©2-13-2010 by Donna Cunningham, MSW
You could study the houses of the horoscope for a lifetime and still not know all there is to know about them. They’re an endless source of information about yourself and anyone whose chart you’re examining. Today I’d like to share some secrets I’ve learned over the years about two of the cadent houses, the 3rd and 12th.
Cadent houses (3, 6, 9, and 12) lend themselves to secrets. They’re not like the angular houses (1, 4, 7, and 10), which represent the external factors that jump out at you right away. They’re what you find out about a person in a five minute conversation at a party. You’d notice what they look like and how they come across (1st), check out the ring finger to see if they’re married (7th), and ask where they live(4th) and what they do for a living (10th).
The qualities of the cadent houses are more inward and not so noticeable. You’d have to study a person for a while before you added the things those houses represent to your mental file about them. But are they less important in forming who we are? I think not. Here are some surprising things I’ve learned about two of the houses, the 3rd and the 12th.
The Third House and Jack Nicholson’s Family Secret
The 3rd house represents communication patterns, thinking and learning style, siblings and near relatives, neighbors, basic coursework, commuting. My jobs in social work involved taking a family history, and my astrological consultations often brought up problems with brothers and sisters. Thus, I tended to note how the influence of siblings was reflected in the 3rd house.
The Moon in the 3rd house always turned out to be highly significant. With this placement, siblings, aunts, uncles or cousins may have taken on parental roles, often due to the mother’s immaturity. If you have it, sometimes it’s you who acted as a parent surrogate to younger sibs; sometimes an older might have acted as Mom to you. At any rate, it results in a powerful and influential tie that lasts well into adulthood.
Whether the tie was essentially positive or not depends on the Moon’s sign and aspects. With Moon in Aries, there was likely to be a strong sibling rivalry and incessant conflict. With Moon in Libra, it was likely to be a very loving connection. At best, you are likely to have the equivalent of two Moms, one much younger and longer-lived, and you are likely to have a strong and supportive extended family.
I enjoy watching the biographies on A&E on Sunday morning, and often I’ll drag out the person’s chart and compare it to the early years they describe. One morning the bio was about that irrepressible bad boy, Jack Nicholson. Right away I noted his 3rd house Moon and wondered how that played out in his family life.
( He was born April 22, 1937 at 11:20 AM, from his memory. His place of birth was NEPTUNE—New Jersey, that is. (You can see his birth chart and biography here Nicholson, Jack, but if you do that, you’ll miss out on the secrets of the 12th. I’ll repeat the link later.)
They’re great storytellers, the writers for these biographies, and so they gave one little clue after another about a secret in Jack’s background. They stressed how much he loved his older sister Jean, and how much he missed her when she went to Hollywood and became a showgirl. When he decided to become an actor, he went to Hollywood and lived with her until he started getting enough roles to support himself.
They continued to be close until her death, which devastated him. It wasn’t until his mother died, when he was 37 that he discovered the truth—that Jean was actually his mother! She was only 17 when she had him, so they concealed the pregnancy and claimed Jean’s mother had given birth to him.
In this case, then, the 3rd house Moon meant that his sister literally WAS his mother. If you know any other cases where this is true, I’d love to hear about them.A Not-So-Secret Sector of the 12th House
My readers evidently can’t get enough about the 12th house. One of the top 5 posts of all time on this blog is 7 Secrets You May not Know about the 12th House, and my other articles about the 12th continue to do well, too. This tricky house represents matters that are repressed or hidden, self-defeating behavior, chronic illness, chronic illness and care facilities, selfless service, retreats, and the quest to learn secret spiritual and mystical truths.
Recently, a reader wrote to ask about a Pluto transit to her Uranus in the 12th and why so many secrets were coming to light. I told her that a 12th house Uranus represents parts of yourself that are so different that you believe it wouldn’t be social acceptable if you showed it to others—that it would either get you in trouble with authorities or else you’d be a social outcast.
What I can imagine happening during a transit to a 12th house Uranus would be that you no longer feel like you have to keep the real you hidden from the world. Under a transit from Pluto to Uranus, you’d just no longer care what people thought—or you would, but you wouldn’t be able to suppress your truth any more.
Another thing shown by 12th house planets is secrets you’ve kept even from yourself. Early on, most likely in adolescence since that’s one of the more Uranian periods of development, you found those thoughts or urges so unacceptable that you pushed them down into the unconscious and didn’t allow yourself to know they were part of you. With transits, especially from the probing eye of Pluto, those secrets come and stare you in the face, and denial is stripped away.
An especially interesting sector of the 12th house is the 10° or so just before the Ascendant—any planet there is actually conjunct the Ascendant. What’s difficult about having any planet there, but especially Uranus, is that the person tries desperately to hide the part of themselves that planet represents.
Alas, it’s no secret at all—it pops up strongly in moments of self-sabotage, and then the truth is glaringly obvious to the world at large. People cut you even less slack than if you were open about yourself because those revelations make you look like a hypocrite or sneak for hiding the information in the first place. If you’re famous, you have to go to rehab for it.
No doubt you’re wondering about the other two cadent houses, the 6th and the 9th. Oh, I’ll write about them sometime, but not today. Until then, they’ll remain my little secret. What about you readers? What do you know that’s interesting about the 3rd or 12th houses? Tell us in the comment section.
Astrology students, if you’ve got time this weekend, kick your chart interpretation skills up a notch by reading more articles about the houses on this blog:
- The Houses–12 Different Ways to Heal from Stress and Trauma
- A Who’s Who of your Horoscope–the Players in all 12 Houses
- Neptune in the 11th House–Setting Boundaries in Friendship
- 7 Secrets You May not Know about the 12th House
- 12 Famous People with 12th House Suns
- Transits from the 12th House to the 1st–Like Night and Day
- Transits to the Vocational Houses–Temp Job or Career Departure?
- Download a chapter on the houses here: AGSA ch13-houses
- Download a chart blank here: Blank chart with house meanings.
- Download: Shovel-Ready Projects for the 12 Astrological Houses
- See more articles on the 12 houses in the category Houses of the Horoscope.
- (I promised you Jack Nicholson’s AstroDataBank file. You can see it here: Nicholson, Jack.)
If this post was helpful, DON’T MISS THE NEXT INSTALLMENT IN THIS SERIES. Sign up for a subscription, and get a FREE EBOOKLET for Skywriter Subscribers Only: Mothers, Daughters, and the Moon, a 50-page excerpt from The Moon in your Life. Read more about it here: New: Free Booklet For Skywriter Subscribers!
If you’re already a subscriber and want a copy, forward the most recent email post to me at email@example.com. To sign up for a subscription, go to the top right hand corner of the blog and click on “Subscribe.” Then send me an email with your subscription confirmation or an email post with a request for the booklet in the subject line.