Well, here it is. The final house in my house series: the 8th House. It has taken me a full year to write profiles for every house but it’s been worth it. I’ve really enjoyed taking as much time as I need to fully understand and decode each house. It’s something that’s definitely made me much better at astrology, as I only had a slightly clichéd understanding of quite a few of these houses before writing the profiles for them. Now, on to the 8th House; another house that impacts me very personally, as I have Venus in the 8th. Jupiter in Virgo is currently transiting my 8th and conjunct my Venus, so this part of my chart has become a bigger deal lately. As I and many other people with planets in the 8th House can tell you, living with this energy can be very painful and it also can be ultimately rewarding, depending on what course you decide to take.
Just look at the rulers of the 8th House: the planet Pluto and the sign Scorpio. This energy is all about create-or-destroy, in the sense that Pluto tears down the old in a sometimes excruciating way in order to make room for the beautiful and transformative new. Also, in the sense that Scorpio is associated with the shedding of skins to become a richer, stronger, wiser version of oneself. But this is usually only achieved after enduring a lot of emotional pain. So, your 8th House can go either way. The sign and/or planets that are in the 8th House are going to be expressed very intensely and powerfully. This can be a very powerfully positive or very powerfully negative manifestation. It’s why we 8th House people often either go to the extreme of batshit-craziness or healing awesomeness. Figuring out how to heal other people and ourselves occurs after enduring those heavy lows.
|"Twilight in the Wilderness" by Frederic Edwin Church|
I feel like this is why the 8th House is described in such a scary way by many astrologers. It’s where you have to go through Hell, in a certain sense. We’ve all been there and even if you have an empty 8th House, the personal Hell that you’ve lived through resides there. It’s just going to manifest through the sign that’s on the 8th House cusp. No one goes through life without emotional and psychological scars, unfortunately. And having no planets in the 8th does not mean that you haven’t been scarred or damaged. It just means that the damage might not have been as heavy as those with 8th House planets. Still, the 8th House is where one’s personal demons lie and the process of coming face-to-face with these demons requires you to get down to some raw emotional truths.
These truths often come out in relationships. It’s very fitting that the 8th House follows the 7th House, in this respect. Through the 7th House, we establish good friendships, officially commit to the person we’re dating, cultivate business partnerships, and find our rapport with the public. Don’t forget that the 7th House is naturally ruled by lovely Libra. So, whatever’s in your 7th House represents the ideal elements of the relationship; what it will take to keep things harmonious and balanced. But, the evolution of the astrological wheel of houses means that the 8th House is what happens when things go out of balance in your relationships. Trust issues could threaten your friendship, infidelity or lack of intimacy can derail a romantic relationship, disagreements over money can sour the business partnership, and a public backlash could occur that threatens your popularity. In short, the 8th House is what happens when things get real between you and other people; sometimes painfully real. And these are moments that are going to bring out your demons: the fears, obsessions, resentments, or unhealed emotions that rest in the darkness of your psyche.
So, yes, the 8th House is your dark side. You’re going to need to look at the sign or planets in the 8th in order to figure out just how your shadow material expresses itself. It won’t be an easy thing to confront or explore. But, it’s necessary because this darkness can only stay hidden for so long until someone or something provokes it out of hiding. Say, for example, you have Gemini on the 8th House cusp. Your dark side represents all the shadowy Gemini traits: manipulative, deceitful, verbally cutting, someone who really knows how to screw with people’s heads. With Gemini in the 8th, your mind-fucker side can emerge in relationships in a destructive way, making you obsessively or secretly manipulate the situation to your advantage.
You might have Aquarius on the 8th House cusp. This shows that your shadow side contains some of the scariest traits of Aquarius, like the icy detachment and the totally bizarre, erratic ways. So, when things get down to the nitty-gritty in relationships, your darkness can emerge by making you go surprisingly cold or causing you to become wildly provocative or unpredictable. It can frighten the other person and it can frighten you just as much, if not more. Most of us are somewhat terrified of our 8th House placements. They are so powerful and also have such a primal force behind them that expressing them can make us feel evil, psychotic, cruel, or animalistic. I won’t lie: there is that “psycho” side to your 8th House sign and/or planet(s). But, you’ve got to figure out the underlying motivations behind why this insanity is emerging because a genuine button is definitely being pushed when it does.
