Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The 4th House: This is a Safe Place

I wrote a brief article about the Nadir/4th House last year. But, I'm saying out with that one and in with this one as it’s my goal to write in-depth articles on all 12 of the houses. The first six houses I wrote about were ones I hadn’t really delved into that much before. With these remaining six houses, I’ve either written about them or about the placements in them. But, we’re just going to be revisiting them, in that case, and seeing what else we can learn. That’s the beautiful thing about astrology! My view of astrological placements and energies is always shifting and changing and deepening, on some level.

That’s especially true when you’re dealing with a placement as complex as the 4th House. Like the other Water houses, the 8th house and the 12th house, this isn’t a house that’s so easily understood, so I’m going to take my time explaining it. The 4th House is naturally ruled by Cancer and the Moon. People tend to be in agreement that the 4th House is about your “home”. The sign in your 4th House, also known as your Nadir, and any planets in the 4th don’t have to exactly describe your physical home, although they certainly can. Instead, they’re just describing the ways that you like to feel at home. It’s what a home is to you and how you like to be when you’re at home.

I have realized lately that there is something quite spiritual about the 4th House, even though I still don’t necessarily think that it describes your soul. That sounds like a contradiction but I still think that the Moon and the North/South Node say much more about who you are on a soul level. These are the deepest parts of you, in my opinion, instead of the 4th House. But, the 4th House is giving you something very enriching and important: a foundation; a sense of roots. It’s no coincidence that the 4th House is at the very bottom of your chart. It’s what you’re building everything else off of. In order to do that, you have to know how to consistently clear everything else away and focus on what this house has to offer. You have to free yourself of the worldly distractions of your 10th House/Midheaven, the 4th’s opposing house, and engage in the smaller, more personal things.

The Midheaven is called the “fame point” because it’s all the glorious, exciting, seductive things that you can accomplish and achieve out in the world. It’s your public self; that person who could wind up in the newspaper or on television. Well, not literally; just by using the whole fame analogy. So if the 10th House is what can make you famous and what the world will care about, the 4th House is all the small stuff that only you and your loved ones will care about. I think it’s why some people complain about there being no real movie stars anymore because most celebrities don’t have that mystery anymore. They are so busy tainting their glamorous 10th House public image by sharing their humdrum 4th House stuff on social media: them doing stuff at home, taking pictures in their bathroom, eating their dinner, going on vacation. It’s not totally interesting. Your 4th House is kind of boring and banal to everyone else because it’s full of everyday things but it’s these everyday things that make you a human being, like all of us, whether you’re famous or not famous.

Since fame and recognition (10th House) is such a big deal nowadays, real privacy (4th House) seems to be less of a priority to many. It’s important to protect your 4th House sign and/or planets because they require protection. This house wants to feel safe and that’s why it unfolds behind closed doors. It’s quite the opposite of whatever you’re trying to cultivate via your Midheaven. If you have the 4th House in Cancer, aka a Cancer Nadir, then your private self is tender, supportive, and sensitive in ways that differ significantly from the pragmatic, efficient, I’ve-got-my-stuff-together public self that is your Capricorn Midheaven. Maybe you have Mars in the 4th House. Then, in your private life, you’re going to be more aggressive or more active. You might not get competitive or dominating with the outer world but when you are at home, you can be quite a handful.

My 4th House is in the sign of Taurus, giving me a Taurus Nadir. And I’ll be honest: my private self is freaking lazy and very self-indulgent. But, only I know that, as well as the people who have that really intimate, behind-closed-doors access to me. Those of us with a Scorpio Midheaven want to be known as passionate powerhouses; real forces of nature. That’s how we are when we’re engaged with the world. The 4th House comes out, however, when we don’t have a goal or a project or a worldly expectation to live up to. For all the intense passion I pour into what I do with my life’s mission, I can spend the majority of my downtime watching Netflix all day and eating everything in the fridge. When I have nothing to do (Nadir), I do nothing until I absolutely have to.

I’ve always felt this very strongly, since childhood, because you’re your 4th House sign/planet(s) from the time you’re a child. I always say that empty houses are as important as occupied houses. But, this is definitely true of angular houses and the 4th is one of the four angular houses. We feel our angular houses so powerfully because they’re the cornerstones of our lives. So, how ridiculous would it be if you thought that having an empty 4th House meant that you would not only not have a private life or a home, a childhood, a past? Of course you do! My 4th House is empty yet my 4th House in Taurus has always been a major thread running through my life.

