Daybreak and the 12th House Sun

Why exactly all the fuss about the 12th house Sun?

I hear the reality of a 12th house Sun bemoaned on a frequent basis. That Venus in the 12th has its plus points too, but generally, wouldn’t it be better for me if…? It’s funny, because nobody makes a great hue and cry about having Sun or Venus in Pisces – which is fundamentally the exact same condition with only a nuance of difference at best – and yet the 12th house, like the 8th and to some extent the 4th gets this ongoing bad press. It all stems from the astrology of the ancients of course, for whom a 12th house Sun had undoubtedly harsher connotations in a world without the leisure and affluence to support any but the most worldly of considerations.

And that’s all it is really. People with an 8th or 12th house Sun have to be identified with non-worldly, non-superficial objectives. For the 8th, that means that privacy and power are the keystones of personal expression and self-development. In the 12th, the ego has to be transcended – which can potentially be astonishingly difficult because the level one exposition of that imperative is to be everyone’s doormat – a common complaint levelled both at and by your average Piscean incidentally – but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher and Gordon Brown, all British Prime Ministers, shared a Sun in the 12th. Hardly doormats or ‘background’ types. So what makes the difference between the future leader of the nation and the future heroin addict or perennial fall guy?

For various reasons, superfluous to this discussion, I have been attending to this issue of late. Why does it happen that the 12th house Sun so often, as Alan Leo said it, is: “promised much improvement in worldly affairs as your life advances”? Sue Tompkins – whom I respect greatly even though I believe in this instance that she has it wrong – determines that the Sun in the 12th is so tired of being overlooked that they push themselves forward with even greater vigour in later life. Of course, this seems logical, but if that were the case then why should they often manage it so well? It’s not as though arriving late at the party qualifies one for being the life and soul of it after all. Surely those who have put more time into the business of being out front in life really ought to benefit more obviously.

I think the answer is very simply found in the instance of the Secondary Progressed chart. This perspective is sorely neglected in contemporary astrology, because the nativity is not in stasis. We are not fixed any more than the seed determines the tree. Certainly it determines the species of tree, but myriad elements of environment, meteorology and soil acidity will shape the resultant outgrowth. In this way, transits and progressions quite deliberately progress our nativity. It might not be therefore that the Sun literally emerges from the cabined confines of the 12th, but countless aspects of strength and dignity are shifted in the ongoing miasma of cosmic interrelationship as the chart progresses. In Tony Blair’s case, for example, he graduated from Oxford in the same year that his Jupiter emerged from the 12th house, the Sun having moved out of the 12th two years previously at the same time as his association with the Anglican minister Peter Thomson awakened within Blair a deep concern for religious faith and left-wing politics. The Solar identity begins to emerge at the exact moment that the Sun emerges from the 12th house by Secondary Progression.

This is no mere coincidence: it happens in every case. With Gordon Brown, the Sun emerged by SP from his 12th house in 1996, less than a year from the Labour party being elected to office whereupon he became Blair’s chancellor; and too the year that – when you follow the news stories of the day – Brown actually thrust himself into the public consciousness. This is not coincidence. Of course, anyone with an 11th house Sun has by definition therefore, to weather the relative obscurities of the long years of the 12th house transit. Consider as an example George W. Bush, whose Sun crossed the Ascendant by Secondary progression in 1983, the same year his father (Sun) became president. In 1995, when he was elected to office, his SP chart evinced not a single hard Ptolemaic aspect, a most beatific astrological disposition. The impression that any retrospective of Bush’s life confers is really one of obscure origins, a slightly murky past (complete with alcoholic tendencies and DUI convictions!) and an earlier life that is lived, to some extent, in the shadows. This period concurs perfectly with the 12th house transit of his Sun by Secondary Progression.

In some ways then, it is perhaps better to be born with Sun in the 12th than with Sun in the 10th, because there is a life that starts well and ends – if not badly – at least with greater obscurity than it began. The arc of that narrative is clear too, consider the businessman (10th) who makes his fortune then through a growing consciousness of the plight of less fortunate humanity (11th house) eventually becomes a philanthropist and gives all his money to the world’s poor and afflicted (12th).

