In astrology, the Houses are the places you can visit to help your soul evolve during this lifetime. They are sacred spaces of potency and potential. They are way stations on the path of personal and social transformation. Each of the Houses has a gift for you and they share it willingly if you are willing to be inquisitive and vulnerable. Because it is one of the Cardinal Houses (along with the 1st, 7th and 10th), the 4th House is one of the most powerful, for it holds within it, the origin of its particular element - in this case the healing creativity of Water. The 4th House carries extra intensity as an angular House placement. The angles form the Cardinal Cross of Manifestation where we can access the radiance of Cardial Fire, the healing of Cardinal Water, the communicative energy of Cardinal Air and the magic of Cardinal Earth. Since our focus is on the Cardinal Water of the 4th House, let's look at the ways in which this House invites us into a deeper experience of our feelings and of our creativity.
At its core, the 4th House is the place where we can delve into the foundations of home and family and consider not only how they support us, but, also, how we can make them stronger and more enduring. Think of the 4 walls of a house or the 4 legs of a chair and you can begin to imagine the solidity and stability that can be accessed here. In the tarot, the 4s are cards of shelter, rest and rejuvenation and we can picture them perfectly at home in the 4th House. With its symbol of the crab shell which protects its soft underbelly and tender parts, we can look to the 4th House as a place to find protection. Because its power is sourced from the emotional depths of Water, we can think of the 4th House as a safe space in which to explore all the feelings: the joys and the sorrows, the passion and the pain. In the 4th House, we are encouraged to reflect upon our emotions and to consider which ones serve and which ones lead to suffering. Within these walls, we can begin to free ourselves from the grips of negativity and prepare to step more fully into the light that we are meant to share with the world.
Besides being a container for your emotional body, the 4th House is also a space of intentional creativity. Traditionally, the Mother and the Moon dwell here. While we often think of mothers as women, mothering energy does not come from any gendered place. It is the energy of unconditional love which exists beyond all binaries. It knows how to serve, nourish and receive. It offers us an opportunity to nurture these behaviors for ourselves as well as for others. The Moon reminds us of the importance of honoring the wisdom of cycles and to trust that each turn of the wheel, each phase of the Moon brings us powerful medicine to digest and heal. Together, Mother and Moon guide us into a deeper love of and trust in this experience of being alive. When we live from a place of trust, we connect more to our inner knowing, our intuitive wisdom. Out of this trust, we begin to surrender doubt and step into a profound faith in the potentiality that exists within each of us. An attitude of trust and faith increases confidence which not only supports us in all of our endeavors, but frees us to live our lives in joy.
The soul phrase for the 4th House, is “I build a lighted house, and therein dwell.” Here, we create a foundation upon which to build a life that is full of light, one that honors the source of all life: love. But the depths of 4th House wisdom is great enough to hold both the shadow and the light. In order to build that house of light, we need to be able to acknowledge and honor the pain in our lives, for the pain and suffering are true teachers. Try to envision the 4th House as a place where you can compost the detritus of your life with the healing power of water and the emotional resonance of song. Let the song become an invocation to love. Let yourself here, fully supported and honored for exactly who you are.
The 4th House is inherently connected to the 4th Chakra - the Anahata - also known as the Heart Chakra. Within the protective and nurturing love of the 4th House and the Heart Chakra, we are more capable of accessing not only our emotional wisdom and creative power, but also of our desire for wholeness. Where there was a longing to find our way home to ourselves, in the 4th House, we long no more. We have arrived at the invitation to love ourselves unconditionally. From this holy, healed space, we find ourselves more than ready to step into the flow of grace and walk through the world with kindness and compassion.
4th House Considerations
- Tarot Cards and Mantras
Let us look at all of the 4s in the tarot deck. You can journal around the mantras for each of the cards or meditate upon the cards themselves to help you dive deeper into the energy of the 4th House.
- IV Majesty: “Power”
- IV of Earth: “Renewal”
- IV of Water: “Rest”
- IV of Fire: “Nourish”
- IV of Air: “Pause”
- Somatic Practice
The 4th House is aligned with the soft, tender parts of the body - the breasts and the belly. This breathing exercise can help you attune yourself to these sacred, 4th House physical spaces.
- Lie on your back. You can support yourself with a rolled up towel or blanket underneath your knees. Perhaps cover your eyes so that you can begin to relax and turn inwards.
- Draw your attention to your breath. Feel the inhale expand and the exhale soften.
- Once you feel tuned in to the breath, place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart. Notice the rise and fall. Are there any places where you feel resistance? If so, can you work with the breath to soften those restrictions? Can you allow the breath to flow in and out like a river and let it heal and cleanse you from within?
- Take a few rounds of breath to breathe in light. Take a few rounds of breath to breathe in love.
- As you feel the front of your body moving with the breath, allow yourself to be fully supported by the Earth.
- When it feels right, release your hands and rest in Relaxation Pose.
- When you are done, take your time to come to a seated position and continue to observe the spaces around the belly and the heart. Try to keep these sacred spaces open and receptive throughout the rest of your day.
- Poem for the 4th House:
The Clay Jug
Inside this clay jug there are canyons and pine
mountains, and the maker of canyons and pine
All seven oceans are inside, and hundreds of millions of
The acid that tests gold is there, and the one who judges
And the music from the strings no one touches, and the
source of all water.
If you want the truth, I will tell you the truth:
Friend, listen: the God whom I love is inside.
- Song for the 4th House: REM - Everybody Hurts Lyrics