Posted by: Donna Cunningham | April 13, 2011

Part 3: Steps in Analyzing a Quincunx plus More New Insights

©4-13-2011 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

The Skywriter community has been looking at natal and transiting quincunxes (a.k.a. inconjuncts) this past week and has come up with great insights about how these 150° angles affect us. Since many of you don’t follow the discussion in the comment section, I thought they were worth preserving in a separate article. I’ll also demonstrate the steps in analyzing a quincunx .  

 What kept coming to me during the discussion was an image my teacher, Richard Idemon used to describe the action of a quincunx. Older readers may remember a novelty item from the 1940s—two tiny plastic Scottie dogs, one black and one white, like the ones in the photo below that I found on Google.

They contained magnets with opposing poles, so that when you tried to push them together, they repelled one another and would snap apart. The harder you pushed, the stronger the repulsion. Richard said that the action of a quincunx was like that, with the two poles of the aspect pushing each other away.

Another of my teachers, Charles Jayne used to distinguish between 6th house quincunxes and 8th house quincunxes. (He wasn’t talking about the actual house positions of the planets, but their degree of separation from one another.)

There are actually two different kinds–one being 150° apart in the zodiac like Aries to Virgo (or 1st house to 6th if you put the slower-moving planet on the Ascendant) and one being 210°  apart like Aries to Scorpio (or 1st house to 8th house if you put the slower-moving planet on the Ascendant).

He found that the 6th house kind was more likely to result in health issues. I forget what the 8th house did…healing perhaps, or sexual tension. Or maybe that’s where the humor he mentioned comes in.  (For those who are intrigued by this scholarly man, there is a book that consists of 4 of Charles’ out of print books in one: The Best of Charles Jayne (A Book of His Books )

I think a third difficulty in manifesting what you want is that with the quincunx, the two signs involved want very different things (e.g. Capricorn vs. Leo), and so you give mixed messages to other people. This sets up tensions in our relationships with them. They don’t know how to respond because they don’t know what we want or which end of the aspect we’ll show them at any given moment.

The problem of conflicting signals would be especially true in the areas of life represented by the houses the two planets occupy. And it would especially affect relationships with the people involved in those two houses. (See A Who’s Who of your Horoscope–the Players in all 12 Houses.)

 Steps in Interpreting a Quincunx

Numerous readers wanted an interpretation of a quincunx. To one with Mercury in Cancer in the 4th quincunx Jupiter in Sagittarius in the 11th, I replied that this is a DIY (do it yourself) site.

What I do is to explain the principles so people can learn to interpret for themselves. I’ll use her aspect as an example of the steps in for a quincunx:

1) THE SIGNS INVOLVED: Consider the signs the two planets are in and how and why they clash. For instance, think through the qualities of Cancer and then the qualities of Sagittarius.

(For instance, Cancer can be hypersensitive, easily slighted, and take things personally, even when it’s not meant that way. Sagittarius is honest to a fault and can have a bad case of hoof in mouth disease. Put them together, and you may have someone who can dish it out but not take it.)

2) PLANETS PLUS SIGNS: Then add in the qualities of the planets and mix them with the signs.

Mercury is about our patterns of communication. Mercury in Cancer is hypersensitive and may try to avoid conflict.

Jupiter is the ruler of Sagittarius, so that doubles what I said before about being honest to a fault and having hoof in mouth disease. Again, it may be someone who can dish it out but not take it.

3) HOW WELL THE TWO PLANETS GET ALONG: Are the planets involved compatible or not?  Do they have a natural affinity for one another or do their wants, needs, and qualities clash badly?  Mars and Saturn do not mesh well; the Moon and Venus can get along. The Sun, Mars, and Jupiter get along; the Sun and Neptune do not.

Think about the signs they rule, as one facet of their compatability.  In this case, Mercury and Jupiter are sympatico, both interested in learning and exchanging ideas–they rule Gemini and Sagittarius, a complementary pair of signs.

A complimentary pair of planets would help ease the quincunx, while a pair that clashes would make it even more tricky to harmonize. 

