12th House Metaphors & Stories – Crossing the Threshold

12th House experience has to do with losing your props, i.e. the anchor that grounds you to the earthly life. Since most of us acquire a sense of identity, power and self worth through our work, relationships, marriage, family and status, it can be devastating to lose one or more of these props. Hence, the classic astrologers called this “the House of Troubles.”

Examples of 12th House Experience

  • Stephen Forrest gave the story of a man walking out of a divorce court, feeling the loss, but at the same time, free and joyful: the unhappy marriage that was his life no longer exists – by losing that anchor, he is free to recreate his life.
  • Transit Saturn comes into 12th house, and a healthy woman experiences a series of accidents that keeps her in pain and at home – for a span of two years or so, she lost the identification with the healthy, pain-free body that was hers. As a result she developed a deeper level of compassion for other people’s pain. She is now a certified healing practitioner who is busy helping other people heal from their pain.
  • In dreams, you often lose your props – you’re just your consciousness, without the worldly trappings of jobs and money and relationships. This also happens (presumably) after we die and leave the body – the ultimate question is, what will we be able to take with us after we die? Only the quality of your consciousness; meditation is the way to experience the quality of your consciousness, and hence it’s a 12th house practice.
  • Transiting Saturn moves into 12th house, and a man files bankruptcy. He is forced to face the worst in himself, in work and in relationship. After two years of struggle, he senses that he is beginning to become a totally new man.

Transiting Saturn conjunct Ascendant (ASC) – Crossing the Threshold

What happens after you lose the props, but life goes on? Often the passage of Saturn and outer planets through the 12th House into the 1st House mark a dramatic departure from the past. The process of dissolution is almost complete, and a new sense of self emerges – sometimes gradually, other times quite suddenly.

When my Saturn crossed the Ascendant, I graduated from high school in Japan, and decided to come to United States to study music in college. I effectively lost all of my social ties in Japan, and was disoriented for a while – but after a year or so, I emerged with a very different self image – it was like I died and took on a new life (there is a funny thing that happens in your brain when you divorce from one language and switch into another. Now I think in English.)

So several times in your life, there are experiences that happen that change your life forever. It may start out as “troubles,” in the form of an illness, loss of family or marriage, or some kind of failure. But as long as you keep on living, chances are that you’ll emerge with a new identity, even a new life.

If you have your own 12th house story, please feel free to write or comment…

About Hiroki Niizato

Hiroki Niizato is a professional consulting astrologer in Florida, serving clients in US and abroad. He has been practicing astrology professionally since 2001. Hiroki is a highest honor graduate of the demanding Master’s Degree Certification Course in Astrology by Noel Tyl.

You can contact Hiroki via email at: Hiroki@hniizato.com or schedule a consultation.


  1. Very well written. When Saturn transited through my 12th house, it conjuncted with my natal moon, natal Pluto, and my North Node. This was a very difficult two years for me. One of deep introspection. I immediately withdrew from the world and delved into books discussing astrology, the mind and in-depth psychology. During my emotional crisis, my father fell victim to a debilitating stroke, then my mother was challenged through heart issues, all the while I had been dealing with a difficult passive-aggressive co-worker. My battles with feeling less self-assured made it a precarious balancing act. Now I look upon it as a much needed growing experience. Some where in this span of time I became an adult and learned to let go of my child. It was a deep and pensive time that has changed me completely. Changed me for the better? I’d like to think so. Now as Saturn crosses over my ASC, I can see the light… the gold in my shadow. My life continues to change as I move forward to claim a new future I must now set up for myself.

    • Hi Erin,

      Thank you for sharing your experience with the 12th house transit of Saturn. It seems the presence of natal Moon, Pluto and the Nodal axis there made it even more of a huge transition for you. I’m sorry to hear of the family health challenges.


  2. Hiroki Niizato says

    Thank you LB,

    Very well said…I think what you shared is a beautiful illustration of the process of identity development associated with the 12th house.

