The Eighth House
Traditionally, the eighth house is the place assigned to sex and death. That includes such things as taxes, inheritance, alimony, partner’s debts, borrowed money, other peoples’ money, jointly held assets, ‘community property,’ and the occult – magic, witchcraft, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, and high-energy physics.
From a psychological perspective, the eighth house is the house of risk (vs. safety and security of the second). While the second house represents self-esteem, personal pleasure and sensual gratification, valuables and earned income, the eighth is where and how we give pleasure to others, what we give and take in sharing on all levels, what we value in others, how we are willing to risk our present security for greater mutual comfort and growth.
The sign on the cusp of the eighth indicates the qualities that we feel put us (our ‘persona,’ personality, first house) in danger. It is a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. If you don’t take the eighth house risk, you won’t grow. If you do, your persona shatters. The sign on the eighth, and planets in it, symbolize what we either love or hate both in ourselves and in others.
Frequently, the more attached (or stuck) a person is to his personality image, the more he denies the qualities of the eighth house. If we do the eighth house, our personality has to change. A person who accepts the chancy path of self-actualization tends to come across as his eighth house sign instead of reflecting his first house qualities.
In addition to looking at our eighth house in the natal chart, let us also consider the signs eight houses away from our Sun and Moon. The eighth house or sign from the Sun threatens the ego, and the eighth from the Moon forces the “inner, needy child” to grow up.
For instance, if the Sun is in the sixth house of work and service, the eighth house from it is the first. To stand out and be noticed as a unique individual person is an ego threat. With the Moon in the ninth to settle down and create a home (fourth house) is a threat to the inner child because he must grow up and become a parent.
- Aries‘ impetuosity and self-assertion isn’t too happy with the self-restraint and calculation Scorpio requires.
- Taurus‘ desire for comfort feels insecure with Sagittarius’ need for freedom and exploration.
- Gemini’s superficiality spontaneity may rebel at practical, well thought out long range plans required by Capricorn.
- Cancer‘s sentimentality is disconcerted by Aquarius’ detachment and independence.
- Leo’s proud ego and dramatic flare balk at Pisces’ self-sacrificing humility – the Lion doesn’t want to play the wallflower!
- Virgo‘s self-perfecting fussiness is shocked by Aries’ attitude of “just do it!” Libra‘s concern for other people is offended by Taurus’ self-absorbed sensuality.
- Deep, intense Scorpio is perplexed by Gemini’s light and breezy ways. Sagittarius, roaming freely and unbounded, feels claustrophobic with Cancer’s attachment to home and hearth.
- Serious, hard working Capricorn is insulted when he sees Leo earning better rewards, faster, simply through his warmth and charm.
- Aquarius with Virgo is the mad scientist and his lab technician. In an odd way they need each other.
- Last of all, Pisces‘ all encompassing and compassionate nature feels threatened by Libra’s demand for one-to-one relationships and “political correctness.” Pisces feel threatened by social limitations.
A final note: if you are comfortable with your eighth house, look at the eighth house from the eighth. The third house of communication, neighbors, siblings and daily contacts might be you’re “shaky ground.”
About the author:
Eleanor Buckwalter has studied, practiced and taught astrology in Los Altos, CA for more than twenty-five years, including three years with the late Richard Idemon, a psychological astrologer. Her primary astrological focus of interest is parent-child relationships and family dynamics.