12th house – a need for a bolt hole


The 12th house has a bad reputation in traditional astrology with gloomy murmurings about prisons, mental asylums, monasteries and the like. However Gauquelin who did a statistical surveys of birth charts found that the 12th and 9th were the strongest houses for successful activity. Not that its much of a recommendation but Tony Blair has a 12th house Sun as did Ariel Sharon, PM of Israel as well as actor Lawrence Olivier and Queen Victoria, so it doesn’t indicate a life of incarceration.

Since the 12th house rules the unconscious, planets there can suggest creativity. But more generally, astrologer Dane Rudhyar thought it indicated a person who does not take his/her identity from relationships or family, career or friends; and they are not easily influenced by other people and will stay committed to their own convictions.

What is crucial for 12th house types, who tend to have more porous psychological boundaries than most, is that they get space and peace to themselves along the way, since they’ll easily get overwhelmed by having constant people around. Liz Greene thought there was a need to come to terms with the unconscious at some point in adult life. Being comfortable with inner space is crucial. Too external a life will run into the buffers at some point. Another astrologer thought 12th house planets did not support the ego in quite the same way as other house placings. Life has to be lived for the sake of doing what feels right whether or not there is glory attached to it.

What may also happen is that the persona (image) that 12th house types project isn’t the real self. Some will have a problem being truly themselves when out in the world which is why they need to retreat from time to time into seclusion – to stop performing for others and be themselves. Larry Olivier suffered from stage fright for ten years and disappeared into relative invisibility in public terms. Queen Victoria also went into virtual hiding for years after Albert died.

Where 12th house personalities have lost the connection to their inner Self, they develop a hyper-active restlessness, a desperate drive to react to the demands of the external reality, while remaining uncomfortable with themselves. And often others get a sense of ‘no one at home’ because what you see on the outside with a 12th house personality isn’t what’s there deep inside.

I have (depending on house system) six planets in the 12th including Sun and Mercury – and I do treasure peace and tranquillity away from other people. Though I all too easily get bunkered down too much and have to shake myself back into society. But it’s no more difficult than a lot of placings that other people have – just part of life’s rich tapestry.

25 thoughts on “12th house – a need for a bolt hole

  1. I have a 12th house Moon in Sagittarius and was told that this was likely to cause me problems. The Moon is quincux Uranus in Cancer in the 7th house and tri Mercury in Aries (conjunct Venus in Aries) in the 3rd house and sextile Saturn in Libra in the 9th. All of these aspects apart from Venus are within 1 degree orb of the Moon. I have experienced personal tragedies through pregnancy but apart from this my career has focused heavily around psychiatry, learning disabilities and neurological conditions. I am now involved with the Hospice movement. I think this must be the influence of my Moon placement. What I have always been aware of is my tendency to pick up on the emotional atmosphere/ how someone is feeling. Consequently I have always felt the need to maintain strong personal boundaries to protect myself.

  2. I have a 12th house Saturn in Scorpio – much loneliness. Also had a Pluto 12th house transit as a child which was a fairly deep thing in itself.

  3. I think that the ability to enjoy your own company is a quality and asset. I have the Sun in Aquarius in the 12th. My mother said that as a small child she could leave me alone all day and I would be happy and I am still the same.

      • thank you Tara and all and she was a dream birth btw. And thank you to all who spoke positively about the 12th house I think we have a very special little one born on a auspicious day to be born when she was.

  4. I have a Moon-Uranus conjunction in the 12th house. I’ve wondered if this stoked the coals of anxiety I’ve had throughout life, although Mercury is squaring the Moon aswell.

  5. I remember Liz Greene also mentioned that planets in the 12th were indicative of unresolved and unconscious issues in the family and ancestors which needed to come to consciousness if possible or they would be passed on to one’s children till somewhere along the line these issues would burst out. My daughter has her Cancer sun square Uranus in 12th and has problems around her father and keeps meeting reclusive men who are very like her very reclusive, almost hermit like grandfather. She has never had a partner but likes her quirky independence. She is also very successful in her publishing job.
    As for Tad Mann, he saw the 12th house planets as showing events just before the child’s birth which does seem to work. In my daughter’s case, I had private treatment and the doctor was called in suddenly to deliver which does seem to fit a Sun Uranus!

    • The 12th house can be indicative of what happens during pregnancy before birth – and I’ve seen some striking examples of that. So worth looking at.

          • Yes, I have Pluto in the 12th just above the ascendant. While my mother was pregnant with me she was anxious and could not sleep because she was struggling to cope with my older brother who had what was then called behavioural problems, my maternal grandfather also had a breakdown for which he was treated with ECT. Birth was difficult and I was born blue with umbilical cord round my neck.

          • Virgoflake, one of mine was born blue with the cord around her neck as well. She has a 1st house Mars, but 12 degrees off the ascendant and in a different sign. There is an opposition from Neptune on the descendant, funny because it was a water birth in a newly opened low risk birth centre based at the hospital. The staff and facilities could not have been better.

            She has a 12th house Venus in Leo, but it forms part of some strange configuration patterns like being in an opposition with Moon/Neptune that seems to pierce through a grand cross and mystic rectangle. It is also the apex of a “Thor’s Hammer” yod-like configuration. I just remember looking at her chart for the first time and thinking “oh my God!”, so many hard aspects and patterns, but really she has been fine. Lots of friends, does very well at school, tries and applies herself really hard to everything making her popular with her teachers. She loves English and likes to write stories, also a bit of a chatterbox.

