In today's installment of our series on avoiding astrological anxiety, we turn our attention to the 12th house, a topic that often provokes concern among astrology enthusiasts. This series aims to cultivate a healthier and more comprehensive understanding of astrology's traditionally challenging aspects, whether they be planets or houses. Join us as we explore the perceived and actual implications of the 12th house, offering insights for students, enthusiasts, or anyone with 12th House placements seeking a more nuanced understanding.
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Hey everyone, this is Adam Elenbaas from Nightlight Astrology, and today I'm going to continue my series on how to avoid astrological anxiety by taking a look at the 12th House, which is a place that causes a lot of people astrological anxiety. In the earlier part of the series, I looked at the outer planets, and I looked at Mars.
So we took a look at Pluto, Uranus, Neptune, Saturn, and Mars; I think there were five episodes before this one if I got that right, and after I finished up with this, I noticed that a lot of people in the comment section were asking if I would cover some of the houses.
In fact, I think as early as the first or second episode, people were saying, Please do something on the 12th House, and then some people were saying, Please do something in the eighth House, because, frankly, these are houses that people freak out about as much as they might freak out about hearing that a Pluto transit is coming.
The purpose of this series is to help people develop a healthier and more well-rounded understanding of some of the more traditionally difficult parts of astrology, whether those are planets or houses, and I think we'll continue this series as I continue to explore other things that I noticed that, you know, people may have broad misconceptions about that tend to provoke anxiety, right, because astrology is a beautiful language, and if we use it correctly, and if we deepen our understanding of the language, I mean, there's always going to be some degree of astrological anxiety because astrological anxiety is life anxiety, and it's just a renewable resource.
It's like, there's always going to be dishes to do, there's always going to be laundry to do, and there's always going to be something to stress about, and the astrological world that we participated in the symbols in the language will always participate in that anxiety.
There will always be some reason we have for getting our anxiety wrapped up in our interest in love of astrology; I'm an astrologer, I've been doing this a long time, and, you know, I have to be careful not to think too much about my charts, my chart or my kid's chart, or Ashley's chart, and it's just part of the gig, so but if we can soften our relationship with some of the more challenging or, you know, some of those pieces of astrology that tend to make us more afraid, I think it helps.
So that's the purpose of this series, and today we're going to talk about the 12th House, we're going to talk about what people think it's about, and then we're going to talk about what it is actually about, and hopefully, you'll learn something along the way that can help you whether you're a student or someone who just takes in astrology, or maybe you have 12th House placements, and you're looking for a more well-rounded understanding of the 12th House, its history, and so on. Anyway, that's our agenda for today.
Before we get into it, don't forget to like, subscribe, and share your comments in the comment section. I really appreciate it when you guys do that and smash hit press. Like thinking of all that, like what else we could say, tap, tap the like button; we really appreciate it helps the channel to grow; you can find a transcript of today's talk on the website nightlightastrology.com, where you can also learn about all of our courses.
Of course, we have spring programs coming up, and those are in June; you can get out in front of that by registering. There's need-based tuition for all of our programs, too. So, you know, be sure to check that out as well.
There is a class that I'm teaching, and this one is part of a new series that I'm doing that is more beginner-friendly for students who are maybe closer to beginner level. It'll be on Thursday, February 15. We're going to do three of them in February, March, and April, as well as one evening event. It is a class on the transits of the outer planet in love and outer planets and loving relationships. So we're going to talk about Pluto and what kind of role Pluto plays in love and relationships. Whether you have Pluto in your seventh House, or Pluto aspecting Venus, or you're getting a transit of Pluto to the seventh House or Venus, we're going to talk about Pluto in the realm of love and relationships and how that planet tends to show up when it is involved in love and relationships and then in the subsequent months, I'll do Neptune and Uranus as well.
So anyway, if you are interested in that, I will tell you more about it. It's a one-evening webinar that I'm doing. I'll be telling you about how you can register for that shortly.
Okay, anyway, all the announcements are now over on my end. So, let's go ahead and start by talking about what people think the 12th House is about. This is where you have to start. What does everyone tend to get free? Why are people so scared of this? And it's pretty simple. What people think it's about misery, very terrible things. Let's be honest unless you have a completely rose-colored, modern view of the 12th House that comes from the conflation of the 12th House with Pisces and Neptune, and you just think it's a mystical playground, which is not accurate historically at all.
