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Want to learn more about how to do astrology? You've come to the right place!

The EIGHTH House

Ashley Thiessen

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Now that we can see Houses as opposites of one another, we can understand the 8th House as the reverse of the 2nd. The 2nd House is all that you own and all that you see as yours: money, possessions, and property that belongs solely to you and nobody else. The opposite, the 8th House, is shared money, possessions, and property, which you have to share because it belongs to both of you. And oh boy, isn't that fun?

We can also understand it as being built off of the House that came before it. The previous 7th House is where we got into a relationship, so the 8th House is all that happens when time passes and those relationships get more sexually, financially, and emotionally intertwined. It means sharing secrets, and being vulnerable in ways you can't be with anyone else. It also means that you have to trust them with your money, and (in monogamous relationships) to be exclusive with sex. Jealousy, possessiveness, and power struggles eventually arise as each partner attempts to control the other, which can tear both of you apart. But serious relationships also mean partners accompany one another through hardship, grief, trauma, the birth of new children, the deaths of old loved ones, and new phases of life. All of these things – sex, death, birth, other people’s money, other people’s values, other people’s minds and emotions – are said to be contained within the realm of the 8th House. Especially since they are kept in the private spaces of other people’s relationships, and are not openly talked about.

 

IF YOUR CHART WERE AN ACTUAL HOUSE

The 8th House would all the secrets hidden in those walls, which the inhabitants know of but never speak about. The moans and cries in the bedroom at night. An urn holding ashes. Gossip over inheritance. Secret porn, condom, or sex toy stashes. The parents fighting over each other's families, over the debt one racked up and the affairs the other one had. All of these are examples of seeing the dark, unlikable side of someone you are in an intimate relationship with, and what parts of you you try to hide from the outside world.

 

DOMAIN OF THE 8th HOUSE

  • Shared money, property, and possessions (including taxes, debt, and inheritance), and all the power struggles that come with sharing sources of power with another person

  • Intimacy; when relationships get more sexually, emotionally, physically, and financially intimate with a partner

  • What gives shared property value, such as fertility or natural resources (oil, gas, mines, forestry)

  • Dark, offensive, and taboo subjects (death, sex, religion, politics, occult, crime)

  • Secrets, suspicions, and conspiracies (knowledge of things which are hidden)

 


PLANETS IN THE eighth HOUSE

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You are fascinated by the darker, forbidden side of life. If there is ever a secret to be ferreted out you would be the one to dig for the truth. Western culture is grown around deep Christian stakes, phobic of sexual deviancy and occultist practices. The seedy underbelly of society hides serial killers and addicts on the street. History books are filled with blood from war and Imperialist exploitation. But where others avert their eyes and pretend they have no idea, you steadily precede further down into those taboo spaces. You are not afraid of what others fear. You are not afraid to unearth the dark, uncomfortable truths about the world we live in. Quietly, you do your research, looking deeper into people’s relationships to find what is really going on behind closed door. You read up on psychology to better dissect their minds and troubled emotions. You watch people’s faces when they lie. There are very real issues that you feel very passionate about and are obsessively dedicated to. Most of all, you want to help people. Nelson Mandela in South Africa and Mother Teresa in India both had this position as well. Both dedicated their lives to exposing the cruelty and injustice of the world they loved in. Both suffered tremendously, and both are immortalized for their successes.  

Your bravery in facing the unknown is due, in part, to the suffering you’ve gone through in your own life. Many psychologists study psychology under the guise of wanting to help others when in reality they are trying to understand themselves. You are no different. Although you make a point to know what everyone else is hiding, not many people know much about you. You have gone through many hardships that have uprooted you emotionally. Death, divorce, abuse, crisis, trauma, and other painful separations are all examples of the devastating changes life has forced you to endure. Pain finds you at the hands of those closest to you, most often in the form of rejection and your complex emotions not being understood. You have both witnessed and been the victim of depression, anxiety, grief, addiction, rage, manipulation, destructive fantasies, and cruelties, giving you an inside look at the darker recesses of the human mind. Yet despite all that you have gone through (which would be enough to kill a weaker person), you are still standing. These unfortunate events have turned you into a wiser, more compassionate, more understanding person. 

 
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This is not the most marvellous placement for your Moon. Emotions naturally gravitate towards being secure, which means being grounded and protected by routine and familiar, loving relationships. They seek a container, in other words; a structure in which they feel safe. The 8th House is a container, of sorts, but it is one that is constantly changing. In emotional matters you seek out experiences and relationships that are set to drastically alter your personality, transforming you one way or another. In your youth the most common transformative experiences are destructive, even violent; ones that mature you through force and devastation. Your childhood and teen years may include being uprooted from home, separated from family members, death, various forms of abuse or violence, alcoholism, addiction, strict religion, power struggles, affairs, lose of money, psychic experiences, and control issues. In short, you encountered both hidden subjects that no one is comfortable talking about and events that many in your family refuse to acknowledge. Your chaotic and periodically aggressive emotions are the result.

