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Want to learn more about how to do astrology? You've come to the right place!

The FOURTH House

Ashley Thiessen

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Growing apart doesn’t change the fact that for a long time we grew side by side; our roots will always be tangled.
— Ally Condie

In our 3rd House, we ventured out on our own for the very first time. Our eager, running feet carried us out into the neighbourhood beyond our front porch, out to games of chase and pretend with the other children our age. But at the end of the day, when the streetlamps flickered on and the sun faded from view, we all turned to head back home.

The 4th House is that familiar place we all sink into at the end of the day, when we turn away from the outside world and retreat into ourselves. It is the deepest, darkest, most intensely private and intimate place we own. The only people who see it are those who inhabit these same private places with us - our home, our family, our past, and our childhood. Ideally, these should all be womb-like places of comfort built on a secure foundation of trust, vulnerability, and protective, nurturing influences. But for some, the 4th House can be volatile and chaotic place we avoid coming home to. And for these people, the silence only brings the uneasiness and intrusive thoughts we'd been running away from all day.

 

IF YOUR CHART WERE AN ACTUAL HOUSE

The 4th House would represent the family living inside the house, making it their home. It would be the kitchen and the hearth at the heart of the home, where the family gathers together to talk and eat. It would be bedrooms, bathrooms, offices - places of privacy and isolation. And it would be the family heirlooms strung throughout the house: photographs, trinkets, and antiques, which remind us of the past and the history we've grown out of.

 

DOMAIN OF THE 4th HOUSE

  • Privacy (seclusion, isolation, solitude)

  • Home (houses, physical shelter, real estate), or places which feel comfortable and familiar

  • Family (parents, grandparents, extended family, ancestry, lineage); living in and sharing intimate spaces with caregivers and protectors

  • Childhood and family friends who knew you in your younger “shaping” years

  • The past (nostalgia, photographs, tradition, vintage items)

  • The early childhood environment, from your toddler years to your adolescence, or from your earliest memories to first moving out of the family home

  • Things which are passed down your family line, such as your family surname, religious or cultural traditions, recipes, beliefs, and so on


PLANETS IN THE fourth HOUSE

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Psychologists know that a person’s childhood becomes the psychic centre for all mental and emotional processes later on in life. How your family treated you, events in the past, and the values you grew up with all had a part in shaping you into the person you are today. With this placement, you are a very home and family oriented person. Your life rotates around the comforts of private spaces and the familiarity of what you grew up with. Home becomes a sanctuary removed from the stresses of outside life, a protected place for you to retreat into when you need to be alone. You continue to harbour close ties to your childhood and the traditions of your family. Hearty homemade meals, the warmth of your grandparent’s hearth, the old family properties you grew up visiting, holidays together. Grandpa’s stories and grandma’s cooking. Soft cushions on the couch and fuzzy blankets on your bed. Sitting alone in your room as a teenager, old family friends stopping by, and big extended family parties in the house. You have many idyllic memories of growing up and you hold onto them for the rest of your life.

A large part of your personal identity comes from your parents and what values you grew up with. Growing up, your parents dominated your early life. One or both parents were experienced as authoritative, controlling, and powerful. You had to fight with them in order to gain some sort of independence because they had such a strong hold over you. In many cases 4th House Suns grow up with an absent parent; you either fill the parental role in their stead or spend a lifetime searching elsewhere for the missing parent. You must learn to distinguish your own self from your family background – to understand who you are instead of how you are like your mother and father – without denying that you are a part of your family altogether. This transition can be very difficult. You likely want to stay closely connected to your parents well into adulthood. Severing financial, emotional, and ethical ties with your mom and dad will be tough. But it has to be done in order for you to grow out of your insecurity and become your own person.

 
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This is a delightful placement for your Moon. This is the placement of an introvert. No matter how social the rest of your personality may be or how stimulating your home environment is, the lunar forces in your chart demand time where you go inside of yourself and rest. You cycle into the new moon for a while, sitting alone behind some closed door, until you have calmed the seas inside your heart. Then you may venture out into the full moon cycle to bond with your familiar peers again.

