for people to connect to.

    2. Definitely! Reading about others' experiences is valuable. I mean, we've all only got one chart, so even the most educated theory about a placement is guesswork/theory unless you've got some firsthand accounts to go off.
      (whoops, clicked 'add comment' instead of 'reply')

  3. My god, I have Saturn in the 12th house too, and you really explained this placement in a way that really puts things into perspective. It can be so lonely having this placement for sure... I do feel misunderstood more often than not, but this post of yours is very much appreciated because well, this is also my go-to blog when I need to learn more about my placements, and I'm thankful for you sharing your findings! I admire your work and you have no doubt made an impact in helping me know and deal with my Saturn in the 12th house better.

    1. Thank you! I'm glad you could relate. :)

  4. I have a 12th house stellium (Saturn included) and 4 planets in Pisces, can really relate to this post! thank you for your much needed insight :)

  5. Sun and moon in the 12th would represent my mother along with Saturn representing my father. My parents where divorced. Narcissistic mother and self absorbed father.
    There's a lot i could say as I've already been through my first Saturn return and half way to my second return but you have covered this so well already.
    I will say I spent several years after my first Saturn return as a hospice volunteer and it was a very beautiful experience. I mostly just sat quietly with my clients in their homes or visited with them while their caretaker left to run errands. It was almost always very peaceful.
    I spend a lot of time at home as I now am my mothers caretaker and enjoy my solitude. I read alot, studying astrology and spirituality. Also just being in nature is very soothing.
    Its been a rough road since childhood and I have had many challenges along the way but so haven't many.
    I accept the lonely, melancholy feelings along with my introverted nature.

  6. My 8 year old son has this. His dad has a brain injury from being blown up in Afghanistan. He doesn't get to have the normal "dad/son" relationship. His Saturn even opposes his Sun and he feels the burden of having to help take care of him.

    He also has Moon in the 12th conjunct his AC (Virgo).

    Ate there any skills or practices I can teach him which will give him more tools to help him with his 12th house?

  7. Interesting! I have moon conjunct Saturn in the 12th. My father was largely absent from my life emotionally. My mother died on the youngish side. Both parents worked very hard. What I learned through my research is that the reason a soul picks a chart like this Saturn in the 12th is to realize the Holy Divine Mother and Father is our real source. Blessings to everyone studying astrology!

  8. Thanks for this wonderful article natal Saturn in 12th house at 14 Capricorn

    Opposite Mars 18 cancer.

    I'm 55 everthing you wrote very much resonate. I appreciate your generous insight l've been reading astrology since mid 90s but your article by far melodically very clear to digest. For me first Saturn return didn't click much just moved after divorce and went back to my old college town still exploring . However something positive happened l never like to read any book no pacience but it was bothering me at the same time l wanted to read books. I'm very curious and love to learn something interesting., l have a LD l learn better by handing me the assignment than lecture. So l was in tharapy for being depressed l told him about it he said to me, what do like , what's your passion and enjoy doing . I said astrology, he said then go buy a book and take the mini steps l ended up purchasing the Sun sign and love signs by Linda Goodman bless her heart she was another poet and love her her stories over the years l have a book library at my living room. also around 91 with transit Neptune and Uranus Saturn all in Capricorn l got divorced and moved to another city with old friend from college....ln my opinion planets/aspects in natal chart has lot to do with how we react to them for some that learned to live with it has much easier time to handle it than for other trying to deal with this past transit of Saturn in Scorpio l didn't feel that fragile is too long to write here all my stories l surrendered to Saturn the second time pass on my sun19 Mercury rx 10 Neptune 10 in Scorpio 9th house and square natal moon 28 conjunct Uranus 26 in Leo l felt finally see what Saturn message was ...a person like me with adhd/l'd my focus is already scattered ....l have to drink camomile several cups and other sleeping aids so l can shut the thoughts because my body wants to sleep but brain runs 400 miles a second. ..ask me what were you thinking....l don't even know specially Uranus hard transit..l have this currently with Mars/Uranus transit double whammy l haven't had sleep since Friday night. So please pardon my writing mistakes. tying with tiny cell words somtimes jump......l don't know what sign your Saturn is in 12th house but mine Capricorn 14 degree t- Pluto tip toeing for 3 years sitting there playing chess l think help me god pluto wants to excavate the root. But for me natal Pluto is familiar in Virgo conjunction natal NN in Virgo trine Saturn in cap...and transit saturn from sag square natal Pluto and NN. I'm very optimistic something good coming out the second return. .......don't even bother with Neptune transit at my south node disolving the past since last year l have been a hermit and lost all my inspiration to finish up my arts and life purpose vanished but optimist at heart l see a tiny light afar ..
    Like many Saturn 12th house
    I had many losses since l was 17 when l left home to study aboard in Us that was last time l saw my parents ...a year later mom passed due to cancer several years later my dad left us too to cancer... happy dad's day!
    For us is easy to drift in our past sad stories...especially transit triggers but what l do accept my losses what you can't bring back is not worth suffering. Instead celebrate their death l grew older my value has shifted to what is matter in life like walking in the park and enjoy the color of the field blue sky and little ravine rate than suffer about some l couldn't do in the past ....Saturn main massage is patience. ...he is here to teach us to use our wisdom.
    Astrology is the map all sign and planets have positive as much as negative you don't have to walk that path you still have a choice. The more you resist the changes happening around you the harder it gets...just know thyself. ..
    Sorry for the lengthy posting
    I will have come back and read your article again and again thank you
    Sending blessings and lights to all

