mythology

The 12th House

Underwater sculpture by Jason deCaires Taylor
Underwater sculpture by Jason deCaires Taylor

In the season of the eclipses, what better time to ponder the enigmatical qualities of the 12th house?

What is the 12th House?

To start, we might say it's the subconscious mind...

That which is hidden...

Attitudes carried over from the past...

Karma (as the Law of Attraction)...

The night sea journey...

And, so much more.

But what is the 12th house, really, in tangible terms? How to get our hands on it?

Pinning Down the 12th House

Pier Francesco Orsini
"You who are wandering the world looking for great marvels, come here where everything speaks of love and art." - Vicino Orsini introducing his Parco dei Mostri, the Park of Monsters.

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, can feel confused by this department of life. After all, it rules the liminal states of neither/nor, out to sea, not one thing, or the other.

It's slippery terrain to navigate, one that would better be 'shown not told' through music, art, dance, poetry, nature . . . Every time you try to pin the meaning of the 12th down, it changes into something else. Like the god Proteus!

Proteus as an Archetype of the 12th

Do you know the story? Proteus was the elusive god of "sea change", symbolic of the  constantly shifting nature of the sea. He could foretell the future, though he would only answer someone if they were capable of holding him as he morphed through all his myriad forms. Because of his relationship to the sea, Proteus is both a symbol of the unconscious (subconscious) as well as dreams, imagination, vision and emotion. The key is how to handle these incorporeal energies so they will reveal their truths.

Astrologers & the 12th House

The 12th house is the third of the Water houses, cadent in position, associated with Pisces and ruled by Jupiter (traditional) and Neptune (modern).

Quite likely, if you study old astrology books, you'll find the 12th house is described with heavy labels. Isabel Hickey calls it house of the Self-undoing, where we 'serve or suffer', the house of drawn shades, confinement, incarceration, hospitalization, limitations . . . It's not looking like a holiday destination from this perspective.

But these ideas about the 12th house come from an Judeo-Christian-Islamic background of astrology, not leaning toward notions of Karma (as the law of attraction), the quantum Field, Source, infinite possibilities or the collective unconscious.

Amphitrite-4
Amphitrite bronze statue by Simon Morris.

Open Your Mind

So, to understand the 12th, I invite you to explore a broader perspective. Altered states of mind, meditation, the depths of the subconscious, the collective, where we lose our ego identity to find our Self. Source. Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces describes this as the liminal zone where the hero is 'lost' in the woods, an essential part of the journey.

Think also of the 12th as a repository and wellspring of archetypes, stories, myths, metaphors and  fairy tales, dreams (and nightmares), rich with layers of meaning. The house of the Muse.

Remember, the 12th is like Proteus; you must hold onto him before the secrets are revealed. Don't give up!

Back to the Basics

The Planets are the Energy - WHAT is acting.

The Signs are the costumes - HOW the actor portrays her role.

The Houses are the stages - WHERE the action takes place.

For those who want to cement this deeper, here's a quick 5 minute video tutorial on the basic building blocks of astrology.

The 12th House and the Sea

Essentially, the 12th house takes us under. It is more a dreamscape than land, filled with states of creativity, imagination and alternate awareness. Here we can immerse in the collective. Think of  hospitals, rehab, prisons, all institutions where individuality blurs. It is the house of synchronicity and all that rises from these meaningful coincidences.

William Ricketts Sanctuary - 12th House
Gateway to the 12th house? William Rickettes Sanctuary

The Gateless Way

Is the 12th house really negative?

No more than a gateway can be negative. The 12th is an essential landscape of being, filled with wonders of the non-rational kind.

The great way is gateless, reached by a thousand paths. Know this and you walk free in the Universe. – Zen saying

Consider the 12th a place to experience everything; exclude notion. Perhaps it is in "suffering" that a sense of compassion is gained. And maybe it is only through the "limitation" that a deeper relationship with the inner world is explored.

And isn't it through dreams, art, and storytelling that we find new meaning and purpose?

Something of our surety, identity and ego must drown in the 12th to rise renewed. More whole, more complete.