The home, and especially the bedroom, is a sacred place for you. It is where you keep your feelings under lock and key. You have been this way all your life. One mustn’t doubt the powerful effect our relationships with others in the family home have on our emotional make-up later on in life. You in particular, as the family home is your emotional container, experienced your upbringing in a very emotional way. One might say the past has a lunar quality to it too, fluctuating from the light of happy nostalgia to the dark of tepid secrets. What better container is there for you to pour your heart and soul into? Except, perhaps, into the past, where you linger on events long ago. The past doesn’t change; it is as secure a structure as there ever was. You may actually prefer to place your heart back in your childhood and board it up against events of the present, which lack the wonder and innocence of your younger years - especially if your family is hurtful, unpredictable, or unaccepting of you. Good or bad, you have a very close bond to your parents, having forged many memories, traditions, habits, disciplines, and joyful comforts by their side. Like the physical structure of the home, the relational structure of family frames how you relate to the world around you on a personal level.

 
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Your childhood, your family members, events in the past, and your home growing up, all had a very profound effect on the way you think. In fact, the way you think, your opinions, your tastes – all are nearly identical to one or both parents. This can mean that you carry more traditional views and a more conservative outlook on life. (At some point you may be called away from the family’s influence in order to establish your own ways of thinking about the world.) They stimulated your curiosity for learning and encouraged you to think rationally about the world. In some cases this means you came from a highly academic family who valued intelligence and logic. Or your family could have swung more towards practical skills like trades and cooking. You experienced them as sensible and reasonable, perhaps at the expense of emotional warmth. They connected with you on a much more mental level. Mercury shows where in your chart you accumulate the most knowledge, what you are most interested in learning about, and what you like to talk about the most. The answer to all of these falls within the categories of “home and family”.

As a child you saw your parents as highly communicative people who loved to talk and socialize in large groups of people. They loved to be active. They loved to express their views and opinions, wanted to articulate themselves with wit and humour, and thoroughly enjoyed having other people over as often as they did. There was a lot of noise and activity whirling around you growing up; your family contained many extended family and friends who lit the air with conversation. Sometimes their noise turned against each other and inflated into arguments, bickering, and squabbling. They came and went often in and out of the house, likely working out of town as you were growing up. Your experience of your parents reflected the qualities of the planet Mercury: always out and doing something, never still for very long, highly social, with a need for constant amusement and communication. You inherited this part of them through your family line. Whether by blood or by being raised by them, they gave you a mind that never shuts off and a home life that never quiets down. Growing up and venturing off into your own home, your carry Mercury over there as well, lifting it directly out of your childhood home and placing it on the mantelpiece.

 
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Deep inside the inner reaches of your personality there is a gilded door, locked from the inside. On the other side of the wall you keep your femininity hidden within your personal subconscious. But although she is hidden, she does not turn restlessly in despair, for she is comfortable here. Venus, in your chart, is like a pearl within an oyster shell. She is pale and luminescent, the epitome of the ethereal feminine and an image of lustrous purity. Sleeping under her shell, surrounded by the depths and the darkness of water, she is protected as a treasure should be. The qualities kept at the base of your personality (where nobody can see them) are your receptivity, sensitivity, cooperative attitudes, and your desires for beauty and harmony. Only a very few people will be allowed to dive deeply within your personality to see Venus shining in the dark. Those people will likely be family and close childhood friends, as she may come out and walk amongst your private life. If she is anywhere she is there, in your childhood and within your parents, glistening like a beautiful ghost in your past.

You are one of the most beautiful or handsome members of your family. Growing up your family placed a lot of emphasis on beauty, relationships with other people, harmony, and sensual pleasures, making your family one of the best-looking ones from the outside in. From what you have observed they care very much about how the family looks to other people. Your parents dressed you up in nice clothes, fed you delicious food, bought a nice house in a nice part of town, and gave your money when you needed it. They fostered your artistic talents and encouraged any avenue of creative expression. The dark side of this placement was that you also picked up vanity, laziness, indulgences in food and spending money, and materialism along the way. You resent your family for these qualities, but you cannot deny that you possess them yourself. For example, you inherited their expensive taste for home furnishings, and now find it difficult to settle for anything less than just-as-good as your family home.

 
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You come from a family steeped deep in Mars’ power. You come from a background of fighters who exuded strength, ambition, energy, sexuality, and vitality. Through your family line you inherited their work ethic, their drive, and their desires. You grew up being fed ambition and taught the value of hard work. Loud and obnoxious, but intent on achieving their goals, they raised you to continue being a fighter. Now Mars runs through your blood, lives in your past, and is remembered well from your childhood.

