2nd House Astrology vs. 8th House Astrology (Power, Privilege, Resources, & Capitalism!)

In an astrological chart, the 2nd house and the 8th house are the two places we most frequently talk about money, values, and resources. While any topic as broad as “money” can be explored throughout all twelves houses from different angles, looking at these two houses can tell us a lot about someone’s approach to resources overall, as well as broader topics related to value and “having.”

I had some recent opportunities to dive deep into these houses with my own transits, as March 2022–March 2023 was a 2nd house profection year for me and I also recently experienced an opening Saturn square in the 8th house, two years after a Jupiter return in the same house. I’ve also found the 8th house especially coming up a lot with clients going through 8th house profection years or experiencing Saturn transits to this house.

I’m particularly interested in exploring these houses from an anti-capitalist lens, and I’m also interested in what they have to say about power and privilege, as well as the perhaps less obvious topic of attachment style.

When we look at the 2nd house and the 8th house, the relevant verb is “to have.”

We might simplify these houses as being about what “I have” (2nd house) and what “you have” or “we have” (8th house). If the 1st house is the house of the self, and the 7th the house of the other (specifically, those you have a close 1-on-1 relationship with as equals, such as romantic or business partners, clients, and very close friends), then we can see how this makes sense—the 2nd house includes the resources and values of the 1st house native (self), and the 8th house includes how we relate to the resources and values of the 7th house other, as well as how we share resources with that other (the 8th house being 2nd relative to the 7th).

What Is the 2nd House?

So the 2nd house includes things like your physical possessions, your financial assets, and your income (in some traditions). It also includes your values as intangibles that you “have,” which makes sense alongside resources—the 2nd house includes what you value and also how you value it. Part of this is your relationship to money and resources, how you feel about and perceive your finances.

Some astrologers also place your innate skills and talents in the 2nd house, as things you’re born with that you just “have,” and incidentally may also use in the process of earning money. You might also think of resources more broadly—although there are other houses for things like the body or your labor that might be considered a resource, I have personally found Diana Rose Harper’s work on the sign and ruler of the 2nd house as a person’s innate resources to be quite thought-provoking. For example, having Leo in my 2nd house, I very much relate to compassion and my own “inner fire” as a resource.

Another take on the 2nd house is that it relates to security needs and what makes you feel secure. I’ve seen this signification for both the 1st and 2nd house, and I personally find that both have relevance. Particularly in the context of attachment, I think this becomes interesting when we look across the chart to the 7th and 8th houses. How secure and resourced we feel, and how supported we feel, of course has a lot to do with how we attach to others.

While your money certainly does fall here, it’s important to remember that money is just one way to represent personal wealth. We’d still have a 2nd house in an economy without monetary value—it would come to represent what we have that is valuable such as trade goods, skills, gifts, etc.

More generally, I like to think of the 2nd house as being about what makes you feel supported, secure, and resourced and what you assign value to in this regard—especially things that are very much in your sphere of control.

What Is the 8th House?

The 8th house, on the other hand, represents some of the same topics as they relate to the other. So for example we find inheritance, taxes, and shared assets here. It’s worth nothing that these are not all possessions of a 7th house relationship—for example, inheritance from a parent still goes in the 8th house, even if the parent might fall in the 4th or 10th house (astrological traditions vary). Grants, scholarships, and stocks also go here, even if they come from 9th or 10th house institutions. However, a partner’s money can definitely come up—for example I was having a significant 8th house transit when my partner bought the house where we live.

It also includes ways in which others’ resources can impact us, how we share resources with others, and even loss of resources. As the last full house before planets set on the western horizon, there’s an association with death and dying, as well as other kinds of loss, which modern astrologers expand to all sorts of transformational experiences. In the context of resources, the 8th house can be about loss, but also material gains like an inheritance that come from death.

This can be a little confusing, but I like to think of the 8th house as generally evoking resources, or experiences involving resources, that we can’t personally control. It’s about our relationship to resources in the greater scheme of things, and how what we have, or think we should have, or want to have, relates to what everyone else has.

Similarly, some of the associations of the 8th house around sex, intimacy, and attachment come from the interaction of our values with everyone else’s values. The 8th house brings up themes of power, control, and privilege—when we live in a society, we have to grapple with the question of shared resources, but also shared values, and where our resources and values create conflict.

