Posted by: Donna Cunningham | July 17, 2010

Readers Ask: Q & A about the 4th House

©7-17-2010 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

We’re engaged in a series of posts where readers ask questions about a particular house in the comment section and I answer them.   Since our current theme has been about the Moon and its sign Cancer, let’s consider the related house, the 4th.  Bring on the questions, Readers!

The sign on the 4th house cusp (an angle called the IC), the condition of any planets in that house, and the ruler of the 4th all combine to describe your home and home life; real estate transactions, roots; family ties; heredity; family of origin influence; the nurturing parent; and the senior years.

I am happy to entertain  general questions like these:

  • What’s the difference between a 4th house Sun and Sun in Cancer?
  • Do you agree that the 4th house shows the mother and the 10th house the father?
  • If a 4th house planet opposes the Midheaven, how does it affect the career?

UPDATE: After two days and more than 40 questions, the comments are closed. To read  the questions and answers—scroll down below this article to the comment section. 

Readers Ask Series:  (Readers’ questions and my Answers are in the Comment Sections)

Articles about the Mo0n and Cancer:

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  1. Hi Donna,

    I’ve a bit of a brain teaser (at least for me). Yes, it’s about my chart, but perhaps others may benefit from your insight. If 4th house represents Mother, how do you factor Saturn or Sun placed w/in this house & alternatively if 10th house represents Father, does Moon or Venus placed w/in the 10th factor?

    • Well, since you’re the first questioner, let me explain for everyone how I see the 4th house/10th house controversy about which parent is the 4th and which is the 10th. The way I see it, the 4th house represents the nurturing function and how it was handled by your parents; the 10th house is the authority function and how it was handled by your parents.

      In a single-parent household, one parent (and/or parent surrogate) has to handle both functions, God bless them. In other households, there’s a strict division of labor–one the authority and often the dominant parent (represented by the 10th), the other parent the caretaker (and thus represented by the 4th).

      In healthy/modern houses, both parents may perform both functions, and thus the house involved fluctuates, depending on which role the parent is currently doing.

      I have Moon in Aries on the Midheaven, and my mother was dominant in the extreme; on the other hand, this placement could also be read as that the father was a lunar type and possibly the more nurturing of the two. That was the case here. Donna

  2. Donna, your blog is the first time I’ve ever heard that one’s senior years are covered in astrological houses. How interesting! Can you elaborate on that point? I bet a lot of baby boomers would be interested in that. Since the fourth house also rules real estate, I wonder if the fourth house for our generation will show we’re doomed for the poor house in our old age?! (OK, a just a little black humor:)

    • Actually, what the traditional teachings say is that the 4th house shows “the end of the matter” in a horary and “the end of life” in the natal. Senior years is just my way of trying to avoid sounding ominous.

      I’m not happy about looking for winding up in poorhouse in a birth chart, since all the outermost planets (Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) have both positive and negative interpretations. It all depends on what we do with those 4th house energies.

      If you see something hard in the 4th, then work your tuckus off to be sure you aren’t living out the negative expressions. For instance, if it’s Saturn, then do everything in your power to establish a solid foundation for yourself for those years. NOW.

      If it’s Neptune, then stay away from abuse of alcohol, substances, gambling, etc. because addictions can wind up being your undoing in later years. Also watch out that codependent relationships don’t drain your resources or your will to be self-sustaining. And so on.

      Astrologers who look at only the rose-colored glasses interpretations of tough placements mislead people; so do those who forecast gloom and doom. The best way is the middle way, where you allow people to see the worst case and the best case and suggest ways to avoid the worst and work toward the best.

      Times being as tough as they are now, I think I may rue the day I added “senior years” to that list!! Donna

      • What would be the positive of having Saturn in the 4th house?

      • A neat, elegant, sparsely furnished home. A stable residence over many years. Older parents with a lot of maturity. Much wisdom in the older years–like an elder in the tribe. Longevity due to prudently taking care of oneself and plannng for retirement. Donna

  3. Hi, Donna,

    Regarding the parental meanings of the 10th and 4th houses, I’d say my 4th (Leo) was definitely the maternal house . My mother was a “natural aristocrat” and a passionate woman. My Dad (Aquarius, 10th) was a civil engineer with a more down-home personality. For theme music I’d suggest “God Save the Queen” and “Fanfare for the Common Man,” respectively!

