December 14, 2020: First Monday in our new place. Friday was all moving, slogging, shoving things into U-Haul, and Saturday, into house, and ever since, unpacking, arranging. We divide and conquer; Lauren spends hours meticulously arranging the most exquisite bookshelf, while I make the kitchen make sense. This feels good to me, to click into the intuition of nesting, to unfurl trinkets from room to room, and to reconnect with long, candlelit dinner conversations over natural wine, both of us fizzing with the tipsy newness. And then we collapse into bed, crumble quickly into sleep. I’m content, just trying to process how I feel about being in this new city where I don’t quite belong, don’t feel wanted. But I’ll learn. I’m curious to see what shifts. And our apartment, I adore — its nooks, its angles, its hardwood floors and long storage areas and odd quirk.
Restaurants and bars are open, hair salons are open, movie theaters are open, if at limited capacity. Two weeks from now, on June 15th, these limits will be lifted in California; the only restriction left will be a continuing mask mandate. Lockdown is easing up. We are allowed, however hesitantly, to hug again.
A colleague just learned that he and his family have to move away from their current hometown. He knows exactly where they should go next, but his partner has her own conflicting knowing. Another, in the thick of home renovations, wants to spend the summer somewhere else, but her partner isn’t convinced.
After years of discussion about if and when and how to leave the neighborhood where I spent my entire childhood, my parents called last Monday to say that they’d found their dream home, a couple of hours away, and almost immediately put in an offer. One day later, they closed on this new house. It’s in a small port town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, hugged by the river from three sides.
I got the phone call just a day after arriving home from a weekend away with Lauren in a different tiny riverside town on the opposite side of the country. We stayed at an airbnb that was all warm wood panels with cool blue accents — the walls, the mismatched ceramic mugs and glasses, the futon couch and marbled kitchen cabinets. Leafy vines of pothos plants stretched across every ceiling, and crystal sun-catcher prisms dangled in every window, scattering rainbows like confetti. The host had positioned stones and shells in windowsills, on shelves, along the top of the heater, anywhere that could have looked lonely — the same way I do. The whole yard was an edible eden of vegetables and herbs and fruit trees, and the river was a five-minute drive away.
When we walked in the door of the rental, lugging our bags of clothes and snacks and board games, grief slapped me so hard across the face that my eyes welled up. This, I thought. This is what home is supposed to feel like. The space and its surroundings reminded me a little bit of my Grandma’s old house in Virginia, and a little bit of Dan and Micha’s house on the farm in Oregon, and a little bit of…my heart’s multitude of rooms, made tactile? It reminded me of the past and also the future. This, this, this. I was like Goldilocks, stumbling temporarily into the just-right porridge, realizing exactly how hungry I was, and for exactly what.
Except, I wasn’t there alone. Lauren and I sat down in the chairs that were not ours, and we lit the candles that were not ours, and we sipped from the glasses that we had precisely selected from the collection of options that were not ours, and we talked until way too late at night about how good it felt to be there. It felt good because our nervous systems were soothed and softened, swaddled by the quiet and the hummingbirds and the natural dimming of sunlight. And a settled nervous system is the sort that can prioritize connection instead of survival. We talked about the kind of longterm home we want to build, about what home means to each of us. It was just a weekend, just a fairytale, but it was our fairytale, now etched into bodily memory: this, this, this.
There are 12 houses total — 12 realms in which a life dwells. There is a house for career and vocation, a house for community, a house for communication. The 4th house is the house of home, as well as family. It resides, of course, at the bottommost part of the circular chart, because it represents the roots, the foundations from which we build. It is the place of grounding.
Any planets in your 4th house are the energies deeply seeded amongst close kin and domestic concerns. The sign that overlaps with your 4th house can help you examine this soil on which your family tree is planted — the ingredients, the nutrients, the texture. Traditionally, the 4th house is ruled by the sign of Cancer, the divine mother and sensitive caretaker. And so, ultimately, the 4th house is where you look to understand the nurturing, both given and received, that secures you to the earth.