The fourth house sits at the very bottom of the zodiac wheel and sets the foundation of your life
This is the zone that rules your roots and your roost, from your family of origin to your home decor style. How much personal space do you need and what makes you feel safe and secure? What type of home (and maybe family) do you envision creating one day? When it’s time to drop anchor and stay put, the 4th house is your road map for creating a safe space.
The meaning of the 4th house in astrology
As one of the three “water houses,” along with the 8th and 12th, feelings are everything here. There’s a loose correspondence between the 4th house and Cancer, the fourth zodiac sign. Both are associated with caretakers, especially the mother in classical interpretations. Clues about your relationship with your primary nurturer can be found here.
This is a emo place where tears and tantrums are the norm. Yet through the 4th house, we develop emotional intelligence and ultimately learn how to nourish ourselves. Food and shelter are just the basics! Nail those and you’re ready to develop a sophisticated palate and a killer eye for design as you turn your home into your castle.
Privacy please! Like that Cancerian crab shell, the 4th house is a personal place reserved for inner circle friends and family only. Solitary time is encouraged here too, even if this drives up emotions like fear and loneliness. Those moody blues make fabulous fodder for the cathartic creative works that can be created from the 4th house mindset.
The 4th house is the second of the four angular houses, along with the 1st, 7th and 10th houses. Like the NSEW points on a compass, these houses start each of the four quadrants of the zodiac wheel, setting us off in clear, new directions. Angular houses are a lot like the cardinal zodiac signs. They give us the courage to initiate—in this case through planting roots and creating a safe space for yourself.
Like all four of the angular houses, the 4th house cusp (its beginning edge) has a special name: The Imum Coeli (IC) which translates into “bottom of the heavens.” This point on the chart provides a roadmap to creating security for yourself, emotionally and otherwise.
Save up! The 4th house wants you to be ready for rainy and sunny days by building your nest egg. The abiding sense of security this creates can set you free to explore your creative nature in the passionate 5th house.
What are the houses in astrology?
The zodiac wheel is a 360-degree circle, divided into 12 segments, or houses. Each house represents a different essential aspect of our lives. In the Movie of You, the houses are like the different sets or stages where the planets (actors) play out their roles (given by the zodiac signs).
You must know your time of birth to accurately determine the houses in your chart. If it wasn’t recorded on your birth certificate, you may have to work with an approximation, as in “My mom says it was sometime right around 4:30.” Or find an astrologer who does rectified charts. This intuitive, investigative reading can suss out what your closest birth time may be.
If you use the Placidus method (which we prefer and recommend), you may notice that the houses of your chart are different sizes. This takes into account the Earth’s tilt. The further from the equator you were born, the more unequal your houses will be in size.
How do you know which planets are in your fourth house?
Each house is like a movie set of your life where different types of action are taking place. When a planet is in that house, it’s like an actor on that set. To find out if you were born with planets in your 4th house, run a free birth chart here on our site. Then, look to see if there are any planet glyphs occupying that segment.
Here’s a handy guide to the planet glyphs for checking out your own chart:
Example birth chart: Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, has Pluto in her 4th house
The meaning of the planets in the fourth house
Which planets do you have in the 4th house? Here’s what each planet means in that position.
Sensitive and nurturing, you are tapped in to the emotional realm. Since you absorb the energy of your environment, having a safe and lovely home is a must. Learn to self-soothe so you can step away and get centered when emotions arise rather than snapping on people you adore.
Read more about the Sun in the 4th house
Sensitive, intuitive and family-oriented, you’re a natural caretaker. With the moon in this position, you’re here to nurture the ones you love, and at times, the ones you barely know at all. When imbalanced, you may take on other people’s troubles as your own
Read more about the Moon in the 4th house
With your nurturing nature, you prefer to form a few lifelong bonds, over a million social-media “friendships.” Because you’re so sensitive, it’s easy for you to take things personally. You learn best in safe, comfortable spaces where you truly are free to say anything.
Read more about Mercury in the 4th house
If you had your preference, you’d mate for life; and many a Venus in the 4th house weds early. But finding true love also requires you to risk heartbreak. And it may be hard to believe this but playing it safe can even prevent you from finding your soulmate.
Read more about Venus in the 4th house
With warrior Mars in this family-focused place, you are fiercely protective of your loved ones. No one crosses your clan without feeling some serious retribution. A tense home life can be especially challenging, as you need foundational security.
Read more about Mars in the 4th house
Jupiter is “exalted” in the 4th house, which makes this THE most fortuitous placement to be born under! You are here to master the wisdom of the heart and to elevate your empathy. While you’re happy to dispense advice to your inner circle, caretaking will drain your joie de vivre.
Read more about Jupiter in the 4th house
With your heightened nesting instincts, you need every space to feel like a home. If you weren’t born with the decorating gene, you can (and should) develop it. Your shelter is crucial, and without it you feel vulnerable and exposed. Privacy is essential to your peace of mind.
Read more about Saturn in the 4th house
Your childhood may have been marked by periods of chaos. Even if you had a traditional upbringing, the cookie cutter existence may have felt stifling to you. You’ll feel perpetually ungrounded in this lifetime until you find (or create!) a solid base camp for yourself.