    Best all to all, Amy

    • thanks, Amy, for confirming that. For this post, however, I want to remain with the question and answer format, as it is meant to be strictly educational. Usually we share our lives on a profound level here (witness the Moon-Pluto post!), but this series is different and needs to stay on track. Donna

  4. I’d actually like to see the answer to this: When a 4th house planet opposes the Midheaven, how does it affect the career? thank you.

    if I may, what if the planet is also the ruler of the 10th? how does this change things?

    • A predominantly 4th house person (let’s say the Sun opposite the Midheaven for the strongest example) wants with all their being to stay at home and center themselves in the home life….it may even be that investing themselves in taking care of home and family concerns is their primary reason for incarnating at this time (karmic agreements with family members, for instance.)

      The idea of being out in the world in a public or vocational sense is alien and unwelcome. However, modern life being what it is, it may be necessary for them to get out there and earn a living, so the opposition to the Midheaven expresses that tension. Perhaps the family needs them to contribute financially.

      Or given the opposition, perhaps there’s another part of them that would like the challenge of a career (ambivalence being a strong component of an opposition). Or, perhaps they have gifts that the world needs too, and so they are torn between personal/familial responsibilities and the responsibilities to the greater good.

      If the 4th house planet is also the ruler of the 10th, it’s another confirmation of these pulls in two directions. Donna

  5. can you give examples of transits or progressions that would signify selling/buying a house?

    • Generally, since I only use transits, I see it when there are transits to the natal Moon or IC (4th cusp), sometimes to a 4th house planet.

      The surest one would be Saturn, especially a conjunction, trine, or even square, but it requires time, making sure the paperwork is completely sound, and sometimes improvements are required. You usually don’t get what you think it’s worth, and if you’re buying, the new property may be smaller than hoped.

      Uranus transits to those placements can be a turnover in property, too, certainly a move. But the first move isn’t likely to be the final one, since Uranus makes the same aspects 2-3 times in a couple of years and takesw around 7 years to go through the 4th house, so typically there are a series of moves before settling down.

      Neptune transits to those placements are really an inadvisable time to buy, sell, or even move. You find out some very unhappy making things about that purchase (hidden defects, binding clauses you need to get out of, untrustworthy buyers or sellers.) AND you never really feel at home in the new place. Poor boundaries with neighbors, pollution either real or psychic. Don’t do it!!

      Pluto transits to those placements are a major and permanent change, not only in residence but in lifestyle. Might be a result of an inheritance or marriage to someone with money. Can put you in touch with wealthy or powerful people you now have to learn how to handle. Or you may sell to that sort of person or some sort of wealthy conglomerate or corporation. Donna

  6. As 4th House and Cancer are focused on home and family, how would one balance Sagittarius Sun (ruler of 9th House, the House of traveling and higher learning) that is placed in their 4th House?

    • Get an RV? Short-term leases while you travel the globe? Subscribe to the travel channel and travel magazines? Earn credits in distance learning program on the computer at home? Teach webinars from your home office. Get an au pair from another country? Have foreign exchange students living with you and enroll your kids in similar programs abroad. Do any of those appeal? Donna

  7. How does an empty fourth house work in the chart of someone who may have difficult Moon (Mother) and Sun or Saturn (Father) aspects?

    • The best that can be said of it is that it doesn’t make them any harder or easier. You’d look at the house the ruler of the 4th is in, for there you may find some of the nurturing that was missing at home. Donna

  8. OK, another try! How does the 4th house ruler function if placed in the 8th?

    • Essentially, it may mean that your living situation depends (or possibly your parents’ home depended on) on someone else’s resources, so you might not own your own place but be financially beholden to someone else.

      Or, it could mean that you wind up inheriting property or having it given to you, typically after many years of having to please the person you inherit from. Or Maybe you manage other people’s property for them. Or you marry into a monied family and progressively lose touch with your own origins.

      How well and how comfortably arrangements like these would work out would depend on the sign and aspects of the 4th house ruler, which could give clues to the nature of the relationship.

      In the course of a lifetime, transits by slow-moving planets through the 8th can change the situation. Donna

  9. Donna, would the ruler of the 4th in the 12th house signify family karma?

    • Quite likely, yes. But what kind and how severe would depend on a number of factors such as the sign and aspects of that ruling planet.

