Posted by: Donna Cunningham | February 13, 2010

Things You May Not Know about the 3rd and 12th Houses

©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

Skywriter, Donna CunninghamThe 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: Donna Cunningham Skywriter Mars

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  1. Very interesting post!

    My chart is all about the third and sixth. Communication is a big part of who I am, how I relate to people, why I love them, even. And the sixth house stellium: I could moan, MOAN, about my perpetual to-do list.

    • And you are a superb communicator and networker. (I think of the 3rd as networking, rather than the 11th, because it is more about sharing information. Donna

      • That makes sense. I guess the 11th is clubs, groups, associations. And third is communicating…even to communities (like the 11th). Cool! 🙂


    • My son has a stellium in the sixth–(Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto and the Sun) Virgo (Venus), Libra (Jupiter and Saturn) and Scorpio (Sun and Pluto). I’ve been anxious to talk to someone else with a 6th house stellium to see how it operates in their charts. I would love to hear from you!


    • That was a very interesting Post about the 3rd House.

      I’ve got Venus, Mars, Jupiter in Scorpio, plus Neptune in Sag in the 3rd.

      I’ve always got People telling me thing’s. Yet they like my perspective’s too, and I inject a lot of humour into my observations. It’s merely used to think outside of the Box.

  2. Haven’t really thought a lot about my 3rd House. It’s “empty” and ruled by Libra with Venus in the 9th conjunct Saturn.

    I would say that Venus/Saturn rules the way I communicate in that I’m very, v-e-r-y diplomatic and find myself thinking twice before I open my mouth. Somewhere along the line I decided it’s best to say nothing sometimes and Venus/Saturn has crafted that into a rigid discipline, something my Mercury square Mars needed to adjust to.

    And with this Mercury in Pisces tightly sextile my Taurus Midheaven, I’m keenly aware of how what I say is being perceived and received and felt and how it can help — or hinder — my standing in society.

    My 12th is ruled by Cancer with my Taurus Moon in the 9th — a lot happening in my 9th, I guess — and widely conjunct my Midheaven.

    Having never thought about my 12th, I’m not in a position — well, not until I have another cup of coffee, that is — to unravel the mystery of Cancer ruling it via a Taurus Moon.

    Always enjoy your Posts, Donna. Makes me think about things I never considered before!

    • Aha, Duse, you’ve made me realize something. I have Venus and Saturn conjunct in Gemini, and one of my rules for living is, “least said, soonest mended.” Donna

      • I’ve known some Mercury-Saturn people: loquacious they aren’t. And their words aren’t cheap 🙂

  3. You are so right about always something new to learn about astrology. One of the many reasons I love it!

    No planets in the third natally but many in the twelfth. My Mars-Mercury conjunction is within 5 degrees of the ASC in the twelfth and you are correct about it being glaringly obvious to others. I had a VERY sharp tongue behind my sweet Libra/1st house Venus smile.

    Time and all the outer planets transiting over that Mars-Mercury-ASC gradually transformed my rather acidic turn of speech. However, I still pay close attention to what I say most of the time because my aim is to heal rather than destroy.


    • Exactly what I’ve observed, Diane, about those 12th house planets conjunct the Ascendant. And even though I don’t pay a lot of attention to progressions, I have many occasions to thank God for my progressed Mercury in Libra. I’ve learned a good deal of tact and diplomacy in the time it’s been in Libra. Donna

  4. I have a stellium in the third (Mercury and Chiron in Libra, Mars and Jupiter in Scorpio). Mars squares my 12th house SA/PL conjunction.

    My brother is seven years younger than me. When he was born, I went from being an only child, to being set aside for the “male” child (very important in my culture). Partiality still exists. My mother is gone, but my father has put my brother in charge of all his (my father’s) affairs.

    It’s taken a lot of hard work and therapy to become mature enough to accept the situation. But, it still hurts. My brother is not the nicest person in the world, either, and we have NO relationship at all.

    Writing is the one thing that helps me cope with life and everything else. One can tell how upset I am by the depth of the pile of papers on my desk, or the number of Word documents on my desktop!

    • Pat – You & I seem to have something in common, namely Jupiter in Scorpio in the 3rd and Pluto in the 12th square Mars. Pluto is the ruler of my 3rd, and my relationship with my younger brother is also strained; he was clearly my mother’s favorite, with me coming in sloppy second, so I know how much that can hurt. Towards the end of my mother’s life, she did come to realize I wasn’t all bad, and a lot of my bitterness went away as I realized she loved me as well. Your last two sentences particularly resonated with me, especially as I look around at the growing pile of papers by my computer. I don’t know about you, but very soon my Pluto in the 12th will demand that I purge and organize them, then file them away for future reference. Take care. LB

      • HI, folks! I have guests this weekend, so haven’t got much time online, but it looks like you’ve had a grand time sharing without me. Party on! Donna

  5. The best part about that story about Jack Nicholson is that he would later do Chinatown (“She’s my sister AND my daughter!”)

    My 3rd House is empty, but its cusp is 29+ Cancer. Since my Moon is exactly conjunct my Ascendant, I’m sure it’s pretty obvious how I communicate. In effect, what should be a cadent house operates in an angular way. Communication is pretty key in my life.