4) THE EFFECTS OF THE HOUSES INVOLVED: The house positions of the two planets show the areas of life where they are most likely to be active. (For detailed information about what the houses represent, download a chapter on the houses here: AGSA ch13-houses and a chart blank here: Blank chart with house meanings.)

The 11th is the house of friends and groups, so perhaps you belong to groups where honesty and self-improvement is considered a plus, so friends may be accustomed to talking about faults and flaws, so they try to help by pointing out ways to improve yourself.

The 4th represents the family of origin and the current home life, so perhaps your family was less open than your friends are. Perhaps you sometimes wound others with things you say, never meaning to wound, or perhaps you try to accept these comments, but still want to withdraw when you get them.

There are numerous ways that these two signs play out, also numerous levels on which each planet can play out, plus each house rules several (related) areas of life. Thus, we may not have precisely put our finger on the type of conflict this particular quincunx presents, but it should be in the ballpark.

Challenge: Readers, can you use these steps to analyze a quincunx—either your own or another you’ve encountered? Share some of your insights in the comment section.

Continue your studies with more articles about this aspect:

But first,  since the quincunx has only a 3° orb, make sure your quincunx isn’t really a biquintile (144°):

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  1. My Pluto in Scorpio in the 8th quincunx Chiron in Gem in the 3rd makes perfect sense to me. I have more trouble with my Moon in Pisces in the 1st quincunx Venus in Libra in the 7th, but this post is very helpful. My love of beauty and harmony, especially in regard to personal relationships, is definitely at odds with my intuition and “messier” emotions sometimes, so I suppose it does fit!

  2. My Venus in Taurus in 11th is quincunx Moon in Sagittarius in 6th. Since these are both feminine planets there is a sort of clash about how I see myself as a woman. One way this shows is I like to dress in a fairly tom-boyish way, and prefer to wear shoes I could easily walk 5 miles in, but on the other hand I like to dress up in more feminine, well made clothes and make myself look attractive. My Venus desires a pleasant life with good food, stable relationships and material security whereas my Moon needs to restlessly explore different philosophies and finds security by searching for meaning and being open to different experiences. Whereas my Venus can enjoy being a member of a group and developing long lasting friendships my Moon is more interested in searching for meaningful work where I can feel useful. The Moon is strong as the chart ruler but Venus in Taurus probably has more in common with my Cancer Sun so it does feel like two conflicting urges.

    • Nicely done, Melissa. The thing with a quincunx is that you CAN have both. With Venus in Taurus in the 11th, you can dress up when you got out with friends (and I’ll bet you clean up good!) But with the Sag influence in the 6th, you could choose to dress more comfortably at work, sensible shoes, boyish clothes. No problem–but surprise the heck out of your coworkers at the annual Christmas party! Donna

      • So, basically the “solution” to the quincunx is that you will always be hopping from one side of the teeter-totter to the other and accept that you can’t be satisfied/get “both”?

      • You can have both but not simultaneously. Have to learn to take turns and let each end have its quality time, consciously, rather than saying only one end (one set of wants, needs, and qualities) is okay but the other end isn’t okay. When you suppress or deny one of the poles, you run into trouble. Donna

  3. OK, lemme think… My Uranus at 1deg Scorpio in the 7th is quincunx my Jupiter at 3 deg Aries in the 12th. They are like two mismatched roommates in a dormitory: my nerdy Jupiter is perfectly happy with sitting in a corner of the reading room with a dusty volume while Uranus wants to go out and party (and being a Scorpio Uranus, we know what kind of party it has in mind).

    But now transiting Uranus – as you probably have guessed by now – is forming a separating quincunx with my natal Uranus and soon it will be conjunct Jupiter (or already is, depending on how tight your orbs are – mine are Saturnian tight!). So, while I’ve been whining about how transiting Saturn opp Sun is bumming me out, I should perhaps look more closely at Uranus. Perhaps Jupiter is going through some kind of midlife crisis and saying “Have I missed something in life? Perhaps I should have gone out with Uranus and have some wild fun. Isn’t it too late?” while Uranus on the other hand is saying “Don’t squander your time and mental energy, I am giving you all these brilliant ideas… are you listening to me or are you too busy checking that guy out?”