      However, it might also say something about being in a sort of “exile” from one’s home town or ancestral home or perhaps an immigrant who feels a deep longing for their homeland. Or perhaps an adoptee who, never having met the birth parents–or even possibly being unaware of being adopted–still feels a loss or lack.

      All of these possibilities sound like major and lasting root chakra issues, and something that healing work on the root chakra could ease. Donna

      • Donna & Katie, Saturn, the traditional Lord of Karma, rules my empty 4th House and is positioned natally in my 12th House.
        I am definitely an exile from my family, esp. on my father’s (Saturn)side.
        I am an only child, both of my parents are deceased, I am not married, have no children and my closest living blood relations to whom I speak are 2nd and 3rd cousins that I met through the Internet.
        My first cousins on my dad’s side haven’t spoken to me for 40 years because of some odd grudge they hold against me for some reason they have never bothered to explain.
        I tell you, it makes for weird conversations with people who have close, large families and for odd holidays. I am the odd person out in a so-called ‘family values’ society that holds blood kin more important that other people.
        Karmic? You betcha’!

      • You’re a total illustration of what I was saying, taken to the Nth degree. It doesn’t have to be that dire, folks. Donna

        PS. Let’s stay with the Question and Answer format for this strictly educational post, folks, rather than the kind of sharing we usually do– though I can see already we might have to have another one where people get to tell their stories.

  10. I’ve heard the 4th house described as the house of ‘deepest self’ Could you expand on this a little please?

    • Nope, I never heard that and wouldn’t have a clue what the person meant. To me, the deepest level of the self would be the Sun, if stripped of ego and in touch with the soul. Donna

  11. Donna,
    Regarding the 4th house, is it possible that our death could fall under this house as opposed as the 8th house which could be other people’s deaths along with others’ monies. The 4th rules passages, cycles, beginnings and endings…
    OM; wOMb; dOMe; hOMe and finally tOMb.
    Your thoughts…

    • Western Astrology doesn’t really focus on the circumstances of one’s death, not considered ethical to predict it. But I’ve always heard that it’s the 8th that will tell you the nature of your death, eg, whether it is lingering, fast, or what.

      Pluto/Scorpio there is supposed to be the sort of person who won’t die for spite. Myself, I’m banking on my Aquarius on the 8th to grant me a fast, sudden death like from a stroke or heart attack, none of those terrible feeding tube scenarios, puhleeze. Donna

  12. With an empty 4th House, is it harder for one to find one’s true home? Metaphorically or literally–

    • Oh, possibly, but you’d want to look at the condition of the Moon and the ruler of the 4th to see if they confirm that condition. It may just mean that home and homelife are not a major focus of interest and energy in this life. The house where the ruler of the 4th is placed may be a more important focus for you. Donna

  13. Do I give equal weight to Pluto, Jupiter and Saturn transits to my fourth house and any planets it contains? What is your opinion of intercepted signs? Thank you for this fantastic website!

    • Hi, Deborah, As I explained in the body of the post, I don’t do individual charts, so I’ve edited out the question about your own chart and will answer the more general one.

      The slower moving a transiting planet is and the wider in terms of degrees that house is, the more impact the transit has on the matters of a house.

      Jupiter transits are comparatively fast–usually no more than a year. In the 4th, it brings some nice benefits, like say a makeover of a room or two in your home but generally not a deep and lasting change.

      Saturn transits last maybe 2 1/2 years, and they do produce concrete definite changes, usually involving more responsibility on the home front–like a child born, an older parent moves in, or you take on a mortgage for a home of your own.

      Uranus transits to the 4th, as I explained earlier, last around 7 years, and may involve considerable change and moving around. (see more about that transit in a later comment.)

      Neptune and Pluto transits may last as long as 12-15 years or longer, and so produce slow changes in the home and home life. (See the earlier comments about buying and selling property.

      As for interception, I’ve explained my views in the general article about houses, so visit that link. Donna

  14. Hello, Donna. How about planets that are in the 3rd house but very close to the IC? (Within a 5 degree orb, say.) Would those be read as influencing the 4th house as well? Thanks.

