The Fourth House
The fourth house is the second angular house, and as with all angular houses it is associated with external manifestation such as events and relationships. It is the root of power, the core of the inner being. Some call it the “Seat of the Soul.” It represents our basic foundation in life, the security we create for ourselves, the rock on which we anchor the edifice of our life. It is our basic roots, psychological foundation, home base, physical house, domestic life, the “nest.”
The fourth house represents our family heredity, our genetic heredity, the biological, psychological and cultural heritage of our family clan, our past memories and personal subconscious. It is the extended family, the tribe, and the nation. Patriotism is a fourth house matter.
The fourth house is also the end of life, the grave, and the final resting-place. It, like Cancer, is the “womb and the tomb.”
The sign on the cusp and the planets in this house describe our nurturing parent. Some say it is the mother in a man’s chart and the father in a woman’s.
I have found it depends on the individual chart, for the fourth and tenth houses together represent the parental complex. It contains the symbols and myths we hold about our family, its traditions, and ourselves. The fourth is our most private, intimate self. It shows who we are when “at home with our shoes off.” It includes our attitudes toward roommates, family of procreation, spouse and children, and pet animals that serve as surrogate babies. It often represents the first child, especially in a woman’s chart.
When a person has the Sun in the fourth house he has an inner core of self-confidence.
The Moon here gives keen intuition and insight into the feeling nature of others. The world of ideas is the foundation of being when Mercury is here.
Venus often correlates with inherited artistic talent and a need for peace and harmony.
Mars gives reserves of physical vitality and is an indicator of possible violence in the early home life; at least one parent had a temper.
Jupiter gives an inherent, inherited sense of optimism and faith in life, a generous disposition and a sense of entitlement. When Saturn falls in the fourth, home feels confining. The parents seemed too strict, cold, or perhaps they were old. Or, one only establishes a home late in life. With Uranus here, life is never predictable. There are sudden moves. The actual house circumstances may be unusual – maybe Mother was an oddball, Dad a genius, or vice versa.
Neptune indicates a childhood spent in a dream world of imagination. Playing a musical instrument is associated with this Neptunian placement. An ill or alcoholic parent is not unusual.
Pluto in the fourth house gives great will power, stamina, and possible ruthlessness. One parent may have been tyrannical. The person has the ability to ferret out the secrets of others if he chooses. Sometimes the manifestations are very literal.
One client with a fourth house Neptune (alcohol) said when he was a child his father had a whiskey still in the basement of the family home. Another client had recurring problems with the plumbing and septic tank (Pluto), during a transiting Pluto square to her natal Pluto in the fourth house.
When there are no planets in the fourth, look to the ruler of the fourth (the IC), to see where the person is most at home. If it is in the first house, he is at home within himself and may break from his family to start a completely new lineage; when it is in the tenth, the person is at home with his destiny or with the public. With the ruler of the fourth in the seventh, partnerships are a requirement for a secure foundation and, with the ruler in the twelfth, the person may be a natural psychologist, at home in the world of the collective unconscious archetypes.
You often have to know a person for a long time and quite well before he lets you see his fourth house personality, the roots of his being. It is the hidden power spot of his chart and his most private self. The fourth house is our “bottom line.”‘ It may contain buried treasure, or it may be the dungeon which contains the dragon.
About the author:
Eleanor Buckwalter has studied, practiced and taught astrology in Los Altos, CA for more than twenty-five years, including three years with the late Richard Idemon, a psychological astrologer. Her primary astrological focus of interest is parent-child relationships and family dynamics.