As you got older and began to move past the transformative experiences of childhood, you still found yourself encountering similar themes in your intimate relationships. Romance, friendship, and even close business partners are among those that most affect us, and within them we all evolve into more mature adults in the end. But because your Moon is in the 8th any emotional involvements you get in are bound to bring about the death of your old self and the birth of the new. You seem set to encounter whirlwind relationships that change you forever. When you love you love so deeply, intensely, and intimately, you lose sight of what is really going on around you. Especially when those relationships involve money or sex, you become obsessive, jealous, paranoid, and consumed by those “darker” emotions that have plagued you since birth. Honestly and trust are seldom found in these affairs. The entire relationship is wrought with drama that eats away at you one heart-wrenching day at a time. Yet you love so fully it can be hard to let them go. Intimacy is bound to pain and devastation. And you find yourself at the end of it all, completely changed.

 
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Everybody has secrets. Everybody has parts of themselves that they keep hidden from other people: a past sexual trauma, infidelity committed within a relationship, the lingering effects of a parent’s death, a mental illness they struggle with everyday, the real amount of debt a person is carrying. You are fascinating with anything that is hidden, forbidden, or too taboo to talk about. Like a detective you carry out your quiet investigations into the things that you are “not supposed to know”. The more mysterious a subject is, the more interested you are in it. You ferret out secrets and become deeply involved in your research work. You pay close attention to subtle exchanges that take place between people and what they could indicate is really going on beneath the surface. Particularly ensnared by people’s personal lives, you sneak your way into their intimate relationships, sex lives, finances, and any painful hotspots they might have. 

Psychology and the occult (magic, astrology, spiritualism, alchemy, divination, etc.) are of particular interest to you; the former because it gives you an inside look into other people’s emotional lives, and the latter because it speaks of hidden forces and secret powers. In looking deeper into other people’s dark sides you learn more about your own. But this has the unfortunate side effect of breeding an obsession with analyzing yourself and others. Your mind can become overly preoccupied with finding mental health problems and emotional issues. You may automatically assume that everybody has something terrible to hide like depression, anxiety, fear, rage, addiction, trauma, abuse, sexual difficulties, jealousy, insecurity, cruelty, and destructive fantasies. In truth, you likely suffer from a mind overrun with a few of these yourself, hence why you think everyone else does too. Although you seem intent on uncovering everyone else’s secrets you keep your own thoughts hidden behind a heavy veil. You get to learn about everyone else’s motivations and emotions, but nobody else gets to know about yours.

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As perhaps you can tell, this is not a pleasant placement for Venus. As a planet she wants her relationships to be settled, committed, enduring, and built on a solid foundation of trust. Placed in the 8th House, she is turned completely upside down. Unions become deeply complex, transformative, highly sexed affairs – a stark contrast to the gentle pleasantries of mutual love. Nearly every relationship you have begins as a secret crush you cannot openly admit to for some reason. Love is sparked by seduction and sexual curiosity, where you entice your interest and invite them into your vivid imagination. The relationship itself is due to be more complicated and intense than what is considered “normal” or “healthy”, but for some reason you seem to be quite comfortable battling your partner and being berated against rocky shores. Trust issues arise at some point because of fear, poor communication, betrayal, or outright infidelity, either at your hand or theirs. And throughout this tumultuous affair there are always issues surrounding power and control. This is especially true when resources (money, material belongings, property) are shared and decided over together.

The most common thread winding around your relationships with lovers, friends, and business associates is the idea of transformation. In earlier, immature relationships, transformation is largely forced and destructive. It involves you being completely emotionally wrecked in every way you can be, and then being reborn as a stronger, smarter, more self-aware person. It is therefore very, very important that you study and recognize all the symptoms of a physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive relationships. Some abuse is obvious, others are more subtle. Partners may use their own extreme, hyper-sensitive emotions to manipulate you into doing what they want. They may use your own feelings of guilt, shame, embarrassment, or doubt against you; they may ignore you and withhold affection frequently; they may make you responsible for their unreasonable anger and jealousy; they may threaten harm against themselves or someone else; they may attempt to isolate you from friends or family; they may insist on being the one who makes and spends money; they may call you constantly and try to coerce you into coming over; and commonly, they will cheat on you with others in secret and then lie to you about it when you confront them.

