The house of self undoing… the house of prisons… the house of personal enemies. These are undoubtedly rather intimidating images. There is something very unsettling about the loss of control associated with them, much like fear of the unknown. We are told that there are gems to be found in this house, but that they can be hard to find due to the murkiness and lack of clarity associated with this house. We are warned that it will require work or loss of some sort.
The time of day when the Sun transits the first house are the first couple of hours of dawn, starting when the first edge of the sun is visible on the eastern horizon. Both at dawn and at dusk, the Sun creatively lights the sky with spectacular color, due to the light needing to travel through a much greater distance of atmosphere. The difference being that at dawn, the Sun’s light also has to pass through and evaporate the morning moisture left from the previous night.
I like this image for how it offers hints to the 12th house:
*The mist of evaporating morning dew hints to the sense of cloudiness or murkiness, which is why the 12th house is often described as similar in nature to the sign of Pisces and the planet Neptune. Though I try to steer away from completely conflating houses, signs and planets, as I also want understand what differentiates them.
*The mist can be seen as ghostly, just as the 12th house is often linked to ghosts from the past. If we were to put it in literal terms of when we were born, it is the time during which the baby is traveling through the the birth canal, making the trip between the world of the womb and this world. This portal theme is also seen when we consider that the 12th house marks the transitional trip between where we give our gifts away in the 11th house, and the 1st house/ascendant which marks the beginning of a new cycle.
*Dawn is a private time of day. Few rise early enough to welcome and view it along with the morning songbirds. In this same manner, things in the 12th house are not worn on the sleeve in full view of everyone. They are not on public display.
*There are hints to hard work in the Sun’s need to burn off the excess moisture, while extra effort is also required to try to “shine” through that extended trip through the atmosphere.
*And the special colors do appear. There is promise of a unique brilliance for the hard work.
Prison vs. Work
I see many debates among astrologers about the line between free will and fate. When we start learning how accurate astrology can be, many question where the line is between what is fated and what is within the ambit of our free will. We know the planets are not causal, so I’m not sure it even matters. Nothing can happen in our lives without our active participation. Simply put, this means that we are still responsible for our choices.
If we are making choices to break laws, the 12th house theme of prison can be literal. Despite this, I find a more accurate theme would be “things that take us away.” This would include prisons, monasteries, hospitals, and even banks. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for someone with 12th house planets to work in such places. Even working night shifts can be seen as taking the person away from “normal” daily activity.
But let’s consider the self-imposed cloistering of dedicatedly tucking oneself away to practice and polish one’s own unique shine. In this case, the space where one practices their art and does their research has the potential of becoming what we’d call their sacred space. It becomes a space in which the person has the opportunity to learn to connect to finding peace in being alone in one’s own skin, maybe one of the more valuable personal gems to be found.
That being said, it might only be fair to note that like the reluctant hero archetype running away from his destiny, it isn’t unheard of for people to find spiritual gems while in prison. While in comparison, the search for spiritual gems actually is the conscious intent of entering a monastery.
The 12th house in Synastry – Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
“Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels.”
Fred Astaire had his ascendant at 12″12′ Sagittarius, putting his descendant in dual-bodied Gemini. His main collaborator for choreography was a man named Hermes Pan, and his best known dance partner was Ginger Rogers, whose Gemini ascendant was within 2 degrees of his descendant, at 14″10′.
The ascendant marks the first house, and as such the mask we wear, and this extends to the mask our soul’s wear while on earth… our bodies. This mirroring of one another’s ascendants and descendants speaks beautifully to the mirroring of one another that they demonstrated in their dancing. But, anyone who has taken any sort of partnered dancing lessons knows that such perfection of this art doesn’t just happen over night. It takes following the directions “to get to Carnegie Hall…. practice, practice, practice.”
Fred Astaire’s creative Sun is conjunct Ginger’s 12th house Taurus Saturn by 2″1′. He was known for his intensely demanding practice schedule, yet he was also able to see and appreciate her Saturnian self-containment and determination in the face of pressure. Noting that Astaire’s own Saturn was in his 1st house, I’m quite sure he respected her a great deal for this quality.
“In 1986, shortly before his death, Astaire remarked, ‘All the girls I ever danced with thought they couldn’t do it, but of course they could. So they always cried. All except Ginger. No, no, Ginger never cried.'” (1)
“Astaire also had this to say to Raymond Rohauer, curator at the New York Gallery of Modern Art, ‘Ginger was brilliantly effective. She made everything work for her. Actually she made things very fine for both of us and she deserves most of the credit for our success.'”(1)
Every single on screen dance between Fred and Ginger represents many dedicated hours hidden away in a dance studio. But it was because of those hours in that dance studio that the potential in the synastry was polished to the perfection expressed in their dance performances.