Like Water for Soul

The 12th is like water. It can be a refreshing stream, a cleansing pool or a huge tsunami heading toward shore. In this way, it's neither 'good' nor 'bad', but holds our most poignant experiences, dreamed, imagined or real.

Try to accept that the 12th house is an enigma to the conscious mind, but in the world of dreams and symbols, its meaning comes alive. The deep ocean or lake of the mermaid, the well that leads to Mother Holle, the ecstatic rites of Dionysus and the reflection of a resent dream image all belong to the 12th.

"Amphitrite," by Simon Morris, off Grand Cayman
"Amphitrite," by Simon Morris, found off Grand Cayman

The borderland

This house is the borderland where myths emerge into waking life. It's a humbling thought. Where consciousness is seen from the perspective of a veiled world.

Interestingly, Jung, who worked extensively with dreams, did not accept being called wise or even a sage. He said, “The difference between most people and myself is that for me the “dividing walls” are transparent. That is my peculiarity.”

This transparency of the dividing walls, belongs to the twelfth house. Behind the veil...

Explore the sign on the Cusp of the 12th

Here are some ideas for each sign that rules the 12th house. Start by looking at your own chart and others you know. Then expand by looking at the 12th house ruler(s) and any planets in the 12th. What happens to the 'actors' when they walk across this particular stage?

AriesARIES on the 12th house cusp

With Aries on the cusp of the twelfth house, you need to develop a sense of independence through a connection to the unconscious mind. Your identity might form around being a mouthpiece for the collective.  But, it's a paradox. Aries must find individuality in the hidden undercurrents of the collective unconscious, art, dreams and service to those less fortunate. Look to Mars by sign and house for more expression.

TaurusTAURUS on the 12th house cusp:

The Bull on the cusp of the twelfth house means the core values, sensuality and security must come from the depths. Remember, the twelfth is a reservoir of feelings, thoughts and impressions.  This is the sphere of diminished personal identity and blurred boundaries.  For the Bull to find true values and build sustaining resources , he must serve the collective in some practical, tangible way. Look to Venus by sign and house for more expression.

GeminiGEMINI on the 12th house cusp:

When Gemini sits on the cusp of the twelfth house, the conscious mind must explore the unconscious.  The need to learn, communicate and share ideas reside somewhere in the collective unconscious, blurring the line between rational thought and intuition. The duality of Gemini may manifest in moods swinging from humor to profound wisdom.  The need is to experience all manifestations of the collective, making this placement extremely active, at least on an internal level. Look to Mercury by sign and house for more expression.

CancerCANCER on the 12th house cusp:

The shy Crab on the cusp of the twelfth means the need to connect on a feeling level extends past the personal to the greater whole. The twelfth house represents all that is concealed, the secret unconscious of ourselves and of the collective. With Cancer here, the quest for love carries over from the past, finding communion in helping those less fortunate.  But how can we establish a sense of emotional security in the unseen real? Cancer must find the answer. Look to the Moon by sign and house for more expression.

LeoLEO on the 12th house cusp:

The Li0n on the cusp of the twelfth house indicates the drive for significance and appreciation falls into the sea of the collective unconscious.  This is the house of hidden meanings, secret needs and movements governed by the deeper feelings of the collective.  With Leo’s power here, there is a necessity for self-understanding, connection to and an orientation towards service and support of others.  When Leo gives to others less fortunate, or expresses collective truths and longings, the feelings of fulfillment expand. Must shine for others as well as self. Look to the Sun by sign and house for more expression.

Virgo VIRGO on the 12th house cusp:

When Virgo sits on the cusp of the twelfth, the need to create order out of chaos expands.  Here Virgo seeks to gather, sort, select and make use of energy that is by nature without definition, beginning or end.  Virgo may shift into hyper-drive with the swirling soup of unconscious images, hoping to contain them. This can result in genius creative expression through art, literature, dance or music. It can also manifest as compulsive energy, unable to relax or let go. Virgo might harbor secret fears about health, hygiene and the body.  In this case, letting the art, or cause, 'carry' the energy frees the spirit. Look to Mercury by sign and house for more expression.

