The Twelfth House in Astrology: Where Dreams and Nightmares Live

Karina Lafayette – June 2021

iStock Photo

‘Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.’ — Carl Jung

The boundaries between reality and fantasy merge into one. You’re lost at sea, but don’t want to look for grainy sands either. It’s drunkenness mixed with enthrallment and confusion. It’s where we experience that orgasmic oneness with the universe, it’s the point where we reach enlightment, and more. The house of our hidden enemies, and where we go when we need a break from the world. But for all its glory, this is also where nightmares are made of, since the twelfth rules the unconscious mind and our dreams state. If you have a lot of vivid dreams or even struggle with insomnia, look to this area of your birth chart for answers.

When it comes to the twelfth house, probably more than the eighth, it gets a very bad rep. The eighth (which I wrote about here), deals with money, sex, and death, and aside from the last one, represents some of our favorite- yet taboo- things as humans. The twelfth, on the other hand, nobody wants to go there. It’s lonely. It’s isolating. It’s that one part of ourselves that even with great effort, rarely feels seen by the world. If someone has planets in our twelfth, even if they are a good person with everyone else, there’s always that possibility they may or may not backstab you. Here, we can even get a glimpse as the what our family was experiencing before we were born, and for the believers- it’s our past lives too.

If you’re someone who has planets in the twelfth house, whatever planet it may be (and for this I’ll include Chiron), you probably feel like Neo from The Matrix. You feel like there is something that just isn’t right about and you can’t put your finger on it. You struggle with feeling in control and having the weight of the world on your shoulders. You have higher states of extreme emotion than most people. You sometimes wonder what’s real and what isn’t. That’s because you’re in tune with the collective. Some astrologers have pointed out that many US presidents, including President Joe Bidden, have their sun in the twelfth house, which makes sense. In order to be a politician, or take on any role that requires knowing people’s needs, the sun here makes someone who knows their way around a crowd and what gets them going. Now, whether they make good leaders to begin with depends on the individual.Scene from The Matrix (1999) where Neo wakes up from the machine

However, when there is a planet in the twelfth house, this can either make a person who’s a tad sneaky and manipulative, or this can cause them to be so selfless and lacking in boundaries, that those around take advantage of them. Whatever the case may be, there’s often a lack of awareness, since any planets in the twelfth are a mystery to ourselves. Often, this is a part of your personality that was rejected by family growing up, and it takes a lifetime of effort to get in touch with it. Since the luminaries (the sun and the moon) represent our father and mother, having either one here can show somebody who’s childhood involved emotional abuse and gaslighting. No matter how much they tried to express themselves, it often felt like they invisible. With Mercury here, you struggle to feel understood and words are often misconstrued, and can experience depression, isolation, and anxiety. You also might have difficulty with self-reflection and get into arguments with people over things that seem obvious to you, but aren’t.

In my case, I have Chiron in the twelfth inconjunct my moon, and this was definitely part of my experience. Ever since I was younger, I’ve always been very empathic, sensitive, and introverted. Anytime there’s a major crisis in the world, I just want to hide because quite literally, Chiron is the minor planet of pain and trauma. This means I’m tapped into the pain of the collective. Earlier last year just before the pandemic, I began to distance myself and felt overall super uncomfortable going outside, like something inside me knew. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a private person, but this was on a whole other level. Chiron requires setting boundaries, meditation, and staying grounded, to not be affected by other people’s stuff. My childhood was tormented by bullying, psychological abuse, you name it. I was labelled as being too sensitive, and made to feel invalidated just for trying to fit in. The best part, I didn’t even realize I was in pain until years later. The upside is that this gives me the chance to create work that resonates with people in a deep, meaningful way, which I’m grateful for!

Some things that people with planets in the twelfth house often experience are mental health issues, emprisonment, homelessness, or drug addiction. It’s not to say this is always the case and that life is constantly difficult, but it would be wise to make an extra effort in limiting drugs and alchohol as a twelfth houser, and to avoid people with shady lifestyles. Why? This is the area where psychic visions, premonitions, serendipity, and connection to spirit come about. People like to give a lot of credit to water signs- who undoubtedly are empathic in their own right- by assuming that somehow to be intuitive or a psychic, you have to be a Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces. Well I’m going to make a few people angry by saying that isn’t necessarily the case. Almost anyone can be intuitive, especially if there are planets in the fourth, eighth or twelfth house, or strong aspects to Neptune, Uranus and Pluto. Not to mention, nobody is just their sun sign.