 
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Mars is especially potent when placed here. When you apply Mars’ fiery, explosive force to the brooding realms of the 8th House, what emerges is nothing short of powerful. It is within your intimate relationships that you experience and express this planet, the energy of which can manifest in a number of ways. Mars as an outside force may come to you through abusers, manipulators, cheaters, oppressors, objectification, and others who seek to strip you of your personal power. Relationships with men may be particularly difficult for you. Or it may come at you from the inside, resulting in depression, addiction, self harm, or even suicidal tendencies. You may self medicate these bad feelings with euphoric substances or creative expression. You may spend a lifetime fighting with your darker, more destructive emotions without seeking help or telling anybody what you are going through. Conflict is found in your close relationships with family, spouses, and friends as you provoke others into confrontation, subconsciously hoping to transform an inner situation through outside force. Then you may retreat away from them altogether, isolating yourself from the people that love you the most.

All this intensity stems from some very potent energy not being identified and expressed in the right ways. Your Mars is very, very passionate, and you need a healthy outlet for those passions. Otherwise, any energy not used constructively will be instead used destructively. The best quality of your Mars to focus on is your bravery, and since it is expressed through the 8th House you should look into related avenues through which to cultivate it. You have the potential to enact influential change by forcing transformation upon the subjects that need it. By analyzing our minds and our culture you can see into those things that people are afraid or uncomfortable with, and then you can help people by being able confront them. Sex and death are the two biggest themes here. You may want to help people become more accepting of their sexual feelings, or you may be brave enough to face violence and crime head on. Astrologers most commonly appoint the 8th House to joint finances and shares resources, saying that you belong managing other people’s money. But a more appropriate title would be as someone who makes sure authorities do not abuse their power, especially when it comes to perpetrating fear, exploiting, or degrading other people.

 
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Your relationships with your parents are deeply emotional, intimate, and close. And you are likely to benefit from an inheritance of money and property passed onto you. However, every kind of close relationship is bound to be rife with power struggles and difficult experiences, and in this case those lie with your family as well. They have their own system of values, their own taboos, their own unspeakable events and shun-worthy topics to mention; the things you simply do not do and do not talk about because it makes them uncomfortable. They have family secrets. And you, interested as to what they are, quietly turn your investigations onto them. You come to unravel how emotional (perhaps even unstable) your family members actually are following the monumental changes of their life: death, births, painful separations, abuse, and traumatic experiences. They may be depressed, anxious, hiding incredible rage, or alcoholic. Being there with them you shares in these changes and watched their old selves die and new ones reborn. Your relationships with your family were balanced between being extremely close and loyal and complete hatred at times – a complex family dynamic that should be examined closely.

Perhaps the most famous example of Ceres in the 8th House is Sigmund Freud, who also had this position and whose work in psychoanalysis centered around child development and how early childhood experiences could affect people throughout their life. He was a pioneer of modern therapy, being one of the first to make a patient comfortable and allow them to recall details of their life while he analyzed their thoughts and feelings. His ideas become more controversial as he spoke of children going through psychosexual phases. One of his most famous ideas was the Oedipus Complex (female: Electra Complex), where he proposed that children’s early sexual drives become an attraction to one parent and resentment towards the other. Naturally, most people are uncomfortable around talk of incest and dismiss his ideas outright because of their controversial nature. But all of these core themes – the psychology of child development, the comfort a therapist provides, the unearthing of fears of childhood – are typical of those with this placement. You do not have to share Freud’s ideas, but you do share his fascination with “hidden” things in the mind which can be traced back to early childhood.

 
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You become wiser and more enlightened over the course of your 8th House experiences. By becoming personally acquainted with another person’s mind, emotions, and all their secrets, you open up to discovering the personal truths that lie underneath all their guarded walls. Others may be too afraid to delve deeper into their mind because of what they might find there. Repressed memories, uncontrollable emotions, intense desires, or hidden sexual taboos may be some of what they fear they cannot control in themselves. Yet you have an optimistic, open-minded approach to the things that make other people wildly uncomfortable: taboo subjects, the occult, death, sex, emotional issues.  That is because you seek first to understand these subjects and what their purpose is in the big picture, viewing them as steps on the ladder to enlightenment. By studying and understanding what we fear you believe we can uncover the truth about ourselves. You may turn to psychology and become heavily interested in investigating the invisible, impenetrable world of the human subconscious as a result.

