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The root of the zodiac, the 4th house is ruled by the Moon and the sign it governs, Cancer or the Crab. This space represents our individual memory box, the most intimate, emotional and private part of our astrological and psychological Selves, that place within which we retreat to find safety and meaning in life, to connect with our ancestors and to feel at home and nurtured. Under the numerological energy of the number 4 – which stands for a solid foundation, a spiritual bedrock and a reliable and trustworthy vibration – this astrological house combines something solid with something infinitely vulnerable, much like the Crab itself, the symbol of this lunar house, a crustacean with a hard outer-shell and a soft and delicious, inner body.
In this article, I want to provide you with a primer for what a 4th house transit of an outer planet can do to your inner world and how it might help you use your feelings, memories and experiences of safety (or lack thereof) to make important changes to your inner psychology. This is a difficult house to talk about, mostly because it is a hidden and deeply private one, much like the 12th or the 8th house. Usually, the things we experience in the 4th house are those we dread to share with others because they can expose our paper-thin sensitivity to the harsh outer-world and it can expose us to judgment. The things we experience in this ‘at home’ house are emotional and hard to put into words especially since they work upon the individual in a slow, back-and-forth, unconscious way. When you have a 4th house transit, your relationship to your Self, to those things you keep secret and that which you hide within, to what makes you feel emotionally stable and safe, will be incrementally changed in long-lasting and diffused ways. Almost as if you are operated upon with ‘ghost instruments’: you emerge out of a subtle experience with scars that are slow to heal and with an interesting & spiritual story to share.
To illustrate how this energy can be experienced I will share one of my crew member’s experience of having survived the transit of Pluto to the 4th house in Capricorn in the last 14 years, and also my experiences of having the transit of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius in my 4 house in the last 2 years. It is my hope that by sharing our reflections on the personal experiences we had of the transit of Pluto, Jupiter and Saturn to this soft root of the zodiac, you would be better prepared in knowing what to expect in case you are also embarking this year on such a transit. Before we dive into our personal stories, here is a brief description of what each planet represents on a symbolic and psychological level:
Jupiter is the luminary of good luck. It takes roughly one year to transit through a given astrological sign, although in some cases it could speed through in just 6 months (like in the example of Jupiter in the sign of Aries, a transit we are collectively experiencing in 2023). Jupiter usually brings ease, harmony, growth and a lot of abundance to the area of the chart where it transits through. However, some traditional astrologers believe this planet can be rather malefic because it gives you short-term luck, it inflates the Ego and it can get you to take things for granted or to exagerate and over-use life’s experiences in that part of your life where Jupiter is present.
Saturn is the planet of boundaries, limits, karmic payback and constraints. It takes approximately 2 and half years to complete its transit through a given astrological sign and during that time things tend to ‘dry up’ for the individual; there is a slowing down of things, a general heaviness and a sense of repression and restriction that one would feel throughout the transit of this grounding energy. Saturn is not fun to deal with, since it demands tangible efforts in return for material rewards and it only rewards commitment and hard work. What we fail to commit to will be replaced by a feeling of ‘time is running out’, ‘we are getting older’ and with an overall pessimistic overlook on life. When we live up to Saturn’s pressures through hard work and determination Saturn makes a deep wish of ours come true in the most tangible form possible. Ancient astrologers favored Saturn because it was a slow moving energy which allowed us enough time to prove ourselves and it stabilized that part of our astrological chart where it transited, allowing only pure energy to filter through in or lives, as long as our intentions were correct and moral.
Pluto is the misunderstood luminary of personal transformation. Pluto’s transits are irregular and slow and can take up between 10 to 25 years in a given sign. This celestial body’s energy is extreme and it can feel like not much is happening and then all of a sudden everything is changing in that area of your chart where Pluto is transiting. This luminary works in a subtle and psychological way with pockets of intense energetic growth and material power followed by vulnerability and emotional realizations. Pluto brings up to the surface our dark desires, our sexual energy, our pent-up and repressed feelings and instinctive behaviors that are very hard to control. It shows our conditioning, shadow aspects, our ruthlessness and instinct to survive. When Pluto calls in an area of your life you should get ready to let go of the old and to expect some deep and unforgettable change there, usually of the kind that liberates your soul from previous taboos.
