The Twelfth House: Introduction

Many people feel confused when they discover they have an emphasis on the twelfth house in their birth chart. That’s not surprising as this house is the realm of deception, disorientation and disinformation. However, is it true that the inhabitants of this house are destined to live their lives shrouded in fog? It may seem like that to those of us on the outside (or in the real world). Those on the inside, however, will often see and feel things we mere mortals can only dream of – and they don’t always need drugs to do it.

In this section, I’m going to set out all you need to know about this house in your astrological chart. If you have the Sun, Moon, Chart Ruler or a stellium of planets in this house, you will have a life where ninth house associations simply cannot be avoided as they are an intrinsic part of your astrological make up.

However, some of you who are not twelfth house ‘natives’ may also experience living in this sector on a temporary basis. Planets may transit and station in your twelfth house. You may experience an emphasis on this house in your solar returns and transits. Solar and lunar eclipses may take place in this house thus highlighting the affairs of the house when they do.

So, I’m also going to explain how the twelfth house functions in predictive astrological charts and provide you with the essential keywords associated with this house to help you make your own chart analysis a little easier. However, I’m going to start with the basics to give this much misunderstood astrological house some context.

The Twelfth House: Key Qualities


The twelfth house in astrology is a cadent house. Cadent houses are the last houses in each quadrant of the astrological chart and they generally show where we need to pause and think before we act. The twelfth house is where we reflect on our lives and discover the spiritual connections between ourselves and the rest of humanity – and with the universe itself. The meaning of the twelfth house is, therefore, bound up with the collective unconscious – the things we feel and experience, but cannot see.


The twelfth house is a water house and is associated with the sign of Pisces. Pisces is the dreamer of the Zodiac, and many of those with this sign stressed in their charts are highly intuitive – even psychic. This house reflects the element of water at its most boundless – we are simultaneously drawn to the ocean, fascinated by its serenity, though we fear its vast powers and know that if we are thrown into those waters – then we will die. And yet, we yearn to cross its surface and reach a place we cannot see – yet we know it exists.

The Twelfth House: Ruler

The twelfth house is ruled by Neptune, and Neptune’s cloudiness and mysterious nature are features of this house. Neptune is associates with illusion and delusion, blindness and second sight, desperation and inspiration. Like the sea, there is something wild and beautiful about those who are born under Neptune’s influence. We associate Neptune with the glamorous, elusive and etherial, and in the twelfth house we are reminded of the fragility of life – often by the passing of those who have become part of our collective myth.

The Twelfth House: Natal Astrology

An emphasis on the twelfth house in your natal chart does not mean that you will suffer from addiction problems, or become an idolised movie star – famed for your untouchable beauty. However, what is certain, is that twelfth house matters will play an important role in your life. So, at a basic level, you may find it difficult to feel connected to the material world. There may be religious or other spiritual influences in your life. You may be touched at some point in your life by substance abuse issues – not necessarily your own, but those of someone close to you.

Boundary issues are likely to appear in any number of guises – and in any part of your life. Your deeply empathetic nature means you are likely to attract – or be attracted to – those who need help in some way. However, your psychic nature is often porous – and you may find it difficult to maintain the robust emotional boundaries that you need in order to protect your own emotional health. Many of you with this house prominent in your charts will be attracted to working in mental health or associated professions as you know, instinctively, how easy it is to fall for Neptune’s charms.

We often consider this house to be populated by ‘victims’ – and those who rescue them. This also functions on an internal level as, in this house, we can be blind to our own faults and bad habits. This is the house of the ‘hidden enemy’, yet the enemy is found inside of us, more often than not. You may have work harder at becoming confident and comfortable with yourself – often because it can be difficult to pin down exactly who you are. Rescuing yourself may be a challenge you face – but it’s one that can bring you great satisfaction and inner peace.

However, in compensation, this is a highly creative house. Tuning in to your own creativity is essential for twelfth house (or Neptunian) subjects, and time spent losing yourself in music, art, film or poetry is time well spent. You don’t have to be an active practitioner of the arts – yet some of you will be drawn to expressing yourself that way. Your creative instincts may be allied to your empathetic nature – so volunteer or charity work may give you the opportunity to get in touch with your twelfth house soul.

The Twelfth House: Keywords

Affairs, Alcohol, Boundaries, Charity, Confinement, Convents, Delusion, Dreams, Drugs, Empathy, Escape, Exile, Hidden things, Hidden strengths, Hope, Hospitals, Illusion,Impersonation, Imprisonment, Inhibitions, Institutions, Karma, Loneliness, Loss, Medicine, Monasticism, Mysticism, Narcotics, Pharmacies, Prisons, Psychic experiences, Reflection, Sacrifice, Seclusion, Secrets, Secret enemies, Self-defeating behaviours, Self-examination, Self-undoing, Service to others, Shadow-self, Sorrow, Substance abuse, Suicide, Unconscious attitudes, Unconscious mind, Unconditional love, Worries.

The Twelfth House: Predictive Astrology

The twelfth house in predictive astrology shares the fundamental qualities of the natal twelfth house. However, there are essential differences you need to be aware of when analysing a predictive chart. These usually fall into two categories. First, predictive charts and the issues they raise are often temporary. Second, those who are dealing with twelfth house issues in a predictive chart are not necessarily natal twelfth house subjects and in any event, predictive work usually deals with events and issues rather than your character traits.

A twelfth house emphasis in your predictive chart may indicate that you will find some parts of your life to be confusing or ill-defined for a period of time. In a solar return chart this may relate to events taking place during the year – or even be a reaction to events that occurred the previous year. The traditional interpretation is ‘a time of seclusion’. This can, however be a time of healing in an emotional sense – yet it can also mean things fall apart – sometimes literally. There can be a sense of ‘taking stock’ of your life to date – and preparing yourself for new beginnings yet to come.

In a literal sense, you may find yourself putting the needs of others before your own, You may spend more time in hospitals – not necessarily as a patient but maybe because you are a carer. You may even volunteer for a charity or to help care for others – or make a decision that you would like to do so – maybe as a vocational move. You may ‘get religion’ or have a significant spiritual experience. Alternatively, you may find your sleep is disturbed – and you are more tired than usual. That alone may give you a different perspective on life.

Next: 1st House | 2nd House | 3rd House | 4th House | 5th House | 6th House | 7th House | 8th House | Ninth House | 10th House | 11th House

Subscribe Now

© Sara Shipman 2020

Picture Credit: Image by 👀 Mabel Amber 👀, Messianic Mystery Guest from Pixabay