Home » Ancient Greece » The 4th house: Planting the seeds of that which is to come

The 4th house: Planting the seeds of that which is to come

Planting Seeds

In a continuing endeavor to question what we think we know, we turn our attention to the 4th house.

What we think we know includes the idea that the 4th is about hearth and home, and we align that belief with its ‘modern’ ruler, Cancer, supposedly a home-loving sign. But Cancer is concerned more with security than ‘home,’ per se. The connection between home and security is fraught with difficulty for many people; perhaps it’s more accurate to say that the fantasy we’ve created about the idea of home aligns most neatly with either Vesta’s or Ceres’ myths.

Instead, try thinking of the 4th as a house of inception. As one of the four axes, its complicated role as the Imum Coeli of the chart is the second of the four ‘doorways’ into our perception of reality. If the Ascendent, our 1st house, is the beginning, the dawn, of our chart and of our life, and if linear time has any meaning at all, the next stage on the journey, the time of youth and childhood that is about to shift into adolescence, is represented by the experiences we find in the 4th house, especially when planets affect our IC.

The Seed

The 4th represents the time of life when we’re still living at home, not yet ready to be out on our own. Our foundation is in the process of being built. Seeds are being planted that will create what we become as adults, and generally speaking, the people that plant those seeds are those around us who influence us the most: mom and dad, parental figures in general, and authority figures like teachers. This includes your beloved aunt or uncle, and, since I’m a liberal, let’s throw in your beloved art teacher Mrs. Cubist who always encouraged your incipient artistic talents, and told you that the red paint you spilled all over the floor resembled a rose.

We hear messages of encouragement during our formative years; think back now on who said those things to you, and what you did with that encouragement. Did you ignore it, did you have help fostering those abilities or talents? Who helped you, who held you back? What planets or points lie in your 4th house? What sign rules the IC in your chart? This is where you’ll find your earliest beginnings indicating who you could become, as well as who you were born to, and who you might have been ‘born to be.’

Aries on the 4th house cusp, for example, might indicate young parents, or parents who were inexperienced or aggressive about parenting in some way. You were raised with Aries-like values; the family story was based on values of pioneering adventure, with the focus on self-reliance and independence. Or perhaps you have Cancer here. Then the focus might have been on staying close to the family, where you were encouraged to continue family traditions. Sagittarius or Aquarius here might indicate a family born and raised in places other than one’s homeland, or families with children raised in two different places during the course of a year. These are all possibilities; there are no rules, of course, only indications. Your story, like your chart, is unique.

Although Hellenistic astrologers saw this as the “bottom” of the chart, indicating all that remains unseen about ourselves, nowadays the common consensus seems to be pushing the 12th house into that role. The Hellenes saw the IC this way because they associated the unseen with Hades, not the happiest of places. I think most people now believe the 8th house belongs to Hades’ realm, since Pluto is a ruler of Scorpio. Also, the 4th, associated as it is with the IC, implies initiation into the next phase of life, and although I know that endings are traditionally associated with this house, I’ve found that the reality of people’s experiences are much more about fragility, vulnerability, and being influenced by others, especially their parents, who have the most power over us at this fragile time of life.

4th house planets, therefore, seem much more fragile because of the association, not with Hades-like darkness, but with the darkness associated with the tender seed lying buried beneath the ground that is about to burst forth into the sunlight. One wants to nurture the seeds that are given to us, either through native talent, or from our teachers, parents, and older siblings or authority figures. People who give to us, who nurture us, who facilitate our growth, can all be found in the 4th house experience, but so can those who prevent us from being everything we could be.

The bloom

We have a soul within,
Housed in this vase called the body,
The thoughts and beliefs we carry are like the soil
The bulb is planted in.
And like the quality of soil, determine our growth
And transformation
From limited to limitless!

All of the information to be a free, living, purposeful
Being lies in the roots and bulb of the soul.
No matter how buried they become,
The materials are there,
All encoded and waiting
For the nurturance to manifest what already IS.

Take the bulb from the
Dark dusty bag of history and fear
And plant it in the rich soil
Of your loving thoughts.
Nurture and accept yourself and then watch as you
Break forth, grow and blossom—
In your full GLORY!

