Posted by: Donna Cunningham | December 4, 2010

Readers Ask: Q&A about the 8th House

©12-3-2010 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

This is part of a series of posts where readers ask questions about a particular house of the astrology chart in the comment section and I answer them. This time we’ll look at the 8th house and a variety of uncomfortable topics associated with it.  (There’s a reason why this house came last in the series!)

The combination of the sign on the 8th house cusp, the sign and aspects of any planets in that house, and the ruler of the 8th describe our experiences and approach to sexuality, birth, death, rebirth, healing, regeneration, transformation, taxes, and debt.

 The 2nd house/8th house axis is a clue to personal finance, and you’ll find links below to a series on the topic here on Skywriter. The 2nd house shows money we earn. Money that comes from outside sources instead of a paycheck is seen in the 8th, including the partner’s money, inheritances, legal settlements, subsidies, grants, royalties, scholarships, and disability payments.  (If it’s hard for you to talk about money, see Astrologers’ Hang-ups about Money—How they Hurt our Clients.)

 Pluto and the sign Scorpio have a natural resonance with the 8th.  They’re not exact equivalents by any means, but they share certain qualities. People with a strong 8th house—like having the Sun, Moon, or several planets there—often share the Scorpio fascination with sex, death, and transformation.

Bring on the questions, Readers!I am happy to entertain general questions like these:

  • Does the ruler of the 7th in the 8th mean I’ll marry a rich man?
  • Is it recommended to have surgery when you’re having an 8th house transit?
  • “My Friend” has a stellium in the 8th but hasn’t had a lover in years.  Should she try a new deodorant or a new house system?

Yes, I’m aware that most people are really asking a question about their own or a loved one’s chart, but at least they have the class to make it a more general question that will interest other readers as well.)

UPDATE: This session is closed, but to read other people’s questions and answers—scroll down below this article to the comment section. Maybe someone else asked yours.   You might also enjoy:  Everything You Ever Wondered about the 8th House…

More Houses in the Readers Ask Series:Donna Cunningham's astrology blog

Readers Ask: Basic Questions about the 12 Houses

Related Posts about Pluto and the 8th house: 

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Art Credits:   The clip art on this post, like the illustrations for most posts here comes from


  1. Hi, again!
    I’m sorry we got to the end of the series. I enjoyed them a lot. I hope we find a way to start all over again 😉

    here’s my question. hope it’s a good (answerable one). I know it’s a bit overly dramatized on many forums: What’s Pluto in the 8th all about? I’d love to hear about your own experience or observations about this.

    thank you!

    • Hi, Chris, any time you see a doubling up of a planet/house connection like this one of Pluto/8th or Scorpio/8th, it does intensify the connection, but to know what it actually means, you’d have to look at Pluto itself to see what aspects it forms and how strong it is in the chart (through the Pluto test on this blog, for instance).

      I wouldn’t assume it’s inherently negative unless the aspects are tough ones, like, say a Pluto-Saturn conjunction or square to the Sun. Basically, it just reinforces that the matters of the 8th house are important ones to work on and to bring to a positive expression.

      For instance, someone who has had lots of death around them might use their own experience of grief and loss to become a grief counselor–or a medium. Many mediums (those who communicate with people who have passed on) have a strong 8th house or Pluto aspects. Donna

      • So already your responses put me back in to change the house system on my chart to Koch to see if Pluto falls in my 8th, which it does. What piqued my curiosity was your comment about someone who has a lot of death around them; I’ve had people tell me during conversations, “Wow Karen; you’ve known a lot of people who’ve died of cancer!” And I have. Have thought about becoming a counselor for breast cancer survivors. Recently was at a John Holland / Lisa Williams event and Lisa quipped, “It’s so nice to see you all. Please do speak up; after all, I spend so much time talking to dead people that I rather enjoy talking to ones who are living!!” I’m not a medium (yet anyway), but I do spend a lot of time talking to dead people since I know they can still hear me.

      • oh, no! And if you do have Pluto sq Sun – what do you mean “negative”? 🙂

        hei, nobody here mentioned death and dying. would this be an indication for a violent death, for instance? Or a violent person (you said surrounded by death). I know this is getting deeper into ‘specific’, so please just elaborate a bit on the ‘really negative’ part. that’s always the one that gets and gives the bad reputation, isn’t it?

    • I second that we should have another go at this series – so enlightening!

    • Violent death? Not necessarily–a strong Pluto gives resilience and a strong immune system. In fact, I’ve known quite a lot of Pluto types who fit that old saying that they wouldn’t die for spite.