One famous example is Carl Jung, who also had Jupiter in the 8th House. Jung was a contemporary of Freud but deviated from him largely because of their different views on the subconscious. Where Freud basically believed that inner recesses of the mind were full of neurosis and repressed emotions, Jung had a more positive, enlightened view of the human mind. His work not only touched on psychiatry but integrated ideas from various religions, philosophies, histories, art, literature, and even astrology. He believed the purpose of psychiatry was the same as spirituality (to help a person find their purpose) and regularly looked outside of contemporary science for answers. Jung founded a practice called Analytical Psychology, which is a branch that studies both an individual’s personal subconscious (where dreams are from) and what Jung called the “collective unconscious” – a shared, cultural consciousness where myths, folklore, archetypes, and symbolism stem from. Altogether his work was aimed to discover how a person could find personal fulfillment whilst also discovering how they are integrated in their larger human family.  

 
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You choose your partners carefully. To them you are wholly committed for the long-term, intent on sharing your entire life but only with a few select, special individuals. You grow close only to some. The fear of making a mistake in becoming very intimately involved with the wrong person haunts you; this fear is restriction, but also makes you very picky about exactly who you decide to be with for the rest of your life. You want to choose a single partner whom you can trust and share everything with them: joint bank accounts, combined incomes, both names on the land title, children together. But you never move into anything quickly or totally out of fear. You subtlety fight for power and control of everything you share with your partner. Perhaps following a particularly bad marriage or relationship you were left burned with financial burdens you could not recover from. The scars left behind after these devastating experiences make it difficult for you to truly bond again. In this way, Saturn indicates caution that arises out of fear following some difficult 8th House situation.

The astrologer Liz Greene claims that the emotional scars born out of the Saturn in the 8th House placement are the deepest and slowest to heal. In truth, you may bear them for most of your life. It is difficult for you to express your feelings or let down your emotional walls because of you were let down badly by someone you trusted in the past. Future relationships are spoiled by your jealousy, insecurity, and possessiveness as you try to rein in control of your partner at every turn. Then out of a relationship, left on your own, you feel painfully lonely; you may turn to alcoholism or an addiction to something that gives you emotional relief. You hold onto and repress emotions for a very long time while trying to maintain a sense of dignity. But these emotions will instead arise elsewhere, particular in your sex life. When making love you are restricted by fear once more, limited by your performance anxiety. However, what on the surface appears to be worrying about sexual inadequacy is actually the crest of a deeper fear of emotional rejection. You are afraid of submitting, of being vulnerable to a partner following the pain of what happened to you before. You are afraid of giving up your control to them. Thus, you are limited in how much you allow yourself to give and take emotionally with another person.

 
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Chiron in this house indicates that deeply personal, emotional, and sexual relationships are the source of much of your suffering. Difficult experiences have bred a deeply-rooted lack of self-confidence in you which begets problems in your relationship overall. Trauma, crisis, death, abandonment, abuse, and infidelity from the past make current relationships difficult to lose yourself in. Particularly with sex, you feel broken and incomplete. Insecurity may find you in fears over sexual desirability or performance. Another side of intimate relationships is the sharing of resources: money, property, title. Here too wounds are inflicted with debt, taxes, inheritance, money, and legal troubles. Power struggles, or suffering at the hands of someone you once trusted, likewise follow.

Dark and difficult experiences in intimate relations may be what started it all. But your wounds last as deeper emotional scars embedded within you. Depression, anxiety, and repressed rage may be hidden from the world but they are very much present within you. Alcoholism or an addiction to something which gives you emotional relief is also something you are likely to encounter during a particularly difficult period of your life. Your emotional wounds can take you into some very scary places during these dark times: suicidal thoughts, grief stricken numbness, and destructive fantasies may rise up and consume you. You have dealt with more death, exploitation, mental illness, addiction, financial devastation, and cruelty than most people are ever unfortunate enough to come across. It is not uncommon for those with this position to suffer from a complete mental breakdown at least once in their lives. For these reasons Chiron in the 8th House is one of the most torturous placements one can have, and one of the most difficult to overcome.

 
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Intimate relationships, especially those which involve sex and money, can be strenuous with this placement. All problems that arise are to be kept a secret, of course, as all things of the 8th House are. But it seems whenever you become seriously involved with someone the relationship undergoes some sudden transformation. They change suddenly partly because your rebelliousness and your unorthodox ideas make it difficult to be in a traditional marriage or business arrangement. And most relationships simply cannot take such sudden devastating upheavals. Radical, unpredictable shifts may mean they remain exciting, but they do not equate to trust. Jealousy, possessiveness, unstable emotions, and revenge fantasies fly out as faith in one another fades away. Power struggles and control issues are soon to follow. Bedrooms once hot with passionate sex turn cold, facing opposite sides of the bed. Divorce with this placement is fairly common, as are accusations on both sides of infidelity. It seems that you and the spouses you choose are much too changeable for your intimate relationships to last.

