I have been working as an astrologer for a long time now, although it is only very recently that I have felt any confidence at all about making an accurate analysis of a particular chart and whilst my skill has increased proportionately with my reading and study what I have found that is most marked and intriguing, is that as my understanding has improved, my theories have gradually simplified. Thus my understanding of astrology is now much more basic than it ever was 25 years ago when I first read extensively on the subject.
As an example I once understood Jupiter to be analogous with a raft of Jovian concepts, from tinned foodstuffs to the law and the judiciary, but this kind of disparate list-making rather obscured the point of it all, Jupiter in my mind now governs the principles of expansion and preservation; thus all things that broaden the mind and spirit, that exalt and dignify human life and community are good candidates for Jupiter’s benefic domain, but equally, Jupiter can broaden and preserve less desirable traits also, and too it can over-broaden and over-preserve, thus giving rise to dissolute and self-indulgent modes of behaviour at the same time. Thus, the clarification of astrological concepts depends on getting into the very heart of the matter and extrapolating out from that kernel, rather than the opposite (and much more commonplace methodology) of starting from the full viscera of all possible connotations and attempting to find which one fits the bill. You could say then that a Piscean rather than a Virgoan approach is better suited to the art of synthesis, but really the one is dependent upon the other for sustenance and put together they become a chicken or egg proposition, because the many and the one, microcosm and macrocosm are but sides of the same coin and the truth of astrology, as much as anything else in life, lies in the polarity.
An excellent candidate for this approach is the difficult 8th house. I frequently despair of the amateur astrologer’s rather benighted insistence that the 8th is the house of death and the attendant portents of doom and disaster that are implicated in transits and placements to its cusps. The insistence comes from the association of the 8th with those fundamental states of existential transformative powers, the so-called “birth, sex and death” triplicity so favoured of ‘planets by house’ textbooks. Of course, it might be fair to say that with the ruler of the 10th in the 8th there might be some possibility of a career in probate, but that is merely a mundane side-effect at best, it certainly does not describe anything about the core polarity.
This polarity is derived in its entirety from the Taurus-Scorpio axis, and if we are to assume that the 8th is the house of death then we should be equally comfortable with the notion that the 2nd is the house of life. But actually, nobody ever made that claim, because (quite rightly) it is not a factor in the polarity.
The polarity covers a number of themes, and if we consider the mundane side-effects of the 2nd then we might get some insight into the 8th as well. The 2nd is the house of money, of material resources and wealth. Thus the 8th has some affinity, not with death but with resources and values. Now let us dig a little deeper and understand that the 2nd has this association with resources, not because it was just decided thus at some point in history, but because it is the natural house of Taurus and this actually informs the concerns of the second and by extension forms the resonant polarity with the 8th. The 2nd then is nothing more than the mundane and natural area of concern of the Taurean principle. You might even say that it is the area of interest that a true Taurean might most closely attend. That is why the 2nd is about money, because Taurus, fixed earth, is a lover of the finest material joys of earthly existence; it enjoys good food, good wine, the finest and most sumptuous silks, the tactile sensations, contact with the earthy stuff and there is no more accessible means to realising fixed earth than through money.
The polarity of Scorpio, and thus the 8th, is also concerned with resources, but because Scorpio is fixed water the resources are emotional instead of material. Now we are not concerned with food for the body, but actually with food for the soul, now we need to discover what sustains us that we cannot touch. If Taurus is about having enough to survive, then Scorpio is about having little enough to survive. Taurus is about wealth and Scorpio about austerity and this informs the 8th house because it contains a lesson of Scorpio at its heart and by its polarity that lesson is tied up with Taurus. This is why the 8th is frequently concerned with legacies, because these are bequests of other people’s resources and astrologically other people are contained within the opposition and if Scorpio tells us to be self-reliant in a non-material manner then our money is likely to come from others simply out of necessity. A strongly Scorpionic individual, or one with many 8th house placements is just not going to be motivated to amass wealth in the way that a Taurus/2nd house native will be and so a legacy might well be their best bet for material comfort in this incarnation. Of course, this matter of legacies goes deeper still because the essence of Scorpio is ‘loyalty unto death’, and this level of devotion that is aligned to an ideal higher than mere financial improvement makes a powerful ally; actually the type of ally that one might consider worthy of reward when one is composing one’s will.
So the 2nd then is about having enough to be self-sufficient and the 8th by contrast is also about not needing so much to be self-sufficient. They are both powers with the same objective: self-sufficiency but with diametrically opposed methods. The 2nd says “wealth buys freedom” while the 8th says “less is more”. The 2nd represents life only in the sense that it clings to the earthly vibration with a vicelike grip while the 8th transcends the earthy fixation of Taurus and finds sustenance in the emotional consistency of such ideals as loyalty, self-reliance and above all Spartanism. Taurus then is Louis XIVth while Scorpio is Leonidas.
If you understand this, Louis and Leonidas, then you understand the 2nd and the 8th.