    My 12th House cusp is 6+ Taurus, and in it there’s a conjunction of Chiron and Juno, and my North Node in Gemini. Not only that, but the Chiron-Juno conjunction is part of a T-square with my Venus and Mars. So I have quite a bit of relationship baggage, clearly. Truth be told, my 12th House kind of scares me.

  6. Very interesting to learn, Donna, that you and I share similar Venus and Saturn conjunctions. Mine is in the third house in an intercepted Pisces, in a close stellium with Chiron. While I feel I’ve always had a close relationship with my mother it hasn’t always been easy communicating with her. When I was young she expressed her opinions to me freely and often, but as I’ve become my own person and began expressing my own different ideas, there has been more distance. Years of exercising forgiveness and understanding to maintain my faith in our relationship seems the only quality that has been consistent for me. No, I don’t have any twelfth house planets, just a Scorpio Moon and Neptune in the eleventh.

  7. Hi Donna, I also love your posts. I find you write in a very accessible way and without ever sounding negative or judgmental (and without scaring me out of my mind). I begin to look at things in a new way and the realizations are very healing, so thank you for sharing. And with my 3rd house Jupiter, I’m betting you were expecting me to share, right?

    Jupiter (in Scorpio), placed right on the cusp of my 3rd explains why my comments are always the longest (LOL). And since I also have Jupiter conjunct Mercury, conjunct Neptune, not only do I like to share, I like to share deep and in detail. The funny thing is, I don’t usually talk a lot. I just love to write. People (including me) are often surprised by what I have to say.

    I have Uranus (in Leo) and Pluto (in Virgo) in the 12th and have always been plagued by periodic episodes of strange physical symptoms which, for the most part, have baffled doctors and resulted in a lifetime of scary misdiagnoses (my natal 6th house Chiron opposes Uranus, with Uranus being the ruler of the 6th). But because I never missed a lot of work and have always been very active and physically fit, most people would never suspect unless I told them. On a more spiritual/psychological level, I’ve also always felt the need to keep my insights and my power at least partially hidden. When I was younger, this often times resulted in me feeling as if I was an alien from another planet, and as I grew older that I was “invisible”.

    When transiting Pluto hit these planets a few years ago, I was overwhelmed by one physical mishap after another, and inevitably developed a serious medical condition which stopped me in my tracks, causing me to question my value to the world as well as my own sense of self-worth (ruler of the 12th in my 2nd). My 12th house Pluto is placed within 8 degrees of my Ascendant and is also the ruler of my 3rd, so I just couldn’t hide who I was any longer, nor could I hide from myself all of those old childhood tapes playing in my head. I had to face my vulnerabilities and fears and learn to love myself in spite of them.

    In the real world, I was finally forced to come out of hiding and battle the corrupt, incompetent practices of the elderly care facility that cared for my mom (Pluto in the 12th square Mars retrograde in the 9th), and in the process reveal both my Uranian insights as well as my Plutonian power. I did lots of research, documented everything, and wrote lots of letters. Not only were my complaints substantiated — but as a result of my efforts — I was offered a position working as an advocate for the elderly (which I had to decline). Since then, I’ve become much more comfortable knowing what I know and expressing it. I always hope some revelation of mine will spark something in another, which is just what your articles do for me.

    • Oops! Meant to write when transiting Saturn hit my 12th house planets, not transiting Pluto. I’ve had Pluto on the brain since it’s been going through my 4th house (hitting my Saturn).

  8. Hi Donna,
    I have Neptune conjunct my Asc from the 12 also conjunct my south node/Mars conj in the 12th ( Neptune is midpoint of s. node & Asc). Would you say this is past energy that I have not been that aware of until the heavy Neptune transits that I have had recently, 5 planets in Aquarius, including Sun & Moon. Transiting Neptune now conj my Sun. I almost feel more Neptunian than Uranian at times even though I scored 52 on the Uranus test.
    I also wonder about the tool itself, if more points should be given for a planet in its own house.

    • Sibyl, I don’t comment extensively on individual charts on this blog. After 40 years of working with clients, I’ve retired from doing charts so that I can dedicate myself to writing. Donna

  9. Interesting, I have moon, Mars, saturn and pluto in Leo in 12 and sun, Venus, Mercury (R) Chiron in 3rd in Scorpio and I seem to be sane

    • Eminently sane, Kali. Those 3rd house Scorpio planets see the truth all around you, but quickly learns when and where it’s safe to tell the truth. Donna

  10. Loved reading this particular blog.
    Wish I had learned long ago to keep my mouth shut.
    Gemini ascendent…Mercury on the Descendent…one of my ex-boyfriends said I would sitting up talking in my coffin
    5 days after I was dead.
    Cant wait to see what you say about houses 6 and 9.


    • I love Mercury people 🙂

  11. My third house is Sun conjunct Mercury. I’ve known it’s always been sextile Saturn in the 1st house, but after reading this I saw how that may look. I was an eldest sibling and had the responsibility of being a role model for them (as specified my my mom). However, the third house aspect is also squared by Neptune. All of my siblings are half because I have a different dad, and I grew up with immense confusion about our boundaries and who I really was because of it.

