Natal Indicators for Absent Parents


In a previous post, I discussed natal planets that described your experience of your parents. In this post, I’m getting more specific and looking at natal indicators for a parent who was literally or metaphorically not there. What’s missing from your life is shown just as clearly as what you have. The Sun and Saturn describe father, and the Moon describes your mother. As in the previous article, the planets and their conditions describe your experience of the situation.

12th House

The 12th House is a hidden area. Natal Sun, Moon or Saturn in the 12th can indicate a parent who was “hidden” from you. This may have been due to their illness, or major secrets about their life. Or, they may not have been there at all. The actual situation is less important than the 12th House quality of the absence. As the house of transcendence (and a blind spot) it can be difficult to clearly see 12th House planets. This is also an impersonal house (transpersonal). Even if the parent in question is still part of your life, you may feel like you cannot get close to them.

Moon in the 12th House might describe a mother who was severely ill. She was unable to provide the emotional nurturing and security you needed. If she spent large amounts of time in the hospital, she would have been hidden from you. Unlike the previous article’s 10th House Moon/Neptune mother (whose illness dominated your life) the 12th House mother’s illness removed her from your life.

In your adult relationships, you may be unaware of your primary needs because they were not fully developed in childhood. But one thing you do need is large amounts of privacy and alone time, because being alone feels familiar. Or, you may associate emotional security with sacrifice and transcendence, and are drawn to helping/healing professions. Too, you may question if any feeling of security is real; maybe it will all be taken away as soon as you become attached. The point is, your relationship with Mom created the experience that emotional connections are not quite real. And, your connection to her (defined by her absence) may be a blind spot that holds some insights about your adult relationships.

To work with a 12th House planet and absent parent, know that the hole in your life can become a doorway to other things. You won’t be able to reclaim what your parent didn’t give you, but that absence has put you in touch with 12th House energies. In your partnerships, and your life in general, you are profoundly sensitive, creative, spiritual and empathetic.

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About Nadia Gilchrist

Nadia Gilchrist offers over 19 years of experience in astrology. Her writings and personal consultations focus on applying practical astrological analysis to the real world. Nadia blogs regularly at Ruby Slipper Astrology.


  1. bal bal says:

    I have 12th house moon and my mom is so selfless but not in a good sense. I wonder if 12th house moon also indicates being a writer? Thank you!

  2. Wow Nadia, you really know your stuff, and I am once again in awe. The part about Pluto aspects and the constant, underlying fear of loss got me very emotional because it’s so accurate. My father died, and I have Sun/Venus/Mars all opposite Pluto in my 7th (as well as Saturn Rx in the 7th!). Needless to say, relationships bring out a lot of fears. Thank you for this article. You always find a way to articulate things perfectly!

  3. Hi

    Is there any circumstance where the planets moon and sun are reversed ie moon dad and sun mum please?

  4. @bal bad
    12th House Moon is not specifically associated with writing, although it does suggest creativity and a high tolerance for introversion.

  5. @Abby;

  6. Saverne says:

    I’ve seen the indicators you mentioned many times. I never thought of Saturn Rx but it makes so much sense. I’ve seen it in Saturn Rx in Cancer clearly. It is like the child and the adult don’t have a middle ground, especially within the person’s psyche.
    Another aspect is Saturn or Cap in the 4 house. I’ve seen it in people who’s parents divorced or one parent (usually Dad) passed away when they were children.

  7. @Rhea;
    I suppose it’s possible, but I have never come across this situation. Moon is the female archetype, Sun is the male archetype.

  8. Very well written and quite accurate. Well done!

  9. My Saturn in Taurus (rules Cap 8th cusp) sqs Venus where my father left my birth mother in pregnancy.My mother then left me to my grandparents at 6wks old.I have Jupiter in Libra 4th house which I think describes my grandparents..they provided a very stable secure home environment for me.The pattern of abandonment has continued and been passed onto my own kids at birth having an absent father figure.Their father has Balsamic Moon in Leo biquintile H1 Saturn/Taurus..Leo Sun cazimi Mars trines H11 Chiron/Aries.Not sure about biquintiles describing one’s parents..he was never good at showing his feelings.

