I was wondering if you could help me understand Mars in the 12th house.
I have been dating a wonderful man for one month, and he’s studied Vedic astrology for 10 years. I am an academic who has been dabbling in Western astrology for about two years now. On my birthday yesterday, he gave me a carnelian to help aid my Mars in the 12th house, which he seems concerned about. According to Vedic astrology, my Mars is in Cancer (Virgo Sun with Leo rising in Vedic astrology).
According to my Western chart, my Sun and ascendant are in Virgo, my Moon in Taurus, and Mars and my North Node are in Leo. I’ve tried to find explanations for both Mars and the North Node in the 12th house, but I’m still confused. Do I have reason to be ‘concerned’?
The Vedic Virgin
Good question. I am not greatly familiar with many Vedic practices, so my Western self will attempt an ecumenical answer for you.
You say your Leo Mars becomes a Cancer Mars in the Vedic system. How does that sit with you? These are two very different creatures, literally, who live in totally separate zones of the zoo.
Mars is your motivation. A Leo Mars is a lover of life and not shy of stepping into a fight (or a show) if it promises the glow of glory or good times.
Mars in Cancer is anything but a limelight hogger. Traditionally, Mars in Cancer is in its in “fall” in this sign. This means Mars doesn’t get to act in normal martial type behavior, which is preferably straightforward and on target.
Instead, the Cancerian Mars gets to its goals by fits and starts, like a crustacean traversing a vast beach, scrambling sideways from rock to rock for safety. Its primary motivation is self-preservation, or the protection of others (usually family). Rushing from the ‘safety zone’ for anything less than a four-alarm fire (complete with an imperiled school bus full of children) is just not on the menu.
Which Mars sounds more like you? Parties or preservation?
Now for the matter of Mars in the 12th house. If the 1st house is the ‘shop front’ of your natal chart, the 12th house is the ‘back alley’. Lots of stuff happens in the back alleyway of a building. We don’t think about alleys much, but they are essential. We take our trash there to big bins; we accept big deliveries from UPS or the Sysco truck there, too. Some of us sneak back there for a quick smoke or a snog. Sometimes crazy stuff happens in alleys late at night that no one discovers until the next day.
So how does that apply to the human personality?
Like back alleys, what’s back in the 12th tends to stay hidden, doing its business without our conscious understanding of just what’s compelling us forward. Planets in the 12th seem to be acting without a clear director or a script. Sometimes (depending on the configuration) fighting to get out — or alternatively, fleeing exposure. It really depends on the personal chart. In ye olden day, folks would see Mars in the 12th, and warn you to “watch your back” in dark places or around men in “compromising circumstances” — literally avoid alleys and other venues of possible entrapment.
These days, we emphasize our personal thoughts and actions. If we’re not conscious of our 12th motivations, we tend to harm our own self-interests with those 12th house planets. Unaware, we self-sabotage. The trouble is, often we don’t see there’s any trouble because the 12th house asks us to take life on faith. Sometimes that helps; sometimes that harms.
Your North Node in the 12th asks you to take more of life on faith and engage your intuition. Do you trust your intuition, or do you find yourself working against it, demanding proof after proof?
Shyness is another common 12th house theme. As is lethargy. (Do you experience this?) They frequently work together to keep us from opportunities that might otherwise help us. Mars motivates us, but a 12th house Mars tends to de-motivate people. I knew a woman with an Aries Mars (super strong), but in a 12th house placement. She explained it this way: “If I could spend the rest of my life sitting in this chair, smoking my cigarettes and reading a book, I’d die a happy woman.”
This is not to say you can’t get anything accomplished with a 12th house Mars, but it would need some encouragement from time to time. Transits help! When Uranus entered Aries back in 2010, that lethargic woman’s life turned upside down. Today she’s a martial artist with arms like whipcords. Farewell, easy chair.
Transits are one type of ‘remediation’, but a Uranus transit is a once-in-a-lifetime big deal. Which is why we depend on other helpers.
Westerners usually turn to therapy or similar support, but Vedic astrology relies heavily on other ways to remediate planetary placements or configurations that may need support. Gemstones (precious or semi-precious) are the go-to for most remediation. If your new beau offered you a stone for what ails ya, he’s doing the natural thing according to his tradition. Carnelian is a heart stone — soothing, warming, encouraging. It promotes optimism and supports the sacral center, creativity, imagination and reproduction — a blend of Leo and Cancer themes.
Do you find yourself unsure of how to move forward? How to assert yourself? Need a creative boost, or more courage to get down and have fun? Unsure of becoming a mother? Does any of this sound like you? And if so, what are your thoughts?
The most important question, however, is this: how do you feel about the gift? I can give you ten reasons why he offered it, but that’s quite academic, actually. How happy are you to be remediated only one month into this courtship? Are you being ‘fixed’ or ‘helped’? And to what end?
As I’ve said a squillion times, no one likes to be another person’s project. Astrology aside, how do you really feel about the gift? And about the giver?