Growing up there was plenty of conflict between your parents and in your home, some of it seen, some of it unseen. Competitiveness between family members, power struggles, fighting, vying for dominance, and varied arguments were commonplace. In extreme cases there was violence, adultery, even abuse. As you got older you started to participate in domestic battles more, fighting with your parents for your own freedom and autonomy. Perhaps you didn’t want to be at home anymore, or perhaps you were frustrated with what you home life under their rule felt like. But at some point it became clear that the only way you were going to get the independence you wanted was to leave and strike out on your own.

 
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Ceres is enormously powerful in this placement. Within your Cancer/Virgo type of family, you grew taller and stronger every day, your heart encased in your mother’s love. You felt protected by your home, not only by the people within it but by the physical, familiar structure as well. Within the walls of your bedroom you wrapped yourself in the security of privacy. You felt most at home when you were alone – a trait that still lingers today, whenever you need to “get away” and come back into your soul. Everybody needs time to themselves, but in your case it is the primary way by which you nurture your soul and take care of yourself. You also do this with food. You remember the family kitchen, the warm meals you ate together, and the family recipes that were passed down from generation to holiday. Nostalgia runs its course through your memories of the past. Even if there were negative qualities to your childhood you still insist on having fond memories of the way things used to be when you were younger, when things were far simpler and better than they are now. You view the past through rose-coloured glasses, seeing love in your childhood, joy in all the fun you had, and fondness for your ancestry beyond.

One particular idol in your family is the parent that was the softest, gentlest, kindest, and most nurturing towards you. For most people this is the mother, but it can be any family member that took care of you closely when you were a child. This mother-figure was a prominent person in your household and in your young life in general. She was everything a mother ought to be: strong, nourishing, protective, loving, and a calm figure of authority. Of course, every mother has a different personality and that needs to be considered too. Some mothers lean towards being submissive and kind, the perfect housewife devoted to cooking and cleaning for her husband, whilst others dominate the house and everyone in it. But generally speaking, those with this aspect are usually coddled as children and kept as close to their mother’s side for as long as she could keep them there. Women with this aspect will become the kind of mother they had, whereas men will seek a wife that looks after him and the home like his mother did.  

 
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This is a very fortunately placement to have been born into. It means that your experiences with home, family, your parents, your childhood, and your memories of the past are all predominately good ones. This placement is indicative of big extended families brought together by many friendships and many marriages. You are very proud of your heritage, your home, and of your family name. And you are very lucky to have been born into the family that you were, for you will inherit much spiritual and material wealth from them in your lifetime. Benefits are set to befall you through your parents especially. From them you received much love, guidance, support, and security. They were very generous with their time and attention when you were little, and continued to make you feel special as you grew older. You saw them as larger-than-life figures bursting with happiness and joy. They were idols of power, wisdom, with all the potential for greatness afforded to them. You also saw hedonism and a roving eye – a call to their pleasure-seeking and self-serving ideologies. You saw the more animalistic side to them that wanted the freedom to roam and do as they pleased, unrestrained by responsibility. Warts and all, you learned a lot from their teachings and owe much to them.

Jupiter’s house placement is said to show where in your life you become wiser to the ways of the world. This is where you become enlightened to your own personal truths. Placed in the 4th House, you gain wisdom through your family, your home, your childhood, and events which occurred in your past. Many of your beliefs and ideas come directly from your parent. From them you inherited very strong spiritual, political, and philosophical views. Many of your beliefs are more traditional or more conservative in nature because you lift wisdom directly from your ancestors, retaining old customs and traditions well into the new age. Also from your parents, however, you inherited their love of travelling the world both physically (literally) and mentally (by expanding your mind and learning about foreign cultures). There will come a time when you are confronted with a very flawed and human image of your parents, which shatters the preconceived godlike image you had before. Through dealings with your family, both good and bad, you become a wiser person. You learn many things over the course of your childhood about the nature of family and home life, of human relationships and the comforts of home, and you retain these teachings into your own home life later on.

