Cafe Astrology is brimming with free articles, features, interpretations, and tools that will appeal to people with a casual interest in learning Astrology, as well as beginning through advanced students of Astrology. The site is run by astrologer Annie Heese. The first house, also known as the Ascendant in Vedic Astrology is called the house of the self. It is the degree of the sign that is rising on the eastern horizon at the time of birth at a particular place on the earth. From the point of the Ascendant, the rest of the sky is divided into twelve equal parts to form the subsequent houses.
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th
The 12 Houses of astrology are arranged on a circle-shaped chart, or wheel.
Do not confuse the wheel of Houses with the zodiac wheel. They are 2 different wheels.
The 2 wheels join together at points derived by calculations involving your exact birth time and astronomical birth coordinates.
Then, the planets are described in 2 ways: as being in a zodiac sign, and also as being in a House.
For example, two people may both have a Libra Sun sign, but one may have the Libra Sun in his 12th House, while the other may have his Libra Sun in his 1st house. This could make for two very different types of people.
(Another reason why the popular daily Sun Sign Horoscopes are a bunch of silliness: they are written assuming everyone has their Sun in the 1st House.)
The 12 Houses of astrology are symbolic of the all the departments that make up human life. The planets and zodiac signs will manifest themselves most strongly in the sphere of life represented by the House in which they fall on your chart (and also in the House which they rule; more on House Rulerships below).
Remember, the houses are not “energies” like the elements or planets, nor do they color the expression of energies like the zodiac signs do. The houses are WHERE these energies are most likely to manifest. The houses are the fields of experience, not the experience themselves.
Notice how the order of the Houses follows the developmental path of a human’s life, from the original impulse of individual being (1st house), to learning what is “mine” and how to use what one owns (2nd house), to learning how to communicate within the limitations set by our environment (3rd house), etc. The following description of the Houses are short and topical, directed at beginners.
The most important houses are the 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th houses. These are called the 'angular houses' because their cusps coincide with the 4 special angles: ascendant, I.C., descendant, and M.C. Planets in the angular houses will influence you the most.
The first House is the House of self. This includes self-awareness, the physical body, personality, appearance, personal views on life, self-identity, self-image, early environment, and beginnings; how we initiate, how we’re impulsive. Any planets in this house will greatly influence your personality and how others perceive you.
The second House refers to your own money and possessions, what you value, your hidden talents, sense of self-worth, self-esteem (how you value yourself, instead of describing your personality as in the 1st House). Possessions include anything a person owns (except the house/home which is ruled by the 4th House): cars, furniture, clothing, moveable property, investments and securities, etc. The 2nd house specifies how you gain and spend your own money (as opposed to other's money in the 8th house), your attitude towards wealth and material possessions, and your potential for accumulating it/them.
The third House is that of communication, which by extension includes one's immediate environment: siblings, neighbors, short journeys, and all forms of transportation. The 3rd house also includes the intellect, the lower mind (details and small bits of information as opposed to the higher mind in 9th house), thinking patterns, and early education (before college). Communication includes messages, deliveries, gossip, phone calls, visits, reading and writing.
The fourth House refers to the home and everything associated with it (both the childhood home & the current home): family, land, personal foundations (inner emotional security), your roots. Astrologers are divided over whether this house is associated with one's mother or father. What is clear is that a person's upbringing is associated with this House.
On a deeper level, the 4th house is the base of consciousness or the center of our concrete existence. See how the cusp of the 4th house is the I.C., the lowest point on the chart, representative of things below the surface of Earth. Due to that, the 4th house was believed to rule the conditions at the end of life, and graves. As the root or base of your real self, the 4th house rules where you go when you 'die' but also where you came from. For those who believe in reincarnation, the 4th house would give clues to your karmic lesson for this lifetime. It shows what karmic baggage you brought with you into this life. Even if you don't believe in reincarnation, you're likely to be surprised by what you find in your 4th house for it may move your soul.
Any planets in the 4th house affect your home life, your emotions, your subconscious, and possibly your relationship with your parents.