Cards from the Numinous Astro Deck, available here: https://amzn.to/3HNTKpS
Since I sketched the personal attributes of each planet, I will now dive into the personal experiences I mentioned above. The person I will affectionally refer to as “H.” has shared with us her perception of what has changed for her on an emotional level as the powerful energy of Pluto washed over this intimate part of her chart. It is perhaps important to mention that the 4th house also contains in most natal charts, the Immum Coeli or IC, a line of destiny which connects the private to the professional (as it is sitting opposite from the Midheaven, or the MC, usually to be found in the astrological 10th house). The IC usually refers to the process of establishing roots, and building a foundation in our lives. It is the inner psychological architecture of who we think we are, as it guards over the memories and past experiences which have shaped us into the present being we are now. This point in our chart speaks to our emotional rawness, hidden treasures and what we retreat into to seek safety in the world. When we lose someone dear to us, when we become parents or shift our location, we often call upon our ancestors for strength. We would also trace a line in our stories that links us back to the present moment in time in an effort to give meaning to what we are feeling. The IC points towards whom we are in secret. So this is why it is a revealing act to talk about what happens to us in this house, as such important energies are entering it to shape our inner psychology in long-lasting ways.
H.’s experience with Pluto
H. mentions how her 4th house is empty and it is governed by the sign of Capricorn. In the following she offers some useful background to how her life looked like before the transit: “Before Pluto began this transit I was trying to be the person that my family, religion, and culture told me I should be. I grew up in a very conservative part of the U.S. and I was spoon-fed a very patriarchal worldview. Part of me knew that this wasn’t who I really was or how I saw the world. I wrestled with what I knew in my heart was true and what I was told was true. Along with that, I was dealing with the deaths of my father and my brother. Both deaths had a deep and painful impact on my family and on our relationships. So, the stage was set for a lot of change in my life. I didn’t know if I was completely ready for it, but I believe on some level I knew that I needed it. Where I am now in this transit feels blessedly different than how I felt at the beginning. I’m still working through emotional knots and tangles, but I feel a lot more clear about who I am and what I want.”
In relation to the Immum Coeli, H. reflects on some of the astrological education she had prior to having a lived experience of this transit and its emotional effects: “I once read that when Pluto crosses the IC it can sever roots (family ties, relationships, etc.). It makes Pluto sound cruel, but it’s actually not. What Pluto did for me was to cut through and release me from roots that were already dead. I tried fighting it, but I clearly got the message that Pluto expects a certain amount of surrender. When I finally did, that’s when I began seeing the gifts of the transit. The most significant change came as Pluto was crossing my IC. I joined what is called a group “healing container” that was being led by a life coach whose work resonated with me. It was all about inner child healing. It was exactly what I needed after years of pushing that vulnerable part of myself away. I began seeing patterns in my own behavior I needed to change and began learning about boundaries. It was a time when I began peeling back a lot of layers and feeling a lot of repressed emotions as well. In all, it was a very powerful season. It also led me to get honest about relationships in my family that needed healing or weren’t working. I ended up having to let go of a few relationships which was hard, but necessary. Later when I started reading about Pluto in the 4th, I checked my chart to see where it was during this time. Pluto was 1 degree past my IC. I got chills when I saw that. Pluto didn’t wait. It went to work straight away. I’m grateful now that it happened this way though. It gave me a firm push to finally make decisions for my well-being that I’d been resisting. I was also shedding a lot of cultural conditioning. I stopped attending the church I grew up in and became more open about my politics and my feminism. It was also the time I began allowing myself to be curious about tarot and astrology. All these old culturally implanted prohibitions and fears were beginning to be shed. I was told by my mother that I had become “the black sheep of our family”. It was a comment that stung at the time because it meant that I was no longer the “good girl” who my family approved of. It took time for me to feel the hurt and work through it. But now, I feel proud of myself for being honest and making choices that were right for me and in line with who I really am.”