 
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As one may assume, this is not a good placement for Saturn. There are number of ways feeling his influence here results in resentment, repressed anger, and negative images when you look into your past. The most potent of which are the difficult emotions that arise when you think of your Capricorn or Aquarius type of parents. Your childhood lacked basic warmth, affection, and the assurance that you were loved no matter what. In your darkest hours you sat alone, in your room, with nobody there to comfort you, and these events cut a hole deep inside of your younger years. This placement indicates the possible loss of parents either through death, divorce, physical absence, or emotional distance. The last on that list is the most common. You experienced your parents (likely the father) as cold and impersonal – a strict, materialistic, rigid, and conservative authority that made you feel that you had to earn their love and attention through honouring and impressing them. Because they were so critical and demanding you felt like a burden, a failure in their eyes. Difficult as it was to be honest about your feelings, you did what you could, but never thought it was enough. You couldn’t be what they wanted you to be, and you carried those feelings well into adulthood.

Owning a home and starting a family is one of your more sought after and most precious ambitions; you want a domestic life more than you want anything else in this world. But due to imbedded fears and deeply held beliefs, as well as a healthy dose of procrastination, you are slow and cautious when approaching this long-term goal. You will encounter difficulties, setbacks, and delays, mostly due to your own inaction and stubbornness. Finding a parent-worthy spouse, saving up enough money, actually making the decision to buy a home, plus the added stresses and challenges of having kids – all can seem so hopelessly set in the distant future that you wonder if it all is even worth the effort. Ingrained memories and lessons taught to you by your parents hold you back as well, but not nearly as much as your own cautiousness does. You need to learn to relax in this area of life, to be more flexible, optimistic and fun-loving, or else one of the greatest journeys in your lifetime will be reduced to a chore.

 
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Your wound stems from early difficulties in your childhood at the hands of your family members. This can mean a number of things, and for every person the exact events or situations will be different. But the general feel of this placement, and the resulting wound, will be the same. Your parents may have characterized the Chiron archetype: wounded individuals unable to heal from their hurt, plagued by difficulties no matter what they did. You probably saw them fight, or you may have been bullied by others in your family. In one way you may be made to feel distant, abandoned, un-nurtured, rejected, or unloved by your family. Your parents may have been too busy to pay attention to you, divorced, or they may have actually left you behind. The resulting wounds leaves you feeling like you do not belong in your family, or as if you are a burden nobody wanted. Pain, sadness, and insecurity all stem from these sorts of incidents in your childhood. On the other hand it could have been that other family members felt this way, fought with each other, and you grew up in a household climate of other people’s sadness and insecurity. Whatever way it happened, what is certain is that your wound is embedded in your childhood, in events in the past, in your parents, in your family members, and in your home. And in turn, it colours your view of the past.

When you grow up and move into your own house, Chiron still permeates the atmosphere of every place you make into a home. It can be quite an unsettling feeling. It is possible that no matter where you go, nowhere really feels like home. You move often. It is difficult for you to find a safe, stable home environment because your home has never been a calm or reliable place for you. At some point in your life you may look at being homeless, or at not having a family of your own, or at not being able to have your own home. You may be insecure because of this home and family situation. For example, many with this placement grow older without starting their own family or owning their own home, and they are embarrassed because do not live up to their cultural ideal. Perhaps they could not afford their own house, or perhaps their relationships did not move towards settling down and have children, and now they live a lonely life on their own. They (and you) may be a loved and successful person elsewhere in their life. But they still have that sensitive insecurity buried deep inside the walls of their 4th House.

 
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Most people go through a rebellious phase when they are children, or teenagers, or when they decide to start a family of their own. You are no stranger to rebellion against traditional family values or conservative views in your family. You have always felt like you do not belong in the family you were born into because you are so different from the rest of them. With that in mind, it is so surprise when you decide you would rather be off on your own. The 4th House represents how you view events in the past and in your childhood, your family, your home life, and your relationship with your parents growing up. Uranus is a planet of spontaneous action, erratic movements, changeability, and originality. With this planet placed here you have experienced your home and family life as unstable, unstructured, and on the verge of revolution always. Tossed on the waves of erratic emotions, moving often, making and breaking ties, you grew up shipwrecked on an unfamiliar isle.