    • I, too, have third house sun (in Gemini), square Neptune and sextile first house Saturn and like you, went through the confusion about who I was. I had no siblings but am sure, upon reflection, that would have added to the insecurity. I felt as though I belonged to a different species. Then it was explained that Saturn in first can hinder an understanding of the identity, at least until some lesson has been learned. You posted two years ago so if you’re still reading the Saturn thing could be worth a little thought. Alternatively, belonging to a different species is not all bad and quite instructive. You might be a swan!

  12. My 3rd house stellium of scorpio moon, mercury, mars, and neptune fall within 5 degrees- I am 5th of 6 girls, and like to say it was like having 5 mothers, who would want to brush my hair, dress me up, and sometimes torture me. I would still walk over broken glass for any one of them.
    Then with uranus conjunct ascendant, north node, and Lillith on the 12th side (within 5 degrees),I was unable to communicate outside the family for years. Brilliant, but only in certain areas. Unusually powerful blue eyes from the uranus/asc cj made me painfully shy as well.
    Such deep feelings that words could not express them, yet other knowledge that was concrete was easily expressed-math, science, etc. Almost aced my SATs without studying. Incredible memory.

    • Hi, Wilma, I’m fascinated with what you’re saying about your 3rd house. 5 mothers!! I have only one sister, and I’m the big sis, but it just sounds wonderful. I wonder if other oldest children fantacize about what it would be like to have a big brother or sister. For me, my parents had a stillbirth child–a boy–before me, and I always wished he’d lived. I even marked his date of birth down in my ephemeris, and finally I met a man born that date–a famous astrologer!

      Did you see the series of articles about stelliums here a couple weeks back? You might find them interesting. Donna

  13. Which WordPress theme are you using?

    • The picture at the top is one I added myself to customize a standard wordpress theme. Donna

  14. Nice article Donna. I have Sun and Mars in Cancer, both in 3rd house. The Mercury in Gemini is at the end of 2nd house, making it close to the cusp of 3rd house as well. When you mentioned about communication and siblings are related the third house, I was wondering if having both Sun and Mars together can cause my relationship with other siblings cold and bad?

    Mercury in Gemini sometimes make me exhausted, it’s like my mind always think fast and never stop think about something. And at times, kaput! I cant think bout anything because suddenly it became ‘blank’

    And yes, probably Saturn in Libra in 6th house always be the reason why I always get involved in ‘service oriented’ job rather than a job that what Ive always wanted ( which related to art and creativity side )

    How’s Moon in Virgo in 3rd house act? Do they also like to give ‘service’ to the one who is close to them?

  15. Donna, you keep answering my questions and telling me what I need to know about my chart. I’m afraid you’ve now gained the dubious title of being my ‘Spiritual Mother’, whether you like it or not!

    On another note, I have an empty 3rd house in Capricorn. Saturn is in my 9th. I write about my learning and my Mars in 9th adventures. In fact I’ve joined the two. I’m amused!

    • Thanks Tizer. I think? Because I’ve never been the maternal type at all. I think I’m more like the big sister. That was my name at home, Big Sis. A big sister looks out for you, pulls your coat if you’re headed for trouble, but doesn’t have to be the mamma. Donna

  16. My sister and I are close together in age and both of us have Moon in the 3rd house. We tended to mother one another in different ways I think, growing up – I am more practical and decisive, she is more outgoing and communicative. Our mother tended to veer between detached and volcanic, so each of us provided an understanding listener for the other.

    My Pluto is in the 12th, 10.42 degrees from the Ascendant, which I guess is too far away to be conjunct. I do feel that I tend to suppress that part of myself – the powerful part – and retreat within. Pluto forms a t square with the Moon, and with a Sun/Mercury/Saturn stellium in the 9th house. Lately transits from Saturn and Pluto have been setting off this t square and making me very aware of how much I have tended to limit myself in the past, getting in the way of my own happiness, and putting up a “boring” facade to ward off the outside world.

    Your writing about Pluto, and about the Moon has been immensely helpful to me over the last few years, and continues to throw up new insights all the time – thank you!

    • Liz, that is so fascinating about both of you having the Moon in the 3rd and doing some mutual mothering. Members of a family do tend to have the same chart features and even the same degree. In my family, all but one is born on the 5th of the month, so our Suns are in aspect. We also seem to specialize in about 13-16 of the fixed signs and every one of us has planets in that range. Im glad my Pluto insights have been helpful, thanks. Donna

  17. Interesting post and comments!
    I have a neptune/mars opposition in 3rd and 9th, and mercury/jupiter conjunction and the sun all in 6th. So communication really is important…and with 7 planets in air, need to say no more 🙂
    Reading this post brought back to my attention that the most important men in my life (father, husband, son) all have planets in the 12th, and all have scorpio mercury, sometimes squaring my aquarius mercury…

  18. I’m not surprised that people want to know more and more about the 12th house, and am glad that you’ve posted several good articles here. It’s a complex and difficult to understand area of the chart. I’ve got 3 planets there – Pluto-Uranus-Mars, all conjunct. And Pluto conjuncts my Ascendant.

    I’ve got Scorpio on the 3rd house cusp, and Neptune is there using the Placidus system. It changes to 2nd house if I use Equal, but within a couple of degrees of the 3rd house cusp. I haven’t been able to decide which one feels more accurate though – they both seem to fit.

