Twelfth House People

Sunday June 9th 2013

Lying in bed, feeling a little strange, a little light-headed.Β The sun sends blocks of light across your duvet; because it is broad daylight, and you alone are not at work or at school. Everyone else is busy.

There are noises in the house: a tap runs in the kitchen; a distant radio, a car in the street. It’s all muffled. You are in your own small world: the bed, your room. The clock ticks, you doze, hours have slipped away.

If you have a strong 12th house, or Pisces/Neptune, you will be familiar with the land of counterpane. You may well have spent a significant period during your childhood in bed.

In Vedic astrology, the 12tth house is the bedroom. These periods of illness – glandular fever, ME, an accident – will have forced you inwards. You will have spent time developing your imagination away from the mainstream, looking inside your own mind. You may well have read a lot of books, or listened intensely to music, or, in one case I know, taught yourself the piano.

Your illness is likely to have made you special, and specially self-sufficient. This is the period during which you develop your imaginative hinterland. You will never be without this resource. The rest of your life you will be able to dip into the well of your inner world.

The poets, the artists, the dreamers need to spend this time in the land of counterpane.

This children’s poem is for you.

The Land of Counterpane

When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay,
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.

RL Stevenson, who wrote this poem as well as, among other books, Treasure Island and Kidnapped, was a life-long invalid with a Moon-Neptune conjunction in Pisces.

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  2. clarelhdm says:

    this was a lovely image for me…Neptune is currently transiting my Pisces Midheaven, opposite my Pluto. It seems like i have stepped out of the world of career and work, even vocation, and I amin a sort of nether world. This idea of the ‘counterpane’ is a gentle way for me to think about this.

  3. Gilly says:

    You describe my childhood exactly – in fact, my life until my late 30s, really, but my 12th house is empty, no planets in Pisces and my Neptune doesn’t seem very strong, so… Maybe I’m just lazy? πŸ™‚

    • Gilly says:

      Goodness! You know, I never noticed any of that! πŸ™‚ I’d forgotten that I was often ill as a child – ill and accident prone; for a while, I spent a lot of time in hospital, many weeks off school, sick – but even when I wasn’t ill, I’d spend a huge amount of time in my room, dreaming, writing stories… I’ve never have connected Chiron/MC with health. That’s a revelation.I’d always assumed it was why my career, though very important to me, feels like constant struggle.

      I haven’t read your writers with Lilith piece, I’ve been keeping away from the internet lately, but I will now. I got a progressed chart at Astrodienst and it has a grand trine with Neptune at the tip, though it’s in the 4th house now – trining Moon (11th) and Sun+Mercury (8th. Uranus is on the ascendant… I don’t really understand progressions! I’m hoping that 8th house sun/Merc means some cash coming. πŸ™‚

      My birth time is pretty exact. I was a caesarian baby – they told my mum the baby has to be born inside 5 minutes of administering anaesthetic. She was staring at the clock and the last time she saw before she slipped under was 2.25.

      Thank you! In just a few words, you’ve told me so much. I really need a proper consultation, don’t I? πŸ™‚

    • Christina says:

      How confident of your birth time are you? Because Neptune trines your Ascendant from the 5th. Neptune also sextiles your Saturn, so you put your imagination to work & the Saturn conjuncts Mercury.

      The first thing I notice though is the full sixth house and Chiron on the MC, so being identified as an invalid. But the 6th house Jupiter is opposed by Lilith in the 12th too. Have you read my piece about writers with Lilith?

      Very interesting. I wonder if it was when your Sun progressed into Pisces that you stopped being ill?

    • Gilly says:

      Christina, I’m sorry to be slow responding, I only just saw your reply. My chart is here (if this works):

      Ruler of the 12th is Mercury and he’s in the 7th. Not many aspects to Neptune at all. I don’t know what I’d attribute it to. You’d think, the way I used to be – constant dreamer, chaser of rainbows and a bit useless in the real world, if I’m honest – I’d be very Neptunian, but I can’t see that in my chart. I don’t know much about progressions, I’m afraid.