Growing up, your childhood was different than everyone else’s. Your family was unusual and different, perhaps even weirdly so. Your parents were not the most conventional, and neither was your home growing up. This placement is common for those who do not have a traditional family structure; it is common to have an eclectic mix of step-family and extended family members. Your early life was unstable. Your family was disrupted by sudden changes, some of which forced you to move often. It is in part due to the nature of your parents, whom you saw as unpredictable, wildly emotional people. They may have felt “trapped” by becoming a parent, appeared and disappeared from the house often, or it could have just been a part of their nature. But their unpredictable changeability defiantly affected you growing up. You found it difficult to have a close emotional relationship with one or both parents. You may have even seen them suffer some kind of nervous breakdown at some point in your childhood. More positively, you saw their genius, their originality, their free-thinking and open-minded way of approaching the world. You learned not to judge and how to accept people. Your family was different. And in more ways than one, you were different from them.

 
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On one hand, you reminisce on the joys of being a kid, even spending much of your adulthood living a nostalgic life. The smells of grandmother’s homemade family recipes, playing on the old family properties, holidays together, old movies and television shows you grew up watching. Days in the sunshine, years at school with friends, the neighbourhoods you played in, your old bedrooms, being artistic at home. All live in a soft spot inside of your heart that beats in fond remembrance. But on the other hand, there are the skeletons that live in your family closets. There is the alcoholism, addictions, abuse, tragedies, the difficult relationships between family members. The gossip pressed into the walls, whispers about who doesn’t get along, and what happened so many years ago. You live with family secrets but cannot speak them aloud. For they come with unwritten rules of what can and cannot be said or done, less it causes an upset in the family.

You must live with those family ghosts in silence, and sacrifice your own happiness for the sake of others. The family you were born into lives on a very subconscious, emotional level, and you must not unearth the dark of your 4th House. You experienced one or both of your parents as highly sensitive, emotional people, who flee into avenues of escapism whenever they get upset. Like your past, you are confused about how you should remember them. They were imaginative, creative, romantic, and artistic. They loved deeply and have supported you endlessly, becoming totally consumed by the love of their children and their family. As a child you idolized them. But as you grew older you were disappointed in the earthly reality of their flaws and humanity. Perhaps they were absent, either emotionally or physically, and you replaced your parent with an imagined version of them. Perhaps you saw them give all of their time and attention to other people and work, or saw their own emotional escape into alcoholism or elsewhere, and it caused you great pain. Neptune is full of illusions, delusions, confusion, and misunderstanding. While you are deeply connected on an emotional level, you do not know what you are feeling much of the time.

 
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Pluto does not belong in this house. The disruptive, transformative change that she brings is not appropriate for the family home setting she is placed in. Starting when you were very small she was already present in your parent’s relationship and family history. As typically Capricorn or Scorpio-types, there were plenty of power struggles and control issues already present. You experienced your family home as intensely emotional, aggressive, manipulative, ambitious, and highly secretive. You saw sorts of alcoholism, depression, anxiety, sex, fighting, and/or drug use. You know of their secrets and emotional complexes, and always felt there were things present that were never actually spoken of. And at some point you developed your own set of emotional complexes from being abused, bullied, fought, oppressed, betrayed, or because of some traumatic event. By the end of your teenage years you had established black-and-white loyalties within your family, and began to view your past with painful memories in mind. When still young you went through a loss or separation due to death, divorce, emotional or physical distance; but you also experienced the birth of a new member into the family, either through birth or marriage.

The most difficult part of your Plutonian journey is done when you finally move out of your family home. When you are secure in your own house (with your own private spaces that are all yours), and you have some distance between yourself and your family members, you can finally begin to work through the deep emotional turmoil that lives within your subconscious mind. You spend a lot of time trying to cut yourself off from your feelings and deny how aggressive and forceful your emotions are. Outside, you try to suppress what you do not want others to see. But it is within the home that you are your most vulnerable because it is there that you amassed trauma and there that it all eventually comes out. You are destined to re-live your adult family life role-playing as your parent or oppressor as a way of gaining back the power you had lost. The ways you dominate the house and try to control everything that goes on, your “unwritten” rules, power struggles, frustration, and the subtle manipulation all mirror what was initially done to you as a child, and are now present within the home again. And yet instead of reliving the past as the one in control, you slowly watch everything fall apart despite everything you do.