When I first started studying Astrology, the 12th house was a soft spot for me. I especially wanted to learn all about it because of my Sun, Moon, Mercury and North Node (coming soon!) all sitting pretty in the 12th in Aries and Taurus. I wandered through many bookstores filled with Traditional astrology writings that described the 12th house in the most hopeless way. Classically speaking, the 12th house is often regarded as the House of Misery, Karma, The Unconscious, Isolation, Self-Undoing, Sorrow, Witches, Fears and Imprisonment. Those who are aware of their own planets being in the 12th often wonder if their lives are doomed with sadness and tragedy. I wondered, was I meant to go to prison or a mental institution? Is past-life karma going to follow me around, constantly reminding me of pain I didn’t know I caused?
Then I stumbled upon Modern Astrology, which views the 12th House as a place of great potential in addition to its intrinsic downfalls. Although it remains as the awful-sounding House of Self-Undoing, it is also the house of Unconditional Love, Secret Aspirations, Dreams, Compassion and Imagination. It is a house of choice – was I going to allow my planets to just chill in the hourglass they were born in, or was I going to break that hourglass and set them free? The obvious choice was made, but I knew it was going to take a lot of painful self-discovery. I continued to learn astrology and used it as a tool to help me learn more about myself. To some, the concept of taking so much time to learn about oneself may come off as silly. However, to those who are aware of their own 12th house planets, it is a very common theme for us.
With my Sun in the 12th house, my sense of self has transformed many times throughout my life. In my earlier stages, I truly displayed how the 12th house was the House of Self-Undoing. My personal and spiritual growth was stunted because I let my own thoughts of inadequacy eat away at me. During my childhood and prepubescent stages, my mind was so impressionable and I soaked up my peers’ behaviors and beliefs. I didn’t really have any beliefs or strong opinions of my own. I never raised my hand in class because I was unsure of myself. Actually, all I ever felt was unsure of myself. I had friends, yet I stayed in the background. I remained a follower throughout my childhood. If I saw my friends wearing something, I wanted to wear something similar. If my friends had an opinion, I adopted it as my opinion too.
When I tried to be original and bold, I somehow failed miserably. For example, one day in the 5th grade, I decided to venture away from the usual butterfly clips and rhinestone accessories that my friends and I wore in our hair. I woke up extra early so I could make a braid headband, which I was so proud of. I just knew that everyone was going to love it and ask me for a tutorial. When I got to school, my crush at the time looked at me like I had two heads and asked what the hell I did to my hair. I felt so stupid, I ran to the bathroom to take my hair down and made sure I got all the bobby pins out. When I looked at my braid in the mirror, it had loosened and it looked like I had an oddly-shaped pile of hair at the top of my head. I was so embarrassed. I took that as a sign that I should stick to following other people so I wouldn’t get ridiculed.
When I reached high school, it was my goal to reinvent myself. I invested in tighter clothes and resolved to be awesome. On the second day of high school, I was fortunate enough to meet a girl name Rosalind who saw my shyness, took me under her wing and introduced me to everyone she knew. She nicknamed me “Mojo” and introduced me that way. Even then, many people didn’t know my real name, and I used this nickname as my catalyst for reinvention. I started smoking cigarettes, drinking and doing drugs my freshman year – that’s what someone named Mojo would do, right? It was comforting that I had these devices to help me accept different facets of myself. In fact, alcohol and drugs brought so much of myself to the surface. I started to understand my own likes and dislikes. I started to allow myself to form strong opinions. I was even okay with expressing myself and sounding stupid at times.
I transferred to another school my sophomore year, but somehow “Mojo” spread to that school, too. My entire high school career was spent living under my alias. I rebelled, I made friends with all types of people – even the most unstable people, experimented with more drugs, was addicted to cigarettes and drank every chance I could. Although I don’t encourage this behavior in minors, or anyone for that matter, I can honestly say that this pattern eventually helped bring me to a much deeper understanding of myself. I made friends who helped me understand integrity and build my own personal moral standards. I started to see myself as at least somewhat attractive and didn’t need other people to make me feel that way.
The Sun in 12th House can also signify the loss of one’s father in many ways. In my case, my parents divorced. My mom found “the one” fairly quickly after the divorce. Up until I was 18, I lived in New York with my mom and stepdad. While my mom and stepdad were just dating, he and I became really close. My stepdad saved me and my mom from hard economic times and brought so much joy to our home. He was there for us in so many ways – I still am so grateful that my mom found him when she did. They dated for several years before getting married.