    • Hi, Eme, yes 3rd house placements conjunct the IC do have an impact on the 4th and on the matters the 4th house rules. For one thing, the 3rd is a family house as well. In such situations, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins can all play a great and even parental role in the person’s life…e.g. a mother or father figure.

      A 3rd house opposition to the Midheaven has some of the same tension as a 4th house opposition, in terms of distracting from a long-term career.

      The 3rd house planet within 10 degrees of the IC falls into one of the Gauquelin sectors which their research found to be a statistically significant marker of how the world sees us. In that respect, it’s as significant as a 4th house planet conjunct the IC. Donna

      • cool. me with uranus almost on the cusp between 3rd and 4th houses, I have found cousins all over the world. It’s kind of like a hobby.. I am fascinated by them..

      • You just gave me an AHA! moment, Donna. It’s a personal revelation, so I won’t explain, but just wanted to say thanks for the little insights these Q&A posts bring.

  15. What are Angular Houses, such as the fourth, as opposed to any other house type?

    Does it make a planet’s placement here stronger (Jupiter becomes even more expanding)?

    Does it make the sign on the cusp more intense – a classic manifestation of a sign’s attributes ?



    • As always, EJ, you come up with great questions. The whole question of angular houses (the 1st, 4th, 7th, and 10th) is a muddy one for me. They are SUPPOSED to be the major houses and the cadent (3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th) and the succedent houses (2nd, 5th, 8th, and 11th) are SUPPOSED to be weaker and less favorable ones.

      Myself, I tend to think this depends on one’s values and what one considers important in life. A deeply spiritual person (monkish, even) might consider the 12th the most powerful house of all. A person who is deeply fulfilled by work for its own sake as opposed to worldly success might deem the 6th house the most important. And so on.

      It is only because Western Society places the highest value on external markings of success that the variuous houses are judged to be more or less valuable. Your career accomplishments (10th), what position your family held in society (4th), who you marry (7th) and what you look like (1st)–these are the things we are primarily judged on.

      So, no, I’m not ready to say planets in those 4 houses are intrinsically stronger, just given a higher status in society’s terms. Donna

  16. If one has their north node in the 4th, would that indicate it is harder for that person to do the family thing well?

    And if Aquarius is in the 4th, would that make it harder to attach to family?

    • North Node isn’t necessarily harder in a negative sense, it just may mean that you’ve paid more attention to the concerns of the opposite sign and house (the south node position) for a number of lifetimes, and now it’s time for you to create balance by giving more time to the north node. NN in 4th, SN in 10th shows that you’ve been very focused and maybe successful with career, and now it’s time to cultivate home, family and roots.

      Yes, Aquarius or Uranus in the 4th can show a disconnect with family and a life path where you develop your independence, becoming a bit of a free spirit or maybe even a bit of a gypsy, exploring the world. Donna

      • Interesting. The person I’m thinking of has a five planet stellium in Aquarius (sun, venus, mercury, mars, saturn) AND her Aquarian North Node all in the 4th… ! Gulp.

    • I know a guy with North Node in Leo in the 4th. He has the showiest house at Christmas in town like you wouldn’t believe…. Doesn’t particularly have a very domestic career (plus he’s ah, professionally celibate), but that’s how he uses his. Yes, he’s also inherited money/property so he can do this.

      I have Aquarius in 4th and I hate home and family. I’ve never fit in with anybody there, so that sounds right to me. And yet I have Juno there, which makes no sense. 4th house Juno is supposed to WANT home and family, the Aquarius makes me want to pick a guy who also hates family. Uh… awkward much?

      • What a funny story about the Leo North node in the 4th! Donna

  17. What does an empty fourth house show?
    How about aspects from natural ‘fourth house’ planets residing in other houses to the fourth house cusp? Example, an aspect from the Moon or a planet in Cancer in a house other than the fourth, but which aspects the fourth house cusp?

    • Hi, Meloh, haven’t seen you here in a bit. I talked about an empty 4th house in a couple of comments earlier, so check them out.

      I suppose an aspect from the Moon or a Cancer planet to the MC/IC (since it would aspect both ends of the axis) would give a bit more lunar energy. Of course it would depend on the Moon sign or the particular Cancer planet. Moon in Aquarius or Uranus in Cancer would intensify the pull away from traditional home and family. Donna

      • Just been chilling since the eclipse and trying to stay cool in this abnormally hot weather.