The fifth House refers to children, creativity, and the pursuit of pleasure. This includes personal interests, love affairs, sports, hobbies, speculation, risk-taking, teaching, drama, creative self-expression, love given, gambling. The 5th house is all about you being yourself and enjoying it.
Romance, dating, love affairs, and sexual relationships are ruled by this 5th house, yet marriage is assigned to the 7th. Why? Because, until very recently, marriage was not entered into for pleasure, for love, nor for personal fulfillment. Marriage was hardly even entered into by choice, but rather for the purpose of raising kids to preserve the values of a particular culture or religion. And these marriages were most often arranged according to class and financial status, a partnership befitting the 7th house.
Nowadays, it's common to marry for love. To avoid confusion, remember: affairs of the heart are in the 5th house, but cooperative partnerships are in the domain of the 7th house.
The sixth House refers to daily work, service, diet, health and physical sickness, physical ability to work, employees. This includes volunteer labor, civil service work, caretaking, and mundane daily tasks. The 6th house really involves the quality of your work, the quality of the jobs you perform, as opposed to an actual career (career is represented by the 10th house). Daily mundane tasks include personal hygiene and our method of responding to everyday crises.
The seventh House is sometimes referred to as the House of marriage, but it encompasses all one-to-one relationships: marriage, business partnerships, contracts, cooperative relationships, and also divorce, separation, quarrels, open enemies, and law suits.
The difference between the love affairs of the 5th House and love relationships of the 7th is that the 7th House refers to more permanently binding relationships, whereas the 5th House refers to affairs that may be temporary. When the 5th House affair progresses into a serious relationship, we can say that the relationship has 'moved into the 7th House.'
7th house relationships are about cooperation and sharing, and they generally serve some functional purpose in the larger social community (i.e. a marriage). This is different from a 5th house love affair, whose only qualification is 'butterflies in the stomach.'
The 7th house includes the way you relate to those closest to you. Planets in this house will influence your manner of relating. They also give clues to issues that arise in your relationships.
Simply put, the 8th house is the polar opposite of the 2nd house. Whereas the 2nd rules your own individual possessions, the 8th house rules what a relationship owns (joint finances).
The 8th House is one of the most misunderstood Houses. This is probably because the things represented by the 8th House seem to have nothing in common with each other, or they seem to be negative. This House governs death, regeneration, taxes, inheritances, wills & legacies, sex (the actual act of sex), latent occult ability, joint resources, your partner’s money and possessions, spouse's money, bankruptcy, losses, personal sacrifices, alimony, clairvoyance.
On a positive note, this House is about transformation and healing. But transformation and healing require some type of death, loss, or injury first. This House rules those processes and things by which we transform and become more powerful. Yes, this includes the act of sex.
The ninth House refers to philosophy, religion, law, learning, higher education (as opposed to early education by the 3rd House), ethics, morals, long journeys, travel, foreign countries and interests, spiritual urges, dreams, visions, higher mind, ideas, understanding and wisdom, books, publishing, ceremonies, and rituals. This is the House of big thoughts and big ideas.
9th house 'understanding' is more complex than 3rd house 'knowledge'. The act of 'knowing' belongs to the 3rd house because it implies simply the direct contact of a person with something in his environment. Understanding involves the synthesis of known data.
While the 3rd house refers to an individual's need to understand his close and personal environment, the 9th house is an area in which one seeks to discover the significance of larger fields of social existence which one may not experience directly but which his mind may explore through the use of analogy, generalization and abstraction. The 3rd and 9th houses symbolize the 2 polarities of the human mind, the concrete and the abstract.
In summary, the 9th house includes experiences that we encounter when we search for the meaning of things. Whatever expands your field of activity or the scope of your mind – long journeys, contact with other cultures, great dreams, and even experiences with fortunetellers.