That’s why there’s something safe and comforting about the 4th: it takes us back to the beginning or the earlier times. Everyone doesn’t grow up necessarily feeling safe or comfortable. But, your 4th House describes the “safe place” you always went to as a child, even if you couldn’t get it from your family. That’s where the spiritual element of this house comes from. It’s not always going to be something you can reach out and touch. It’s more of a feeling, an atmosphere that you like to create around yourself. It’s a place that feels like home because you’re so used to it. This is why you’re going to manifest this feeling in your actual home as that’s where you should feel safe.

With the Sun in the 4th or the 4th House in Leo, you withdraw into your safe place through full self-expression and awareness of your individuality, so you’re going to be a very dominant or attention-getting presence in your home life. You feel safe when you can honor what it is that makes you “you” because that’s what you always did as a child. A 4th House Saturn is often seen as a harsh placement but this means that retreating into your safe place is going to involve drawing on your strength, maturity, and responsibilities, as you did as a child. Creating a strong sense of structure in private is going to give you that homey feeling, so you like your home to be this way.

So, through our 4th House, we go home, in a metaphorical and a literal sense. It can be easy to start getting away from this house a bit once we start becoming really invested in our Midheaven. This often happens in a person’s twenties but it can happen anytime, really. We may stray too far from home. Your 10th House mission can become so important that it unbalances you some. After all, we have to grow into our 10th House, while we’re always our 4th House. These houses are on an axis, though. So, it’s important to remember that balancing them is always key. Don’t become so preoccupied with your career and your life goals that you forget about your home base.

For me, it’s important to not become so obsessive and so intense about what I want to accomplish, with my Scorpio Midheaven, that I neglect the peace my Taurus Nadir gives my personal life. Retreating into a really laidback, steady, slow-moving space of being is what makes me feel at home. You’re reminded of who you once were and where you came from through the 4th House. But, this doesn’t have to symbolize your family. It’s more about you. I’m reminded of where I came from through having the 4th House in Taurus because I would spend my childhood and adolescence loving those easy, relaxing days where I didn’t have to be in a rush to do much of anything. Yet, I also remember feeling very stabilized by this attitude. Not being in a rush or making a big deal out of everything grounded me and gave me a non-dramatic, sensible foundation as a person. 

This leads me to another thing about this house. I really don’t think it says anything about who your parents were. I said it in the last article on this house and I’ll say it in this one. Some say the 4th is the mother and some say it’s the father. I say it’s neither, actually. I think it actually says a lot more about the familial role that you played in your house while growing up. A lot of times, this placement won’t symbolize your family but rather who you were in your family because they needed you to be that person. That’s due to certain expectations that your parents (and siblings) have of you or certain things that they project on to you. But, it says way more about you than it does them. That is, unless you happen to have the Sun (father), Saturn (father), or the Moon (mother) in your 4th House. Then, of course, this can actually be a symbol of your father or mother figure, as well.

For instance, people with a Gemini Nadir feel like their family expects them to be chatty, exciting, intelligent, and flexible. So, this is not only the role they grew up playing in their childhood but the role they still play to this day in the family. When you are having this family bonding time, you never want to bore them or be predictable or unintelligent. Pluto in the 4th House usually shows someone who is given a position of great power in the family, even in childhood. So, your role in the family has always been to influence, transform, or awaken everyone else, to help them plumb their strength or their depth. This can be the person in the family who everyone finds sort of overwhelming or intimidating but who can also be a beautifully healing, empowering influence.

With a Taurus Nadir, like me, you grew up feeling a familial expectation to be the level-headed, patient, calm one. It’s to the point where when you’re the one who loses it, it can shock everyone because it rarely ever happens. You also, since childhood, are the one in the family who’s the most difficult to sway or to influence. Looking back, I realize that I was absolutely stubborn as a child but also really low-key about it. I just went on about my business yet developed not only a strong stubbornness but a real possessiveness. Whatever I owned was something that I really owned and I would never take kindly to it being used or tampered with or repossessed.

As I’ve said before, the 4th House describes the little things in life because it’s rooted in childhood, when all we care about is the little things. You’re not trying to “accomplish” anything through your 4th House, unless you have a 4th House Saturn or Capricorn Nadir and then the little things actually become goals to achieve because they were for you as a kid. Otherwise, this house shows how we deal with everything around the home. Yet, this house is ruled by the Moon and this is the one major similarity I see between the 4th and the Moon. We can get really reactive when it comes to these little things because, then, our irrational inner child is speaking for us. So, the 4th House does show the domestic things you’re most sensitive to and why.