  18. Hi Donna,
    You wrote in an earlier post about transits to relocated angles being relevant. How much impact does a transit from a slower moving planet to the IC have on the affairs of the 4th house in a relocated chart?

    • Hard to say, Sibyl. I tend to think of transits and progressions to the relocated angles (Asc, IC, Dsc, and MH) as signaling events to a certain amount–they clearly do.

      But I’m not so convinced of the impact on the relocated houses, for they definitely don’t usurp/replace the natal ones. I am a certified Astro*Carto*Graphy practitioner, though I haven’t actually practiced it in a number of years. Donna

  19. Hi Donna, you don’t seem to be retired in view of your very informative blog.


    • LOL! My definition of retirement is that I’ve stopped doing the things I no longer wanted to do (chart consultation, web design) and have the freedom to do as much as I want of what I do want to do (writing) when I want to do it. So, yeah, I’m my kind of retired, and I love it. Donna

  20. Hi Donna, my question is one that I’ve discussed on several occasions with different astrologers.

    Suppose your 4th house cusp and your moon do not blend?

    (Personal question edited out.)

    • Hi, Regine, It would be rare for there NOT to be multiple and often conflicting aspects to the Moon, Cancer, and 4th house placements in the chart.

      Welcome to the complexities of astrology charts–and of human beings. We are all possessed of a myriad of qualities, many of which are conflicting or ambiguous. We can also have had several different mother figures in our lives, not just our biological mothers.

      AND the same mother can have been a different sort of mother at different stages of our lives–maybe great with little ones, a nightmare with teens. Or during different passages in her life–like a post partum depression she slowly recovered from, and then was more able to be nurturing.

      Part of why we keep on studying astrology for years and years is to help us understand and reconcile these many facets of ourselves and our loved ones. Donna

      • Thanks, Donna. I actually never thought of it as the different facets within the same mother. Very good point and right on.

  21. What about when the ruler of the 4th is in the 12th? In fact, to broaden it a little more, how does one interpret the ruler of one house being in another house?

    • Hi, Eme, I already talked about the 4th house ruler being in the 12th in my response to Katie, above, so look at that.

      In general, the fact that the ruler of one house is placed in another house (e.g. the ruler of the 4th in the 12th) means that the concerns of the two houses are somehow intermingled (thus the 4th house and the 12th are blended).

      BUT, in an empty house, especially the concerns of the 4th somehow take a back seat to the concerns of the 12th. The energy of the 4th ruler is focused on the 12th rather than being used to fulfill the concerns of the 4th.

      (I’d have to write a whole article to illustrate this point, but I hope you’re following me.) Donna

  22. I have heard that having Jupiter in the 4th means a person will always have a easy time finding a place to live or home. In what context should this be taken? If you lose your job and cant pay your mortgage its also easy to find a place at the shelter or under a bridge.

    • LOL! Yes, but you’d have the very best, warmest cardboard box under the bridge, and also you’d be in the best location to beg from passing automobiles.

      It’s all relative–prince or pauper, you still come out ahead of most people in your position in terms of the living situation due to being the right sort of person in the right place at the right time. Transits or progressions, however, can change the pattern.

      I have Jupiter in Cancer in the 12th, the sign and house where it’s supposedly exalted, and I do have to say I’ve been very lucky, always finding a place to live that is priced well below market value in desirable areas I shouldn’t even be looking at. Donna

  23. How does the 4th house reflect relationships with one’s own children?

    • That’s more related to the Moon and to planets and signs in the 5th house. Donna

  24. Hi Donna, do you see the 4th as representing the mother or father and why? Also, some astrologers consider the 4th the house of the end of the matter. What does that mean anyway and do you view it that way also? Finally, would Capricorn on the cusp of the 4th mean one will experience hardships in old age while taurus or cancer would promise happy retirement years?

    Thanks for these great learning opportunities.


    • Hi, Elizabeth, I’ve answered the questions about the 4th/10th mother/father issue and about the end of the matter at the very beginnng of the comment section.

      For more specific information on conditions in old age, you’d have to analyze the condition of the 4th house ruler (e.g. Saturn for Capricorn) and any planets in the 4th.

      Then also consider how well the person has used those planets, which doesn’t show in the chart, so you’d have to interview them.