No matter where your birthdate falls on the astrological wheel, there's a good chance you might be a different sign at heart. After you tell us about your personality and your lifestyle, we will tell you which sign we think you really are! From fire signs to air signs, every member of the zodiac is said to possess a certain set of traits. If you don’t know the time of day of your birth, make it 12:00 noon, so that it can be no more than 12 hours wrong. Then press the button Get Your Zodiac Sign. The wheel will turn until the arrow is at the right spot. Your Zodiac sign will be reported, also the degree within that sign (between 0° and 30°). Mar 02, 2021 Hey, what’s your sign? Your zodiac sign is written in the stars, literally! But will it accurately determine your wedding style? Wedding style by zodiac signnow that’s a thought. Here’s an astrology refresh for you: there are 12 zodiac signs. Each sign has its own strengths and weaknesses. This test reveals what Zodiac sign your personality is the closest to, whatever your birth sign actually is. I have used basic astrological principles for the Zodiac signs, when deciding the test questions as well as the choices. What's your astrological sign quiz sheet. The first fire sign of the zodiac circle and also known as an infant of the zodiac, the presence of Aries zodiac sign always brings an energetic beginning. The natives born between March 21 to April 19 are born leaders, bold, optimistic, passionate and outspoken.
The tenth House is the House of status, honor, community power, prestige, reputation, and professional career. In our society, this includes financial success, but only as it relates to community power and prestige. It's not about gaining 'material stuff' as it is in the 2nd house. The 10th house wants success for the sake of honor and social status.
This house includes social foundations (as opposed to personal home foundations in the 4th), recognition, personal achievements, social responsibilities, sense of duty, authority figures, politicians. This House encompasses the most public areas of one's life, and the career that you grow into, as opposed to daily work and odd jobs ruled by the 6th House.
As with the 4th House, astrologers are divided over whether the 10th House rules one's mother or father. Those that say the 4th House rules the mother, say the 10th House rules the father, and vice versa. What is clear is that the 4th House rules the nurturing, home-body parent, while the 10th House rules the public, success-focused parent (the parent who 'wears the pants').
As with the other angular houses, any planets in this house are very important. Planets in the 10th house, the sign on the cusp of the 10th house, and its ruling planet will greatly influence your career and your general reputation in public.
The eleventh House is the House of community, large groups, and friends. It refers to memberships, hopes, goals, ambitions, wishes, social groups, associations, humanitarian interests. It also refers to self-realization, liberty, legislation and regulation.
This is probably the most misunderstood house of all. The twelfth House refers to the subconscious, the hidden self that exists apart from our physical everyday reality. This includes the unconscious mind, subconscious memory, subconscious habit patterns from the past, mental illness, karmic debts, self-deception, escapism, spiritual realization, limitations, frustration, and ultimately our self-undoing.
On a physical, material level, the 12th house includes things that take us away from everyday life: institutions (such as hospitals, prisons, government offices), places of confinement, secrets, secret relationships, hidden enemies, and self-sacrifice for others. It also refers to sorrow, tribulations, widowhood, grief, funerals, exile, seclusion, bribery, subversion, murder, suicide, kidnapping, and endings.
For those who believe, the 12th house is also considered to refer to the collective unconscious of all humanity.
Each planet and zodiac sign is naturally associated with a House, the House that most corresponds to its archetype. The planet, then, is said to be the “Natural Ruler” of that House, or more often, it’s said to be “at home” in that House.
The House/planet associations were adjusted with the discoveries of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. The following table lists the current House rulers, along with the traditional rulers. The traditional rulers are still considered to be co-rulers of that House (along with the new planet that rules the House).
Note: in your own birth chart, the rulers of your houses are determined by the signs that fall on the cusps of your houses. However, the natural rulers, listed here, give a subtle influence.
