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INSPIRATION AND THE 12TH HOUSE

by Antonio Grub

Even today the 12th is ill understood. All too often it has associations related to those facets of life inimical to “reality,” vitality, prosperity, productivity. And at worst the 12th house has associations of derangement, withdrawal from public view, imbecility, and—as Aleister Crowley bluntly puts it—“idle debauchery.” Indeed, much like Pisces, the 12th gives indications of a predisposition to self-destruction, drug abuse, criminality, irresponsibility. Yet we hear of the 12th having a peculiar spiritual, or divine, function. This is the subject of my essay. 

     Not enough research has been conducted in regard to this special function, of receiving inspiration. The 12th house’s natal ruler, usually situated outside it, tells the interpreter how the native—or chart owner—draws inspiration from the Muses. Inspiration is far from confined to the domain of art, music, and poetry; each and every one of us, irrespective of explicit vocation, benefits from divine assistance. But because inspiration is typically the subject of poetic discourse, I’ll focus on the arts for now.

     The 12th is a direct portal to the divine. Indeed the two other houses associated with the divine are the 9th and 8th. Yet whereas 9th maintains the function of intellectualizing, formalizing, systematizing the divine—and the 8th governs spell-work, the conscious control of magick—the 12th house is pure, unadulterated. In Lacanian psychoanalytic parlance, it is absolute presence, the basis for any conceptual distinction. This undifferentiated presence is cut up and converted by the 3rd, 6th, and 9th into intelligible speech, that is to say, into words and concepts. The 12th is thus the clay out of which language is molded, the originary wholeness from which the Judaic sky-god had separated light and darkness. 

     Our planets and luminaries in the 12th have a difficult time functioning; there is no up or down, no means by which to navigate clearly. The 12th is the locus of the Dionysian, an ecstatic place or state of nonbeing, by which an Apollonian ego loses itself in music (the word is related to “Muses”). In Nietzsche’s theoretical framework, the Dionysian is Ultimate Reality—music, as opposed to Language, or Image. But in my view (and others’) it is the alpha and omega of the chart, the joining of womb and tomb.

     To use my chart as example (I ask the Reader’s forgiveness), the 12th has Virgo on its starting cusp. Therefore its ruler, Mercury in 3rd, is the planet that is charged with channeling the 12th. The 3rd is the means by which I receive inspiration. A man on the street once asked of me “what I do.” I told him, unabashedly, that I am a poet. He inquired how I draw inspiration for it, to which I said to him: “I read.” For a moment he seemed confused, then asked, “But isn’t it derivative? Shouldn’t a poet have originality and not recycle the language of others?” I said I do not imitate; I inundate myself in the symbolic, and find doing so very stimulating. I said I liked nothing better than to dwell within language, meander in it, talk back to it. 

     He may have understood me, but what I should have said is that I am touched by the divine whenever I engage in 3rd-house things, like reading, writing, talking, walking: I especially cannot go for long without my long walks. 

     Let us go a bit deeper now… Mercury is conjunct Uranus in my chart, and the latter rules the Apollonian 5th. I only mention this in order to show that we must check for what other bodies our 12th-house ruler relates to by way of aspect, just as we should check what other houses, if any, the 12th’s ruler serves. Mercury for me also serves (rules) the 9th, so it is natural, I think, for culture to be of particular interest. The last detail to take stock of is the ruler itself, including the sign it is in. If Saturn in Libra rules the 12th house, the native will exercise their divine ability in a Saturnian as well as Libran fashion.

     The friend with me in the street that night is a great lunatic; his Jupiter resides in the 12th, ruling it. As we would expect, he is given to receiving inspiration as an opium addict might, confining himself, away from the world, in order to convene with Truth. Gonzalo lives at a slight remove, in Puerto Rico. It is no coincidence PR is regarded as something rather like the lunatic asylum of the US—its residents are neglected, unrecognized, ill treated. Meanwhile the 12th is the madhouse of the zodiac. It is in such a locale Gonzalo works his special alchemy. As I have said, it is difficult to manage having a planet IN the 12th (I have moon there). Yet Gonzalo gets away with it: benefic Jupiter granting special protections.

     Another friend’s ruler of 12th is Venus in the 8th. It is no surprise that Adam receives inspiration via the practice of sex magick and other occult disciplines, which are of course 8th-house things.

     Without further ado, now… I provide a list of personages, noting their 12th-house rulers. I encourage others to apply these principles in their research and interpretive practice, and to test what I have said.

