The experience of transition from the physical dimension to the invisible planes is one which humanity, for the most part, regards with a feeling of anxiety, dread, and in some cases, sheer terror. In no phase of astrological service is the astrologer required to be more sensitive, more impersonally compassionate, and more truly sympathetic than in those times when he is called upon to interpret a chart of someone whose grief-stricken reaction to the passing of a loved one has, temporarily, neutralized his capacity for on-going. Since each house in the wheel has its basic principles--as an experience-pattern--this material is presented with the hope that it will help all astrological students and practitioners to come into a clearer realization of this most occult of houses and thus to enlarge their ability to deal with people who are "walking the darkened pathway."
The principle of the eighth house is regeneration; and, at this point, a word of explanation may be offered.
A certain fine man whom the author knows has magnificently demonstrated the power of the regenerative viewpoint in the face of a shattering separation. His honored wife made transition from this incarnation at a lime when she was at the height of fame and fortune, loved and respected by many people. She had, as we would say, everything to live for; yet Life removed her from this chapter under drastic and calamitous circumstances. A little more than a year ago this fine woman's chart was made available to the writer who sought to unravel the secret of this particular transitional experience. Focusing the chart-analysis on the seventh and eighth, twelfth and first house patterns, this conclusion was reached: above and beyond any worldly fame she had attained, this woman was a truly great soul who, as a gesture of love-service, chose to make transition in this drastic way in order that a great redemption might be made. It is more than possible that this heroic deed has provided the possibility of great fulfillments for her in the future. This particular chart is a most marvelous example of the linking of relationship-patterns from the past and their fulfillment in the present incarnation. The challenge to the husband's courage and integrity of spirit was gallantly met and, in consequence, he was moved to a gesture of service which, being fulfilled, has already proven to be a source of regeneration and renewal for his remarkable work.
To get at the essence of the eighth house prepare a mandala as follows: a blank, twelve-housed wheel; number the first, second, seventh, and eighth houses; intensify the diameter made by the cusps of the second and eighth. This is a simple picturing of the eighth house and its polarity, the second. Turn the wheel so that the eighth cusp becomes the Ascendant; the seventh house thus appears as the twelfth. Essential meanings of the twelfth house of anything are: (1) the link between the past incarnation and the present; (2) needed redemption which impels the present incarnation. From this standpoint the meaning of the eighth house of the present incarnation is seen to be regeneration of desire-pictures which are the hidden memories of reactions to marital and relationship experiences in the past incarnation. These desire-pictures have their roots in the sexual instincts and in the consciousness of possession which, in marital or sexual relationships, reach a peak of intensity greater than they do through any other phase of experience.
To refer to the original mandala: the polarity, or opposition, made by the relationship of the eighth and second houses to each other may be interpreted in this way: the enemy (opposition aspect) of regeneration (eighth house) is attachment (primitive phase of the second house); the enemy (opposition aspect) of stewardship (second house) is failure to regenerate desire (negative eighth house). Stewardship is "right use of materials"--proportioned, equilibrated income and out-go; attachment to materials is all in-come and no out-go, a state of unbalance by which the consciousness eventually becomes "land-locked" in its preoccupation with material evaluations.
The negatives of both of these houses "feed each other." Desire without Love, sex without fruition remain fixated on possessiveness; intense desire for money and things without balanced release through exchange congests the intaking pictures and a sort of paralysis results due to the ever-increasing demands of the desire nature. The loved person is regarded as a possession; the focus on money or possessions to the exclusion of right personal relationship neutralizes, gradually, the love- potential and, in either case, congestion results which, in its turn, breeds all kinds of ills on all planes of human consciousness. The powers symbolized by the eighth house are those which provide releasement for these congestions of the desire nature. This releasement is symbolized by the dynamic vibration of Mars: constructive action; through Venus: mutuality.
The transition that we are accustomed to call death is actually a large-scale expression of the Principle of Regeneration which, in turn, is the essence of the onwardness and upwardness of any Life-expression. Our bodies are continually being renewed and regenerated when they are in a state of health; congestion--or "un-ongoingness"--is the thing that results in disease. On the emotional-reaction plane congestion is any reaction that results in the person's inability or disinclination to keep himself adaptable, responsive, receptive, and enthusiastic toward newness of experience. If we cling, in feeling, to things that no longer have a part to play in our constructive living, we congest in some way. If, however, we keep open to, and responsive toward, the significance of newness, we welcome the advent into our lives of other moldings into which we can pour our potentials.
