A person’s personality can be derived from the arrangement of planets and signs in their birth chart. But where things get really precise — like scary accurate — is the houses in astrology. This is an important astrological lesson that should not be ignored. The houses provide key information about your birth chart and are a major point in predictive astrology (aka horoscopes). These houses will help you look like an astrological genius and impress your friends. Today’s lesson? The fourth house of astrology.
What are the houses? And why should you care about them? Each of the 12 houses describes a facet of life that a sign or planet is influencing — it “houses” the cosmic energy. When you want the tea on your home life and family, you’ll want to do a deep dive on your fourth house.
Along with planets, signs and aspects, houses are one of four components of astrology. “The houses are really how the energy plays out for us — how all the planets are playing out their energy in what area,” Camila R. Quintero, LCSW, a licensed psychotherapist and professional Vedic astrologer, tells Elite Daily. In your birth chart, you’d have your given planet in a zodiac sign, which both would also fall within a house. It’s the what, how, and where of astrology. Without knowing the houses, you’re missing out on a major layer of detail that can’t be found anywhere else.
Say you have a Scorpio moon — what area is this energy activating? Scorpio moons that reside in the fourth house would bring forth intense, guarded emotions. This is especially true if it has to do with your family and home. Knowing the houses of your family will help you understand how a particular transit is going to impact you. Let’s say you have a Libra full Moon. Libra, if you are in your fourth home, is where the full Moon will be most significant.
Astrology’s first six houses are your personal houses. They relate to you and your immediate environment. The six last houses are more concerned with your relationships and interactions with the outside world. Astrology’s fourth house is the most personal and important. The pros have compiled everything you need to know about the home of family and home.
How do you know your fourth house in Astrology?
To find out what’s going down in your fourth house, you’ll need to have your full birth chart. Many websites can do calculations for you. All that you need is your exact birth date and time. Your birth date is required to determine the location of any house. Although knowing your birthday will give you your sun sign, it is not enough. The housing lineup changes every few hours so a precise timestamp is necessary.
Once you have your birth data, you can use it to create an online chart using Astro-seek.com. It’s Nearly as easy as that — but when is anything in astrology that simple? Before you tell the site to give you your chart, you’ll need to note which house system it’s using.
Do you have a house system? Sigh. There are many ways to generate the houses in a birth charts, and which one you choose will affect the outcome. Here’s the rundown: Your birth chart is a picture of what the sky was doing at the exact moment you first graced the world with your presence. At this moment in time, there was only one sign above the eastern horizon. It is your ascendant sign. This sign, also known as your first house, rose over the eastern sky. It will remain the same regardless of which housing method you choose, although the technique used for dividing the rest horizon into houses one through twelve will give different results. It’s important to note which system is used on any astrology apps or websites because each might be telling you contradicting things about your chart, which can get confusing if you don’t know why.
There are many house systems. The most popular are Placidus or Whole Sign. When you’re using an astrology app or birth chart calculator, Placidus will usually be the default method. This formula divides the houses based on the apparent path of the sun through space. If you look at a Placidus circle chart, you’ll notice the 12 pie slices representing the houses are uneven because these wedges are not divided into equal parts. This makes it possible for a sign to be completely skipped and is the reason you might believe you don’t have a certain sign anywhere in your chart.
The Whole Sign system aligns all signs in a Zodiac order. This method is simpler for the brain, as you only need to know the rising sign to identify the rest of your houses. Say you’re a Gemini rising (Gemini in the first house). Your whole sign would show you that your second house is Cancer. You’d be your third Leo in the next house. Visually, each wedge is an even 30 degree, and each sign occupies one house.
The method you choose is personal preference — you just need to be aware of which you’re using. The Whole Sign system is much more beginner-friendly and doesn’t skip any signs. Placidus is a good option if your birthplace is at an extreme latitude. It can cause problems. After you have chosen your preferred method, you will be able to calculate your chart and determine what sign occupies your fourth house. You can also see if there are planets present.
What is the Fourth House in Astrology?
The angular houses, which are the first, fifth, seventh, and tenth most important in astrology, are the most important. These houses represent the key points of the sky where you were born. On a circle chart, the first (house of self) and seventh (house of partnerships) — the ascendant and descendant — are directly opposite each other, at the left and right of the chart. The fourth, which is at the top and bottom of the chart, sits exactly opposite the 10th. “Learning about all those angular houses is imperative because they hold the entire chart together,” Quintero says. “But learning about your fourth house [is important] because it tells you so much; it has so much richness in regards to who you are and how your mind operates and how you process your emotions,” she continues.
Imagine the horizon as it was when you were born. While the ascendant was rising to the east, the descendant sign was setting to the west. The public image of the 10th house shows the highest point in the sky or chart. The fourth house, however, is the most intimate and private. “The fourth house is how you tie everything together,” Quintero says, “in the sense of how you are when you are alone, how you are when you are at home, [and] How do you balance the other three? [angular] houses.” As it’s the opposite of your 10th house of reputation, the fourth is you at your most relaxed and vulnerable state. It’s the parts of you that are unseen by the public, and it represents your inner foundations.
The fourth house can describe what feels like home to you because it’s a reflection of your core. “That’s why when somebody has fourth house synastry with you [has planets in the same sign that’s in your fourth house], it is really hard to end those relationships because it’s almost as if they know the deepest parts of your soul,” Quintero explains.
The house is also related to your heart, innermost emotions and mental health, as well as your mother, childhood, and relationships within your immediate circle. You can also include things such as your house, vehicle, and roommates in the fourth house. The fourth house also covers your mind, but not in the intellectual sense of the third house. “If you have a strong fourth house, you’re able to balance your emotions,” Quintero says, adding that malefic planets, like Saturn or Mars, afflicting your fourth house could play out as a disconnect with your emotions, psyche, mother, or family.
