I'd like to invite discussion on the difference between the influence of signs on a house cusp, and planets within the house itself.
Consider, for example, Cancer on the fourth house cusp, versus Moon IN the fourth house. Both suggest lunar influence over the 'home', or emotional centre, of the native. Yet there is (or must be) a difference in interpreting them.
My instinctive understanding is that Cancer on the cusp of a house gives an overall cancerian 'tone', an 'orientation' towards the matters of that house. On the other hand, the moon in a house gives a definite energy, something that the native will actively 'use' or 'experience'. One is a passive orientation, one is an actively used energy.
To make a literal example: consider astrological houses to be like a real real 'house'. Cancer on the fourth house cusp might be like your mother 'designing' your home. Living there reminds you of her, it feels like her, you think about her when you are there. Moon in the fourth house is like living WITH your mother. She's actually there in the house with you, an interactive entity that you experience and react to. Ok, this may be a cooky way to conceptualise it, but it helps me!!
For a more standardised, simple interpretation, check the following:
Sings on house cusps:
Planets in the houses
To flesh out my example, these interpretations are offered:
The Moon in the fourth house produces strong ties to the home, to include not only where you now call home, but more generally, the early life home, the homeland, nature and the outdoors. You may have a strong need to feel a sense of continuity with the good things from the past. There is potential interest in antiques, old houses and genealogy. Parental influences are, or may have been, very strong. The position reflects a side of your nature which wishes to be insulated from reality, and one that has very strong subjective tendencies and even insecurities. You have a very definite need for stable and dependable personal roots
The Cancer influence in the fourth house shows an unexpected sentimental side of your nature regarding home and family affairs. Roots hold an emotional importance to you as you are strongly affected by inherited patterns and responsibilities in life. You have a great sense of feeling, sensitivity, and vulnerability to issues relating to the home and family. There is a deep attachment to family traditions and home relationships. You may be especially protective of your parents and assume a role of responsibility for them. That you may have departed your early shelter at a young age has nothing to do with this idea. As you mature, there is an increasing urge for a settled center. In the home environment your assertive nature becomes easygoing and can be moody.
Do you consider this an accurate description of the difference? To me, these seem too similar. In trying to interpret a house, and combining the influence of a cuspal sign with the planets contained, I end up with a giant blend of influences. I guess I am looking for a theory on how to distinguish. Any ideas??