      Someone with Saturn ruling or in the 4th who has done well with Saturn issues like productivity, excellence, foresight, and careful planning is far less likely to experience hardship than someone who never gave a thought for the future. (I always say, take care of Saturn and Saturn will take care of you.)

      Questions like these are complex–you can’t just say Capricorn bad, Cancer good. Every sign and planet has a spectrum of desirable and undesirable forms of expression. One important purpose of studying astrology is to become more aware of times when we’re misusing the planets and shifting to a more constructive expression. Donna

  25. How does having moon in the 4th house correlate with having sun in cancer? That is – the moon in it’s native house seems to have a Cancerian feel to it, regardless of the sign of the moon. What’s your take?

    (and by the way thanks for saying the 4th is the house of the nurturing parent and the 10th the house of the disciplinarian/structured parent – that was clear and helped make sense – i had been taught the 4th was father/10th mother and that makes no sense).

    • Yes, that’s one of the many ways the lunar influence gets powerful in a chart–any repetitition of Moon, Cancer, 4th house themes makes the person more lunar in quality. Naturally, then the sign of the Moon or the 4th house planet modifies the way the lunar energy is expressed. Donna

  26. Hi Donna.
    I would like to know what’s your interpretation of Jupiter on immediate cusp of 4th house (Equal house chart), almost exactly opposite MC?
    Actually I do not know whether you advise/read equal/placidus, but my same Jupiter is actually in 3rd house by placidus method (close to cusp of 4th)

    P.S. For reference of readers

  27. Hi Donna, what would the 8th house ruler placed in the 4th house mean?

    • Similar to what I described with the ruler of the 4th in the 8th. What is different is which house is emphasized, because the house where the ruler is located becomes a focus of the person’s energies.

      If the ruler of the 4th is in the 8th, then the needs of the home are dependent on the support, and thus the energy goes toward keeping the “benefactor” happy. If the ruler of the 8th is in the 4th, then the benefactor is focused on creating the home atmosphere. Donna

  28. Hi Donna, great things you do here!

    What’s your insight on the 4th house ruler placed in the 7th? (More personal question edited out.)

    • Hi, Hilde. I’d say that generally a connection between the 4th and 7th rulers is a positive thing–a good fit between the person and their partner’s family of origin, so it’s easy to create a family feeling within the living situation–the mate is rather like people in the family.

      That would, of course, depend on the ruling planet and its sign and aspects. If it were Saturn in Scorpio squared by Pluto, it would be a familiar but fairly toxic match. If it were Moon in Taurus trine Jupiter, a very good, stable, warm match.

      (Folks, let me remind you not to give me a complex, detailed piece of your chart or anyone else’s to interpret here.) Donna

  29. I was thinking about Saturn in the 4th house and the 4th house ruler placed in Capricorn, that would mean a double Saturnian/Capricornian energy associated with the 4th house, right? Would it be stupid to consider such situations, energetically speaking, like we usually interpret a Sun and ASC in the same sign? A person like the one described above would definitely feel a heavy burden connected with family, personal and family history, emotions, childhood memories, relationship with the mother etc, and would experience the Saturnian energy coming from two sources, once by having Saturn in the 4th house and second by having the 4th house ruler in Capricorn. Would that also mean a heavy family karma?

    • Too complicated and too personal a question–your own chart, perhaps–but you’ve done a good job of interpreting it. Donna

  30. The rulers of 4th and 10th house are in mutual reception and connected by a challenging aspect. Where should I look for nurturing?

    • As adults, we are responsible for doing our own nurturing of ourselves–no one else can do it as well and as consistently. Donna

  31. Would a person feel more comfortable or “at home” with people who exude the energy or qualities of the fourth house ruler?

    • Oh, I’d say they’d more at home with the sign on the 4th and any planets in it. Jung’s study of succcessful marriages found the Moon very significant, I think because the people could live together more comfortably. He found Sun/Moon conjunctions, Moon/Moon conjunctions, and I believe Moon/Ascendant conjunctions. Donna

  32. Can you talk about Neptune transits to the 4th house and moon?

    • It would take a very long post to cover that in any detail. I did briefly in my reply to Katherine above when she asked about transits for buying or selling a home.

