The Eighth House brings the human being close to the most feared adversary: death. Once one overcomes the atavistic fear, a world of transformation and rebirth opens up beyond the threshold of individuality.
The 8th House represents the phase in which, having passed the compatibility exam of the 7th House (the relationship with others), human beings have to free themselves from the uniqueness of their condition, from what is preventing them from contact with the intimate essence of things and other beings. We are already in the upper hemisphere, at which the ego begins the transformation process leading to the social or spiritual experience.
The symbolic relationships with the opposite 2nd House make it clear what the purpose of this House is: to dissolve the bonds with the structures at the foundation of individuality, to loosen the dependence on material factors to access those experiences that are possible only in a regime of freedom from accidental needs. After all, the Taurus-Scorpio dialectic, an analogue to that of the 2nd and 7th House, refers precisely to the action of solve et coagula. The transmutation of the vile alchemical matter reveals its spiritual origin by sacrificing attachments, a necessary phase to continue correctly on one’s path.
It is precisely in the transformation that we find the primary meaning of the 8th House. The ‘knowledge of the Other’ of the 7th House is only the first step towards the reintegration of the human virtues; with the next House, we witness the sacrifice of those values which contribute to favouring substance over essence. After the formation process of the 2nd House (material habitat) and the identification process of the 5th House, the 8th House comes to undo what we painstakingly worked out as the basis of personal manifestation, a necessary step to reach the threshold of the transpersonal experience.
Judicial astrology offers a rich catalogue of associations and analogies linked to a common denominator: death. Today the transformative and psychological sense inherent in the term is privileged, as are the bad and renewal experiences following the phases of individual change. Think of the 8th House as a vacation, absence, emptiness, freedom from contingencies. All the changes – renunciations, losses and the consequent perspective renewal – are a matter of the 8th House, including the holiday in its meaning of a regenerative and rest period. Death as the cessation of physical existence is the last and definitive sacrifice that cuts the individual relationship with the manifestation; the so-called initiatory death is a death in life, a conscious abandonment of the attachments causing the illusion of an ego separated from the background.
Inheritances and wills fall within the meaning of the 8th House, sources of a gain that is not obtained through the direct acquisition of material goods, as is the case of the 2nd House. The spouse’s assets are another example of the application of Derived Houses (the 8th House is the second House starting from the 7th House). Poisons and toxins are substances that can cause death and organ dysfunction for genetic mutation or carcinogenic erosion. As part of the so-called Houses of Health (together with the 6th and 12th), the 7th House presides over the surgical operations, meant as a targeted removal or reconstruction of organs and parts of the body requiring radical interventions to recover organic functionality.
The 8th House in Water Signs refers to the need for profound emotional and psychological experiences to dissolve the psychic knots that inhibit the transformation processes. In Fire Signs, the transformations take place in a clear way, burning up all the resistances that limit them. In Earth Signs, the need to destroy solid certainties and then regenerate them becomes imperative. Finally, in Air Signs, the great existential transformations imply confrontation with others and with society.