The Twelfth House

Each of the houses contains endless wisdom and insight, and one chapter—or even a book—could not begin to explore all of it. Nowhere is this more true than with the misunderstood and much-maligned twelfth house, traditionally called the house of secrets and sorrows. We will concentrate here on the twelfth house concerns of repression and self-undoing, for what we keep secret from ourselves often causes us the most sorrow.

Repression is a defense mechanism whereby unpleasant and unacceptable thoughts, experiences, needs, fears, and wishes are forced out of the conscious mind and into the unconscious. Sometimes, due to the unacceptable nature of the material, suppression is so quick and habitual that we are not consciously aware of it. Repressed feelings do not go away; they continue to rumble around in the unconscious and foment trouble. Self-defeating behavior of various kinds generally derives from repressed material. Pisces and Neptune are both associated with the twelfth house, and both have a strong propensity for denial and self-deception.

Repression is connected with the twelfth house. The sign on the twelfth cusp and any planets in it can show us what kinds of emotions, needs, and past events we are likely to repress. You might even go so far as to say that the twelfth could show you the wellspring of your neurotic behavior. "Self-undoing" is a term often used by astrologers in connection with the twelfth. It refers to the ways you undermine yourself. The sign and planets in the twelfth plus the position of its ruler can show you how you are your own worst enemy.

The twelfth has good and positive aspects, too, but the more energy you expend trying to suppress emotions or hide parts of yourself, the less energy is available for the positive expression of twelfth house energies. Uncovering, examining, and dissolving your bondage to the secrets and sorrows of the past can free you to develop the spiritual side of this house.

Let's look at one example of how the twelfth house energy can be diverted from self-destructive to constructive use. A client with Leo rising and the Sun in Leo in the twelfth was in a bind when it came to ego. The Sun in Leo, Leo rising, and the ruler of the Ascendant (i.e., the Sun) in Leo all point to a person who wants to be the center of attention at all times. Yet with this crucial Sun in the self-effacing twelfth house, we get a an individual who was taught that it is bad to want attention. How, then, will the hungry Lion get fed? In the person's tempestuous twenties, it was through self-destructive ways of getting attention--psychosomatic illnesses that necessitated being physically taken care of, using drugs, and getting into dramatic predicaments and crises that called for a rescue. With maturity and quite a lot of therapy, some of the neurotic self-destructive urges were

resolved, and the person began seeking attention in more positive twelfth house ways, gradually becoming a spiritual teacher.

I don't want to leave you with the impression that the twelfth is a negative house, because it has great power for good when we learn to use it constructively. In one of his beautiful analogies, Rod Chase points out that at sunrise the Sun comes up over the Ascendant and then travels through the twelfth house. This means that when we shine our light on the hidden truths of the twelfth, a new spiritual awakening will dawn. It may shine on materials hidden in the unconscious and on hidden spiritual teachings. The twelfth house is connected traditionally with institutional settings and with the chronically ill or unfortunate. Thus, that rising sun may also shine on people hidden away in hospitals, nursing homes, institutions, or prisons who need our help. At any rate, the positive use of twelfth house planets is to shine that light for ourselves and others.

We have only begun to tap into the wealth of insights and understandings a study of the houses in our birth charts can give us. They work on many levels from the most mundane to the deeply spiritual. Don't neglect them in your quest to understand yourself and others through the astrological chart.

agsa -- chapter 14

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