Rover, wanderer, nomad, vagabond
Call me what you will…
But I’ll take my time anywhere
Free to speak my mind anywhere…
And I’ll redefine anywhere, anywhere I roam
Where I lay my head is home. Metallica – Wherever I May Roam
Welcome to the Fourth House! Come on in ‘n set a spell and I’ll give you the grand tour. This House covers many areas of life, the most obvious of which being your actual physical home, your refuge from the world, where you hang your hat and kick back and relax in the comfort of your personal space.
But wait: there’s more! The Fourth House also governs our parents and parenting in general, particularly the parent who was the lesser influence although some astrologers believe the Fourth House parent represented here is strictly the mother or mother figure, while others insist it’s the father/father figure. My personal view is it’s often both. But if your mom was MIA for whatever reason in your early years, the mother figure referred to in this House could also represent dad. Additionally, it encompasses our ancestry, traditions, and how we behave behind closed doors.
The Moon, ruler of the nurturing sign of Cancer, is the Fourth House’s natural ruler. Therefore, this House reveals our early nurturing as young-uns, going all the way back to our days in the womb prior to our birth. At the other end of the spectrum, the Fourth House shows us how or where we might find ourselves in our twilight years. The emotional Moon which naturally governs this House will indicate how we react emotionally to situations beyond our control.
So let’s say you’re reading through your natal chart and Oh. My. God: your Fourth House is completely empty. Vacant. Not a planet, node, or even an asteroid to be found. What gives? Does this mean you are destined for homelessness or perhaps a life as the crazy cat lady with no family whatsoever with the exception of your extensive clowder of feline companions?
Calm down. There’s no cause for alarm here. As mentioned in my previous House articles, there are ten planets (the Sun and Moon count as planets in astrology) and twelve Houses. It doesn’t take a degree in mathematics to conclude that everyone on the planet will have a minimum of two completely empty Houses, and quite often there will be even more than two empty Houses. In the case of a vacant Fourth House, meaning it is completely devoid of any planets, asteroids, or nodes, we would first take a look at which sign rules the Fourth House in your natal chart. For example, let’s assume you have an empty Fourth House which in your natal chart happens to be ruled by, say, Scorpio. We would then examine the qualities of a Scorpion, which include secretiveness, jealousy, possessiveness, highly sexual, and truth-seeking. Those qualities would be indicative of how you tend to approach Fourth House issues. In this hypothetical case, it might mean you were influenced more by the parent of the opposite sex, bucking tradition and rebelling against parts of your family life which you felt/feel don’t accurately represent who you are, and a strong desire to keep your family affairs private: there’s no airing of dirty family laundry with this one! While jealousy and grudges might have played or continue to play a big role in your home life, you are incredibly protective and will be the first to rush to the defense of any loved one who has been wronged in any way.
Alternatively, an empty Fourth House could mean that home and family life are not your top priorities in life. This isn’t to say you couldn’t care less about your family or your home, or any other issue governed by this House, it could be as simple as your home and family relationships are so perfectly harmonious that they don’t require your constant attention (although if Scorpio rules this House, the chances of complete harmony at home and/or with family are damn near nil.) Or it might indicate that you are more concerned with other areas in your life, such as your career or health.
Now, for those of us who do have planets here, let’s take a walk through the Fourth House and see how they affect you on a personal level.
Sun in the Fourth House
Wherever the Sun is in the natal chart, it needs to shine. In the Fourth House, the Sun wants to be the decision-maker of the household and call all the shots. The Fourth House Sun individual insists on living in the most extravagant dwelling that finances allow and they love few things more than having friends or family over to bask in the glory of their abode. This one enjoys throwing parties and impromptu get-togethers simply for the thrill of showing off their home and everything in it. The native’s father was probably a very outgoing guy, unless there is an interfering aspect in the natal chart. A Fourth House Sun person might get off to a slow start in life but by later life they will usually find that their luck and prosperity increases and comes much easier than it did earlier on, but that fear of never having enough tends to linger due to that aforementioned slow start which is always in the backs of their minds. Family is of tantamount importance to the native, and they probably have a stronger-than-usual attachment to whichever parent was the primary caregiver in their childhood, regardless of whether the parent in question was loving and nurturing or nasty and hurtful.