      I used to be a dreamy dreamer who rarely got out of bed if I could avoid it, living in my head. In my 30s, I became a novelist, turned my dreams into stories: now I get up early every morning and can’t wait to start the day. If that helps. πŸ™‚

    • Christina says:

      No such thing as “just” anything:)
      I would love to look at your chart. What’s the ruler of the 12th? What are the aspects to Neptune? Also what was happening with your progressed chart? I would be very surprised to find no connection. Especially since this is such a big part of your life.

      What would you attribute your counterpane experience to ?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Uranus in Leo in the 12th house…(Pisces Sun and Moon in Leo also in the 12th house)…lots of inner works…never ends… :0/

  5. Diane L says:

    Oh god yes! Very active imagination as a child for which I drew endless illustrations. Still need plenty of quality dream time. Sun, Jupiter, Mars & Mercury in the 12th.

  6. An over-sensitive kid with Sun in Pisces, Saturn sextile Neptune, I remember this poem well from my childhood. I went through a period when I almost preferred to be at home sick, since school and the associated reality was just too tough to deal with.

  7. Interesting image. I do have Moon/Mars in Pisces and I was often sick as a child and got to spend many hours in “idea land”, as my mother calls it. Now with transiting Neptune right on my natal Moon, I have never felt so sleepy in my life! Unfortunately, daily demands have me up and out, but I could take a day during the week to just ‘be”, not necessarily sleep in bed, or be in bed, but just be quiet with my books and away from the world. Why do you think Neptune wants to take us out of this Saturnian world? What’s the purpose of this trip to neverland?

    • Christina says:

      Vanessa – I think 12th house people can make bridges for others between spirit and matter, or between neverland and saturnland. I’m not sure why this world of spirit and imagination is important for us, but it is.

      • Sally Milow says:

        This is probably way too late, since it’s now 2018. However, I am both a very 12th house person (Jupiter in Virgo, and Chiron, Lilith, Neptune, Pallas, and Vesta in Libra, with a Libra Rising. Plus I have Venus in Pisces in my 5th house. I’m now 73 y.o. and much more functional than for much of my life (lots of severe depression/anxiety). I am a Capricorn with a Capricorn Mars and a Scorpio Moon. I’m determined to do something like life coaching since the last 14 years, after I almost died and had mystical experiences after I switched to eating organically and meditating a LOT, I have grown and grown. What Christina says above is what I see myself now capable of. However, living in America’s Midwest, I find few people interested in anything but just plain, ordinary Christian religious beliefs. And many here are Evangelical Christians as well. I’m now beginning to ground myself by facing and starting to handle the stagnation in various parts of my apartment (clutter, piles of paper I haven’t looked at for many years, keeping things clean and neat, staying on top of bills, etc. — all the things I’ve never been good at or actually cared about). I believe that, while or after doing this, I should feel more energized, as well as have a better idea of how to go about making a living with the great number of things I have learned that can help our very sick and very materialistic American population. I have almost no money and my car’s been declared unfixable and dangerous to drive, but I live one block from our library and I’ve learned how to get around without a car. I will never say “never”. Instead, I let my intuitive hunches and my spirituality guide me. I only know that, for now, I need to “clean up my act in the physical realm”. Thanks for the article, and for people’s comments here.