    • Interesting that your conjunction of Mars-Pluto-Uranus is in the 12th. I’ve written a good bit about Johnny Depp and Robert Downey JR, both with that conjunction but both with 13 Leo on the Ascendant and the conjunction straddling the 1st/2nd cusp. It works pretty well for them!! (See articles on Depp under celebrities here.) Donna

    • Hi, NB, I don’t use equal houses and that’s one of the reasons (the other being that the Midheaven gets buried, and thus you don’t see the conjunctions to the MH that the Gauquelin research demonstrated were so powerful.)

      I find that when a planet is within 5 degrees of the cusp between two houses–like the 2nd-3rd cusp–it often works for both houses and even may tie the two together in some important way. Donna

  19. Thanks for some insight on my 12th house Uranus. I’m an Aquarius so it’s most important, I’d imagine. Also its 1 degree of Cancer, 7 degrees from my Ascendent, As you know, all the major planets right now in beginning Cardinal degrees, are squaring my Uranus. Jupiter, Uranus, Saturn – they’re all squaring my Uranus. Frankly I’m try. to not be worried about health issues, as I’ve always been prone to them (Saturn 4th house opp.M/C which is square to my 6th house Moon in Sag. and Chiron).
    Again, I love your writing and your insights.

  20. I have Gemini on my 12th, Saturn in Gemini and Mercury in Capricorn. I find I have a very hard time expressing myself verbally. I am no dummy but sure feel like it when it comes to speaking out.

    • Those are very apt signatures for what you describe, Verna. Donna

  21. I have my Cancer Sun in the 3rd, my moon in Cap in the 8th, opposing Merc/Venus in Gemini in the 2nd.
    I have 3 sisters and a brother…my Scorpio (8th house) sister has always been like a second mother to me even to this day. Actually we’re Catholic and she’s my Godmother.

    I have a difficult relationship with my other 2 sisters and an on/off relationship with my brother. I always thought that being a 3rd house sun meant that I should have a fabulous relationship with my siblings, but that hasn’t been the case. I guess the Cap moon opposition better describes the relationships…rather cold and opposing. My opinions are not welcome and having a gemini mercury I need to express myself. I’m always told I’m too sensitive and emotional….Cancer sun thing. When pluto transited my 0degree Cap moon my mother passed and I thought things would change in my family, but they have not. I have let go of trying to change things, to accept what is and make the best of life. Great article, made me think things through in a deeper, more complete way. Thank you so much.

    • Cancer in the 3rd IS similar to having the Moon in the 3rd, and your relationship with the Scorpio sister is a good example. But, no, having the Sun in the 3rd doesn’t automatically describe a fabulous relationship with siblings–it depends, then, on the Sun’s aspects. What it does mean is that your sense of self and self esteem is shaped by what your siblings taught you about yourself. If the feedback was negative, especially if they were abusive, then the sense of self is low until you work to heal yourself. Donna

      • Big Aha moment for me Donna – yes that totally makes sense. Feed back tends to be negative as I reveal and want to air out family secrets, denial, etc.(8th house?) My Mom was also a Cancer and competed with me – I would confront her, my siblings wouldn’t dare. That made me the bad guy and they would never side with me – it would make them rejected by Mom too. So they continue to live in the dark and get along with me if I “play by the rules” of what’s okay to talk about and what’s not to be questioned. I can’t do that for long and keep my self-respect and sanity. Have worked on healing myself for years. Thank you so much. Kim

  22. Hi
    Mine 12th House houses
    Pluto – 2 Deg. Scorpio
    Moon -3 Deg.Scorpio
    Ascendant – Scorpio 15 Deg.
    Though both are not in that 10 Deg. orb, what exactly they mean in 12th house.
    So what does pluto and moon represent, which i hide and which in fact comes out more, as you said in article?

    Is it like a overcharging emotional battery about to burst?

  23. I have my moon in Libra in the 3rd house, and your analysis couldn’t be more on point in my case. I’ll add that this moon is also part a yod. I have two yods in my chart — one of them clearly represents my mother, while the other relates just as much to my father. The moon is part of the mother yod, of course. The more I learn the more, the more I am amazed at how things in a chart fit together.

  24. Hi Donna,
    I love your articles and have had so much fun renewing my interest in Astrology lately.

    I have my moon in the 3rd in Libra, as you used in your example, but mine is conjunct Pluto and opposite a stellium in the 9th. My three older brothers did have a strong parental influence on me, each one in their own ways–including one who was more of a mother figure, and though there was a lot of love, that brother inappropriately touched me, and the other two brothers there was a lot of conflict and put downs, but a lot of teaching, including one introducing me to metaphysical concepts at a young age and astrology later on.

    How would you describe the influence of Pluto conjunct the moon in the 3rd?