My favorite memory of my stepdad before the marriage was when we went to the grocery store together and decided to get a box of cereal just because we liked the prize at the bottom. When we got home, we set the cereal box in front of us on the couch, and then we just went for it. Our eyes lit up with enthusiasm and laughter as we dug into this random box of cereal – we looked like crazed maniacs. I remember my mom watching us with a look on her face that said it all – she had found the perfect man to love and raise a family with.
My mom and stepdad got married when I was 9. He then flipped a switch and his anger management issues surfaced all of a sudden. My family and I were bewildered, but there was nothing we could do to stop his progression. It’s as if he reserved the worst part of himself for marriage. Our relationship started to strain for many reasons. Who knows, maybe it was me. I was getting older and started wanting to spend more time on friends and less time on school. I also decided to explore the world in a way that any parent would disagree with. On top of that, I lack the ability to trust and obey authority figures. My stepdad was also working a ton. When he was around, I was mistrusted as if everything I did was driven by malice or done with carelessness. Because of this, there were a lot of basic things that I missed out on learning while growing up. Since I’ve moved out, our relationship has steadily become better over the years. We have been able to hash out our issues and we currently have a peaceful, agreeable and loving relationship.
My biological father moved from New York to Florida and then Illinois. My dad traveled for work even when I went to visit him in the summertime, but when he was around, he made sure that we went out and had fun together. I moved out to Illinois when I was 18 to live with my dad and go to school. My dad and I had very different ideas of what we wanted from my move to Illinois. He wanted me to focus only on school, and I wanted to have a full life. He wanted me to not have a job and to live off of the restricting allowance of $40 a week. I also had a curfew of 10pm on school days and 12 AM on weekends. Here are a couple of reasons why this situation was never going to work: I was a college student, the allowance basically paid for gas and 3 carefully budgeted cafeteria meals a week, I had more social and financial freedom than that when I was a minor, I started working as soon as it was legal and I enjoyed having a job, and I don’t take well to restrictions when I can’t logically justify them.
I went to Community College mainly because I didn’t know what I wanted to go to school for. The adjustment to Illinois was very hard on me, let alone the adjustment to my dad’s parenting style. It took me about a month of living off of the $40 allowance before I got a job. I worked as a seasonal employee with minimal hours, which paid less than $9/hour. My dad gave me some of my own bills to handle, so I picked up more hours. The more hours I worked, and the better I was getting paid, the more bills I was given to pay… And by getting a job, all I wanted was a few work hours a week for some spending money. I felt as if that was his way of controlling what I do with my money so that I wouldn’t have freedom to do anything besides go to school and work. Actually, I still believe that was the case.
My dad’s plan would have been good for someone who was okay with being sheltered, but instead this backfired on the one thing he prioritized – I did horribly in school because I was so intensely depressed about my whole situation. I just really missed being in New York, where I had more people who treated me with love and didn’t manipulate me. I moved out within a year of living with my dad. I had a boyfriend who I met through work, and he shortly became my roommate. After many years of self-discovery since then, I learned that school is not the right path for me. Whatever it is that I wanted to do with my life wasn’t something that accredited schools had to offer.
Though many parents have ideas of what they’d like their children to be like, they learn to let go of that dream when their children decide on a different path. My dad still remains unable to grasp why I wouldn’t fit the mold he built for me. In fact, just a month ago he offered to have me continue my education while I live with him. I had flashbacks to our tumultuous relationship in the past. I politely declined – our relationship had been friendly and almost conflict-free for years now, and I can’t go through that whole song and dance again.
I didn’t realize my Sun in 12th house potential until I moved in with Alyssa (Sharpe), my best friend. As roommates, we did everything together and we talked about astrology basically all the time. We improved our chart-reading skills and used it to learn more about ourselves, each other and other people. At that stage in my life, the uplifting parts of having my Sun in 12th started to show. I believe all I really needed was freedom in order to find my path. After all, the 12th house is the House of Imprisonment. Once I realized that my imprisonment was something I could simply walk away from, my life opened up to me. My intuition started working as it was meant to, and my interest spread onto other fun New Age shit.
The best part about having this Sun placement is that my brain is so multi-faceted that I surprise even myself sometimes. My methods of self-discovery have been meditation and letting myself experience as much as possible – the latter has shown my tendencies and what I am capable of in all types of situations. After years of actively taking the time to get to know myself, I can honestly say that I now know who I am, what I am meant to do with my life, and what I believe in. I love knowing that there is more untapped potential somewhere in my unconscious, and that when I am ready for more, I know what to do.
Other 12th House entries from Mary Jo Montevirgen:
My 12th House, Part IV: North Node – Coming Soon!
Click here for all other entries by Mary Jo!