Posted by: Donna Cunningham | February 8, 2013

Interceptions, Progressions and Other Buried 12th House Treasure from the Comment Section

©2-8-2013 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

I wish they had a virtual metal detector to help uncover the gold that gets buried in the comment sections of many of the posts on this site. If I can be allowed to brag on my readers, they are a bright, introspective, insightful bunch. Getting back to blogging after more than a year away, I enjoy their input all the more.

 Since many of you don’t follow the comment section, I wanted to share some great exchanges and observations from the recent posts about the 12th house.

About an Empty 12th House: Mun asks, “My 12th House ( in Cancer ) is empty. Will you write an article about the empty 12th House?”

treasurechest3-a2d Mun, you’d just consider the various meanings of the sign on the cusp of the 12th. There’s a wealth of meaning to be gathered from that alone. Oh, and look to see where the planet is that rules the 12th, for that can also carry the meanings of the 12th to the matters of the house it’s placed in.

For instance, with Cancer on the cusp of an unoccupied 12th house, you’d look at the house the Moon is placed in and examine what’s going on there. Donna

 EJ asks, “Considering the element of introversion on an empty Gemini 12th house: could this be someone who is more hesitant to speak up? Even though Mercury is not placed there physically? “

Yes, I believe so. Perhaps it would come from feeling that speaking up would be too self-revealing or make you feel too vulnerable. Donna

About Intercepted Signs and Planets in the 12th

Louise asks, “I have two signs in the 12th house, one intercepted. Do I consider the rulers of both signs?”

The sign on the cusp determines the house ruler. What’s important is any planet in that house.

The second time an interception is important is during a transit to that sign by one of the slower-moving planets (Saturn on out), because the intercepted sign makes that a very big house (as much as about 45 degrees). So any time there’s a transit of the slower-moving planets through that sign, the transit lasts a long time and represents important and life-changing developments in the areas of life connected with that house. Donna

A summary of other exchanges: Unless you’re born at the equator or your Ascendant and Midheaven are at right angles to one another (as often happens with Virgo or Libra Rising), you’re likely to have a pair of intercepted houses directly opposite one another. Thus, you have about a 1 in 6 chance of a 12th house/6th house interception in your chart.

In different house systems you might have a different set of interceptions. In my chart, for instance, when I tried three different house systems, I came up with different sets of interceptions depending on the system—the 10th/4th, the 11th/5th, or the 12th/6th. I could argue for all three, which makes me skeptical that any of the theories about interceptions are all that valid.

When an intercepted planet forms an aspect to the Midheaven, that does strengthen it and make it more visible externally (just like a conjunction to the Ascendant does), but then there’s the potential for sabotaging your success if your negative expressions of that planet show up in your career.

At the very least, a square between a 12th house planet and the Midheaven creates a conflict between the part of you that wants to retreat from the world and the demands of a career that places you in the public eye.

If a planet was intercepted but scored high on the Planetary Strength tests, that would trump the interception, I believe. (The Planetary Scores  Tests are linked on the home page of this blog.)

Another thing about interceptions: I’ve never quite bought into the teaching that being intercepted makes a planet less accessible or somehow less important. Try going through a 2-3 year transit from Pluto or Neptune to an intercepted planet, and see how important that is!

Anyway, given that the 12th house planet is already secret, hidden, or even unconscious, how in the world would you know what an interception adds? On what scale would you measure the strength of that vs. a 12th house planet that wasn’t intercepted?

Let’s face it, a lot of these interpretations are pretty subjective, and yet we totally buy into what a teacher, writer, or professional astrologer tells us about our 12th house and we take that into our self-concept like it’s set in stone. Take anything negative you hear about this house  with a grain of salt. Donna 

How Progressions Change 12th House Planets

Melo says “I have noticed that I am less social since many of my 10th and 11th House Planets dumped into my 12th by Progression.”

A reader says she was originally very introverted but shifted into more of an extrovert and notes, “These transformations took place when my progressed Sun was in Sag, and I think that was also a factor in ‘progressing’ beyond and transcending the feeling of being stuck and ‘fixated on’ my introvert nature.”treasureunderwater

Thanks for bringing the progressed chart into the picture. I believe you’re onto something about progressions bringing about a change from introvert to extrovert or vice versa.

