Knowing the arrangement of signs and planets in a birth chart can provide a pretty solid idea of a person and their personality. But where things get really precise — like scary accurate — is the houses in astrology. This is not an astrological lesson to be skipped, as the houses reveal key details about the birth chart and are major points in predictive astrology, aka horoscopes. So if you want to look like an astrological genius to your friends, study up on these bad boys. Today’s lesson? The fourth house in astrology.
First, what are the houses and why should you care? 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.
Houses are considered one of the four essential components of astrology alongside planets, signs, and aspects. “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? If your Scorpio moon is living in the fourth house, that would look like deep, intense, sometimes guarded emotions, especially as it relates to your home and family. Knowing your houses will also let you know how a certain transit is going to affect you personally. Take a Libra full moon, for example. If you have Libra in your fourth house, this is the place the full moon will impact you specifically.
The first six houses in astrology are your personal houses, pertaining to you and your immediate surroundings. The last six houses deal more with your interactions and relationship with the outside world. The fourth house in astrology is one of the most deeply personal of the personal houses and is also one of the most important. Here is everything to know about the house of home and family, according to the pros.
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. There are plenty of websites that will do the calculations for you; all you need to do is plug in the exact time, date, and location of your birth. Yes, to know any of your houses, you will need your birth time. While knowing just your birthday is enough to get your sun sign, the housing lineup shifts every few hours in a day, so an accurate timestamp is essential.
Once you have your birth deets in hand, you can go ahead and pop them into an online birth chart calculator like Astro-seek.com. It’s almost 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.
Hold up, house system? Sigh. Yes, there are multiple formulas for generating the houses in a birth chart, and the result you get depends on which you use. 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. There was one sign rising over the eastern horizon at this glorious moment, and that is your ascendant sign, aka your first house. This will be the same no matter what housing method you use, but the technique used to divvy up the rest of the horizon into houses two through 12 will yield varying 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 a number of house systems, but the two most often used are Placidus and Whole Sign. When you’re using an astrology app or birth chart calculator, Placidus will usually be the default method. With this formula, the houses are divided based on the apparent journey of the sun through the sky. 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.
With the Whole Sign system, every sign lines up in zodiac order. This method is easier on the brain because you only need to know your rising sign to determine the rest of the houses. Say you’re a Gemini rising (Gemini in the first house). In Whole Sign, your second house would be Cancer, your third Leo, and so on. Visually, each wedge on the chart is an even 30 degrees, with each sign occupying one whole 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. And if you were born at an extreme latitude, you might want to avoid Placidus as things can get a little bungled here. Once you select your preferred method, you can calculate your chart and see what sign is occupying your fourth house and whether there are planets present.
What Is The Fourth House In Astrology?
The most significant houses in astrology are the angular houses: the first, fourth, seventh, and 10th. These represent the key points in the sky when 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 sits exactly across from the 10th, at the bottom and top, respectively. “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.
Again, picture the horizon when you were born. The ascendant was rising in the east, while the descendant sign was setting in the west. The 10th house (of public image) is the highest, most visible point in the sky and your chart, while the fourth house is the lowest, most intimate point. “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 you balance all those 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.
This house also relates to your heart, innermost emotions, mental health, environment, mother, childhood, and relationships with those in your immediate circle. Things like your house and how you keep it, your vehicle, and roommates all fall under the fourth house umbrella. Your mind is also a huge fourth house topic, but in a psychological sense as opposed to the intellect 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. In fact, assigning the houses to zodiac signs is quite the topic of controversy among astrologers.
Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong answer. It all boils down to which type of astrology you’re looking at. For instance, a traditional Hellenistic astrologer would recommend keeping the signs out of mind while learning the houses. However, in Vedic astrology, which is tied to deeper Hindu spiritual practices, the houses are very much linked to the zodiac signs. These are just two examples, as there are many schools of thought when it comes to 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. The fourth house describes how you were raised. Events that happened during childhood that shaped your deepest, most delicate self can be found here.
In Vedic astrology, there are even further significations. 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 to an astrological element: Dharma is related to the fire sign houses (first, fifth, and ninth), Artha represents the earth sign houses (second, sixth, and 10th), Kama is the air sign houses (third, seventh, and 11th), and Moksha is the goal of the water sign houses (fourth, eighth, and 12th).
As a water house, the fourth belongs to the latter. “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 zodiac sign also hails over a part of the body, which can then apply to the respective house (depending on the type of astrology, of course). 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. On the flip side, favorable fourth house placements or aspects may indicate a strong or pleasing chest.
Transits To The Fourth House
Here’s where you can really impress your friends with your pyschic-level predictions. To pinpoint any changes on the horizon for your home, family, or mother, keep an eye out for fourth house transits. This is when planets move through the sign in your fourth house, which will trigger a shift in energy in this area of life. 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.
Take Saturn, for example. This planet loves teaching lessons, imparting restrictions, and setting boundaries. 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. Having the planet of tough lessons bombarding your house of peace may make your home an uncomfortable place to be rather than a personal sanctuary for the duration of the transit. Saturn is always here to push (sometimes shove) for changes, but know they are for the better.
“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 of the pillars of who you are. It’s your sense of safety, nurturing, and is really the foundation created during childhood. Familiarizing yourself with the happenings in this corner of your birth chart can prompt deep healing, show you what you need to feel taken care of, or even let you know when to move to a new space. If you’re only dedicated to diving into a handful of houses, the fourth should definitely be one of them.
Valerie Mesa, professional astrologer, soul coach, and writer