The 8th House is a place that frequently gets brought up by people on forums, and I personally get a lot of clients asking questions about this particular house. What is it about this house that makes people so curious? What makes this house so intensely questioned, yet so misunderstood? I believe that this has a lot to do with the “unknown” quality of this house, since much of this house isn’t openly known or understood by the native. Above everything else that the 8th House represents, I find it to be representative of a bridge between the deep conscious (the 4th House) and the unconscious (the 12th house). The energy of the sign that sits on the 8th house tends to be on this 8th house bridge….not completely under a fog like it would be if it were in the 12th house, but somehow removed from the native. You probably use the energy in a more passive fashion, and this energy is waiting for the native to jump on that bridge to consciously claim it/them as their own in an active way. The same could be said for any planets and their energy that are found residing in this house. Until you claim these energies consciously for yourself, you may difficulty knowing when/where/how/why to use the energy in the first place.
The 8th House is traditionally said to rule over the areas of life dealing with sex and death. I personally disagree with this, only because it is so simplistic. Sex is involved with this house, but it isn’t the sort of sex that is fun or light, but the soulful merging with another person that tends to happen during sex when you really love someone and you can feel your souls becoming one while being intimate together. This sort of merging tends not to happen with just “anyone.” Also, the deep and soulful merging with another person that this house rules over doesn’t have to use sex as it’s only vehicle. There are other ways that you can deeply and soulfully merge with another person, such as being in a deep state of meditation with your “other,” spiritual experiences, hallucinogens (hahah, just kidding….kind of), etc. My point here is that the merging of souls is actually what matters here, not the actual sex part. Sex is just one way to achieve this state of deep and soulful merging that the soul of a person does need. And honestly, sex is probably the most understood way of achieving this soul merging on this planet, in this dimension (where we have physical bodies to keep our soul’s separate from those of other people). Other dimensions and other places probably have better ways to describe exactly what the merging of souls really is, probably because in other dimensions and other places there is no physical shell to keep one another so distant. Death is another area of life that gets lumped in with this house (and is a real pet peeve of mine). For me, physical death has always been better represented by the 4th House/the IC, especially with the IC being thought of as the “beginning and the end” of the natal chart (which is how I personally think of it). However, the 8th house absolutely does represent death and then rebirth (or transformation) in this particular incarnation. When a person transforms beyond what they have been into something new, and all that they could be, in this lifetime.
Transformation is absolutely a major theme of this house, as has been indicated in the above paragraphs. The sign’s energy that rules this house wants you to transform and actively embrace it’s energy, claiming it as your own. This house also wants all the planets that are found there (if any) to be claimed by the native and used as transport for evolving into a “higher” (and more spiritual) state of being. Depending on the chart of the person in question, the soulful merging that I mentioned above may not even have to do with another person at all, but may actually have to do with merging the parts of themselves that they actively claim from other areas of their chart with the energy of this house that is on that 8th house bridge. By merging these parts of yourself, you would end up engaging in that deep and soulful merging that the soul craves (and probably in the most important way…by feeling more complete in yourself).
Fears and learning to let go (and actually being able to let go) are also massive things that this house deals with. Until you fully embrace the sign’s energy that rules the 8th house cusp (and any planetary energy there) there may be a lot of fear dealing with the energy that the sign (and planets) represent. And the fear is there because you don’t fully know when/how/where/why to use that energy. For instance, someone with Cancer on the 8th house cusp may have some fears dealing with becoming a mother/parent (or just feeling uncomfortable with this notion). They may also have fears or issues with actually showing all the care and nurturing that Cancer typically wants to show. As another example, lets take someone with Capricorn ruling their 8th house cusp. This person may have issues and fears with fully understanding their own authority/being authoritative (or just authority in general), as well as having fears about maintaining stability (possibly feeling decently unstable at times) and having fears about persevering through & against all odds. There could also be some real fears with the concept of “transformation” in general, since Capricorn tends not to “do” change as well as other signs. Letting go of things (and learning to let go of things) is also something that this house absolutely rules over. On the opposite end of the axis, you have the 2nd house, and the 2nd house’s goal is to acquire as much as it can in the physical world. It want’s to acquire money (that it makes itself), values & self-worth (that are their own), and above all else, stability & security. The 8th House really isn’t about any of those things. The 2nd teaches how to gain things, and the 8th teaches you how to let go of things and how to learn to live with “less.” Since the 8th house is a very spiritual place, less is necessary for transformations here to occur (without all the extra shit and noise that we acquire in the physical world). There is also usually some fear of letting go of operating in the way that we have always operated from this house before we step onto that 8th house bridge and claim that sign (and planetary) energy as our own.
As far as the idea that this house rules over other people’s money and other people’s values, I feel like this really only comes into play if the deep and soulful merging that is needed to be done by this house happens with another actual person. Since you would be so deeply enmeshed with the “other,” you would merge your values and your money (etc) with your other. However, I don’t believe that money is really the point of the this house at all. Yes, the house rules over banks, loans and inheritances, but still, money isn’t the point. The point is to learn to do with less (from the physical world). I’ve always believed that if money was involved with this house at all on an individual level, it would be for the benefit of self transformation, and possibly even somewhat karmic (whether a financial gain or a loss). This house does give and take away though (especially things of benefit in the physical world), and if money were to be misused or abused, I imagine you would have to learn to do with “less” (financially) in this area of life.