The 6th, 8th and 12th houses of the chart are called the Dushamsthan, of these the 6th is considered the most turbulent as it is linked to the awareness and the resolution of Karma/bondage. The 12th is dissolution of the manifested. The 8th is then catastrophic transformations of identity where the physical, emotional or spiritual identity undergoes a rapid, forceful and often traumatic change. The death of the physical body is the most extreme change which is seen from here. This is the energy of the Rudra, from the 33 koti devatas who make up your body. Catastrophic changes to the body/ mind /soul, always lead to very intense progress on the spiritual levels.
Every sort of ‘Shock’!
Broadly the 8th house from the ascendant governs the situation of physical death, longevity, hidden assets, legacies from the dead, secret knowledge, mysteries, secrets of all forms, undiagnosable diseases, the act of childbirth, the movement of pran/vital energy in the body, occult, tantra, openings of every sort, evolution/involution, cycles of destruction and creation, disappearances and re-appearances, powerful but invisible transformations. Unplanned, unlikely, unanticipated, emergencies, upheavals and meltdowns. Self-destruction coupled with rebirth. And ultimately the potential for recovery, reinvention and reactivation.
Energy (Prakruti) cannot be destroyed, it can only change from one form to another. The principle of Parinam from Sankhya shastra is the essence of the 8th house’s dynamics. The 8th house counted from every house will indicate the potential for transformations related to the keywords of that house. So e.g. if you are looking at the marriage aspects of a chart, also analyse the 2nd house (counted eighth from the 7th), for secrets and changes to the married state. Then the 8th house from the birth Moon should always be analysed. It indicates emotional turbulence and the threats to the stability of the mind and emotions, intimidation and abuse.
The 8th house is never very visible, just like the natural 8th sign of the zodiac Scorpio, it has unfathomed depths. The 8th is a part of the Moksh trikon with the 12th and 4th houses. It facilitates ‘release’. So unless you focus on it specifically, you will remain unaware of your occult potential.
Here is where the walls of creation break down and reform. The invisible comes out and suddenly you realise its significance. The 8th is intimately connected to the occult, tantra. Tantra is the study of constant change. For the physical self, the 8th house rules over death, surgeries, accidents, ‘cuts’ of every sort. For the emotional, it causes stress and separates. For the spiritual it opens up routes into the depths of the subconscious.
The 8th house also indicates the family of the spouse. The money, the wealth, resources of his/her family. Generally you do not know these things about your spouse’s family completely, so this links up with the secret nature of the 8th! Also the voice, speech, eating habits and wealth-accumulating habits of the spouse.
The 8th then indicates explorations, excavations, surgeons, shamans, tantriks, secret financial activities, scientific researchers, secret criminals, etc type of professions, which thrive on skill and an awareness of suspicions, intuitions and sensations from the internal.
The planets occupying this house often incline an interest in the occult depending on their nature. Too many or strong planets here would indicate reduced interest in philosophy or organised religion and a deeper interest in spirituality or the occult. Their Dasha periods/ significant transits will be quite happening times. e.g. Saturn here will indicate it is the karma to do so, a Mercury will grant the boldness, necessary logic and skills to do so, Venus will grant the tantric knowledge and esoteric wisdom related to the occult etc. A special case would be the Moon placed in the 8th house.
If this house is vacant then look out for the transits or the dasha periods of the owner planet, this would be the time which would trigger its potential. This 8th house ruler is a very important agent of change in your life. Track his movement and the aspects of life he controls. He will cause sudden uncontrollable changes wherever he may be at birth or go in transit. But if you understand that he ‘transforms’ not ‘dissolve’, you might understand his actions better.
If by chance, you have the same planet ruling your 8th from ascendant and the 8th from Moon, be careful during his periods, e.g. Libra Ascendant with Moon in Pisces, Venus is ascendant lord, 8th lord, and lord of 8th house from Moon, thus the Venus mahadasha (20yr long) and his antardasha within other planets Mahadashas will be especially transformative. Similarly for Aries ascendent with Moon in Virgo be careful with your Mars periods. If you can navigate this period successfully you will benefit beyond imagination else the physical and subconscious body both will suffer.
It is important to remember that the 8th house is Shock and Change. How you go with the energy and participate in the process will determine how effective the 8th will be. A strong ascendant sign, ascendant lord and birth Moon are very important in this respect. If you are attached to your identity or have Saturn-like resistance to things unfolding around you, you will suffer more. And then is all about perception, if you are prepared for the change you will not be so shocked and if you are aware in advance you will not feel the sudden-ness. So the intensity of these events is reduced by a strong yet adaptable personality.
To navigate the 8th you will have to think like a hunter in the jungle, the shadows can contain a prey or a predator, so be prepared!