      Like my mean Aunt Bernadine, now getting on for 90 and having outlived every one of her kids. I always say that she’s one of the Undead, and when this planet is burned to a cinder and the aliens come to claim it, she and the cockroaches will be the only life forms here. And she will kick some alien butt. Donna

      • Interesting…I’m a Pluto in the late 7th native, according to other house systems than Placidus- Koch, for instance- I have 4 planets in the 8th that I suppose would be “strong” (got pretty high scores for almost all the planets in my tests)- Pluto is part of a stellium of 5 planets, and is square moon, sextile MC, Neptune, and Mars. I don’t quite get the 8th house thing but it seems like I’m going to have to unravel it eventually. The traditional interpretations don’t always work for me, but being stubborn, resilient, unstoppable- sounds a bit more like it! I’m doing much better with my career than others at a similar or better talent level are, since I just approach things from every angle. And things are like that in other areas at my life, I just keep chipping away at problems in any way I can think of. I like this interpretation, Donna!

  2. Good Morning Donna!

    I know this Q&A is going to be good. Here I go:

    1. How do you relate the 8th house with birth (is you own birth or your experience birthing a child, emotionally/ physically?)
    2. How a stong plutonian person with no planets in the 8th relate to that house?

    Sorry I never manage to make just one question…is hard

    • One question at a time, otherwise I’ll wind up writing a book on this topic. (Oh, I did that already!)

      so, let’s take question #1: The 8th house shows the actual pregnancy and childbirth experience of the mother (from conception to delivery and probably immediate postpartum), while the 5th shows the offspring we raise.

      As for our own experience of being born, I’ve never given it any thought, but it’s an interesting question, isn’t it? I suspect it might be the 1st house, our meeting point/first impression of the physical world.

      For instance, the old timers in astrology used to say that Saturn in the 1st shows a difficult birth and sometimes a sickly infancy, and I have known that to be true of clients. My father, for instance, had that position and was a “blue baby.” (But of course Ob-gyn has had massive improvements since their time.)

      Any observations from readers who have been through rebirthing?

      I have Pluto/Mars on the Ascendant and an empty 8th with Aquarius there. When I went through rebirthing, my experience was of rage at my mother and the doctor (who nearly killed her in a later surgery) as well as a past life recollection that I was a soldier killed in battle due to the commander’s incompetence…and in that life my mother was that commander. So I’d say it fits the Pluto/Mars on the Ascendant rather than the Aquarius on the 8th. Donna

      • I can see both the 1st and 8th influencing this. If you accept that my Pluto is in the 8th under Koch, here’s an interesting one: I was born under hypnosis because my mother kept telling the Dr. she wasn’t going to have me. She almost died in childbirth with # 4 and was deathly afraid of giving birth again. (Probably not too coincidental that I was the only one she smoked with during pregnancy then, is it?) Fast forward to 4 years ago, when I was having a reading with a psychic medium who told me that my mother was actually pregnant with twins but the other one died; that one’s soul was attached to mine until 4 years ago. While that is way too wild to comprehend, I decided to approach it this way knowing my Gemini mother pretty well: I called her up the next a.m. and said, “Mom, I have a really bizarre question to ask you. Did you know you were pregnant with twins when you were pregnant w/ me?” She hesitated for a long min, then said, “No.” And then said, “Have you been talking to your psychic friend in San Diego again?” Which then told me the answer was really yes and she did know. I have no idea who else knew because none of my siblings did. So apparently I was associated with death at birth!

      • I don’t doubt your story–I have heard any number of times of twins where one died in utero or within a short time of birth and they remained in contact for years. Donna

      • I have Saturn in the First house conjunct my ASC and my umbilical cord knotted during my birth. This meant that I took my first gasps of breath in the womb, inhaling amniotic fluid and meconium. Fortunately, that Aries ASC of mine meant that I got out PDQ. The doc was able to clear out my airways in short order, which saved me from heart, lung, or other abnormalities due to my source of oxygen being cut off during delivery.

      • I had pretty normal birth for the time period, which means very institutional and designed for the convenience of the doctors and nurses rather than the mother and child. I was taken away from my mother and put in a hospital crib. When I revisited my birth in a meditative state, I remembered being extremely unhappy about this. I did not want to be taken away from my mother. I felt lonely. The hospital crib was cold and hard, and the sheets felt scratchy to me. It was a depressing experience on the whole. My mother once commented that I cried so much as a baby that the pediatrician encouraged her to let me cry myself to sleep.

        I’m not really finding any of this in my Taurus 8th house, with Mars and Jupiter conjunct in Taurus and the Moon in Gemini conjunct the 9th house cusp. For me, this resonates more with my Capricorn 4th house (Capricorn being associated with authoritarian institutions) and my 4th house Capricorn Chiron (wounds).

      • Wow… these are all very interesting stories. I was like a moth to the flame of this post because I’ve been reading up on the 8th house alot these days. Re-birth is what made me want to learn more about my 8th house. I have my North node there (in Taurus), opposing my Pluto conjunct Moon in Scorpio.