Of course, we will never escape the blueprinting of our emergence into incarnation, so the 12th house Sun will ultimately require an identification with something that represents the infinite, that corresponds archetypically with the return to Eden, and that is why selfishness backfires in the long run on the 12th house Sun and the Pisces Sun alike, but to believe that such placements confer a life-sentence of obscurity and defeat is provably very wide of the mark.

Sadness flies on the wings of the morning and out of the heart of darkness comes the light.”
Jean Giraudoux.

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22 thoughts on “Daybreak and the 12th House Sun

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  1. Midway through the post I thought, “Sun progresses into the first.” I’m learning Secondary Progressions these days. Could you tell? πŸ™‚

    Loved the post. And very happy to see you writing again. xxx

  2. Are we looking only at the natal houses to track the progressions? My 5th house natal sun is still in the 5th house by progression ….but in my natal 7th house, if I use my natal ascendant. I guess I’m not clear on how the progressed ascendant functions. Is is less important than the progression of the planets?

    Thanks so much for the article, it’s very interesting.

    1. Both perspectives are relevant Mary, although in the examples I have cited in this article I am referring specifically to the instance of the Secondary Progressed Sun crossing the natal Ascendant. In the case of your SP Sun it will absolutely have shifted your focus from 5th house issues through the 6th (identifying with routines, work, simplicities, economies & efficiencies, attending to the small stuff) and into the 7th. Thus relating is now your focus, but always in respect of your 5th house Sun, through and with children, art and self-expression.

      Of course, the rulerships shift too which adds another dimension of insight. What is most interesting here is the way in which all systems and approaches yield relevant results, which is why ‘proving’ astrology is infinitely more demanding than predicting the weather.

      The progressed Ascendant works in the same way too, you need make no distinction although you will need a fabulously well-rectified Ascendant to provide especially meaningful results. I would say that SP Asc applications to natal points are less powerful than the reverse, but I’ll confirm that from a personal perspective in 2021 when I get SP Asc = Pluto!

  3. Thanks so much for the response, chirotic ! Sometimes I feel like I’ve fallen into the rabbit hole, with all the variables to keep in mind with charts and transits and their relationships with each other, etc. It’s what makes astrology fascinating, I guess!

  4. Very interisting article which replaces astrology in the real course of a cycle.
    It’s interisting to also note that the 12 is linked, by the tradition, to secret societies such as francs-maΓ§ons etc… No doubt the G. Bush has been higly suspected to be a member of the Skull and Bones… Brown is designed by all the plot theorists as a very active member of the Bildeberg Group (when its not the illuminatis etc). I tend to think that state heads with an important 12 are all very helped, in their ascension, by more or less secret lobbies – more I think than those whith a “virgin” 12. But maybe is it pure fantasy from my part :))

    1. I’m quite sure it’s not a coincidence! I;d be very interested to know where David Rockerfeller’s Sun is…

      The whole Bilderberger set-up is very worrying, ditto Common Purpose in the UK and the whole elite pushing for unaccountable power via the European Union.

  5. An excellent perspective on the 12th, Jeremy. As a person with 12th house Sun/Jupiter conjunction, I’ve always been quite happy and comfortable with my Sun there.

    USA President George W. Bush is another notable with Sun in the 12th, ruling the Ascendant. Donna Cunningham, Skywriter

    1. Hi Donna,
      Isn’t the text above the one you wrote on your website? I didn’t see you name mentioned anywhere… Is that what you mean by being comfortable in the 12th house? I feel this kind of situations very displeasing. What does one gain by appropriating others work and dedication without giving it a personal thought and developing it through? And if that’s not the intention, then why not mention the author at least in an appreciating gesture? I can only conclude this is an attitude coming from the feeling of self-depreciation and fear as well as arrogance in the belief that others wont have the ability to see. Maybe a 12th house issue to work on.
      Thanks for your work Donna.

      1. Annat, Donna asked me if she could publish this article on her site, I was very pleased to say yes. Hope that has cleared this up! πŸ™‚

  6. Hi Jeremy ~

    Good post! πŸ™‚

    I was curious if you could say a bit more about the 12th H Sun being nearly identical to the Sun in Pisces? Wondering if in your experience, you find this is true no matter what sign the Sun is actually in.

    With my Sun in Aries in the 12th, I am often frustrated at not being able to express my ego enough! Is that something I just have to live with?

    Thanks for any further thoughts you may have on this….

