My Poetry

The Quincunx in Astrology

   Mon, June 15, 2009 - 3:43 AM
“The False Dawn or Desert Mirage”
(Conscious and Unconscious Assumptions or Presumptions)

“The quincunx, or inconjunct, is a 150 degree eliptical angle. It's a slippery, tricky angle. Imagine someone standing directly across from you; that is the 180 degree opposition. If there was a person standing to the left or the right of this person standing directly across from you, they would be quincunx to you. While looking at the person directly opposite you, you get a peripheral and indirect sense of the other persons but you can never face them directly and that is the feeling of the quincunx. It can never be faced directly and why it is an eliptical angle.”

Of all the aspects in astrology, the quincunx is probably the least understood, the most difficult to pin down and subtle in terms of raising havoc and creating confusion or frustration. Nevertheless, once identified and appropriately dealt with it can be quite interesting. Unlike other aspects in astrology the origin or cause is elusive and often hidden from the conscious mind. That is it is not as noticeable as other so-called malefics or “unfavourable aspects” (eg: the square or opposition) and this can make it more difficult to deal with. When a quincunx occurs between two planets, it indicates that there is some disharmony or incongruity, not only between the planets, but in their positioning or zodiacal relationship. One would normally adjust to other hard aspects with an appropriate or straightforward “prophylactic” remedy, however, in the majority of cases it may not be easy to implement and may make the effects more difficult to deal with. Because the conscious mind of the individual is unable to grasp the significance or the demands that this kind of aspect makes upon them they wrongly assume or anticipate an upsurge, lucky coincidence or integration taking place. It is almost as if wandering in the wilderness for months an oasis appears on the horizon, or after years of darkness a false dawn appears in the sky. Naturally, they will behave as if salvation or realisation of their hopes and aspirations are just around the corner, they may not invest their time and energy in some utopian cause or project and think that after years of hard work they are about to reap rewards. That is if the false hope or unconscious problem is externalised or projected onto their social or personal environment, individuals, groups etc then they will continually be frustrated and deceived.
The solution or the therapeutic remedy for this aspect and the conditions it creates in the conscious mind, the events and circumstances that they find themselves in is much harder than it is perceived or as it seems. Firstly, it seems expedient to examine or become aware of the unconscious assumptions or presumptions being made in life – which is extremely hard for most people to achieve given that they are generally indoctrinated by religious or spiritual institutions and family to remain altruistic, optimistic despite any adversity or disappointment.
Secondly, one should detach or extricate oneself from the projection and allow the planets to manifest their “adolescent incongruities or mutations” in their life and the people that occupy it even though they may find themselves interacting or behaving out of character, in a surreal or bizarre manner. The events or situations of the quincunx can therefore make for good comedy and even make the person seem paradoxical, enigmatic, inscrutable, strange and controversial. However, this makes them even more interesting and fun to be with.
During the effect of the quincunx the entire world and its inhabitants becomes a paradox that creates more questions than answers (Gulliver’s Travels) as well as a parable awaiting decryption (Ship of Fools) or perhaps an hilarious lampoon (Through the Looking Glass).
Nevertheless many people will automatically experience disappointment during a quincunx and resolve never to go by external appearances, to trust in their own hunches or see other’s as hollow and false. Those who are consciously aware of their own delusions, the true nature of the world around them, as well as the hidden motivations of those they have to deal with may have the last laugh.
Our unconscious assumptions or presumptions, on which we act and on which we place so much of our faith and hope can be revealed to be just what they are – a hard-wiring instilled in us by our formative experiences in childhood. Unconscious expectations are the result of Pavlovian or habitual habits and the quincunx therefore helps us to identify and deal with them positively.
The general effect, at least from the astrologer’s point of view is the where and how, which is further complicated through its subtle operation or manifestation in cardinal, fixed and mutable signs, the houses they occupy as well as their mutual, reciprocal, hierarchic and eccentric interaction. By my reckoning it is inevitable that we would be experiencing some kind of quincunx given the possible permutations and mid-points in the chart. For example, when posited in the natal chart, as transits or progressions they are akin to the elusive White Rabbit in Alice through the Looking Glass and is likely to create a maverick type of personality with resulting aspects of misanthropy, melancholy and scepticism. Interpretation or analysis therefore will depend largely on correctly identifying the personal nature of the aspect to the individual and its origins in the unconscious.
In some instances sexual activity re-engages the unconscious mind, from what occultists call the astral plane, so that aspects or elements of the unconscious become part of the conscious mind. An individual therefore may find themselves deriving some psychic release by acting spontaneously on their unconscious urges, impulses, fantasies, and instinctual hunches. It may be that previously or normally these hunches or reactions turn out to be rewarding or true, but the quincunx may decide otherwise. The unconscious mind, of which both Freud and Jung placed so much emphasis in their psychoanalytic methods, is composed of true as well as false assumptions about our localised environment, the people we are familiar or unfamiliar with and many were developed as habit patterns, responses or coping mechanisms acquired in early childhood through to adolescence. We subsequently acquired what we might term “maturity” or healthy scepticism and learned to deal with the severe realities of our existence.
Whenever the higher planets are involved the extent of the aspect may emerge in the social, political, scientific and institutional realm or sphere. Where the inner planets are involved then the aspect may manifest in a more personal manner.
The midpoints between the angles gives us some idea of where and how, (by sign and house position) the aspect will manifest in the native’s life. The stress or frustration is where the unconscious factors or internalised discord, disharmony or incongruity occurs, the externalisation of this energy will be noted at the mid-points. Too many inconjunctions either in the natal chart or by transit or progression will result in an unstable type of personality or situation in which matters repeatedly fail to reach clarity, mutual acceptance, completion or full realisation. The individual then tends to experience even more frustration and confusion. An orb of 4-6 degrees is usually acceptable and in most cases highlights the incompatibility of elemental attributes of signs that are in effect 30 degrees apart. The polarity created is worst of all in say fire and water, for example between the signs Aries (fire) and Scorpio (water), but less problematic between Aries and Virgo (earth).
In these examples the energy created in Aries will find suitable outlets in work, psychoanalysis, the service sector, the establishment of a habitual routine, cleanliness etc (all the common attributes of that sign) in the house designated. Alternatively, it may find suitable expression in creative pursuits, research/detective work, creativity, personal transformation and all manner of correspondences of Scorpio energies. The strength of the quincunx and the extent of the operation can increase whenever it is part of a much larger aspect configuration. Another planet say 30 degrees away will create the so-called “finger of fate” or yod.