This next paragraph speaks volumes since the core of a Pluto transit is that it changes someone’s life on such a deep level: “I definitely retreated deeper into myself during this period. I was meeting parts of myself that I had suppressed for most of my life. I learned to let myself really feel and to cry without feeling embarrassed. I decided to take a sabbatical from work and the busyness of life to just be with myself. I kind of felt like the Hermit in the Tarot. But, I look back on that time now and I feel so much gratitude. It was both a painful time, but also a beautiful time. I see it as a rebirth in a way. It was when I finally learned to have real compassion for myself and to mother myself (that) I began to really see myself. I started actually liking myself. This is the power and magic of Pluto. You face the dark, you walk through it, and you start to change. You may feel at times that you aren’t changing. It may feel like you’re walking in place. When that happens keep trusting the process. Pluto will not strand you in one place, I promise”.
Some astrologers argue that Pluto in the 4th house could be bring a deep, soulmate love in an individual’s life and that there might also be an emotional transformation in terms of losing a parent (usually the mother) while transforming into a parent yourself. However, H.’s account is different then what other theoretical views of astrology propose: “Love came before this transit and it has definitely been an important part of my life as I’ve been traveling through it. Pluto was in my 3rd house at the time we were married. It was also the time when I uprooted myself and moved halfway across the country to start our life together. Later, I realized just how vital that decision was for my healing. Choosing to replant myself elsewhere seemed impulsive to my family, but it felt right. Maybe Pluto was already preparing me for what was to come in the 4th”.
H. also is brave enough to reflect on the less positive aspects of Pluto, an energy which is often linked in astrology to covert violence, sexual intensity and toxic secrets: “The most negative aspect of this transit was that I had to walk away from a few family members who I thought would always be a part of my life. It was the painful realization that not everyone you love will want to make the journey with you, or should. Pluto in the 4th is a tough teacher, but it can leave you with a lot of clarity about who you are in relation to your family. If you’re willing, you’ll come to see what works and what doesn’t. Who truly has your best interest at heart and who doesn’t. I’m definitely not the same person I was when Pluto arrived in my 4th house. This transit was the beginning of knowing and embracing who I really am. It’s also been a time of realizing my own power. You can’t put a price on that kind of gift. So, please don’t fear a Pluto transit in the 4th or any house. If you trust it and give yourself a lot of compassion you will come out of it knowing yourself in a way that you didn’t before. It can change you in some very essential and beautiful ways if you let it.”
One aspect I was highly interested in was if H’s relationship with safety changed (if at all) during this intense and prolonged (14 years) transit: “My relationship with emotional safety did change. My family bonds and my place within my family seemed stable and I never thought I would not feel safe with or understood by them. But, as Pluto moved through my 4th house I began getting honest with myself about how I really felt in relation to my family and all those other 4th house issues. Who would I be if I was no longer a person who believed in or identified with the faith or values that I was raised with? Who would I be if I wasn’t the daughter my mother approved of? Naturally, being confronted with these questions led to me feeling more emotionally vulnerable. They were taking me down to the core of what I thought was my identity. Ignoring these questions and all my feelings were only going to give me a false sense of safety. If I wanted to get down to the core of who I really was and live authentically I had to answer them. So, I started learning to as they say “get comfortable with being uncomfortable” with my vulnerability and sharing my truth. I’m still working on that. This was yet another Pluto sponsored opportunity for me to find my own ground and re-root myself there. It hasn’t been an easy process, but it was what I needed.”