    • Veda.Moon says:

      I can relate to this feeling, Vanessa! If anything it’s because this year has been so crazy for me with a pending divorce. I felt like I needed it too. I ended up getting laid off two months ago due to budget cuts and with my huge 10th house stellium I thought I would freak out. It’s actually been really nice to sit, relax, compose myself and process- something I never do. My dreams have been super vivid too. Actually had dreams about being big pregnant and talking to a flying witch last night πŸ˜› I can’t find anything in my chart as to why this is happening. Maybe it’s my chart ruler Jupiter opposite my natal Neptune? I do have Neptune, Mars and my Ascendant conjunct in Sag in the 12th house.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Jupiter/Neptune conjunct in the 12th trine my Pisces Sun. Very well acquainted with this feeling!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Wow, this is so me too … Mars conjunct Neptune in Scorpio in 12th (also Scorp asc) both sextile Pluto/Uranus … the dreams, the dreams …

    As a child I used to be sent to bed very early it seemed but never really minded much, I used to read a paperback book a night aged 9, 10, 11. The smell of new paperbacks still reminds me of my childhood bedroom and especially lying in bed.

    I’m nearly 50 now and (mostly) enjoy going to bed early to reflect and think and set my alarm early so I can lie in bed for at least half an hour before I have to get up, to remember my dreams and just to enjoy lying there, thinking and wondering …. absolute bliss.

  10. mm says:

    The Child’s Garden of Verses, ah memories! I had this book as a child and can still recite chunks of many of the poems (including the one above)by heart. Lovely.

    Neptune in 1st, ruler of the 6th. In adult life I have a more than nodding acquaintance with the land of counterplane, and as a child I used to “throw sickies” to avoid something I was particularly dreading at school. And when I say dreading I mean it. Pure terror.

    Trying to put into words what I have learned from these periods of illness/weakness. They have deepened me. During one of them I learned Spanish. I’ve read a lot. Watched a bit too much TV as well.

  11. Ah, the land of the counterpane! Know it too well. Thank you for writing this. I saved the text to refer to often.

    My bed is my sanctuary. Retreat is the air I breathe. – North Node/ ASC Pisces 12th and currently at the tail end of Progressed Moon in Pisces 12th transit. This most recent cycle found me with chronic illness, foot problems, and plenty of fatigue. On the positive, I spent time studying astrology and learning the human design system, plus connecting with our large pet and being of service to my daughter.

  12. My Sun, Pluto, Venus and Uranus is in the 12th house, and Neptune in Scorpio. The bed and the bathtub are my retreats from the world and the only places I can go for guaranteed comfort and escape from reality. The morning semi-awake state is so delicious that I allow myself to slip back into unconsciousness as long as possible, and long to always be in that state. As a child my mother thought I had a hearing problem because I was in my own world and did not hear when people spoke to me, I was a daydreamer. This world is not made for 12th house people, we don’t belong in this plane of existence.

  13. Anonymous says:

    9H Moon/Nep/SNode conj square 12H Venus……… bedroom is my nest and sanctuary as well. Never met a book I didn’t like. Took me years to understand what fantasizing meant because it is a natural state for me as well as astro-travel! I enjoy traveling BUT I can read a book or magazine or watch a movie and I’m there……..don’t even have to leave home ; )

  14. Out of all of the planets, my Sun is in the twelfth house… Along with Venus and Mars. Neptune and Moon are in the First House w/Neptune in conjunction with my ascendant. I carry the sign of Pisces in Jupiter and Pisces is on the cusp of the 4th house in my chart… I echo Russet Willow… “This world is not for 12th house people, we donot belong in this plane of existence.” I concur… I inwardly asked myself, Why was I born, Why am I here as a child, teen, and at times, I still ask…

  15. Anonymous says:

    The beginning description was spot on to my life! I faced serious and prolonged illness in my childhood, leading to seclusion and isolation for many years. To this day, even when not ill, I NEED alone time to recharge, and my imaginative world is so much stronger than my reality. I catch myself daydreaming all the time, and I feel like I couldn’t live without music!

  16. Anonymous says:


    I don’t know if my chart qualifies as a strong 12th house influence or Neptune influence but I do remember wanting/loving to stay home from school or anywhere just to SLEEP and DAYDREAM. I also read loads of Enid Blyton’s books when I was a kid, and in fact any books. Strangely, I stopped reading so avidly when I got into Uni and that was when I stopped feeling so sleepy. Does this whole thing even make sense to you? (I haven’t and will drop you an email soon, thanks!)

    stella, singapore.

