From a collection of articles submitted to national astrological publications.

The 8th House
And The 5 Levels of Intimacy

by Rocky Berliér ©1995

The Naked Truth

For many astrologers, we hear the words “8th house” or “Scorpio” and, like some collaborators to a very “in” joke, we grimace, giggle, chuckle, hiss, “Oooo” and “ahhh.”
There is something incredibly intriguing about this mysterious house and it’s ruling landlord, Scorpio. It compels us to investigate, to uncover and to learn the power of the mystery… to learn the truth.
Yes, and what about the truth? After we learn it—how can we ever return to the lie?
The truth is powerfully profound, undeniably transforming, and (it would seem) the proverbial point of no return. Our lives seem to be irrevocably changed by it and, in a sense, once we invoke it, we are often caught like Faust who, sells his soul to the devil; helpless and without control over the awesome power that we have petitioned.
And this is the rub, because it is a power that we have summoned. Our own desires which compel us to create, and fortify us to grow and seek truth, push us ceaselessly to know the mystery. But at what cost? We drive on with singularity of thought; with passion and intense emotion. When confronted by obstacles in our path, we destroy! Then after constant probing… the truth becomes apparent… and the paradigm shifts. The reality bubble bursts, and our world is no longer the same.
Transformation at it’s deepest level has changed the world for us yet in reality, the world, on the surface seems absolutely the same. Inside we are deeply and profoundly transformed, yet outside life is still churning and continues in it’s resolute progress.
The mythology of Scorpio is intriguing as well. As is often the case in ancient myths, there are several conflicting stories concerning the origins of the scorpion’s legend. Similar to plots about JFK, UFOs, and other confounding puzzles, this controversy only further supports the mysterious and conspiratorial nature given to this enigmatic sign.

Cut To The Chase

One story begins that Orion, who was a great hunter, was the son of Poseidon. He was given the unusual power of walking on and under water, as easily as he could walk on dry land. He fell in love with Diana, the twin sister of Apollo, who was the goddess of the chase and of all wild things, as well as later to become the Moon goddess herself. Together, she and Orion were said to be lovers, companions and close friends and they would hunt for days, happily united by their common interests.
A version of this story says that Apollo felt seriously threatened by Diana’s infatuation with Orion. So, he conspired with a giant scorpion to kill Orion. Unable to defend himself against the scorpion because of its tough armor, Orion elluded it and waded out to sea.
Unyielding in his wicked purpose, Apollo engaged his sister in a challenge. “See that rock way out there in the sea? I challenge you to hit it with your arrow.” Diana loved a good challenge, so she drew her bow and hit her mark on the first try. It was, of course, the head of Orion.
Later Orion’s body drifted to the shore where Diana moaned with grief. She had unknowingly killed her loving companion. She then confronts Apollo who remorsefully, helps her to lift the body of Orion into the sky with his companion dog Sirius. Together they are seen perpetually fleeing the giant scorpion.
Intrigue, passion, sex, union, jealousy, conspiracy, treachery, betrayal, murder and death, then finally, profound grief, remorse, transformation and a miraculous spiritual elevation. These are the tenets of Scorpio and the 8th house. But what does this mean and how do we apply it to our everyday lives? To answer this, I’d like to share a view of the 8th from another perspective.

The Stairway To Heaven

In the flow of one house to another, it is my perspective that each house is a new and higher step on the evolutionary staircase. Each successive house brings with it a higher level of understanding and purpose, yet each is held powerless to deal with anything other than the issues that are passed on to it from the previous signs.
From this perspective, to better understand the 8th house, a preview of the 7th house is necessary.
The 7th house has been called the house of relationships, partners and marriage, and though we do indeed find these issues here, I believe it is the struggle with choices that is truly the calling card of this house.
I prefer to call the 7th, “the house of commitment,” because it is where we will find the weighing, inner turmoil and angst over what is to be the outcome of our choices and decisions.
Seeking options, we weigh them and deliberate over their possible ramifications. And while the 7th house is where we agonize over these commitments, the 8th is where we must contend with the choices made in the 7th. Said another way, the 8th is where we must face the consequences of our choices.
I find it apropos that the 7th house of marriage should be followed by the 8th house of sexuality. After all, does not the honeymoon follow the wedding?
In the 7th, we struggle with deciding on a momentous choice which will take us across a new threshold of life. We feel daunted by the significance of the choice and, justifiably, are tentative in choosing a path. However, (as it always seems to be with this house) a choice must be made (even if it is not choosing) and once done, the 8th house “kicks into gear” and goes about it’s business of bringing the ramifications and consequences of these choices into our lives.

