Dragons in the 12th House

not the one

My colleague and dear friend, Frederick Woodruff and I are locked into one of our conversation/debates over modern and traditional astrological terminology brought about by my post from yesterday  (you can follow along in the comment section if you like, he’s threatening to take me to court over it if we can’t resolve it here, so I’m sure there will be more to come! :D)  In brief, as someone who uses traditional techniques I like the phrases used to describe the 12th house: The House of Sorrows, Loss, Secrets, and Suffering.  He thinks that sort of terminology is suspect at best and dangerous at worst.

He’s a 12th house Sun and Mercury like me, but he’s a Cancer, so we always seem to come at the same things from exactly the opposite side of the coin.  This is one of my favorite dances there is, of course, because as a Capricorn I’m all dry and needing to nail things down and Cancers are all wet and unnaildownable.  I find them so reassuring in a world which seems to me to call out for control and structure because they have the opposite response to it, they may cry and wail, but they flow with the siege the storm throws at them all the same.

I never feel like I have to be strong with Cancers, they see right into the soft vulnerable core at the center of me and remind me of the strength that comes from opening, not closing.  I adore them.

Frederick pointed out something so soft and ethereal about the 12th house, so warm and kind in his comment yesterday.  I’m going to quote him at length because I like what he said so much.

He said, “dawn– like dusk — is a period in the day’s cycle that is something akin to the sacred. There’s a palpably still aura to the air, a quiet that is both fragile and vibrant with potential. This is, for the most part, how I feel about the Sun’s manner (in the 12th) of expressing itself in the world.

… My lens that looks out on the world is this same soft condition of light that is just arriving, establishing and preparing to ascend and illuminate in stronger wattage, but again, it’s very much a bardo condition.

To me a bardo’s very essence is one of contradiction; and from the merging of contradictions there is alchemy, which generates light, and movement — but done with awareness and usually softly. We don’t run around yaking and tossing our bodies about like bumper cars at 6AM in the morning, as we do, say at noon time when the fervor and pitch of ‘reality’ is buzzing and making us believe that ITS atmosphere is the one that dominates and defines the world at large.

So, 12th house light — that atmosphere for the soul — is to be respected, understood, honored and valued. At least in my cosmology.”

Isn’t that lovely?  And true?  Of course, between you and me I was a bit chagrined that he was left thinking I don’t share that respect or honor just because I call the 12th house dirty names.  I’m a Capricorn, I call everyone dirty names!  That’s how Capricorns say “I love you.”

Truly I see what he sees here and I couldn’t agree with him more, but getting to that perspective took some grievously hard work on my part, it didn’t just “happen.”  I was softened over time by the loss of the people I loved best, by betrayal, by secrets and lies and my own foolishness masquerading as someone elses.  My Sun in the 12th House of Loss rules the 7th House of partnership, you see, so I didn’t immediately understand that other people were not the shiny gloamy objects my softened sun’s light made them out to be.  I didn’t understand how much my seeing of them was my own creation, nor how little I needed them in order to shine myself.

I didn’t understand until they were gone, until I was betrayed, until everything I thought I knew about them was revealed to be a lie.  Eckhart Tolle says that Loss is a great teacher because when you lose that thing you think you cannot live without you will discover who you really are, not who you thought you were.

This is the great big shiny truth thrown up onto the shores of my life after the storms that took everything else out to sea.  This is treasure I’ve found after a lifetime consecrated in my Capricorn 12th House tower.  This is the thing I cannot live without but will never have to because it is what remains once everything else is stripped away.

Myself: naked, shiny, resolute, independent of others, of money, of acclaim, of anything tangible.  Just this thing that can’t be covered up by wrinkles or time or washed out to sea by betrayal or misunderstanding.  Just me.  And just me is enough.  Just me is the grain of sand that contains the universe and mirrors every other grain of sand out here on the glorious expanse of beach we all share together, whether we know it or not.

May we be peaceful

May we be safe

May we be loved

May we be free


3 replies
  1. Frederick
    Frederick says:


    This ongoing inquiry has been incredibly invigorating. And my 12th house Mercury felt a buzz of (garrulous) excitement being given the chance to articulate. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

    As you’ve noticed, I did a long post on Astro Inquiry yesterday re YOUR posts, and this toggling makes the internet fun again.

    Astrology’s House of the Rising Sun: http://tinyurl.com/p8mtgrd

    Re Leo ruling your 7th and the gentle way you teased forth and revealed insights re disappointment and betrayal related to ‘others.’

    I believe the flip side of that experience is a capacity to see and sense directly that we are one unified family of beings, each of us with a unique expression, but all ‘one’ nonetheless. The kind of seeing the mystics have described for eons.

    It’s odd, in my experience the more I’ve felt my autonomy, my independence from others, the more my level of intimacy with myself AND others has increased, becoming more substantial. Connected. Why is that?

    Something to consider, yes?



    • Wonder Bright
      Wonder Bright says:

      I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our back and forth here as well, Frederick! It’s been such a boon to have space to contemplate my 12th house during this Venus Retrograde, I’m really very grateful for it.

      I absolutely agree with you, the more autonomy I’ve created for myself, the better my ability to connect with others. It’s getting so quick anymore, and almost effortless – provided I have enough time alone, that is :)

      I tried to hint at that towards the end of this particular post, describing how, as I came to rest, satisfied in my singular grain of sandiness I couldn’t help but be aware of the totality of all the grains of sand on the beach. Sometimes being poetic doesn’t do justice to cold hard facts – or soft warm ones, in this instance!

      I’m sure this is a universal phenomenon, but when it happens to you it’s as if Oz revealed the truth behind the curtain. Magical. All my life I craved connection and belonging, but it wasn’t until I created it for myself first that I began to connect at will with others.

      So something to consider YES, and for the rest of my life, the Gods willing.

      <3 right back at you! Wonder B

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