        I had my past life regressed this summer and, if the experience was genuine, then I had committed suicide in my previous life after my boyfriend died of a drug overdose. There were memories of being born to a young and inexperienced single mother… who was in the house at the time of my death.

        Lately I’ve been reading alot of evolutionary astrology books and I’m far less skeptical of the experience as a result. I’m currently reading Jefferey Green’s ‘Pluto: Volume I’. If his assertions about Pluto’s relationship to the nodes are correct, then the ‘story’ of my past life is quite possibly true.

  3. Hi Donna,

    What’s your interpretation of an 8th house north node?

    And if you’re feeling indulgent, I really like your question, “Should I have surgery during a transit to my 8th house?”

    Super indulgent [I feel the need to smile here like a child 🙂 ]: Saturn transiting the 8th house

    I’ve recently read many comments on your blog from people saying how much they’ve learned during your house Q&A series and the strength of the planet series. You surely must be living your dharma to spread this knowledge so freely!

    Namaste & Blessings

    • One question each today, so I’ll pick “Should I have surgery during a transit to my 8th house?” (No way will we get through this session without one to several node questions!)

      The answer is, drum roll….That depends! The process of selecting a date for surgery (an electional chart) should only be undertaken by an expert, especially if it’s a life-changing surgery to address a serious illness. (I do have a name or two of people I’ve used and trust.)

      It is soooooo complicated, with about 25 different factors to consider, including the condition of the ruler of the body part in question. (As you may recall from previous discussion, each body part is ruled by a particular sign or planet). The natal 8th house and transits might show the ability to heal from such a surgery, but wouldn’t necessarily be a negative indicator.

      Myself, I look for positive aspects to the Ascendant as well, especially like a trine for Pluto. I’ve been pretty good at finding times for cosmetic surgery, but would never venture to do an electional chart for a serious surgery. Donna

      PS. LATER: I kept waiting for someone else to ask your question about Saturn transiting the 8th, but no one asked about transits to the 8th at all. (Too scary?) Here’s a link to an article I wrote about that:

  4. Hi Donna! I feel we should all light up a cigar to celebrate the coming to an end of such a fruitful series adequately!

    Question: As a practicing astrologer, what’s the most common statement you got from people with moon in the 8th?

    Q&A suggestion: It’s been weeks since the Q&A for professional astrologers, and I’m still obsessing with what you said about astrology and dark secrets. I’d love it if you could do a series about it- this stuff rarely appear in textbooks.
    Thank you!

    • Thanks, VR, I’ll pass on the cigar, but would welcome a frozen margarita, salt on the rim. Might just do that today, actually, as friend Martha and I are going for Mexican food after running amok at a used book sale at a local library. (Paperback mysteries–50 cents each? Yeah!!)

      But, yes, I loved doing the Q&A for professional astrologers and have been casting about in my mind for good topics. Any suggestions would be welcome. How about the knotty question of how to handle fees?

      Moon in the 8th? A really complicated and somewhat murky relationship with the mother would be my guess. One who gave very mixed messages about what it means to be a woman…our sexuality, our dealings with money. Might have been somewhat of an enabler, subverting our belief in our abillity to make our own way in the world. Exactly what she taught us would depend on the sign and aspects to that 8th house Moon. Donna

      • And under Koch, my moon is 1 degree away from 8th house cusp … and yes murky relationship w/ mom, and extremely mixed messages about womanhood, sex (the woman had 7 kids and still to this day claims she only had sex w/ my father 7 times in 23 years. Seriously? Who does she think she’s kidding?) and she and my step-dad have declared bankruptcy twice in the past 33 years, so I guess I’m leaning more towards the Koch house system than Placidus at this point! LOL

      • Koch also cuts the slices of the houses (obviously english is not my first language(!)) more evenly, which makes for avoiding the whole ‘interception saga’ issue.

  5. Hi Donna! Enjoy the margarita – you’ve earned it! (An 8th house treat?). I wondered about Mars in the 8th. I’ve got the cusp on Gemini with Mercury in the 10th conj the MC, so I make money from freelancing. A fire or earth Mars might be good at earning money from this house, but what about a water Mars (Cancer in my case)?
    (About the birth question earlier. My mother claimes she went pregnant with me for 9 months and 3 weeks – “I looked like the bloody Hindenburg!” That’s gotta be the mars in the 8th? Cancer is a bit … lazy).

    • Yeah, and I’ll bet your Mom was a bitch on wheels those last few weeks before you were born!

      As for writing, yes, I’d image that combination of Gemini on the cusp, Mars in the 8th would be good for freelancing. Maybe trines by transit would be very good for royalties…as well as transiting Pluto in Capricorn in the 2nd, even with an opposition. And Mars in the 8th for a romance writer–good for the sexy scenes. Donna

      • The bitching never stopped … The opposition has been very good, actually. When Pluto crossed into Capricorn things started happening – I could give up my other jobs and write full time. I thought it would bring taxproblems and what not, so I was a bit nervous. So far, so good!