Even if you are a student of modern astrology, and you've been fed the unfortunate conflation of the houses with the signs, which is called the 12 Letter alphabet, there are still a lot of things that even modern astrologers associated with the 12th House that are thought of as pretty terrifying or miserable or difficult, you know, you have, for sure heard that, you know, you can, can lose your mind or it's associated with suicide, or it's associated with addiction, or it's associated with, you know, disease or loss or, you know, you won't be able to see anything clearly.
So there's lots of just really challenging associations that people make with the 12th House unless, again, you are part of the sort of modern view that tends to think of the 12th House As just this very mystical place, and I think there's room for mysticism in our understanding of every single House, right?
There's no house that has the corner, the market cornered on mysticism, and if you study the ancient tradition of how houses were given their meanings, you will find that they're all very mystical, in fact, in different ways. But some people may have an incredibly sort of rose-colored glasses view of the 12 houses in this mystical place, which is not particularly accurate to the history of astrology, and most people, when they study for a while, even if they do get that view, which again, comes from the completion of Pisces Neptune in the 12th House will still have a lot of difficult associations made with the 12th House. So, just miserable, terrible things.
Like broadly speaking, people start studying astrology, they hear about the 12th House and they go well, another thing more specifically, is that people understand that the 12th House was called malas daimon, which means evil spirit and it has been called throughout astrological history, a place of self-undoing and so people associate it with like, evil, dark source, you know, like sorcery, and bad spirits and self-destructiveness and, and there's some truth to these things, but we have to qualify them, it needs a lot of qualification before we're at the heart of what the 12th House is about, and why it's not worth being too scared of, you know.
Now, again, in modern astrology, you'll hear people talk about the 12th House as a place of mystical dissolution, as though you lose your ego in the 12th House and actually don't have an I'm not. I'm not totally against this perspective; there's something sort of accurate about this one. However, really important to this is just the recognition that a lot of people, when they describe mystical dissolution and ego loss, are describing things that are pretty scary for most people, right?
Loss of sanity, or loss of your egoic center in you know, say entheogenic, Ayahuasca or mushroom or some kind of otherworldly experience that takes you off the sort of ground of your ego, and that can be as enlightening as it can be life has a way of serving up experiences that dissolve or take away your control, and so this is, you know, one way that people have of talking about it.
But it's often associated with things like sickness and loss of sanity, or emotional or mental stability, and so people get freaked out by the sense of, you know, dissolving or losing control. People frequently associate this House with the dark night of the soul, which means that things come up that may be good for you spiritually, but these are the most profoundly difficult things, you know.
So people get afraid, they're like, oh, you know, I have a 12th, house transit and everything is going to completely come apart, you know, like that and, and I'm going to be in some space where I have a hard time believing in the goodness of reality, or, you know, I have a hard time believing that I'm going to come, it's like I don't, are you excited for the idea that you're going to go through a place of not knowing what's real, not knowing what you can trust and having your faith completely tested?
Also, sort of like dark night of the soul stuff is mean, even if that sounds like somewhat spiritual, the dark night of the soul. We know that many mystics have had to go through such things. Does anyone really get excited about that?
So, then, number five would be an inability to be seen or to do anything at all. It's as though there's this idea that once you're in the 12th House or planets in the 12th House, it can't express itself. You won't be able to be seen by other people. You won't be able to locate your volition or your will, or you'll ever think everything will lack clarity, and so this idea of hidden things that may hurt you, like hidden enemies or an inability for your talents or abilities to be seen, or maybe Venus is in the 12th House, you, you won't be able to find a lover because it's sort of something about the 12th House being sort of inaccessible or hidden and obscured from our view and, and so you know, anything in the 12th House will provide you with this kind of, it'll be like an something that will get obscured, and you'll have difficulty realizing or there'll be a lot of confusion around it. So these are the general reasons that people get freaked out about the 12th House.
Now, what we need to do is talk about what the 12th House is actually about, and this can come by looking at the ancient understanding of the House.
So I'm gonna give you just a very brief crash course: the first House was called the helm, and the 12th House means like the second House is derived from the meaning of the angle that it flanks. So here we have house 12. Here, we have House Two, and we have House One; this makes up, in totality, what is often referred to in Hellenistic astrology as an angular triad.
The meanings of the houses in ancient astrology have nothing to do with the signs. They have everything to do with the kind of astronomical symbolism related to the angles of the heavens and their intersection with our horizon point of view on planet Earth.