With Saturn in the twelfth however, there can be a habit of denying the spirit world altogether, or doubting your intuition. You’re often thrust into situations that make you out of control, so you can learn to have faith. Like everything, Saturn creates resistance in the subsconscious and can cause a person to overanalyze, overquestion, and dissect every piece of information given to them.Silhouette of woman meditating by the beach — Stock Image

It’s also not uncommon to find social workers, activists, counselors, musicians, healers, and doctors with planets in the twelfth, since as already mentioned, these people are tapped into the collective 24/7. If you’re that person who others always vent to about their problems, now you know why.

Another way that twelfth house planets can manifest, is a death or loss that occurred in the family before birth. For example, if one of your grandparents passed away around that time, this can be shown with Saturn in the twelfth house. If the sun is here, then your father might have either passed on before you were born, or already spent time in jail. If he is very much around, it can show a father who suffers from addiction, mental health issues, or who tends to be a martyr by always wanting to save other people. This also means that to an extent, if your sun is here, you don’t have a clear sense of self, which puts you at risk of adopting other people’s personality traits. For the mother, the moon here can more or less represent the same issues, except you risk internalizing people’s emotions as your own.

For issues such as insomnia, nightmares, and sleep disturbances, this can be shown through having Uranus or Pluto in the twelfth house. Uranus is the higher octave of Mercury, and represents higher self-awareness and unpredictability. Any house that Uranus is in, this area of life feels a bit unstable, so it’s only natural you’d be tossing and turning at night. It even makes someone who’s very eccentric and unique, but the only catch is, you might not recognize this about yourself unless someone said so. With Pluto, this shows the risk of having violent, terrifying nightmares, more likely revolving around childhood trauma or past lives. This individual often feels like they have to watch their back, as if someone is always out to get them.

For the opposite problem, that would most likely be Jupiter, however in the twelfth this can indicate having more vivid dreams, especially astral travel and past lives. This position is touted as the “guardian angel” placement. It feels like someone is watching over you, and just when you thought you were defeated, something amazing happens at the last minute to save the day. It’s a great place for Jupiter because it evens gives the ability to manifest wealth without really trying. Nevertheless, just like everything Jupiter, there is a tendency to get carried away, so it isn’t surprising if this placement also manifests as being too dogmatic, making the desire to know absolute truth override logic.

If Neptune is in the twelfth, you can bet it feels right at home. Neptune and Pisces both rule this house. You have a vivid imagination, lack boundaries, feel connected with everything, and make a great artist. You can occasionally feel disconnected from reality and often drift from one group to the next, looking for someone to relate to. Sleep is very important with this placement, as it gives you the chance to connect with the world beyond.

For Venus and Mars here, it’s a good idea to be extra selective in romantic and sexual relationships, since this makes you too trusting for your own good. Partners either need constant help or are manipulative in a sinister way. One perfect example of this is Britney Spears, who has Mars in Virgo in the twelfth house. After she and Justin Timberlake broke up, he betrayed her trust by making claims that she cheated which, like it or not, helped propel his solo career. His music video for “Cry Me a River” featured an actress who was basically a Britney lookalike, and he even revealed private details of their relationship on the Howard Stern show. Talk about slimy. Now obviously, Britney having her Mars in the twelfth isn’t responsible for Justin’s behavior- there’s also his chart and their synastry, but it still gives an idea as to the type of man she (unfortunately) has to put up with. It’s no wonder fans kept on shipping these two long after Britney and Justin broke up- anything twelfth house related is bound to cause some delusions. When we fall in love with someone who reflects our twelfth house stuff, there’s a tendency to fill in the gaps, and put them on a pedestal. If you ask me, this explains why in the heck her father is so determined to keep control, despite the fact that Britney is basically a grown woman.Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears (Photographer David Hogan)

Now, where synastry is concerned, I really wouldn’t say that twelfth house overlays are good or bad. Like already emphasized in my article on the eighth house, it depends the level of self-awareness of both people. Regardless of the nature of the relationship, if someone you know has a planet in your twelfth house, there’s something about this person you’ll never quite know. Either you or them aren’t entirely truthful, or you communicate in a way that’s telepathic. One time, there was a guy who was very obsessed with me- our synastry was already a shitshow to begin with- but his sun and Mercury on top of that, were bothin my twelfth house. I honestly just wanted to run away whenever he was in the room. One day, I decided to have a conversation with him. We talked for a few hours and it was mind-boggling the kinds of misgynistic things he had to say about women. According to him, this was why he didn’t believe in loyalty. He thought it was okay for him to cheat and play around because of how supposedly all women were the same. Of course, him being a total douche isn’t about our synastry, but I just had to find out what made me feel disgusted toward him to begin with. After our conversation, I started crying because he mirrored some of the trust issues I’ve had in relationships. Sometimes we need that twelfth house drama to jolt ourselves awake.

