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The Real Houses of Astrology: The Real Eighth House

The Real Houses of Astrology: The Real Eighth House

Can you keep a secret? Better yet, can you hide in plain sight so that no one suspects the truth that hides beneath the surface? Because those are some of the skills you need to explore the Eight House. The Eight House is the house of mystery. It relates to the occult, to death, and to taxes, but also to inheritances and legacies. It's your debts, financial obligations, and shared resources. And that's just the beginning. In recent years, the Eight House has been linked to psychology and deep spiritual work, although we can put to rest the ugly rumors linking the Eight House with sexuality, deviant or otherwise. There's more to learn, of course, but not quite yet.

You're going to need security clearance to get to know the real Eighth House. 


Succedent House: The Eighth House is a succedent house. It follows and supports the Seventh House. The Seventh House represents other people; the Eighth House represents other people's money and resources.

Prominence: The Eighth House is an extremely weak placement in the chart. Even though it's above the horizon, which should make it prominent, it's one of the houses that can't be "seen" from the First House. In terms of aspects, the First House and Eighth House are in a quincunx or inconjunct relationship (150°). They are "averse" to each other and have no connection and no common ground. Planets that occupy the Eighth House receive a score of –4 for prominence.

Relationship: The Eighth House describes your relationship to other people's money and resources. This includes your debts and financial obligations, legacies and inheritances, and taxes. The Eighth House also describes your relationship to shared resources.

Triggers: Triggers to the Eighth House and/or the ruler of the Eighth House have a direct effect on your finances and your shared resources. They can result in an increase or decrease of debt, depending on the nature of the trigger. 

The Eighth House in the Natal Chart: Debt, Death, and Other People's Money, Values, and Opinions 

Although the meaning of the Eight House hasn't changed, more than any other house, the practical applications of the Eighth House have shifted in contemporary use. Death is still a significant part of life (as it were), but thanks to the advancements of modern medicine and the industrial age, it's far less pressing and immediate than it used to be. Our expected life spans are double what they were, and death is no longer a daily concern. By extension, the idea of legacies and inheritances are also less important today. Inherited money and property are no longer as integral to survival as they once were.

Debt, on the other hand is a big part of modern life. We owe money on our homes, our education, our cars, and our credit cards. For the first time in history, living beyond one's means has become the rule, not the exception. The Eighth House in the natal chart shows your attitude towards debt, and how you engage with and manage what is technically other people's money.

Most of the practical applications of the Eight House are financial. However, I've been exploring some inter-personal dimensions of the Eight House that so far have been quite promising. As astrology has expanded to accommodate spiritual and psychological dimensions, the Second House has grown to include not only our personal financial resources, but also our values and opinions. By extension, the Eight House would then represent other people's values and opinions.

When the ruler of the Eight House is stressed, you look to other people for support. That support may be financial, or it may be emotional. But in either case, you rely on resources that belong to other people. 

Planets in the Eighth House

You experience planets in the Eighth House in relationships with other individuals. Planets that occupy the Eight House look for support from other people. They operate on credit, and may incur debt and other obligations. These planets may also care too much about other people's opinions. As with planets in the Seventh House, you need to "own" planets in the Eighth House. Even though you encounter these planets in relationships to other people, they're still your planets.

The Ruler of the Eighth House in a Natal Chart

The planet that rules your Eighth House represents your debts, financial obligations, and shared resources.

Aries or Scorpio on the Eighth House

If you have Aries or Scorpio on the cusp of your Eighth House, Mars, the Archetype of the Warrior is your debts, financial obligations, and shared resources. You are very territorial when it comes to the definitions of "mine," "yours," and "ours," and you will defend those boundaries aggressively. Given that Mars is activated by wants and desires, you may be a little too interested in moving things from "yours" or "ours" to "mine." You take a direct approach to your debts and financial obligations, and you prefer to address them individually, rather than collectively.

Taurus or Libra on the Eighth House

If you have Taurus or Libra on the cusp of your Eighth House, Venus, the Archetype of the Beloved is your debts, financial obligations, and shared resources. You encounter the Beloved when you share resources with other people. You express love and appreciation through the way you spend your money. Your financial obligations and debts can help you to embody your Core Values. You may struggle a bit with the concept of "mine" because Venus puts more emphasis on "ours," but you must find that balance to be truly happy.

Gemini or Virgo on the Eighth House

If you have Gemini or Virgo on the cusp of your Eighth House, Mercury, the Archetype of the Storyteller is your debts, financial obligations, and shared resources. When it comes to the categories of "mine," "yours," and "ours," you can never have too much information. Clear communication of expectations and obligations is important to you, especially with regards to your debts and shared resources. But keep in mind that Mercury enjoys finding and exploiting loopholes, and this can create problems for you. This won't be an issue if you stay in integrity and maintain Right Relationship with Mercury.

Cancer on the Eighth House

If you have Cancer on the cusp of your Eighth House, the Moon, the Archetype of the Reflection is your debts, financial obligations, and shared resources. Your safety needs are closely tied to money and resources, although you're mainly concerned with protecting your own resources and limiting the degree to which you rely on other people's resources for your survival. Your level of safety may become dependent not on how much you have, but on how much you owe. You must discover the Truth that money is not required to survive, prosper, or thrive.