LibraLIBRA on the 12th house cusp:

With Libra found on the cusp of the twelfth house, the need to partner falls into the realm behind the veil.  This is the domain of hidden feelings, taboo desires and karmic, counter-intentions, unformed artistic and literary expression and longings to merge with the divine.  With Libra here, sensitivity to others, to beauty and nature and to passion/longing expresses through relationship. Somehow, forming partnerships that help others, or for the greater good, can bring a sense of warmth, composure and symmetry. The feeling is 'karmic' or fated connections. Look to Venus by sign and house for more expression.

ScorpioSCORPIO on the 12th house cusp:

When Scorpio resides on the cusp of the twelfth house, the need to merge with others in meaningful ways, wield power, and periodically destroy and re-create movements in the collective, falls into the domain of the sea, the muse, the past.  Think deep unconscious, the collective soup where ideas, fads, trends, spiritual longing, taboo feelings and all things creative live and breathe. And, they all vie for manifestation. In the twelfth, Scorpio’s depths go just a little bit deeper, the longings a litter more obsessive and the passions a bit more powerful. Look to Mars and Pluto by sign and house for more expression.

SagittariusSAGITTARIUS on the 12th house cusp:

The Centaur on the cusp of the twelfth house needs to discover, explore and express the mysteries of the collective unconscious. A speaker for those without a voice. Here the house of the unseen real, where sweeping feelings from rage to rapture, heralds the call to adventure. When Sagittarius goes exploring in these waters, there is no telling what will be brought to the surface. With this placement, the meaning in life hides in the depths of the collective unconscious, not in the outer world. Look to Jupiter by sign and house for more expression.

CapricornCAPRICORN on the 12th house cusp:

The Sea-goat on the cusp of the twelfth house needs to gain respect and establish material security in the watery collective unconscious. The source of dreams, the world of hidden powers, collective thoughts and archetypes provide the matrix for growth and accomplishment.  To strive only for self-importance contrasts the twelfth house requirement of service to, and immersion in, the collective. Yet, to totally give the Self over to the needs of others denies the innate principle if Capricorn.  Clearly, a balance must be struck and maintained. Look to Saturn by sign and house for more expression.

AquariusAQUARIUS on the 12th house cusp:

When the Water-bearer rules the twelfth house, the need for freedom and unconventionality expresses through the collective. Sometimes, this can manifest as a longing for the dimly remembered yet idealized spiritual home. The drive to take a different approach to service, creativity and unity links to collective institutions, research and reflection of dreams, unconscious patterns and all things hidden or repressed.  With this sign of freedom and rebellion in the house of confinement, innovation is born. Look to Saturn and Uranus by sign and house for more expression.

piscesPISCES on the 12th house cusp:

The sign of Fishes naturally rules the twelfth and feels right at home in the chaos.  Here the need to dissolve boundaries and merge with the whole of life wants to express through the world of dreams, synchronicity and service. Compassion reaches out to those less fortunate with a healing heart. Pisces is seeking the ineffable, and in the twelfth house, that means the divine resides in nature, the sea, those less fortunate or lost along the way. A prison cell, a charity, a work or art, a song or dance can be the gateless way to Source. Look to Jupiter and Neptune by sign and house for more expression.

Thoughts? Ideas? Myths?


The Vertex

vertumnusandpomonabyjean-ranc
Vertumnus and Pomona by Jean Ranc, ca 1720

Hi everyone!

Kim Falconer here with the astrology of the Vertex.

What the heck is the vertex?

The vertex is a theoretical point in the heavens where the ecliptic (the apparent orbit of the Sun around the earth) crosses the prime vertical. That's the plane that runs at right angles to the meridian and divides the celestial sphere from front to back. Already, it sounds fishy, right. A theoretical point?