I, too, have noticed definite changes and evolutions over the years when my natal planets progressed into new signs, and if I tracked back, I wouldn’t be surprised if when my 12th  house Cancer Sun and Jupiter progressed out of the 12th and over my Leo Ascendant, I did get over some of my extreme shyness and self-consciousness. Before long, I was able to give lectures with a good degree of comfort.

I had one more light bulb moment about progressions of 12th house planets. When a progressed planet changes signs, it always moves into the next-door sign, which is in the opposite polarity.

So very extroverted signs are followed by very introverted signs–Aquarius becomes Pisces, Libra becomes Scorpio, and so on. And very introverted signs are followed by very extroverted ones–Scorpio is followed by Sagittarius, Pisces is followed by Aries, and so on. (I know, like most theories, it works well except when it doesn’t!)

But this is just one more reminder of the perfection of the zodiac in describing the rhythms of lives and the magical ways our lives unfold, especially as seen in the order of the signs and the houses. Donna

This and That about the 12th

Jerry asks, “What if the 12th house is on the cusp? I have mine on the last degree of Libra plus a few minutes. Would Scorpio also have an influence?”

It would have more of an effect if there were 12th house Scorpio planets as well. But since the cusps moved 1 degree for every four minutes of birth time, it wouldn’t take much of an error in the given birth time to put Scorpio rather than Libra on the cusp.

Why not try both the 12th house signs with the template and see which sign makes the most sense in terms of how you deal with 12th house matters? Donna

AstroBella suggests: “Have you read the Highly Sensitive Person books by Elaine Aron? They have helped me immensely in valuing my high sensitivity that is not normally valued very much in this culture. I think my high sensitivity and being an empath relates a lot to my 12th house planets.”

Jara says, “I think the planets that are in the 12th and what sign(s) is in there describe how a person deals with solitude. I like to eat (Moon), be on the Internet (Uranus), pray, cry, love, have sex, deeply research etc. alone or in an intimate setting (Scorpio).

An astrologer asks, “When you’re preparing for a consultation with someone with a strong 12th house, how do you really KNOW what someone will do with their stuff? (Any of their stuff not just 12th house)”

A lifetime gives 12th house types a great many years and stages of life in which to evolve into the higher meanings of the 12th. In the consultation, we listen intently to the client and try to determine where they are in expressing all the planets. As you note, there is absolutely no way to know just from looking at the chart at what level of evolution they’re expressing the chart features. Donna

treasurechest2-a2dElizabeth asks, “Is it true that we focus more on the 12 house endeavors, or the 12 house matters become more prominent as we get older? I can see this would be the case if we believe the houses describe our progression from the time we are born (1st house) through our old age (12th). (Do you accept this interpretation of the houses?)”

Good question, Elizabeth. As someone who is now an older 12th house Sun, I’d say I was always preoccupied with 12th house matters of one kind or another from an early age–at least 10 or 12–and for many years, not in a happy way. But the content of my preoccupations and the answers I tried to use to resolve them developed and became progressively more complex as I matured and learned spiritual principles to deal with them.

I think as we get older we have the experience to hopefully develop greater spiritual wisdom (not everyone does–some older people are just the same miserable wretches as they always were, only more so.) But, in retirement, with fewer responsibilities, some of us may digest our life experience and become more inward, removed from the world, contemplative, and quiet. Donna

“Which do you think is a bigger indicator of illness; the 12 house or the 6th house?”

The 6th and 12th represent different types of illness, an which one is more important would be the one with the most planets. The 12th is–or becomes–chronic and is often related to suppressed emotions (a psychosomatic component) or to some sort of self-defeating pattern, say an addiction.  12th house health issues often are conditions whose cause is unknown, yet that intensify with stress or emotional upheaval. The 6th is more an ordinary illness, but often due to overwork or to occupational health hazards. Each sign has an associated body part, and so the signs involved in those houses can show our physical vulnerabilities. 

I searched the internet for a good medical astrology article on the 12th house, but didn’t find any, suprisingly, and I’m not a medical astrologers, so am not qualified to write it myself. Donna

This is just a sampler of the great discussions we have in the comment sections of posts on this site. Tip: if you look at the front page, the number of comments on a post is shown. If it’s over 30, you might want to take a look to see what additional insights came out in the discussion.

And if you have anything to add on the 12th house  features discussed here, do share about it in the comment section below this post. 