12 thoughts on “The 4th house: Planting the seeds of that which is to come

  1. Thank you Alison Gunn; this aticle was very inspirational to me and has helped me realize some difficulties inherent in my relation to this area of life.
    Very articulate and detailed, with good conceptual understanding; an enjoyable read, with some good images to boot! 🙂

  2. Really great article about the 4th house, helped me understand a lot of things about my 4th house placements ! Thank you !!

    • Thanks for reading! I’m glad it helped and that you got something out of it. I tend to think the 4th is one of the more complicated concept/houses to live with or understand. So much from the past to deal with, not all of it “yours,” in the sense that we have layers of historical family strata to work through to understand ourselves.

  3. Curious… I have Jupiter Saturn conjunct in Libra. With Virgo on the cusp. Mercury is in 5th in Scorpio inconjunct Moon Aries 11th. I mention the moon because its the traditional ruler of the 4th. Curious how this flavors my lens into the 4th?

    • Very generally, because I cannot responsibly comment on your chart without knowing more detail, the fact that Moon is traditional ruler of the 4th might very well be relevant or much less relevant to the person’s 4th house, depending on a lot of other factors. I’d look at the sign on the cusp of the 4th and see how that’s aspected before I’d take traditional rulers into account.

      • Right which I stated the ruler of the cusp of the 4th is Virgo. Its ruler Mercury is in scorpio the 5th house, I mentioned the moon because the ruler of the cusp of the 4th virgo, is mercury and thats inconjunct the moon, which is traditional the 4th house home ruler.

      • Although you’ve restated your initial question much more clearly, I can only answer very generally about a Moon/Mercury inconjunction. Hopefully you will understand that I cannot see your chart, and so all I know right now is that you have this inconjunction between Mercury/Scorpio/5th house and Moon/Aries/11th house. I think. I’m not sure I’ve figured this combination out, because I’m trying to piece it together from your two posts. Sorry, but I’m on a writing deadline right now, so I have to move on. If you can really take some time to think specifically about what you want to know, that would be very helpful. I find your question rather vague, I’m sorry.

      • LoL… I just wanted to know with Virgo on the cusp of the 4th house with Saturn and Jupiter conjunct inside.. how does this effect a person who’s childhood was filled with dysfunction, all the seeds feel like weeds. Is there something unseen that still lingers? I guess I was looking for some keywords, or a brief description as I cant seem to find the positives of this placement, of Saturn in the 4th. 🙂

      • The short answer is, that’s a really huge question that would require looking at how Saturn and Jupiter are aspected to other planets, what other houses are involved, and then does the rest of the chart support the 4th house, is there an overall theme regarding the 4th house in the rest of the chart… there are many factors to be weighed. There’s never anything inherently negative or positive in any house or planetary placement. Clearly you had a difficult childhood. Saturn in the 4th is usually an indication that something went ‘wrong’ in one’s childhood, and/but you can usually see something to assist Saturn somewhere in the rest of the chart. I’ve found that when Saturn and Jupiter show up in the same house, whatever it is Saturn takes away, Jupiter tends to replace somehow.

  4. I’m really enjoying your wisdom on the houses… it’s opened them up for me… makes so much more sense 🙂 I was only writing this morning about my fourth house, which has Sun on the IC and both Mercury/Neptune in residence. Recently Black Moon Lilith came to meet with my Virgo Sun… this fourth house area has been very significant for me, especially over the last few months. Thank you Allison, as a student of astrology since a very early age, this opening of the houses, for me, has been an inspiration. And the perfect time… don’t you love synchronicity. Always being guided to our very best… much love … marilyn ❤

    • Oh I’m so glad it helps. I found a long time ago that astrology spent too much time discussing what seem to me to be rather vague spiritual terms. Then astrology became highly psychologized. Then astrology became a hodge-podge of theories, where essentially anyone could say anything about astrology without knowing any of its history. I decided somewhere along the line that trying to get down to basics in the mundane world might help, so I’m glad my approach says something to you. Be well. 🙂

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