And lastly, I also want to break through the metaphorical 4th wall and mention that our combined astrological transits actually contributed to bringing us two together. We worked together precisely because Pluto created the desire within H. to explore her cultural roots and to dive deep into the occult and spiritual energy of her ancestors. In my case, Jupiter was expanding my online reach and helped me increase my channel and business. As it transited in both the signs of Capricorn and Aquarius, it pulled both of us into its super-attractor orbit. H.’s desire to work with someone to help her explore her past met my skills in providing such a service. I find this serendipity fascinating and experiences such as these ones are what strengthen my belief in the perfection of astrology and are what make my job so magical and worthwhile. Let’s hear what H. has to say about exploring her cultural roots: “I was looking over what I’ve written and I didn’t really touch on the ancestral aspect and how that’s been healing. I think that our ancestors do speak to us throughout our lives. But, it was in this transit that I really began feeling this need to connect with mine beyond just their names and dry facts. There are three ancestors whose stories have a deep resonance with me (…). It was during this transit that my connection with these women came alive. Through those connections, I feel I’ve received some healing. My past life readings with you have been a huge part of this. There are some very interesting parallels between my life and theirs that go beyond DNA. When I read about them or think about them and what they survived I feel strengthened to do what I need to do in my life. I now see that my need to connect with them was a path to re-rooting myself into my mother ground and aspects of my culture (French/Cajun/Creole) that I deeply love and wanted to hang onto. It’s easy to ignore our deeper roots and think our ancestors are just dead people with nothing to say. Dig a little deeper into their stories and you might be surprised at the connection you feel and the stories you find (…) Discovering this (during this transit) feels like something has come full circle in a way. Ancestral synchronicities are truly amazing.” I really want to thank H. again for being so open and clear in her reflections of this powerfully vulnerably 4th house transit.
Cards from the Heavenly Bodies Astrology Deck, available here: https://amzn.to/3YJ7WaD
My experience with Jupiter & Saturn
I will share in the following how the transit of the planet Jupiter and Saturn have felt as they moved across my 4th house in the last 2 and half years and formed conjunctions to my natal Venus in Aquarius. In 2021, for roughly one year, Jupiter brought an incredibly soft and soothing energy in this domestic area of my chart, providing me with safety, a stable and thriving income, physical nurturing and stable emotional undercurrents. At the beginning of this transit I put in the paperwork for the establishment of my spiritual business. I attracted helpers from all walks of life (lawyers, accountants and administrators) who provided me with the tools to legally register my work and work from home. In addition, I was more or less pushed into a relocation which I initially perceived as ‘stressful’ but I realized after it happened that the relocation helped me increase my safety and personal worth and helped me feel like a wave of quality experiences had entered my life. I moved from a cheap location on the outskirts of my city, into an apartment in the city center which truly made me feel both ‘in the center of things’ but also ‘quite grounded and centered’. I experienced a lot of inner peace as well as I was finding that I actually enjoyed spending a lot of time on my own and really enjoying the calm and the stillness in a post-pandemic landscape. In the middle of 2021, pandemic restrictions gradually eased up in Bucharest, but I decided that spending time at home or close to the home, and working from home were the things that made me feel the happiest. The rent I was paying was also very cheap compared to the location of the flat and my relationship to my landlady was smooth and positive.
There were improvements to the building in which I lived such as getting a new intercom and a new elevator (but this heavier structural change actually completed in 2022 with the effort of Saturn in Aquarius). Because Jupiter transited in conjunction to my natal Venus, it also enhanced my beauty and self-esteem in a seamless way. I am a person that always had to work hard to be valued, respected and seen as beautiful. I have a natal Saturn conjunct my Moon in the 2nd house, which makes me struggle to build a worthy sense of self and accurately assess my beauty, worth and femininity. However, Jupiter in Aquarius brought so much healing and ease in how I perceived myself and for a year, my relationship to my beauty routines, to food and how I relaxed and nourished myself was powerful and easy. I managed to change my hairstyle from black to blonde in a risky move that could’ve affected my personal image in a detrimental way, but the risk actually increased how the public viewed me and raised my views and subscribers while also attracting a romantic connection with a man who came from the upper class of society. I still had to work hard for my income, to overcome many petty problems and to continue to set boundaries within my personal relationships but for a whole year it was like being given a ‘free pass’ on the things I mostly struggled with so far in my life. I ate well, and felt active and healthy and felt like I glowed from within, reassured that the Divine is on my side and that I can overcome anything as long as I had this powerful connection with a heavenly force within me. I became increasingly aware of how my inner emotions coloured the fabric of my everyday experiences and learned to value my moods and affect. I also slept well and felt good while resting, my skin was healthy and my emotions were balanced.