    I don’t know. Perhaps I am over-interpreting and this transit just means that issues connected with my natal quincunx have come to the fore, according to the old astrological rule that nothing appears in the transits what is not already there in the natal.

    • I think you’re having a productive dialogue between two parts of yourself. One thing you can do, folks, is to write out the dialogue and just see what develops. Or get an astrology buddy to play it out with you in astrodrama style. The planets will speak up if you’re willing to listen. Donna

  4. I have mercury 22° pisces (6th house) quincux mars 25° leo (11th) and also pluto 20° libra (1st), added to this mars is also quincux my 24° capricorn moon (4th). My pluto absolutely hates being bs’d (but tries to be diplomatic about it) and gives me a fairly decent bull shit detector, meanwhile my mercury in pisces recognizes shades of truth and that there are truths that can only be understood indirectly. The overall effect is that I am most annoyed by emotional dishonesty and the confusion, scapegoating and pain caused when someone is not owning their emotions. My mars in leo would rather just be blunt and call it like I see it, but this isn’t always useful…especially with friends who aren’t completely conscious of the deeper levels of a given situation…thats when moon in capricorn decides to curl up with a book at home and mind it’s own business for awhile.

    • Good interpretation of a Yod, Vanessa. Do you feel like you bing around that triangle often, or do the various legs of the yod get activated at different times or in different areas of life (the houses)? Donna

      • hmm…I’ve been thinking about this and I definitely tend to switch around alot and certain transits definitely light up some qualities more. I noticed that my capricorn moon tends to be my main point of retreat whenever saturn is conjunct an angle or hitting a personal planet. My moon is also the focal planet in a t square with my sun and pluto, I have two t squares and a grand fire trine in my chart and this adds to the feeling of being pulled all over the place-

      • A complex chart–hard to separate out what part the quincunx plays.

  5. Okay, I’ll give it a whack. I have Moon in Cancer/5th quincunx Neptune in Sag/10th. As a side note Neptune is also conjunct MC, emphasizing 10th even more, though by 4 (Moon-Nep aspect is exact).

    Couple ideas- public sees me as independent, tomboyish- at least not feminine, interesting perhaps, but out of reach, flitting around, not “serious”. Sees me as maybe towards an unconventional (uh, that’s more of an Aquarius word…elusive?) career? Meanwhile Cancer moon 5th feels/works intensely for the creative process, craves deep relationships, closeness. Maybe expressing oneself in a more traditionally creative manner (my background is classical music, though I am increasingly called on to do other than this, background limits me in job opps.) Want to be part of a close team, musical group but still want independence. A variety of gigs makes Sag happy, but the lack of security or closeness at each one drives Cancer crazy. Also feeling left out of groups- sometimes people thought i wasn’t interested and did not include me.

    I realized that I need to work on these quincunx aspects- if I include Chiron, I have 5 more there! (it also makes a yod with the above aspect, Nep/MC as focal point)

    • Definitely complicated to manage, Dizzy. One important part of analyzing an aspect that I didn’t go into in the article (and maybe should go back and add) is how well the two planets get along, and Moon and Neptune are sympatico, like Cancer and Pisces. That helps this quincunx find resolution–I suspect in a lyrical or dreamlike quality to the music, very emotionally expressive. And the 5th house is very creative/artistic, not generally a good match with the 10th, but in the case of a creative/artistic career, it fits. Donna

      • PS. Glad you asked. I just added this additional step to the analysis:

        3) HOW WELL THE TWO PLANETS GET ALONG: Are the planets involved compatible or not? Do they have a natural affinity for one another or do their wants, needs, and qualities clash badly? Mars and Saturn do not mesh well; the Moon and Venus can get along.

        Think about the signs they rule, for instance. In this case, Mercury and Jupiter are sympatico, both interested in learning and exchanging ideas–they rule Gemini and Sagittarius, a complementary pair of signs. A complimentary pair of planets would help ease the quincunx, while a pair that clashes would make it even more tricky to harmonize.