The above diagram aptly illustrates the complex and interesting nature of the quincunx in the zodiacal sign of Aries and how in effect 5 signs and up to six points require analysis before one can even arrive at a full working interpretation for the client. If the aspect falls into a critical degree (eg: between 30’ Pisces & 1’ Aries) then it is even more difficult analyse and interpret. As can be seen in this example the node where fate intervenes is midway between Scorpio and Virgo in the sign of Libra (relationships), and the points that are emphasised unconsciously are Capricorn and Cancer (career & family) and clearly the finger of fate is pointing directly at Aries (self-assertion, the ego-personality).
What is also evident from the study of the above example is that where more than one planet is involved that the personality (Sun in Aries) or conscious mind has to examine the consequences of its false assumptions, or presumptions being projected on to the events or circumstances and people concerned as well as the effects on their career and family, in order to deal effectively with the situation being presented as a possible solution. However, clearly the quincunx is not a solution or promise to any particular problem but a situation intended to draw clarity into the mind and feelings of the participant. Some personal decision nevertheless has to be made otherwise the person will become increasingly drawn into the projection they have created and will not be able to extricate themselves. They may become involved in the discontent, frustrations, whims and fancies of others rather than following their own course or destiny.

These unconscious elements may also enter relationships because of the synastry of compatibility or rather incompatibility inherent between the natal charts of two people in the relationship. If an inconjunct or quincunx planetary relationship exists then their emotions and hunches may never seem to find fruition or realisation and their hopes of successfully bonding never happen despite all their good intentions, hopes and aspirations. However, they may not even be able to terminate the relationship and signs or factors seem to constantly require them to continue to try again even though clearly it is unlikely to reach fruition or conclusion. The result is a never-ending merry-go-round from which there seems no viable means of escape.
In many ways the inconjunct resembles several other aspects usually found in astrology, ie; when a planet such as Mercury goes retrograde or when Jupiter (or any other planet) is square to Uranus (High hopes, unrealistic plans).
Another simple example would be that on proceeding on a journey a person arrives at a rail station and sees that their train, usually on platform 2, is no longer leaving from a particular platform. When they enquire from the porter they are told that trains to that destination have been cancelled and that road coaches have been laid on as a substitute at a discount rate from platform 6. On arriving at platform 6 they are surprised to find that no coaches are there and so they return to the ticket office to find out where and when a train may be available for that journey. They are told at the ticket office that trains are running as normal and that they were misinformed by the rail porter. However, when they examine the timetable they notice that the train is actually leaving from platform 4 and not platform 6 as they were instructed. I’m sure that everyone has experienced this kind of situation sometime in their life and experienced the annoyance and frustration it can cause.

Given all the possible permutations and occasions when a quincunx is likely to be operating in the natal chart either by transit or progression then nearly everyone must be experiencing a quincunx at some period in their life, that is a sense of frustration or disappointment on some particular issue. Which may call into question whether in actual fact we are ever free from our own delusions or for that matter the frustrations and delusions of others.




1 Comment

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Wed, April 21, 2010 - 4:08 AM
That was really very informative.