vyayaM ca vairi-vRittaanta
vyayaac-caiva hi jñaatavyam
iti sarvatra dhiimataa
vyayaM – loss, decay ruin, expense, dissolution; ca – and; vairi – hostile, inimical people; vRitta – complete circuit, completed, mastered, finished, gone; anta – ending; riHpham – renunciation; antya – withdrawn, internalized, hidden, concealed, separated; adikaM – all sorts of; tathaa – thus; vyayaaH – loss, etc.; ca-eva – and certainly; hi – “!”; jñaatavyam – to be known; iti – that; sarvatra – in all respects; dhiimataa – the wise.
[From the Twelfth House] the wise understand everything pertaining to dissolution and renunciation. All cycles come to an end here. All things withdraw from the world and become hidden within. This apparent hostility helps us give up attachment to the world.
To understand the Twelfth House we have to return to our original anchor point: the Eastern horizon, the first house – which is the home of our physical body and tangible, material life. We learned that below the First House was the Second – which acted like the foundation below a building; upholding and supporting us and our material life with health, wealth and family. Now we come to study the Twelfth House, which is not below the First House but above it. Instead of supporting the First House, the Twelfth House erodes it and reduces it eventually to nothing, just as the wind, weather and rain will do to a building from above.
This clearly expresses the essential nature of the Twelfth House. It is the house of vyaya. The author mentions this word twice in this verse, and highlights it with not just one but two exclamatory words (eva and hi). Vyaya is thus doubtlessly the fundamental characteristic of this house. To understand the house we must understand the word.
The word indicates erosion, dissipation, disappearance, decay, ruin, loss, and expenses. The financial implications of the word are subtexts, not the main theme of the house. The financial subtext here is spending money and losing money. But the main theme is “all sorts of” erosion and dissipation of the physical body and our material life.
In the Vedic body of literature, the opposite word is used to refer to spiritual realities, which are described again and again with the word avyaya signifying that true and spiritual things never erode or decay or become lost. The wise author, Parashara, has selected the particular word vyaya for just this reason. The function of the Twelfth House is to reveal that our physical self and material life is not a truly spiritual reality – there is more to life than our material pursuits and our physical and tangible experiences. The Twelfth House is the origin of this realization, and all the things that impel us to come closer to this realization.
As such the Twelfth House is not a particularly plush, comfortable, hospitable or cozy place. It is the place which reveals to you that you are caught up in living a total lie, in absolute illusion about who and what you are. Thus it has a hostile, and inimical flavor on the surface.
Sometimes astrologers want to say that “enemies” reside in the Twelfth House. In my opinion this is a shallow view. Yes, you will not meet people in the Twelfth House who will fan your ego and tell you how great you are – in that sense there are no “friends” to be found here. You will meet people who will strip you of your fake, material ego, and reveal you to be a liar even unto your own self. Are such people truly “enemies”? No. They are helping you realize a higher truth. So it is not enemies who reside in the Twelfth House so much as it is uncomplimentary, inhospitable people who are critical of you for the sake of your own ultimate good.
So the Twelfth House is the place which erodes the facades of material life in all sorts of ways. One of the main ways that we come up against the realization that our concept of life itself is transient is to be faced with death. Death is the end of a complete cycle of life. This is what the words vritta-anta mean: the end of a complete cycle.
The Twelfth House holds the completion of things. We actually need the Twelfth House energy, to a certain extent, to help us bring even our ordinary tasks to completion. But the real purpose of the Twelfth House is to evolve us, move us onward, push us forward (all meanings of the word vritta). Forward towards what? Towards the completion of “the cycle.” What cycle? Ultimately, it is the cycle of birth and death itself which we must eventually complete and evolve beyond. The Twelfth House holds the power to evolve a soul to the end of the cycle of birth and death and thus grant enlightenment, liberation (moksha) and true mastery of perfect knowledge (jnaana).
This word is often used as the very title of the Twelfth House, along with Vyaya, and it is seldom used outside of an astrological context. It is composed of two parts: rich and pha. The first part, rich, means to “give up and renounce.” The second part, pha means to “flower.” There is a double meaning here – the Twelfth House is the flowering of renunciation, and is also the renunciation of the “flowers” (i.e. giving up the desire for the objects of the senses).
Thus if you visited the Twelfth House you would find most of it’s occupants are hermits, mendicants, voluntary beggars and spiritual recluses. The House holds the power to unlock us from the material world, by allowing us to gain dispassion for the objects of enjoyment in this world. Gaining this dispassion allows us to complete the cycle of our material births and deaths and attain enlightenment.
Since the Twelfth House is the place which creates disinterest in the material world in an attempt to end our cycle here, it therefore creates the power of reclusiveness and withdrawal from the world. As a result of the Twelfth House, our tangible world is eroded and revealed to be nothing at all. Therefore we lose interest in it and withdraw from it. We instead go within ourselves. At first we go into our imagination and retreat from the world into fantasies of the stars or elves or whathaveyou. We seek an alternate reality to replace the reality which has been revealed as insubstantial – so we are impelled towards drugs and intoxication by the Twelfth House. We also find that orgasm allows us to momentarily transcend our limited reality, and is also connected with creating new cycles of life. Therefore the Twelfth House impels us to crave orgasmic release. Suicidal energies also emerge from the Twelfth House, because we can completely withdraw into our selves and lose all interest in contact with the world.
On the other hand, this same inward focusing energy can be used to create great philosophers and saints with enormous powers of internal meditation.
In short, the Twelfth House causes us to devalue the “real” external world in favor of the intangible internal reality within and beyond everything.
©2010 Vic DiCara – All Rights Reserved.
– Vic DiCara