A Tangled Web

It would also seem that the 8th house is where we experience transformation of the highest order. It is where we unite and find the true significance of our relationships. Where all of the mystery and the unknown about our relationships get shaken out into the reality of the truth! It is also where we become merged, entangled, embroiled and involved within our lives.
Just as Orion unwittingly became entangled with Diana and her jealous brother and finally suffered the consequences of that entanglement, so too the 8th shows us where we must sleep in the bed of our own making.
In relationships, this is powerful stuff! And the weight of this perspective tells me that there is more going on here than just the pat keywords of sex, death and taxes! Sex is a powerful urge; true, yet the decision to engage in sex is found in the 7th, not the 8th.
In the 8th we find the effects of this decision which become the entanglement or involvement that defines the depth of this intimacy.

Ground Floor! Going Down?

The word intimacy seems very fitting as a keyword for the 8th house. The American Heritage Dictionary defines intimacy as, “1. Marked by close acquaintance, association, or familiarity. 2. Relating to or indicative of one’s deepest nature; 3. Essential; innermost.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself! Here is a word then, that represents an essential and fundamental quality of the 8th. Close knowledge of another, familiarity, and deep natures. It all sounds so intriguing, but then this too is the 8th house.
In our struggle for intimacy, we are challenged to share our innermost self with another person. In doing so, we also learn about ourselves and our deepest nature. But it doesn’t stop there.
I’d like to now share with you something that I have come to recognized in my own research as five essential levels associated to intimacy and the 8th house. And perhaps more importantly, with a realization of each of these successive levels comes a deeper, more profound, and powerful sharing.

Level One - Let’s Get Physical!

The first, and most superficial of these intimacy levels, I have identified as physical intimacy. Now, some may argue that there is truly a deep and profoundly spiritual connection that sexual intimacy brings to a relationship and I would certainly agree with this assessment. This is quite consistent with the depth we find in the 8th house in general. However, we also know that sex is not synonymous with love or even with intimacy. Nor is it a requirement!
I think we’ve all seen evidence in the permissive world around us that sex can be hollow, shallow and absolutely pointless.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, measures of childbearing by unmarried women increased 4 to 5 percent in 1994. The number of nonmarital births totaled 1,289,592 in 1994, and 32.6 percent of all births were to unmarried women.
With this deterioration of morality in our society we see increasing evidence that sex for the sake of sex is pervasive. Yet, as we also know, sex can be profoundly meaningful and deeply unifying. This is the aspect of sex which is truly 8th house.
Speaking astrologically, the depths to which we experience our sexuality, is reflected in the sign on the cusp of this house and to a greater extent, planets which occupy it. The first level of intimacy brings us together through mutual attraction and desire. It is marked by a magnetic pull and is often described as “chemistry.”
And who would know better about the magical nature of the elements than the alchemists of old. They would blend individual elements igniting a synergistic chain reaction and thus, the sum becomes greater than it’s discrete parts. So too is the nature of the 8th house and the potential of our sexual intimacy.

Level Two - The Material World

The second level I have identified as material intimacy. At first glance this would seem perhaps less meaningful than sexuality. However, this level speaks to the tangible and thus, possessive aspects of our world as well as relationships.
The 8th house is where individual ownership transmutes to joint ownership. It is the blending and merging of tangible things, resources, and power that is most described by this level. It’s common to hear couples referring to each other as “my” mate. Thus, ownership would seem to be quite fundamental to the intimacy process.
Apollo claimed ownership of his twin sister’s attention. He hated that she spent so much time with Orion, in ways that he knew he never could. In his mind, she had betrayed him in her faithfulness to their relationship. She was his sister and he refused to be supplanted in this role.
Though the Greek texts are not clear, this obviously has incestuous overtones. But they were twins, after all, and like most twins, inseparable. It was simply the threat of losing his place with her or losing her love of him that fueled his jealousy.
Orion also had a claim here. He and Diana were not only lovers but companions, colleagues, and friends. They shared bed, food, drink, love and life together. They hunted as collaborators, joining their resources and thereby becoming greater together than they were apart.
Thus, this 2nd level of intimacy addresses the sharing of "stuff." It also hints at our generosity and our willingness to indulge our intimate companions. When we are intimate with others, it seems quite natural to want to shower them with gifts or to sweeten their life. I find it apropos that food, candy, gifts, and the sharing of space are all part of this very earthy level.

