The Houses In-Depth
The Second House in Astrology
Somewhat unintentionally, the 2nd house will be the first to begin the series of in-depth explorations of the houses. Just as with the practical planetary magic series, there's a general introduction that applies to all of the houses.
When exploring the meaning of a house it's not enough to simply cycle through the significations provided by the small number of ancient extant sources available in English translation. Not only because the ancients had utterly different contexts than we do today, but because the permutations possible far exceed what can be recorded in any one tome. Or, for that matter, any series of works published by one person. That means that nearly every single astrological text is necessarily painting a picture of the principles at hand, rather than providing a ready made framework for complete understanding.
Generally speaking, thoroughly understanding a particular house requires an understanding of diurnal motion. That is, the Sun-wise movement of planets through the sky from their daily rising in the East to setting in the West. Much of the meaning of the houses comes from the quality of light at the time of the day the Sun moves through that house.
The 1st house has baked into its meaning the quality of the rising Sun. Just as the day is born when the Sun emerges over the horizon, we're born when we emerge into the world.
The 12th house, the next place the Sun moves to, has a quality of distortion where things are not quite as they seem because when stars are in that part of the sky they don't appear as their true magnitude or color. If we want to stick with the Sun, think about the colors of that part of the sky when the Sun is cresting the horizon. If we take the other luminary, consider how unnaturally large the Moon looks as she moves through this zone.
The 10th house gets many of its meanings from the midday Sun. The 7th from the setting of the Sun. We can go on and on.
The Second House of Material Means and Supportive Skills
When the Sun enters the 2nd house, it's about two hours before sunrise. If we consider sunrise to be the beginning of the day, then this is the final portion of any given day. Because of this quality of marking the end of the day and the coming dawn of the next, this house was called the "gates of Hades"  in the early Hellenistic tradition. The 2nd is the first of the succeedent houses, when we count sign-wise. This quality of following the 1st / Ascendant is one of the keys to understanding the meaning of this house.
The 2nd House of Material Means
The 2nd house is all about moveable assets. This is in contrast to the 4th house of fixed assets like real estate. More often, you'll hear folks talk about this as a house of resources.
Resources like one's bank account, clothes, and car (or whatever else you own and use to move about). But there's more to the 2nd house than just that.
Material means might capture the wider gamut of what ancient astrologers referred to when discussing this house. Often, the 2nd house was brought up in the context of being the house which follows the ascendant, rather than being considered strictly on its own.
From one's wallet (yes) to one's talents, skills, and values there's a wide range of ways to work with this house.
The 2nd House of Supportive Skills
Insofar as we limit this house to the tangible and physical, we're talking about things that can be inventoried: the pantry, the bank account, our wardrobes. But, when we take the basic principle (moveable resources) and consider the contemporary landscape, there's plenty we utilize and take with us that extend into the ephemeral and experiential.
Perhaps the ancients just didn't think about values as a 'thing' that we take with us wherever we go? Maybe they better fit in the 9th house of spiritual counsel and sanctioned knowledge? Though, I'm inclined to think that they're a product of our interaction with 9th house figures, rather than something that belongs to and with them.
Personally, I've found that in many charts, the 2nd house has just as much to do with what we're metaphorically made of as it does with the material things that belong to us.
Well, the 2nd house is that house that follows, or succeeds, the ascendant. The houses which follow (any particular house) are part of the material support for the house in question. So if we're asking a question about the body, and the individual, then the 2nd house is the one that provides material support to it.
That can take the form of the food that our bodies are built from. It can constitute the clothes that protect our bodies from the elements. And if we consider sayings like "the clothes make the man" then it's all the more clear how those two connect.
But getting to skills, talents, and values takes a little bit more consideration. We have to dig into the weeds a bit with the question of: what is a person?
Are we just our bodies, and the material things needed to sustain them? If so, then food, clothes, and the means to get around seem sufficient for describing the 2nd house. If we're bona fide nomads, then our shelter gets thrown in the mix too.
I think though, that most of us would understand a person to be more than merely their material existence. And from that point of view our abilities, skills, and talents seem an easy and logical extension of 'support for the person'. Particularly given that they (in a capitalist society) bring money into our bank accounts which facilitate our stocking the pantry and wardrobe.
Deriving the Meaning
Relative and in Relation
Deriving the Meaning of the 2nd House
There's a second set of considerations when it comes to the meaning of the houses too: derived houses. That is, the relationship between the house we're examining and the rest of them. This, of course, requires a basic understanding of the diurnal motion-based meanings, and then combining them.
Angular houses are the 'operative' houses. When examining any issue the angles tell us where things have movement and impact. There are three houses that have an angular relationship to the 2nd house - two that are square, and one opposing.
In the case of the 2nd house, we'll be looking at the three other succeedent houses.
The 2nd to the 5th
The second house is the 10th from the 5th house of recreation and procreation.
One word that's come down through the tradition to describe the relationship that's 10th from a place is decimate. To decimate is the ancient Roman practice of punishing a losing legion by requiring soldiers to kill one in ten of their own. Harsh. And in theory it motivated the troops to not lose. The crux of this is about the overcoming, overbearing, and motivating factor that the house which is 10th from the other exerts on its counterpart.
At first blush this might seem an odd way to consider the two in relationship to one another. Particularly if we limit our understanding to money and children. How does money motivate us to create children? Here again, we've got to consider the ancient origins of the art, and think systematically to update the delineation for modern times.
Back then, if one wanted to be resourced (especially in old age), children were a necessity. Today, the relationship between the 2nd and the 5th is most relatable when we consider that the kind of resourcing we have determines the pursuits of pleasure that are available to us.
