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The 8th house: Intimacy, Power, Romantic Relationships and What we share with others

As a perpetually single woman who has a cat, I have longed to find a golden relationship with a beloved for most of my life. While I have extremely deep friendships, romantic relationships have– for the most part– eluded me.

I used to blame my fat body for this, but then I realized that my trauma was part of it. I have struggled with emotional abuse, abandonment issues, and depression.

When I started to work with astrology, I looked at my empty 7th house and empty 8th house. I felt rather doomed by my Saturnian rulers (Capricorn for the 7th, Aquarius for the 8th) of these houses, and their lack of planetary influence.

Empty houses, of course, do not mean that you have no action in that house. An empty 4th house does not mean you don’t have a home, or you’ll be estranged from your family! It just means, most of your lessons are coming through other areas of life. Not only that, an empty house can give you some ease in that area. Which is lucky for me because Saturn isn’t the easiest of rulers to have for your relationship houses.

I’ve had the privilege to read some charts that have a lot of planets in the 8th house, and what has become really clear to me, is the prevalence of how intimacy, love, and all things shared, interplay with power and control.

The 8th house is not for the weak of heart, and I am no longer jealous of anyone dealing with a lot of 8th house action. The lessons of the 8th house are very deep, difficult, intimate, and intense. Attachment issues, contracts, legal disputes, sex, death, psychology, secrets, transformation, fears (all the Pluto and Scorpio things) are the terrain for the 8th house.

Everyone has an 8th house, it’s the “where” of your life. Your Ascendant and house system will determine your zodiacal rulership of that house. Your ruler of that house will tell you your style of dealing with 8th house things that we described in the last paragraph, and that ruler will connect you to other parts of your chart.

The planets– if you have them– in your 8th house will tell you a psychological profile of what kind of lessons, or challenges you might face in this area. The lessons you signed up for when you came into being.

If you have 8th house planets, your soul didn’t want to fuck around. This is radical relationship.

If you are an 8th-houser, you are strong and mighty. But you likely have struggled with other people you are close with, abuses of control and power, understanding yourself through these topics, attachment, understanding who you are as an individual with someone you share intimacy with. It might be a romantic relationship, but of course there’s more to it.

A lot of us have been trapped at home since the pandemic with people that we love. We have been discovering how many layers there are to intimacy, power, control, shared resources. These reverberate to the world situation-- how will we get through this as a collective, if we can't even sort it out with our loved ones? This can shake us to our core. Some of us have realized that we aren't on the same page as the person we trusted the most.

Right now I have Saturn transiting through my empty 8th house, and I am learning a whole lot about other people, control, power, and what is shared. A close relationship just ended for me, and it didn’t feel like my choice. Yet, the ending coincided with taking my power back in a very unequal situation. So maybe it was my choice? This is an 8th house mind trip that I could talk about for hours.

I know people with 8th house planets who can follow a strict diet and regime in the name of being “healthy.” Who work in wellness or as nutritionists to gain control over eating. I know an 8th houser who is an expert broker, who finds fascination in riding and finding control in capitalism, to try to win for her clients and family, none of who are big money people. I know two 8th housers who have found elaborate ways to model their lives around their beloved, creating an enclave where only the two can exist without interference from any outside influence. Unchecked control can create toxicity, and lack of boundaries can absorb you until you don't know who you are anymore. I've seen all of this activity in the 8th house, and I've experienced some of it myself in various incarnations.

This is not a judgment on anyone– good or bad. We are organically growing, and one day’s obsession is the next day’s liberation. 8th housers have a lot to sort out from prior karmic debts, from this life’s family of origin, and circumstances. As Ram Dass said, “we're all just walking each other home.” This is the terrain of transformation. We are all soft and tender souls.

What I want to explore, more than anything here, is that love relationships, the really intimate ones, come down to trust, power, and radical sharing. That isn’t a Hollywood romance. It’s often messy, hurtful, disappointing, and even scary at times. But you keep going with that person if it makes sense, or you liberate yourself from them, or you toggle between the two to understand yourself. You can’t really get it wrong, but you can, in all of it, respect yourself, your needs and your growth. You can honor the relationship, together or apart. You can let go-- when it’s time. You can have compassion for yourself as you try to understand yourself deeply.

If you want to explore your 8th house, or how your 8th house planets affect you, drop me a line!

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