    1. You’re quite correct in your thoughts about this, there is little practicable difference between Sun in Pisces and Sun in the 12th, but there is nonetheless a subtle distinction. Your quandary is very easy to fix even though it feels like a big problem – since the sign represents the style or manner of expression and the house the recipient, sphere, what or whom it is directed toward, your fix is to be assertive, even self-centred for interests not your own. Become an advocate of others’ rights to be heard. The typical Aries wants to do their own thing, wants to be free to do their own thing, so find a cause or person or group that isn’t able to do their own thing, and stand up on their behalf. Neptune, (and his house the 12th by extension) is – as Isobel Hickey said it – the cosmic Santa Claus, whatever you give away you will receive back threefold.

      I think for you, if I remember your astrology correctly, you should become an advocate for women in prison. It will liberate you and that way you’ll find your voice. I assure you most sincerely it will work.


      1. Interesting … it’s certainly true that I can speak up for others much more easily than for myself πŸ™‚

        Thanks for the advice!

      2. Thanks a lot for this reply, it brought just an enlightening AHA effect in me! πŸ˜€ Me, too, have Sun (and Venus, Mercury, Jupiter) in a pretty huge (nearly three signs over) 12th house, its cusp being in Pisces, with Venus in Pisces (trine to Scorpio Neptune on DC), Sun closed in ghettoed Aries (trine to Sag. Moon in 7th), and Ascendant in Taurus. And I know that after all, I KNOW very well to be angry, to be stubborn, to beat my head against a rock, and not to be afraid of any fucking hell! Yet I was never able to fight for my own agenda (alas, not even in love relationships), dissolving it (after some or rather much suffering) in complete forgiveness, giving up and sacrifices, as I finally used to find my motives egoistic (and to be honest and tell the bitter truth, life gave me no other possibilities anyway, even if I fought it would lead to nothing :). Third, the social feeling. Fire immersed in water… πŸ™ πŸ™‚ For a long time, I have been questioning how to balance these two so opposite elements in me, if it is even possible… water used to be the winner but the fire could not completely agree with its defeat, arose in me after periods of calm peace and serenity just to burn for pain… But I still believed there must be a way, even benefit from this combination, maybe learned slowly during years, as I do believe that each and every chart situation has a potential to bring some valuable and beautiful in the world.
        So this is almost like a revelation for me: “Your fix is to be assertive, even self-centred for interests not your own.” Yes, I am not shy to be assertive for others because it is not me πŸ™‚ How simple, and why I was soooo blind? πŸ˜€ Thanks πŸ™‚

  7. Dear Jeremy,
    i have sun and neptune in 12th house natally , both in Scorpio,
    i am also scorpio with late degrees of Scorpio ascendant…
    looking at my progressive chart i found that my sun has moved to my second house 1capr8…
    surely ia m having difficulties with my life , but i wonder if this shift is positive for my carrer progress?

  8. Thank you for your well-written post (forwarded by my partner) as it provides excellent food for thought. I do have a large bone to pick with you, however.

    The idea that Pisces and the 12th house are equivalent stems back to the work of Zipporah Dobyns in the 1970s. I never did agree with that idea, which seems reductionist to me. It also makes no (astro)logical sense.

    In the 12th house, the Sun (or any other planet) is rising into visibility – it is the beginning of the daily cycle (of the Earth around its axis), not the end. The Sun in Pisces, by contrast, sits at the point of the annual cycle just before the beginning, when light is not quite yet equal to dark. These are two very different psychic conditions, measured on two very different cycles.

    Placement of the Sun in houses has to do with the venue in which one cultivates identity. Placement of the Sun in signs has to do with the style with which one cultivates identity. Planets describe what we do (Sun – cultivating identity), houses describe where we do it (12th house – through retreat), signs describe how we do it (Pisces – by following mutable feelings out of darkness into light).

    It appears you know this, but then it does not follow that a Pisces Sun is like a 12th house Sun. A Pisces Sun in the 5th house seeks identity in a very different venue than a Pisces Sun in the 12th house, while a Sagittarian Sun in the 12th house cultivates its sense of identity in a very different way than a Cancer Sun in the 12th. To this, I can bear personal testimony.

    As a 12th house Sun, I have found my identity in places of retreat – ashrams, vision quests, my cabin in the woods out in the middle of nowhere. As a Sagittarian Sun, I have not been shy about speaking my truth against the grain of our collective conditioning (which I also associate with the 12th house), often being the odd man out in these settings – much to the occasional horror of my partner who also finds herself in retreat spaces, but has her Sun in Cancer there, and tends to feel more at home within them.