    • Interesting. I have Mars in the 8th too, and I was 2 weeks late. Taurus on the cusp, which might be associated with hanging on and not wanting to make the transition. Which reminds me of another thing I remembered about my birth – I was reluctant to make that transition, very ambivalent about coming into the world, which seems an odd fit for Mars and Jupiter in the 8th, and even Taurus is not usually associated with ambivalence.

  6. RE: Well, I always say my Pluto is in Libra for a reason!
    One last question before America wakes up (I suspect that by that time Europe will have already exhausted you!!):
    What would a trine to the ascendant from an 8th house placement signify in terms of looks/impressions/appearances?
    (Feel free to use my raging bull moon as an example, but please, I beg you, don’t mention my mother!)

    • A planet in the 8th trine the Ascendant would say that you’ve got IT. Loads of sex appeal. Of course it would depend on the sign and planet, but even Saturn there might be someone like Johnny Depp with bones to die for.

      It might also show that your way of coming across in the world (Ascendant) would make you appealing to people with money and power.

      Would you be interested in trading that position for one of my Gemini stellium (not Mercury, of course.) Donna

      • …said the woman with pluto riding her asc!- I’m so not buying for your modesty!

      • I have my mars in scorpio in the 8th house trining my ascendant… and I don’t know about the sex appeal, but I know that I can scare people. A lot. Without even realizing it. Just by looking at them. 😉

      • I have Uranus in scorpio in the 8th, trine my asc. I really don’t think I have any of what you describe. I will say with Uranus in the 8th and being the planet of the unusual or unexpected I haven’t been in a relationship in over 11 years! I dont think I come across with sex appeal, but I do know that people expect me to say one thing and I will usually shock them with something different. I would like to know Donna at the begining of your blog you mentioned ruler of the 7th in the 8th and marrying well, but what if the ruler of your 8th is in the 7th, would you marry a financially sound partner?

      • Uranus never follows the pattern or norm—it would just be too tedious to do so! So, yes, maybe you’d marry a financially sound partner, but he’d doggone well better not tell you what to do. Donna

      • Bahahaha! You are right on that Donna!! I’m big on people not telling me what to do! I have pluto ruler of my 8th in the 7th opposite my sun, mercury, and venus! People learn very quickly with me that if you ask me to do something – I’m all over it, you tell me to do something – it will never get done!

  7. Hi Donna,
    I read that the sense of ‘not knowing when to stop’ can be connected with Mars in the 8th house. Can you coment on this?

    • Not specifically with Mars in the 8th–I can imagine that a strong Mars in many different houses and aspects would be pretty near unstoppable. Donna

  8. Good Morning Donna,

    Indeed fascinating series!

    How about Neptune in the 8th? Beside the abundant fantasies re sex and money (esp with it square Mercury ruling the 2nd, ha ha). I did see where Jim Morrison had this configuration and obviously drugs played into his demise. But for Neptune living with a ‘clean’ lifestyle (no drugs or drink) any observations?

    thanks for consideration!

    • Hi, Sarah. I’d think Neptune in the 8th could go to extremes of addiction vs. renunciation with sex or money…either in different lifetimes or at different phases of the same lifetime.

      Like the alcoholic/drug addict/sex addict who reforms and goes to the other extreme of total abstinence. On the other hand, a nun or priest with a strong sex drive but very conflicted because of a religious vocation could also have Neptune in the 8th. Donna

    • I have Neptune in the 8th. The 8th can often relate to the past in my observation, and I look there in clients’ charts for indications of past trauma or things from childhood that were not integrated at the time. For myself, I had the interesting delusion for awhile that I had a ‘perfect’ past. Very Neptunian. Then psychotherapy (very 8th house, digging deep) woke me up. That was an interesting journey and very confusing. I think that experience could qualify as a ‘re-birth.’ Also during that time I had a tendency to have a tremendous number of dreams about my past. The subconscious trying to give me a clue that all that idealization of memory was not kosher. I got my most important insights through dreams. Also very Neptunian.

      One more thing. Neptune in the 8th can see sex or money as a form redemption. Sex as a form of cleansing. Money as a way of healing old wounds.

  9. Donna, I thought I’d like the 10th and 7th house sessions the best, since I have stelliums there (under Placidus anyway), but it turns out I’ve enjoyed the 8th house the most so far! Guess that goes along with my very high Pluto score. I’ve been in looking at the 8th houses in all of the charts on my for contacts with the ascendant, planets, etc. Very, very interesting:)

    Only two more comments and then I’ll leave your 8th house Q&A be:

    Re: what house shows the birth experience; really do think it’s a combo of 1st & 8th. Neglected to mention above Cap rising; Jeanne Avery’s book “The Rising Sign” states that Cap risings come into the world feeling unwanted for some reason. I guess being in utero hearing your mother repeatedly say she’s not going to have you qualifies for this.