Virgo Nadir people just have a very particular way of doing things around the home. If you mess with that or throw that off for them, they can strongly react. Those with a Gemini Nadir or Mercury in the 4th can get irrational whenever there’s too much silence, not enough communication. It’ll drive them nuts, even if it doesn’t seem like it should be a big deal. Personally speaking, with the 4th House in Taurus, you cannot throw me off my routine. I just have to do these little things on a daily basis and I feel really uncomfortable if I can’t. Also, I’m possessive to a rather crazy degree over certain things. It’s to a point where I only want to use certain spoons to eat or only drink from certain cups. I once got furious with a roommate of mine because he used my spoon without asking. Yeah, it was just a spoon. But, try telling that to my Nadir.

We also end up building and creating a family through our 4th House. It comes out when we marry and have kids, causing us to share that home that we so need with the people we love. I also really believe, as do lots of other people, that family is not limited to biological relatives. These relatives can be anyone who you feel so comfortable with that you can enter this safe place with them and play that familial role with them, too. So, surrogate family members and relatives will also know our 4th House qualities very well. We usually have a deep love for those who have planets that are either in our Nadir sign or that fall in our 4th House. Even if they’re not blood, they will feel like family to you. This gives them a natural understanding of how to keep your 4th House feeling comfortable. If you’re going to live with them, then this is crucial. When two people don’t get each other’s 4th House, it’s more of a challenge to share the same domestic space with each other.

Without a doubt, 4th House people are very sensitive to this, in particular. When you have planets in the 4th House, you may be either the easiest or one of the most challenging people to live with, depending on what’s in the house and how you deal with it. While we all need to feel safe, people with 4th House placements almost desperately need to feel safe. You can guard yourself, in this way, preferring to live by yourself or strictly with family and people who you’ve known for a really long time. Roommate situations can make you want to just lock yourself up in your room and not come out, which makes it particularly hard to be a 4th House person in college or your twenties.

4th House people are not only really private but also very reflective and introspective, as well. They feed on having that downtime to just be alone with themselves and their thoughts or feelings. If you live with a 4th House person, you just need to give them the space to do this on a regular basis. Sometimes, for these people, the true safe place is not around other person but alone, with themselves. Yet, we could all learn something from those with planets in their 4th, as they are investing more energy than the rest of us in this process of recharging and reflecting. By engaging in what our 4th House needs, we’ll be able to do so, nourishing our personal foundation.


  1. Hi, Wayman! I love your blog very much, my favorite astrology blog so far. Thanks for helping us this much. On the 4th house subject, can you give me some insight on how to interpret mine? It's a mess... My 4th house cusp is in Pisces and I have Venus, Sun and South Node in it, all conjunct. In this house, I also have Mercury conjunct Saturn in Aries. All of these planets are in sextile with my 12th house Pluto. I can't really understand how all of those energys act together...
    Sorry for my bad english...

  2. Thank you so much for writing this! I've read a lot on the 4th house, as my Sun in Aquarius is placed there. Your article was the first that has resonated with me. It is so insightful and truely speaks to the 4th house experience.

  3. So what does it mean if you're cusp on the 4th house with a planet or north node? Let's say you have a Libra and the north node in Scorpio, both in 4th house

  4. That bit about the nadir being your role in the family and what you feel's expected of you is very interesting. My sister (Leo Nadir, Moon + Jupiter in the 4th) is the loudest, the liveliest, the biggest emoter in our house by far. Me and my brother (Scorpio and Virgo Nadirs respectively) are background players. I definitely have a strong presence (Pluto in the 4th) but I avoid the spotlight and am very private and reclusive, while my brother (empty 4th) is just the most background of the background players, makes no demands or spectacles, just quietly doing his own thing.

    1. It is interesting, isn't it? Shows you how dead-on astrology is. :)

  5. Hi Wayman!! This was beautifully written! I thank you for all the time and energy you put into helping us understand ourselves better! <3

  6. Omg lol yes I agree with you girl! Frankly as a Taurus 4th house person I can spend the whole day watching Netflix or seeing Hell's Kitchen. Weird coming from a Gemini sun person like me. That house is empty for me as well. And I love staying at home.

  7. Theres something really weird about the role I play in my family ...I have the sun and pluto in the 4th house ...so basically if im not the center of attention in my family or at family events ..i go in my room and keep myself away from people ..im not even kidding i actually do this and this helped me understand why ...i love to be the center of attention but i also love to be alone and recharge ..weird

  8. I have a leo Nadir and my sun is in the 4th but I don't feel like I embody these qualities. For the most part, I can be distant from my family and haven't grown up feeling like my authenticity was celebrated. Although my sun is at the 29th degree, my sun conjunct to lilith and my sun in a tight square to my moon and pluto