    • GreenFlame says:

      Mars/Pluto conjunction, Uranus, and NN in the 12th, with Neptune opposing my Moon. I was not sick per se but a very solitary child; I remember this children’s poem well, for it caught my imagination when I was young. Decades later, I still live for “pajama days,” when I turn off my phone, shut the drapes, and spend the day in bed or on the couch, dreaming, dreaming…

    • Christina says:

      I’m looking at your chart tonight, stella.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Moon conjunct Pluto in Libra in 12th. Spent a lot of my childhood in bed with glandular fever, ENT problems and undiagnosable ME-type symptoms. A blissful world of books, imagination and daydreaming. Oh, and a lot of wordsearches.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Sun (8th),Moon + Jupiter all Pisces (both 9th), Mars 12th, Neptune Scorpio 4th. Youngest of a biggish family – all much older than me.My mother always busy so left to my own devices a lot. Loved my books and all forms of water (especially the sea). Wanted to belong to a “Little House on the Prarie” or “The Waltons” type ideal family. Still happiest in my own space.Solitude is bliss.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Pisces with Scorpio Asc. and Moon/Neptune conjunct in the 12th.

    Relevant now is that I have a grand trine in water.

    Never really sick as a child (but have(had) some health problems), but can more than relate – solitude, bed a sanctuary, relaxing on the couch, alone, daydreaming… I love my down-time, me-time, away from the craziness out there.
    Also need to be by water. Live on a canal and always going to the beach.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Neptune square Pisces Sun in 12th, Mercury in 12th, Pisces Asc. I was a healthy thing (Mars in Aries) but I was an only child with older parents who didn’t spend time with me, so I was left to my own devices. My whole childhood was spent amusing myself alone, reading anything I could get my hands on, drawing and writing. As a teenager I practically lived in my room. Even now, I don’t like parties or groups, I am happiest with my own company doing my own little projects.

  21. Anonymous says:

    When I read this I was reminded of a book by Justein Gaarner called “Through a glass darkly”. Its about a little girl in Scandinavia who is dying of Leukaemia. She has had treatment for it which did not work and now she has decided not to have any more treatment. About two months before xmas she becomes too ill to go to school anymore and from this point on she is mostly in her bed. She sleeps a lot and the length of her sleep is increasing. In one of bouts of sleeping she is visited by what turns out to be an angel who is there to help her get over her anger and sadness. She is also given a diary by her grandmother that has gold braiding and a red marker that she keeps under her bed and writes what she and the angel have been discussing. I wont go on. You really should get the book.

    Its strange but I am into angels. But not god.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I am a 12th house sun. I would sit in bed for hours just starring out the window in a dream world. I was ill many times with strep throat (glandular!) and taught myself piano and guitar. Music is my life!

  23. Hello everyone, what should I do?
    There are 5 planets in my 12th house.. (Jupiter, venus, mercury, moon & neptune) My date of birth is 31-jan-1984 at 7 20 am Delhi India.. I am very impulsive and this makes my life towards nowhere..

    Thank you..!


    • Isy says:

      I have Sun, Moon, Saturn, Chiron, Ceres, Mercury, and Mars in the 12th. This tends to have the effect of making my own self a bit of a mystery to me, so the growth of self-awareness and taking on the job of taking responsibility for whatever I found in that inquiry. Painful, often humiliating, but well worth it.

    • Isy says:

      I don’t know how I missed this… though December is hard-hibernation time for me, so that may have something to do with it πŸ™‚

      I remember being often slightly ill, and using the fact to avoid a great deal of school when i was still in single digits. I was the weirdo, and the constant nastiness was wearing. Reading in bed was delicious, and my whole room was exactly right, as I’d been consulted on choosing colors and patterns, and my mother had wonderful taste.