This is why the 8th House is the container of our emotional, psychological issues. They can disturb or unnerve us. But, sooner or later, we need to get to the bottom of these emotional problems or else they’ll do nothing us ruin the good things in our lives, including the ideal fulfillment or happiness we seek with other people through the 7th House. This is why Scorpio, the sign of the psychologist, rules this house. When we’re in 8th House mode, we put ourselves through therapy. And the purpose of therapy, of course, is to find healing and to transform as a person; all Scorpio/8th House themes. So, to figure out your inner darkness, you have to first identify why it’s there. Your 8th House energy is carrying some sort of wound from the past.
With Gemini in the 8th, it could be this very painful experience of being lied to that made you develop this secret, hidden motive to outsmart other people and gain more information than them that just turned very dark. Aquarius in the 8th House can show long-held emotional pain around the feeling of being treated coldly and of not having your personal feelings be heard. Therefore, an inner motivation has developed covertly that has caused you to shake off personal connections and to be the odd one out in ways that end up becoming really destructive. It takes not only great insight but great compassion for one’s inner pain to be able to understand these issues and then heal them. Rage, fear, bitterness, anxiety, or shame may surround the expression of your 8th House placements. Yet, when you see that beneath all of these troubling emotions is a cry for help or a yearning for love, you will be able to transform them and overcome them.
This is why those of us with 8th House planets are constantly in therapy. But, it’s usually not literal therapy. In fact, most 8th House people rarely partake in actual therapy or, at most, go to a counselor only for a brief period of time. It’s not any sort of arrogance of not needing therapy. Having an occupied 8th House makes you very aware that you’ve got issues. It’s more so that having planets in the 8th gives you a natural ability to be your own therapist. We are deeply introspective individuals and possess this lack of fear when it comes to delving into the darkest part of ourselves. With my placements here, it’s because being so introspective and so aware of my issues is very stimulating (Mercury), something I really value (Venus), and something that motivates me in life (Mars). I am so used to hashing through my psychological baggage and this has gradually helped me transform the way I think (Mercury), love myself and others (Venus), and assert myself (Mars). Being an 8th House person is like living many different lives because of the dramatic transformations we put ourselves through on account of this deep self-awareness.
For the majority of us, we really don’t have a choice. I don’t like to make sweeping generalizations but it is pretty much a given that having 8th House planets means that you have been really traumatized in life, at some point and for some reason. This is what makes us so aware of the darkness in ourselves, in others, and of life itself. For some of us, it has occurred through our upbringing, with us enduring physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse. For others, it can be the death of a loved one in childhood that rocks us to the core. Also, there just could have been a ton of emotional drama one absorbed while growing up; the sense that things were always going to be volatile and upsetting. Also, even if the childhood was relatively healthy or stable, you can see the 8th House person who goes through trauma in early adulthood, getting into an abusive relationship, having someone very close to them die, or surviving some other very painful event.
Yet, the 8th House also shows how you’ve survived that emotional pain. The planets in the 8th are indicators of your survival techniques. Jupiter in the 8th, for instance, would show someone who learned how to magically find the positive in the terrible situations they faced; someone who developed a belief that what didn’t kill them made them stronger. The Sun in the 8th would mean that you found your confidence by identifying as a survivor. For me, Venus in the 8th gave me the strength to find some sort of harmony in the face of the emotionally difficult things I’ve been through and a way to love myself regardless.
So, do not fear being an 8th House person. Yes, it does give you a certain amount of inner darkness. But, it also makes you a survivor, a powerhouse, someone with wonderful emotional strength. When I think of the 8th House, I think of emotional resources; the internal things we can draw on that keep us going. Of course, having an empty 8th House makes this true, as well. Someone with only Cancer in the 8th House, and no planets, would primarily draw on their nurturing, responsive, emotionally aware side to get them through anything emotionally painful or difficult. Whenever you’re faced with psychological challenges or difficulties, with that placement, you will know how to take good care of yourself and also be a source of support for others in their trials and tribulations. This is why “power” is such a keyword for the 8th House. When we talk about power here, we shouldn’t think of being in control. We should think of having the ability to know our inner strength and to reach down within our depths to be able to access it.
