The 12th is the house of loss of the manifested (Vyay-sthan), it undos the physical and the material. It is a part of the Dushamsthan triad, the 6th, 8th and 12th houses which bring in turmoil in your life. (The 3rd house too if given a free reign, can cause havoc.) The 6th house is the most turbulent as it is linked to awareness and resolution of Karma. Also of diseases, arguments, debts, service, enemies earlier. The 8th house is catastrophic transformations of identity where the physical, emotional or spiritual identity undergoes a rapid, forceful and often a traumatic change. ie accidents, death, surgeries, hidden diseases etc. And the 12th house is Losses of the conscious, but is the least harmful of the three. Losses of the physical body, sub-conscious, hauntings, insanity, prisons, hospitals, unknowns. Irrespective of planets and placements, these 3 houses together have the potential to create chaos in your physical life.
Jupiter, a natural benefic, an expansive graha is the natural ruler of this 12th house of Loss. He rules the 12th house of the zodiac Pisces. And the sign Pisces, wherever it may be placed in the horoscope will subtly influence the matters of the 12th house too. The 12th house counted from the ascendant sign represents astral worlds, dreaming, bed, sleep, dreams, astral travel, sexual activity, enclosures, jails, secluded places, forests, solitude, living at places away from the homeland, privacy, secrets, mediation, things which are not visible, ancestral spirits.
In my opinion it is better if the dushamsthan, 6th, 8th and 12th remain empty. This helps a material life of ease. There is less turbulence in life and as there are no planets placed here to bring their energies in focus. eg if you have Saturn in your 12th house, your entire agenda of karmic work is linked to the environments and people of the 12th house. A Moon placed here often indicates issues of neglect during early childhood etc. If the ascendant lord or the Moon or the Sun is placed here, you should pay attention to your physical body/mind.
Environments linked to the 12th house are those of ‘isolation’, away from the public eye and away from familiar environments. If your 12th house linked in some way to the wealth/ profession houses, e.g. their owners are aspecting each other you might find yourself working in such environments. e.g. in jails, forests and wilderness areas, foreign locations, foreign trade, hospitals, research labs, occult and divination. Here you lose your identity, e.g an anonymous soldier. Or you travel so much that you are not linked to a particular place, travelling salesmen, merchant navy, refugees, pilgrims, astral travel etc. Or you may be engaged in hazardous occupations where you might lose your life/energy, e.g at ports, firefighting, emergency services etc.
People represented by the 12th house can be those people who are required to enforce or required to suffer the environments indicated here. e.g. you may be the jailer or the prisoner, but both are required to remain in the jail premises! Actions indicated by the 12th are the things which occur behind closed doors. You are required to still your personality or this stillness will be forced on you in these environments.
There is an understanding that the 12th house is the house of sexual activity, but this is not the whole story. When you engage in sexual activity, you lose your energy. There is the aspect of sharing energy with your partner but you are also using your physical vitality. The female and male organs of reproduction use the subtlest Shukra-dhatu to create the ova/sperms and the associated energies. The remaining Shukra-dhatu is converted to Ojas, the vitality of the body. If you engage excessively in physical relations, Shukra-dhatu is used up at this level and production of Ojas and the vitality of the body suffers.
This is an important house for spiritual aspirants, who desire Liberation/ Moksh. This is the path from the manifested to the astral. There is intuitive guidance, extra sensory perceptions, help from spirit guides, resources of the past lives, and also the ability to use them. e.g. Saturn placed here will restrict all this, and not allow spiritual progress until he matures!
The 12th house counted from every house will indicate the potential for losses related to the keywords of that house. e.g. Losses to the personality and the physical environment is the 12th house, this is counted twelfth from the ascendant sign. eg if you are looking at the marriage aspects of a chart, also analyse the 6th house (counted twelfth from the 7th house), this house will indicate the losses related to the married state. No wonder the worst house for Venus (natural ruler of the 7th) to be in, is the 6th house.
Now look at the house counted twelfth from your birth Moon. This is a valuable indicator of all those things you are detached from emotionally. e.g if your Moon is placed in the 3th house then you would emotionally be detached from things of the 2nd house, ie your family, family time, family history, you might not be mentally involved in wealth generation, the family tradition holds no emotional connection for you, going out with the family or close friends would hold no charm for you. This does not mean that you will not do all these things. (This will depend on the power of the 2nd house itself.) It just means that these things will not give you a deep emotional connect. When you count the 6th, 8th and 12th from the ascendant you get the physical environments and agents. But for also understanding the emotional context and impacts you should count from the birth moon sign. The house 12th from each house indicates the loss of things represented by that house. Even in transit, the transit Moon when occupies the sign twelfth from the birth Moon, those 2.25days will be quite troublesome and you will be in a tension.
The 8th, 12th and 4th houses are the Moksh trikon. These houses facilitate ‘release’. So unless you focus on them and their agents specifically, you will remain unaware of their potential. All these are watery signs and are linked to the subconscious, the astral and the depths of the psyche! If you are feeling relaxed and are alone you can try this sort of self-analysis. What do you feel when you are alone, in solitude? Sun can indicate a deep confidence in oneself, you wouldn’t hesitate to stand up for yourself and others whom you love despite overpowering odds. A Moon might indicate a sensitivity to emotions which you do not understand logically, you might also be prone to allergies. Mercury gives a nervous excitement which bubbles beneath the surface, you should write to get it out in the open! Venus might attract you to love and wealth, but do remember that self-love and an understanding of the inner self is the real gift of Venus. Mars here can indicate repressed sexual desires, inner conflicted feelings, resentments and passions which need to be channelised outwards not kept bottled inside. Jupiter here is a good placement for spiritual growth however impacts the health of the body, the children and the married state. Saturn here gives a sense of loneliness, fear, guilt and a negative mindset, but you can work intensely, you are determined and concentrate on tasks/work allotted to you. I have written a separate post on Rahu and Ketu in the 6/12 axis here. If you have a heavy 12th house, its agents and energies will be more in focus.
You, in the first house are exclusive, a clearly defined person living in a clearly defined environment. By the time you reach the 12th house, you realise the inherent unity in everything and understand the inclusive spiritual self. The 12th is the house of loss, all activities indicated here will lead to a loss of the manifested vitality, of the personality or of the environment. And a gain of the subconscious and the spiritual.