So, for example, the house meanings take their, their; they all derive their meaning from the angles, so the angles would be one, ten, seven, and four. Okay, so, and we get these meanings from what happens when planets are rising in the first House culminating in the 10th setting in the west and anti culminating, and then we're starting to rise again and the fourth, and so the basic planetary symbolism of the first House has to do with the native themself. Why?
Because the planets and sign that is rising into the visible sky, at the time of birth are correlated to the baby that is literally appearing out of the womb of the mother, so just like planets are rising and a sign is rising from the womb of the Earth, a child is arising from the mother's womb and making its first appearance just as the stars are making their first appearance in the east or any other astronomical body, like the moon in this case, is in the first House rising.
So there's a symbolic correlation between the native the, who is the subject of the oracular casting of the chart, and the first House, and the first House was called the helm, like the steering wheel.
I think it's more like a rudder in Greek, but it's like the steering wheel of the boat, and insofar as the native is born into a body, a soul comes into a body at the time of birth and makes its first appearance, planets, and stars in the east are rising and making their first appearance, and so this is the House that we correlate with the native their body, soul, spirit, vitality, health, personality, psychology, everything else in the chart is sort of peripheral to the first House in this respect, you have the native everything else in the chart is is like part of an extension of natives life, their job, their spouse, their House, their family, their kids, their local environment, their possessions and belongings, their friends, their career, their beliefs, their education, so on and so forth.
But the first House is properly speaking the native, the actual chart owner. So this is a setup because the 12th House and the Second House, as flanking houses to that angle, derive their meaning from the angle.
So, I will now explain the 12th House symbolism. Let's just say that you were born an hour later. Now the moons in the 12th House, because of the primary rotation of the sky, the primary motion carries the 12th hole sign and the moon in the 12th hole sign from the first it was in the first and now it's in the 12. So, from this point of view, the planet, by its secondary motion through the zodiac, is moving of its own volition, which is like its own will toward the first House.
However, the primary motion is carrying it up into the sky much faster than its secondary motion through the zodiac, so planets in the 12th House have fallen out of or declined away from the angle. This is really important because the angles called kentrons were said to be places of tremendous power.
A planet in that place has a firm place to express itself. Whereas once the planet has moved by primary motion into us, a declining house or what we might call a cadent house, it has lost a degree of its power and naturally speaking, or, yeah, as a matter of the natural pattern of the chart, planets in the cadent houses will always be moving toward the angle. While the motion is greater than its own motion, the primary motion is carrying it away from the angle, which has already carried it away from the angle and continues to carry it further away.
So, that dynamic symbolically is hugely important for ancient astrologers. Here, we have a planet that, by its own volition, is trying to move toward that angle that it's just fallen out of. So it's fallen out of the driver's seat, the planet that has fallen out of the driver's seat at the helm of the ship, right? Remember, the first House is the helm, and it's been carried away from that place, and the primary motion continues to carry it away from that place, and it can't get back there gazes upon the first House moving toward it while being carried away from it. This is the symbolic picture of the 12th House, and it has everything to do with its topics.
For example, this dynamic suggests that there are things that are outside or beyond our control that we, despite our free will cannot, cannot manage. Okay, so one of the reasons that we get that sense of there being things that we have to surrender to, things that are, you know, things that are outside or beyond us that may be really challenging or difficult is because one of the ways we can understand something that carries us out away from the steering wheel, of our life of our own volition, and will and our grip on the steering wheel of our life, we can understand that some of those things that carry us off are really scary and that's fair.
But is that all that happens is that the only thing? That the only way to understand things that are outside are beyond our control. Anything that requires faith in our life, anything that requires trust and surrender, often comes into our lives as a matter of something we experienced or something beyond our control.
So this is not just the things that come up in the 12th House but circumstances that come up that we don't have any control over. But they're still meant for us. They may contend or challenge, but they may contend with our free will and challenge the idea that we have any control over the situation. But that doesn't mean that the things that come up that we have no control over are all bad or, hideous or terrifying.
Some of them might be right because that's life. But a lot of them are just forces that are bigger than us that go beyond us. That takes us out of the position of being in control of fate; destiny has a way of bringing us along despite where we think we ought to go or despite whatever handle we think we have on the situation. This is the 12th House.