    • There’s a recent article on this site called “Outtake from a Moon-Pluto Life” that you may relate to. Don’t miss the sharing in the comment section where other Moon-Pluto people talk about their eerily similar relationships with their mothers. Donna

    • Pluto in the third quintile my moon– i can SEE others intentions as if they were physically living and breathing.. I also sense the power of words- I am very conscious of what I say and all that others’ language applies about them

      • *implies

      • Pluto in the 3rd (like Mercury Pluto aspects), yes, the words are very powerful, to heal or hurt, and the capacity to see beneath the surface. Potent for a writer, too. Donna

  25. Thanks, Donna for that article suggestion. I read the whole thing tonight. Some things definitely resonated with the post I wrote about my mom in “the 3rd house and 12th house” blog.

    As others commented on there, I feel like I am getting a visceral schooling in Astrology from everyone’s personal sharing… learning so much in the last few weeks!! This site has such a great group of readers– it uncanny how many similar aspects we all have– I guess that’s why we resonate with Astrology and with YOU! 🙂 Thanks so much for your wisdom and a compassionate space to share.

    • Thanks, Curious. Yes, it’s an exceptional bunch of people who follow this blog. Donna

  26. Hi Donna,

    I just love your blogs… they are always so interesting, informative and entertaining. I’m pleased to be able to contribute to one that is so close to my heart.

    I have a stellium of 5 planets plus the North Node in the 3rd; Mars & Jupiter in Libra and the Sun, Mercury, Neptune & North Node in Scorpio. It’s a busy place, no doubt about it!

    The rest of my planets are scattered over the 4th (Sagittarius Saturn), 5th (Sagittarius Venus), 7th (Pisces Moon) and 12th (Leo Uranus).

    To state that 3rd house issues have played a dominate factor in my life would be a major understatement.

    The strangest thing I’ve noticed about the planets in this house is they are not only reflective of events that transpire (either by design or circumstance), they have also been made manifest as actual individuals within my own family.

    My father, for example (shown by the Sun in the 3rd and Saturn in 4th) was an actual mercurial type (sun sign in Virgo) who served in the Royal Navy (Sun/Neptune conjunction) in his homeland of England (Saturn in Sagittarius) prior to immigrating to Canada.

    Even my siblings and extended family members are mirrored here. All of them married (Libra influence) individuals who were either born at a great distance from themselves, immigrated from a foreign country and/or possess a different ethnic background (Jupiter).

    I, on the other hand, married someone I met at a nightclub, in another city close to my own, and later discovered, as fate would have it, that we lived in buildings right next door to each other in the same city. It was quite the shock for both of us we learned that fact during a telephone conversation we had in preparation of our first date. Now how is that a perfect manifestation of a 3rd house Sun, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Neptune!

    With regards to siblings, I have one mercurial type sister (a Gemini – shown by Mercury), a strong willed dominant type sister (a Leo – shown by the Sun), a jovial type brother (a Sagittarius – shown by Mars/Jupiter conjunction) and, the strangest one of all…. a highly spiritual, artistic, behind the scenes type sister (a Capricorn with a 12th house stellium – shown by Neptune). The aspects to each of those planets provide even further accurate information about each of them. Fortunately, perhaps due to Jupiter, I am able to maintain positive relationships with all of them, for the most part. Lucky me!

    Every once in awhile though, that darn Uranus in the 12th house, squaring my sun and mercury, ends up throwing in a few zingers along the way, revealing previously hidden information that relates to either me directly, or one of my relatives. As what one would expect with a hard aspect, the news is generally surprising, and not in a good way. Ultimately however, something positive always seems to stem from the undesirable situation which, in my opinion, can only be attributed to the positive aspects Uranus receives from Jupiter and Saturn (sextile and trine respectively). Hey, Venus and Mars might also be working some magic of their own but with a 15 degree orb to obtain the trine and sextile, I’m, not sure how much good they can contribute.

    To this day, I’m constantly in awe of how one’s chart plays out, whether we are consciously pulling the strings or not.

  27. Just joined so that I could comment on your blogs. I’ve been reading them all morning– and I must say that I am so extatic about this find. I am certainly an abserver of the signs in the heavens– God’s gift to us. Just know that I will be commenting on all ur posts (lol).

    So, about the third house observation– I’ve spent forever trying to find some in-depth literature on this house- my intuition pointed me to investigating this house because of the relationship I have with my siblings.

    With pluto here, its obvious that these kinds of relationships are going to be intense.. Howeve, Pluto also quintiles my moon, venus, and juptier in the fifth- yet abother reason why i’ve always been motivated to study this position of pluto a little more. Ofcourse, one is not oblivious to how this has influnced the overall life. But, I am concerned with making the most of this kind of potential in my life– i’ve been faced with too much wasted potential existing in my family dynamics and ppl around me in general..

    Studying astrology has allowed me to counteract the influence that seeing such failure has had on me. I would like some insight if you have seen how pluto effects the third house. I also must say that I am so excited that I have stumbled upon one astrologer that I have much respect for in you. Through your blog, you are doing what I have had the urge to do for quite a while – that is STUDY astrology not from books but from personal testimony. A lot of the blogs out here are ppl asking questions about the positions in their chart rather than offering personal insight on how their placements have effected them. Your blog is the exact oppostite of this and I am greatful for it. :)!

    I have much of my own insight to share– especially since so many of your blogs are of relevance to the questions I have been concerned with after having studied astrology for a decade now… i’m 26. One special point of interest is the antiscia. Your blog is one of the few that shed light on this whole concept for me– as pluto is currently in antiscia aspect with my natal sun/moon midpoint conj mercuy.