Read more about Uranus in the 4th house
People feel “at home” around you. Naturally tuned in to the emotional realm, you can intuit when people are uncomfortable or off-balance. But you can subvert your needs or even wind up making sacrifices and becoming resentful. This may be the direct result of a childhood wound.
Read more about Neptune in the 4th house
If you’re not a full-on introvert, you are certainly introspective, requiring periods of alone time to clear your head and engage in deep reflection. Your sense of security can be delicate with Pluto here—and you have heightened emotional sensitivity.
Read more about Pluto in the 4th house
What do the planets mean in the houses?
First and foremost, there is no “right answer” to this question. In fact, you could speculate on at least ten ways a planet is influencing a house at any given moment. This impact will also evolve over time.
To get you started on reflecting, below are some key words for each planet.
- Sun: Self-expression, ego, creativity, vitality, leadership, passion, what excites you
- Moon: Needs, desires, intuition, what comforts you
- Ascendant/Rising: The first impression you make, initial instincts, appearance, attractions
- Mercury: Communication, curiosity, thought processes, what you like to talk and learn about
- Venus: Romance, seduction, fashion sense, what brings you pleasure, what you’ll spend money on
- Mars: Instincts, turn-ons, lust, drive, motivation, pursuits, what you’ll fight for (and about)
- Jupiter: Luck, inspiration, adventure, risk-taking, travel style, expansion, what you like learning about
- Saturn: Time and karma, caution, challenges and struggles, boundaries, what you learn the hard way
- Uranus: Innovation, originality, idealism, where you’re a rebel and a revolutionary
- Neptune: Dreams, the subconscious, fantasy, glamor, addiction, healing, boundless imagination
- Pluto: Secrets, wealth transformation, evolution, the unconscious, power (struggles)
- North Node: Destiny, soul evolution, dharma, the new “language” you are learning to speak
How does each planet influence my fourth house?
If you were born with any planet in your 4th house, it will influence the following areas of life:
- Family relationships
- Security and savings
- Emotional sensitivity
- Childhood wounds and trauma
- Mother figures and maternal energy
- Food and nourishment
- Patriotism: loyalty to homeland
When a planet is transiting (orbiting) through your 4th house, these subjects will likely arise.
These areas of life are thoroughly described in the 4th place planet links above.
Another example using Meghan Markle’s birth chart
With polarizing Pluto in her fourth house of roots, it’s no surprise that family relationships have been equally intimate and excruciating for Meghan Markle. Her rock-solid bond with mom, Doria, has been a lighthouse for the Duchess in the face of betrayal from both blood family and in-laws. Father Thomas and half-sister Samantha began trashing her in the tabloids shortly before her wedding. Then followed by the royal wrecking ball of betrayal that compelled her and Harry to step down from palace duties and move to California.
Planets in the Zodiac Signs
There’s one more layer to this! The zodiac sign that the planet is in directs the role that it plays in your life. For example, if motivational Mars was Lady Gaga (the “actor”), Mars in dreamy, artistic Pisces would cast her— far from the shallow—as Ally in A Star Is Born. Mars in calculating, status-hungry Capricorn could turn her into Patrizia Reggiani in House of Gucci.
Or in the case of Meghan Markle, metamorphic Pluto is in Libra, the sign of marriage. There’s no question that her life went through an extreme transformation after Harry proposed. The magic of their televised wedding was short-lived, leaving the Duchess to field tabloid lies and endure racism and other abuse from within the palace. On the Oprah special watched ‘round the world, Meghan and Harry united (Libra-style) to serve Plutonian revenge, exposing the mistreatment they suffered at the hands of the royal family.
Keywords for the zodiac signs that appear in your chart
- Aries: independence, assertiveness, gutsiness, self-direction, novelty, trailblazing
- Taurus: stability, tenacity, values and ethics, routines, material comfort, sensuality, luxury, tradition
- Gemini: communication, curiosity, dynamic duos, variety, mobility, ingenuity
- Cancer: nurturing, sensitivity, emotions, home, family, roots, children, security
- Leo: passion, romance, self-expression, courage, loyalty, charisma, childlike spirit
- Virgo: wellness, efficiency, service, systems, organization, common sense, innocence, cleanliness
- Libra: commitment, partnership, equality, balance, mutuality, fairness, give and take
- Scorpio: intimacy, sex, secrecy, power, control, intensity, depth, obsessiveness, wealth, joint ventures
- Sagittarius: adventure, travel, expansion, wisdom, entrepreneurship, cross-cultural relationships
- Capricorn: ambition, structure, goals, long-term plans, achievements, prestige, status, time
- Aquarius: teamwork, originality, social justice, the future, technology, community, society, ideals
- Pisces: healing, dreams, fantasy, intuition, artistic ability, mystery, psychic abilities, compassion
What if my 4th house is empty, has no planets in it?
Empty houses still play a role—and we think of them like blank canvases where you might even have a little more freedom to say what goes. In some ways, this might even be a relief!
But no house will ever stay empty for long. The moon transits (orbits) through all 12 houses in the span of a month. The Sun visits each throughout one year. When a planet transits through a house, it lights it up with its energy. That area of your life will feel the influence!
For example, when the Sun shines in your 4th house, you may be excited to personalize your space and host lively gatherings. When disruptive Uranus visits, there could be chaos under your roof or a sudden desire to untether yourself and live the nomadic life.