Moon in the Fourth House
As I stated earlier in this article, the Moon is the natural ruler of the Fourth House, therefore it is exalted here. When the native is experiencing a bout of melancholy, they tend to hole up in their home, which is the equivalent of the figurative shell into which a Cancer (ruled by the Moon) reactively retreats when upset or depressed. The Fourth House Moon is prone to extreme mood swings with family beginning fairly early in life and often increasing in frequency and/or severity over the years. The native’s father or father figure was probably somewhat moody and in childhood, they likely felt as though they had to walk on eggshells around daddy, lest they trigger an emotional mood swing. This person prefers to live near the water, and either changes residences frequently or can often be found rearranging the furniture, sometimes to the chagrin of the rest of the family. In the instances where the Fourth House Moon moves often, it’s usually in an attempt to figure out where they belong, yet they inevitably (eventually) come to the realization that wherever they go, there they are. Whether male or female, the native frequently seeks out a partner who will mother them, as their actual mother/mother figure might not have been very emotionally demonstrative in her mothering.
Mercury in the Fourth House
Mercury is the planet of communication, and if you have this placement, ten bucks says that when you’re at home, you’ve got the TV or radio on, even if you’re not specifically watching or listening, simply for the background noise, even if you’re busy screwing around on the internet or even when you’re talking on the phone. Your dad/daddy figure was probably a nonstop talker or he was moving around a lot, perhaps for his career. As you enter midlife or later, you will likely find yourself writing or otherwise communicating more. Mercury is restless and a mover and this is yet another Fourth House placement that gives a native who packs up and moves more than the average person. Even if they don’t actually change physical residences, the home and family life are usually quite changeable. A Fourth House Mercurian’s ideal career would be anything involving travel, as this indulges their insatiable wanderlust. If Mercury is afflicted, the native probably won’t have children until they are well into their thirties or even forties, if they have children at all.
Venus in the Fourth House
Venus loves beauty and pleasure. When its placement is in the Fourth House, we’ll find the native has a quaint, cozy home that isn’t on the same grand show-offy scale as a Fourth House Sun’s home would be. This one has an uncanny knack for interior design with original, unique decor ideas and to them, indulging in items to adorn their charming little home is money well spent. The native’s father/father figure was likely a self-indulgent yet pleasant guy and the Fourth House Venusian’s childhood was probably a happy one. There is a tendency toward marked weight gain in a Fourth House Venusian, particularly as they advance in age. However, this Venus placement is actually a positive one overall, as family relationships, especially with parents, tend to be harmonious. The native doesn’t give their heart away easily but when they do, they really give it away and quickly become attached and emotionally dependent on their partner. Fourth House Venus is big on romance and they love spending a quiet evening at home with their significant other, sharing a simple dinner or cuddling on the couch enjoying a movie. In charts where Venus is afflicted, this could indicate divorce of the native’s parents or some other disruption of family life which the Fourth House Venusian doesn’t handle very well because by way of their peaceful nature, they shy away from conflict or discord of any kind.
