The 12th house is coming to life more and more in the 21st century. It is the final house in the zodiac and, therefore, represents completion. If a life-cycle is not completed it can represent escape. Here, karmic cycles can be finished and even liberation can be found. Traditionally it translates to meditation or sleep—states of mind that depart from our everyday waking norm.
This house is a place of solitude. Hermits and, in general, solitude falls under its umbrella. States of meditation—as departures from waking existence—can also be placed here. People living in monasteries—separated from the life of the world and its needs to work and to make money—are likewise living largely in this house. Prison inmates, because they are removed from the world and the need for earning a living, are also placed in the 12th house.
Incidentally, it is worth noting that the 6th house of work is connected to the 12th house. Ideally a balance is found between work and solitude or escape but often people gravitate towards experiencing one or the other to an extreme. And people who avoid the 6th house and the karma of working and struggling that it signifies usually travel to the 12th house where, if that have not learned the lessons of maturity that work teaches, usually find suffering.
People sometimes avoid having to work by breaking the law—dealing drugs, stealing, or engaging in other underworld activities associated with the 8th house. Often, these law-breakers end up suffering or in prison (both 12th house experiences) and therefore pay some of their karmic debt through the 12th house instead of through the 6th house which they sought to avoid largely through laziness.
The 12th house is where we go to finish our karma. Generally, people who experience primarily the lower aspects of the 12th house—sorrow, loss, prison—have not developed a healthy appreciation for the work and service which allow them to safely navigate their heavier karma. However, if we have the ability to work, to serve a higher purpose, and to meet life’s challenges honorably, this can be a place of peaceful rest and meditation.