The Mysteries of the 12th House

image by Jane Rekas

As many astrology enthusiasts are, I am intrigued with the 12th house.  I have two planets in the 12th house, my Moon and Mars.  They are also conjunct my Ascendant quite closely, within 5 degrees. And I nearly have Venus there too, but it’s the 1st house within 3 degrees of my ASC.  There are several of my close relatives who have Moon in the 12th house too.

I remember getting a reading in my early 20s in which I was told that all my feelings are right near the surface, though I don’t want them to be seen.  I get moody and angry and when it comes out, I try to smooth the waters, as I have compassion right there.  I think I also try to appear nice, feel very self conscious of being cranky, and want to deny my emotions often.

“The Moon in the twelfth house projects its influence in this sector of the chart. This placement gives a love of introspection and a need for periodic retirement from the confusion and business of the world in general. This placement is going to cause you to feel emotionally isolated from others since it is difficult for you to find emotional stability in other people. You are extremely impressionable and respond to subtle influences of those around you. With such a strong sense of charity, a release is needed to in some way be able to help others. There is opportunity for success in work within large institutions such as hospitals, the government, or large corporations, and usually for the public welfare. While you are subject to emotional chaos, you have serious difficulty expressing your emotions. The twelfth house Moon denotes a need for security that is often fulfilled though withdrawal.

The Mars twelfth house placement shows desires and actions are influenced by the subconscious mind. You have a compelling sense of mission, but most of your desires are kept secret to avoid open opposition from others. You are secretive about your work or you prefer working alone and perhaps even in seclusion. Unconscious anger needs to be brought into the open and understood.” astrology-numerology
Also these two comments are quite true for me:
(Moon) “The relationship you had with your mother was complex. You might have felt as if you were the “parent” and your mother was the child. You were dependable and felt responsible for your mother figure and her happiness. You may have experienced your mother figure as emotionally vulnerable, weak or unstable and as someone who “needed you to be strong”. Your mother may have suffered from depression, sadness or mental illness.
(Mars) Your relationship with your father is something that causes you pain. In childhood, your father might have suffered with alcoholism and was not emotionally or physically there for you. You may have argued with your father and might have felt like you had to take care of him because of his weaknesses.” source
My rising planets

There are several associations with the 12th house:

  • The house of the hidden, subconscious, private, collective karma.
  • The Twelfth House is ruled by Pisces and the planets Jupiter and Neptune.
  • Cusp of the Ascendant and 1st house which shows "what I am" and the 12th house showing "what I am not."
TWELFTH HOUSE KEYWORDS: subconscious, hidden, karma, self-deception, self-undoing, punishment, charity, philanthropy, forgiveness, meditation, self-analysis, confinement, isolation, seclusion, loneliness, bondage, imprisonment, hospitals, institutions, hotels, sanctuaries, ashrams, monasteries, solitude, escapism, avoidance, poverty, debts, welfare, animals, aunts and uncles, retirement, sea, seamen, secrets, secret enemies
The twelfth house can be referred to rather bleakly:
"There is karma here. That means bad things will happen to bad people. Even good people will suffer misfortune if they’re carrying some mysterious past-life debt. This house can bring frustration, anxiety, confinement, and loss; also slavery, sickness, and imprisonment. It rules hospitals, prisons, mental institutions, and monasteries (the kind you were sent to when the family wanted to keep you from public view). The 12th also rules hidden enemies. These are the evil doers you don’t even know about, like the smiling beautician who Moonlights as a sorcerer, and is even now sticking pins into a voodoo doll tied with a strand of your hair."  Dana Gerhardt
image by Jane Rekas


"If there’s a planet in the 12th House and conjunct the Ascendant, it’s going to be a hidden agenda of yours, in the way in which you greet the world. You express this energy like an undercover agent, as it motivates you but is not all out in the open like a 1st House planet on the Ascendant would be. Yet, it still has a way of being noticeable and tangible, at the same time. It’s just more of a feeling around you than a transparent persona. I think this is especially the case if the planet is 4 degrees or less away from the Ascendant. So, people see it and don’t see it, at the same time....This differs greatly from a 1st House planet conjunct the Ascendant. It is very direct and straightforward in its expression. It wants to be seen and make an impact. But, 12th House planets don’t want to be seen, even if they’re on the Ascendant. They are egoless and don't need the me-oriented recognition that 1st House planets do. " source