For example, if you have Scorpio in the fourth house (Leo risings if you’re using Whole Sign), all of these fourth house themes are lit up with Scorpio energy. “Fourth house Scorpio is a very intense placement,” Quintero says. “So Leo risings tend to have really intense living situations or mothers.” If course, it also depends on whether you have any planets here as well, which will bring more energy. Say you have Mercury in your fourth house, then you’d probably have consistent communication with your family, especially your mother.
You’d also want to take a look at where the planetary ruler of the sign is placed, which adds yet another layer of detail — whether you have planets in the house or not. With the previous example, you’d examine your Mars placement, since Mars is the ruler of Scorpio. “For instance, if your Mars is in the eighth house, then your mother would be someone who’s very secretive or who’s very intense in a very transformational kind of way,” Quintero offers.
It’s a very sensitive house, but by learning about yours, you’ll begin to better understand your childhood, your mother, and “the choices that your parents made [when you were] growing up in order for you to have gotten to where you are,” Quintero adds.
Which Sign Rules The Fourth House
If you’re familiar with the zodiac signs, these themes might sound suspiciously crabby to you. But before diving into the fourth house’s Cancerian ties, note that not all practices of astrology subscribe to this idea. Astrologers are divided on the subject of assigning houses to the Zodiac signs.
Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong answer. It all boils down to which type of astrology you’re looking at. Traditional Hellenistic astrologers would advise that the signs be kept out of the mind while studying the houses. Vedic astrology is closely tied to deeper Hindu spiritual practices and the houses are strongly linked to the Zodiac signs. These are only two examples. There are many schools and ways of thinking about the cosmos.
Each practice has its own opinion on the subject, but if you’re erring on the side of simplicity, it can be easier to grasp the house meanings if you already know your zodiac signs. “All 12 houses have the same [distinct] energy matching the sign,” Miami-based astrologer Valerie Mesa tells Elite Daily. “It goes in the same order as the zodiac.” As the fourth sign in the zodiac, Cancer would bestow its themes to the fourth house.
“Cancer has everything to do with one’s ancestral lineage, the mother’s side, [and] what makes us feel safe,” Mesa explains. “It’s where we cocoon, it’s our innermost feelings, it’s our humble abode, it’s even our home front, where we’re literally living — that is the fourth house space,” she continues. This is how you were raised. Here are the events that shaped you as a child.
There are additional significations in Vedic Astrology. Each house would match up with a zodiac sign, but would then be split up into one of Hinduism’s four goals of life. Each goal is then paired up with an astrological aspect: Dharma refers to the fire sign houses (first through fifth), Artha to the earth sign houses (10th through 11th), Kama to the air sign house (third through seventh, and 11th), Moksha to the goal of water sign houses (4th, 8th, 12th).
The fourth, which is a waterhouse, belongs to the former. “The last part of the goals of life is spiritual liberation, which is Moksha,” Quintero explains. “How we reach that is water … deep emotions.” In this practice, you’d then apply the significations of the Cancer zodiac sign and the Moksha goal of life to the fourth house. “The fourth house helps you understand your emotions, and it helps you understand how you are going to react to things in your environment,” Quintero says, noting that you’d then be able to dig into why things happened in your childhood and move past them, guiding you to a psychological and spiritual liberation.
Each sign of the zodiac also hails over an area of the body. This can then be applied to the house in question (depending on what type of astrology you use). Because Cancer rules the breast, heart, and chest area, it’s thought that harsh aspects to the fourth house could entail physical vulnerability in these areas. However, positive aspects and placements of the fourth house could indicate a strong chest.
Transits to The Fourth House
Here’s where you can really impress your friends with your pyschic-level predictions. Fourth-house transits can help you spot any potential changes for your mother, family, and home. This occurs when planets pass through the sign of your fourth house. This will create a shift in the energy in this area. To keep it one step ahead of the stars, take the meaning of the planet that’s geared up to run through your fourth house and mash it up with meanings of the house. This will give you an idea of what’s to come.
Saturn, for instance. Saturn is a planet that loves to teach lessons, set boundaries, and impart restrictions. Apply that to your house of home and family, and it’s definitely one of the tougher transits a person will go through. “You will feel very uneasy and almost as if you can’t relax,” Quintero explains. Your home may become a hostile environment if the planet of difficult lessons is present. Saturn is always there to push (sometimes shove), for changes but he knows they are for the best.
“When you have planets passing through your fourth house, you’re more likely to be inhibited and keep things to yourself,” Mesa says. While you may feel uncomfortable in your own home, it’s a very internal feeling you’ll be experiencing. “It’s the most private house in the birth chart, so having planets there kind of hides them, and it’s almost like you’re keeping those energies safe or private for yourself at the moment. It’s a deeply personal area for a planet to transit through and for a planet to be there natally.”
Depending on the planet, fourth house transits can be ample time to hibernate and reset — they’re not all scary. “If you enjoy being at home, if you do have good relationships with your relatives, if you do like your privacy or being on your own … if you are a homebody, these fourth house transits are actually really fun,” Mesa notes.
The fourth house is one pillar of who we are. It’s your sense of safety, nurturing, and is really the foundation created during childhood. This corner of your birth chart will help you to heal, feel supported, and can even help you to decide when you should move. If you’re only dedicated to diving into a handful of houses, the fourth should definitely be one of them.
Valerie MesaProfessional astrologer, soul coach and writer
Camila R. Quintero LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Vedic astrologer.