The 2nd to the 8th
The second house is the 7th house from 8th house of enterprise and collaboration. Houses in opposition carry with them the basic signification of One and Other. Here, the 2nd houses are our own resources, while the 8th are the resources of others. This is echoed and reinforced by the relationship between the 8th house and 7th, or the 2nd house and the 1st. (These are mirrors of one another).
The 2nd to the 11th
The second house is the 4th from the 11th house of associates and community. This comes into sharp focus when we consider the case of donating resources to community causes or organizations. Whether donating dollars, old but still useful clothes, etc.
This square is the inversion of the one between the 2nd and 5th houses. Here it's the 11th that overcomes or decimates the 2nd. On the positive side, our desire to help our associates can motivate us to find (and share) resources. On the negative, those we share community with are in a position to decimate our ability to generate or hold onto those resources.
There are two houses that trine, or share the sides of a triangle, with any given house. Trines are a supportive and stable aspect. Just like a triangle is a very strong shape for construction. So when we examine the 2nd house, we can think about what supports it, and what it supports. In the case of the 2nd house we're talking about the 6th and 10th houses.
When we explore houses that are trine to one another, it's useful to keep in mind that they'll always share the same element, or triplicity.
The 2nd to the 6th
The second house is the 9th house from the 6th house of crisis, health, service, and servitude.
The relationship between resource and crisis is most apparent when we lack resources. To put it in contemporary terms, we labor (6th house) because the necessity of being resourced (2nd house) demands it. On the other hand, the resources that we have help us to respond to crises of health - when we're sick we can pay a doctor to help us heal. If we have enough resources, we don't have to bear the burden of a "wage slave work week" that "weighs a thousand kilograms" .
The 2nd to the 10th
The second house is the 5th from the 10th house of praxis  and profession.
When we engage our profession, we get paid, and increase the resources of our 2nd house. That's easy and clear enough. Money is the product (5th) of - many of our - public actions.
Sextiles offer a subtle support. There's a certain degree of similarity between the two signs that occupy the houses, that allow them to work together. But they lack the dynamic active quality present in squares, the conflictual motivation of the opposition, or the easy familiarity of the trine. Two signs sextile the second: the 12th and the 4th.
The 2nd to the 4th
The second house is the 11th from the 4th house of family, home, and origin. The resources that we have are the thing that allow us to own homes, or remain housed. Big benefits there. Circle back for a moment to what was said above about the relationship between the 2nd and 5th houses - the way that children were necessary resources to a homestead way back in the day. Update this to contemporary times, and let those children become middle aged adults then suddenly the relationship between our resources and our parents becomes clear: the resources we have determine what type of we're able to secure for our ailing or elderly folks.
The 2nd to the 12th
The second house is the 3rd from the 12th house of suffering, institutionalization, and the hidden. Money (2nd house) as the sibling (3rd from) suffering (12th house) is apparent in that aphorism from Bible: "For the love of money is the root all evil" which follows with "which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
The remaining houses in the chart are in aversion to the 2nd house - that is, they make no traditional aspect to the 2nd. Houses in aversion are said to be 'dark' as they cannot receive light from the ascendant - when we're exploring the 1st house, though we can extend this logic to whichever house we're examining.
In the case of the 2nd house it's the 1st, 3rd, 7th, and 9th that can't see or be seen. Taking these four as a whole says a great deal about the 2nd: it's not a place that's conducive to the illumination of self, siblings, intimate relationships, or higher wisdom.
The 2nd to the 3rd
The second house is 12th from the 3rd house of siblings, friends who are like siblings, and those in our immediate environment with whom we share a sense of familiarity and closeness.
Money distorts the relationship between siblings like few other things can. Think of all the sibling rivalries that hinge on toys (in childhood) and later inheritance (which yes, is technically an 8th house topic when we're considered what's bequeathed to us, but the fights emerge when those things at the point in time the transition from the last will and testament to being secured as our possessions).
The 2nd to the 7th
The second house is the 8th from the 7th. Again, there's a mirror image symmetry happening here. Quite simply, our personal resources become part of the 'joint resources' to our partners - whether they're romantic or professional.
The 2nd to the 9th
The second house is the 6th from the 9th house of sanctioned knowledge and higher wisdom. If we consider the "problem of evil" which has plagued philosophy and theology since the beginning it's abundantly clear: a protracted experience with a lack of resources and the existence of so much suffering due to their unequal distribution is enough to cause a crisis in faith. Or, again, we can think about how the love of money corrupts spiritual goodness. It's hardly a surprise that many different religions advocate for some type of systematic sharing of resources, or for disavowing material possessions altogether.
Which brings us back to the beginning with the 1st house.
The 2nd to the 1st
The second house is 2nd from the 1st house of self, and shows us the things that support our existence. From the material means to the skills that support our ongoing incarnation, the 2nd house is more than meets the eye.
Of course, there's a different way to apply the derived houses technique: we could look at the 2nd from each of the 12th houses to understand how they support the previous one. But that's a couple thousand words for another time...
[1, 3] Ancient Astrology in Theory and in Practice. Demetra George (Rubedo Press, 2019)
 Everything Must Go by The Weakerthans, from the album Left and Leaving
 The Bible (King James Version), I Timothy 6:10
Listen and Learn
A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of sharing a great discussion about the 2nd and 8th houses with Sam Reynolds on Kirah Tabourn's Cosmic Guidance for All podcast (formerly The Strology Show). You can listen to that episode here:
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