Another personal example is my relationship to my grandmother. Her Venus is in my twelfth house right on my Chiron, and the week she was about to pass away, I literally felt sick beyond words. Never in my life did I experience that much pain. I couldn’t eat or sleep, and I knew it wasn’t just because we were family- we were a part of each other. I couldn’t stop crying, it was like a part of my soul was being ripped out. Even though I live in a different city and didn’t have the chance to be with grandmother in her final moments, she was still with me. And she always will be.

But in all fairness, should you date someone who has planets in your twelfth, or vice versa? That’s really a personal decision, and I’m not the kind of astrologer who tells people what to do. Besides, if we avoid everyone with whom with have some difficult compatibility, it’s probably just easier to stay single forever.

I will say this. Your enemies and secret admirers definitely live here. Even if there aren’t any planets in your twelfth, the sign on the cusp can show what type of person you’re most likely to have silent battles with. This is usually that one colleague who is always nice to your face, but anytime you’re away from your desk, they’re whispering about you behind your back. That person who makes snarky comments on your outfits guised as “compliments”. On the brightside, this area shows secret admirers too. Secret crushes. That hottie you always get vibes from, but each time you speak they turn and blush. The people who have your back unconditionally. Even soulmates. Another beautiful thing about the twelfth house, is that the sign on the cusp tells the story of your birth. You can learn whether your mother struggled with a c-section…. Whether your family was celebrating or going through a hard time… For example, if Aquarius is in the twelfth, then this could show an unexpected pregnancy. If Scorpio is in the twelfth, then the pregnancy could’ve been controversial, or your mother had to keep it a secret. Whatever the case may be, we get a glimpse of what the world was like, to be a time traveller for just a moment.Notable Aries Risings: John Lennon, Bette Midler, Stevie Nicks, Che Guavara — Notable Taurus Risings: Megan Thee Stallion, Mariah Carey, Martin Luther King Jr., Nicholas Tesla, Vivien LeighNotable Gemini Risings: RuPaul, Lady Gaga, Amy Winehouse, Pamela Anderson, Ricky Martin — Notable Cancer Risings: Angelina Jolie, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Vincent Van Gogh, Meghan MarkleNotable Leo Risings: Andy Warhol, Tina Turner, Lizzo, Marilyn Monroe, Frida Kahlo — Notable Virgo Risings: Christina Ricci, Gene Kelly, Kurt Cobain, Walt Disney, Donald Glover (Childish Gambino)

One thing that’s not really mentioned about the twelfth house, is that it’s also who you are behind closed doors, and I don’t mean just at home. I mean, when you’re alone in your room or while living by yourself. This is the you that’s been ostrasized by society, that’s begging to come out. Your shadow. The personal woes you don’t share with anyone. This is why most of us hate being alone, because it brings up things we just rather not deal with. Sometimes, we don’t even know who we are until we get to be alone. Mastering self-love requires oneness with the parts of you that are untapped. Even the most extroverted person has a side to themselves nobody knows about.Notable Sagittarius Risings: Winona Ryder, Pink, Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando, Goldie Hawn — Notable Capricorn Risings: Prince Harry, Monica Bellucci, Aishwarya Rai, Richard Geer, Gisele BundchenNotable Aquarius Risings: Madonna, President Barack Obama, Audrey Hepburn, Carl Jung, Jim Morrison — Notable Pisces Risings: Johnny Cash, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Deepak Chopra, Billie Eilish

Lastly, it’s important to work with the twelfth because beyond everything, it helps to really understand our rising sign. The twelfth is the house that bridges the gap between past and future, life after death, and most of all, where dreams are reborn. Without understanding the unconscious, we might as well be clueless about everything we do, and just like Neo says, not be in control of our fate.

Instead of shunning it, make friends with the twelfth house. Meditate. Write down your dreams. Find out your secrets. Figure out who you were before life really started to take shape, before you could walk and talk.

So, who are you when no one is around?

To check out my books, social media and more, scroll to the main menu above, where you can also get a reading. Also be sure to watch my new short documentary series on the Saturn Return!

Karina xo

*This article was originally published on Medium.

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