    Much appreciated,

  3. Hi Hiroki – It’s been several years now since Saturn transited my 12th. It began abruptly when Saturn joined my natal Uranus in the 12th — I began to have unusual migraine symptoms and had to give up coffee. Then, as Saturn trined my natal Saturn and sextiled my Sun, my employer of twenty years suddenly closed the business and I lost my job (which in retrospect, was a good thing, or I’d probably still be there).

    Then, I injured myself and was unable to look for work (another good thing since I would’ve looked for the same kind of job). Then, when transiting Saturn joined my natal Pluto in the 12th, and squared my natal retrograde Mars in the 9th, I developed a painful, albeit temporary medical condition called “Frozen Shoulder”, which severely limited the use of both arms. Unfortunately, I was also having my Chiron return at the same time and with my natal Chiron in the 6th, opposite natal Uranus in the 12th, you can probably imagine the challenges I faced. I was unable to dress myself or sleep, or even sit comfortably – I was also still unable to look for work. Most of my friends either disappeared or else just didn’t seem to “get it”, and I never pressed the issue. I later realized I’d outgrown most of my friends anyway, so I let them go. During this same time period, I was also managing the care of my elderly mother and dealing with all of the daily frustrations related to her care. When we received several unlawful notices (one threatened to evict her), I was forced to do legal research, write letters, and to finally file formal complaints against the facility she was living in. My mental/emotional state during this time was very disturbing – I seemed to be replaying a lot of old childhood tapes related to issues of self-worth.

    My physical situation slowly began to improve as Saturn crossed over into my 1st — however, when transiting Saturn squared my natal Saturn in the 4th, my husband lost his job and we decided to downsize. I was ruthless in my purging, and ultimately, it was very liberating – no longer do I have closets and cupboards filled with useless, outgrown things, nor do I have unnecessary spaces to fill. We now live in a lovely 450 square foot space, filled with only those things we love and use, and it seems more spacious to me than any place I’ve ever lived. My mother passed away right in the middle of our move, and it seemed to signal the end of a long karmic cycle in my life.

    I am not the same person I was — I was forced to examine all of my relationships, including my relationship with God, who up until that point, I’d always viewed as a sort of cosmic Santa Clause – I no longer believe anyone is guaranteed certain immunity from suffering, nor do I view the fact that I suffered as a sign of my spiritual failure. I was forced to confront my illusions about control and to surrender everything (including the care of my soul), unconditionally to God.

    I understand suffering and isolation, and also the plight of those unable to speak for themselves, as well as the corruption that lies beneath the surface of things. I learned to value people (especially my husband) over things, and I feel less encumbered now than ever before. I’m also more forgiving of my own imperfections and don’t think I could ever go back to hiding who I am.

    I’m still assimilating all of my experiences –, my natal Pluto (in Virgo) sextile and in mutual reception with my natal Mercury in Scorpio (conjunct Jupiter/Neptune in the 2nd/3rd) has helped –.part of that process has been to share them through the internet, which is something I never thought I’d do. I think your insights about the 12th house and the internet are spot-on

  4. Hiroki Niizato says

    Hi Risu,

    Thank you very much for sharing your story! Appreciate your vivid corroboration of this dynamic…

  5. Hi Hiroki,

    I was looking for any possible references online regarding the 12th house and saw this post.

    I have Jupiter conjunct Uranus in Sagittarius natally in the 12th house. Let me tell you one thing that I had to struggle with was my sense of identity (I also have Neptune conjunct my Ascendant).

    I’ve always had a hard time figuring out who I was and had a tendency to just become whoever my friends or other people wanted me to be — hence my early confusion.

    I was 11(1995) when SA Jupiter conjuncted my ASC, and I think this was a first time that I started to seriously think about moving or living abroad.
    When I was around 13 (1997), SA Uranus also moved to a conjunction with my ASC — let me tell you one thing that I still feel as if that year was a big turning point in my life. Between 1995 – 1998 I went through several other language programs that broadened my horizons and basically threw me in a lot of conflict with a lot of people.

    I went to a foreign study program for 3 weeks and got into a lot of misunderstanding with a lot of my peers who were with me during the program. Let me just tell you that instead of just lying down and not fighting back, there was just something in me that broke free and I fought back and I have never looked back ever since. Same with the time I went on a study tour of Taiwan in 1998.