|House||Keywords||Zodiac Sign||Natural Ruler||Traditional Ruler|
|1st||self, life, body||Aries||Mars|
|2nd||possessions, money, material circumstances, livelihood||Taurus||Venus|
|3rd||local movement, short journeys, communication, school, siblings||Gemini||Mercury|
|4th||home, family, roots, parent||Cancer||Moon|
|5th||creativity, children, romance, entertainment||Leo||Sun|
|6th||health, service, work, routine||Virgo||Mercury|
|7th||partners, marriage, open enemies||Libra||Venus|
|8th||sex, death, inheritances, other’s money, loss||Scorpio||Pluto||Mars|
|9th||travel, higher education, religion, spirituality, law||Sagittarius||Jupiter|
|10th||career, social position, dominant parent||Capricorn||Saturn|
|11th||friendships, associations, aspirations||Aquarius||Uranus||Saturn|
|12th||hidden matters, the unconscious, clandestine relationships, secret enemies, seclusion||Pisces||Neptune||Jupiter|
Take Note: The qualities of the zodiac signs are not exactly the same as those of the Houses which they are associated with. There are subtle differences between the qualities of the signs and Houses. More on the zodiac signs later; but first, learn about the star players, the Planets. See Lesson 5-The Planets.
Over the years, I’ve received more inquiries about the 12th than any other house. The ones who write are usually in distress. Sometimes they’re new to astrology and are panicked to learn they’ve got planets here: “I’ve heard the 12th is a terrible house. Am I doomed?” Other times, it’s people who know all about the 12th. In fact, they’ve got a long tale of 12th house woe and are hoping I can predict the precise moment its trials will end. Classical astrologers have called this house “the valley of miseries,” “the dark den of sorrow and horror,” the “portal of toil,” and the house of “Bad Spirit.”
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.
Thank goodness Dane Rudhyar, the father of modern astrology, declared, “There are no bad houses.”  And so modern astrologers, like a happy Extreme Makeover crew, took their axes to this structure of doom. They hollowed out its dingy cells and remade the 12th into a vast womb of invisible potencies. It is now the matrix of divine unity, holding the Oneness from which we all emerge and to which we all return. Draped in the gauzy veils of Neptune and Pisces, the 12th has become an inner dream factory, residence of the collective unconscious, wellspring of symbols and archetypes, favorite haunt of the imagination. It is a house of intuition, compassion and spiritual transcendence. You’re advised to serve here, so that you don’t have to suffer. For even modern astrologers couldn’t erase all the difficulties in this house. They warn that in such a potent unbounded space, you can easily lose your bearings. Functions and gifts of planets here may be hard to access. You might lack a clear life direction or be confused about who you are. You may feel shy, insignificant, or anonymous—or you could suffer from delusions of grandeur. Saviors and martyrs live here. Your psychic boundaries might be so porous, you could be an easy mark for predators, or become a slick predator yourself. All of this could drive you to deception and drink.
“Things you cannot see” would be the game show category for this house. Whether you favor the traditional or modern view, analyzing this house poses a similar problem: How do you accurately see its territory? All of its dangers are invisible, whether caused by karma, hidden enemies, or the perverted logic of your own subconscious. According to Ptolemy, the 12th corresponded to that part of the sky, just above the horizon, where stars were obscured by the “thick, misty exhalations from the moistures of earth.” According to the Egyptians, stars here were lost in, and debilitated by, the sun’s light at sunrise.  For both traditionalists and moderns, the 12th represents a colossal blind spot. Therefore with the problem of perception is where we should begin. Consider the cautionary tale of the Emperor of Chin.
The First Emperor of Chin was a tyrant. Ambitious and powerful, he conquered a vast territory and was the first to unite the Chinese into a single empire. Obsessed with immortality, he aimed to conquer death too. He secured a spiritual text that promised to deliver the secret of everlasting life. But the book was written in esoteric language. All he could understand was a single sentence: 'The one who shall destroy Chin is Hu.' Thinking 'Hu' referred to a tribe from Northern China, he mobilized his entire country to build a great defensive wall. It stretched for thousands of miles to keep the presaged invaders at bay. The wall is still standing, but Chin’s empire crumbled a scant few years after his death. What destroyed it? Not the northern tribe of Hu, but Chin’s irresponsible and idiotic son, who was also named Hu. Talk about blind spots! Chin literally planted the seed that took his own empire down.