A year after, as Jupiter switched from Aquarius into Pisces and left only Saturn in my 4th house, I suddenly felt like a ton on bricks dropped onto my chest. Spiritual objects started breaking in my house, doing yoga began feeling painful as trapped emotions were somatised as painful knots in my body, my relationship to my landlady developed in arguments over raising my rent and false accusations that I was trying to steal from her by not paying my bills, the building in which I lived has constant noise from the builders that were changing some aspects of its internal structure. My work-from-home situation turned into a chore rather than a pleasure, and the stress and responsibility of owning my business erupted on my skin in frequent rashes. Worst of all, I felt that my internal relationship to the Divine and my sense of safety in the world was compromised by the war that erupted between Ukraine and Russia and threatened to expand to my country and the Republic of Moldova. Because of the war and my ridiculous empathy to what was going on, I stopped eating during the day and ate at night which completely messed up my circadian rhythm. Not to mention as well that daily accounts of the horrors of the war brought back painful instances in my life when I also felt crushed under the dominance of someone that wanted to constrain my freedom. I knew that this was Saturn testing my determination to persevere in spite of challenges, to put in daily effort to find safety in spite of everything around me and to deal with painful emotions from my past relationships that I didn’t have time to deal with in the past. Saturn slowed down the flow of my work orders and it limited the support I had received from my subscribers and crew. Saturn freezed any new friendship or romantic connection from forming, as it allowed me the space to feel all my feelings in order to process the pain and transform it into wisdom. I woke up daily with a feeling of diffused pain which by the end of the day I had to somehow process in order to get some rest at night. Some days I just couldn’t shrug off the pain and went to sleep with a screen in front of me trying to numb it with entertainment. The positives were that I was released from paying rent, a friend from my past suddenly re-emerged and my parents proved a source of deep strength and support when I was feeling at my weakest.
I had always been a good sleeper but in 2022 my relationship to my unconscious world, to my inner light and Divine feminine energy was stunted and only with effort, prayer and daily discipline was I able to feel my way back into it and to keep doing the work I love so much to do. As I was processing some tissue-deep pain which I struggled to consciously understand, I was harassed on the streets of my neighborhood and all that beautiful solitude turned into a dark, fever dream. Saturn increased my need to seek safety and made me painfully aware of what I was lacking in my life in terms of emotional nurturing, a solid foundation and something to call ‘home’. So in an effort to make a change I overcome my pride and temporarily sacrificed my independence and sought safety in my family’s home. Psychologically I felt like I needed a shell to be able to do my work and feel centered and to save up the finances for that shell, my home, I had to make some sacrifices. So I moved in with my parents in the Autumn of 2022, which was a decision that was not at all easy. At the beginning of this relocation, I felt a mix of feelings that were overwhelming: from nausea, to the shame that I am turning to this option at 35 years old, to relief that my parents were still there for me and took me in with opened arms even after years of icy conditions between us. I had never had a close and warm connection to my mother, and while my relationship to my father was slightly different, they formed a unit together which for a long time I perceived as limiting me in life, restricting me and criticizing or trying to control my every move and freedom. But these past couple of months Saturn had me organize my daily routine alongside theirs, had me sleep in my old teenager’s room (just that this time without my sister and redecorated in a pink, womb-like color), had me go grocery shopping with my mother as we reminisced about past relatives and memories prior to my moving away from the home to another country, when I was just 20 years old.