Fred and Ginger – Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMOBdQykKQY&feature=related
K.N. Rao – A Chrysalis in a 12th house Cardinal Grand Cross
“An American summed up the impact of the first ever foreign visit of Rao to the USA in 1993 as, ‘Vedic astrology before Rao and after Rao.'” (2)
Kotamraju Narayana (K. N.) Rao has an especially interesting chart for us to look at right now, considering it contains a cardinal grand cross with Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto each standing guard of one of the corners. The fourth and final corner is busy with his Libra Sun, Moon, Mercury and Venus. It is this fourth corner that also resides in the 12th house of his natal chart. Using placidus house system, Mercury is about 4 degrees before the 12th house cusp, giving it some 11th house flavor. See chart here.
While looking into Rao’s life for this post, I was struck by the limited amount of information actually available about his life, not to mention that it seems quite controlled, leaving an air of mystery. Outsiders are left to guess. This speaks to both of his luminaries and Venus being fully in the 12th. Despite being so well known, this is a very private person. I would wager that only very close confidants get to hear stories of a genuinely personal nature, and even then they probably do not get all of the details.
His Scorpio ascendant with Mars fully in the first house shows us the intensity and relentlessness with which he pursued his studies. He was able to collect more than 50,000 charts with at least 10 events for each individual noted, while also maintaining a government career which he earned in part due to his ability to lecture in English. It could be said that both this job, as well as his studies. “took him away from” tradition. His job even helped him build his numerous American connections with whom he also shared his knowledge, and the 11th house flavor to his Mercury shows us his desire to share his knowledge. The t-square in his chart speaks to his willingness to break tradition. I am sure he took some heat for this, yet I’m also sure that his detractors were willing to brush their past criticism under the rug once the gems in his work came to light.
“The strain of doing astrology as a mission, not charging any fee, almost made him give up astrology many times. But in December 1981, he was forced out of his shell to participate in a three-day seminar on astrology in Delhi. After this ground breaking speech, there has been a persistent demand for his astrological articles.” (2)
This description of Rao speaks to his 12th house energy in so many ways. He subjected himself to hardship due to his choice to approach astrology as a mission and not accept money. When I consider Rao’s dignified Mars conj. Scorpio ascendant, I sincerely doubt that being overly shy is the reason that Rao needed to be “forced out of his shell,” and would consider his ability to amass such a respected collection of charts as proof. His self-imposed shell was more like the shell of the chrysalis, hiding the caterpillar away as it changes into a butterfly. When Rao stepped out of his shell, he was ready to display the highly polished shine that had developed from all of that work behind the scenes.
With the Sun (father) and Moon (mother) in the 12th, it is important to note Rao’s parents. His father was a very well known journalist, and his mother was a respected astrologer in her own right. He considers his mother the best astrologer he has known on the subjects of marriage and children and prashna (horary). If he felt a sense of loss or hardship in his relationships with them, it isn’t spoken of and we are left to speculate. I’m sure that at least it could be said that both set the bar high for him.
Ghosts from the Past
Ghosts can take many forms, from elusive nightmares, our perceptions of abandonment or not being good enough, the unresolved emotions that we tuck neatly away, to the hidden influences of our past ancestors on who we are and the lives we are leading. Like the monsters that haunt childhood closets, any fear we may have about confronting them only seems to add to their mysterious power over us. We build them up in our minds, making them far more hideous and ferocious than they are in reality.
When we finally face our ghosts, and the layers of mist begin to evaporate, we find our gems. Our ghosts can become our guardian angels whispering in our ears like Mr. Miagi from The Karate Kid: “wax on, wax off”. We may not always be conscious of exactly where our work may take us, but we learn to trust the process. When the night seems lonely, we can learn to take comfort knowing this too shall pass, and that dawn will return.
About the Author: Ann Clancy first became interested in astrology in her 20s through a party game involving an astrology book and a karaoke machine. She didn’t realize that this game would lead her down Alice’s rabbit hole, let alone how deeply she’d feel compelled to explore once she woke up and saw what was around her. Ann’s journey has her currently residing by the New Hampshire seacoast where she’s added body work to her diverse background, which also includes raising three children, running a macrobiotic baking business, and winning awards for her art. You can read more of her work at these sites: http://planetandarchetype.blogspot.com/ and http://mimsgarden.blogspot.com/
Credit for the Dawn photograph: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=587
Ginger Rogers (1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginger_Rogers
Ginger’s chart – Rodden rating AA:
Fred’s chart – Rodden rating AA: