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Digging Through: Pluto Transiting Your 12th House. Invisible Pitfalls and How to Thrive

Updated: Jan 29

Pluto is the (dwarf) planet of depth and transformation, rebirth, and hidden treasures. This astrological body traveling through your 12th house is a big deal: and one that’s not easy to understand unless you’ve been through it. Which, lucky for you, I have been. So I can give you some pointers. The raison d’être of this article is to give you a map of how to navigate this event and what to expect in the coming years. But before we get in there – and clear up the Astro-jargon – let’s talk real quick about the time frames so you’ll know if this is the right article for you.



Dates:

Pluto takes 248 years to travel through all signs… so not everyone is going to experience Pluto in their 12th house. Plus, Pluto a) has an elliptic orbit and b) tends to go back and forth between two signs for a little while before finishing/entering a new sign completely – therefore, the dates aren’t “clean,” or regular. Therefore, it makes sense to list all time frames rather than using approximations for those events.


ATTENTION: this list just works for rising signs, not Sun or Pluto signs. Please ONLY look at your Rising Signs to make sure that you have the right fit. Also, there’s a list of links down below where you can find the article for your current Pluto transit based on your Rising Sign if you did end up in the wrong place.


Current Rising Signs Affected:

Pisces Rising: If you are a Pisces Rising, you’ll have a Pluto 12th House transit from May-Jun 2023, Jan-Sept 2024, and then Nov 2024 to Mar 2043.

Aquarius Rising: Jan-Jun 2008, Nov 2008-Mar 2023, and then Jun-Nov 2023, Sept-Nov 2024 (Currently, Pluto is here for you.).


Past:

Capricorn Rising: Jan-Apr 1995, Nov 1995-Jan 2008, Jun-Nov 2008. (Currently, Pluto is here for you.)

Sagittarius Rising: Nov 1983-May 1984, Aug 1984-Jan 1995, Apr-Nov 1995 (Currently, Pluto is here for you).

Scorpio Rising: Oct 1971-Apr 1972, Jul 1972-Nov 1983, May-Aug 1984. (Currently, Pluto is here for you.)

Libra Rising: Oct 1956-Jan 1957, Aug 1957-Apr 1958, Jun 1958-Oct 1971, Apr-Jul 1972. (Currently, Pluto is here for you.)

Virgo Rising: Oct-Nov 1937, Aug 1938-Feb 1939, Jun 1939-Oct 1956, Jan-Aug 1957, Apr-Jun 1958. (Currently, Pluto is here for you.)


Future:

Aries Rising: Mar-Sept 2043, Jan 2044-Jun 2066, Jul 2066-Apr 2067, Sept 2067-Feb 2068. (Currently, Pluto is here for you.)

Taurus Rising: Jun-Jul 2066, Apr-Sept 2067, Feb 2068-Jun 2095, Sept 2095-Apr 2096, Nov 2096-Mar 2097. (Currently, Pluto is here for you.)

Gemini Rising: Jun-Sept 2095, Apr-Nov 2096, Mar 2097-Jun 2127, Nov 2127-May 2128, Jan-Mar 2129.

(Cancer Rising: Jun-Nov 2127, May 2128-Jan 2129, Mar 2129-Aug 2157, Nov 2157-Jun 2158, Jan-May 2159. (Currently, Pluto is here for you.))

(Leo Rising: Aug-Nov 2157, Jun 2158-Jan 2159, May 2159-Aug 2183, Jan-Jun 2184, Apr 2185. (Currently, Pluto is here for you.))

… And then, Pluto goes through Virgo, Libra, and so on again.


Now, let’s clear up some Astro-jargon.


What are Houses?

Houses are portions of the sky that correlate with all kinds of different life areas. There are houses for everything imaginable: love, your body, your career, your pets, your hobbies, what you like to read before going to bed at night, etc. Everything imaginable is represented somewhere in astrology and houses are one of the main areas for some of the weirdly specific stuff we may look for.


Houses are dependent on the exact time (to the minute) and place (to the city) of your birth and are counted from your Rising Sign. So, the 12th sign from your Rising is your 12th house (according to Whole Sign system, other House systems may require you to use a calculator and go to town – but you’re free to use other house systems with this article as well, the interpretations are still going to fit.)



The 12th House:

The 12th house is the last house: and therefore, it deals with endings. It also deals with anything invisible, from conception to energy to dreamscape to intuition, illusions, lies, mental health, epigenetic inheritance, and hidden enemies. The 12th house is the place where we find rest, where we can sleep, and where we take alone time and want to be somewhat isolated. But it’s also the place where we’re drawn to place other people above ourselves: here, we find altruism, charity work, and sacrifices. We also find places and institutions that deal with “what’s hidden,” be it political work, a nurse working in a hospital, someone who does yoga retreats for a living, or the manager of a senior citizen residence. In the 12th house, we see how connected people are to the collective consciousness and unconsciousness of humanity (and, as some people would say, beyond – but I’ll leave that one up to your spiritual and religious beliefs). A lot of times, placements in the 12th house show gifts that we embody for other people and that we selflessly and completely give away to others, even if we don’t know we’re consciously doing it. It’s a house of living in service – but also, taken to an extreme, the house where we get entangled in drama, self-sabotage, and over-sacrifice ourselves.


The 12th house deals with energy bodies and the intuitive arts, spirituality, transcendence, and enlightenment. Thinking about life after death and the inexplicable miracles and synchronicities in life, ideas around karma, dharma, and life purpose are all parts of this house… and so are being/feeling trapped, feeling invisible or rejected, and things like addiction, suicide, and serious health issues.


Now, just because all those things are represented in this house, it does NOT mean that you’re going to run into all of those problems – or have them happen to you. For instance, a person I know with Pluto traveling through their 12th house suddenly had to deal with students who reported suicidal thoughts and eating disorders: he himself was alright, and he also didn’t lose anyone through suicide or eating disorders. But those topics still became a part of his life.


Similarly, just because you have placements in the 12th house, it doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to have psychiatric issues or anything the like. A client of mine with Pluto in her 12th house (in her birth chart) started, for no reason, to become passionate about addiction prevention and also studied the early warning signs for severe mental health issues such as depression or schizophrenia. She never had any “reason” to, she was just really interested in that. So, please don’t worry that you’re doomed to have a bad life over something in your 12th house, that just isn’t the case.


That being said, having Pluto travel through your 12th house means that you might want to be a bit more careful about some things – because there are obviously some pitfalls here that shouldn’t be ignored. You don’t need to be scared, just don’t get stupid.


So, what happens when Pluto falls in the 12th house? Or travels there through transit (a.k.a. an external astrological event)? Pluto is the planet of transformation and of excavating what was buried, forgotten, or ignored – and then bringing it to the surface so you can’t ignore it any longer.


What this looks like is something we'll now explore.



Intuition, Illusion, and the Unconscious

This means that it’s really super-charged when it falls or travels through someone’s 12th house: the 12th house is everything you’re unconsciously or subconsciously ignoring/suppressing, so when Pluto comes a-knocking, you’ll notice that suppressing truths (Pluto) that you already know… it doesn’t end well.


So, if you know something’s up with your boss, Callie, then listen. Don’t chalk it up to being silly, actually pay attention – sometimes, it’s smart to wait until you have some sort of physical proof for your intuition before you get into it, but at other times, it’s best to act first to protect yourself rather than waiting around until you’re knee-deep in shit only to say: “Oh, look, I was right all along!”


Unfortunately, there are people out there in the world who don’t have other people’s best interests at heart. The good news is, you may have a better radar for those individuals under this transit than usual: so listen. You may not logically know why Callie gives you the heebie-jeebies, but make sure you aren’t completely ignoring the fact that the heebie-jeebies are there. This is not about judging or mistreating someone (that’s generally not something you should do), it’s about doing things quietly that keep you safe, without anyone being hurt in the process (if possible).


Now, the pitfall of the 12th house is, unfortunately, that while heebie-jeebies are extremely accurate… you’re still very good at fooling yourself with something. Essentially, the biggest shadow of the 12th house is lying to yourself. The good news is: Pluto makes it dang hard to lie to yourself efficiently. The bad news is: it’s so dang hard to do because Pluto gives you consequences for lying to yourself quickly.


So, if Callie gives you a bad feeling? Before switching jobs, ask yourself the question if she reminds you of something within yourself that you don’t really like. Because while this can 100% be intuition, it can also be unconscious material within yourself rearing its head. And you know what else it can be? Hunger. Sleep-deprivation. And the nasty side effects of addiction to physical substances.


So, before judging someone harshly, make sure that:

- You ate and slept enough

- You don’t have perception-altering substances or untreated perception-altering mental/physical health issues going on

- You are not being triggered based on a past experience or the fact that the person in question embodies something you don’t like about yourself


If all of that is fine and taken care of, then this is your intuition speaking and you can and should listen and act on the heebie-jeebies, gut feelings, intuition, or whatever else you call it. If not, try to get some sleep/slay your inner Hangry Dragon with a bar of snickers, wait until you’re calm again after the trigger, and give the substances time to get out of your system… (address health and mental health issues properly)… and then come back to the situation at hand and make a more informed choice. If the heebie-jeebies stay, know that you need to take care of yourself.



Prioritize Truth Above All Else

Pluto rules truth, and we’re not talking about somebody’s personal truth that’s debatable here. If Timmy stabbed Chantelle with a knife, then Timmy stabbed Chantelle with a knife – that’s the truth we’re talking about, not your personal feelings about that situation or what you believe happened.


Pluto in the 12th house via transit means that you’re going to have some run-ins with those sorts of truths. You’ll also encounter truths that are hard to swallow, truths you wish were lies, truths that you’d usually push to the back of your mind because they’re really, really complex and break your brain a little bit, or make your question the things you believe in in this world… those truths. You’ll also encounter tendrils of truth that you can follow or ignore, like a weird text popping up on your spouse's phone just as you hand it to him so he can make a call. Or a phone call from the person who does your taxes about some weird numbers that you can’t quite explain. Or a box full of government papers in your parents’ closet that you’ve never seen before but that have your name on them. Here, you can choose to investigate, or you can close your eyes and pretend it never happened. And let’s be fair, sometimes these situations are completely harmless. But the problem is, under Pluto traveling your 12th house, you can’t afford to completely ignore those instances.


The 12th house is everything that is hidden (and that can trap you), and Pluto is about truth and things that are potentially hard to deal with. Both deal with secrets – but Pluto also deals with empowerment and putting things into the light after a while. So, if you choose to follow those tendrils of truth to figure out what’s going on, you can avoid a whole lot of trouble later on.


Maybe you figure out that the box in your parents’ closet is full of important family papers (birth certificates, etc.) because your Mom’s irrationally scared of the house burning down – so she put all the important stuff where she can grab it quickly in case there’s a fire. Maybe there was an error in the software your business uses and that messed up the finances a little bit. Maybe the weird text was something your spouse was already taking care of by setting the appropriate boundaries in the previous text exchange – and your spouse is as pissed about the boundary violation as you are. You talk about it, maybe even see the hard evidence that everything’s fine, and that’s it.


But if there was something there, you’re going to get in a whole lot of mess over the course of this transit if you ignore it early on. Have the hard conversations. Don’t ignore signs that something’s hidden that could harm you, it can truly turn ugly.


Prioritize truth – especially with yourself. Do you actually have your alcohol intake under control? Is the behavior with your coworker appropriate, given your spouse’s reaction? Are you acting like a kind person – or do you just think you do? Under Pluto in the 12th, the human desire to paint yourself in the best light and to pretend that everything’s hunky-dory (even if it’s not) can seriously lead to self-destruction and harsh consequences. That’s why this astrological event is one people get warned about. However, if you make an honest effort to be truthful with yourself and to pay attention to signs that there are things beneath the surface that you should look at… then this transit is often a very positive one.


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Endings Lead to New Beginnings

The 12th house is all about endings and needing to let go of something. So, congratulations: you now have a 21-year… no, just kidding. You absolutely won’t lose everything you ever had, and you definitely won’t be unable to have new beginnings over the next two decades. But during a transit (astrological event) of Pluto through the 12th, the things that you hold on to that ran their course/outlived their spiritual necessity in your life are going to be stripped from you. Or you end them yourself. This is particularly the case at the beginning and end of the transit, as well as the points where Pluto comes in close aspect with a planet of your birth chart. So, if you have Venus in your 12th house and Pluto comes close enough to “snuggle” with it, then that’s going to be a time when you’ll lose the relationships that weren't serving you anymore.


The good news is, you'll never lose what you truly needed, and you’ll never lose what was meant for you. Not just that, but this “cleaning house” actually leads to a wonderful new aspect: a new beginning.


The 12th house rules conception – quite literally. It also rules the process of seeds lying in the winter earth, dormant but ready to sprout and get going. Another thing the 12th house rules is best explained in literature: often, we see people on the hero’s journey be put out of commission or hidden from the world for quite some time before they start their mission. The reason for that is that we have to become good at something to use it well, and we have to become ready for not just the new beginning we seek, but also the consequences of said new beginning.


To give you an example, let’s say that you really want to write a book. You’ll first have to get really clear on the theme of the book and what it is you want to write about and then really sit with the theme before you can even start to do a good job of creating a book worth reading. And this is something you have to do before ever sitting down to write – the funny thing is, sometimes this builds while you’re completely unaware of it and do thousands of other things. But it’s always part of the writing process. First, you think. And then, you’ll have to get to the process of writing and so on (some people also map out the book first before they write).


The process of writing a book is WAY more intense than people believe: it’s not just putting word after word on a page, it’s not even fully cognitive, there’s a lot of psychological stuff involved in the process of writing something as complex as a book. A lot of people give up in the middle because of it and a lot of writers (even seasoned ones) report that they almost always lose their minds along the way. So, the time before writing when you get cognitively and psychologically ready actually helps you build the desire and the grit to muscle through the hard times of writing, and deal with those psychological effects. Without the prep, you wouldn’t manage very well.


The same goes for getting into a good relationship. If you don’t take some time to yourself after a relationship ended to be with yourself, you usually mess up your next relationship, too. Why? Because this time with yourself helps you to get clear on what you want and why (and what went wrong before). It also helps you to heal from the past and build the resilience to deal with the ups and downs of love with a new person.


This part of the process of taking time to yourself before jumping into something new – that’s the 12th house. With Pluto traveling through this house, this step of the process becomes VITAL for success further along the line. It’s also often not something you can skip, even if you want. If you start writing too quickly, you’ll get writer’s block. If you try to date a week after your three-year-long engagement ended, the person in question suddenly ghosts you – things like that.


That doesn’t mean that this part of the process is your forever reality: you’ll be able to start that book under this transit and you’ll be able to find your future spouse here, too. But the deal is that you can’t rush the process. You just aren’t able to move on if you haven’t fully closed the previous chapter, and that’s important to know because it can get very frustrating if you aren’t aware of that.



Dreams

“Dreams are messages from the soul” – in that case, my soul definitely got some sense of humor when it makes me dream of a monster that’s a third vampire-werewolf-hybrid, a third poisonous lizard, and as the final third, a spoon. (The spoon part was by far the most terrifying). True story, by the way, I really did dream that once. So, sometimes, dreams are just dreams – and that’s all there is to them.


And, with Pluto going through the 12th house of dreams, rest, and sleep, it’s possible that there’s more going on here than you think. Our unconscious filters a ton of information that it takes up from our environments before sending a very small percentage to the cognitive, conscious part of our brains. The rest of the information is either not important or immediately leads to a change within us: increased or decreased heart rate, etc. However, sometimes the information is passed on while we sleep – and that can lead to dreams that tell us more about ourselves and our lives than we consciously know is there.


Under Pluto in the 12th house, you’ll have dreams that show you your fears. Not just in terms of nightmares where you wake up screaming (though that can, unfortunately, happen – not all the time, sometimes) – but also through repeating motifs. You may be dead terrified that John cheats on you, so you constantly dream about that happening. Now, John can be the best person on the planet who’d never cheat (shout-out to John!) but that fear lives rent-free in your nervous system and leads to you having a hard time opening up to him emotionally. When you’re asleep, it can come up full-time… so you can deal with it rather than pushing it back in your mind all the time and pretending you’re not scared at all.


Similarly, dreams under this transit can also show you information that you didn’t quite process while you were awake, for instance, that someone around you is having a secret. Or you have recurring dreams that your house is full of mold and then you actually realize that something is wrong with your house – that sort of thing. Therefore, it makes sense to take your dreams seriously when they’re a) reoccurring, b) lead to an emotional reaction on your end that you did not expect or c) intuitively seem really important or meaningful to you. If the dreams are random bouts of imagination gone wild, you’re free to ignore them – that too happens under this transit. (And again, sometimes your dreams just show you a side of yourself you try to hide from, like in the example of being terrified of being cheated on).


It’s also pretty important to prioritize rest and high-quality sleep as much as you can under this transit, especially if you have nightmares or mental health issues. Under this transit, your sleeping life builds your overall resilience and is the first sign that something in your life is going majorly wrong. So, treat it accordingly.



Spirituality

With Pluto in your 12th house, spirituality may play a much bigger or very much transformed role in your life. How? Depends on your chart and your belief systems. But in general, there are two things you need to keep in mind.


1): Please be mindful of what spiritual abuse looks like and how to see red flags early on. In general, I would not tie my finances, living situation, physical health, or children’s future to a spiritual or religious cause, group, denomination, or invasive principle under this transit. While nothing bad has to happen under this transit, this astrological event can lead to people ending up in spiritually abusive situations that they didn’t see coming. This is extremely unfortunate – and it doesn’t happen to everyone, so please don’t worry – but be cautious enough not to stay safe. Do your research and don’t take risks here, please. Salvation happens in the spiritual realm, it doesn’t require you to give your worldly possessions, health, place of living, safety, or the life/safety/future of another person in your care to another person on earth – or to another earthly person’s group, church, or way of life.


2): Spirituality is actually going to give you more passion for life and energy under this transit if the brand of spirituality is the right fit for you. Also, you’re not going to have the same relationship to your beliefs going into the event that you’ll have going out of the event – why? Because you’ll learn a lot. And that’s okay.


So, what does this mean? Having some sort of belief and spiritual awareness that’s ever-changing is part of this transit, whether you’re religious or not, whether you identify as spiritual or not. It can be quiet, like a person becoming open to the possibility of a higher power that shapes our lives, it can be a bigger deal like someone starting to see ghosts and stuff. It depends. But the thing is, having some sort of spiritual support (in beliefs or community/mentors/…) in life can greatly help you navigate this event. That being said, if the help in question makes you feel bad or doesn’t ring true to you, it’s not the right fit for you – try something else. Even in religions you may prescribe to, there are always strands that prioritize one thing over the other or understand one particular thing differently than others. You have choices. Allow yourself to grow.



Mental Health

Under this astrological event, there can be a theme of mental health issues in your life: that can come through someone close to you suddenly developing depression, or you end up in a job where you deal with f.e. people with eating disorders (like if you’re a teacher dealing with pubescent girls, for instance). It can also be that you yourself may encounter some forms of mental health issues… and they can be mild and temporary. They don’t have to be 24/7 at all. However, I would ask everyone who’s experiencing this to please get themselves help while the problems are still manageable. Don’t ignore it til it rules your life, take it seriously.


This is also NOT a good time to start or continue using drugs or abusing medication or alcohol. (Obviously, please take the medication your doctor prescribes – just don’t use it to abuse yourself). The reason for this is that this is a time when there’s a high statistical likelihood of you a) developing an addiction and b) getting immediate negative consequences for that addiction.


That being said, this is a good time to break addictive cycles as Pluto in this house helps you in many ways.



Altruism

One of the undoubtedly most important parts of the journey of Pluto through your 12th house is going to be kindness, compassion, empathy, altruism, and focusing selflessly on other people. This can be as part of a job (you becoming a nurse) or a relationship (you becoming the caretaker of your elderly husband or your kid after they had an accident). It can also be something you take on in your free time, for instance by volunteering, starting a charity, or using a platform you have to talk about how people can help (insert group that needs help that you aren’t a part of).


This is a wonderful way to work with the energy and build a life that you feel energized by and proud of. It also improves your mental health as it makes you feel like you’re doing something meaningful, and that’s always efficient prevention of mental health issues.


Now, here are three things to keep in mind.

1) Only help if you aren’t in danger.

Under this transit, you could end up in situations where you have to choose between your health/safety/life and someone else’s. Rarely is it a good idea to put yourself on the line here – just as with rescuing a drowning person, if you don’t have the means to actually rescue someone who’s drowning, don’t jump in the water with them. Even if there’s no other way to get them help, two dead people are not better than one, and without the proper skill set or physical ability to do the job, you’ll die.


2) Do your research before giving your money to someone else.

Unfortunately, too many people who mean well are targeted by people who don’t mean well: many charities are setups for financial fraud or worse. Under this astrological event, you’ll see a bunch of charities that do WONDERFUL work that you can support, but you’re also bound to run into the opposite. Make sure you do your research.


3) If you’re personally involved with helping, make sure the job doesn’t swallow you whole.

The most important job on the planet is the job of the caretaker. If you burn out or get incapacitated, all people dependent on you suffer by proxy. So please, make sure you rest enough and have a life outside of helping others so you won’t need the help yourself. Too often, people closely involved in supporting family members make the mistake of giving more than they have… and the result isn’t pretty. Put in the systems that help you take care of yourself while you’re taking care of others, or you’re no use to anyone. As tough as that is: that’s the biggest lesson of Pluto in the 12th house.


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Conclusion

Pluto in the 12th house is generally speaking easy to navigate if you’re ready to look at life as honestly as you can… and if you know a couple of things to watch out for, like intuitive nudges, charities that may fraud you, etc. In general, you can have a really good life under this transit: so I invite you to have fun and not worry about this overmuch. It sounds worse than it is. (That being said, please do take the warnings above seriously, there’s a reason they’re in there).


Now, this of course was a generalization – so anything more specific when it comes to your chart should be said in a personal reading. You can book one here.


If you’d like to read about Pluto in different houses, you can do so here:

Birth Chart: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11.

Currently: Aquarius Rising, Capricorn, Sagittarius, Scorpio, Libra, Virgo, Leo, Cancer, Taurus, Aries Rising.


If you’d like to read more about the current transit of Pluto in Aquarius (2023-2044), here are two articles on that.


And if you'd like to read about Saturn's latest transit (2023-2026), here's the article:


Also, be sure to sign up to my newsletter to never miss a new article!


See you there,

Alexandra.

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