The second house of the horoscope has self-worth as its root meaning.
Having self-worth as the root meaning of the second house makes it such an important area of analysis and interpretation – who among us has not struggled with issues of self-worth? The amplification of this psychological dynamic brings home the point: the drive for money and possessions largely arises out a need to prove one’s worthiness to oneself and to others. Of course, the obvious catch here is how much is enough? Who can ever put a number on exactly how much money you need to make, or how big a house you need to live in, so that you are finally worthy?
In interpreting a horoscope, the 2nd house is often seen for money. Not only in how much money someone will be driven to make, but also (and more importantly), what is the relationship of the individual to money and possessions – is it healthy, or is there a problem? For instance, as often as Jupiter (the “big benefic”) in the 2nd house indicates great wealth, so often too does it indicate a disregard for money, setting its sights instead to spiritual “wealth”. But what both of these have in common is a connection of Jupiterian largesse to the 2nd house of worth: material or spiritual. I once analyzed the horoscope of a woman who had Neptune in the 2nd house, and the following thought came to mind: does she give a lot of money away? My reasoning was that Neptune has a tenuous relationship with the material, given its sense of other-worldliness. As it turned out, this woman indeed was generous with her money, giving it way to various needy people and charities.
Replace Jupiter with Saturn, and what do you get? Saturn is restrictive, so one interpretation would suggest that an individual with a strong Saturn influence rejects money, or has a hard time making money. But another view could be that Saturn makes the self-worth issue more acute, more real, and it is such a thorn in the side that the individual overcompensates with a persevering, assiduous effort to make enough money, and accumulate enough possessions to make the pain of lack go away, or to show the world they are worthy.
Coming at it from a non-psychological perspective, the natural second house is in the sign of Taurus: The sign of Taurus is associated with material possessions. This does tie in with the psychological perspective of striving to accumulate material possessions arising out of low self-worth, but the natural house sign approach is not really concerned with this connection. Taurus signifies the good life, even hedonism, and an emphasis on the 2nd house that shows up as a lot of material possessions or great accumulation of wealth could arise out of a straight-up simple desire to live the good life.
Taureans like bring around money, so astrologers often look for a connection to banking: many people with a strong Taurean influence (planets in 2nd house, planets in Taurus, etc.) are found work in the banking industry. Not all of them are necessarily wealthy, but being around money, even if it is someone else’s just makes them feel good!
A related signification of the 2nd house has to do with values: what values does the individual hold, and what kinds of things do they value in life? The consideration of values is one of the significations of Venus, the planetary ruler of Taurus. For example, someone with Mercury in the 2nd house might value the mind, whereas another person with Scorpio in the 2nd house might value the mastery of emotions.
Being associated with money or material possessions, the 2nd house figures in issues of work that pays. Someone with an earth sign on the 2nd house cusp would want to make sure that the work they do has clear tangible and material benefits. Whereas someone with a water sign on the 2nd house cusp would want to make sure that their work benefits them in the coin of emotional security, which they value highly.
To analyze the 2nd house of your own horoscope, you want to see the sign on the cusp, and the planets placed there, if any. If your 2nd house is empty, you will need to look at the ruler of the 2nd house (the planet that rules the sign on the cusp of the 2nd house), and consider the sign in which the ruler is placed, and the aspects it makes with other planets. For instance, the ruler of the 2nd in Taurus, square Jupiter, will bring in the qualities of Taurus and Jupiter to all 2nd house matters.