This is also why your 8th House placements cannot be expressed with the intent of controlling anything or anyone. In the end, this is a Water house. It’s emotional, it feels deeply, it goes with the currents. So, you also need to find the strength to let the expression of your 8th House just flow. When you do, you will end up feeling empowered and enriched. The process of 8th House empowerment is also what allows you to conquer those demons of yours. Any resentment, fear, anger, or other unresolved pain you hold on to ends up having power over you. And when it emerges in ways that ruin your relationships or your stability in life, you can feel like this terrible fate is taking over. It isn’t. You just need to find peace with your inner demons. When you do, they will have much less control over your life. In the process, that person that hurt you in the past – whether it was a parent, relative, friend, lover, or whoever else – will no longer have control over your life. Because if you still haven’t healed your feelings toward them, they’ll keep hurting you and without having to actually hurt you; just because of their presence in your psyche.
When many people speak of the 8th House, they speak of “inheritance.” This gets many stuck on the “other people’s money” aspect of this house that I really don’t buy into (more on that in a bit). But, for me, the inheritance of the 8th House is far more emotional than anything. It’s no coincidence that many of our 8th House issues are family-oriented, in nature, especially for those who have been victims of abuse, abandonment, or any other neglect or mistreatment while growing up. These are toxic inheritances that have been passed down from generation to generation: your grandmother’s controlling nature becomes your sister’s, your father’s temper becomes your brother’s, your mother’s alcoholism could become your own. This is another not-so-pleasant part of the 8th House: figuring out the issues you’ve inherited and just what to do with them.
First off, they are problems that must be forgiven, no matter what. It’s the only way to move forward. Secondly, you have to figure out what to do with these energies: transform them, subvert them, or kill them off. The control-freak tendencies of your grandmother could be a twisted expression of amazing strength or just the sign of a truly impossible person. Your father’s temper can be transformed into formidable passion or it could just make everyone’s life a living hell. The 8th House is about transmuting the shadow, using this alchemical process to figure out if gold lies within there or if the material is just useless. If the psychological inheritance you’ve received could enrich you in some way, then use that. After all, power does not always stem from lightness and goodness. But, if the psychological inheritance does nothing but destroy, then get rid of it. Going through such a process will put you firmly on the path to being empowered.
Now, as far as the other people’s money aspect, those with 8th House planets do usually end up, during some point in adulthood, receiving significant money from others through a financial inheritance or some sort of assistance. But, it’s often not a positive process. To receive an inheritance, someone has to die and someone you probably loved. And to be financially assisted by others definitely robs you of your power as an adult and can lead to toxic games of control or battles for power. So, I always advise people to focus on the “emotional riches” of the 8th House instead. Yes, this house can also mean taxes and joint bank accounts and all the rest of it. But, frankly, that interpretation bores me. If you want to learn about managing money and handling finances, look at the 2nd House. In my opinion, the 8th House goes much deeper than that.
It does require trust to open that shared bank account with your partner; typically seen as an 8th House process. But, it requires much more trust to share your feelings, secrets, and thoughts with them. That’s why I also say that the 8th House is about the intimacy of your relationship with someone. Whatever’s in the 8th shows how you go deep with someone else and it won’t always be an easy experience. Major revelations occur here, including the painful things you’ve been through in the past that you’ve told very few people, if anyone. So, that kind of sharing requires huge trust, which is why having planets in the 8th House makes trust a very important factor. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve probably given less specific personal accounts in this article than any of my other house articles. Suffice to say, everything I’ve just said about being an 8th House person applies to me. But, the details are too touchy to air out on the Internet for everyone to read. And, after all, as an 8th House person (with a strong Scorpio and Pluto influence, to boot), I do have to have my secrets!
When you think about it, sex is quite a secret and it makes sense that it is applied so much to the house of secrets and mysteries: the 8th House. But, 8th House sex is not like the fun, casual sex of the 5th House. It’s actually not so much about the sexual act but the emotions behind it. Why aren’t you having an orgasm? What fantasies aren’t you sharing with your partner and why? Do you want to be more dominant or more submissive and what does that say about you? When you have planets in the 8th, you are automatically labeled as some sexy beast. And while 8th House people do have a lot of sexual energy and do easily provoke very sexual responses in others, we also usually have quite a few sexual issues to work out in order to fully enjoy sex. Sometimes, it is the residue of being abused or betrayed or hurt in the past and it’s coming out sexually. But, we do possess a ton of passion and this yearning to intensely connect during sex, all of which ends up being very magnetic and can create some real magic in the bedroom. Whatever is in your 8th House, sign or planet, it is the deeper sexual connection that you are capable of making. And like anything in the 8th, if something is getting in the way, you need to examine it and transform it.