            Her sister is a New Moon Gemini in the 12th and is quite a different character. Much quieter, shyer. She would definitely prefer to spend long periods in her room drawing or reading books, she gets through novels at a rapid rate. She has selective mutism, which is related to stage fright type anxiety. She loves animals and is very sensitive. She prefers the certainty of Maths over English, hates writing and finds the subject too vague – anxiety over getting the right answers. She is however very artistic and musical, some of her art is amazing. She has a small circle of school friends who are really lovely to her. Her Sun/Moon is also part of big configurations, the top of a kite and one side of a T-square. Birth experience was different as I was in a different hospital that was very short staffed at 5am. I was already a patient on a different ward and it took an age to get someone to take me to the maternity ward, in the end she was nearly born in the lift between the two wards! She wasn’t blue, but she was yellow with jaundice for a week or two and we had to stay in the hospital.

            Two very different 12th house personalities in the same family 🙂 At the end of the day, it probably doesn’t matter what chart they have, the moment they are born, the worrying starts!

          • I think they sound blessed! An emphasised 12th does seem to give an extremely rich inner life, powerful imagination and the ability to spend time alone is a gift. There is a certain synesthesia tendency with the 12th too I think, and thinking visually rather than with words.

            I wonder why this house gained the ominous reputation it did in traditional astrology. In old woodcuts you often see it depicted as a prisoner in the stocks.

  6. Depending on house system, I have 5 planets in the 12th: Sun, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter and Neptune, and a North Node in Pisces. The 12th house made it clear to me that this means suffering (not all the time!). Redemption can be found in the total release of the ego, and fulfilment of one’s karma. I have been a misfit/outsider all of my life. As a kid a the victim of bullying and physical and emotional child abuse. (Mars conjunct Pluto in 10th house). All of this might sound terrifying, but my 12th house orientation kept me sane. I learned to be on my own quickly, and developed a rich inner world as a hideaway. I was really into music and art (Venus conjunct Neptune) the first half of my life and I have found comfort on my own mountain top as a Hermit, trying to figure things out about the Universe. Now that I am older, I feel that my inner journeys, suffering and loneliness prepared me for my next step: to serve the Souls who could use a piece of my hard earned wisdom. So after my fine art studies years ago I am preparing to finish another degree as an art therapist. The 12house can be really tough, but I feel there always is some protection against the worst evil. And then… there is enlightenment.

  7. I’m grateful, on the whole, for having a 12th house Sun. I believe it endows a person with inner resources and an inner life that can make an indomitable character. You don’t read about this much in astrology, but I think it’s true. Also, there’s something about that placing that makes it instinctive for someone to be of service to others, which does a lot to elevate the individual–they’re evolved people from a young age.

  8. It’s one of my favourite houses! I have Uranus conjunct Pluto conjunct North Node conjunct Part of Fortune conjunct Lilith in the 12th and love my 12th house placements. The imaginal realm is important for me as an illustrator and I work best alone and secluded. I’m really very comfortable with my own company, though I have had depression, anxiety and ocd throughout my life and experienced trauma at a young age. Pluto is just above my ascendant and I was born with the cord around my neck and was not breathing. I think outer planets here also give disturbing or epic dreams. It feels like I have to “put on” my social persona, but I have a well-aspected Venus in the 1st and am a Sun in Libra, so it comes easily but I am overwhelmed in large gatherings and crowds and have to turn to seclusion to re-charge.

  9. I have a good friend who has her Sun, Mercury and Venus in the 12th house and she does tend to treasure her own space and tends to be sparing sometimes in communicating what’s going on in her life, even with friends. She told me last week she has started going to a Jungian analyst – this as Pluto and Saturn are hitting her South Node and coming up to oppose her Cancer Sun in the 12th (seems right on queue!).

  10. I wondered if someone has run Gauquelin’s research using a whole house system and perhaps folk who had planets in the 12th would actually have planets in the house of the ascendant. I have Jupiter ( 0 degrees capricorn) in the 12th in equal houses but this goes into my Capricorn ascendant house in WSH. I think the Jupiter helps mittigate the Saturn and Moon in the 1st.

  11. I have Jupiter in Gemini in my 12th. Jupiter rules my 6th house and co-rules my Pisces 10th. Most of my work (prep) is done in my study/office, alone. After my prep is done, I make my “public” appearance well prepared. Even with a 10th house Aries sun, I treasure and need my alone time, especially for work. That Jupiter in the 12th, is in mutual reception with Mercury in Pisces in 9th. Jupiter in 12th, has also been a saving grace so to speak, I’ve come close to death twice, and I am still here, admittedly, it’s also been my own self-undoing. When things are tough outside I always retreat into myself, and engage in internal dialogue.

    My ex had both Moon in Virgo and Jupiter in Libra in 12th. His moon in 12th seemed to resonate well with my moon in Pisces so in that is until the divorce 20 year later.
    Now in my mid sixties, I am finding myself becoming more reclusive, perhaps due to my solar arc sun in my 12th applying to a conjunction to my natal Jupiter in 12th and TR Neptune on MC applying to a Square with Jupiter in 12th, What did Noel Tyl call it? EGO wipeout. Oh my 🙂

  12. Great post. I’ve read of many leaders having 12 th house Suns. I know someone w a Saturn Sun in the 12th and she’s been very successful as a teacher, writer and author.

  13. I would say that the moon isn’t a good placement in the 12th house. I have moon in cancer in 12th, and it’s made me quite a recluse, and even so not in touch with what I need for my emotional well- being. It seems hidden even from me. My husband has moon in Capricorn in 12th. Ouch.

    • My daughter has a 12th house Moon in Cancer, too, and it’s opposite my Capricorn Moon, that’s luckily in child friendly 5th house. Things I read about this placement when she was a baby were almost painful, since they also involved “mommy issues”. This far none of these have emerged, apart from general growing pains. Where 12th House Moon definitely shows are some sensibilities. For instance, she has an issue with loud and sudden noises. This makes her more comfortable in smaller groups.

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