    What’s interesting, after quickly mastering how to figure out my own antiscia degrees is how many of my own natal planets I have conj these points. Of them, Uranus conj my moon, venus, jupiter antiscia. Astrologer much (lol). What insight do your have on this??

  28. I like this article, especially how you shared the story about Jack Nicholson’s 3rd house secret. I love watching and reading biographies, too…and I bust out the charts to see if I can see where their stories are located. It helps me sharpen my chart interpretation skills.

    The 3rd house is one of those houses that I largely ignore in my studies. For some reason, it just doesn’t seem interesting to me. My South Node is there, so maybe there’s a bit of “been there, done that” quality about it. My 3rd house ruler is in my 12th house, so I was hoping to see if reading this article would inspire some eureka moments…

    What you wrote about how transits to Uranus in the 12th spark revealing those parts of ourselves that we felt were previously socially unacceptable…just yes! Transiting Sun and Mars in Aquarius are currently squaring my 12th house Uranus (and Moon!) and I’m feeling more brave in discussing my metaphysical interests (especially astrology), whereas before astrology was my little secret. At this point, I really don’t care about being judged for using my intuition (both Moon and Uranus sextile my MC). During these transits, I’m learning (3rd house!) to listen to my Higher Self (12th house!) and those spirit guides that I’ve ignored in the past. Every past mistake that I am now remembering (thanks to these Pluto transits) was made because I told my intuition to shut up and let “logic” be my guide. I was ashamed not to have a logical answer for my feelings when someone would ask me how I know certain things. But now that Neptune in Aquarius is transiting my 3rd house, that’s an extra “whisper” from the Universe that I need to reconcile my issues with logic vs. intuition.

    Speaking of the 3rd house, I opened my brother’s chart and am noticing some interesting stuff between us regarding the 3rd and 12th houses (including the planets and signs that are associated with these houses):

    Like me, he has the ruler of his 3rd house in the 12th.
    He is a Gemini with his North Node in his 3rd house in Sagittarius conjunct my Neptune and ASC in Sagittarius.
    My South Node is in the 3rd house in Pisces conjunct his Moon in Pisces.
    His Pluto in Scorpio is conjunct my 12th house planets in Scorpio.

    We weren’t raised together but our telepathic bond is very strong. When he was a baby, he refused to let anyone but me hold him and take care of him. I always knew how to calm him down when something agitated him. Now that he’s older, he asks me questions about taboo subjects (his Mercury is conjunct my Cancer Sun in the 8th) that seem to come out of the blue…but it always feels to me like something that he’s been wrestling with for awhile, so I try to response sensitively and without glibness.

    Hmm…I may need to pay more attention to the 3rd house…

    • I think it’s a cool house–but then I also have a stellium in Gemini. Interesting story about your brother and you. Donna

  29. Oops, *respond

  30. I just stumbled on this and find it fascinating!! I am a novice when it comes to houses but would love to know what it means that my son and daughter share the same houses… all 12… eventhough they were born almost four years apart?!

    • No doubt their Ascendants are close to the same degree. It’s not uncommon for astrological placements like the Sun, Moon, or Ascendant, even some aspects to run in families, even down to almost the same degree. It’s part of close family connectedness and family resemblance. Donna

  31. Yeah…with Neptune , Chiron and Jupiter close within the 10 degree limit of the ascendant , people have always attributed Occult POWER to me . Pluto sextile ascendant and biseptile Chiron. Yes true but they have the type wrong.

    • Having this post come up again has made me take a deeper look to share, specially since my 9th and 12th houses are involved. First,
      my culture ( Jupiter) Native Indian and Celt has taken a destructive hit or wounding( Chiron) and its Mystic occult powers of the ancestors are not understood( Neptune) in today s materialistic culture.
      The situation all squares the North and South Nodes and so I dare not show or develop my capabilities ( it would freak people out and they wouldn’t understand and I would rather not have the hassle)….however they do manifest with a vengeance when an emergency happens. Ninth house Mars/ Uranus ,Mc,Pluto conjunction parallels.
      My values do not jive with societies and I am perfectly happy on my own. It does disappoint me that people are so dunbed down that under the current circumstances they will not be able to experience the incredible awesome potential they have…this is because we are at the end of the 4th age when evil gets its day and everything has fallen into corruption. Its a natural process so I must observe and remain detached. Detachment has been a life lesson .
      I find it heartening how some people can remain so sweet and naturally good, no matter the hardships and that the purity of nature ( animals, greenery etc) sustains this.

  32. Thank you Donna. I have Moon in Aries in the 3rd house and Uranus in the 12th house so I can relate a lot to this article. 🙂

    My experience as a moon in the 3rd house person is that…I live in an extended family, growing up in the same house with relatives from father side and being very close to relatives from mother side. So my relatives have been playing important part in parental roles as well as I have to play the role toward my younger cousins.

    I thought it was very common in (Asian) society until very lately when my friends said that this is above normal. I even referred to my cousins as my brothers while no one else did like this. The clearest example, perhaps, is that my relatives provided major financial support for my studying and living (on regular basis). Although all decisions about me belong to my parents, my behaviors and movements are on their monitors. It’s not that my parents are immature but they both are close and respected by siblings as the eldest ones. Fortunately or not, I was also the only niece and granddaughter in the house until 15 years old.

