Quincunx – one or the other, managing contradictions

A quincunx, when two planets are 150 degrees apart, is an awkward customer. It pulls together by aspect two inherently different and contradictory elements and modalities. For example Aries with Virgo or Scorpio – a Cardinal Fire trying to make friends with a Mutable Earth or a Fixed Water. The two ends basically don’t understand one another and don’t see how to cooperate.

  Occurring in a birth chart, the individual will be a constant shifting from one to the other end of the quincunx internally, which increases strain and feels unstable. In order to reduce tension there will be a tendency to separate out the nature of the planets and live one without regard to the other and vice versa. For example, Moon inconjunct Saturn will be nurturing then lurch into cold rigidity/overwork. Moon Uranus sometimes caring and sometimes abandoning.

   Where a square strives to find a solution, there is more difficulty in containing the contradiction of a quincunx so life may be divided to allow different arenas to live out the separate energies. But that way the individual never feels completely whole and is constantly cutting off part of themselves to honour one planet or the other.

  In a relationship a quincunx between the respective suns can suggest a coming together of two individuals who don’t understand the other’s basic nature and aspirations – for example a Gemini with a Taurus, flyaway Air with steady Earth. It’s not that opposites don’t attract and sometimes a complementary match does work, viz. the late Queen Elizabeth (Taurus) and Prince Philip (Gemini) but they will probably operate in different spheres.

  The quincunx belongs to the 12th harmonic which in numerology is the victim/healer number – being sacrificed to another persons’ plans or the victim of circumstances. This may be a consequence of living out only one end of the quincunx and ‘handing over’ so to speak to ANother the energies of the other end. There can be a problem of low self-esteem or irritation at having to constantly make compromises which don’t bring fulfilment.  

  Café Astrology says: “Quincunxes show areas of weakness, in terms of low self-esteem, that others find easy to prey upon. The individual, by not accepting the areas of life represented by the planets in quincunx, leaves himself or herself open to being taken advantage of.”

  Interestingly astrologer David Hamblin says he does not like working with the 12th harmonic because of its ‘mixed’ nature. The 12th harmonic contains both 3’s (ease) and 4’s (dis-ease).

  12 may also make a conscious sacrifice and it can be creative.

  Being a minor aspect a 2 degree orb is probably in order.

  Even writing about it feels oddly left-footed. A life long task to make it work even more so than Chiron.

19 thoughts on “Quincunx – one or the other, managing contradictions

  1. I have Aries rising (25 deg) quincunx Mars in Scorpio (26 deg). It’s impulse verses caution. It’s the only fire sign in my chart too. I joined the US Army. My Moon, Venus and Neptune are all (conjunct w/ Mars) in Scorpio.

  2. I think one should consider if the quincunx is waxing or waning because if it’s waxing with the faster moving planet 150 degrees ahead of the slower, the aspect has a 6th house thematic backdrop, so issues involving efficient functioning in the daily world can predominate , with awkward perfectionism shown in the planets combination.

    The operation of the fast mover tends to the mishandling of the slower planet and this brings a feeling of being out of place and time via the aspect. Unique vocations and psychosomatic illnesses are associated with the quincunx , underused skills and or difficult to treat illnesses bother the person until they realize that the source of the malaise is psychic and best approached through energy work versus the tools of conventional medicine or psychotherapy.

    If the planet is 240 degrees ahead of slower body then it’s the 8th house themes of trauma, crisis, and the healthy use of one’s personal power which are keys to how the planets in waning quincunx (inconjunct) work. The intensity of this aspect can be used for research and healing wounds in our energy bodies that make relating difficult due to over or under developed boundaries.

    I got this idea from Sakoin and Ackers book on minor aspects and it has been a great aid to my understanding of these aspects and the Yod.

      • I know these were abstract descriptions based on the nature of 360 wheel, and I gave no example . I have Vesta in Cancer in 9th -150 -Mercury in Sag and I have developed a skill cooking mostly foreign dishes with a love of French cooking, ; Vesta injunction Venus in Aquarius in 4th makes friends kind of surprised at the type and quality of foods and pastries I prepare. I also got a Masters in Critical Theory and wrote my thesis on French Feminism using the works of Julia Cristeva and Helene Cixous who both wrote on feminine sexuality . I got a lot of flack by some as a man studying these topics.

  3. I have Moon quincunx Neptune by 2 degs and Moon square Mercury by 1 deg. The internal battle has been/is great and, me being solution focus personality, have struggled/still struggling with how to navigate these aspects. Without astrology, which I gravitated towards, to gain some understanding of my energies I was born with, I would probably think I was/am going mad, or give up and go mad, but my Aries Moon refuses to do that. So it is a constant battle.

    What levers in a chart could counter that with focus? My Moon does sextile my Venus, and widely trine my Asc. Does that help because I’m not mad yet? 🙂 Is the trick between knowing the level of importance between your mind (Mercury) and your heart (Moon), to be integrated in your subconscious (Neptune) and making forceful decisions? Mercury and Neptune are trine and I am very creative.

