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by Chris Turner

You can't have "thoughts" about the 8th house, you can really only have "feelings" about it. So many seem to see the 8th house as such a negative place. It isn't. It can be a wonderful place. No other house provides for growth as the 8th house does. Sure, sometimes it can be heavy, or perhaps scary is a better word - but the heavyness can be dealt with, and the dealing with it can bring such extraordinary upliftedness and understanding that you otherwise would never have thought possible. It can be a place of wonder as what is unknown is revealed. It can bring extraordinary feelings of happiness and being right with the world, as well as pain and grief and the negatives we tend to associate with it. What it can never be is a place of stagnation. It isn't a house of secure dry even keeled intellectual understanding, it's a place of emotional extremes, lows and highs, turmoil, confrontation and transformation, it is truly the house of the agony and the ecstacy.

The issue of the 8th house dealing with other people's values and other people's money is a furfy, not that it isn't so, but it is a side effect, and not the core meaning of it. It is the one house that seems to hang on to the horary meaning in natal work. It is only in the sense of derived houses that we get those meanings, it does not mean those things within itself, at least not that simplistically.

I am not coming from the books when talking about the 8th, but from living it, and being closely involved with others who have powerful 8th houses.

It's a house of involvement, thus I find it holds more projection than even the 7th. The 7th seems to be the projection of the conscious, fiery airy idealistic stuff - in most cases. The 8th is the projection of the unconscious, the shadowy emotional feeling watery earthy stuff. Depending on how it is used by the individual it is the area which is where you depend on others and others depend on you. It is where you actually merge with others - in the 7th you are only thinking about it, playing with the idea. In the 8th you do it, for better or for worse. An 8th house person finds they either carry the weight of everyone else on their shoulders, or are seen to, whether they want to or not, or whether they actually do or not; or they duck out of this world, and depend on everyone else to shore them up, whether it be emotionally through friends and partners, or financially through social security, or through avoiding their own shadows by immersing themselves in the shadows of others.

Like all the houses above the horizon it is where the individual finds him/herself reflected back from the "other". In this case it tends to be the shadow areas, because the 8th is about psychological and emotional motivation and growth, which often (but not always) is stimulated by pain, and are often areas of ourselves we don't want to confront or acknowledge. However the 8th is not as hidden or closed off as the 12th, and we have to ultimately confront these areas, and if it's too painful we do it through other people. Death, sex, the occult (as in the shadow side of the spiritual) are scarey areas, areas we try and avoid.

Most of us are terrified of true intimacy which is what the 8th house demands from us all. Our Judeo/Christian ethic has distorted the meaning of sharing, which is as much taking as it is giving, so for most of us real sharing is a struggle. How many of us can take an honest compliment without blushing or saying something like "I wish that were true." This is what the 8th house is all about.

The 8th House, like the 12th, and to an extent the 4th, is not one easily explained with words. It has to be lived and experienced openly and without fear and negation to understand it fully. I have gone on long enough, and although, having come out of the emotional closet for the moment, I would be happy to amplify further if anyone wants, right now I'd rather scuttle back into the safety of more intellectual musings.

Copyright © 1998 by Chris Turner

All rights reserved

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: CHRIS TURNER is Principal of the "Chiron School of Astrology" which offers courses for the beginner to advanced, to FAA Practitioner's Certificate level. For more information, visit Chris Turner's website at: http://www.chironastrologyschool.com/ or email Chris at: turnerchris@iprimus.com.au

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