Evoking the Twelfth House…

Last summer I was most happy to have The Mountain Astrologer magazine publish my long essay ” Contemplating the Twelfth House” – a reflection on that most complex of houses, born from my own long period of Neptunian meltdown and recovery during 2001-8. It will be re-published next month in the UK’s“Astrological Journal “, after which I intend to make it available as a free downloadable pdf. 

 In the meantime, I thought some of my Followers and readers who haven’t read the essay would like a peek at the prequel, a much shorter piece in which I first featured the nature image that midwifed the eventual finished essay.



A tiny frog, barely half an inch long, flopped, dead, on the tip of a teaspoon as I gently lowered it toward the plug hole of the kitchen sink. Soon, I’d turn on the tap and its fragile little body, already liquefying, would be washed down the drain.

Yesterday, it had been leaping around, full of life, inside the  plastic refrigerator box in which I had created a little aquarium with water, moss and stones. The tadpoles which I had brought home a few weeks previously had all survived. Satisfaction and pleasure at having achieved this, however, was tempered with the growing knowledge that these delightful new pets would soon have to be returned to their original habitat.

But this little fellow would never go home.

This small incident, which occurred well over thirty years ago, offered such a poignant illustration of the transient fragility of life that it has never left my memory.

There are times when something apparently tiny and fleeting can illustrate much larger truths.

The constant dance between order and chaos, form and formlessness, being and non-being, seems to occur in all epochs and at all levels. Humans have created a range of paradigms and metaphors, from ancient myths through the world’s great religions to modern cosmology, within which to explore this dialectic.

Cosmologist Brian Swimme in his inspirational invocation of ‘The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos’ speaks of “each instant protons and anti protons…… flashing out of, and …… absorbed back into, all-nourishing abyss……” The abyssis his term for “a power that gives birth and that absorbs existence at a thing’s annihilation.”

Astrology has its own name for this inchoate territory where everything, tiny or vast, which has ever had form dissolves back into the primal waters of the Source. It is called the Twelfth House.

In my horoscope the Sun, Moon,Venus, Saturn, Pluto, and Mercury the planet of communication and writing are all to be found in the Twelfth House. I have been preoccupied with the mystery of whence we arise and where we return since I opened my eyes to the world. Thus it doesn’t require much of a leap of imagination to work out why my main blog www.anne-whitaker.com is called ‘Writing from the Twelfth House’……



  • 600 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2015

    Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page


6 responses to “Evoking the Twelfth House…

  1. I remember this story — touching, and horrifying, and mysterious. Lovely to read it again. I must confess — there are days when I feel like that frog!


    • Yes, well, me too. Especially at present…
      I’m coasting on the blog for a bit, so thought it might be a good idea to share some older posts I still like, with new readers. It’s an added bonus when ‘old’ friends like you revisit and comment1


  2. ha; cute frogs and geckos share my living space, and usually they politely stay out of my way (and eat insects.) the day before you posted this, i found an almost-dead gecko on the floor. i picked it up and inspected it – it looked as if it were seized in spasms of a stroke with toes ‘clenched’ in tight fists and backbone arched backwards.. it was very pale. (perhpas it fell fro the ceiling?)

    i placed it on my wrist and doted on it for the next few hours, and finally went to sleep w/it on the pillow beside me. every so often i awakened and resumed a bit of physical therapy then returned to my dreams. in the morrning it was gone – hopefully fully recovered and now watching over me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a lovely, tender tale! It is interesting how fragility and vulnerability can call forth such powerful responses in us….that tiny dead frog has never left my memory and I still think of it from time to time. Thanks for dropping by!


  3. from Shannon McHugh, via Facebook, 7.2.15:

    “As someone with 2 planets (Uranus/Pluto) in the 12th house. I love this description…..”Astrology has its own name for this inchoate territory where everything, tiny or vast, which has ever had form dissolves back into the primal waters of the Source. It is called the Twelfth House.” I would love to read the long version of this essay in pdf form…”


  4. Many thanks for your affirming comment, Shannon. I will certainly let you know when the pdf of the essay is available.


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