But these bigger themes also can’t necessarily be pinned down to one house, and questions of power and privilege tend to come up in and interact with both the 2nd and 8th houses, because they’re really about the interaction and push-pull between the two.

Similarly, questions of attachment style can come up in the 7th and 8th house, but also involve the 1st and 2nd. Our fundamental security needs can particularly play out when we’re in relationship—whether we feel secure on our own gets tested in our relationships, where we may also seek security.

Our early life experiences of feeling like we’re secure, like what we have what we need or don’t, may show up in the 2nd house but then play out in the 8th house later in life in terms of how we’re able to bond with others, merge our resources, and approach the messy reality of intimacy, including the risk of loss.

Though I’m primarily focusing on questions of resources in this post, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one other element that tends to come up around this house: the 8th house is often associated with sex, and I find that this is most relevant when we think about how our resources, values, and even skills relevant to sexuality merge with our partner’s. If the 5th house is about our pleasure for its own sake, sexuality in a personal sense, the 8th house is about sexual intimacy in a partnered sense—how what I carry with me intersects with what you carry with you.

If the 8th house carries an element of death and things we can’t control with it, we might also apply this to sexual intimacy, in the sense of our ability to surrender, have transformational experiences, and “merge” through intimacy without being able to control how it changes us. As a person on the asexual spectrum, I wouldn’t actually limit this to sex, which is why I prefer the keyword “intimacy” to be more inclusive of all the kinds of experiences we might have with a partner that carry this flavor. There’s a vulnerability in sharing resources, or exploring compromise as we work with the intersection of our values, that can be very intimate whether or not sex is involved.

While I haven’t seen this as much in the literature, I also think about comparison with the 8th house. Since we’re still looking at this house from the perspective of the native, as it’s our birth chart not someone else’s, I think the 8th house can tell us something about how we perceive others’ resources and values in comparison to our own. Do others seem to have it all? Do we give our own power away to those with whom we’re intimate? Do we see others as lacking and needing to be saved or assisted? The 8th house may provide some clues, whether we’re thinking about relative financial position, sexual “economy,” or moral integrity.

Shared 2nd House and 8th House Themes

Power and privilege, the “haves and have nots,” are just one example of a theme that lives in the polarity between these two houses, and tends to engage both sides of the 2nd house / 8th house axis. Another example would be the theme of scarcity and abundance, or giving and receiving.

These themes can’t exactly be pinned down to a single house, because they’re really about the relationship between the two. Whether I feel a sense of abundance, for example, relates to the resources I have and how I feel about those resources (2nd house) but also to experiences I’ve had around sudden windfalls from others, unexpected losses, being able to share resources, or experiencing the collective wealth of my immediate community (8th house). In a more spiritual sense, I would tend to feel more abundant when I can experience intimacy and shared values with others I care about.

I might have a lot of 2nd house resources, but still have a feeling of scarcity because of a traumatic loss I experienced in an 8th house sense, creating the story of “you can’t depend on what you have, it can be taken away from you at any moment!” Or I could be very limited in my personal resources, but still feel safe and secure because I view wealth collectively and belong to a resourced community, even though I can’t personally control my access to those resources as an individual (8th house).

Why Worldview Matters to Interpreting the 2nd and 8th House

There’s a question of worldview here—it makes sense that in an individualistic culture, the 8th house would be viewed as a domain of tough experiences. From a perspective that centers the 1st house self, the 8th house is scary. It’s a zone we can’t control. We might gain or lose here, but either way we’re not in charge of what happens in this realm.

If I grew up in a capitalistic society, then I’ve likely been encouraged to hoard my personal wealth, focusing almost entirely on my second house. If I experience an unexpected loss, I’m encouraged to feel shame about not having saved more, rather than to blame a system that doesn’t invest in safety nets.

On the other hand, if your perspective is more oriented to relationship and the collective, and relationship is the source of what’s important in life, suddenly the 8th house looks very different. If you view the community as the central “unit,” your close people’s resources are just as important as your own, and what matters is that everyone you care about is resourced. Having personal control over abundance matters less, because you can trust that you’ll be provided for as a member of community.

