Posted by: Donna Cunningham | July 31, 2010

Breathing Refined Air: The Esoteric Aspects

©2010 by guest blogger, Dawn Bodrogi of The Inner Wheel

Donna says:  I found this article through one of those lucky links that WordPress adds to the bottom of posts, and I asked for permission to reprint it as part of our series on the lesser-known aspects.  What is valuable here is that Dawn has researched these aspects in her own work, and the observations are original and well-considered. Here’s what she has found:

Before we get going on the minor aspects, let’s put things into perspective.  These aspects were introduced by Johannes Kepler in the 16th century—along with all the non-Ptolemaic aspects defined by harmonics.  These aspects evolve from the number by which we divide the circle. 

Did everyone run out and start using these aspects, seeing how effective they were? No.  We’ve only gotten to grips with the quincunx in recent times (post 20th century), and most people still have no clue what to do with a semi-sextile (both introduced by Kepler). 

Do you consider a semisquare a major aspect? I do.  I’ve seen it do powerful things, particularly in progression.  Watch out if you have a planet at the midpoint of a square—that planet will make your square implode by creating two semisquares from inside it. 

It’s as if the square swallowed a stick of dynamite, like in the cartoons.  Do people pay attention to the semisquare? Not much.  At their peril. 

Sesquiquadrates behave like a square, only more nervous, and are more likely to get set off at random, sometimes ‘behaving,’ sometimes not.

Unlike the square, which eventually brings solutions through practical experience, the semisquares and sesquidradrates often point to issues, problems and energies that are irresolvable, and that we must learn to live with and cope with.  Where the cousins of the four are concerned, we may never find rest. 

If we’re not using these aspects in the natal chart, and not using them to figure out what’s going on within an entity, it’s virtually impossible to figure out what this aspect will do in synastry between two charts.  Research on these aspects is ongoing. 

The only baseline we have is that everything—and I mean everything—in astrology is built on numbers.  (This article will make more sense to you if you read my piece on why the aspects behave the way they do; scroll to the middle).  So we have to go back to number, and personal observation, to tell us what these aspects are about.

 Aspects to personal planets have more tangible effects.  The further out the planets involved, the less likely these aspects manifest in real terms.

These aspects essentially deal with energies that manifest beyond physical reality.  Depending on your philosophy, you could say that they affect us on different energetic planes and on different levels of consciousness.  They can, occasionally, filter down to this mundane plane of existence, but their work is essentially done on a higher, more refined level.  (Meditators seem to be able to access these energies more easily in real terms.)

By affecting our thought, they alter our way of being, and so affect our world.  On the whole, I haven’t seen any of the aspects we’re discussing today manifest in a negative way—each one seems to bestow its own type of gift.  We run into problems only when there is an overabundance of them. 

Quintiles: Dividing the Circle by Five

When we divide the circle by the number five, we get an aspect of 72°.  The meaning of five is complex.  In sequence, it’s the first number to step out of the materialistic ‘box’ of the four.  It’s the first number to transcend the four, which creates material reality. 

The five is represented by the pentagram, which shows a ‘four’ transcended by a fifth point above it.  This fifth point acts as a funnel through which concentrated higher energies can flow down into manifest reality. 

The five is considered creative and is associated with the Sun (Leo).  It is made up of the energy of duality (the 2) transcended by the 3. 

Natally, quintiles indicate gifts—the two planets can use their qualities in a beneficial, creative manner.  Quintiles may show unusual talents or abilities that seem complete and god-sent—abilities that we don’t have to struggle to perfect. 

In synastry, between charts, quintiles can produce an almost otherworldly understanding of the way the individual planets are operating.  If my Saturn is quintile your Venus, you will have an innate compassion for my Saturn issues, and I will instinctively know how to support your Venus.

However, relationships dominated by quintiles often possess an otherworldly quality of their own, as if they don’t rely on the common things of this life to survive.  Loves that continue long after the affair is over are often quintile loves. 

Septiles: Dividing the Circle by Seven

The septile family, dividing the circle unevenly at about 51°, are a curious lot.  They have to do with Higher Mind (the 3) entering the manifest reality of the four.  In essence, they are about higher guidance and contact with the divine mind. 

Where the septiles are concerned, we have the ability to see beyond the mundane.  They are less compassionate and more observant than the quintile series. 

The septiles give us the ability to know what the right move is at any given time.  We have an instinct for truth where the two planets are concerned, and have a hard time telling ourselves anything that isn’t absolutely honest. 

In this way, septiles can be a bit ruthless.  Septiles are where we know better, and we can’t turn away.  Sometimes, it seems that septiles can manifest as a ‘get out of jail free card’—but this only happens when we are jailed unjustly by other elements.

Septiles between charts behave somewhat like high-powered lamps pointed at the planets.  Those two planets will relate in a truthful way, and we won’t be able to hide from one another. 