Transformative experiences like death, birth, painful separation, trauma, mental illness, abuse, or crisis, seem to arise spontaneously out of nowhere. The unpredictability combined with the devastation of these events can be difficult for you to work through. Disruption and loss, especially when it all happens so suddenly, can be painful. The emotional toll it takes on you can be difficult. An unstable life breeds unstable emotions; random surges in depression, anxiety, and rage among them. For a period in your young life you may romanticize suicide and be preoccupied with death. Alcoholism or an addiction to drugs (or similar escape) is likely to occur during dark periods too. But just as suddenly as you fall into a pit of despair do you experience a sudden shift in your perspective. Transformation, growth, change, and maturity all seem to come to you in one single bold realization. After months, even years, spent in a downward spiral, you may abruptly change course and get back on the right path again. These ups and downs are common for someone with this position, alternating swiftly between recovery and relapse.

 
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This is a planet that seeks to transcend the physical barriers between people, standing for those omnipotent connections that unite us all. In your intimate relationships, you fall down the rabbit hole like Alice in Wonderland, seeing everything distorted through your rose coloured glasses. You see them as you wish to see them. They see you as they wish to see you. You become symbols, subconscious projections, as if in a dream. You see one another as completely perfect, naively drifting worry-free as though your relationship will be forever. With imagined ideals so high you lose sight of reality and fall far too fast. When you are, inevitably, confronted with their faults, their flaws, and their true nature, it comes as a monumental disappointment compared to what you believed about them before. Sex follows the same path, with you beginning your journey hopeful and idealistic and leaving more confused and let down than before. Many celebrities with this placement are sex symbols who have their sexual image taken away from them, with the media distorting (or revealing) the realities of their sex lives to the public.

When confronted with the unfortunate truth about your intimate relationships, you may try to escape from reality by clinging to the illusions. You may deny any feelings were there in the first place and downplay how emotionally involved you ever were. You may conveniently forget the details and skip over that half of the conversation. But these are very deep, very real, all-consuming emotions, and not something that you can ever really escape from for long. Your business, romantic, or sexual relationships are often conducted in secret, and you often intend to keep it that way, never revealing too much of what went on. The reality you were confronted with may have been more serious than you are willing to discuss: abuse, trauma, addiction, crisis, infidelity, depression, rage. Jealousy and power struggles were rampant following these events. They may have ended in death, divorce, or a similar painful separation which causes you to drown yourself in drink or similar addictive escape. Yet, when recalling your relationship, you may begin by declaring the two of you remain friends on good terms and that nothing was ever amiss between you. Denial is yet another method of escaping into an ideal. There again is Neptune, softening the blow.

 
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This is a strong placement for Pluto. We have the planet of change and transformation aligned with the house of the same sort, giving you a ‘double dose’ of the same potent energy. In its younger, more immature stages, Pluto in the 8th House is powerful and overwhelming. You seem to find (or fall into) experiences that rattle your entire life from top to bottom, alighting a fire that blazes through you and leaves nothing unharmed. Tragic experiences, emotional and physical forms of violence, oppression, intense emotional breakdowns, and unhealthy obsessions are only a few of the possible outcomes. Anger and aggression directed outward at others in the form of fighting, violent outbursts, passive manipulation, and dominating behaviour is not unheard of. But neither is directing that anger in at yourself and succumbing to depression, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, addiction, alcoholism, or putting yourself in dangerous situations. With emotions that flare and tear up inside of you, you die every day and return completely changed, only to find yourself facing some other demon the next time around.

The source (or outlet) of these transformative experiences is your personal relationships, usually with a spouse or very close friend. A lot of your personal problems are worked out within the realm of these unions, especially in those where sex, shared finances, and passionate feelings are involved. Two common themes in all of your relationships are power struggles and controlling behaviour, in which you try to dominate and hold onto this other person. Invariably, this fails. No matter how hard you may try to keep them in your bed, in your home, under your thumb, or under lock and key, they leak out and have affairs, break your heart, and prove themselves to be untrustworthy. They may even do you over financially, taking money and possessions along with them. An eruption happens, the relationship is destroyed, and you emerge anew. Love is now associated with pain, hatred, disgust, and betrayal. You may even swear off relationships or friendships altogether. But there is an underlying secret here. You pick these partners subconsciously as a way for you to live out this destructive transformation, whether you realize this or not. One way or another you are getting into relationships with the kinds of people that will change you into who you are supposed to be.