In a more communal culture, individual resources still matter, but they become less about your own control and power, and building wealth, than about what you can contribute to the community. You’re less likely to hoard individual wealth, and more likely to think around collective growth. In this context, a tough 2nd house transit might mean that you contribute less to the group at that time, that you’re less able to be responsible for your own security—but you can trust that those you’re in relationship with will support you.

There’s also an interesting kind of flip where in a communal culture, the individual’s resources such as private property are the zone that the collective can’t control. From an individualistic perspective, shared resources are scary because you don’t have control over what happens to them and whether you’re taken care of—but the same is true in reverse. If one person hoards a lot of wealth, the collective can’t control whether everyone is taken care of, and is at the mercy of that wealthy individual’s altruistic priorities. (Think white saviorism, think the World Bank and IMF, think the entire charity funding model.)

This question of perspective also relates to how we view death and loss experiences in the 8th house. Is death catastrophic, or is it a transformation? Is it a loss of everything you knew, or an opportunity to trust what you cannot know or understand? How does personal loss offer an opportunity to rely on others for support in ways you might not have otherwise?

The Illusion of Security Through Personal 2nd House Resources

The push and pull between the 2nd and 8th houses also makes me think of expectation, and what we think we can rely on when it comes to resources. Again, if my orientation is about self and what I can control, then I’m going to really emphasize the 2nd house—what do I have? What is mine? How much money is in the bank?

From that perspective, 8th house experiences are pretty disruptive, but they also point to the illusions we often experience around money and resources. Sometimes we feel like we’ve experienced a material loss, or even an injustice, when we (falsely) think of something we can’t actually control as being part of our 2nd house resources.

A good example to illustrate this relates to income. Let’s say I work at a job where I earn a salary. Every two weeks I receive money, and that money becomes part of my 2nd house resources, something I have.

What I don’t often think about, if it’s a fairly steady job, is that my future earnings are not in fact mine yet—they’re still other people’s resources, living in the 8th house. I can’t actually control what happens to those resources, because they’re not mine yet. My employer might promise me a salary, but until that money is actually in the bank, it isn’t mine.

Now let’s say my employer goes bankrupt. That’s an 8th house experience, involving their resources, that very directly affects what happens to my 2nd house resource supply in the immediate future. I’m likely to feel very unmoored, upset, frustrated, and angry, because I had every expectation that I was going to receive a paycheck next month.

I probably made decisions based on this belief, and even though I didn’t tangibly lose anything from my present resource pool, it feels like I lost something I deserved to have. I might have taken on debt based on this expectation, or committed to a subscription I can’t cancel, because I’m used to depending on future income. I don’t think of this as “gambling,” because I’ve been taught to rely on my salary as predictable, but technically it is.

That experience might highlight for me the expectations that I create around the future. It might result in some trauma and affect my ability to trust. I might try really hard to have more control over money and what I receive (and probably be ultimately frustrated, as money is always going to be part of a broader economic system I can’t control).

Or alternatively, it might highlight the illusion in a beautiful, transformative way. I might realize that the sense of financial security I felt was an illusion, but then be freed to pursue a dream that felt “risky” when I believed I could count on a paycheck and shouldn’t rock the boat by putting my energy elsewhere.

I might also just change my relationship to money, and have a different view of what I “have” at any given moment, which could lead me to rely less on the number I see on my paycheck and more on building relationships so I can share resources and avoid taking on as much personal debt.

2nd and 8th House Transits

At various times in your life, these houses will be especially activated by transiting planets moving through these zones of your chart, or by other timing techniques such as profection years, solar returns, and secondary progressions.

Personally, I’ve noticed that 2nd and 8th house transits often push on these questions of control, security, and illusion, whether or not there are obvious tangible things happening with your finances. They can encourage you to notice what you do and don’t have, and the stories you’re telling yourself around your resources.

For example, in my 2nd house profection year I will admit that I hoped, despite knowing astrology is not usually this cut-and-dry, that my business would hit a growth point where more money would start coming in and my resources would feel more stable. That didn’t happen, but I did have a lot of opportunities to notice how my brain was operating to ignore the reality of the resources I do have.