I am intrigued by Rising Planets as well.  Rising Planets are planets conjunct the Ascendant.  I think it usually refers to planets in the first house only.  But what about planets in the 12th house near the Ascendant?
"I always consider planets just "behind" the Ascendant as quivering on the edge of expression... In any chart I look at, I consider a planet in this position (in the 12th house, conjunct the Ascendant) as a point of much preoccupation and, often, troubles in the native's life. Any planet conjunct the Ascendant can show some level of immaturity, but its place in the 12th house also suggests a drive towards mastery or maturity. The resulting mix is unusual and contradictory. That planet's energy is powerful in the native's life, and has an almost self-conscious need to be seen and expressed. Still, it's under the surface, on the verge of expression, yet not quite out of the closet."   source
There is a great chance of imminent visibility when a 12th house planet is near the Ascendant:
"The closer a 12th house planet is to the Ascendant, the less of a secret it really is! A 12th house planet that is conjunct the Ascendant within 10° is much more apparent to people around you and the world at large than you believe. You’re probably not fooling anyone but yourself, even if they don’t call you on it. An example would be the flamboyantly gay but closeted person who believes that if they don’t talk about it no one will know."  Donna Cunningham


"During a transit to 12th house planets, the secret will come out." Donna Cunningham
          Planets transiting the 12th house (from cafeastrology)


As you may know, this is a particular interest of mine. Rising Planets and how they affect your appearance.


Would you like to see if you look like celebrities with similar planets?


I have 3 planets conjunct the Ascendant: Moon and Mars in my 12th within 5 degrees and Venus in the 1st house within 3 degrees of my ASC.

Mars – sometimes hair is reddish or auburn. may have a ruddy complexion.
Moon – has a round, “moony” type of face.
Venus – attractive, beautiful complexion and may have dimpled cheeks or cleft in chin.

Moon in 12th

Mars in 12th

Venus in 1st
See more planets rising

I remember getting a reading in my early 20s in which I was told that all my feelings are right on the surface, though I don't want them to be seen.  I get moody and angry and when it comes out, I try to smooth the waters, as I have compassion right there.  I think I also try to appear nice, feel very self conscious of being cranky, and want to deny my emotions often.

With transiting Mars at 8 Sagittarius and transiting Saturn at 16 Sagittarius, they are both conjuncting planets here, I'm having a Mars Return. They are also square my Uranus and Pluto and my Saturn, so I'm having a Saturn Square. And Jupiter at 14 Virgo, is squaring them, as is Neptune at 10 Pisces from the other side (at least to my Moon).  I've been more irritable than usual and less able to stuff it. 

"Mars Transit 12th House: A sense of isolation prevails. If you are not comfortable being alone, this can be a frustrating time. You can feel walled off from others. It is a good time to get in touch with yourself and your feelings. It is a good time for retreat and meditation.
Mars Return— According to John Townley, “The individual often finds (the Mars Return) this a time of new projects and commitments, often accompanied by higher pay status and the increased responsibility and time/expenditure that such change of status often requires. Naturally, it is a good time to start a new job or project and, conversely, new jobs and projects just seem to turn up at this time.” I personally relate this to the fact that the energy level is higher and this energy or charisma is attractive to others— you project yourself with greater confidence, your aura is stronger and there is a radiance that is attractive to others. This explains why it is easier to get a job during the Mars Return." source


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I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and now work at Western Psychological and Counseling Services in Gladstone and at Seth Lewelling Elementary.  I am a Transpersonal and CBT Therapist, and also a Certified Hypnotist and Certified Past Life Regression Facilitator. I am also an astrologer and Reiki Master.  I'm a graduate of Reed College (BA Psychology '87) and Portland State University (MSW '90), LCSW sine '97. I work with children, teens, adults, parents, groups.

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