Astrology Secrets Revealed by ERIC FRANCIS

The House of the Rising Sun


May 20, 2005


Hello Eric!


Thank you, thank you, thank you for your work! I've been a PlanetWaves fan for the last four plus years, and have benefited tremendously from your astrological insights, especially those Piscean. The one astrological concept that I have trouble grasping is the 12th house, which of course figures somewhat into my chart. I've read about it from many sources, but none of them have resonated with me much. If you have time to delve into what this house is about, represents, signifies, etc., that would be phenomenal, as your writing strikes a true chord with me.


Ever thanks




Dear Christina:


Thank you for your kind comments. Being an oversensitive, insecure Pisces, a little friendly adulation goes right into my pores like good moisturizer.


When you think of the 12th house, consider this. There's that time in the morning between sunrise and when we wake up, particularly in seasons besides winter. During this time of day, the world is stirring to life and the light has dawned, but we as individuals are usually sleeping -- and often having the more vivid dreams that we remember.


Or, sometimes, we have the dreams that we remember the feeling of, or some pieces of, but don't remember the real story -- even when we know it's important. This is one distinct feeling of the 12th, like this alternate reality; this side-room of the psyche; this dimension we enter, live in, and forget about, but sometimes take traces of the feeling with us. And then it follows us around, while we are dimly aware or completely unaware.


People who are aware of the 12th are poets, artists, musicians -- those who reach into the unconscious world, that strange space outside of time, on the borderline between love and fear, sanity and insanity, thought and emotion. No wonder that Vedic astrologers assign this house to the 'pleasures of the bed'.


I refer to the 12th house as the House of Dreams. But it is also the House of the Rising Sun -- that is, the region of the sky that the Sun crosses in the first hours of daylight, after day has begun. Think about both of those images for a moment.


There is an asleep-awake paradox to this house. In astrology, this shows up with the affairs of this house operating in a 'behind the scenes' way. It is the house of secrets; of the unconscious; of hidden enemies; of fears; of delusions -- but it's also the house where the Sun is after it has dawned. So we need to work with this paradox in reading the house in charts.


Think of it this way, perhaps. You know how there are those things in life that we're aware of, but we're not really aware of? The things we 'should know' or that we heard about and forgot, or that we know but are in denial of? There's the 12th house hard at work. The whole challenge of the 12th is to wake up and stay awake; to remember your dreams; to be aware of your fears; to probe your unconscious mind. You could say this is the psychological approach to the house, but it's well rooted in the basics of traditional astrology.


I think these ideas give us some things to contemplate. But as astrology students we need to take the 12th in practical terms. To start with, you can take these ideas, take the planet or planets in question, and ask how they might respond to those ideas and feelings of the 12th.


But what I and many other astrologers have noted is that the 12th is the house of people and things that have gone missing; that have sunk beneath the surface. Note again the contradiction: they have sunk, but this is the house where, when something is there, it has risen above the horizon. I don't have the answer to this paradox but I think that we can get a lot from it if we apply it and don't avoid it.


If a planet is in the 12th just above the horizon, it's like something is struggling to be born into awareness. As the astrologer, you may need to point out what that something is, and call their awareness to it. Objects or points anywhere in the 12th can take years to even notice; and fortunately we have the chart to show us on paper that they are there.


While the 8th is the house of death, the 12th has a sense of finality to it which leads many astrologers to say, ah, this is the real house we look to for clues about death -- which gives a clue to why there can be so much fear associated with the 12th. Part of the death theme of the 12th is the 'near death experience' known as birth. The 12th is the house that represents the prenatal epoch; planets in that house can describe conditions and issues that happened in utero. The birth itself is a process of something crossing the ascendant from the unconscious or unmanifest world in to the real-time here and now.


On the 'gone missing' theme, here is an example. If you see someone with their Moon in the 12th, listen to the person's story, listen to them talk about their mother, and see what they say. You will likely pick up a theme that mom is in some way missing; psychologically, physically, emotionally; or she has actually died. Or, the person was adopted. You cannot guess, though: in a reading, it's better to listen and discover, or say, so, how is your mom doing?


If a man has Mars in that house, listen to his story and find out where his masculinity, or his image of his masculinity, has gone. The aspects to a 12th house point, including the houses where aspected planets are placed, will tell you a lot. If that Mars is square his Sun, there may be a father-son conflict. Mars in the 12th, in particular, can also signify a lot of fear clouding over one's life; fear to the point of paranoia.


The 12th in general can blow things up to huge proportion, particularly if they are denied. Madonna is a good example: She has Virgo rising with a ton of planets in the 12th. She is a real dreamweaver, an image maker, larger than life, and richer than the church.


One last comment. Something I've noticed about the 12th is that when you place outer planets in there -- such as Pluto or Uranus -- the person will have a 'sense of special destiny' -- like they are in this world for some important purpose they don't understand. This was originally pointed out by Jeff Green, one of the first people to write a book about Pluto. It's a beautiful intuitive perception. And I have found, over and over again, that it's workable. He talks about how this house has a cliff-like property, like we're on the edge of something. And if we have a potent planet there, we will have a very intense relationship to the edge.


The 12th really is an edge, in every respect, particularly as it approaches the 1st. This region of the horoscope is perhaps best deduced by transits over the 12th house cusp and the ascendant. Do a little experiment, and look at what has happened in your life and the lives of others when a planet has crossed the ascendant. Look for events, and also note to the conditions of their (or your) life at the time. You will very likely see something happening that gives a clue.


Here is a piece I wrote a few years ago that addresses the 12th house. It will take you through to The Wayback machine at (a fascinating place, though not 100% reliable all the time) to an old link on It's called The Borderland.