©2010 by Donna Cunningham, MSW
When analyzing an individual’s vocational potential, it’s important to examine the financial picture as well, for a chart may show great talent and a good work ethic, but unless barriers to earning and managing money are addressed, the person may never enjoy economic security. Most of us would look to the 2nd house for insight, but that would give an incomplete understanding, because two houses of the chart are in play here, the 2nd and the 8th.
The 2nd house shows earned income and other resources we bring to the table. The 8th, equally important, depicts the extent to which we rely on support coming from other sources such as a partner, family members, inheritances, government benefits, grants, and lotteries. The 2nd and 8th form an axis, and an overemphasis on either end of that axis may show an imbalance that can create both personal stress and strife in crucial relationships.
Extreme Examples of 8th-House Imbalances
What do charts of “trust-fund babies” — the offspring of the very rich — and children born into long-term welfare families have in common? Between my past social work jobs and my 40-year astrology practice, I’ve seen many charts in both categories. The charts are startlingly similar, and you might be hard put to tell them apart.
The pattern they share is one of a strong 8th house (say, the Sun, Moon, or several planets there) or a strong emphasis on Scorpio placements or Pluto aspects across the 2nd/8th-house axis.
You’ll find similar signatures in the charts of those who marry into money, particularly with Venus–Pluto aspects or with Venus, Libra planets, or the 7th-house ruler in the 8th.
As different as the external circumstances of these three groups (trust-fund babies, welfare families, and those who marry into money) might seem, their internal life — their psychological makeup and the dynamics of their relationship to the source of support — is often much the same.
The 8th house is a relationship house, yet if there’s an imbalance in resources, over time it sets up an imbalance of power in the relationship as well. In order not to lose power over the recipient, the benefactor may even covertly (yet unconsciously) sabotage the recipient’s best efforts at career progress and self-sufficiency.
I find that members of these three groups share a deeply entrenched belief that they cannot earn their own living or succeed in a career of their own choosing. They’re utterly convinced that their resources (the 2nd house) are grossly inadequate to make their own way in life and that they have to rely on other people’s resources (the 8th house). Unless healed, this self-undermining belief could paralyze them from going after their dreams.
The “Benefactor’s” True Colors are Revealed
All too often, the supposed benefactor is gradually revealed as controlling and tight-fisted, so the bond deteriorates into an extremely demeaning one. For every dime that comes their way, recipients pay a heavy toll in lowered self-worth and loss of freedom to determine the course of their own lives and finances.
They live with the ever-present threat of losing that support unless they jump through hoops to keep the benefactor happy. At one extreme, the family matriarch threatens to write them out of the will if they don’t dance attendance on her. At the other extreme, the welfare computer sends out a notice that demands their appearance at yet another hearing to determine their continued inability to work.
Likewise, many a trophy wife keeps her husband at the cost of remaining decorative, being treated like a dependent child, giving up hope for a career of her own, and turning a blind eye to extramarital affairs.
Even if the 8th house is vacant natally, transits by slow-moving outer planets to the 8th or by Pluto to the 2nd may signal a decade when it becomes critical to keep finances in balance. Neptune transits to the 8th, for example, might represent an era of progressive enmeshment in codependent financial ties. With either transiting or natal Neptune in the 8th, long-term monetary support can be given in an insidious manner that slowly undermines the receiver’s capacity for self-sufficiency.
The benefactor’s motivation is generally suspect, though couched in saintly terms of helping others to get back on their feet. The “rescuer” — more aptly known as the enabler — is addicted to being needed, yet feels increasingly drained and victimized by the individual being “rescued.” I use quotation marks here because, like many Neptunian pairs, these connections can involve a history of progressive deception and self-deception on the part of both individuals.
It always seems that individuals like those described above work far harder to eke out demeaning dribs and drabs from their benefactors than they ever would at a job. It might be worthwhile for those whose 8th house is dominant to engage in a cost/results analysis to determine whether the relationship with their benefactor is cost-effective — or a form of self-sabotage and self-abasement.
Finding a Healthy Balance between Giving and Receiving
Am I suggesting that we should never rely on the resources — financial or otherwise — of another person? Of course not. There are times in our lives when we legitimately need help: while recovering from a major illness, for instance, or borrowing money to get an education.
The 8th house wouldn’t exist — or wouldn’t signify anything other than death, birth, and regeneration — if giving and receiving in equal balance weren’t part of the Universe’s plan for our long-range spiritual evolution. Equal balance is the key phrase here.
When you allow others to give to you, be cognizant of the need to reciprocate in a timely manner and in equal measure — perhaps not always with financial repayment but with support that will be equally meaningful to the other party. Someday the bill will come due, and the quicker you repay your benefactor, the less financial and karmic interest you accrue!
Scenarios of 8th-house financial dependence, of course, are one extreme of a 2nd/8th-house imbalance. The other extreme — an overemphasis on the 2nd with nothing happening in the 8th — can also be difficult, draining, and self-defeating over the long run.
That could represent the individuals who are absolutely unwilling or unable to look to others for support, financial or otherwise. This stance can make success or even bare survival far harder than necessary. The mystery is in keeping these two finance-related houses in balance, a learning process that is sometimes the lesson of a lifetime or series of lifetimes.
Note: This is an excerpt from a much longer article that appeared in The Mountain Astrologer. See their back issues for the complete version.
More Articles on Skywriter:
- Money and Pluto in the 2nd House—The Haves vs. the Have Nots
- Uranus in the 2nd—Freedom & Individuality, vs. Financial Stability
- Neptune in the 2nd—Money, Boundaries, & Codependency
- Your 2nd House—A Clue to Extra Income
- Readers Ask: Q & A about the 2nd House
- Pluto-Saturn Preparedness Kit #5: Key Players in your Drama
- Stuck For What Seems Like Forever? Maybe Areas of Unforgiveness are the Cause
- What Makes a Person Controlling? How Can It Stop?
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