Most of us make a similar mistake with our 12th house, for it too is an esoteric spiritual text. And its cryptic sentences, coming as intuitions, irritations, and fears, may misdirect us into battle against some “Hu” in the outer world. Like the emperor, we may exert great effort walling out phantom enemies while missing the real situation. “Self-undoing” is the most relevant of the traditional keywords to survive in the modern 12th house, and it’s potent enough to make us just as sick, imprisoned or enslaved as all the others. When you approach the veiled gates of this house, come armed with a healthy suspicion of your own blind spots. Pay attention to what irritates or frightens you “out there,” because it’s quite likely this enemy lurks in the shadows of your own nature, described by your 12th house planets or signs.
Katie has a 12th house Moon. On Ingrid’s 12th house cusp is Cancer, ruled by the Moon. Both women have a similar 'enemy' in the outer world. Katie's nemesis is an actress in her community theater group. I've listened to Katie complain about her countless times. 'She drives me nuts! She's always feeling sorry for herself. She's just a high school teacher but all you hear about is how hard she works, how stressful her job is. She’s forever bringing homework to rehearsals and cast parties, so she can fall asleep on a pile of papers. Does she think we’ll give her an Oscar for martyr of the year?'
Ingrid's nemesis is Katie, whom she talks about constantly. Her complaint is surprisingly similar. 'I just can't stand Katie. Listening to her is like fingernails on chalk to me. She drives me crazy, always playing the victim. Will she ever stop whining and feeling sorry for herself?' I once asked Ingrid why she thought Katie had such an effect on her. 'I guess it's because I've always had it so hard. My mother was an alcoholic, you know, and I had to take care of myself. I never got to whine like that.. No one ever cared if I cried.'
Er, excuse me while I get my violin. I don't mean to sound unsympathetic, but I've got a 12th house Moon too. That’s why I'm writing about Katie and Ingrid. Their whining about whiners bugs me! Because of her mother's alcoholism, Ingrid was robbed of much of the emotional comforts of her Moon. But Katie and I didn’t have it much better. Twelfth house Moons often have mothers who are sick, narcissistic, or otherwise un-nurturing, reversing the mother-child dynamic so the child has to mother the mother. Twelfth house Moons learn to disguise their own vulnerability and pretend it isn’t there. They become masters of self-sufficiency. Often they’re particularly gifted at taking care of others. But repressing their neediness doesn’t make it disappear; it goes to their 12th house blind spot, where it lives as an emotionally hungry child. Trailing the competent nurturer, the little orphan cries out with an unconscious “Poor me!”—which everyone but the 12th house Moon person can hear.
Chin had two sons. He gave all his attention to his first-born, Fu, the promised heir to the throne. Overlooked, the second-born Hu remained ignorant, silly and petulant, in effect never quite growing up. But when Chin died, wicked insiders prevented Fu from taking power and Hu was installed as a puppet leader. An empire that should have lasted a few hundred years died virtually overnight. If planets in the 12th were children, they’d be reared much like the neglected son Hu. Without our conscious attention, they’re neither tested nor trained. They don’t get the same opportunities to grow and mature. Yet in moments of unconsciousness, they will take over, and can cause plenty of damage.
Consider the case of a 12th house Mars. Mars is the archetypal warrior, representing the ability to set boundaries, be self-assertive, get angry when necessary. People with a 12th house Mars often have difficulty going after what they want. They’re outwardly gentle and agreeable, for the most part lacking Mars’ sharp attacks. You can cross them several times and get no reaction, but one day, someone, possibly you, will receive a full-blown Mars explosion. The 35-year-old computer programmer will disappear and a 2-year-old in tantrum will take his place. But the person acting out won't know what hit you. He may have sent you vicious emails, vilified your name in the public square, but when it’s time for an apology, he’ll brush it off. To truly regret his actions, his 12th house Mars would have to reach consciousness first.
Our 12th house planets and signs are like children with special needs. They’ve suffered a critical deprivation. In some way our early environment didn’t encourage or support their expression. They may be usurped, denied or shamed by our caretakers. Somehow we got the message they're unsafe to express. With Mars or Aries in the 12th, I may fear the expression of my competitive drive or deny my selfishness. With Pluto or Scorpio, I may be too embarrassed to reveal my passion, my sexuality, my power. With Mercury or Gemini in the 12th, I may decide to keep my mouth shut. With Uranus or Aquarius in the 12th, I'll cover up what makes me different, and keep my creative genius under wraps. With Venus there, or Taurus or Libra, I won’t know how beautiful, how sensuous, how artistic or loving I can be.
