Because it is the house which succeeds the Ascendant. Planets in the 2nd are trying to move deeper into their sign, and eventually into the next sign, and the next. They desire progress in the direction of the red arrows in the attached chart (which belongs to celebrity golfer Tiger Woods).
But the rotation of the earth pulls the 2nd-house contents back toward the Ascendant, and forces the contents of the 2nd House to rise. The signs and their contents are moved clockwise (in the direction of the blue arrows on the caption chart) by this earthly rotation, yet at the same time the planets move much more slowly in the opposite direction.
The interplay of these two contradictory motions generates unique astrological meanings and produces a timing mechanism that is very valuable for predictive work.
Due to the clockwise motion of the circle of houses, the succedent houses (the 2nd, 5th,the 8th, and the 11th) are constantly “referred back” to the angle with which they are associated. This means that planets in the 2nd are always being referred back to the Ascendant. They are constantly being drawn to the Ascendant, which is a symbol for the body and intelligence (not to mention the morality) of the native herself or himself.
The 2nd-house planet, then, represents a force which is continuously applied back to the owner of the chart, forces which he encounters as a consequence of simply being alive. In this expanded sense, the 2nd-house and planets in it do not signify assets so much as they describe all the stuff that comes to a person based upon the essence of that person’s being. The 2nd and its contents describe spiritual forces which superintend the attaining of material goods for the native. It is as if simply by being born we are disturbing some cosmic equilibrium, and in response to the invasion of a new ego the universe arranges for material that is automatically generated by that person’s even being alive in the first place. The course of any life is going to produce a mountain of detritus, rubbish, garbage, adornments, decorations, foods and drinks, and all manner of other material things. This is what’s shown by the 2nd house.
Much has been made of the fact that astrologers historically referred to the 2nd as the “Gate of Hades.” Some neo-classicists will actually describe this in quasi-hellish terms. Their idea is that something punishing hangs over the 2nd house. There’s something bad about it. When pressed as to why the 2nd is bad, as to why it is a Gate of Hell, the stock response is, “Money is the root of all evil.”
This is a feeble explanation that even neo-classical astrologers don’t really believe. You can tell that they wished they had a better answer for the supposed badness of the 2nd house. They’re convinced the 2nd is bad for two reasons, one of which is silly and the other of which is actually quite sound and logical:
(1) That ghoulish name. I mean, come on: The Gate of Hell? Sounds like a cheesy 90s-era horror flick. This is silly.
(2) More important, the 2nd fails to receive any of the fiery light and life of the Ascendant. And this is not trivial. It’s a big deal. The houses express a relationship to one’s local horizon. Signs adjacent to the rising sign, and adjacent to the descending sign, are emptied of its light. They are in a disjunct relationship with the house of life, the Ascendant. They are shadow zones, utterly alien to the essence of the native as shown by the element and mode of his rising sign, and this fact is paramount in understanding how the keywords of the 12th, 2nd, 6th, and 8th are derived and unified. The 2nd house partakes of the same hiddenness that the 12th does. Money is mysterious and intangible. I personally have not touched paper currency in weeks, maybe even months. My assets, such as they are, exist on a computer screen. Mysterious. The ultimate source of my money is also a mystery. It comes from people, but…what was it doing before it got to me? And for many of us, laying hands on more of it is also a rather mysterious process. If it were not, then nobody would ever ask astrologers about assets in the first place, because they would have solved their own personal financial mysteries. And this is usually not the case.
The 2nd is similar to the 12th, the 6th, and the 8th in its hiddenness, and can produce 12th-house style keywords, events, and people. Think about it this way — what kinds of people and activities are afoot every day when the Sun is in the 2nd house prior to dawn?
Thus, the 2nd house is not the Gate *to* Hell but is instead the Gate *from* it, showing a sort of vestibule, terminal, or waiting area for spiritual forces awaiting birth. Their emergence from the underworld, naturally, is symbolized by their being brought to the rising sign and then being born as they ascend past the horizon into the light of day. So — the 2nd House is a subterranean portal whose maw spews forth all the spirits that your simple act of existence (the Ascendant) stirs up, spirits embodied in the form of assets, all material possessions and even advisers and allies who might assist one in navigating the shadow zones of life.
We may also understand the so-called “natural” or “mundane” second house, Taurus, along these lines. The current vogue portrays Aries as an outpouring of one’s essential being, with Taurus serving as a cool, dry crucible for the Aries explosiveness to work itself out. But this new view, inspired by the terrestrial symbolism of the diurnal circle (which is the circle of the earth’s rotation, completed in 24 hours), shows us that Taurus is an attractive and magnetic energetic reaction to the audacity of the Aries ego-intrusion.
To summarize, the 2nd House and its contents show us what sort of “stuff” comes to the native, and this “stuff” is qualified by the sign on the cusp and any planets in the house. We may see the sign of the 2nd and any planets in it as the source of whatever the 2nd-house ruler represents. First there is the 2nd-house desire for assets, followed by the 2nd-house ruler and its house position being activated in order to generate those assets.
Certainly this is only the beginning of assessing a person’s finances. The 2nd House is simply where we begin to understand what forces are awaiting birth in the person’s life, forces that the individual aroused simply by existing.