  9. Hi, great article...
    I've Saturn in the 12th house, conjunct with Uranus, and both conjunct with AC and squaring my Sun.
    I'm 28, and I feel loneliness and melancholy since when I was a child, unexplainably.
    I've always felt both my parents absent in my emotional life, many times hostile to me.
    I've always been a loner. I often prefer to be alone.
    Since when the Saturn return is getting closer, loneliness is increasing and I've lost an important fellow and several friends. Sometimes I feel lost, like dead, haunted by fears on my future. I suffer a lot.
    But I know I have a stoic resistance to pain and something spiritual inside me that suggest to me an unconventional life path.

    1. That's definitely what the Saturn Return in the 12th can feel like. But letting go is really our only way of finding stability. Success and status symbols, in the worldly and personal definition, are what we need to let go of. And with Uranus in the mix, your spiritual awareness will give you a sense of being different that gives you more strength and confidence. My Uranus is alao conjunct and astrology does that for me.

      Also, working so hard to evolve spiritually and artistically are the only things that make me feel truly accomplished. The tangible results of those efforts, whether it's money or popularity or praise, are much less of a priority. Because I just know, like I think many of us with this placement know, that I don't get to be invested in the reward. I don't get to live from the ego like many people.

      Trusting in that may help. But good luck with the Saturn Return, whatever happens. Just find your inner peace. That's what Saturn Return in the 12th is for.

  10. What if Saturn is retrograde in 12th house?

  11. Such an inspiration to read this article... Saturn scorpio in 12th house is a such long confused journey for me to figure out what is really going on subconsciously and took me a long time to see the pattern that the impact of my father's role in life structure. I was longing for structure from my father, but he is basically emotionally absent and I was trying so hard to get recognition from him. And the more i did this, the more I got the feeling of being a loser and locked away from my own feelings and emotions.
    I also have noticed that my fear of being criticised from all circumstances. Most of time I would either denial myself first before the judgements reached me, or I would criticise others at first before they have the guts to express their thoughts. That caused my life in chaos at deep level. Learning to know the truth of emotional nature and being aware of the unaware is my daily routine, by doing that, I Slowly get the structure on loneness, compassion starts to blossom because I accept my fear and lose with compassion and time.
    Thanks a lot for posting, I am also looking forward to see your interpretation of Saturn in scorpio or 8th house souls.

  12. I have Saturn(r)in 12H Piceas with Moon and Chiron. The father issue is bang on as with all the fears you described.

  13. Have saturn conjunct uranus in 12. This remind me of Elsa song.

    "The snow glows white on the mountain tonight,Not a footprint to be seen.
    A kingdom of isolation,and it looks like I'm the Queen"

  14. Thank you for sharing Saturn's role in your journey so vividly. My spiritual mentor has Saturn in 12th (in Sagittarius), as does my ex-girlfriend (her Saturn in Aries). This shed a lot of light on their struggles toward mastery.

    As for myself, I can confirm your prerequisite of musical extremes for serenity. Uranus lies in my 12th as well (22' Cap) conjunct Neptune (21' Cap) and my AC (28' Cap). The Pluto-Uranus squares over the past four years have blown the doors of the collective (un)consciousness wide open, largely through manic all-nighters spent devouring astrology. I do believe in free will, but in my quest of divine truth, I've seemed to have little choice in the matter.... Could be a testament to Pluto's pull, but the only saving grace comes through embrace.

    Saturn rules my chart, and although it lies in my 1st house, many of your observations (re: fear of the unseen, unknown & fear itself, irrational anxiety, sense of achievement fleeting if not inward by musical/spiritual means, largely absent-minded experience of father, alone among people, and the need to reflect and recharge in solitude) resonated deeply. My Saturn sits at 00' Pisces, so the manifestation is a little different, but thematically it's very much the same.

    "The collective unconscious is a rich, profound, disturbing, beautiful place, where everything lives and everything dies." Amen, and thanks again.


  15. What about Saturn conjunct venus in libra in 12th house....