The Eighth House: Introduction

The eighth house in astrology is almost certainly the most feared – and one of the least understood. Its associations with sex, death and taxes give it the air of taboo – and that’s certainly one of the themes of the eighth house. So, when you have an emphasis on this house in your chart are you destined for a life of debauchery, running from the tax authorities or destined to go out with a bang? There is surely no other house in the Zodiac that is such a place of extremes.

You’ll be relieved to know that for most of you, life will unfold in a reliably normal and undramatic manner – on the surface at least. However, if you have the Sun, Moon, Chart Ruler or a stellium of planets in this house, you will have a life where eights house associations simply cannot be avoided as they are an intrinsic part of your astrological make up.

Some of you who are not eighth house ‘natives’ may also experience living in this sector on a temporary basis. Planets may transit and station in your eighth house. You may experience an emphasis on this house in your solar returns and transits. Solar and lunar eclipses may take place in this house thus highlighting the affairs of the house when they do.

So, I’m also going to explain how the eighth house functions in predictive astrological charts and provide you with the essential keywords associated with this house to help you make your own chart analysis a little easier. However, I’m going to start with the basics to give this much overlooked astrological house some context.

The Eighth House: Key Qualities


The succedent houses follow the angular houses in astrology and they are the places we build on our base and sustain our lives. To do this we often need to be resourceful, creative yet realistic, aware of our physical and material constraints and potentials and use them to make life worth living. We structure our lives in the succedent houses and do so to make our lives secure. Stability, taking stock and enjoying the benefits that accrue from this are key attributes of the succedent houses.


The eighth house is a water house and associated with the sign of Scorpio. Scorpio is the sign of depth, the sign that takes nothing at face value and is renowned for being able to sense the undercurrents that exist not only between individuals – but in society too. This sign doesn’t flinch from dealing with the difficult issues that many find hard to address – yet such things need to be dealt with as life must move on. So, this house is where we make big decisions, commit ourselves to certain paths in life and control – or be controlled.

The Eighth House: Ruler

The eighth house is ruled by Pluto, and the God of the Underworld is an appropriate metaphor for the house that deals in extremes. But what is extreme? We may encounter situations that are life altering – though that’s not always a bad thing. Extreme for most of us involves binary decisions – the kind you can’t avoid – and life changes as a result. It’s also the house where we face the consequences of our actions. There is no fire escape in the eighth house.

The Eighth House: Natal Astrology

What can you expect when you have the eighth house emphasised in your natal chart? Well, it’s not all catastrophe. As you’ll note from the keywords below, this house is essentially relational as it’s where we share ourselves with others – often without knowing whether we’ll get anything back in return. The key issue here is, therefore, trust. Trust is the foundation stone of the eighth house and it’s not unknown for those with a heavily emphasised eighth house to have issues with it – yet trust is essential when we go out into the world to make out way in life.

With an emphasis on the eighth house some of you may trust no-one. Some of you may be considered extremely trustworthy and may find yourselves in positions of trust throughout your lives. This can be because you’re in charge of peoples finances, their physical health, mental and emotional health and even their raw emotions when they are at their most upset and vulnerable. Mental and emotional health issues can often feature prominently with placements in this house – both as patient and practitioner. In true eighth house style, issues can remain buried for too long.

The eighth house is, however, the place where we expose our vulnerabilities in more than just a psychological sense. When we take out a loan or a mortgage? The bank needs to know everything about us – and telling lies risks criminal prosecution. The same is true of our tax returns. Much as we may wish to control the information other parties have about our most personal circumstances, often that’s simply not possible. We are not the party in control – and control is a big issue in the eighth house. We negotiate the space between what is ours and what is not. It’s no wonder crime and punishment is found here.

Control is often thought of in binary terms and the eighth house (through its associations with Pluto and Scorpio) is the place where everything tends to be in black and white. There may be shadows in this house but there are rarely any grey areas. This is the place where tough decisions are made and where we need to respond to powerful events that shape our lives. It may sound as though we’re always on the receiving end in this house, however, the messages we find in the eight house are as follows: you can maintain boundaries without being defensive and sharing does not involve surrendering your autonomy. Learn to accept that and move on.

The Eighth House: Keywords

Accounts, Accountants, Alimony, Banks, Big Business, Control, Crime, Debt, Death, Emotional Support, Exploitation, Exposure, Financial Support, Fraud, Inheritance, Insurance, Intimacy, Investments, Joint Assets, Loans, Mortgages, New Beginnings, Obsession, Passion, Partner’s Money, Physical Support, Psychiatry, Psychology, Rebirth, Regeneration, Sex, Sexuality, Shadows, Shared Resources, Sharing, Taboo, Tax, Tragedy, Transformation, Transgression, Trust, Vulnerability.

The Eighth House: Predictive Astrology

In predictive astrology, almost no-one likes to see planets in the eighth house as it shares the fundamental qualities of the natal eighth house. However, there are essential differences you need to be aware of when analysing a predictive chart. These usually fall into two categories. First, predictive charts and the issues they raise are often temporary. Second, those who are dealing with eighth house issues in a predictive chart are not necessarily natal eighth house subjects and will not necessarily possess the traits associated with this house.

So, with an eighth house emphasis by major transits, eclipses or your solar return chart, eighth house matters will appear in your life during the period indicated. You may find yourself applying for a mortgage or other loan, you may be dealing with debts or repaying them. All of these are big issues – and we know that when we take on an obligation of any kind (or discharge one) it may be life changing in big or small ways. You buy a house, you clear a debt (and the stress associated with it) and your life turns a corner.

Of course there are much more profound issues that could occur during the year. Death is associated with this house. Some of you may be dealing with bereavement – or even your own mortality. Some of you may become parents, have new sexual encounters, acknowledge your own sexuality, be sexually abused or bullied. Being a victim of crime is a possibility – especially fraud. This may seem an eclectic list but there is a thread that binds the contents together – and its this. Things in the eighth house cannot be undone. The change is permanent.

Next: 9th House | 10th House | 11th House | 12th House | 1st House | 2nd House | 3rd House | 4th House | 5th House | 6th House | 7th House

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© Sara Shipman

Picture Credit: Image by Liza Trinidad from Pixabay