      When I was ten, I moved to Egypt, where I was not a target of constant nastiness but found a cohort of kindred spirits, and you know the rest. The reading continued, but my peripheral vision was so good that reading while walking was amusing to others and harmless to me…

  24. Maria says:

    In the natal chart
    12th house in Sagittarius: Uranus, Mars, Neptune
    Jupiter, Mars and Neptune in conjunction with the Ascendant
    3th house in piscis

    Sun square Neptune
    Moon semisquare Neptune
    Mercury square Neptune
    Venus sextile Neptune
    Neptune conjunction Mars
    Neptune conjunction Jupiter
    Saturn Neptune semisquare
    Neptune sextile Pluto
    North node quincucio inconjunct Neptune
    South Node semisextile Neptune

    My life is lonely and I love reading in bed

  25. Lucy says:

    Hi Christina,
    This really resonates with me, and I have Saturn-Jupiter conj in 12th. I was not into astrology before my Saturn return in 2010. It was a year of strange illnesses, unwanted weight loss and inexplicable exhaustion, that went ‘critical’ and led to a diagnosis of post-viral fatigue about three weeks before the exact SR. After that I was confined to bed and sofa for a few months, and developed a very specific kind of agoraphobia – fear of sleeping elsewhere… During that time I started writing, and developed an interest in spiritual ideas – whereas previously I dismissed these as ‘weird’…

    It’s lovely to read something about the 12th that I can relate to as it helps me realise life has really moved on now, and although I need my ‘counterpane’ time at weekends, I no longer reside there full-time.

  26. luxy says:

    thats so lovely

  27. Vesta says:

    Wow!! πŸ™‚
    Yes, land of the counterpane, but not in childhood, mine began as an adult, and I’m still there, I have something similar to ME.
    In childhood, I was overwhelmed and did retreat into myself. Mum wasn’t well, Dad was always at work, I had a lot of responsibility keeping things going, looking after my siblings. Not all the time, Mum was better sometimes, but enough. I remember fatigue and not feeling well, and stress, when I was still very small. There was no one to lean on, nothing I did was ever good enough, I was criticised instead of praised, so inwards I went. I had a lot of hobbies and interests on rotation, read a lot, loved music, and it wasn’t unusual for me to lock the bedroom door and just lie down and daydream, or draw or paint. I gave myself the nourishment I needed that I wasn’t getting from my parents.
    I have uranus/pluto conjunct in virgo in the 12th. It’s part of a t-square, opposite saturn in pisces (no fun), and venus/mars conjunct in Sag (want all the fun!). So explosive energy in the 12th, the place of retreat. I don’t get to stay there, I’m thrown out. But saturn says oh really, you think it’s fun out here? Think on. But mars/venus conjunct in Sag say where there’s a will there’s a way.
    Have I put that together right?
    Growing up, I thought I had lots of good friends, but turns out I was deluding myself, they didn’t love me back. The recent uranus/pluto squares broke all the bonds. Then transiting saturn sat on my natal moon for ages and ages, I’ve been forced to be alone, and right now, still am. I reach out, it doesn’t work. So that tells me I still have to wait. It’s not time yet, for whatever is ahead for me.
    I think I have strong Pisces, with saturn there making that t-square, also part of a grand water trine. I think my neptune is strong too, conjunct my sun-moon midpoint. Plus sun scorpio, MC cancer, conjunct jupiter. hahahaha holy smoke!
    I do love being alone, have to say. Perfectly happy in a crowd too, that’s probably my Sag stellium. Life and soul etc. But I need alone time to recharge.
    Yes, self-sufficient, although I really learnt to hone that recent years. Which makes me wonder if I even really want new friends or a new relationship. I keep reading articles about how unhealthy it is to be alone and I’m like oh no, best fix that. But there’s nothing worse than toxic people, and rejection is no fun. So I dunno. I think if I’ve learnt to find joy myself, what’s unhealthy?
    I’m an insomniac, and I often find I can’t switch off at night, I read somewhere it’s PTSD and I’m on high alert. Maybe. I’ve noticed I feel better come 6am when I hear traffic pick up. I feel at peace then and finally sleep. Maybe it’s that disruptive uranus/pluto in my 12th house? I don’t get to sleep like everyone else. Hmmm.
    I’m going to read all the comments now. Ruler of my 12th house is mercury, which is 21 Scorpio, conjunct my Neptune/sun-moon midpoint 19 scorpio, 2 deg orb. That seems important.