      • Cool, thanks for the insight! I definitely will consider how these planets get along. Moon-Nep doesn’t seem like the hardest, they can be simpatico. Now about that Chiron/Nep-MC/Saturn-Jup-Merc-Pluto yod…!

      • Which planets does Saturn work well with? Is this where we hit the issue with Virgo and Taurus rulership?

  6. How would one resolve a Taurus Venus quincunx a Saturn-Neptune conjunction in Libra? Since these are both Venus-ruled signs, would there be less difficulty addressing the incompatibilities? Since Saturn is part of the equation, I can see where there would be a problem; Saturn energy probably has a hard time working with Venus and Neptune energy. Would be curious to read some feedback on this.

  7. I have Sun in Taurus in the 8th quincunx Saturn in Sag in the third. I keep thinking it refers to how I do not communicate well when it comes to telling others what I desire sexually. I always let Saturn win out, so I never “let go” when it comes to choosing a partner. Does this mean I should sometimes let the Sun rule and relax in this area? That’s all I can come up with.

    • Yes, concentrate on that good old Taurus sensuality–which is essentially nonverbal–instead of the Saturn “what will others think.” Donna

  8. Hi Donna – Using the one quincunx in my chart I haven’t already elaborated on, I’ll give it a shot. Both my 5th house Aquarius Moon and 12th house Pluto in Virgo pick up on things and absorb feelings (Moon square Scorpio Neptune), but when they try to talk about their insights, my Aquarius Moon gets frustrated by how judgmental and picky my Virgo Pluto can be (what a stick-in-the-mud!) while my Pluto wishes my Aquarius Moon was less self indulgent and more discriminating in fulfilling needs.

    Both care about people, but my Moon is more idealistic and in her head, whereas my Pluto is hands-on, practical, and willing to get his hands dirty – Pluto is very picky but very effective. My super social Moon wants to have fun and play in a world where everyone is my friend and all are valued for their uniqueness, but my Pluto reminds me to get real and open my eyes to the details – like Buddha said, “Life is dukkha” and compassion is more than an abstract concept. Sometimes people need you to show up and be there for them, like it or not.

    Both need time alone, but for different reasons and at different times. My Moon gets annoyed (or feels alienated) and needs personal space, whereas my Pluto is intensely focused and does what needs to be done, then becomes overwhelmed by what he’s observed and needs time alone to regenerate. Both my Aquarius Moon (being a fixed independent sign) and Pluto can be willful – in the past, they’ve had some major battles, with much confusion over how to get their conflicting needs and/or agendas met.

    But time has mellowed them both. My Moon is better at acknowledging its own needs and feelings, but has grown more willing to put aside anything that causes harm, especially when it comes to matters of greater principle – my idea of fun has changed over the years and I’ve learned to value substance and commitment over short-term thrills. And my Pluto is learning to relinquish control of outcomes and is willing to purge anything that stands in the way of surrendering to the Divine Will. So the two have something in common after all.

    The two join together in mindful service. And the art they create is unique – it allows each of them to tell their own story, but without words or judgment. My Moon is biquintile my Virgo Ascendant, which is loosely conjunct Pluto, so I think that helps some.

    • Wow, a really good and thorough analysis, LB! Nicely done! You have lived and have lived with that aspect and know it to the core. Donna

  9. Donna, I loved your blog about colored glass with the accompanying pictures
    (colbalt blue & ruby red), so vibrant and joy-inspiring to see! I remember years
    ago when I used to fill a colored glass with water, set it in the sunlight, then
    drink the water, and it made me so happy! The glass of water was usually red
    or blue. And on certain nights I liked catching the reflection of the full moon
    overhead in a mirror that I held up facing my back, and it was groovy…. also,
    I think, very Neptunian! My most favorite, exciting color is Turquoise. It
    enlivens me and makes me salivate almost!

  10. Hi Ms. Donna! ^_^

    Wow. This is kinda tough but here’s a try.
    Sun in Cancer 9th House inconjunct
    Neptune in Sagittarius 2nd House

    So. LOL. Well. Hmmmm!!!

