The 12th House, the House of Bad Spirit

The twelve houses acts as fields of experiences for the planets to express their significations. 12th House themes include:

  • Self Undoing
  • Hidden enemies
  • Repressed energies
  • Solitude & Seclusion
  • Karmic purification

Just like the 8th House that we looked at four newsletters ago, the 12th House does not “see” or aspect the Ascendant. The Houses that aren’t directly tied to the life-giving Ascendant by one of the five ptolemaic aspects—the conjunction, sextile, square, trine and opposition—do not receive light. Hence, these houses often deal with shadow and decline. They operate in a more covert way, often taking time to express themselves in our lives. The houses that do not aspect the Ascendant are the 2nd, 6th, 8th, and 12th.

Our life isn’t filled with doom and gloom if we’re 12th House heavy. But we will have a deep understanding of suffering and the unseen realms through our own path or in our work with others. Since planets in the 12th House aspect the Midheaven, a positive way to channel their energies is through our work.

Conscience Judas, 1891. Painted by Nikolai Ge (1831-1894)

Womb of the Soul

In her book, Finding Our Way Through the Dark, Demetra George calls the 12th House the “womb of the soul.” The 12th serves as an incubation phase between lives where unfinished business from the past fuses with future intentions. This part of the chart holds our seeded aims for this lifetime. Often, the unfinished business is not our’s alone, but karmic hangovers from our ancestral line. The 12th carries inherited karma and there it lies, waiting to be lived out and released through the native’s life.

We look to where the ruler of the 12th resides in the natal chart to understand where these energies are expressed. If the ruler is conjunct the midheaven, we see a person whose life work revolves around bringing to life these unresolved complexes. In the the ruler of the 12th resides in the 5th, healing can come through parenting ones own children or through children of ones mind as in creative pursuits. A good example of this is Johnny Cash whose 12th House Ruler was located in his 5th House of self expression.


The 12th House is a cadent house. The Greeks called the cadent houses apoklima, which means “falling” or “decline,” because they fall away from the powerful angular houses. One way this plays out is that planets in the 12th can act as a sort of blind spot for the native. They can also feel repressed. For example, Mars in the 12th can lead to heavy procrastination and/or hidden anger. Someone with this placement has to work on constructive ways of managing their energy and time as well as appropriately releasing frustrations.

On the other hand, planets in the 12th often prefer being behind the scenes. They can be very active, but would rather not be in the limelight. We can think of them as off-stage, working from sight but nonetheless quite active. Along the same lines, 12th House people require a lot of solitary time to recharge and replenish. They crave time to themselves especially after periods of active engagement with others or in the public eye.


Metakosmios refers to in between places. The void between worlds. The 12th House is such a place. In this liminal space, divine contact can occurs. The Greeks believed these were the places of prophetic dreams. 12th House states that take us behind the veil. People with 12th House placements often carry gifts of extra sensory perception. Their intuition is extraordinary. They’re often involved in energy work or healing and are able to go beyond what is present to our normal perceptions.

The Twelfth House is indeed a place of mystery. In it, we find Pandora’s Box filled with our greatest self sabotaging tools as well as the treasures that diffuse our ego and connects us to the divine. The best advice I can give for those who walk this terrain is to do so with reverence and self-awareness.