Denial is Not Just a River in Egypt – the 12th House

When I was a child, I would sit and watch my mother create astrology charts. She would piece together columns and lines of numbers like a jigsaw puzzle then translate them into lovely symbols that she meticulously placed in a drawing of a round circle divided into twelve segments—as in a pie. “Hmmm,” she would sometimes say, or mutter, “Oh my,” or “Well, that’s interesting.” She was like a detective probing into secret places, looking for clues and answers. 

I wanted to be like her‑to be able to read the hieroglyphs on the “pie” that held the answers to all of our questions and revealed our secret selves.  

I was about nine years old when she started teaching me astrology. I felt like an Egyptologist discovering the Rosetta Stone. At last, I would be able to read the cryptic language of the stars. I was so eager, I sat with bated breath, listening to her every word. I soon discovered, however, that I had no talent for math and much of it was a struggle to understand—all that adding and subtracting, referring to charts, and such made my head spin. Eventually, though, it sunk in and became a breeze. Now, like almost every astrologer in the world, I use a computer to do the math. I’m not sure I could even begin to cast a chart by hand anymore. The good stuff is in interpreting the chart (called delineation in astrology-speak). The rest is just numbers.

By the time I was twelve, I was casting and reading astrology charts for schoolmates. I was no expert, thouugh. It took some years before I could understand the nuances and depth of astrology. 

I truly believe that if everyone knew the magic contained in an astrology chart, this would be a better planet to live on. I’m not complaining, but I see what could be known if everyone were able to read the planets the way astrologers do. 


The “houses” circle the chart wheel counter-clockwise and are numbered from 1-12. You might think that in discussing astrology, the 1st house would be the best place to start, but, as Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot would say, “Ah, no, no mes amis, it is best to start at zee end to understand za beginning. No?” 

The 1st house is the beginning and the end. It is where we came from and where we are ultimately going. 

The 12th house is a difficult one for many astrologers and students to understand and interpret. In traditional astrology, it represents institutions, illusion, and self-undoing. In its deepest, esoteric meaning, the 12th house is our journey to cosmic unity through dissolving the boundaries of time and space—object/subject—to return to the universal home from which we emerged.

In esoteric astrology, the 12th house asks us to understand why we move from a pre-birth state of unity into individualism if only to rejoin the formless. On the surface, it seems almost ludicrous and an  exercise in futility.

We Ponder our Existence…

Some astrologers ponder that that we could be merely an extension of the cosmos and must also follow the same path as the universe—to come forth from the void with a bang, separate into individual galaxies, and then dissolve back again into unity. Just like the stars that are born, live and die, their deaths provides the energy  and matter for other stars to be born. Perhaps, ours does too. 

Unity is a strong emotional conscious or unconscious urge in all humans, yet this urge often comes with fear and resistance attached to it. This conflict and dilemma is symbolized by the 12th house “ruler” glyph of Pisces—two fish tied together but swimming in opposite directions. 

In wanted to be connected and unified with others, yet dreading or resisting the urges, we want to lose our sense of isolation and separateness, while fearing disintegration of our individual consciousness. Because this fear is so deep-seated, we seek unification through sex, love, power, and even altered states of consciousness (sometimes substance induced).

What is the 12th House?

Swamis and other spiritual teachers point out that it in the 12th house we find suicidal patterns and other forms of self-destruction because they can be unconsciously motivated by our desire to return to cosmic wholeness and escape the lonely individualism of physical life. On a more positive note, our experiences with meditation prayer, and divine devotional practices are also shown in the 12th house. 

Read at another another level, the 12th shows our mother’s psychological state while we were still in the womb and how it affected us (prenatal imprinting). Karma from past incarnations are revealed. It indicates what we brought over from the past how it will operate in this lifetime. If you’re  not a believer in reincarnation, you can also read genetic code for inherited challenges in this house.

The 12th house describes unconscious self-destructive patterns and secret enemies. These enemies are a reflection of our unconscious drives manifested outwardly to reflect back to us. The 12th shows how the subconscious can sabotage what the conscious mind says it wants.

Planets contained in the 12th house fill in the details, actions, and sub-forces operating in our lives—all expressing through the filter of the sign influencing the house. 

Have a chart cast for you to discover your personal 12th house. 