Leo on the Eighth House

If you have Leo on the cusp of your Eighth House, the Sun, the Archetype of the Hero is your debts, financial obligations, and shared resources. Financial integrity is of great importance to you. Sharing resources with others, or receiving financial and material support is what calls you to your greatness. Other people invest in your authentic "Big S" Self, giving you the opportunity to justify their trust by acting in alignment with your Personal Standards of Integrity.

Sagittarius or Pisces on the Eighth House

If you have Sagittarius or Pisces on the cusp of your Eighth House, Jupiter, the Archetype of the Dreamer is your debts, financial obligations, and shared resources. You experience faith and optimism with regards to your debts and financial obligations. You believe that you must spend money to make money, and are willing to leverage other people's money and resources to grow your own prosperity. As ever with Jupiter, your experiences depend on your consciousness and where you invest your faith. If you create massive debt, your faith is in the illusion of lack, not the truth of abundance.

Capricorn or Aquarius on the Eighth House

And if you have Capricorn or Aquarius on the cusp of your Eighth House, Saturn, the Archetype of the Judge is your debts, financial obligations, and shared resources. The boundaries that matter most to you are the ones that define "mine," "yours," and "ours." You hope to understand and master the Laws of the world of form by exploring shared resources and financial relationships and responsibility.

Houses Related to the Eighth House

The Eight House has the strongest connections to the Second House (financial) and the Fourth House (death). It has no legitimate connection at all to the Fifth House (sex).

The Eighth House is your debt and other people's money; the Second House is your money.

Both houses need to be considered to get a full picture of your resources and your attitude towards money. Debt is not necessarily a bad thing, and in fact, debt can be an integral component of wealth and prosperity.

The Eighth House relates to the manner of death; the Fourth House relates to the timing of death.

Both the Fourth House and the Eight House are connected to death, although modern astrology emphasizes the Eight House connection to death and rarely mentions the Fourth House connection. Since present day astrologers rarely explore death-related questions, and almost never make death-related predictions, this hasn't been an issue. But for the record, the Eighth House — including the ruler of the Eight House — relates to how you die, while the Fourth House relates to when you die.

But before you go looking at your chart for answers, you need to keep a few things in mind. All of the resources relating to medical astrology, including illness and death are only accurate given the medical resources and technology available up to about the 16th or 17th century. A disease or health crisis that would have been chronic or fatal at the time is now eliminated with a dose of antibiotics. Medical astrology is fascinating, and still has some value today, but you must be certain to adjust the context of the interpretations. 

The Eighth House is the house of death and the Fifth House is the house of sex; no one confused the two until Freud came along.

The first recorded example of anyone associating sex with the Eighth House appeared in a 1910 edition of The Key to Your Own Nativity by Alan Leo. Here it is, in it's entirety (the emphasis is mine):

"The Eighth House of each nativity governs legacies, and money coming from others, such ass co-workers, partners, etc. It is also concerned with occult affairs, mysterious and secret undertakings; it indicates the sex tendencies."

That's it. Five words. Five words that fly in the face of two thousand years of sex belonging exclusively to the Fifth House.

I suspect that Alan Leo was influenced by the newly popular ideas put forth by Sigmund Freud, who, when he wasn't blaming his mother for all of his problems, associated sex with death. The modern association of sex with the Eighth House is probably also due to the entirely useless and incorrect idea that the Eighth House has some inherent association with the sign of Scorpio, which is apparently the only sign of the Zodiac that relates to sex.

If you want a more comprehensive argument that explains why sex belongs in the Fifth House, read "Sex in the Natal Chart: Where to Find It" in the September 2016 issue of Talented Astrologer magazine.

The Eighth House in Horary, Electional, and Mundane Astrology

In both horary and electional questions involving money, the Eight House is important. It represents other people's money, including the money and resources of your potential customers. A nice flow between the Eighth House and the Second House suggests that other people's money will find its way into your personal accounts, and the more dignified the Eight House is, the more money available to your venture. In questions about divorce, the Eight House represents the spouse's financial resources.

Horary questions that focus on the Eight House include questions about debt, such as "Will we get the loan?" insurance, taxes, inheritance, and death. Death-related questions are far less common today than they were in the 17th century.

In mundane astrology, the Eight House represents the national debt, financial obligations to other countries, international finance, and multi-national corporations. It represents the tax service and tax collectors, and issues of death on a national level. In times of war, the Eight House represents the resources of the enemy.

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Rave Reviews for Principles of Practical Natal Astrology: Talented Astrologer Training Book 1

Mary Plumb, in her review in The Mountain Astrologer says:

“An excellent guide to astrology that is far more than a typical beginner book. Not only is Burk a skilled communicator (who has studied how people learn), he is also a funny, self-revealing fellow with an astute foundation in traditional astrology (and human psychology) … His book is an in-depth presentation that is spaciously formatted with color in the text and in the cartoons, charts, and tables. His knowledge of traditional astrology, informed by modern views of human development, and his obvious gifts as a teacher combine in this most useful training manual.”

Donna Woodwell, M.A., former Board Member of NCGR and ISAR says:

“A masterful step-by-step guide for learning traditional foundations of chart interpretation in a way that’s accessible to the modern astrologer. Brimming with tips and techniques, it’s fun and practical — the perfect addition to anyone’s astrological explorations.”

Find out what everyone’s talking about! Print and digital editions of Principles of Practical Natal Astrology are available here. Plus, you can download sample chapters of the book for free.

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