To say that now I see my parents, my home, and my neighborhood in a different light is an understatement. Some days I burst into tears and its hard to tell if I cry for gratitude and relief that a deep parental wound is finally stitching inside my heart or because I feel that I failed in life to establish Erik Erikson’s intimacy vs. isolation stage which would see the mature individual falling in love and becoming a parent at my age by now. But Saturn has been showing me my shortcomings as a daughter so I can do the repair-work and it is helping me see as well the points in common I have with my mother and father, and that we often struggle with the same things. I now know that what I couldn’t accept about them was something within me that I was desperately running away from (aka my Shadow self).
In the past year, I felt a need to keep to myself more than ever, to go within and to reflect on my past decisions, my romantic experiences, my childhood and what brought me to this point in my life and my early conditioning. I see my parents for what they really are and this makes me have a real emotional connection to them. Our relationship continues to veer from annoyance, to gratitude to anger to enthusiasm quite frequently, but now I just accept the emotional chaos of life. I stopped expecting perfection and I am gradually learning not to control and censor my vulnerability so much. I feel that in spite of the immediate pleasures that Jupiter brought into my life in 2021, like money and popularity, a good image and great physical shape or living independently in a rich neighborhood, I was still living among strangers, I was alienated and separated from my deep Self. Saturn might have humbled me and frustrated me this past year and it certainly sent me back to drawing board of my soul as it placed me in circumstances that obliged me to unpack my emotional baggage, but at least it is healing my heart on some level. Saturn is slowly making me feel as part of my family again, like the prodigal daughter who returned home after 15 years of self-imposed exile, even if my stay here is temporary.
These two outer-planetary transits of Jupiter and Saturn gave me the courage to speak my truth and to understand the truth of others. Through difficult conversations, by enduring moments of isolation, by feeling alienated from everything and then returned to the safe nest of my original family, my thinking and mindset changed. In this process, I changed my mind about love and what really matters on an emotional and unseen level. If Jupiter granted me outer beauty, Saturn then dismantled it and got me to reflect upon and to regain my inner beauty. And in this process my soul is healing. As a consequence I have never felt more tired than I did in the last year. A soul tiredness that I worked daily to overcome by facing my inner fears and by acknowledging my emotions. I am grateful that this process is almost at its end, as Saturn will move from Aquarius and into Pisces in March of 2023.
Now, Pluto will be next to enter the constellation of Aquarius in March of 2023 and it will cross over my IC around my 36th birthday which happens to coincide with the Spring Equinox. Based on H’s experience I can see that this transit will get me to find powerful ways of blending my inner healing with a sense of regained beauty and self-worth, and it will hopefully help me settle into my own home and to find deep love once more. Often times, the difficult transits of Saturn and Pluto are blessings in disguise and even if you have to put in more effort, the rewards are longer-lasting and more enduring than what Jupiter gives you for just one year and only to take it away after. Jupiter can also exaggerate things and make them worse than before its transit, while Pluto could come to unleash you from repression much like Saturn can give you the necessary kick in the butt to repair something that was torturing you for years. So, with all this being said, I welcome the new soulful experiences that Pluto has in store for me and decide to leave my Pluto fear in the past (I’ll hand my fear to Saturn since that is its expertise).
As the 4th house is the landscape of our inner psychology, whatever deep changes happen here while the outer planets are transiting will be reflected in our immediate environment (literally our bedrooms, kitchens, flats, houses, buildings in which we live and dwell). This means that the tendency to own a home, to find your protective outer shell, to relocate, to redecorate, to move into someplace new, will be intense and hard to control during such a time. And this will be influenced by a decision to build a new foundation in your life, on something more authentic to your inner Self. It’s usually the case that when you build a life on the choices of your heart, your actual root as a human being on Earth, then you can create something that will endure throughout time and withstand any vicissitude. I’ll let you know how this story unfolds, and in the meantime feel free to share your personal stories in the comments below.
With universal love,