    Meanwhile, another friend – an astrologer with Sun in Sagittarius in the 6th house – speaks his truth as well, but behind a string of initials after his name that anchors his work in a more conventional mindset. His identity derives from his work, while mine derives from a retreat from everything that feels like work into a less structured space.

    In my experience the blending of house and sign placements don’t just add nuance, but can rewire the entire orientation of life purpose and sense of direction in ways that just don’t reduce to a 12-letter alphabet.

    I do think that progression of the Sun into one house or another makes a difference and marks a series of identifiable chapters. I also think that when this happens in life makes a huge difference.

    Although I was born a 12th house Sun, for example, my Sun progressed into my 1st house when I was less than 2 years old. Thus most of my 12th house experience was preverbal, and for the next 35 years or so (depending on which house system you use), I was still working out these unconscious 12th house issues as I gradually discovered and learned to express my own identity.
    I think this would have been easier if my Sun were higher in the sky at birth, and I had more ego strength with which to separate myself from the subliminal messages I got in infancy.

    But this is precisely why it is so difficult to make blanket statements about anything astrological out of the context of life, and probably why we are all so interested in this language which takes the art of nuance in self-understanding beyond anything else available.

    Thank you again for provoking us all to ponder what lies beneath the surface of the chart, and for looking at the chart in terms of cyclical development.

    1. Thanks Joe, I agree with you, without necessarily revoking my own perspective. I’m not trying to say that the difference between House/sign is irrelevant, only that it is a subtle difference that from a practical perspective is not something to get too worked up about and I used the term ‘subtle nuance’, to emphasise this. Perhaps I should have made a bolder statement, but I am confounded by relativism if I do. It is a subtle difference when compared to the difference between Sun square Pluto and Sun trine Jupiter for example! I certainly did not mean to give the impression that – subtle though it was – it was irrelevant. Indeed, your own explanation of the difference appears to support the view that the difference is in this exact way, subtle. I also hope that the very fact that the life focus changes with the incidence of preogressed house ingression underlines this nuance: “we will never escape the blueprinting of our emergence into incarnation, so the 12th house Sun will ultimately require an identification with something that represents the infinite…” thus, we are moulded according to the original design, but the focus changes, ergo, we are in agreement.

      I’ve never heard of or read Zipporah Dobyns, my ideas are based only upon my own perspective, so if they are wrong, then the misconception is entirely my own. But I don’t actually agree with Dobyns in any case, and again, the fact that my article did not make that clear is also my failing.

      It does occur to me Joe that if you had progressed Sun cross the Ascendant at age 2, then to all intents you don’t have a very 12th house Sun in any case: with Sag Sun rising you’re much more likely to be ‘out there’… evangelising…


  9. I have sun in 12th and pisces.
    I can definitely feel the doormat part…
    problem is when somebody does that you feel like you can somehow fight it, get through it, solve it.
    but then at some point you realize that everyone has the same attitude towards you. then you say “ok, I lost, can’t fight this fight no more”.
    that’s where all the surrender part of 12th house comes to play.
    the only solution I could find to this was to have an attitude of “not existing”.
    not fighting, not answering, trying to control your own self.
    otherwise it seems like it’ll be just a endless fight where you can’t win.

  10. Briliant article, thank you very much! My husband found this article for me, as our daughter has a 12th house Sun. The photo is absolutely beautiful, it really spoke to us and reminds us of our Saggie daughter’s birth just before dawn.

  11. I was born with Sun in 10th. Does that mean that my life from now on (progressed Sun already in 12th) will be hell?

    1. Not at all, but you will have a period of relative withdrawal. Please remember that you will *always* have a 10th house Sun, so that essential quality won’t change, but the progression will change that quality in its own way.

  12. From Venus and Mercury in Pisces in the 11th and the rest of my personal planets & NN in the 12th, Aries and Taurus, I love that the picture includes a horse! 😊 I fell in love with horses at a young age…..I wished I was a horse running wild and free!
    I was raised by a Pisces Sun and Moon mother in the 5th. I don’t have her talent or intuition but maybe that’s my Saturn conjunct my sun, moon and NN in the 12th. πŸ™

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