The vertex/anti-vertex is only theoretical to the degree that the Ascendant and Midheaven are. We know the Ascendant is the point were the ecliptic intersects the horizon (instead of the prime vertical). Then there is the North and South Nodes of the Moon. They are also points of theoretical intersection. In this case, we find them were the path of the Moon rises and falls across the ecliptic. All these examples are  'imaginary' because there is nothing really out there at that point in space. No fixed star, no asteroid, no planet. Not not to forget that the ecliptic itself is the imaginary path of the Sun around the earth.

Still, I put stock in the Vertex and use it on a regular basis in chart readings. Here's why ...

FACTS

The vertex falls on the western side of the chart, with the anti-vertex found exactly 180 degrees away, on the eastern side (the Ascendant side). As with the Ascendant and Midheaven, an exact birth time is necessary to calculate the vertex. There is no point working with it unless you have one. That is the first rule.

What does the word Vertex ‘do’. First, think about what the word means. It comes from the Latin root word vertere, meaning to change, to turn, turn frequently or spin. It also can mean a crowning point, summit, top or crest. Words having this Latin root include vertebrae, (joint, having something to turn on) vertigo (dizzy, disoriented, spun out) vertical (from top to bottom) versatile (doing many things at once, to turn from one thing to another) and verticil (a circular arrangement around a fixed point, a whorl). The common theme here highlights change or movement, from one point to another, where the center remains fixed or the same.

Sparking anything yet?

Mythological correlations to the Vertex

The Roman god Vertumnus has roots in the Latin word vertere, to change, turn or spin. Vertumnus was a lesser god of gardens, fruit trees and seasons. Youthful and alluring (hot-hot-hot), he had the power to change himself into various forms, just as the seed changes from root, to branch to leaf to fruit. Vertumnus used this ability in his (hot) pursuit of the goddess Pomona.

As the myth goes, Vertumnus fell in love with the strikingly beautiful goddess Pomona. Although she rejected all suitors, he fed his passion with the sight of her by changing his form and passing her gardens daily as a soldier, a harvester, a fisherman, etc. Ignoring him, Pomona remained devoted only to the cultivation of fruit trees. Vertumnus persisted and one day he altered his form into an old woman, greeted her with a passionate kiss, and proceeded to enter her gardens.

Vertumnus, (as the matron), talked to the goddess, attempting to convince her of the rewards of relationship and the dangers of rejecting love. The qualities and integrity of the youthful god Vertumnus were discussed. Finally, “she” told Pomona the story of a young man who cruelly took his own life after being spurned by his love. She told of how the gods turned the rejecting woman into stone, but still Pomona was not persuaded.

Exasperated, Vertumnus dropped his disguise and stood naked before Pomona in his true form. She thought she was seeing the sun emerge from behind the clouds and in the glorious light of Vertumnus, she opened her heart and reciprocated his love. Together still, they attend the gardens and fruit tress of the countryside.

The Chance Moment

The theme of this myth centers on a seemingly chance moment where an outstanding event occurs. To Pomona, it was like an epiphany, a sudden turn of fate, a radical awakening of perception. To Vertumnus, it was at first a well planned strategy, then finally an act of spontaneous desperation. Imagine his surprise when Pomona finally received him!

Love, relationship and union are highlighted here, not just in the desire of Vertumnus, but also in the story he told of the young man’s rejection and the consequences that followed. The imagery of the gardens, fruit and vine add to the feeling of ripeness, an event finally ready to happen, a fruitful experience.

These are all themes you can bring to the reading of your Vertex.

How significant is it? That’s the debate, and not all astrologers agree. I like to think of the vertex as a sensitive point linked to fateful encounters with others, sudden epiphanies, turning points in life and a ‘destiny’. Activated, it can feel profound. Extraordinary.

A strongly placed natal vertex (conjunct the horizon, MC/IC, in close aspect to a personal planet, in a critical degree or in the degree of the nodes) will work with more obvious results.

Activating the Vertex

Three things can trigger or activate the vertex:

1) transits

2) other people (synastry)

3) places (astro*carto*graphy).