    And something totally unrelated to the 8th, but you asked in a reply what topics we would like covered next … do you do asteroids? A Q&A on the asteroids would be awesome if you do!

    • Hi, no I don’t do asteroids at all, but am planning to include a guest blogger or two to do Q&A sessions about them. One, I’m hoping, will be Joyce Mason to do one on Chiron…maybe in the houses. Donna

  10. Hi Donna,
    Thank you for keeping up such a lovely and informative astrology blog.

    I actually have been pondering a question concerning the 8th house; I am under the impression that having Neptune placed within this house might lead to some illusions concerning sex, money (inheritance) or spirituality surrounding death. However if you have a Neptune within the sign of Capricorn, wouldn’t this diminish the Neptunian quality of illusions etc?
    I’ve been trying to research this to get a better understanding of how both the planet and then the sign would operate within the 8th house given these contrasting circumstances.

    Thank you.

    • Hi, AC, welcome to Skywriter. I’m, guessing that you’re of that generation that has Neptune in Capricorn and maybe also Uranus and Saturn. Before you can understand what Neptune in Capricorn in the 8th is like, you have to put together the various pieces and only THEN add the 8th to the mix.

      Combining the energies of Neptune and Saturn is hard enough because their natures are so antithetical. (See an article here on Skywriter that talks about that: . Read the comments afterward from people who have it–a profound sharing.)

      However, if it’s Uranus and Neptune together in Capricorn, that really complicates things even further because, in different ways, neither Uranus nor Neptune are particularly grounded in this earthly plane. If it’s hard to combine them mentally, imagine what that’s like as a life task or life purpose, and that’s what your generation has signed on to do. If you’re interested in these aspects between the slower moving planets, my ebook The Outer Planets and Inner Life, volume 3 has chapters about Neptune/Saturn, Uranus/Saturn, and Uranus/Neptune aspects. Donna

  11. I’m surprised no one has Chiron in Aquarius in the 8th, and Aquarius on the cusp. I do, and am perplexed!

  12. North node in 8th house of Pisces. Jupiter is in the 8th house too. I am in my second saturn return. Any comment?

    • Hi, Emma, welcome to Skywriter. The Saturn return isn’t part of the 8th house picture, it sounds like. However there is generally a Jupiter return as well at around the same time as the 2nd Saturn return.

      Jupiter in the 8th can bring a bit of luck where financial matters are concerned from time to time, and certainly if transiting Jupiter is in the 8th at the same time. Jupiter in Pisces would be a bit like that lucky Jupiter in the 12th, where the cavalry rides to the rescue at the last minute. It might be a bit of a windfall from gambling, lottery, etc. though in Pisces beware of the addictive undertow.

      When triggered by transits, especially, Jupiter in the 8th might bring educational scholarships and grants, royalties from publishing, good investments abroad, or a partnership (relatiuonship wise or businesswise) with someone who is well off. The downside could be over-optimism about future income, such that you go in over your head with spending and wind up in debt. Donna

  13. Can you talk about the role of the 8th house as one of the points of a T-square? In my case it’s Neptune opposite the Sun with Uranus as the “post” of the T (conjunct my south node, just to be more exciting). My case is just an example for the more general question. Thanks!

    • Sorry, Marcia, but it requires interpreting an individual chart, and I don’t do that on this blog, being retired.

      Any house that’s part of a t-square becomes part of the dynamic set of 3 or more planets in the t-square whose needs and nature have to be integrated. Here, with another planet (the Sun) opposite, it means the 2nd house (one’s own resources) and the 8th house (resources of others) need to be kept in balance in order for the t-square to work productively and not go into stalemate. Donna

      • Thanks for your answer, Donna! I was trying to make it more general so it wouldn’t be an individual chart interpretation and your answer helps a lot. Best wishes!

  14. Thank you Donna, actually I am apart of that same generation you were describing of Neptune in Capricorn and Saturn in Capricorn but I have Uranus in Sag. I do not have Saturn or Uranus occupying within my 8th house but rather within my 7th which has represented it’s own unique challenges of being very cautious in partnerships/marriage (Saturn) and being attraced to ecentrics/safeguarding my own freedom(Uranus).

    Thank you for the insight and I will defintly try to pick up that book. Of the last year or so I have become more engrossed with the Outer Planets and their affects. Especially since all of the planetary action that has occured since 2008’s Pluto move into Capricorn, and most recently the Uranus/Jupiter move into Aries. These times will undoubtly continue to suprise us.

  15. Hi Donna,
    You state that the eighth house shows money you haven’t earned yourself. Would that include gift money? For instance, if I got money for my birthday, would that be an eighth matter? Thanks, too for all the wonderful writing you’ve done and your generosity with time spent answering so many questions.

