In astrology, we have something called empty houses. When people first hear about "empty houses", they often get worried that it means something bad. But, actually, it's pretty good! Every house in astrology rules a different part of your life and personality, and the 4th house rules your home, family, and foundation. So what does it mean when you have an empty 4th house?
What is an empty house?
A standard astrological chart has 10 planets and 12 houses. Your natal chart is a snapshot of the locations of the planets, houses, and other bodies in the Zodiac at the moment you were born from the location you were born at.
A house that has no natal planets in it is considered an empty house. There are 10 planets and 12 houses, so everyone has at least 2 empty (usually 3-4).
It's believed that when a house has no planets in it, you actually have less baggage to work through, less challenges to deal with. No planet there means you're not giving it as much conscious attention because it just flows more easily and naturally without you having to put in so much effort. Empty houses are seen as areas you've already mastered (in past lives or early in this life).
What is the 4th house?
The 4th house is the house of home, family, and foundation, and corresponds to your Imum Coeli or Nadir sign. It's the very bottom of any chart, showing your core self and internal foundation.
Normally, any planets in this house would be a very important part of your home and family life, your upbringing, and your core self. They may dominate this part of your life. But with no planets in the 4th house, you have an empty 4th house, and the energy is largely focused on the sign the 4th house falls in.
An Empty 4th House:
When you see you have an empty 4th house, you may worry it means you'll never really have a home or family, and never have a strong foundation, but really, it's reverse! An empty 4th house allows you to manifest the energy of the sign of your 4th house more purely, and that can be the strong energy for your home and family life and internal foundation.
An empty 4th house can mean you have a solid connection with your family and parents, and are comfortable with growing a solid support system. You can get and give support more easily, and nurturing yourself and others can come more easily to you. You may come back to your roots quite often, and feel very connected to them.
Your internal foundation can be rock solid, and you may seem like someone who has such a solid core that it's difficult to shake you. You can be confident and comfortable with your core self, and this can help you throughout your life.
With the 4th house being the bottom of the chart, you may also be someone who is comfortable with doing things from the ground up, and you may get in on many projects and ventures at the very beginning of them. You can build them to be solid and secure at their core so they have a better chance of thriving.
All of this can be most obvious when a transit (moving) planet is touring your natal 4th house, and brings some pure energy to the areas of life ruled by the 4th house. You can flow with it fairly easily, and make the most of it without all of the problems.
When it might be a challenge:
The Lunar Nodes (points in the Moon's orbit where the Moon crosses the ecliptic; are spiritual/karmic in nature) or Chiron (ruler of wounds and healing) in the 4th house may bring some issues that you need to work through. Neither are considered planets so they aren't figured into the empty house rule (same for the thousands of asteroids out there), but their energy can be pretty strong.
With your North Node in the 4th house, you may not feel very comfortable with the 4th house energy, and need to work on manifesting the energy properly. You have to learn over time how to get and give support, develop a solid home and family life, and strengthen yourself internally. This may also be the case if your Moon (natural ruler of the 4th house) is in your North Node sign.
With your South Node in the 4th house, you may be a little too comfortable with this energy, and can be overly emotional and subjective, especially when upset. You may rely too much on others and need to learn to be more self-sufficient, otherwise this holds you back in life. This may also be the case if your Moon is in your South Node sign.
With your Chiron in the 4th house, you may have some deep emotional wounds related to your family or upbringing, and this can hold you back when young. As you work on healing, you can become very strong emotionally, and be more nurturing of others and help them with their own emotional healing. This may also be the case if your Moon is conjunct (aligned with) Chiron.
If the 4th house cusp is anaretic (at 29 degrees), or if the 4th house ruler or the Moon is anaretic, this could also bring some challenges you need to work through. With the anaretic degree, we tend to either play it up too much or not at all, so moderation and balance is needed.
The 4th house ruler or Moon intercepted (contained in another house), a singleton (only planet in an element, quality, or house type), conjunct Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto (if not any of them), or part of a challenging aspect configuration (like the apex planet of a t-square) can also bring some challenges, though this may not be as strong.
Any of this present can indicate there are some issues with your empty 4th house so it's not quite so easy for you, but it's often still going to be less difficult than if you have planets there.
Suggested Reading: Empty Houses in Astrology