    Moreover, I’m the only child, as well as my cousins from mother side. I never experience “sibling fight” due to younger cousins are taught to listen to the elder. They fought and argued with others but not with me. And I play big sister role since I was young. When I grew up, it’s more obvious when cousins that I see very often are 15-17 years apart. (In other words, they could be my child…) I feel like I’m their nanny or auntie or teacher rather than an elder sister.

    It’s hard to explain about Moon in Aries influence… I don’t feel that my cousins and I have or had sibling rivalry. I can’t say that we’re close and loving but we don’t rival. Perhaps, it played out something like…I acted as a fierce-tempered and passionate Aries sister to cousins and grew up with Aries “parents”…? (Mom is Scorpionic with many Pluto aspects in natal chart. But grandma and auntie are very Arien. At least grandma’s Sun is Aries.) I don’t know if this is due to my 4th house cusp in Aries though…

    • Thanks for all the observations–it really fills out the picture, as cousins, aunts, and uncles are also shown by the 3rd. The fact that they don’t have a house dedicated to them should show that their influence is considerable and normal. Donna

  33. At last, I found this article you suggested about Uranus in the 12th house within 10 degree of Ascendant. 🙂

    I have both the cusp of the 12th and 1st house in Sagittarius. After read this article and rethink about the aspect and experiences, I think I have a love-hate feeling about being different that’s why I try both hiding and revealing parts of myself…

    One of the effects I feel, perhaps, is struggling to fit in…There are feelings deep down that I don’t really belong to any group or any place. It’s like my thought, believe, lifestyle and condition are very different to most people where I live. Therefore, I usually retreat and find like-minded people somewhere else. But again when I found such community, it turned out to be like I was a foreigner (half of the times, literally) and could not merge with the group fully..

    It is always obvious to others that I’m different because of different background and conditions such as race (appearance), the way I speak, etc.

    Several close friends said that I’m weird (as well as themselves. lol) and even my social network’s displays indicate that. At first, I really couldn’t figure out what were the difference. But somehow it seems that sometimes I still consciously pick up some clothes or do something that most people won’t do (but I want to do). However, I’m too afraid to be different. (It’s quite lonely.) So, perhaps, I’m living in self-denial and tell myself that there’s nothing wrong with those things! I’m perfectly normal!! lol

    I’m not sure what else I have been burying there…But Pluto is transiting the 1st house now so I guess I can take time recalling…

    • I’m so glad you found it. I don’t know if you’ve seen the series of articles on the 12th, but do have a look. One of the articles is about being an introvert and the strengths it conveys. I am a 12th house Sun-Jupiter conjunction myself, so I really appreciated that insight. Donna

  34. I have a stelliums in the third and nineth and I’m a gemini. My moon is in the third in sag. I had a very involved grandmother and grandpa in my life. My parents were very young. They were in many was more like my parents than my parents esp my grandpa. I considered him my father since mine doesn’t know how to love me. It seems communication and learning is a big part of my chart. Venus is my ruling planet, so throw in love too. After reading this I’m thinking maybe that’s why I feel misunderstood and unseen. All my stuff is in houses that you need to dig deeper to see the person.

    • Thanks for sharing, Heidi. Interesting, I have Moon in the 9th, and my grandmother was the most loving and most beloved person in my life. Donna

  35. >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.<

    How about a case where the mother was the sister? Nicholson is a saint compared to Ted Bundy. Bundy's 3rd (Placidus or whole signs) is Libra. Venus is in 20 Scorpio in the 4th (modern house of the mother, and rules the Taurus 10th (traditional house of the mother). More accurately the 4th in traditional astrology is the house of the parents and the 10th becomes the mother only when it is necessary to distinguish her from the father (10th is the 7th of the 4th)

    Bundy's mother became pregnant very young and at a time when the shame was considered almost too great to bear. Ted was raised to believe his grandparents were his mother and father and that the young woman who gave birth to him was his sister! Psychologists and others have debated what effect this had on him when he found out and what role, if any, it played in his subsequent crimes.

    Bundy's Moon is in Sagittarius and has no relationship to the third or its domicile or exaltation rulers, but does rule the 10th by exaltation. On the other hand his Moon rules the 12th (secrets). If we swing back a few centuries to the astrology of Jean Baptiste Morin deVIllefranche (1583-1656), this gets more interesting. The Moon is in the 4th and the house(s) it rules tell us where this Moon came from, and possibly how the areas of life determine the significance of the Moon in the chart. It rules the 12th by domicile and the 10th by exaltation = secrets and the mother. The Moon is also the general significator of the mother. The planets ruled by the Moon tell us where this Moon is going. There are no planets in Cancer or Taurus so the secrets of the Moon are held inside. Bundy's peculiar upbringing wasn't generally known until after he was caught. Some neighbors allegedly had suspicions. However the Moon does rule the MC (public recognition) by exaltation and eventually, perhaps, the rage held in (Mars is conjunct the Moon) found its way out in heinous offenses that brought him negative recognition (Venus in Scorpio is in detriment and she is the fall of the Moon).