Congestion, as a reaction to a loved one's passing, results in such manifestations as self-pity, morbid brooding over the past, resentments, and tendencies to self-isolation. These, in turn, pile up the energies into dust-heaps of misanthropy, despair, escape-tendencies and neuro- mental confusions. When we cling to that which life has proven to be outworn, we do not stagnate--we retrogress. We are either with life in generation and regeneration, or we are against life in congested degeneration. The transition of the person loved by your client is not your client's problem; his problem is to tap the sources of inner power that will result in the neutralization of his down-going reaction-patterns. It is a vital part of your responsibility to help such a person understand that "there is no death, there is only life." Impress on his consciousness the eternal "living-ness" of life and the importance of our responsibility to adapt to change of circumstance and release the best of our on-going possibilities.
Make your converse with such a person completely life- giving; never predict transition or even try to describe the means by which it might come about. Morbid curiosity on this point is not to be indulged. (From a purely astrological standpoint, anyway, it is not wise to attempt this kind of interpretation; the same pattern that designates death also designates the emergence from the old into the new during incarnation.)
You, as an astrologer, must have a clear, clean perspective on transition and its meanings if you are to assist in any way. Fear of death cannot be permitted to lodge in your subconscious if you are undertaking the service of "throwing Light on another's shadowed consciousness." Ground yourself thoroughly in an awareness of eternal livingness and if you ever experience a tendency to react with shock, fear or anxiety to a death picture train yourself to neutralize it immediately by the most efficient means at your (philosophical and psychological) command.
Another approach to the eighth house can be made when we realize that it provides a key to unlock problems of all kinds that may be shown in the chart. A problem is the result of misdirected energy; because of the intensity of quality implied in the eighth house pattern, a little redirection at that point could have a noticeable effect in redirecting almost any other negative condition shown in the chart. Actually, all of our relationship patterns now are sequences from the past and are, in the final analysis, rooted in our desire-consciousness from many incarnations of relationship-experiences. Our desires run the entire keyboard: self- preservation and self-maintenance; obsessions of all kinds; power over materials and people; sexual gratification and mutual possessiveness of two people toward each other; property and prestige before the world; fame and renown; and so on--all of these desire-pictures and impressions and memories have impelled us into specific patterns of relationship with other people all along; congestions on any of these points have been "inner deaths" from which we have had to find releasement some way or another.
There is something in the human heart that is continually searching for enlightenment, and when the astrologer has a "grief problem" to deal with he recognizes that his first and foremost responsibility is to stimulate the bereaved person's capacity for courage and intelligent adaptability. When we realize that the eighth house is also called the house of sleep-experience we recognize the value of our daily period of sleep as a regenerative agency. Rather than continuing in the miasma of dread while facing the "unknown" (which has, incidentally been faced by all of us many times in the past), any bereaved person is instinctively searching for a clearer understanding of his experience-pattern than he has ever had before; he will, in fact, continue to search until he has found the answer whether in this incarnation or in the tenth one from now. Help him, therefore, to see the transition of his loved one in as merciful a light as possible; remind him of times when he was so exhausted by physical effort or pain that he wanted a few hours of sleep more than all the gold on earth. Then present the picture of the consciousness of the loved one (which has manifested for millions of years) as needing a few hours of sleep before resuming the next phase of experience. Make "death" known to his awareness as a rhythmical, natural, needed phase of experience. Then turn your attention to the client's eighth house because he is still here and must go on with his life. The suggestion is made that you "white-light" the ruler of his eighth house, and study its sign and house position accordingly. This is suggested because it is your opportunity to alert him to the very best of his on-going possibilities--and you must make your comprehension of this part of his chart as inclusive as possible.
Do not, in such readings, make the mistake of interjecting your own personal reaction to his broken relationship-pattern. Recognize that a woman can love her husband above all other people, even her children; a man can love his mother more than anyone else, even his wife. Remember that no matter how deeply the client loved the deceased, the latter's passing provides more room in the client's life to extend his love-potentials in other directions and it is evident that such extension is required at that time. Study the solar-eclipse aspects that were made previous to the passing; this will indicate, if the eclipse conjuncted a planet, that a severe testing will be manifested between then and the next eclipse. But remember too that the previous eclipse may have trined or sextiled a planet in the client's chart; this is premise of a very significant "opening up experience." The transition may have made that opening up possible.
Progressed Moon aspects current at the transition (that is, current in the client's chart) must be watched closely. What he puts into action during a progressed Moon aspect bears very significant fruit. If his reaction to the transition impels him to retrogressive action he stamps his consciousness with a deeper-than-ever impression of that aspect. So, again, we say that persons must be encouraged to release in constructive action for a mutuality of good when regenerative patterns are in effect.