Thursday, 12 January 2017

Why I choose the 4th as Father and 10th as Mother

'The 4th house is father but the 4th sign is Cancer, and the 10th house is mother but the 10th sign is Capricorn.  How confusing!'  commented an astrology student.

I answered, 'Yes, that's why we have a debate in modern astrology as to which house should be mother and which should be father.  They can go either way.  You can try them out and see what works for you.  I'm afraid I don't have a better answer at the moment.  According to traditional methods, the 4th is father and the 10th is mother.'

Before I was introduced to traditional astrology, I followed the modern approach and went with the notion that the 10th is the dominant parent, i.e. the one who cares for the child or the parent the child sees the most.  This is usually the mother so I opted to go with 10th as mother and 4th as father for consistency.  However, this theory falls apart when the child is looked after by a grandparent,  another family member, or even someone unrelated (in the case of orphans).  But the 4th -10th axis shows the parents - whether they take an active role in the child's life or not.  Besides, in the cases of grandparents and other relatives, we can turn the chart to find their own designated houses:

Mother's mother (maternal grandmother) is 10th from 10th = 7th
Mother's father (maternal grandfather) is 4th from 10th = 1st

Father's mother (paternal grandmother) is 10th from 4th = 1st
Father's father (paternal grandfather) is 4th from 4th = 7th

Mother's sibling (maternal aunt/uncle) is 3rd from 10th = 12th
Father's sibling (paternal aunt/uncle) is 3rd from 4th = 6th

We can go one step further if your great grandparents featured in your childhood significantly (which is so in my case) but we'll stop here for now.

So back to my student's question, it started to make me wonder about why on earth we have Cancer in the father house and Capricorn in the mother house (if we go with father as 4th and mother as 10th).  I decided to look into the matter using traditional astrology.


Cancer, the 4th zodiac sign, is ruled by the Moon.  The Moon represents mother. The Moon also rules Cancer, but, Cancer does not rule mothers, only the Moon does. [1]

The 4th house is associated with our roots and heritage, hence it is tucked away at the lowest point in the chart.  The ancients have assigned Saturn to rule this house and since Saturn represents fathers, this is the father house. [2]

This makes perfect sense to me as to why we have Cancer in the father house, now that we know Cancer doesn't represent mothers.  However, Cancer is a feminine sign so this is still leaving a question mark in my mind.

Let's move on to the opposite house.


The 10th sign, Capricorn, is ruled by Saturn.  Saturn represents father.  Saturn rules Capricorn, but Capricorn does not rule fathers, Saturn does. [3]

If Capricorn doesn't represent fathers then the Capricorn-mother combo makes sense too, plus it is a feminine sign.  The 10th being the house of mothers is derived from the fact that the opposite house (4th) is the house of fathers.

We still have a missing piece - Cancer, a feminine sign, in the father house.

As I was pondering why we have a feminine sign in the house of fathers (masculine), suddenly, an image of the yin yang symbol appeared in my mind:

Take a look at the yin yang symbol, the white indicates daylight (yang - masculine) and black moonlight (yin - feminine) [4].  The area with the most white represents the summer solstice - which in the astrological calendar corresponds to the sign of Cancer.  The area with the most black represents the winter solstice, which corresponds to the sign of Capricorn astrologically.

I-Ching is a Chinese philosophy where balance is the key concept.  The yin yang symbol shows there's yin in yang and yang in yin (i.e. the white background has a black spot and the black background has a white spot), hence although Cancer is a feminine sign, it is embedded in the 4th house of father (masculine) - yin in yang.  The 10th has Capricorn as a feminine sign but is at an elevated position in the 10th house - the most prominent/midday position, when the sun is at its highest i.e. the most yang time of the day, so again we have yang in yin.  Basically, mothers have their toughness and fathers have their softness.

Astrologers have their own preferred way of determining the parents in the chart.   For me, I'm even more convinced by the traditional way of assigning 4th to father and 10th to mother, especially that it coincides with another form of ancient wisdom.

[1] Horary Astrology Rediscovered, Olivia Barclay, p65  
[2] Maniilius Astronomica, ed. Loeb, book 2. 936
[3] Horary Astrology Rediscovered, Olivia Barclay, p68

1 comment:

  1. Maybe it might explain the why my mother has had a dominant role in my life. I have a stellium in my tenth house. xD


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