Here are more articles from Skywriter’s series on the 12th house:


  1. Thank you, Donna! What a great post…

  2. Your comments on interceptions are really interesting. I’m a Taurus and so is a close friend of mine. I’ve always thought of her as a very atypical Taurus because she’s disciplined around food and pleasure, very healthy, very good living, whip thin. Taurus is intercepted in her 12 house and her sun is there too. But she has a wonderful aesthetic sense. So instead of the usual image of Taurus as a sensual glutton, I see her as a stained glass window expressing her sensual side through a kind of spiritual beauty.

    • @Keziah…what a lovely way to describe your Taurean friend…like a stained glass window expressing spiritual beauty. Have you ever told her that? I believe that I would be truly complimented if someone was so thoughtfully insightful about me!

      With regards to my 12th House, Donna…I have Cancer on the cusp with Uranus there conjunct the South Node. I have Leo rising so I’m a little bit extrovert and a lot of introvert mixed together. In my younger days I had been known to say…”leave me alone, unless there’s a party, then call me!” Lol

      Nowadays, I more reclusive. I spend a lot of time at home, alone, on my computer…researching astrology and other esoteric subjects. I’m not as social, preferring to be alone with my research and thoughts, in my home environment. I love to spend time with my family and three ‘children’ in their twenties. I still have my youngest (daughter–age 20) at home. But a total empty nest is looming on the horizon. It makes me sad to think about when she will finally be out on her own. But, I wax philosophical that when my job is done, they’ll make their own lives. I know I’ve been a good mother because I valued them so much (and still do). What we value we invest time and energy and LOVE in, don’t we?

      Thank you for your writings Donna…it’s so good to have you back!


  3. oh my goodness, my STELLIUM in 6th house libra planets is intercepted!
    and it opposes that lonely Aries jupiter in the 12th, also intercepted. I guess intercepted planets can certainly be powerful.

  4. I’m enjoying all the 12th house articles and discussion. Thanks Donna! 🙂

    I have Mars/Chiron in Aries there, but the cusp is Pisces. Neptune is at the very end of the 7th, almost exactly conjunct my 8th Sag Sun. Should I check both houses for Neptune? I expect the Sun gives it added oomph, no?

    Lately, I identify much more strongly with Piscean characteristics than any other, but not sure if its the Sun/Nep conjunction or the fact that transiting Uranus is lighting up my 12th house. Likely all of the above… Zapped is a great description for my sense of the past year!

    • The close Sun-Neptune conjunction on the cusp would unite the meanings of the 7th and 8th. But Neptune/Pisces/the 12th are a major theme in your chart and your life. Have you taken the planetary scores tests (linked on the front page of this blog)? Your Neptune score would be one for the books! Donna

      • Ok… Tested 34 for Neptunian. Not the highest I’ve seen, but still more than I expected with NO planets in Pisces!

        12th Mars is my only opposition (exact to Uranus) and T-square Venus conjunct MC. I added 5 for that… should it be higher because of the MC involvement?

      • BTW, I have always been an introvert, but fluctuate between hermitude and “life of the party”. My friends and family stay baffled and don’t understand my sensitivity to overwhelm with crowds. The older (and more psychically aware) I become, the less patience I have with explaining myself. Definitely have realized a strong need for better boundaries, and a greater happiness with my own company.


  5. No discussion of the 12th house is complete without its poster boy, George W. Bush, whose Sun and Saturn in Cancer are both placed there. If ever there was an illustration of the unconscious qualities of the house–and the ability to undo not only the self but those who rely on the self, well, there it is.

    • Thanks, Jenny, he surely is a perfect example. Donna

  6. At present I’m interested in Solar Returns which I study in conjunction with a person’s natal chart and their current transits and secondary progressions for the year ahead. Sometimes I find the 12th house of the Solar Return has a stellium of planets in it, and I think this can indicate a year when a lot of planning and preparation can take place for future changes which the person may not want to talk about until they come to fruition. Of course, other placements in the Solar Return and their transits and progressions to their natal chart will also add or detract from this interpretation but I wonder what other people have found in Solar Returns where the 12th house is very full?

    Best wishes and I’m really enjoying this thoughtful approach to what can be a rather mysterious area of astrology.


