surfing on through the skies
The 12th house in astrology has a terrible reputation thanks to ancient interpretations which describe it as: the house of undoing; the house of prisons, hospitals, monasteries and institutions; the house of misery, secret enemies and sorrow. We need to examine these ancient interpretations for what they are: views which fit the time in which they were created.
Every generation and age has certain beliefs which permeate the culture, or the ecosystem of the collective. In classical times, when astrologers wrote about the 12th house, suspected witches were being burnt at the stake, magicians were actively sought out, tortured and killed – even the women healing with earth plants were banished and accused of being witches. Basically, in the Middle Ages, the unknown, and the mysteries of human consciousness were matters for God and not mortals. It is no surprise then that the 12th house received a terrible rap from classical astrologers.
Let us think what some more current and relevant interpretations of the 12th house might be……
The 12th house is the ending and beginning of the horoscope wheel. It is the natural home of Pisces. If everything is indeed a connected circle – the 12th house is the ending and beginning of all things. It is a place of incubation. If you wish to have an idea of how you grew in your mother’s womb – look at the condition of the 12th house – you were in it before you “rose” into life. This is why the Ascendent is based upon your birth time….the house before your rising sign indicates you in utero.
The 12th house then is like the sum total of everything else. It is the collective unconscious. It is where we dream. It is where seeds can be planted to manifest in due course. Think about one of the things humans crave most: intimacy, deep and pure intimacy. While often intimacy with another human is seen as an 8th house matter, think about the qualities of merging completely, beyond the level of the physical – certainly perhaps involving it in early stages, but moving beyond the physical to a greater depth of merging, think beyond tantra and we might come close to understanding the sacred sexuality which resides in the 12th house.
Being the house of the collective unconscious and dreaming, it may seem hard to access or understand. Planets here may seem a little “asleep”. But this is not the case at all. Sleep is a very active a regenerative time for humans. It is where we regenerate to make sure we stay alive – it is where we receive inspiration, merge with higher design of the universe and dream our pasts and futures.
Because the 12th house and planets contained within them are so deep, it can seem scary or even terrifying at times to embark on the journey to explore them. Yet explore this part of our horoscope we must, because it is where we conceive what will become manifest.
Many astrology writings speak about how “hard” it is to access planets in the 12th house or how hard it is for any planets in the 12th to express their energy. However, it is worth remembering that very little in our charts make no aspects. There is always a relationship between any planet, the house it rules or by an aspect to another point in our horoscope.
Imagine for example, Mars deeply in the 12th house, in Scorpio, making no aspects, except say a square to the midheaven. There might be issues with expressing anger, or energy. Or their might be a deep resilience, a reliance on the inner energy to guide the person instinctively. They may be very perceptive to undercurrents of energy, or conversely be energetically affected by deep undercurrents intheir interface with life. The square to the Midheaven might suggest career as a friction or action point for growth of primal energy. It might mean getting angry at work, it might mean choosing to compete – quite a good set up for say an athlete or a salesperson if used properly. This patterning can be extended. Lets say Aries rules the 5th house of this particular horoscope. In this case, Mars in the 12th house in Scorpio adds a flavour of intensity to matters of the 5th house – in fact the 5th house becomes like a release valve for the intensity of Mars in Scorpio. This could manifest in a number of ways. Play might be deep, sex might be deeper than the light romantic play fun that the 5th house usually signifies. The person may experience deep growth through creative pursuits, or it may be intensely important to them to have children.
There are as many examples of ways 12th house planets could play out as stars in the sky. But the key to digging into your own 12th house lies in examining the relationships between any planets in the 12th house and the rest of the horoscope, the sign on the cusp of the 12th house, the sign/s within it and taking things from there.
Yes, the 12th house seems inaccessible at times, the very antithesis to living in the practical world. But it is where the gold of our deepest expression lies – the place where if we tap into it – we can bridge heaven and earth through finding and ultimately if we are brave enough, expressing the hidden magic of our souls.
What sign is on the cusp of your 12th house, and do any planets reside here?
Esther Williams rehearsing for Ziegfeld Follies in 1944. (Image via AP)