  10. Do minor disharmonious aspects have the same notable effects? I have pluto inconjunct and sesquisquare to moon and sun.

  11. Thanks for yet another great article, Nadia.

    Any comments about Sun in H10 suggesting an absent father? I’ve seen this a number of times. In one extreme case the son of lesbian parents (and with very absent father) has both Sun and Saturn in H10. In another case, a person has her partner’s sun overlaid into her H10 and has found it easy to project “father issues” onto the partner.(Her actual father was absent but her own Sun (and Saturn) are elsewhere in her chart.)

  12. Mnnotminnesota says:

    Rhea, I was born with the Sun in the same sign my mother had, and my father and I both have the moon in Libra. Nothing in this particular article applies to my childhood, but I remember Nadia’s previous article about parents in astrology was completely baffling until I thought about flipping the influences like that. (Nooot an astrologer, though!)

  13. Nadia, would an unaspected Moon suggest an absent mother?

  14. @Sarah;
    the inconjunct, maybe. I don’t work with the minor aspects. I find that the major aspects give you all the info you need.

  15. @mel;
    that’s not been my experience of 10th House Suns. Usually it suggests the father’s presence dominated the child’s life, even if they weren’t close. Other, mitigating aspects to the Sun or Saturn indicate absence.

  16. @Julie;
    it might. But usually it says more about the quality of the relationship, so it’s not always an indicator of absence.

  17. @Mnnotminnesota;
    exceptions to the rules are always so interesting.
    My guess would be that the male/female archetypes still stand, but Mom had more male energy or authority than Dad. I’m looking forward to the day when I get a client who has this in their chart, so I can investigate the reversed energies.

  18. You could do mine but I don’t know my time of birth so that would mess the houses up a bit!

  19. TheCountess says:

    This is interesting. I have Pluto conjunct the moon both in the 9th house of Libra. My mother was an independently wealth single mother that came from a lot of money and power in the South. We traveled all around the world from a very young age and she allowed my sister and I to have many wonderful experiences of the higher minded sorts. I.E.: being the only little girls in a posh expensive restaurant eating escargot and truffles in the early 80s or seeing the shows on West End in London. However, though we are all fairly close, she spent most our lives reading in her room or on the Internet by the time it was invented. She still can stay inside one room for weeks at a time if you let her, though not at all from depression. She just prefers it.

    I also have Saturn Rx in the 8th under its natural ruler Scorpio. My mother intentionally got pregnant with me to my father because as she said, she wanted a baby and he was a good genetic choice. They had dated off and on for 8 years throughout high school and he was actually living with another woman when she invited him back to her place one night and conceived me. She didn’t even tell him she was pregnant until 5months later when they ran into each other at their two best friends wedding. The mutual accounted for story is she said, “I’m pregnant. It’s yours. We’re getting married so you might want to go break it off with that girl you’ve been seeing.” And he readily agreed. 3 years later after she got my sister, she told him he was dismissed. He chased her for a good 7 years after that. However my father and I are cut from the same sheet in looks and personality so we’ve always been close. The only thing I really notice about my 8th house was I was very sexual and experimental from a very young age. Though I was not abused or molested by anyone. I had ideas about sexual acts that I had never seen or known about when I was as young as five, though are quite common to an adult. I thought about sex probably as much as the boys did when I just became a teenager in middle school. I only dated guys older (5-7years+) than me until I hit my 30s. my parents were both fairly open and casual about discussing sex, more like you find in the French culture than the American. This did not lead me to promiscuity, rather responsibility and to not look at it in such a taboo light.
    Though I’ve only had two profoundly intimate, long term sexual relationships, they were both with emotionally unstable men who though they loved me genuinely and deeply (still do after over a decade), I’ve had problems in adulthood with finding someone I feel attracted to enough to go to those levels. Hence, spending much of sexual peak in abstinence (Saturn anyone?) due to lack of suitable partners that naturally turn me on. I literally go about 5 years each time before another comes about. This has happened since I was 13 until currently at 37. To date, there have only been 5 males since I was 13 to now that I’ve ever found myself attracted to. Each of those people were in my life for a long time and didn’t recognize what they truly felt about me until it was too late. Then they all confessed their undying love to me with grand apologies for their poor behavior that made me suffer time and again when they had my heart and affections. Each one I gave a second chance only to realize the pain they had caused me was the thing that made me emotionally evolve past them (I’m thinking that scorpion Phoenix burning down and rising high above the ashes).