    If you would compare my pre-13 years to my current personality, you would still say that I am basically the same person but I guess I feel more confident about my identity and purpose in the world.

    I would say that my pre-13 years up until I was around 13 were hell and were characterized by me trying to find my purpose or at least the point in life.

    Coincidentally transiting Pluto entered my 12th house around 1994-1995 and I was literally thrown into this pit of depression. I felt ostracized, isolated and contemplated suicide several times. I got by through writing short stories and putting all of my dreams, thoughts and fantasies into writing (Mercury Quintile Neptune, MC Quintile Jupiter and Uranus). It also helped that during that time — I got hooked into Sailormoon actually Anime and Manga in general and ever since then I am a changed person.

    Pluto finally conjuncted my Jupiter – Uranus conjunction in my 12th house around April – June 1999. This was the time that I learned about a new type of music called, “Visual-kei” and was totally thrown into the revolution, at this time Pluto was also squaring my natal Venus and Mars — lets just say 2 years later I started a relationship with another woman and still going on strong upto now!

    Anyway, after 1999 I was engulfed with this dream to head out to Tokyo and start a band *laughs* I still am thinking of that dream — but now the need has somewhat died down.

    Finally, transiting Pluto finally emerged from my 12th house and entered my 1st house around last 2005 this coincided with me finally moving to Tokyo to follow my dreams.

    It is also interesting to note that I’ve always been fascinated by the occult and with Pluto transiting my 12th house, I started learning more about tarot cardsand even astrology. I even had weird encounters with “duende” or an earth elemental who spoke to me.

    Nevertheless, after the Pluto transit to my 12th house, it felt that something did die in me but only to be reborn as something quite different…

    As an extra note Pluto conjuncts my Natal Sun and tightly trines my Natal Moon. I have to say that during those times my “battles” with both of my parents were legendary especially with my Mother about my “band”.

    Now I have transiting Jupiter making squares to my Pluto-Saturn conjunction in my 11th house and also have Uranus conjuncting my IC by next year PLUS Saturn hitting my MC by next fall…so this is going to be an interesting year. ^___^

  6. Hiroki Niizato says

    Good for you. Thank you very much for sharing your story!

    Best wishes,

  7. Hello, I have a story related to the Twelfh House, but it is still one with an open ending. When Pluto started transiting my twelfth house, a crisis broke out in my life, and has been on and off to this day. What happened was that all the things I disliked about myself were suddenly blown out of proportion and I became an obsessive self-criticizer. Before that, I was a joyful person who laughed a lot, but perhaps those things had lain dormant there since my childhood, during which I felt very insecure and sensitive to any criticism. The worst pressure by Pluto started two years ago … this time it was so strong that I couldn’t ignore it. In attempting, to resolve this crazy state of mind for good, I’ve embarked on a journey which brought me to meditation, astrology and new personal growth. I realized how stagnant my life had been before, and how unconnected to the real “me” I was, relying instead on “false masks”. Well, Pluto is now conjunct my Ascendant, so the pressure is still great, but I’m beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully, I’ll get there finally!

  8. Hiroki Niizato says

    Hi Jason,

    Great example…Thank you very much for sharing your story! I’m glad it was an empowering experience for you.

    Best wishes,

  9. Jason Hamlin says

    This post hits very close to home. Saturn is a very important planet in my horoscope…natally, conjunct Pluto and the IC in Libra. My experience was very similar to those described when Saturn transited my 12th and 1st house. I was in college when all this was happening, and with my senior year approaching, I ended up packing up everything and moving to a school in L.A. from NC. I had a complete overhaul and didn’t even realize what was going on until it was done. I called it “cutting out the BS”. I rediscovered myself away from all the expectations of my past. It was painful and lonely at times, but I felt so much stronger for it. It hit me pretty hard since my 12th house Venus is conjunct my Asc. and squares that Saturn/Pluto conjunction on the IC…as well aspects my Sun, Moon, Mars, Neptune and MC…all within 2 degrees. Another thing I noticed (and didn’t realize until my family saw me on my first visit back) is that my physical body had changed. I had lost all my baby fat and was in the best shape of my life. Crazy huh!?

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