Noviles: Dividing the Circle by Nine

Noviles (40°) divide the circle by 9, and represent initiation.  Where noviles are concerned, we will experience each planet in a new way, and it will be a revelation.  The number 9 represents completion, and preparation for the new beginning that will begin again at the 1.

Noviles often take us by surprise, and push us further up the ladder of our conscious evolution whether we like it or not.  Noviles are about wisdom, and the responsibility of using that wisdom. 

 When a novile in a chart is activated by a transit, it’s like being shanghaied into a cult of knowledge.  When noviles are dominant, life can change in surprising and unexpected ways, but never without added responsibility. 

When noviles are active between charts, we push one another forward.  If there are a number of them between charts, they can be either stimulating or annoying, depending on how much we like to be nagged in spiritual terms.  Noviles between charts can make us feel as if the other person is always expecting more from us.  With noviles dominant, we can feel as if we have a purpose together, and may find it easier to share our individual growth processes. 

Of the three aspects, I find that noviles and quintiles are more tangible than septiles.  And, although I despise hierarchies, I have to admit that I’ve seen them manifest more readily in those who are definitely seekers, and on some path of awareness.  It’s as if we need to expand and refine our own consciousness, via the more straightforward aspects, before these energies are able to show themselves in our lives. 

About the Author:  The Inner Wheel, Living with Astrology is the blog of astrologer Dawn Bodrogi. Dawn has studied astrology since the age of twelve, and has been a practicing astrologer for over twenty years.  Her studies in Jungian psychology, alchemy, and Buddhist philosophy inform her work.  Her upcoming book, The Inner Wheel, takes a new look at interpreting secondary progressions. She has been a television and film producer  in London, England, and is an Associate Producer with the Algonquin Theatre in New York City.  Though she is currently living in the New York City area, she considers London her home.


  1. Thank you for this =-) Is there an article on Novile aspects besides in this post?

    • Nope, we didn’t do all the minor aspects, but one of the main conclusions was that the issues and circumstances associated with all of these aspects are similar to those reported by people with major aspects. For instance, all the people with minor Mercury-Saturn aspects reported uncannily similar issues around feeling inadequate in various forms of communication as those expressed by people with major Mercury-Saturn aspects. If we had enough cases and interviewed the people in depth, we’d probably find that each aspect handles the dilemmas somewhat differently. Donna

      PS. Did you know that the novile is also called a nonnagen?

  2. Ok.Coolness. That makes sense. I have a few noviles in my chart too.

    Sun/Venus,Sun/Pluto,Jupiter BiN Saturn,Saturn BiN Uranus,Neptune/NN. So of course, I was curious. There’s been more talk about Septiles/Quintiles than anything else lately. Which is great,but you know…=-)

    About the Nonagen being a Novile… I’ve seen it written,but I wasn’t sure if I was making the right connection or not. Thank you for confirming that I was right. =-)

    Thank you again for writing all of this. It’s been tremendously helpful and useful.


  3. I just thought of something. Have you written anything about the 24 degree or 165 degree Quindecile aspect(s)?
    If not, do you have an opinion on those?
    I realize it may be a touchy subject,so if you don’t want to broach the subject, I understand.

    Here are the one’s I’ve had come up and one iffy one. =-)

    Like Mars Quindecile (24’13)NN, Jupiter 163’28 Neptune, Neptune 163’53 Ascendant, Uranus 25’21 Pluto and possibly Jupiter 162’04 Uranus (the orb may be too wide)

    Thank you again =-D

    • Hi, Robin. No, I don’t know anything about the quindecile. I understand that Noel Tyl has made a study of them, so you might check his site. Donna

  4. Ok. Thank you anyway. I’ve read what Noel Tyl has said about the Quindecile,but I was curious about what you had to say about it.

    Thank you!=-)

  5. Test.

    • Hi, Donna–are you DVT, and are you testing to see if this gets to you. If so, yes. Let me know by email if you get this. (Except I’d usually see an email address that’s not visible to anyone but me, and I don’t see it here. That might affect whether you get this or not. Donna2

  6. It worked.:-]

  7. Donna, please I have a burning question.
    I have natally Neptune on my Asc in Scorpio. My Aquarious Sun in 3rd House has a very loose square with Neptune and the Asc (8 – 9 degrees) and at the same time a tighter binovile to both (1:50 degre and O:25). Which of the aspect should I consider, square or binovile ? Or both? A square at 9 degree of orb with the sun might still effective I guess (how frightening!), but what about these novile then, which are not as bad as the squares ? I am unable to decide on my own, probably because
    1- I have unaspected Aquarius Sun otherwise (only minor aspects)
    2- I have a very strong Scorpio/Pluto chart (and same with Uranus)
    3- Very strong Neptune/Pisces chart too
    so all these energies are there and I can’t disantagle them easily.
    Could you tell your wisdom word?
    I am in a long Chiron retrun that is lasting 3 years (Chiron loves Pisces) and realise I do have to accomplish the Sun energy and not let the altruism and intellectual life be all it can do. It is also life itself, my life, and I am learning to take care of myself like never before.

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