Sex and Zen III: 8th house astrology

Parts I, and II.

Death of the Phoenix Trawling through my archives, I came across this article by Eric Francis on eighth house astrology, bringing together ideas of orgasm, death, and self-renewal, I’d been musing about earlier. ‘Typically,’ he writes, ‘the 8th becomes a dance of death: ego death; flirtation with orgasm and desire (often secret desire)’.

In the previous post, I made the connection between the Zen notion of dying in each moment, and the notion of death associated with orgasm. Interestingly, astrology seems to correlate these notions within the domain of the eighth house, and I quote Francis here again:

Part of the 8th is the struggle to be free of the struggles of money/death/sex struggles of the 8th and embrace self-acceptance in the face of others. Part of self-acceptance is being aware that all living things die; we die; and relationships, as part of the changing world, will invariably change.


Though it is the ninth house that is traditionally associated with religion and philosophical matters, in the astrological psychic cycle, the ninth house is reached only after the lessons of the eighth have been learned. And really, many of us continue to be stuck in the eighth. We rarely face up to death, we rarely face up to sex, and we sure as hell try not to face up to fear. More from Eric Francis:

To successfully pass through the 8th house, people must either pay off the debts they have to one another, walk away, or forgive them entirely. Forgiveness is a huge theme here: of the transience of life, of ourselves for changing and necessarily moving away from, or betraying, others as a result, for them experiencing these things in relationship to us, and ultimately forgiveness of the fact that even if a partnership is not separated by other factors, usually one partner will die first and in so doing, demand that the other let go of the relationship.

Phoenix rising The 8th contains the thing that we fear the most, be it death, pregnancy, surrender, intimacy, separation or isolation. The profound sense of obligation that we feel to others, and the sense of a debt that we cannot pay, can and often are abused. The 8th is a place where total trust is necessary and extremely rare to find. It is the place where we must embrace what we want but cannot have. It is that zone of consciousness where we must relate to ourselves and to the other simultaneously; that perfect contradiction.

Navigating this space entails a tremendous effort in working with one’s awareness, a resolute faith in one’s own integrity amid the normative constrictions of the superego, and a compassionate willingness to forgive oneself for not always being able to work it out.

Not all at once, anyway.

Images: Death of the phoenix and Phoenix rising. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

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