Whatever the rejected planet or sign, the subconscious awareness of its loss leads to a kind of victim consciousness, a conviction, in fact, that it's morally right to feel sorry for ourselves. Weren't we robbed after all? A businessman I know with a 12th house Mars was keenly aware of his inability to be self-assertive: 'My mom co-opted all the anger in our house. I didn’t dare cross her. But then I never got to be me.' When he learned he had a reputation among his co-workers for being ruthless and cruel—his shadow Mars—he was actually thrilled. 'Doesn't it bother you that you might really be hurting people?' I asked. There was a momentary confusion in his eyes before they glazed over. Lost in the memories of his past, and unable to fit them with a different picture of his present, he spaced out and forgot my question.
I like the modern view of the 12th simply because I’ve found it more useful and true. From the modern perspective, to redeem 12th house planets, you must first become aware that you have them. The next step is to choose—metaphorically—among the more traditional options: Are you going to put yourself in prison, a mental institution, the hospital, or a monastery? You can pace a prison cell of past mistakes. You can go crazy with frustration or anger. You can lie on a sick bed of wounds. Or you can get on your knees and appeal to a higher power. In this vast inner world, time and space have no meaning. In restructuring your 12th house psyche, you have infinite choices. In imagination, you can, like a young Dalai Lama, roam an inner residence a quarter mile long with a thousand rooms, enjoying this precious incarnation, and taking advantage of centuries of history and learning from vast inner libraries. Whatever your past, shining a light in your 12th can open a field of new possibilities.
The invisible world doesn’t operate like the world of matter, so we shouldn't act like it does. In the visible world if I am harmed, I can go about crying and blaming. If I am just a material being, and my early environment didn't support my Venus or Mercury, I can say I’m just a piece of genetic material with the bad fortune to be born in a dismal circumstance. Not so in the world of spirit. If I accept my spiritual nature, then I must somehow account for my existence before and after the womb. I may come to believe that my choices influence the course of my soul, that past actions have determined my situation this lifetime, bringing me to the right place for the next stage of my development, and that what I do now will affect what happens after I die. If we shift our perspective beyond this lifetime, the 12th takes on a whole new look. We acquire new responsibilities. Planets and signs here are no longer victimized or deprived. What looks like loss on the material plane becomes a sacred initiation or ritual sacrifice in the spiritual realm.
Eric has a 12th house Aries Sun—opposed by Saturn and Neptune. He lost his father when he was five. His alcoholic gambler dad walked out the door and never returned. The Sun describes our will, our purpose, also our experience of father (just as the Moon describes our experience of mother). Not everyone with a 12th house Sun loses a father so literally, but in some way, the fathering influence will be dampened or sacrificed. Dad’s support or encouragement of the child’s special gifts will be lacking. Eric tried on a variety of identities growing up, becoming a troublemaker, then a varsity athlete, then a rebel journalist, finally a poet. In college he had the good fortune to find a strong poetry mentor, and under the influence of this surrogate father, he found his way in the world. Astrology cookbooks often say that 12th house Suns are shy and tend to work behind the scenes. But you can’t always believe the cookbooks. Eric is a strong and opinionated Aries, who like a true individualist, refused to fit into any corporate mold. He founded his own publishing company and continued to write prize-winning poems. In spite of his 12th house history—or perhaps because of it—he became a devoted father of three and served as a father figure to many younger writers, supporting, encouraging, and publishing their work. His early 12th house sacrifice was the initiation leading to his later success.