    Yeah that's a bunch of armchair psychology and hindsight astrology, but Bundy's chart is not an easy one to work with, so anything that works is worth thinking about.

    I doubt there are too many other cases where this situation played out that we could use for comparison.

    Ted Bundy
    Nov 24, 1946 EST
    10:35 PM
    Burlington VT. USA
    25 Leo 02 rises (Solar Fire)
    Data rated AA

  36. I have my moon in Capricorn in the 3rd house and I have been more of a mother figure to my 2 younger siblings than a sister. My mother had me very young and was extremely immature. My siblings always came to me for things that my mother should have been taking care of. I felt responsible for them, and still do, even though they are full grown adults who are in their early 30s.
    Aa Far as Uranus is concerned, it’s in my 12 house in Libra (29°) conjunct my Scorpio Ascendant. Let’s just say that the “process” of self discovery happened very early for me. Not the kind of thing you feel comfortable sharing with others at such a young age, but now I can look back and discuss with friends and say I was simply ahead of my time 🙂
    I stumbled upon your article while searching for info about Cadent houses. This was just what I was looking for, and this article couldn’t have been more for me. Thank you.

  37. An interesting Sun/Saturn conjuntion 3rd cancer, Moon/Uranus conjuntion 6th libra, Jupiter/Chiron conjuntion 12th aries all converse in a sly, powerful T-square here. I feel the insight, depression, determination, frustration, compassion, mystery, lightning and truth all at the same time. And your right… all of this goes on in the inside and not many can see it. And I’m sure my fat mercury square pluto keeps a tight lid on it. Yet, I know I’m here to help people until my dying breath. Have a good day 🙂 (wink)

  38. such an insightful … you have an incredible view …

    My chart is all about 3rd 6th and 12th houses

    I have scorpio pluto in 3rd house, venus mars and jupiter in leo in 12 th house …
    Our little head master,saturn is playing with dogs and animals in 6th house …

    Pluto being the dark and hard planet has all the powers to enlighten me with the help of 3 planets in 12 … but there is always darker side in aspects .. im trying real hard to getup … you just have to believe you had fallen so as to rise (i love batman)…

    i thought this info might help someone who is sharing similar aspects …

  39. Hi . I have my north node in the 12th house pieces on the cusps. Would you know what my life path would be

  40. Veru interesting article about the 12th house. I have the planets Pluto and Uranus in my 12th house, which are both in Virgo. Most of my adult life I became a parent to children that I did’nt give birth to, because of inmature or inadequate parenting. In my 3rd house, I have The Moon and its in Scorpio.

  41. My Saturn/Neptune is in the 3rd House. I have a sister who can be described as the epitome of Scrooge himself. She enjoys her own company, lives alone, is miserly and careful with money, has encountered emotional hardships (her husband left her). She has a spartan military like personality, doesn’t like to share, has a list of rules a mile long on her refrigerator and never has anything nice to say about anybody. In the past she was something of a rock to me, often bailing me out of calamities and with some sense of awe I realized that she was a survivor who be depended on and could certainly carve her own path, shining in her career life. We at least got along until this year when transiting Uranus in Aries opposed my Saturn in the 3rd and formed a T-square with my natal Mars in Capricorn undergoing a Pluto transit and all of this squared by my natal Uranus in the 12th! I wrote a book (3rd house) and was delighted by good comments from everyone who read it except my sister and because she was in it, I was more or less forced to remove her from the story. Now I am discouraged and have lost my enthusiasm for writing, am not in touch with her anymore and really don’t miss her cutting and critical comments. In addition, other 3rd house matters – I’ve had difficulties with email messages and phone calls, – don’t feel like talking to anybody who is trying to get in touch with me and have suddenly developed a fear of driving although I’ve driven all of my life and my old car has always been dependable. In addition, all of my siblings (Saturn/Neptune in the 3rd), have suffered hardships of one kind or another (one almost died) but seemed to have come out stronger. You might say that in some ways they have inspired me (Neptune) especially in the past.

    • Sounds like a difficult relationship. There are two other posts here that you might find useful for their insights–one on Saturn-Neptune conjunctions and one on Neptune in the 3rd. Use the search engine at the top right hand corner of the front page. And do read the comments because you’ll find a lively discussion by others who have siblings in that mold. Donna Cunningham

  42. What with Mars and saturn going retrograde in my 3rd house ( natally empty)..both my vehicles are down but we got all 4 bikes ready to go without the usual hassle.

    • Oh, my, that’s so literal! I’m thinking that just like Mercury retrograde, the stationary period before it gets going faster should be the most inconvenience. Mars definitely rules cars. Donna

      • Yes and my natal Mars os in Gemini!

  43. Another case where g’moth raised son as her own while biological mother made out to be sister is serial sex killer Ted Bundy.

  44. Too ironic ! get this, in “Chinatown” there was a scene where Jack Nicholson was slapping Faye Dunaway, she was saying “‘I’m her sister”, then “her mother” and back and forth until she yelled “I’m her sister AND HER MOTHER”. Now that’s weird since Jack literally lived a situation like that.

    • How strange! I did see the movie before, but maybe didn’t have his chart then. Thanks, Donna

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