      Also read the Neptune portion of these two articles on the list of links at the end of this post:

      •Why Transits to the Birth Moon are so Challenging
      •How Outer Planet Transits to the Moon Affect Family Life Donna

  33. Hi Donna,
    The fourth house rulers falling in the various houses is very interesting, and connecting the energies of these houses. How would you interpret the ruler of the fourth in the fourth, and also ruler of the fourth conjunct the Moon in fourth. Very lunar in nature I would imagine!
    Also, the ruler of the MC in fourth, indicator of working from home perhaps?
    When there are two signs in the 4th and planets in both. Do you take into account the ruler of the second sign and it’s house placement also?
    Family Karma, what do you take into account here: Condition of 4th house, and it’s ruler etc., Node placements, Moon placement etc.,?
    Thanks for sharing your vast Astrological knowledge and insights.

    • Hi, Ruth, one question to a person, and with all the questions you’ve included in your eagerness to learn, I would need to write a whole article or more likely a series. Let me just answer a couple verrry briefly:

      “ruler of the fourth in the fourth, and also ruler of the fourth conjunct the Moon in fourth” Yes, all of these permutations would add emphasis to the lunar qualities of the individual–and probably to their score on the Moon test.

      “the ruler of the MC in fourth, indicator of working from home perhaps?” Yes, ideally, as this would be the heart’s dream. Can also happen when the natal Midheaven ruler–or Saturn–transits the 4th.

      “When there are two signs in the 4th and planets in both. Do you take into account the ruler of the second sign and it’s house placement also?” No, the ruler of the 2nd sign is not considered the ruler of the 4th. Planets in the 4th, regardless of the sign are more powerful than just the sign.

      For all I really have to say about “family karma” see my reply to Katie near the top of this section. Also work on thought forms with the series of ariticles that starts here: And on karmic agreements here:


  34. how would transiting Uranus affect the 4th house?

    • See my comment to Katherine, above, giving transits for all the slow moving planets. In addition to changes in residence, a Uranus transit could bring a variety of unsettled conditions into the home life, perhaps through the actions of Uranian/Aquarian family members. Or the home might mutate into a collective living situation. All manner of uranus-related situations for a span of about 7 years. Donna

  35. What about Mars in the fourth house? Natally

    • Hi, Donna, Mars in the 4th would have many similarities to Mars in Cancer, except much would depend on the element (water vs. fire, air, or earth) as to whether there would be as much emotion attached to the home/family/nurturance questions.

      Energy would go into making and maintaining the home itself (eg DIY projects, construction). Depending on Mars’ sign and aspects, the home might be the scene of frequent eruptions of temper, door slamming, etc., especially if the Mars person (or who it represents in the chart) is not getting enough appreciation for the work put into the homelife or if they feel they aren’t being nurtured as much as they deserve. Prone to family feuds. Competitve with other homeowners–christmas lighting contests, etc. That sort of thing. Donna C.

  36. I was intrigued by the first sample question of your post:

    What’s the difference between a 4th house Sun and Sun in Cancer? Also: How do either differ (or not) from a 4th house Sun IN Cancer?

    • Sun in Cancer has all the qualities usually attributed to the sign as the core of their being.

      Sun in the 4th shares some of the same preoccupations (home, family, roots) but, depending on the sign and aspects, may not have the moodiness, emotionality, hypersensitivity, etc. attributed to the sign.

      Sun in Cancer in the 4th would be your hard core Uber-Cancerian, all of the above. Donna

  37. Hi Donna,
    How would Pluto in the 4th differ from, or be similar to, Moon conjunct Pluto (or Scorpio Moon, or Moon in the 8th)?

    • They all have some similar characteristics like the ones we explored with the Moon-Pluto article. The main difference would be 1) the emotional intensity and power of the the ways the combination is expressed and 2) the areas of life governed by the house position.

      In terms of intensity, here would be an approximate order, the first one being the strongest, the last being fairly weak:
      Moon conjunct Pluto
      Moon in other hard aspect to Pluto
      Pluto conjunct the IC
      Pluto in the 4th not conjunct the IC
      Moon in Scorpio
      Scorpio planets in the 4th
      Scorpio on the IC
      Moon in the 8th
      Cancer planets in the 8th.
      Cancer on the 8th, no planets there. Donna

  38. Hi Donna,

    Would you interpret a planet in the Gauquelin sector of the 3rd house (within 2 degrees conjunct the IC) as being in the 4th hse / or having influence on the 4th house?

