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.