The 2nd/8th House axis: If Your House was Burning What Would You Take?

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This is a question that evokes everything about the 2nd and 8th house. First the image of destruction, our worst fear realized and also, more importantly, an issue of values. “If your house was burning, what would you take with you? It’s a conflict between what’s practical, valuable and sentimental. What you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities.”

The 2nd house is the acquisition of possessions, it rules over our security needs, and it is a fixed earth house and so things are usually defined and it has a bearing on an individual’s values. Also, a great deal of the material that is written about Taurus and the second house, concerning one’s values and the accumulation of assets and self-esteem, verves towards being overly materialistic, and over-valuing the physical world.

What is common in such interpretations is that too much emphasis on wealth and possessions should be avoided and that the spiritual life should be favoured in the sense that these objects are worthless when you’re dead. It is true, to an extent, and for the unhealthy individual that sees wealth and status as an extension of their identity, he can be left somewhat empty on a soul level if all these possessions are taken away.  As Liz Greene says, “In the end, however, the possession can only be a quality within the individual himself. There is nothing else in life which is permanent and unalterable except those attributes that we term spiritual. Everything else may be lost, destroyed, taken away or devalued. It seems that the desire for values, not only tangible but mental, emotional, and spiritual as well, are more representative of the second house than possession.”

The second house does hold immense value while living, and this sphere of life follows on from the first house of identity, meaning that the individual now looks to the earthly plane for things that add value, worth and that he can identify with.  It can describe our material possessions, earning power, and what we do with our resources. Usually is pertains to what makes us feel rooted and secure giving a feeling of stability. Walter Benjamin said: “Ownership is the most intimate relationship that one can have to objects. Not that they come alive in him; it is his he who lives in them.” It seems in the Venusian sense that we really do have a relationship with the things we own. Venus is the goddess of love and relating and Botticelli painted the Birth of Venus and it stands as one of the most famous works of art in the Western world. With Taurus, Venus and the 2nd house there is pleasure out of owning objects, collecting, and a sense of contentment in owning their possessions.

The individual in the 2nd house naturally looks around the environment and sees things that one can place their identity upon. It could be a collection of well-loved books, jewellery, a piece of art, a favourite picture, a scrapbook, and it is often these “things” that we love and admire and place value upon that separates us from one another, and from every other flower in the garden. We adorn ourselves with items that symbolise who we are, we dress in a particular style that suits us down to the ground. The Taurus or 2nd house person may accumulate a lot of stuff, but often it has to hold personal value. It could be old and classic; it might have cost a substantial amount of money, or a few pennies, but no matter the cost it holds an invaluable worth, significance and deep importance on the emotional level. The house of values is an extension of the individual; it is essentially building upon who we are. There is a completely different feeling to possessing something to borrowing it; there is a certain pleasure in owning something. The 2nd house rules over things that can be purchased, owned, placed around the environment and looked upon lovingly.

In astrology, with opposite houses what happens in one usually has an immediate effect over the other. When the hand of fate plays its cards, destruction calls or the Pluto house rug is pulled from under our feet it directly affects our sense of value and we hold on significantly tighter to the things we love.  The 8th house is on fire, ablaze, it’s where the emotions burn hottest. The interior life and the volcanic eruptions of this house can reveal something in the personality on the verge of blowing. All these associations concern the intensity of the emotions, and Pluto, Scorpio and the 8th house are also symbolic of the release from obsessional compulsions, and the aspects of the underworld bring us to the deepest awareness of life. Colin Wilson said something very Plutonian when he described the feeling of being reborn “anyone who has looked into this abyss achieves the separation of the real self from the inessential self, which is like being born.” In Pluto’s realm when crisis hits everything else suddenly appears trivial especially when one is in deep depression. In this deep awareness and when the values are deepened the 8th joins forces with the 2nd house as both are about to be changed, and it brings to the surface a great wealth of talents and abilities which have long been hidden by the psyche.

Taurus and the 2nd house rule our resources and this can be money, but also one’s own capacities and abilities, these are the things that can help sustain the individual.  The 8th house is ruled over by the emotions, it can so often involve a battle over possessions through relationships, it deals with wills, inheritance and legacies and when someone dies, we inherit their valuables, and of course the hostile nature of the 8th house can appear over possessions and whether or not it has been shared properly or one values mother’s old lamp more than the rotting chair she was left. Every so often we come to the realization of the important things that matter, not so much the monetary gain, but the essence and value we give to objects and to remember that we actually own that feeling inside and we don’t always need outside validation.

Esssence  (sns)
1. The intrinsic or indispensable properties that serve to characterize or identify something.
2. The most important ingredient; the crucial element.
3. The inherent, unchanging nature of a thing or class of things.
a. An extract that has the fundamental properties of a substance in concentrated form.
b. Such an extract in a solution of alcohol.
c. A perfume or scent.
5. One that has or shows an abundance of a quality as if highly concentrated: a neighbor who is the essence of hospitality.
6. Something that exists, especially a spiritual or incorporeal entity.

Pluto and the 8th house affecting Venus and the 2nd house transform values and it also brings a redefinition of the self, an upheaval around the way you see yourself.