    • Yes, gifts and bequests are 8th house. Glad you’re enjoying the series. Donna

  16. How does a stellum in the 2nd interact with an empty 8th? (or visa versa?)

  17. I have the moon in the 8th in cancer and I can also say I’ve had a challenging relationship with my mother. Challenging birth apparently, forceps birth and my head was misshapen for a bit I hear. Also moon square venus which I’ve read can affect mother/daughter too. Moved away from her when I turned 14. Fairly peaceful now. As for the interest in death and such, I’ve always felt very comfortable with reincarnation topics and occult studies – love them, fascinating. Also thinking of death isn’t frightening to me. I also freelance and have capricorn in the 2nd but pluto is still hanging out in the tail end of my first so I will look forward to seeing if this affects me any. Just some comments to add. So informative. Hopefully we can continue with another topic series.

  18. It’s interesting because my 8th house in koch/tropical (I’ve been experimenting with Sidereal lately) is empty and has Capricorn on it. In Koch/Sidereal it has Sagittarius on the cusp. Anyway….

    I’ve heard that the 8th house can show the type of people you attract in your life or at least it’s one of the influences. Is that true do you think? Coming from someone with a strong Scorpio influence ….very cool post 🙂
    Thank you!

    • The 8th could show certain types of people we attract sexually and are attracted to, probably so.

      But the 1st house/7th house axis shows the kinds of people we attract as main players in our lives, especially committed relationships. The connection between the 1st/Ascendant and the 7th/Descendant is a clear “opposites attract” situation. The Ascendant sign and any planets in the 1st shows what personality traits we readily show others–our outer appearance, our behavior in new situations, the first impression people get of us. The Descendant–the opposite house and sign–shows what kind of people respond to that outer appearance, in a kind of reciprocal set of behaviors. It’s not our real self, just what we feel comfortable showing. Donna

  19. No comment, just want to know what others are saying.

  20. ah, maybe you already answered my question. My father’s legacy was taken from me and others of his children through treachery.. (I have an 8th house sun).I made up my mind that from that point forward, I would make sure that any one else’s legacy that I had my hands on or took part in distributing would be FAIR. (I have gotten to practice once already, when my grandmother died, happy cousins in different parts of the country got little things that touched their hearts that could instead, have been thrown away.

    The scary part is, I’m afraid that this can happen to me again.

    But anyway, is my reaction to the first theft what the sun in the 8th house means?

    • Hi, Mimi, the whole area of legacies and inheritances is so fraught with emotion and so often a source of contention. It’s very Plutonian/8th house…all the sorts of family feuds and rifts that occur when there is an important death like that.

      I don’t think that the Sun in the 8th alone would indicate that loss of a legacy…just that in some fashion your sense of self (or your capacity to survive) was bound up in the idea of an inheritance. It would probably have to have other difficult aspects to the Sun and probably a transit of some kind (maybe a Pluto transit, maybe a transit to the Sun or Midheaven) or maybe a progression to activate it. And it would depend on what that transit was, whether it could repeat itself or not. If it was a slow moving planet like Neptune or Pluto, it’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime occurance. Donna

  21. A friend of mine (no quotes) is gay and has uranus in the 8th. Do you find this placement to be consistent with homosexuality? If not, what would it-uranus in the 8th- signify sexually, and, uranus aside, have you noticed any recurring patterns in gay people’s charts?

    • Astrologers who want to be politically correct insist that it’s not possible to identify sexual preference through the chart and would get all kerfuffled that you asked that. They’d say, “Oh, it only indicates an unconventional approach to sexuality. NOT that your baby boy is gay.”

      Out and proud gay astrologers, however, seem to have no problem with the question and have collected charts and done research and would say that, yes, Uranus in the 8th (or even the 7th) is one possible signature. Though there are others, depending on gender/transgender/leanings. Donna

      • Sorry, Donna, I should have just posted at the end, but again, I’ll chime in here. I have natal Uranus in Scorpio in the 8th (both Koch and placidius). I have it in square to natal saturn and trine my asc (the only 2 aspects it makes in my chart). I am not gay, I have a lot of friends that are and I am a full supporter of gay rights. But I am 33 and have not engaged in “sexual” activity with a partner of any kind in over 11 years! How’s that for unusual and unexpected?? 🙂

      • I have 38 charts on my site. 3 of them are for people who identify themselves as gay (ironically, the statistics are that demographically 10% of the population is gay and I just realized even my supports that statistic!). Anyway, back to the point: Of the 3, two of them have empty 8th houses, one with Uranus in 10th and one with Uranus in 12th. The other does have Uranus in the 8th. I’ve never even thought of chart indicators for sexuality, so it’s interesting. One of my friends has a 16 yr old son who we’re trying to figure out if he’s gay or not. I’m leaning towards yes, she’s leaning towards no. Either way, he has Mars and Saturn in the 8th (not conjunct) and Uranus in the 6th. Most interesting of all (to me), is my fantasy retired QB, who has been on my fantasy romance team for a long time, who is married but there have been rumors of him being gay (I always said no because I met him and he didn’t seem the least bit gay to me) has pluto, mars and uranus all conjunct in the 8th house. VR, do a research project on this and report back to us:)

  22. I’ve read the series here on Skywriter on outer planet transits through the 8th from a financial point of view. Could you comment a bit on how these transits (uranus-pluto-neptune through the 8th) could play out sexually?