Mars in the Fourth House
When Mars, the planet of assertiveness and aggression, is in the Fourth House of Home, this gives an individual who is extremely protective of their home and family. The native might have a tendency to swallow their anger, keeping it to themselves until one day — BAM! — every pent up emotion they have held inside comes at those unlucky enough to be around the native at the time. Alternatively, depending on other factors in their chart, their anger could manifest as passive-aggressiveness which really doesn’t do anyone involved any favors as it only serves to foster resentment. The lesson here is for the Fourth House Martian to try and vent a little at a time rather than waiting for the inevitable full-on blow-up. The native probably didn’t/doesn’t get along too well with their father/father figure, who likely was/is an overbearing, aggressive guy and in some cases, perhaps even abusive, mentally and/or physically. Mars is an action-oriented planet and in their later years, the native will be still be running circles around others of similar age who are slowly getting from point A to point B by way of their Rascal scooters or being escorted through crosswalks by Boy Scouts. Writer Robert Shanks once stated in American Astrology magazine that women with this Mars placement are unlikely to marry and if they do, more likely to divorce because the second they suspect any inkling of what they perceive to be male domination, they race for the door. I have this Mars placement and I’m twice-divorced, and not only am I the first one to admit I’m extremely passive-aggressive, I also hold things inside way too long and then I explode all over who happens to be nearest to me (usually my Cancer cusp man, the poor bastard; he’s almost always a saint about it because he knows how I am in that way.) My detached Virgo father would probably qualify as having been emotionally abusive to me, although I can promise you that was never his intent. I think he truly felt his incessant criticism of me and/or something I had done was to help me. Yeah, it didn’t really work out that way though.
Jupiter in the Fourth House
Planet of luck and abundance, when Jupiter finds itself in the Fourth House of Home, this makes for one lucky son of a bitch. In childhood, they were either sans siblings or they were the favorite child, and the native will benefit in some way from their parents. They are the most likely to be ridiculously wealthy and retire to an extravagant Jupiter palace in an exotic locale at the ripe old age of 30. Even if they live alone, the native requires Jupiter Manor to be large, or at least have a lot of windows, and a beautiful view is a must because of a tendency toward claustrophobia. Fourth House Jupiter’s father was probably a pleasant enough guy but somewhat of a know-it-all. The native is generous and loves to be surrounded by friends and family at home and in fact, this one will likely have lots of children and/or grandchildren; if not, they will have otherwise enormous families, such as scores of cousins, aunts, and uncles. If Jupiter is in retrograde in the natal chart, this will cause the individual to dwell too much on the past, kind of in a Pisces- or Cancer-esque fashion. Furthermore, any Jupiter affliction in the chart can bring issues with meddling in-laws to such a degree that it could create an irreparable marital rift. After you go to the Great Beyond, an afflicted Jupiter can also cause your will to be contested and/or your belongings to end up somewhere or with someone for whom you never intended.
Saturn in the Fourth House
Our favorite solar system bully, Saturn throws up obstacles and causes limitations wherever it appears in the natal chart. In the Fourth House of Home, the native probably felt unloved during childhood, whether or not they actually weren’t. They often don’t have a strong sense of ties to family because of instability in early family life, and it’s for that reason that this is another one that tends to move around a lot. Fourth House Saturn’s upbringing was probably fairly strict with rigid rules. A Fourth House Saturnian was likely forced to undertake adult responsibilities at a relatively young age, it’s most probable that their parents were either divorced or together and obviously miserable with one another. There are frequently negative family legacies related to racial issues or a country from which their ancestors hail. This is a person who doesn’t usually get settled in one place until midlife or later, as it takes them a while to establish roots anywhere. I have this Saturn placement, and while my parents were divorced when I was very young, my upbringing was not like anything that I would refer to as strict. I had clear boundaries (and often pushed them as far as possible, thanks to a rebellious Aries Sun) and though we only moved once during my childhood, I have been a frequent mover since the first day I set out on my own. Which brings up another point: I became a mother for the first time at the age of 17, so while my peers were going to the prom and studying for their SATs, I was living with my now-deceased Sagittarius first hubby in a one-bedroom apartment, struggling to make ends meet while expecting a baby. I wouldn’t say I felt unloved during my childhood, but I definitely felt like I was a disappointment and the family’s proverbial black sheep…and I still feel that way to this day. This is primarily due to having a hypercritical Virgo father, for whom nothing I did was good enough (“well, that’s not bad, but if you woulda done this, it’d be better” — words spoken by him to a three year-old me, upon proudly presenting him with a picture I had colored for him. Yup. And there would be much more where that came from) and obvious sibling favoritism. But in case it needs to be said, even through all of that, if given the opportunity to do things differently, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Uranus in the Fourth House
Weirdo planet Uranus gives a native with an unusual nurturing style in the home. It’s expressed in unorthodox ways and doesn’t necessarily come naturally to the native. Because Uranus is a planet that resists being tied down, wanting to run off and do its own thing, the Fourth House Uranian probably bounces back and forth between being a loving caregiver and an aloof non-presence in the home, even if they are physically there. In fact, many Uranus-in-Fourth natives received this exact kind of nurturing during their own childhoods, and often didn’t receive enough emotional support. They really do have good intentions, however. There will be unusual, eccentric items in the home, quirky gadgets, and there will typically be something strange about the home itself. As astrologer Bob Marks pointed out, Jacques Cousteau had this placement and for all intents and purposes, he lived on a ship. Furthermore, I have a friend with this Uranus placement. His dream house goal? A tree house. I’m not kidding.