Now, one of the reasons that it's called Malas daemon, or evil spirit, is not because the ancient Greeks were sitting there looking at some cosmic battle between good and evil like we might think of good and evil in a Christian sense, a moral battle for the universe. They're thinking of evil more along the lines of those things that we like and dislike as a matter of everyday experience, you know, stubbed your toe, it's a bit of evil. I'm serious.
You have to remember that for the ancients, the experiences of good and evil were also very mundane. They were very earthly. As you know, so there are always cosmic metaphysical stories about good and evil, and there's a way of moralizing about everything in the universe. But think about this more, relatively speaking, as the way that you feel when something that is outside of your control takes hold of your life and zips you along.
When you're at the airport, and a situation with the airplane that's beyond your control takes over. It's frustrating, and we might call that a bit of evil luck. Do you see what I'm saying? So, it's also important to diminish the cosmic proportions of the way that we tend to look at everything through this ultra-moralistic lens. The 12th House is a bummer insofar as nobody likes to lose control. Nobody likes things that go outside or beyond their control. Okay, fair enough.
Now, another thing about the 12th House is that the First House and the 12th House do not have an aspectual relationship with one another. In ancient astrology, you have lines of sight from the first to any starting point; you have lines of sight that go like this.
A sextile aisle is a square; a trine is an opposition, a trine is a square, and a sextile. Those are seven rays of sight correlated with the seven planets; you will always be from any starting point and thus have a blind spot in the second, the sixth, the eighth, and the 12th. So, even when you start doing derived houses, what you learn is that the 12th House from any starting point will be a kind of blind spot for the starting point. That is because there is no traditional aspectual line of sight between those two hole sign places.
So, when we translate and when we take that into consideration, this is also considered a blind spot or an unconscious area; just because it is on it is there is unconscious material in the 12th House does not mean that the unconscious is evil, although we very regularly project on to the 12th House and on the unconscious in general the notion of evil.
Think, for example, of any part of yourself that you are not as in control of, that you are not as aware of, and yet it is a part of you, and when it comes up and it shows itself, the first thing you think is, Oh my God, that's a demon. Oh my god, there's something really embarrassing about me; oh my god, there's something overwhelming, something confusing, something I don't understand, and in time, whether it's through therapy, meditation, or inner work, what do you discover, you discover that it's actually really sacred and beautiful part of you; just was a part that, you know, maybe through for one reason or another, whether it was childhood conditioning, or whether it was trauma, or whether it was beliefs that you had or insecurities at this particular part of you was something that you called bad, or maybe even evil or dark. But just because we label it in that way, which is very typical for how we treat the unconscious, doesn't mean that it is actually what it is.
Frequently, the 12th House and planets in the 12th House will be calling out for us to incorporate and include what they signify in our conscious sense of self. So we think about the 12th House, not just as those things that are outside or beyond our conscious control but also those things that are outside of our conscious awareness or understanding, which means some of them will be they'll be seeking a kind of relatively more conscious awareness in integration. A lot of the 12th House themes and planets will be about things that we are desperately trying to incorporate into the conscious development of our personality.
Our skills or abilities are innate, like temperament. But there are things that we struggle to incorporate or that we struggle to incorporate in a healthy way. How many times have those parts of yourself that you have most feared or misunderstood actually turned out to be really lovely and wonderful parts of you? Those things are contained in the 12th House as much as any demons or, you know, monsters in the basement. Do you see what I mean? So it's not like everything that exists in the 12th House is out to get you; it's a boogeyman in the closet or whatever.
All right, well, there is a way in which things in the 12th House, because we can't see them, could be things that overwhelm or undermine us. Unconscious material is also going to be associated with things like addiction, you know, maybe problems with anger or violence; it's true that the 12th House planets in the 12th could represent anyone or anything that we can't see that we don't have this kind of awareness. It's like a point of a blind spot in your view as a driver.
Okay, well, things in that blind spot could overwhelm or undermine you, people, spouses, lovers of your own, your own issues that could be self-destructive. So yes, there is a way in which the 12th House can be associated with self-undoing. It is something that takes you away from the steering wheel or something that, as you're driving, is in your blind spot that could wreck your car, like, Yeah, that's part of the 12th House.
But it's only one little part of it. It's not like everything in the 12th. I mean, many times, the 12th House will bring up unconscious material that's actually, it's like a treasure to get in touch with it. Getting in touch with things that are outside and beyond our control can strengthen our sense of faith and trust in the universe and can put us in touch with things that can help navigate our ship beyond just our own two hands, which is also fantastic.