Level Three - Synaptic Synergy

The third level I recognize as mental intimacy. It represents the merging of our thoughts, ideas and intellects. It is reflected in our ability to communicate with each other as well as share interests and even mutual friendships with others.
Just as Diana and Orion shared interests in hunting, for each of us to be on the same “wave length” or to have the ability to communicate effectively with our intimates is a significant issue. Without it… all may be lost.
Our interests in things and how well these interests merge with another’s can be very revealing of the depth to which the relationship thrives or falters.
This level also speaks to the connection of intellect and the relationship’s general ability to move forward. Therefore, this is a somewhat mobile energy and seeks interaction, discussion, and dialog which is specifically designed to achieve progress in the relationship.
Many relationships begin with simple yet purposeful questions. We ask these questions while our mind measures the responses, gauging intelligence and mutual interests. A simple, “what’s your favorite color?” can speak volumes.
This level is so important that, without a good connection here, the relationship is immobilize and stalled from progressing forward. This is because mental intimacy provides the impetus and momentum for moving to the next, much deeper level.

Level Four - Fusion of Feelings

The fourth level I have defined as emotional intimacy. This is a level where we learn a great deal of the truth about each other.
Diana clearly saw the truth about her own twin brother’s treachery. After days, weeks and perhaps months (maybe even years) of being on our best behavior in a relationship, we begin to get glimpses of each other’s true nature.
The mask slowly comes off and, little by little, we reveal the deeper, more vulnerable, more meaningful and perhaps more problematic side of ourselves. Sharing deep dark secrets and discussions of our past are at the very core of this level. Where we “come from” is critical to who we are today. And knowing this very personal information gives us a truly holistic view of each other.
Sharing your feelings and emotions would seem obvious at this level as well. How sensitive you are to each other’s needs and feelings sets the tempo of the relationship in general. Sometimes listening to the emotional content is far more important than listening to the words themselves.
How well you make this connection emotionally in a relationship is reflected by the sign and planets posited in the 8th house.

Level Five - Belief Blending

The fifth and last level I have acknowledged as spiritual intimacy. Probably the most significant level of all, spiritual intimacy demands that your paths in life be in agreeable alignment. Without this alignment, the universe will pull at your individual purposes until life itself leads you in different directions. This level is where our spiritual world view, politics, religion, superstitions, opinions and philosophies either collide, harmonize or merge.
I find it a bit humorous that these are the very same issues (it has long been said), which should never be discussed in mixed company since these are issues which are sure to evoke a passionate argument.
This level is also where we are willing to give each other space and freedom to grow. Where we share our understanding of the world with each other and where we mutually connect with God.
It’s not surprising to hear, that the attainment of this level in a relationship draws in a greater fulfillment to all the other levels. In fact, each successive level brings greater fulfillment to the ones before it. However, this level functions supreme in it’s importance.
Statistics of marriage and divorce show that couples who share the same beliefs, show a higher probability of a happier, more successful and longer marriage than those couples who have differing beliefs.
In the end, perhaps it was the spiritual connection between Diana and Orion of which Apollo was truly jealous. He knew that no matter how strong his blood connection to her, Diana's spirit connection to Orion was stronger. His instincts told him that spiritually they were misaligned and eventually his sister’s path would separate from his own.
Orion, it seems, proved to be the catalyst for this separation. Indeed their paths did diverge. Apollo became the Sun god and Diana, the Moon goddess where, ultimately, each traveled their own separate path.
But something mysterious compelled Apollo to try to foolishly control the outcome; to alter the course of fate itself. To keep his possession of her love.