Neptune in the Fourth House
Neptune: ruler of Pisces, the
nemesis Ascendant that rears its moody head and comes out to play far too often in my own life. Its presence often manifests as a “see what you want to see/hear what you want to hear” attitude in the affected area of the native’s life; in this case, in affairs dealing with home and family, and in the early and latter parts of life. Neptune also rules the sea and in the Fourth House of Home, it inclines the individual to a preference of living near water. The native’s father is frequently the kind of guy that fell apart or was emotionally unavailable, especially when he was most needed. Ruler of drugs (both street and over-the-counter or prescription pharmaceuticals) and alcohol, Neptune can also give a tendency to a substance abuse problem when placed in the Fourth House, particularly when it is negatively aspected, and the individual’s father might have also had a struggle with this. Those who have this Neptune placement often feel that they don’t fit in with their family, that they are somehow different, and those with Neptune here are often adopted (Neptune rules places of restriction such as prisons and orphanages) or perhaps felt/feel they were/are so different from the rest of the family that surely they were adopted…even if they weren’t. When I think of someone who might have this placement, I think of fictional character Lisa Simpson from the hit Fox animated sitcom The Simpsons. Lisa is an incredibly studious, intelligent overachiever in stark contrast to her dimwitted father Homer and her underachieving (“and proud of it, man”) brother Bart. She tends to question everything and think differently than the rest of the family, including her mother Marge, on one occasion shunning the family’s Christian beliefs and becoming a Buddhist. Lisa is a doer rather than a talker, actively and loudly protesting a wide variety of causes, while everyone else in the family just kind of goes along with the proverbial flow (although once in a blue-haired moon, the others will take an active stance on an issue, but far less often than Lisa.)
Pluto in the Fourth House
This is the planet of death (both figuratively and literally) and regeneration. Changes. New beginnings. Pluto also covers power struggles and shows us the area which can help us heal when we are wounded. In the Fourth House of Home, the native is at their strongest and best able to recharge and unwind at — you guessed it — home. At the same time, there is the propensity for power struggles in the home, particularly between the native and a controlling or intense father/father figure. This often results in lingering resentment and a lot of emotional baggage with the native. Alternatively, depending on how it is aspected in the natal chart, Pluto in the Fourth House can give a father who is somehow not present during the native’s childhood, whether due to his abandonment of the family (a physical absence or emotional one) or even his actual physical death during the individual’s formative years. Each of my three children have this Pluto placement, and their father passed away from cancer when they were 11, 9, and 4 years of age. Furthermore, their stepfather was also lost to death, although they were 23, 21, and 16 when that happened. In any event, Pluto — planet of change in the Fourth House of Home and Family frequently indicates instability or some sort of ongoing upheaval affecting the entire family. On a lighter, more trivial note, it can give a native who likes to redecorate or change the surroundings in the home frequently.