Stephen Arroyo: Astrology Karma and Transformation points out that the twelfth house reveals influences beyond our conscious control. Planets here symbolize forces which often overwhelm us.
Therefore the individual born with Pluto in the twelfth house sphere has the challenge of not feeling overwhelmed by the collective shadow of suffering, sadness and grief. Pluto in the 12th house has unfathomable and complex emotional guilt and feelings of persecution, and it is not unlikely for this individual to take on the role of family scapegoat. It can symbolise an obsessive survival instinct operating below the surface of consciousness, and way back in the psyche of the family. Frequently there is a dark history of abuse, brutality, or violence, and the individual senses that there is something shadowy lurking in the background.
Pluto is working on transforming the collective shadow, and the task is to bring those repressed parts that are weak and undeveloped into full awareness so that they are faced and integrated into the personality. Blocked energy in the unconscious can be released through therapy, self-analysis and dream-work. The depths of the subconscious are explored, and there may be a powerful urge to study psychology or another avenue that explores the unconscious realms of the human psyche.
Pluto in the 12th house possesses a psychic sensitivity to the hidden lives of others. Sue Tompkins says this placement is like a psychic refuse bin, and they absorb the negativity around them; all the unexpressed grief and fears that others conceal behind a happy face. Problematic areas relating to the 12th house are unseen health problems, addictions, excessive escapism, and an overwhelming feeling of powerlessness.
Pluto is sensitive to what is dark and destructive in society. Self-destructive, suicidal, paranoid and destructive fantasies leave the individual feeling helpless and unable to prevent something bad from happening. Yet, this is also a frequent placement in the charts of those who work in mental health, crisis situations, counselling, and crime prevention.
There is a deep need to do something for humanity that will benefit others and themselves. Pluto in the 12th house possesses a deep reservoir of healing power, regenerative ability, capability and strength in the face of unimaginable terror. The person can go through sustained periods of inner growth and periodic transformations and personal crisis are experienced liberally throughout their lifetime.
Common characteristics of Pluto in the twelfth house include: being deeply private, not what they seem as interpreted in other’s eyes, deeply sensitive; taking things to heart; being amazingly shy at a core level; being ultra-emotional; although you may not know it, they can be extremely giving in a silent way; having many deep and unresolved fears, and aura of dreaminess, and powerful dreams or never any dreams because of exhaustion; being naturally psychic. Pluto: The Evolutionary Journey of the Soul, Volume 1