    And also when would you expect to feel the influence of a transit to the IC in the 4th house as Neptune is moving through my 3rd & is 9 degrees from my IC and I am about to sell my house and buy a bigger house with help from my family (or is the family influence relating to the IC).
    Would Chiron there have a similar effect as it will be on my IC very soon?

    many thanks for this opportunity to ask a question.


    • One question at a time. Read my comments on a 3rd house planet conjunct the IC to Eme and FxGuy.

      A transit to the IC wouldn’t be felt so early–it starts going into effect about 3 degrees ahead of time…and then not so much an event as inner processing that would lead to an event later when the planet is closer to exact. Donna

  39. Hi Donna,

    I am about to move abroad in a couple of months to work and study. In my relocation chart, my “usually” empty 4th house will be occupied by my Sun/Pluto conjunction. So, if in the new place the 4th house gets occupied, does it mean that I might start my own family there? (I’m single) I don’t have any immediate family members in the country I’m going to, so I doesn’t look like I’ll suddenly have to take care of other family members…

    Thank you!

    • What’s really crucial in a relocation is the new angles of the chart and any planets within about a 5 degree range of them. So if the Sun-Pluto conjunction is in that range, you might meet a Plutonian type and settle down. But there are also some difficult manifestations of that angle, too–being heavily resticted by controlling people. Donna

  40. Hi Donna!! First… Thank You for this wonderful site!!

    How does a 4th house Neptune affect your view of your parents?? Does it make you put them on a pedestal or do you have a “false”/dreamy view of who they really are???

    I have moved a LOT, have lost count of the times, is it a correct assumption to think that a 4th house cusp in Sagittarius is the “reason”? And Is this the case for an individuals whole lifetime or does this change with age and progressions of the planets and cusps? Or does the drive to move always poke at you from under the surface???

    Namaste, Marie

    • Hi, Marie, Neptune in the 4th does generally go along with lots of confusion about what the parents are really like–sometimes over-idealizing how saintly or martyred or what victims they are, sometimes denial of an addiction or dysfunction. The elephant in the living room that no one talks about.

      Sag on the IC would love to travel and move about a good bit, maybe even wind up living abroad or far from home…or, given that Neptune is there, fantacize about it. Neptune in the 4th is a case of “this world is not my home,” which might add to the feeling of not ever really rooted or quite belonging where you are. Transits (and probably progressions) DO change things, except I’m wondering why Pluto in Sag didn’t change this pattern but instead seems to have accentuated it.

      Also see my response to Jack, above, who wondered how to juggle Sag on the 4th and still have a home. Donna

  41. Greetings Donna

    Very Interesting post!

    My question concerns natal Neptune in the 4th. What positive aspects could be focussed on and worked with to over-ride any negative habits picked up, like addiction and co-dependency, by a person who didn’t know they should have been aware and vigilant concerning these areas?

    Seems that it would be beneficial to do the chart of a son/daughter to assist and inform them so they are able to work with their strengths & weaknesses! What do you think?

    Your valuable insights are always very welcome. Thanks Jen

    • Hi, Jen. Here any addictive or codependent patterns are likely to have come from the example of one or both parents, due to family patterns in the home growing up. The 4th also shows heredity, and there ARE genes that predispose a person to addiction–usually as a way to relieve a biochemical imbalance that is very difficult to cope with. (The gene for depression and the gene for alcoholism are on the same strand of DNA)

      How does one recover from addiction and codependency? There are whole fields devoted to that. Succcessful recovery groups are often based on positive Neptune traits and practices–helping others with the same problem, service, prayer, and devotion. Spiritual practices help.

      Also take a look at my reply to Marie, above, who also asked about Neptune in the 4th. Donna

  42. Thanks Donna, absolutely spot on!

    Whilst i was growing up my father had major issues with alcohol to the point of being given a year to live. He stopped for some years and eventually started again, cut down drastically and today still drinks even though he has now become diabetic because of it.

    Interesting that its him in my 4th house and not my mother! Jupiter opposes in 10th but doesn’t seem masterful enough to control Neptune in 4th!

    • I’d imagine that your mother, by default, had to assume the 10th house functions like keeping the family together, being the authority figure, and providing the structure and stability. Donna


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