I’m in a room with a group of women. Each woman is being asked the same question about the world events we’ve been experiencing. As I listen, I realize no one has answered from the perspective of spiritual consciousness and I get excited to share and start formulating what I would like to say. After everyone else has shared, it’s finally my turn, when suddenly the group disbands in a hurry and moves to another room. I’m left with words on my lips, but no one to hear them…

This is a dream I had while the Sun was transiting my twelfth house. Can you hear the twelfth house themes of: anxiety, invisibility, powerlessness? It is no coincidence that these types of feelings appear both in waking life and in our dreams during transits to the twelfth house.

Once a year, for 30 days, the Sun will pass through your twelfth house*. We feel at loose ends, uncertain about the future or even who we are. Fears and anxieties tend to visit us. Astrologers typically advise taking plenty of down time during this month. To not push. We are at a low point in our energy and power. Ancient texts link the twelfth house to bed rest, illness, incarceration, solitary confinement- situations where we have little, if any, physical freedom. There are also allusions to being unconscious about facets of our self during this time, so acting prematurely or in haste can bring untoward results.

I’m not one for doom and gloom astrology, yet the above fairly reliably bears out. Why does this happen? To answer that question we need to understand the idea of angularity in the birth chart. The twelfth is one of four cadent houses (3, 6, 9, 12). Cadent is a Latin word, meaning “falling” or “declining” and is the root word in cadaver, corpse. According to Deborah Houlding, as planets move through succedent houses (2, 5, 8, 11) they are said to be “rising to power”, planets moving through the cardinal houses (1, 4, 7, 10) in the “seat of power”, and in cadent houses planets are “falling from power”. But the 12th house has it especially hard; whereas the 3rd and the 9th houses are still able to gather some light from the Ascendant, both the 6th and 12th gather no light.

You might feel as though you are falling at this timefalling backwards into old fears, vulnerabilities, insecurities. You may even feel you are failing, somehow. That all the work you’ve done of recent months suddenly amounts to a pile of sawdust. But as the saying goes, feelings aren’t facts… They just want be experienced and released. And this is key to understanding how to effectively work with the Sun’s transit through this house.

Imagine you are clearing a pool of debris. You’ve gotten to the point to where the pool is all clear- except for that niggling leaf at the bottom, and maybe a rock. These minor things now loom large precisely because everything else is gone, and it has become imperative that you clear this final thing. The rock or leaf is a metaphor for an old insecurity or emotional pattern, and the pool, clearing your consciousness. The twelfth is the house of surrender, letting go, of release into a greater connection to Source and we get there by way of purifying our consciousness of any lingering misunderstandings. This time signifies the very end of a cycle, and at the very end there’s always a bit of clean-up and let-go.

Which is why when I’m in a twelfth house time I honor that I’m in a phase of letting go. When sadness, or regret arises, when a past situation suddenly starts bothering me again, I vow to feel the feeling fully so that I can let go more deeply, and not take it with me into my Sun in the first house time– a time of new beginnings.

We are more aware of our fears during this time, and it’s important to acknowledge them and also not let them run our lives. I literally sit myself down, feel them fully, then give those fears a Divine litmus test by asking my Soul “is this really true?” Almost always, when asked sincerely, I’ll get a “no”. Don’t gloss over fear. Ultimately, fear is an illusion, but you’ve got to know that before you can be free of it.

I take more time and care with my body-mind, noting that my body typically has more chemical and food sensitivities during this time. I clean up my diet. As an energy sensitive being, my vulnerability to picking up external energies is higher; I stay home more, and avoid or limit people and places who compromise me energetically.

As my energy teacher often instructs, “stay inside“. While it may sound like she’s telling me to stay inside my house (which may also be needed!), staying inside is about focusing inward: withdrawing your attention from energies, people and things external to you, and placing your gentle and present attention on how you are doing and feeling. It’s asking: “what do I want or need?” “how do I feel right now?” “what’s going on in my body?”

The Ego who is used to distraction, who equates self-worth with productivity and success, who prefers looking outward and looks for satisfaction there, does not favor the twelfth house experience, to put it mildly. You, too, may feel like a two- year-old being told to stay inside while everyone else is outside having fun. Yet this is the season for retreat. There’s a twelfth house lesson we all learn, eventually: when our soul consciousness really wants us to stop and listen, it can create illness, limitation or calamity. This facilitates finally listening to what we’ve been distracting our selves from, to our detriment. To avoid this, listen to inner signals, intuition, synchronicity, slow down, hermit up.

Always, it’s a time for gentleness, kindness. We can allow our self walks by the sea when we need them, compassion when we feel foggy or uncertain. We can be generous with our self – in our aimlessness, solitude, vulnerability. Inward regrouping is occurring on such deep levels we don’t yet understand. All this non-doing and just being is a different sort of work, so we deserve to curl up in our PJs and stream our favorite shows.

One of the more fascinating facets of any astrological time is how our willingness to flow with, and not resist, a cycle, changes our experience of it. If we don’t regard the vulnerabilities and tendencies that arise right now as “bad” or a sign we’ve fallen into old habits, if we don’t judge our need for inwardness and slowing down as wrong, if we can value the time we need to recover and recoup our energies, we receive the delicate grace of release and renewal. Because, remember, it is exactly that- a phase of a larger cycle.

The wheel is always turning. We will rise, with the Sun, to our seat of power again. For now, we can feel our deeper feelings, let our identity and it’s ideas of “doing” go, and dissolve into the bliss of being.

*To figure out your twelfth house time:

Go to Astro.com and enter your birth data. Click on chart drawing, Ascendant. Next to the wheel, on your left you’ll see a box with planet glyphs, then another small rectangular box attached to that box that contains something like this: AS, 2, 3, MC, 11, 12 with letters and numbers following. Look to the letters and numbers following the 12. That’s the zodiac sign abbreviation, and the degree where your 12th house cusp begins.

For instance, in this example the 12th house cusp is 21’28’ degrees of Virgo. So this 12th house month runs from the time the Sun is in 21’28’ Virgo – 16’11’ Libra (where the AC, abbreviation for Ascendant, begins). Now that you know your degrees, consult your favorite ephemeris for these exact dates.