This article (The Madness and Mystery of The 12th House) was written for the wonderful Ephemeris.Co – we work together to bring the magic of Astrology to your world :

The 12th house.

Much maligned, feared and misunderstood in astrology, this house has always had scary connotations, such as “self-undoing”, “addiction”, “bad spirit”, endings, loss and isolation.

It’s understandable, then, why this house is often the most asked about for students new to astrology. Sometimes, at worst, students may even feel victimized by planets in the 12th house, helpless to stop the stream of destruction that seems to issue from this dark and terrifying place.

But what is the 12th house about, really?

The 12th house in History – The Madness  

If you’ve ever read a book by William Lilly or other such prolific and esteemed astrologers, you will turn up phrases such as “bad spirit”. Most ancient astrologers thought of the 12th house as your hidden enemies and basically, anything bad or terrible in your life. The 12th house came to be seen as loss, endings and sorrow.

The 12th house, in other words, became the rubbish bin of the zodiac where all of our complexes and bad behaviors were to be stored.All the unpleasant experiences of life. All the things we didn’t want to see.

Some say the 12th house is like the deepest of oceans, and that at the bottom, lies horrible monsters of the deep – those twisted sea demons that we see in fascinating Planet Earth documentaries.

Is it really so bad?

Yes, it can be. When we don’t deal with our 12th house issues and planets, they do become self-undoing. We trip over whatever that planet signifies, like a sneaky table leg in the dark. If we don’t turn around and switch on the light to see what’s there. We may imagine all sorts of bedtime monsters coming to eat us up.

But when we see what’s really there, we realize, it was only a table. A misplaced one.

What the 12th house can really be – the Mystery

Luckily, Astrology has evolved as have human beings. We don’t have to be doomed and cursed by the planets in our 12th house, just as we don’t have to be doomed and cursed by our parent’s mistakes. The modern take on the 12th house can be hopeful – representing the story of our psyches, this house is our hidden complexes that can become resources and gifts.

Here’s an idea of what the 12th house can represent besides all the doom-and-gloom drama:

  1. Your Hidden Gifts – any planet un the 12th house can be a secret gift a treasure to unlock. For example, mercury in the 12th house may represent story-telling gifts, a knack for poetry or psychic ability.
  2. Your Family Karma – planets tucked away in the 12th house can indicate a problem that happened in the family, to a parent or another relative, which you have inherited. If you’re not conscious of this pattern, it can become self-undoing. But when you heal it, you heal everyone in your line.
  3. Your Career Success – interestingly, planets in the 12th house can actually present career success in life. Many planets in the 12th house can show someone who is a big deal in the world, such as Madonna. The 12th house lends intuition around the collective unconscious, which you are able to tap into and utilize. The greatest careers are centered around predicting, or feeling, where the trends are going, right?
  4. The Healer in You – many people with planets in the 12th house become healers of some kind. This makes sense, as the way that the 12th house works for us is when we look at our own “stuff” and become conscious of it.

General Meaning of each planet in the 12th house

Got a planet in the 12th house? Want to know a little more about its gifts – and curse? Here you go –


A 12th house Moon gives the gift of empathy, sensitivity, and an almost psychic-ability to feel others’ suffering. An undiscovered Moon can indicate being unaware of one’s own needs and feelings which can lead to self-destruction.


The 12th house Sun is the gift of tuning int the collective, merging one’s own ego with the divine and a deep sense of connection with spirituality. The curse of the 12th house unconscious Sun is a low self-esteem, inferiority complexes and issues with identity.


Mercury in the 12th house talks about the gift of “sight”, of intuitive understanding, storytelling, meditation and mental creativity. Problems with Mercury in the 12th house can include overthinking, having troublesome or defeating thoughts and not trusting your own ideas.


The downside of Venus in the 12th house is, of course, unconscious, even codependent relationships which can lead to endings. However, a well-understood 12th house Venus gives the gift of spiritual relationships and a willingness to sacrifice.


Problems with Mars in the 12th house can include an inability to go after what we want, repressed anger and a lowered drive. When we work constructively with Mars, we can find a strong desire to help others, and an ability to go with the flow as well as hidden strength and power.


Jupiter is probably one the best 12th house planets. Here, it’s said that he is protective and that angels have your back! The worst that can happen with Jupiter here is excessiveness – overdoing it, in other words.


In ancient astrology, Saturn is said to have his “joy” in the 12th house. Yet, he can indicate anxieties and fears which we aren’t aware of, which may affect our lives negatively, but he also says that we are able to master those fears, with work. Saturn in the 12th may indicate unresolved issues with the father figures in our lives that we need to tackle.


With Uranus in the 12th house, we bury our uniqueness and fear expressing our originality, and we may have many hidden anxieties.  This can make us act out in rebellious ways if we don’t allow ourselves to march to the beat of our own drum. Sometimes, Uranus here can show an eccentric family line.


Neptune in the 12th house is comfortable here, and can be one of the main indicators of psychic abilities, especially when passed through the ancestral line. However, if we don’t have boundaries, Neptune can be destructive and we may feel confused in life or have addiction issues.


When we have Pluto in the 12th house, we may bury, hide or distort power.  So, we need to become aware of our own inner power and own it in order to access the transformative energy of this powerhouse planet. Pluto is strong indicator of generational trauma which could have been passed down to us. Pluto in the 12th house can be a true Shaman.

What can we do to heal the planets in the 12th house?

So, the real question is, what can we actually doto heal the 12th house? How can we access the gifts here and become conscious of any destructive behaviors so to avoid loss?

These tips will all help peel away the layers and get down to business –

  1. Any energy work (Reiki, crystal healing etc.)
  2. Astrology
  3. Psychology
  4. Transpersonal Psychology
  5. Family Constellations work
  6. Hypnosis
  7. Bodywork (i.e. Kinesiology)
  8. Dream work
  9. Resting, sleeping, daydreaming and not keeping busy in order to unlock creativity

This, and much more, can go a long way to healing the hurts of the 12th house planets and making the very best of them!