Transits to the vertex can bring inner and outer events corresponding to a pivotal point, significant encounter with another or a sudden change of perception. The transiting planet activates the symbolism of the vertex, coinciding with a major or minor event. Keeping orbs tight and sticking mainly to the conjunction will be more signigicant. A transiting conjunction from Mars would likely be more noticeable than a transiting trine from Uranus, although sometimes that is not the case. Be flexible. Explore! The magnitude of the effect depends on the prominence of the vertex itself, its relationship to other factors in the chart (aspects) and the occurrence of other transits happening at the same time. Along with transits, explore progressions, converse progressions and directions.

Meetings with significant people, as seen through synastry and composite charts, may also link strongly to the vertex. (Think of people as permanent transits.) When one person’s inner planets or asteroids (Sun through to Jupiter), angles, nodes, vertex or certain Arabic parts conjunct the vertex, there can be a feeling of fate, destiny, rightness or wrongness about the encounter. Something in the contact with that person may have the ability to create profound change over a long or short period of time. The change may be perceived as wonderful, or not so wonderful, but always ‘meant to be.’

Place, our location on the planet can awaken the vertex as seen through relocation charts and astro-carto-graphy. When we relocate, the vertex may become more prominent by changing house or aspect to an angle. The relocation vertex can signify places where meaningful encounters of a particular nature seem to happen more consistently.

Vertex by Sign and House

What about the sign and house position of the vertex? The house positions of the vertex/anti-vertex can offer clues as to where we may experience turning points, meetings with destiny or fateful encounters in life. As noted earlier, the vertex falls usually between the fifth and the eight house, on the western side of the chart, with the anti-vertex 180 degrees opposition.

In the fifth/eleventh house axis, there could be a propensity to experience fateful romantic or creative encounters (fifth house) through contacts with friends or groups (eleventh house). In the sixth/twelfth house axis, the turning point, or spin out, could effect our day by day living, or our link between psyche and soma (sixth house) through contact with those in the helping professions, those less fortunate or through dreams and creative fantasies (twelfth house). In the seventh/first house axis, sudden epiphanies could radically effect socially significant partnerships (seventh house) through an experience of projecting ourselves out into the world (first house). In the eighth/second house axis, destiny may arrive in the form of an erotic encounter or intense research (eighth house) perpetrated by a desire for pleasure, security or peace (second house).

The vertex/anti-vertex by sign can signify the way we may experience activation to this axis. Aries/Libra could indicate issues between personal will and sharing, where Taurus/Scorpio may be about security versus risk. Gemini/Sagittarius could contrast knowledge and vision, where Cancer/Capricorn could emphasize protection versus enterprise. The Leo/Aquarius axis might highlight self-expression as opposed to group participation where the Virgo/Pisces might compare structured boundaries and limitless communion.

vertexglyphReady to check yours? Here’s the glyph and how to include it at astro.com.

Finding the Vertex

The vertex is a point in the horoscope that can indicate a sense of destiny working through another person or outstanding event. It may be stimulated by transits, progressions or directions, other people (synastry/composite) or a change of location. The house and sign position can offer clues as to where the change or turning point may take place and in what way. I encouraged you all to watch the vertex in your own chart, and in others, and work out for yourself how significant it is.

screen-shot-2016-06-22-at-5-32-04-pm-600x256After all, we never know when Vertumnus might enter our garden in the guise of someone else, offering an unexpected turn of fate!

Calculating the Vertex: To find the Vertex by hand, you calculate the Ascendant at your co-latitude. That’s the Ascendant at 90 degrees, minus your latitude. The IC becomes the mid-heaven and, using the table of houses, you look up the “Ascendant” (Vertex) associated with the new MC and latitude. OR, you can go to Astro.com and include it in the many chart options, calculating it on line for free.

Do check out the awesome Dr Z’s: Destiny’s Gate: the Electric Axis for more resources.

Now, on to the fun stuff. Let’s have a look at where your Vertex is and see if you can link any transits, synastry aspect or relocation to a major turning point in life.

If you want to discuss this point with us, jump on the forum. We'll be doing a call on the Vertex in 2019. Email if you want the details.

See you there!

Save

Save