    • I, too, have ‘Moon quincunx Neptune by 2 degs and Moon square Mercury by 1 deg’, and Mercury trine Neptune. I’ve studied astrology most of my life, have a psych degree, and am artistic/an author. I read a study that posed we have three minds: the brain, the heart and the gut. The heart reacts first, the gut second and the brain third. I’ve found that listening to and respecting all three’s intelligence is wise.

      Your Arian Moon is pioneering and courageous, if a tad adversarial: ‘constant battle’…’forceful decisions’. Might you make friends with all your natal planets? That Moon quincunx Neptune gifts strong sensitivity to energies, environment, and food. No doubt you already avoid drugs and alcohol. Because it’s so strongly correlated with mental health, please look after your microbiome.

      I’ve consulted oracles as much as I’ve studied astrology. No, not some source outside of myself – rather, the greater part of me that is somewhere other than here. Michael Newton’s ‘Destiny of Souls’ explains. I use the I-Ching, which is practical and pulls no punches. Also, Steven Forrest’s ‘The Book of Neptune’ is a valuable read.

      • Thanks @Prospera,
        I also have a psych degree and have read about, and believe the second brain theory.

        ‘Strong sensitivities’ is spot on. I take note of what you share and actually recently started dipping my toe in Tarot. I will check out ‘The Book of Neptune ‘ .

  4. Funny that you wrote “Even writing about it feels oddly left-footed”. I think I’ve tried to ignore my quincunxes, pretending they weren’t there and hoping that since they were minor aspects they’d be minor irritants.

    But after reading about the sacrificial nature of the 12th harmonic, I wonder whether that is the reason behind my realization (so far) that the only way I have really found to be and advocate for myself is to do what I most want by myself. More dramatically, with reduced vitality due to age, I’ve had to choose between my own health and sacrificing it for someone else out of a strong sense of duty. My current compromise is to divide my life between ‘me time’ and time with/for others, and try to make the best of the latter if it is out of duty.

    I’d thought it had to do with many other difficult first/seventh-Pisces/Virgo-Aquarius/Leo aspects, but the quincunx as you describe makes more sense for this particular challenge. While it seems I live relatively well with the Uranus in Leo quincunx Jupiter in Capricorn aspect (tho I now think it’s responsible for my old habit of enthusiastically accepting every invitation only to realize later I didn’t really want to go and waste my time, so I learned to think it over first), the tough one is DSC in Leo quincunx Saturn in Capricorn. Both sets of quincunxes are within a few degrees of each other. (Uranus in Leo conjunct Desc alone contains its own contradictions, but doesn’t trigger a sense of self-sacrifice)

  5. I have noticed charts with a Sun Moon quincunx have issues with parents. The native can only “love” one parent at a time.

  6. I have a couple between Leo and Capricorn, late degrees. It’s like an old/young thing – with my Sun square Saturn and Saturn in the 5th, it seems to continue the theme of my childhood, having to put away childish things and be more grown up than my actual years. Then there’s the tension between being behind the scenes and not wanting attention, and actually desiring recognition and validation (12th house/5th house), and learning to accept that the only person who can give me that recognition is myself. (If that makes sense).

  7. Thank you, this is so interesting. Other aspects share something- a quality or modality or element, there is no easy way put with a quincunx, is there? You have to find a way to value both sides.
    I do have difficulty understanding my Capricorn Mars (29 deg) and Virgo Pluto (0 deg) since they are both earth, but I think the aspect relationship takes priority, raising issues of power vs control, each working at cross purposes.

  8. Thank you for writing this, and thank you for the Cafe Astrology quote. I have two of these in my chart, and yes it is a lifelong adjustment. I have spent a lot of time doing integration work trying to pull and weave the planets together. Neptune is involved with one of these with my Mercury in Gemini, and yes I have been taken advantage of. I am wising up. Great article.

  9. Very interesting, Marjorie. You didn’t mention quincunx by transit – could you say a bit about that? Seems like it would be de-stabilizing. I have generally ignored looking at those transits (probably for the same reason nobody likes to work with them!) but I imagine they do have an effect.

  10. Yes, because of the difficulty of integrating your Sun and Saturn you opt for one end and this leaves you open to exploitation since you are not fully living out the other. Not easy I grant you but is the challenge of the yod to manage to juggle the two ends and not make either energy feel left out.

  11. I have a natal Saturn-Uranus quincunx in Taurus-Libra, and have felt this flux and tension of being compelled in two opposite directions at once for most of my life.

  12. I have one, almost exact, with Moon at 0 degrees Leo and Mars 0 degrees Capricorn. It may be to blame for my dreadful tendency to irritation, and shocking bad temper.

  13. Thank you, Marjorie, for this overview, it’s very informative. Forgive me for making this personal but I have a Pisces Sun quincunx Saturn in Leo. Someone I know who has more understanding of astrology than me suggested that with this aspect, I might be taking on responsibilities that don’t belong to me while abandoning the ones that do….is this what you mean by “being a victim of circumstance” and the compartmentalizing that you seem to be suggesting? (For what it’s worth, my dad was an alcoholic who could be a “saturnian” when he was drunk (I’m trying to be diplomatic) but was otherwise very affectionate and nurturing [my sun is in the 4th house])

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