    • Hi, Rohana, I’m glad you wrote that, and I like your interpretation of the solar return 12th. Donna

  7. So…about 12th house and illness…definitely agree with a deep seated chronic type situation. I was born with severe flat feet (feet=pisces, neptune, 12th) that have caused pain throughout my skeletal steucture my whole life. They make standing or walking uncomfortable, and with their flipper like appearance I’ve more than onve considered taking to the water…first as a childhood fantasy, now as a form of exercise.

    There’s nothing I can do about my feet except allieviate the symptoms…it’s there for good, and gets worse when I get depressed because I start leaning down on them more and the gravity kills me.

    Most 6th house transits I get some knock out cold from overdoing it. The 12th is so deep, its practically a part of me.

  8. I really like reading your blog, even if I am not so good in english. 🙂
    I just wanted to tell you what thoughts you brought to me right now!

    I have no planet in the 12th house, but my Aquarian North Node is inside. On the cusp of my 12th house is Capricorn. …
    And Saturn as his ruler, and Neptun build a conjunction in Capricorn in 11. (also they opposite Jupiter and square little libra-mercury)

    In the morning I remember every of my dreams so clearly, because they are all so real to me! I could write the largest book in the world about those things I see at night.
    Sometimes everything seems so hard to me, but then I realize that nothing is real, and everything is fine again… Thank you, Neptune!

    This means Neptune is indirectly connected to my 12th house and to those pisces-things, right?!
    I just should go on. THANK YOU! 🙂

    • Yes, Gniffle, the 12th house and Neptune are very much connected. I’m glad that you mentioned your dreams, as dream work is very much a 12th house pursuit, as it helps us understand what is going on in the unconscious and it delivers messages from our Higher Self. Dreams are usually listed for the 11th (“hopes, dreams, and wishes”) but there I believe that it doesn’t mean the dreams we have in our sleep, but rather things we hope and dream to bring to fruition. Donna

  9. I know this is an old post, but I just put my daughter’s chart on the new Stellium Group that was formed on Facebook, and realized I had used Astrodienst’s chart instead of others I have used where an “interception” is put into parentheses, as if they somehow are “hidden” or not as significant.

    In my experience (my own and my daughter’s chart – under my name, Sharon Tenney) on the Stellium Group, I realized that her tenth house (with Jupiter in it) has 3 signs: Taurus on the cusp, Gemini (supposedly intercepted) and Cancer (where her Jupiter lies). Her 4th house has Scorpio on the cusp, but all the Sag. Interestingly, I am a Sag and she at 24 has already lived in 4 different countries, by her own choice. She also plans to move back to another foreign country at some point in the next several years, and maybe a few others — thus, her interception of Sag in the 4th, is fully expressed with her Sag traits with living in other countries, she knows 3 fluent languages already, and is learning others currently.

    I think what bothers me is that often I see astrology books that maybe one person came up with the “primary” interpretation of such things, and then others just springboard from them. My own interceptions seemed to have been more expressed than my cusp signs in my own chart (one being Aries in my 10th – where I just seemed to have spent most of my life starting one job, and then moving to another – literally, by moving from one state to another, too – I found it hard to stop and commit).

    You seem to have a better handle on astrology than many people do, and I’m glad that you voice your own experiences and observations instead of just echoing what others have said. I enjoy this blog (a friend of mine who you have read for various times in the past recommended this) and I’m glad I subscribed. Thanks!

    P.S., I, too, am an M.S.W.! 🙂

    • Hi, Sharon, thanks for sharing your experience with interceptions, and welcome to Skywriter. I’m glad you found the Cap Stellium group for your daughter. Donna

  10. Thank you , all very helpful to me ! Virgo ,12th house Stellium in Libra …Uranus , Jupiter and Mercury retrograde . Still searching for answers and always take all the help that is offered needless to say its been a quite interesting roller coaster ride this past year and a half , still rolling mind you lol …Loving every minute of it now , the more knowledge i recieve the better and better this awakening is getting , not gonna lie its been a very rough road but for others out there once you get it and relize the work that needs to be done the rewards are endless and priceless too !

    • Hi, Deana. There’s a series of about 15 articles about the 12th house on Skywriter that I think you’d get a lot from, given your 12th house stellium. Put “12th house” into the onsite search engine at the top right hand corner of the blog, and you’ll get a list of links to the series. Also, I have a new book out about stelliums, The Stellium Handbook, that would help you learn how to use those planets well. Donna Cunningham

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