Ahhhh, the 4th House! Another of my favorite house’s of the chart to dive into. You can learn a lot about the psyche of a person by dissecting the 4th House in their Natal Chart, and not superficial stuff, either. This house is typically assigned the keywords and phrases such as “The Home” (both early home life and now) ,” “The Mother” (or the Father, depending on the astrologer), “One’s Roots,” “The Family,” and “Private Life” (especially private since the Imum Coeli/I.C., typically the 4th House Cusp, is the most private place in the entire chart). I find this house to be all of those things, but especially what exactly home is to the native; the concept of home in general and how it can be different things for different people. (Things such as the 4th House ruler, planets in the 4th House, aspects made to the House, etc gives a better idea of how to answer that question). We are so conditioned to believe in home the same exact way; what to want, what to “need,” but these conditioned wants and needs aren’t necessarily what the individual truly needs, wants, or feels comfortable living in. Most of these concepts that we as people have of the idea of what home actually is stem from our early home life.
Depending on what sign rules as guardian of your 4th House will color how exactly you express the energy of the house. Someone who has the 4th House in Aquarius possibly grew up in an ever changing environment in some way, such as moving a lot, or maybe there was a lot of shifting and changing within the family. All this changeability that they live with (and even seek out in some way) may seem crazy to other people (and maybe even to themselves), but it is usually what they know and feel most comfortable with. These individuals need a lot of freedom to come and go as they please, and they probably aren’t the kind that jump into long term living situations with others quickly or easily by choice. This is in stark contrast to those who have the 4th House in Cancer, which causes the native to want their home life to be a place of rest; these people want to put down roots and settle down (they aren’t looking to come and go.) Changes within the home environment and the family structure make these individuals nervous. They like things to remain consistent and stay pretty much the same (it could indicate the native living close to family/close to where they grew up).
Of course, any planets that live here matter a ton (especially any planets that conjunct the I.C., but more on that a bit later). Having Jupiter in the 4th House is actually a nice placement overall. It can indicate a happy childhood home/a childhood that you enjoyed, and you generally associate the concepts of home and family with happiness. You may or may not have moved around when you were young, but as you get older you wouldn’t mind the adventure of moving around to new places and may very well seek out being able to do so. You will probably have strong values, morals and ethics that were instilled in you by your family that you hold close. Someone who has Saturn in the 4th may not have the same kind of fond and happy memories of their early home life (this is actually a difficult place for Saturn to live). These people’s childhoods tend to be a little rougher and more difficult. There is something strict and restrictive about this placement; these people don’t have the easiest time outwardly showing their love for their family members in the typical ways. Regardless, these people do have a profound sense of responsibility to their families (both those they are born into and the one they create for themselves), even in situations where they shouldn’t. **I would like to make note here that in these examples I’m throwing out generalizations here. Of course things like your 4th House ruler, different aspects made to planets in the 4th House, etc. will matter immensely with the “what” and the “how” that this energy is expressed.**
The private aspect to this house is so important, and this is where the I.C. comes into play; the most private and personal part of the natal chart. The way I like to think of the I.C. is to think of the roots of a plant (the core of yourself in this lifetime), which then moves outward and upward along the chart, finally ending at the Midheaven at the top of the chart. Having any planets in the 4th House are important in dealing with our concepts of what home actually is to us and who we really are deep down, but planets conjunct the I.C. seem to intensify this 10 fold. Having Mercury conjunct the I.C. could have allowed you to have grown up immersing yourself in knowledge (or wanting too). These people are probably curious about their roots and their ancestors, and depending on other factors in their charts, definitely have the mental ability and clarity to get to the very bottom of their own psyche. Everyone likes to learn about themselves, but I imagine these people really digging into their own pasts and their family heritage. These people probably have an easier time than some in communicating (in some way) the more private sides of themselves. The people that have Neptune conjunct the I.C. probably have a different sort of experience with the most private side of themselves. There is probably something foggy or unclear about their family in general, despite them searching for answers to the questions they seek about their families (and these questions tend to be of a more spiritual and mystical nature). This placement can also indicate things like secrets and lies within the early home environment, which can cause the native to retreat even further into themselves. While usually very creative and empathetic, there is something putting a haze over their most private self/the core of their being.
Another interesting topic dealing with this house is the concept of the “mother,” for many believe that this house and the planets that live there (if any) help to describe your own mother and the way that you perceive her to be. It can show the type of relationship that you have with her, along with the type of relationship (and type of mother) that you actually need. Having Pluto fall in the 4th House may cause you to see your own mother as sort of domineering or formidable person, or you could see her as the definition of what metamorphosis is (and this would also depend on other aspects made to this house and the planets that fall there). It could indicate that the mother is still domineering, even into adulthood. It could even indicate that the native maybe needed a more domineering parent in their childhood/adolescence for some reason. The aspects, degrees, etc made to the planets here can indicate which of the ways that your mother is shown here in the 4th House, but shown here she will be; she always is somehow. There is also a generational karmic bent to this topic as well, for they say that planets that find themselves in this house, along with the House ruler and aspects made to the House, can show a sort of generational inheritance (both good and bad) stemming from the family, but especially ones own mother. This doesn’t mean that you will both have the same planets in the 4th House (you could!) but more the things that she passed down to you karmically will find themselves here. For instance, one who has Venus in their 4th House may have inherited this “benefic” planet here in this House due to good Karma that their mother accrued herself, but usually due to karma passed down through several generations.
Do you have any planets in the 4th House? Which sign is the guardian of your 4th House? Do you feel that planets in your 4th house may be a generational inheritance? Let’s discuss!