William Butler Yeats – Ruler of 12th: Saturn in Libra in 8th: Yeats had an early fascination with the occult, which lasted his entire life; he was a magician of the Golden Dawn

Pablo Picasso – Ruler of 12th: Moon in Sagittarius in 5th: Picasso drew inspiration while making art, having sex, engaging in romantic flings—no surprise, then, his famous obsession with painting mistresses.

Virginia Woolf – Ruler of 12th: Mars in Gemini in 1st: Woolf had psychotic episodes which she nevertheless said were “great fun” and provided insight for her writing (Gemini); this was arguably due to the 12th finding expression through the physical Self (1st house).

Jacques Lacan – Ruler of 12th: Sun in Aries in 8th: Lacan loved the detective work of unraveling mysteries of the human psyche, associated with the 8th. Lacan’s Sun was conjunct Venus, ruler of 3rd, enabling him to give theoretical expression to his findings.

James Joyce – Ruler of 12th: Jupiter in Taurus in 3rd: a writer who, along with Woolf, known for pioneering the stream-of-consciousness technique. Joyce has other planets in 3rd.

Fernando Pessoa – Ruler of 12th: Venus in Gemini in 8th: Pessoa was astrologer and occultist in addition to being a writer (Gemini). He has other planets in 8th.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – Ruler of 12th: Pluto in Scorpio in 11th: AOC apparently receives inspiration in the domain of politics, delivering forceful speeches (Pluto in Scorpio) that some have said indicate demonic possession.

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9 comments

  1. So aries 12th is ma’s ruled in 5th conjunct moon and Venus all in virgo

    • 12th house gemini with mercury in 12th house gemini. Opposing Saturn in the 5th. Also sun conj chiron and bml square jupiter in the 9th.
      Tbh I think I’m actually a ghost in pergatory

  2. Am I right here. So libra is my 12th house ruler. No planets. Venus is in my 7th house (Taurus) along with my sun and Jupiter. Venus would also rule the 2nd house (Taurus). So I touch the divine through partnerships?

  3. I have my sun, rising,mercury,mars, and venus in the12th house. In sag.
    It would be interesting to hear what it means. Or thoughts on it.

  4. What about Cancer 12th house with moon in Sagittarius in the 4th?

  5. This is a very interesting piece! As a 12th house Capricorn with Asc at 26 degrees and the South Node at 18 I’ve Been diligently trying to figure out how to apply all the massive planetary transits happening there and approaching my ASC. Today The Jupiter SN conjunction exactly opposes my moon in Cancer. My 12th ruler is Saturn at 17 Aquarius. I’ve never really understood Aquarius in the first.
    Any comments you have to help me understand And integrate these energies are greatly appreciated.

  6. Plutonian Spitfire

    This is really great to read. It helped me to confirm things about myself. I have Mercury in the 12th in Libra, conjunct my AC at a 3 deg orb. However, 12H is in Virgo. Also, my AC is conjunct Pluto in my 1H Libra, and Pluto is conjunct my Sun, also 1H. I have a sort of blender effect going across the 12H and 1H. From what I’m understanding now, I get my Divine inspiration from 3H, 6H (Pisces and Neptune in 3H) and 9H (Gemini). I have a paradox chart. I definitely know that when I interact with people whether online or offline, things show up for me. Yesterday, I posted in a FB group how I am looking for online jobs after getting laid off, and today I’ve just randomly come across several websites and listings of jobs, yet no one commented on my FB comment. LOL. This happens all the time for me. Information just comes as I think about it. Unfortunately, my Jupiter is in Gemini though, which means I struggle to focus on one thing (a curse really!) and talk too much. I am often guilty of TL;DR type comments. People stop talking to me. haha My Moon (Taurus) and Jupiter (Gemini) are conjunct in the 8H though, and I learned that is basically Law of Attraction type thinking. Learning how to intellectualize the spirit world into conscious intentions by understanding the emotions/vibrations behind intentions. So fascinating.

    • Plutonian Spitfire

      Also, Jupiter and Moon trine Mercury, so I guess that is also filtering through Mercury and into my personality? I do have ADHD type traits, as well as firmly believe I have Asperger’s after years of research and analyzing my behavior. I don’t understand social norms and have what’s called mind blindness. I have Neptune in my 3H, Sagittarius. I’ve been looking for traits in my chart that might answer to that. Is it that I have Asperger’s? Or, are these actually normal traits modern science doesn’t/can’t classify into social norm compartmentalized thinking? This is considering that many tribes before “civilization” operated exactly opposite of how “civilized” thinking does. In the older tribes, the group accepted the person in as unique, whereas now we all try to stuff a person into a certain type of personality.