  20. TheCountess says:

    Also as an aside because it may be relevant in this context, my mother has said she’s never been in love. She also never dated anyone after she divorced my father. She probably hasn’t had sex in 30years. my dad also thinks she got pregnant with me to fill the void of her father passing two years before.

  21. Richelle Smith says:

    Wow this is really creepy. According to astrodienst my daughter has moon conjunct Pluto in the 12th house, and it might be considered conjunct ascendant, too. She also has mars and Saturn conjunct retrograde. In cafeastrology it’s a little different, but I am gonna go with astrodienst. So my aunt told me that her friend, who is a psychic, told her that someone in her family was going to have a baby girl and that the girl was going to come and live with her(my aunt)when baby is like two years old. Her friend told her this a month before I met my now husband. I met my husband in May of 2015 and we were pregnant by September of 2015. In my last trimester I got really sick with preeclampsia, and there was a threat to my daughter’s life and mine. She was in the NICU for 5 weeks, and I was there, too. My husband wasn’t able to be there the whole time because he had to work 4 hours away. I don’t know if my daughter’s natal chart speaks to that or what is to come. It’s a little disconcerting. :/ I’m probably reading too much into it.

  22. Saturn (Leo) in the 12th (though it’s so close to the Ascendant, it’s usually placed in the 1st) and I don’t know my biological father. The only major aspect it forms is a sextile to (11H) Mercury in Taurus. The wonderful man who raised me as his own was quite young. An archetypal ‘puer’ (Mercury).

  23. I have Saturn Rx conjunct Moon (both in 8th- also conjunct Uranus) all TRINE Sun in the 12th (and all square Venus). This article gave me quite a few revelations- but I have questions. Since my Saturn Rx conjuncts my Moon, would my Saturn issues be mainly pertaining to absence of mom? Also, since my Saturn is in the 8th, how would this affect my life? Through fear of loss? What happened, is that I lost my mom fairly abruptly due to her various problems, & she even had a sudden, unexpected death. My father ended up having to finish raising me (shown thru the trine to my Sun) even though he couldn’t necessarily meet my needs fully either, due to his illnesses (12th house Sun). You have helped me gain tremendous insight, but there are still gaps when I try to put it all together. Any feedback would be much appreciated. Thank you!!!

  24. My sun in Scorpio is either in my 5th or 6th house depending on the house system, and my Saturn is in Leo 2nd or 3rd house, isnt Rx, but I was unwanted by m y sire and the man who kind of raised me for 13 years was mentally ill, absent frequently and then abandoned me suddenly without a word or further contact. Neither aspect Pluto or Uranus either. My moon is sextile Uranus though. So what other aspects/placements suggest such relationships? Also, Thank you for your very interesting thought provoking article.

  25. Jeanne B. says:

    I’ve got Saturn Rx in 12th exactly quincunx my Sun (28°33 in both cases). My father was a very kind and spiritual person. He died after 4 months in intensive care, as the result of an accident when I was 13. He was hit on a crosswalk. Just when it looked as if he was going to recover, he died of septicemia.
    I live with several chronic illnesses, the initial one being hereditary (karmic = 12th house/Saturn). Illness is also indicated with certain planets in the 12th house.
    In my case, it’s all clearly spelled out.

  26. I have a 12th house moon/Neptune conjunction. The moon also conjuncts my Ascendent in Scorpio. It is part of a grand trine in water.

    My mother and I are good friends now, but it wasn’t until my thirties that we became so. I was a seven month preemie, though, and spent two months in an incubator. I’ve always wondered if that contributed to my feeling of “apartness”.

    And the point about solitude is correct.