If you have a chart already, look at the brief descriptions below to get a hint of what the 12th house holds for you. Keep in mind, however, that everything else in houses 1-11 can adjust and modify what’s in your 12th. An astrology chart is a complex interweaving of planets, signs, degrees, asteroids, fixed stars, nodes, and points that create an intricate mandala of your life.

12th House Signs:


There is an underlying dissatisfaction with status quo and a restlessness to “get on with it.” You might feel that something is wrong with your life but can’t put a finger on it. The life lesson here is to deal with unconscious anger, so it doesn’t become self-destructive or harmful to others. Any unconscious anger will reveal itself in your dreams and visions. 


You need a practical reason and an advantage in order to apply yourself to study, understand, or use the power of your subconscious, metaphysics, dreams, or the past. Paradoxically, here Taurus can sometimes cause you to be stuck in the past and have a hard time letting go in order to move ahead. 


It’s important for you to build a bridge between your conscious and unconscious mind—to integrate what is operating in the hidden psyche with your conscious awareness. You can do this through introspection, soul-searching, psychotherapy, dreamwork, spiritual practices, or even through literature.

Negative thinking could be the root of many problems. Learn to transform obstacles into blessings. Clear thinking might be hindered by unconscious emotional fears and uncovering them allows you to transform them. 


You have brought, from a past life, a natural ability to communicate with the spirit world. Be careful, though. You are very sensitive to the invisible worlds and subtle energies and jumping in too quickly and deeply can cause emotional distress and overwhelming feelings you might not be ready for. Your karma deals with emotions and secrets that will need to be faced and resolved before you can move into your full potential.


Any unconscious feelings of self-importance need to be uncovered and dealt with. Pride makes you hide sorrows and troubles from others. Letting others in on your pain can be as painful as what caused it in the first place. You are better as a power behind the throne than in the public eye as a leader. During alone times, you discover the deepest levels of yourself that light the way toward your sense of wholeness.


You want to understand yourself completely and feel that rooting out unconscious patterns and emotions will bring you a sense of liberation. You might choose to work on this this through meditation, spiritual practices, dreamwork, and trusted teachers. Never let a fear of appearing foolish stand in your way of self-discovery. Don’t judge yourself against the ideals of what you consider a less-aware public.


You are sensitive and can feel others’ emotions so acutely, you often mistake them for your own. You have an innate desire to transcend separateness and merge with a greater existence, to abandon yourself to something divine and whole. Music is a way to do this. You also have natural healing ability.


You have a strong, and tangible sense of a “shadow self” and are dedicated to bringing it into consciousness. Death interests you—either a fascination or a fear. Your dreams hold important keys to your destiny, your spirituality, and your deep fears. Dreams help you resolve blocks, solve problems, and meet challenges.


You are someone who likes to be a jump ahead of everyone else. For example, you might have a mystery solved before anyone else has a clue. Sagittarius has a lot to do with lofty ideals and global thinking. In the12th house, these things are under the surface of your consciousness. You often seek but don’t know why. You can be secretive about your spirituality and philosophy. On the outside, you are cautious and cool; on the inside, among people you feel safe with, you can be a superhero and possess a witty sense of humor and playfulness.


Even though you can be outgoing and sociable with friends, you might spend much of your time alone. On the other hand, Capricorn here can also indicate a fear of being alone. You believe that success in life must be earned rather than handed to you. You harbor unfounded fears and worries. You have a gift with the occult but need a practical reason in order to study or develop it.


You might look normal to others, but you are a fierce individualist and hesitant to reveal your inner quirky nature to others. You would discover a talent for astrology and psychic sciences if you studied them. Innate psychic abilities might come through with flashes of insight and transformative experiences. If you’re suppressing your psychic ability or your desires for an unconventional life, you will attract eccentric people into your arena who will mirror your unconscious self.


This is Pisces’ natural house where the best or the worst qualities of this sign could manifest. You are sensitive to undercurrents and unseen forces. You are in touch with the spirit world, even if you don’t know it. The danger with Pisces here is becoming swamped with emotions and feelings that other people seem to handle with ease. Learn to let go of needing to live up to the expectations of others. Be your own person and you will have fulfilled your destiny. Dreams, visions, meditation, and music are ways to fulfill your potential.


Anita’s Latest Book: The Gods of Arkhon, Book One; Astra’s Prophecy
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