    • 44 and counting says:

      There’s a difference between being alone and lonely but I doubt the researchers ever differentiate between them. I’d suspect being lonely is the killer and let’s not forget you can be lonely in a bad relationship.

      I always say that single people have an advantage over the people in a bad relationship. They only have one problem which is finding someone to be with. Attached people have an extra problem – they have to get out of the bad relationship before they have the single person’s problem of finding someone new.

    • Vesta says:

      Oh. Just realised. I have to meditate regularly, and really make it a daily priority. It’s the only way to balance that restlessness of uranus/pluto conjunct in the 12th. Otherwise I get no rest. Which is exactly right. I burnt out and never recovered. Aha!!

  28. Jen says:

    My daughter has well over half her planets in the 12th house and is a Pisces sun to boot. She’s also on the autism spectrum. In a world that would tell me her imagination and inner life are hindrances of her β€œsyndrome,” I’m grateful to astrology for helping me appreciate her nature as her cosmic story.

  29. Karen Lee Robertson says:

    Venus in 12 in sign of Virgo, Leo on 12th, moon in Pisces in 6th Aquarius on 6th Neptune in Virgo. I was always very ill as a child. Loved to read and be read to. Never objected to being alone. Today I am writing my memoirs and love to research things. Found out when I was 56 yrs. Old I was adopted.

  30. malene says:

    wow, that really resonated πŸ™‚
    I only recently started reading more about astrology. I have my sun and saturn in pisces both in the 12’th house, as well as my moon and south node in taurus both in the 12’th. I wish I could find more stuff about having a lot of 12’th house in the chart though πŸ™‚ I too remember when I was little I used to prefer my bedroom over being “in the real world”. I’m only 23 now, but have for sure realized that there is a reason I feel a strong call to create a life where I get to be creative all day and somewhat in the mystery. Maybe I should get a real chart reading because i would love to know more about what it all means since i don’t really know too much about astrology yet πŸ™‚
    Also loved the poem πŸ™‚

  31. G says:

    I have Saturn, Jupiter, and Pluto in the 12th. Saturn and Jupiter exactly conjunct, Pluto on the ascendant. I also have Neptune in a grand trine to my moon and Venus, and Neptune is a singleton in my chart. I can attest that this whole article is me in a nutshell. Most of my life u til my 30s I felt like I lived life in a fog. I have no earth in my chart so the only thing that keeps me grounded are the fact that most of my personal planets are in earth houses.

  32. barbara says:

    I still love this article, because it is so true;-) With a 12th house capricorn sun i enjoined it lying in bed, listening to the radio, painting oder drawing or playing with my “barbies”, because i had caught a cold. I loved getting chills! That’s crazy. The first day of my new life (i should have been born an aquarius sun – and became an aquarius rising 0 degree..LOL.) i had to stay in hospital because of a jaundice. 12th house in vedic is the house of bed and watery pleasures;-) and you won’t wonder, that i love all sorts of ‘classic” pools, from tiny to giant, with wonderful blue tiles ( i hate metal pools!) , even just sitting around and watching the water flow…fortunately and not by chance i live in an apartment complex with its own private indoor swimming pool. And i am a night owl too;-). Love watching Lucas Lagoons ….Astrology works! greetings from germany…