How Low Can You Go?

The story of Orion, Diana and Apollo is timeless in it’s portrayal of very non-god-like and perhaps very human frailties. A triangle of love, innocence and jealousy. The very basis of this myth is built around primeval urges man has struggled with since he first stood naked to the night sky. Truth and betrayal; both deeply intense and profoundly life altering. The very essence of the 8th house itself.
So, what of these levels? How do we use them in our everyday lives?
Let’s first recap each one.

Level 1 - Physical (Attraction, affection, sex )
Level 2 - Material (Money, territory, stuff!)
Level 3 - Intellectual (Thoughts, ideas, interests.)
Level 4 - Emotional (Feelings, secrets, the past)
Level 5 - Spiritual (Beliefs, philosophy, opinions.)

The observant astrologer will notice that these are coincident with the first five signs of the zodiac or a cycle through the elements which begin with fire and end with a higher octave of fire.
To truly utilize the concept of the Five Levels of Intimacy, we need go no further than asking ourselves some simple questions about ourselves as well as our relationships.
The five levels of intimacy give us a framework to guide, engineer and bring consciousness to our relationships. After all, astrology provides only a glimpse at the invisible. It is our responsibility to bring it to consciousness.
In an effort to do this and understand our relationships, it’s helpful to ask ourselves questions regarding these five levels and our relationships. From this perspective, these levels serve as a measuring stick with which to evaluate our relationships in general.
Some questions you might ask yourself are:

Level 1- Are you physically attracted to each other? Is there chemistry?

Level 2 - Do you both share your possessions, money and space? Do you indulge each other?

Level 3 - Do you both share your thoughts, interests, and friends? Do you communicate with each other effectively?

Level 4 - Do you both share and express your feelings, secrets, and past? Are you sensitive to each other’s needs?

Level 5 - Are you on the same path? Share the same philosophy, spiritual beliefs, politics and opinions?

So how do you stack up? Do your relationships fulfill all five levels? Do you connect only on certain levels? What are those levels?
Needless to say, the levels where you do connect are your relationship’s greatest strengths and where you don’t connect are perhaps it’s significant weaknesses.
Knowing the truth of our relationships can sometimes prove frightening. Some may not want to look at it at all, preferring only the bliss of ignorance. This is understandable given the fragile nature of the human spirit and the ever changing nature of relationships in general.
Please bear in mind that it’s not necessary that you both have the same exact perspective in a level in order for it to be a true intimate connection. In fact, many times, the differences create a whole dimension to the relationship that is exciting and very rewarding. Balance is more important here than perfection. Just as in chemistry, where the sum is greater than the individual parts, we bring all our intimacy levels to a relationship, then balance and blend them together.
Remember: the deeper the level; the deeper the connection. I've observed that good relationships require at least 3 levels of intimacy to make them worthwhile. In the long run, anything less than this is probably not going to be very satisfying or fulfilling.

The Cosmic Glue

There is another special adjunct to these five levels of intimacy which functions as an umbrella covering them all. It is honor. I have purposefully avoided using the word “respect” here. The reason is that while these two words might seem like synonyms of each other, they have distinctions I’d like to share.
For some men, the word “respect” has a subconscious connotation that can be synonymous with fear and punishment.
This word has a history which may actually be genetically ingrained in us dating back to a time when mankind was closer to living the concept of survival of the fittest. It was compulsory for the ancient tribal “alpha males” to defeat their rivals in order to gain their respect. Without this respect, there would be no leader and thus, a collapse of the tribe.
Today the word is used by men and women alike, to generally mean a mutual concern or a kindliness toward each other. However, the word “honor” I believe is closer to the mark in describing this meaning. It is a word which has a connotation of reverence and love associated to it. I prefer using it because it lacks this subliminal context.
I tell you this because honoring the other person’s physical, material, mental, emotional and spiritual boundaries is the true key to a happy and fulfilling relationship. One that is full of wonderfully powerful and sublimely intimate pleasures.

©1995 Rocky Berlier - all rights reserved.
Copying, distributing or reproducing this work through any media form whether electronic or printed without the express permission of the author is prohibited. Infringements and violations will be prosecuted.