  27. My sun is in the 10th, conjunct Alpheratz, in 13 degrees Aries, MC in 3 degrees Aries, like my father’s sun, my moon is on the 4th house cusp, conjunct Ceres in 2 degrees Libra, close to Pluto in 12, – my mother’s moon is in 5 degrees Libra, with her north node in 4 degrees Libra. My Saturn retrograde is in 10 degrees Leo, 2 degrees before the cusp of the 1st – 2nd house, in trine with the Sun and Venus retrograde in 18 degrees Aries, and sextile with Pluto retrograde, also trine Neptune retrograde in Sagitarius, on the cusp of 5th – 6th house, also conjunct Pallas in 13 degrees Leo, also square Uranus retrograde in Scorpio on the cusp of 4th – 5th house. My Moon is trined by Jupiter in the 11th house, in 29 degrees Taurus and my Uranus is trined by Mars in the 9th house, in 11 degrees Pisces. I have no planets in the 12th, Gemini, Mercury is in 10th house, 0 degrees Taurus. My ascendant in Cancer squares the nodes, with the north node in Libra, 4th house, and my Pars Fortuna squares the sun from 13 degrees Capricorn, in the 6th house. I have been abandoned at birth, there is no father’s name on my birth certificate, i have been adopted when I was 1 year old; my adoptive father was out of town for work 4-6 days a week, and coming home late at night drunk in the remaining days of the week; other than that he was a great person himself – kind, dreamy, an old world and old century gentleman and a don Quijote, with a bubly sense of humor, and intelligent; BUT a don Quijote. My adoptive mother’s behavior and actions match the narcissistic personality disorder – not the really malignant version – but controlling, manipulative, abusive, gas lighting, smothering in the worse of ways – pulling a tantrum if I so much as went out with a friend 4 hours at noon on a sunday, reminding me of all the sacrifices she did for me, her beloved daughter, compared to all my lack of gratitude, but then, always – whenever I dared to think on my own, remembering to curse the day she ever thought of adopting me and the person that brought me to her, and my biologic mother. I tried so hard for a long time to convince myself that was my family, but she made it impossible for me to accept that. I have no husband, no children, and no roots, and no adoptive family, more so after my adoptive father’s death because of cancer. I belong nowhere and that hurts like a bitch. When I was five, while I didn’t yet know how to read, i used to devour any magazine that had pictures about the stages of a child’s development in the womb, from the first week to term. No one else around me cared about that, so no one had talked to me about that, but I was fascinated by it – I didn’t care about dolls or jewelries or make-up, not then and not later, around puberty; all I was curious about was that. I didn’t dream about prince charming or about the perfect wedding, but I dreamed about and waited for the moment when I would get to feel myself the intimate miracle of pregnancy and have a child. The wish and the waiting gradually faded away with the years, as I understood that the right man is not anywhere around for me and since I don’t have the financial means to raise a child by myself. So I have had a roof over my head, but I have always been alone, never really belonged there, or anywhere else, I am still alone and I have no logically justified reason to assume that it will change in the future. I am really like a leaf in the wind. One that has overlooked her own chance of freedom from the past in order to look after that woman, because she is old and sick and has no place of her own. Because I take care of her, i can’t afford financially to get myself a place of my own. But I stay and take care of her and will do it till the end, in order to pay for “all the sacrifices” she has done for me and for which she has insulted and offended me.
    So this is another case for you, described in very few, but important details.

  28. Levi Fuentes says:

    Interesting article. I am 12th House ridden: Sun, Mercury, Mars, and Ceres, all in the 12th House and forming a stellium in Sagittarius.

    Speaking as a 12th House individual, I have always felt my dad’s involvement in my life was pretty non-existent (if anything, whenever I would ask him something or my mom would ask me to ask him something if I wanted something, he would always defer me to my mother). In my adult life, he’s not around because he’s constantly out of the house, either working somewhere else or helping his family in Mexico; it’s not to say he helps out when he can but he didn’t shape a lot of my characteristics. It wasn’t until recently I learned quite a few things about my dad that I didn’t know (so, the 12th House secrecy does play a factor here).

    My mother, on the other hand, was the more dominant person in my life. Astrologically, she symbolizes the Moon – Saturn conjunction in Aquarius in my chart. The Moon – Saturn conjunction is in my 2nd house, so she help shaped a lot of my values and cultivated a lot of independence in me.

  29. Mars/Jupiter conjunct in 12th/gemini. I have no motivation in life . . . .

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