    • Oy! Being quite an old lady now at 68, I have no direct experience of outer planets transiting my 8th, though I did keep my friends entertained when they transited my 5th. Transpersonal sex? Use your imagination, but whatever you do, don’t get this blog reported as “mature.” Same for your perverted question…not that your question was perverted, just that you asked about perversion.

      Is this maybe the place to relate a recent finding in a chart? It’s the data of a gorgeous guy who was a flaming paranoid schiz who didn’t like to take his meds but who did like to hire hookers and then beat up on them. He was finally excluded from his building, and the exclusion poster had his birth date as a form of identification. I looked it up, and he had Mars conjunct Saturn in Scorpio square Pluto. Also Neptune in Scorpio. No birth time known. Donna

  23. What placements would you ascribe to sexual perversion? Would that be an 8th house thing?
    (I’m not talking about a little kinky, I’m talking about “I love my pet” kinky)
    And do people admit to preoccupations like this in an astrology session?

  24. My question is about when the 8th is really strong. (My example is stellium in 8th -pluto, uranus, jupiter. And also scorpio MC, plus mars in 10. But my question is any really strong 8th house like that.) When there’s such a strong 8th house like that, how does that affect a person’s life in general?

    • A stellium in any house means that a great deal of our energy is focused on the matters and area of life that that house rules. So, you’d look at what I wrote about the 8th house and see which parts of that list of interests and concerns you’re putting your focus on. That could be anything from a healer to a financial planner to a trophy wife or any number of other concerns on that list. ) (As I mentioned to Chris, below, have a look at the miniseries on stelliums that starts here: ) Donna

      • Just checking that link out now and am reading where you wrote, “We invest too much of ourselves in that area, and we expect too much of a return.” So true! Add in my south node in there for fun and it makes even more sense. Really enjoying the article – thanks for the link to that!

  25. What turns a public figure into a sex symbol, in other words what configuration would be accountable for the projection to one person of the sexual subconscious of a generation?
    I’m thinking ruler of the 8th conj. MC. What’s your take?
    (This was the last one. I promise.)

    • Astro DataBank, Lois Rodden’s creation, is now available on and has lots of famous people’s charts available for free. This could be a great research project! You seem interested in the sexual indicators in a chart.

      • Well, this IS a Q&A on the 8th!
        Seriously, I’ve recently came to the very frustrating conclusion that no matter how hard I study, the really juicy stuff are never in the books. For better(we have to be sure beyond reasonable doubt to pose an edgy theory) or worse (let’s not scare off the customers)!

    • Oh, that’s probably one of the signatures, Midheaven involved, outer planet on the Ascdendant or Midheaven or trining it, maybe including Venus or Mars in the picture. check out the sex symbols on AstroDataBank. Donna

    • I think VR’s onto something, say a book called Sex and the Stars, which would cover astrology and sexuality as demonstrated by sexy stars. (I recently read something somewhere indicating Marilyn Monroe’s star signature as a sex symbol.) Of course, hidden sexual identities like Rock Hudson could be investigated; although in his era, coming out to the public was a nono. Also, how some stars are attractive to both genders, like Mel Gibson, or especially attractive to gays or lesbians.

      As to the reverse of VR’s idea of the projection onto the person by the public – meaning the ability of the individual to project desire (that come hither stare) onto the public – I think it is strongly influenced by asteroids, like the various Liliths, for example, and is worthy of some study.

      Another wonderful post, Donna, and thanks to everyone for sharing so fearlessly.

  26. What is the meaning of a stellium in the 8th house. I read about the 11th and one in the opposite house. It seems a stellium in the 8th would be powerful.

    • Read what I wrote to Chris earlier. Yes, any stellium is potent. Donna

  27. What if you have one of the more “beneficial” planets (Jupiter, Venus) in the 8th house which happens to be its own ruler, but it does not aspect anything else on your chart? Does that mean the good energy is gone to waste since it can’t have an effect on anything else in your chart?

    • Too personal, about your own chart. Read what I wrote about Jupiter in the 8th earlier. Donna

  28. Hi Donna, Any interesting observations of those who had their chart rulers placed in the 8th? And would that chart ruler be in a sense ‘hard to see’ in their visage as the 8th is a very quiet inward house, I wonder. Does it tone down that chart ruler?

