The topic of this book evokes lip-licking anticipation. The author covers the 8th house from multiple viewpoints, starting with the original ancient house-meaning its implications of a shadowy empty place in the chart. It’s a house where planets are falling or sinking toward the western horizon. The 8th house contains many of the contents found in Pandora’s Box, all of the sorrows of the world. But that box also contained hope and regeneration after difficult times.

The 8th house can have a diverse range of meanings. Life circumstances that involve the 2nd - 8th house axis can be great gains or losses that are life-changing because it is linked to the exchanges we make with others in the world. It is the house of death, shared resources, debts, taxes, unexpected troubles, and inheritances a tricky mix of pain and pleasure. It is also a place where taboo topics hide and where sequestered emotions are hidden.

Moritz looks at ways that natal 8th house planets can manifest in a person’s life through a great number of sample charts. He also looks at the condition of the ruler of the 8th house as a relevant part of chart delineations.

Chapters 2 through 6 offer different sample cases that explore specific categories of 8th house meanings: occult interests and spirit communications, shared marital wealth and debts around death, sex and seduction, relationships characterized by mutual 8th house placements, and transformative effects. Chapter 7 offers ideas about each planet in the 8th house. At the end of each planet summary there are a few notes about notable individuals with this planet/house placement. The overviews include the Nodes, Chiron, and Black Moon Lilith. Chapter 8 discusses 8th House rulership combinations along with brief analyses of the ruler of the 8th house in the various houses. End matter is an index.

Moritz has provided comprehensive coverage of a topic that heretofore lacked a book dedicated to this enigmatic house. Readers will certainly get broad insights into what natal placements in this house could potentially mean and methods for delineating it. The writing is clear and the material is sensibly organized. The author is conversant with both ancient and modern astrological ideas and this gives the text a wider appeal. This is a valuable text for astrologers who want to gain a greater range of understanding about the mysterious 8th house.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Author: Martin Sebastian Moritz, foreword by Lynn Bell
2021, The Wessex Astrologer
(originally published in German as Das rätselhafte 8 Hause: Der Schatten im Horoskop)
244 pages. $23.00 pb, $9.99 Kindle