Change and The 8th House
It's natural to resist change, especially change for the worst. Isn't it what we fear the most? Nobody wants to lose anything they value: relationships, health, job, finances, living situation etc. In Vedic astrology undesirable change is associated with influences of the malefic planets Saturn, Mars, Rahu and Ketu (secondarily the Sun) and the malefic or dusthana houses 6, 8 and 12th. Of these three, the 8th house is considered the most malefic being the house of death, chronic illness, sudden changes, obstacles, debts & misfortunes, scandals, among other typically undesirable outcomes. For instance, K.N. Rao says in Analyzing Horoscopes Through Modern Techniques by M.S. Mehta, "In the ending of any marriage the role of the 8th house or planet in the 8th is well known."
The malefic influences in our chart generally deliver to us our negative, undesirable karma during the times of their dashas and transits. While this is true from an astrological standpoint, it's our attitude about change that's important. Our happiness is internally based not externally. Astrology reveals the likely outcome of our external situation but not our internal reaction to it. That is our choice, moment to moment. We either choose to be 'victims of our fate' or we rise above it. We either look for the 'silver lining', the 'blessing in disguise', the 'opportunity for growth,' or we just continue feeling like it really, actually, totally and justifiably 'sucks.'
Blessings in Disguise
If we don't look beyond our surface frustrations to the depths of our life lessons we're missing the real gift of the 8th house - spiritual transformation. The 8th house is not only a malefic dusthana house but it is also a house of moksha or liberation (the moksha houses are 4, 8, and 12). Isn't it interesting that the most malefic house is also a house of liberation? The 8th house takes us to our edge where rebirth and transformation are just on the other side of death and despair.
It's valuable to take the time for reflection during these transitional periods so that we can learn from our past, and not repeat the same patterns in the future. "Where the wound is, is also where the gift is," says Sobonfu Somé, author of The Spirit of Intimacy. When we take the time to dive for those pearls we are able to transform our lives the most. We may choose to make a resolve (vrat) that signficantly changes our karma from that point forward.
Astrology and the 8th House
When I first went to India in 1992 I studied with R. Santhanam, the translator of the classical Sanskrit text, the Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra. After studying my chart he said, "I see you began studying astrology during the sub dasha of your 8th lord. This happened to me too. I also took up astrology in the dasha of my 8th lord." It's very common to see 8th house connections in the charts of astrologers. Usually the 8th house or 8th lord will be connected with either the 10th house (career), the 1st house (self, identity), the Moon (mind, emotions), or the Sun (personality).
During the sub dasha of my 8th lord things changed radically for me. My mother died suddenly, I was in a career transition, and I began studying astrology intensively. I was very close to my mother so this was also a period of intense grief. I had been a school teacher and I decided to give up my job to be with my mother as she fought cancer. After she died, I began searching for a new direction and it was at that time that I had my first Vedic astrology reading. I became so fascinated with jyotish that I began taking as many classes as I could. At one point I was taking 3 classes a week with 3 different teachers, which was possible while I was living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Within a year I was in India studying with R. Santhanam.
The Mysterious 8th House
The 8th house relates to the water sign Scorpio, which is the 8th sign in the zodiac. It's a house of depth, seeing beyond the obvious to the causal level, to the hidden meaning. This is why astrology, psychology, metaphysics as well as research are all associated with the 8th house. It is the most mysterious and the least tangible house.
Similar to how physics has discovered that the most energy lies at the subtlest level, so the 8th house is the house of power (shakti) and life force (prana). The sage Parashara calls the 8th house the house of longevity. You'll see that people with benefic planets in the 8th house will have a strong life force or are interested in working with subtle energy like acupuncture, tai chi, or reiki. For instance, let's consider Dr. Masaru Emoto chart, the Japanese researcher who wrote the best-selling book, The Hidden Messages of Water. By photographing frozen water crystals, his research shows that the energy vibrations we emit through our thoughts and speech actually change the molecular structure of water. He has 4 planets in his 8th house - Jupiter, Mercury, Sun and Rahu. This forms a Raja Yoga (royal combination of planets) between his 1st, 9th and 10th lords for Sagittarius rising.
Inheritance and the 8th House
A more tangible gift of the 8th house is receiving money from inheritances, grants, insurance policies, sudden windfalls, one's spouse, etc. The 8th house is the 2nd house (gains) from the 7th house (relationships) and represents other people's money in general, especially one's spouse.
The following chart is of a client who received a huge inheritance in her Venus Moon dasha. Her father had passed away and left her with a fortune that changed her life completely. She had been working as a therapist and suddenly didn't have to work another day in her life.
Notice in her chart that Venus, a natural benefic and a temporal benefic for Libra rising, is in the 8th house in its own sign of Taurus. Venus is also in the 11th house (gains) from the Moon and in the 2nd house from the Sun (wealth). Venus certainly represents the possibility of receiving a large sum of money in her Venus dasha. The 8th house, as previously mentioned, is the house of death and is also the 12th house (loss) from the 9th house (father). The inheritance came while Jupiter was transiting through her 2nd house of wealth and aspecting both her mahadasha planet, Venus, and her sub dasha planet, the Moon.
This was, of course, a mixed blessing since she had the experience of grief and a new found financial freedom simultaneously. This demonstrates how our lives are complicated and why we can't just evaluate a dasha period in simplistic terms like 'good' or 'bad'.
Ultimate Lessons of the 8th House
When we're going though a period of intense change it could be helpful to think of the wheel of samsara or illusion as being an actual wheel. The closer we get to the center or hub the less spinning actually takes place. This is why meditation and spiritual practices are so important because they pull us back into the peaceful center of our beings so we can stop spinning out with our minds and connect with our hearts. The way out is in.
In Marianne Williamson's book, The Gift of Change, she says, "The most important thing to remember during times of great change is to fix our eyes anew on the things that don't change. Eternal things become our compass during times of rapid transition, binding us emotionally to a steady and firm course." The 8th house is where we face our extreme vulnerabilities and where we ultimately realize our invulnerable Self.
Anandamayi Ma In Paramahansa Yogananda's classic book, The Autobiography of a Yogi, he writes about his meeting with Anandamayi Ma in his chapter entitled, "The Joy-Permeated Mother." He asks her, "Please tell me something of your life." She replied, "Father, there is little to tell. My consciousness has never associated itself with this temporary body. Before I came on this earth, Father, I was the same. I grew into womanhood, but still I was the same. When the family in which I had been born made arrangements to have this body married, I was the same. And Father, in front of you now, I am the same. Even afterwards, though the dance of creation changes around me in the hall of eternity, I shall be the same."
This is one of my favorite quotes and something we can remember when we're going through major transitions in our lives, which can be seen in our charts by malefic planetary influencs, especially the influences of the 8th house.
Published with the kind permission of Vaughn Paul Manley.
Vaughn Paul Manley, M.A. is a full time Vedic astrologer who has been practicing professionally since 1992. He has a master's degree in counseling psychology and an elementary school teaching credential. He is certified by the American College of Vedic Astrology (ACVA) as an approved teacher and tutor, and is a contributing author for the ACVA Online Course. His articles have been published in The Mountain Astrologer, Journal of Astrology, Zento Magazine, and Maui Vision Magazine. Many of his articles and lessons have been translated into Japanese.
Please visit his website, The Light on Vedic Astrology, at http://www.lightonvedicastrology.com
Copyright © 2006 Vaughn Paul Manley. All rights reserved.