Not earning sustainable income was a super panicky experience for my brain, but I also realized that I wasn’t doing myself any favors by spending all my time freaking out about the future and what it might mean if I run out of money. In other words, my view of my own resources shifted. I also had a lot of opportunities to think about my other resources like skills, talents, time, and energy.

When Jupiter was moving through my 8th house, I didn’t win the lottery or receive an unexpected inheritance. But I did experience an expansion in how I think about my own security. After a decade of growing my savings towards a nebulous retirement one day and always being “smart” about finances, I quit my job and made the somewhat radical decision to release personal control over my security and trust that I would somehow be supported even if I completely drained my bank account attempting to do more service-oriented work aligned with my neurotype.

Essentially, when my brain was telling me “you will die if you run out of money,” I responded “then I’ll die happy,” playing into my natal Jupiter in the 8th house! I was able to do this because I was no longer experiencing the illusion of believing that I had any real control over my own safety, security, or survival. The upheaval of COVID-19 starting in the prior year made me realize that I couldn’t really control anything, and so I stopped relying on savings (an investment in a future that you assume will exist) and decided to live in the present moment instead.

The Impact of Capitalism on 2nd House and 8th House Interpretations

As I described above, a lot of how we tend to view the 8th house as “bad” has to do with an individualist worldview—if the self is most important, then resources and values we can’t personally control are risky at best and catastrophic at worst. Death is a bad thing, because dying is the end of the self.

Capitalism adds onto this idea by over-inflating the importance of the 2nd house. Under capitalism, everything is about accumulating resources, essentially bulking up your 2nd house stores. Of course, capitalism only recognizes money as a valid resource, and tries to convert everything to monetary resources, which is a perversion of the 2nd house and actually tends to result in a lack of other kinds of resources—time, health, energy, etc.—which capitalism normalizes.

The 8th house is bad under capitalism in part because capitalism is based on an illusion of individual control and essential separation. Capitalism depends on some important myths—especially the myth that everything can be standardized and given a monetary value. Control is baked into this myth of standardization. If everything is just a rational economic decision, with everything having a standard price, then the individual’s life is a series of rational choices where they have the power to shape their own future.

If you believe in the myths of capitalism, power, privilege, and relationship don’t matter. In fact, the 7th house “other” becomes evil, because anyone who is not you stands in the way of your ability to gain and profit. Capitalism is built on a scarcity myth, and if resources are assumed to be scarce, then the only way to succeed in life is by “beating” someone else. Systemic questions are easy to ignore when all you see is money—if someone doesn’t succeed, well, they must not have made the right rational choices.

It’s telling that some of the most successful capitalists benefited greatly from 8th house circumstances such as inherited wealth, successful investments, or the exploitation of other people’s resources. But these same people tend to prefer to tell a 2nd house story, as if their wealth is a product of their skills, talents, and personal choices, entirely about earning that they were able to control.

If we look at capitalism more broadly, it’s worth noting that it only works (temporarily) through vast extraction of shared resources. In fact we can think of the environment, in this context, as an 8th house topic. The earth is the ultimate shared resource, but capitalism is all about taking that resource and converting it to personal, 2nd house wealth for the few. This is, of course, unsustainable, but if your point of view is entirely oriented around the 1st house self, rather than around the more relational houses, it seems rational.

It’s important to keep in mind that most of the “Western” astrological traditions practiced today have roots in either a capitalist worldview or at least, in the case of Hellenistic astrology for example, a colonialist one. When considering the significations of these houses, keep in mind the perspective of those who originated these interpretations and how they might’ve felt about money, accumulation of wealth, and “us vs. them.” A more liberatory take on the chart can be a powerful perspective shift, without abandoning the house system altogether.

When you look at 2nd and 8th house placements, or transits to these houses, consider questions of power and privilege: how do I determine what is a “gain” or a “loss,” or what is “abundance” vs. “scarcity?” Am I using a strictly personal lens, or am I considering the impact on my relationships and community? Am I viewing security as strictly financial, or resources as strictly monetary? How does what I have relate to what others don’t have? How does not “having” open up possibilities for creativity, relationship, or transformation?

(And hey, if you enjoyed this reflection, stay tuned for more explorations of the astrological houses and tools for study from an intersectional perspective! To get notified on when new resources are available, be sure to sign up for my newsletter below. You can also explore your chart with me through a reading or mentoring.)

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