Right now, you do have to be careful about things that may overwhelm or undermine you. It doesn't mean that anything and everything in the 12th House is a hidden enemy, though. You know what I mean?
Alright, number for things that are bigger than So I've been mentioning this all along, but we live in a universe where, like a reality, I should say, an everyday reality where anything that is bigger than us, we can feel as though it's an affront to our sovereignty and actually the way that sovereignty in terms of like the sense of being enthroned on your own, you know, in a seat of your own power, well, you only understand what that power is in relation with, how you wield it in real in, in relationships with other people who have their own power, and with powers that are greater or different from your own.
So how do you wield your power in relation to the gods who have very, you know, expansive and mysterious powers? How do you wield your power in relation to the powers of the civilization that you live in? Right, those are all testing grounds for what it means to have a certain degree of agency and dignity and so forth. But coming into contact with those forces is not a bad thing. It's, but it is a kind of testing ground where we have to recognize our own limits, and we have to also; just because we have limits doesn't mean that we have, that there's, there's no power that belongs to us, either.
So that encounter with power, and with powers that we, you know, that could threaten to make you feel insignificant, or small or tiny or irrelevant. But on the same, on the other hand, when you have meaningful encounters with such powers, they also, you know, it turns out that it's, like, for example, I think about mystical experiences that overwhelm like my ayahuasca experiences, some of which I had 12th House transits going on for those experiences actually reinforced within me that there is tremendous power in every little grain of sand, you know.
But it also taught me not to have hubris, not to have this kind of cosmic pride that my agency or my influence, or my will, is greater than it is; it's amazing how the most empowering thing is to inhabit who you are, and the actual power that you have, and to be aware of it, or to have growing awareness of it, right, as opposed to living in delusion about who you are, what you are, how far your power extends, those are 12th House dynamics, though, and figuring that out.
For a lot of people, when they're first figuring it out, it might feel like there's some kind of cosmic thumb that's trying to jam you down, you know, is pressing down on you. But then in time, the more that you learn to live and exist in relation to those powers, it turns out that, you know, it tends to be our own projection that they are that they're that those powers are menacing and trying to thwart us.
So anyway, but that process is a very 12th House process. I don't know how we develop a deepening sense of our creative power and relevancy and beauty as individuals without encounters in the 12th House, you know.
So, number five would be the need for trust and surrender again when we encounter things that are in our unconscious that are bigger than us, that can overwhelm or undermine, or that are outside of our control. The encounter, if we stick with it and stay curious and humble and open-minded and open-hearted, can help us to develop a very deep sense of trust, not a trust in a doctrine or dogma or an institution, but just trust, just trust itself, and surrender, not surrender to some belief for not surrender to the Course in Miracles or something, just surrender. Just the ability to say, Okay, I'm gonna stop trying to fight against something and just let go and see what happens that way.
Now, what people think the 12th House is about, as you can see, is not completely distinct from what it is actually about. It's just that the way we frame things, the way we understand things, and the way we talk about them have a big impact on whether or not we create anxiety around them.
So miserable, terrible things, evil and self-destruction, the dark night of the soul, you know, there might be something some truth to those descriptions. But when we can look at it from the standpoint of okay, you know, here's a planet that the force bigger than itself the primary motion of the sky, which is faster, bigger, swifter than a planet secondary motion, which is symbolically associated with volition or will.
It's been pulled out from the steering wheel. It looks upon it, but from a distance because it's being pulled away; what is that space? They don't see each other aspectually; what is that space is a very mysterious and beautiful space. We tend to call it the evil daimon, the evil spirit. But remember that even evil daimon were a part of our path. There were good and evil daimons, which were, you know, a part of how our soul is directed. You know, there are interludes in our life where we have to go through 12th House experiences so that we can recover or uncover parts of ourselves that have a powerful role to play in the development of our life story.
So anyway, I'll leave it there. I hope that was interesting. Hope it fills out your understanding of the 12th House a bit.
Feel free to leave some stories or comments in the comment section. Do you have a good 12th house placement in your chart that you could tell us a story about? We'd love to hear it if so and don't forget that soon there will be an announcement, and I will be sharing with you guys how you can come and register for an evening talk that I'm giving in the month of February on the role that Pluto plays in love and relationships when it is indicated in the natal chart or by transit.
That'll be a really fun talk. So I'll give you more details on that soon. Alright, that's it for now. Take it easy, everyone. Bye