When the progressed Moon entered Eric’s 12th house, his publishing company started to fail. The 12th is uniquely positioned on the horoscope wheel, coming as the last house, before the first begins again. Likewise, transits and progressions through this house mark an end that precedes another beginning. When the progressed Moon or Saturn goes through this house, this transition can last approximately two years. Life structures that have served their usefulness may dissolve. Relationships can go, losses may be suffered. We may be tested on how well we’ve developed this house, what we’ve learned from our initial sacrifice, how clearly we’ve seen into and mapped our blind spot. During the Moon’s progression, Eric struggled with his father’s legacy; he started drinking, fighting with his wife, and losing money just as his father had done. A whole lifetime of saying “I’ll never do what my father did to me” brought him face-to-face with that same potential in himself. Twelfth house transits and progressions will take us deep. They’ll show us parts of ourselves we’ve never seen before. This isn’t always bad. New beauty, strength, and talent can hide in our blind spot too. By the time the progressed Moon crossed out of the 12th, Eric was a new man. He had cleaned up his life, found an entirely new path, and on renewed terms, was a strong and inspiring Aries Sun once again.
Paul is a writer and photographer with Neptune in his 12th. I described Neptune to him once, how it speaks through music, art, and poetry. Astrologers associate the 12th house with conception. I suggested that Neptune’s imprint may have been knowledge Paul gained in the womb. His eyes lit up. His mother had played the piano throughout her pregnancy, he said, and he always felt this had made a deep impression on him; his thoughts tend to move in musical patterns. An intensely private man, Paul has a Scorpio Sun squared by a controlling Pluto/Saturn conjunction and, not surprisingly, he is known for bouts of intolerance and rigidity. As one might surmise from his chart, his father was strict. As a child Paul wasn’t allowed to drift and dream or float in Neptune’s sea; that was the early deprivation of this planet. As a young man Paul served in the military and later went to school for a business career. But in the past ten years I've watched him steadily withdraw from worldly concerns to submerge in the Neptunian world of his art. For the past two years he has been so deep in Neptune that he disappears for months at a time. Yet whenever I see him, he is intensely alive. More than anyone I know, Paul lives an artist's life, completely on artist's time. He will spend hours catching just the right light for a photograph. He will go days without sleep, living with the characters in his novel as though they were roommates. His 12th house Neptune has become the center of his life. It is the sunken treasure he has been working his whole life to retrieve. It is something truly divine.
When I look at an individual’s chart and see planets in the 12th, “doom” and “misery” aren’t the first words that come to my mind. I rather think that here lies a great gift, in fact, the true wealth of the chart. But it’s like a trust fund. The 12th house individual must come of age first, spiritual age. Ego might greedily appropriate the rest of the chart for its desires, but this house refuses to give up its goods so easily. There will be sacrifice; there will be immaturity, weakness, and whining; there will be a long journey requiring self-awareness, humility, and spiritual responsibility. However long it takes, the 12th house treasure will not disappear. Won perhaps over many lifetimes, it is deep and instinctive. The potential for a wide appreciation of its gifts is also huge.
I’m not alone in thinking this way. Michel Gauquelin, a psychologist who used statistical models to investigate astrology’s accuracy, discovered that while many astrology factors have no relevance, planets in the 12th house  did have a strong correlation with an individual’s career success. Mars in the 12th house was often found in the charts of sports figures. Actors, politicians, and journalists showed Jupiter in the 12th; scientists and doctors, Saturn or Mars; painters and musicians, Venus; and writers, the Moon. This finding surprised even astrologers, who typically locate career indicators in the 10th. Contemporary astrologer Maurice Fernandez makes even stronger claims for 12th house planets.  According to Fernandez, people who have positions of influence or fame will more often have an emphasized 12th house than a strong 10th. Since the 12th house rules both the collective unconscious and the masses, planets here indicate the potential to tune in to what’s popular and have an effect on a wide audience. They may also bear the burden of mass projection, sacrificing the personal life to become a product or symbol. Think of the different measures of fame the following 12th house Suns have achieved: Ghandi, Madonna, George Bush, and Rodney King.
As with any astrology factor, what really counts is what the individual does with it. I know behind every worried email I get about the 12th, lies someone with great potential for success. Since I’ve come to appreciate the special quality of 12th house planets, the rest of the chart seems to pale. Without question, this house of self-undoing, confinement, and loss is my favorite house in the chart.