    • The 8th is not as quiet as you might think. To have the ruler of the 1st in the 8th, the person might present themsleves as more sexual–or more wealthy–than they really are…depending on the planets and signs involved. And might attract more sexual attention than they want. OR, maybe their presence has a healing quality for others. Donna

      • Thank you, Donna. I thought it *might* be something akin to what you posted, but then I thought maybe that would be more along the lines of the 8th ruler in the 1st. Thank you for the clarity.

  29. What’s the difference between a Sun in the 8th house and sun conjunct pluto?

    • The planet is always stronger than the associated sign and house, and a conjunction is the strongest aspect (a fusion of the energies of the two planets), so Pluto conjunct the Sun would be as Plutonian as you can get. Donna

  30. Hi Donna, I have Pluto in Scorpio and in the 8th trine Cancer Sun and Pisces Ascendant. I am not sure, but with planets in the 8th house making aspects to other planets, is the 8th house planet the one with the ‘ruling’ hand?I feel like Pluto directs/control how the Sun and the Ascendant presents itself to the outer world.
    My 8th house planet is like a manifestation mojo, whenever I need money or am concerned with money, I think really hard about it and (other people’s) money seemingly drop from the sky and into my lap. Psychic aspect of the 8th house + other people’s resources = manifestation of monetary gain.

    Actually, those are just comments about the 8th house from my experience.

    My real question about the ruler of the 8th (say Venus) in the 4th house, does it mean a constant drive of death and rebirth in the innermost being (soul)? I have more questions about resources and all that but that would be too many questions. I love how your posts and other people’s posts always get me psychoanalysing and I learn a lot:) Making use of other people’s resources indeed! 😀

    • Sorry, Heidi, I honestly don’t understand what you’re asking. That about the manifestation mojo is very interesting and true, however. Donna

  31. I had planned to wrap gifts today to ship so that they’ll arrive before Mercury Rx. But then your 8th house Q&A appeared and totally abducted me; I’ve spent lots of time on your blog as well as pouring over charts. Ended the night with rereading the Capricorn section of Jeanne Avery’s book “The Rising Sign: Your Astrological Mask” and then pulled out “Healing Pluto Problems” by none other than Ms. Donna Cunningham herself. Looks like I bought it 15 years ago but never actually read it. Duh. This blog post and the subsequent dialogue has convinced me now is definitely the time to read it. How I didn’t fully comprehend that when I figured out that Pluto is one of the strongest planets in my chart from the tests, I’m not sure. But you know how Pluto and the 8th house are: they won’t let go of you until they’re done. I think I’ve answered my own question about north node in the 8th house. For the other Plutonians drawn back to this blog post like a moth to a flame, Donna’s book is still available on Amazon:

    • I have it, and it is illuminating. But I was like you, bought it and then didn’t pick it up for 3 or 4 yrs. I guess I needed time to come to a place where I would be able to *digest* and properly comprehend the info, because it touches on some sensitive subjects for me, but it’s great.

    • Thanks, Karen, sez she, bowing. Healing Pluto Problems is still available after all these years and can be ordered directly from the publisher, RedWheel/Weiser too. Donna

  32. What is the impact of 29 degrees (any planet) on the cusp of the 8th house?

    • 29 degrees on the cusp of the 8th? It means a terrible fate awaits you. A vampire will come on a dark stormy night and drain all your blood, and for the rest of eternity, you’ll roam the earth searching for fresh blood to drink. Or maybe a werewolf.

      Give me a break!! I know people love their drama where the 8th house is concerned. But the only house cusps that are points that actively determine events are the 1st (Ascendant), 4th (IC), 7th (Descendent) and 10th (Midheaven). Those are the only ones that are real points in the sky and remain the same regardless of house system. The rest, the 8th included, can change considerably according to the house system you freely choose.

      They can also change depending on how accurate the birth time is…and birth times are very iffy. There would have to have been someone there in the delivery room with a stopwatch calibrated to Greenwich, England time, and with a GPS system for the exact lattirude and longitude of trhe delivery room before I’d get excited about 29 degrees on a house cusp. Donna

  33. Great series!
    It has always fascinated me that the generally taboo topics in America (sex, finance & inheritance and death) that people tip-toe around and shroud in secrecy are all covered by the 8th House.
    My question: How about an 8th House that is unoccupied and has no significant aspects to it or to its ruler?

    • That would make the 8th house a dumb note in the chart, except perhaps during those intervals in the life when a transiting planet was in the 8th making a major aspect to a natal planet or angle. (Of course, that “void” would be compensated for by a strong Pluto.)

      Wow, this Q&A has turned into quite a fascinating exchange–fitting for the 8th house!! This is the last Q&A of this particular series, but it’s been great fun, so I’ll be looking for topics for a new series for 2011. Donna


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