    This is the only quincunx set in my natal chart. -2*45s
    My Sun is conjunct my Leo MC – and Neptune forms a biQuintile to the latter. Mercury in 10th conjuncts MC as well (but too far from the Sun); Neptune gives Mercury the sesquiquadrate.

    I didn’t notice before but, yeah, Neptune aspects everything in Leo, the natural domain of the Sun. And my Sun is in the Neptune decan too. 29*46. Are any of these relevant to Sun/Neptune quincunx theme?

    Oh wow my 12th house planets also aspect my Sun/MC/Merc; and one of them (Pluto) rules my birth chart, and the other (Saturn) my Moon. (Why is my mind bringing this up in my brainstorm process?)

    Okay I am trying to spot the Neptunian influences in my life. How I have experienced it. It’s kinda difficult because it’s Neptune, lol. Hazy. Imperceptible, at times. Yesterday, while trying to heal my wounded heart through imagination and self-expression, I met Neptune. I asked, “For how long have you been hiding under my nose?” He said, “As far back as you can remember, sweetie.” (Which doesn’t make sense to me now, but it was charming last night.)

    Transiting Neptune is currently also forming a quincunx to my Sun (from the 4th house). Sextile natal Neptune (27Sag).

    Prior to this transit, the only Sun-qncx-Neptune effects I was ever aware of were excessive daydreaming, escapism. Defeating own purpose by diffused attention, like I’m high all the time even without the use of drugs. I honestly don’t think that, despite all my conscious acknowledgment of the laws of the jungle, the importance of selfishness – I can never exactly define, from experience, what it means to be “ME!!!” and really FIGHT for my boundaries. Well I have Sun trine Uranus, Uranus in 1st – I am unique, an individual. But I am not assertive, I don’t push my identity, my will, on the environment. I just never found it necessary. Rather, the inverse is true: everything in the environment was poured unto me. (Although admittedly a lot has escaped my notice – specifically: “earthy stuff” mundane stuff. I couldn’t help tuning out and soaring elsewhere.)

    It didn’t help that transiting Neptune was in the 4th, which is reported to induce heavy sleep. In the past decade I have been feeling that my own will, my sense of self that is separate from others (from family, from other people etc), has been eroded by the waters of Neptune. I found myself agreeing to everyone, at the cost of my independence, my career direction (at the chagrin of my Capricorn Moon), and even safety. All this happened despite my acknowledgment of you know – “my family is awfully stupid for bringing me here” – “this guy is so selfish, I shouldn’t be with him” – I still stuck around and gave myself to them, simply because I didn’t have strong enough boundaries, as ego. Am I mistaking their will for mine? Or sympathizing way too much.

    My Sagittarian friend had warned me, “Seriously girl, you really ought to learn to be wary of everyone you meet and don’t say yes right away. You have this strange dangerous habit of going along with everything anyone says. Absolutely everything, no matter how CRAZY it sounds. SERIOUSLY.”

    That was after I got in trouble when Pluto transited natal Neptune by conjunction. At that time, I thought she worried too much. Neptune, see? I had no idea I had blinders on me. Too much faith in the wrong people, too little in the right ones.

    Also, natal Neptune is conjunct South Node; one of the reports say it indicates delay of “incarnation of ego.” (I think they mean delayed development/strengthening of ego.)

    – – –

    Anyway I’m sorry for taking up too much space, and giving just a general description of my Neptune experience. Which may not even be exclusively related to Sun-quincunx-Neptune. In the past, I was never able to write about this simply because I could not see how Neptune operated in my life besides my excessive dreaming… I could not differentiate between the different Neptune influences in my chart yet.

    And thanks for this opportunity to learn more about a nebulous aspect of my psyche. ^_^

    – – –

    ps. Wow, LB’s analysis is amazing! So in tune with the inner energies!

    • C, thanks for accepting the challenge. Must write someday about that Pluto crossing Neptune–happens to us all about 28-29, but acts variously, depending on natal Neptune. For me, it was a tremendous spiiritual awakening into astrology, etc. Donna

  11. Hello Donna,

    I have my Sun in 0 Leo/1st quincunx Moon in 29 Sagg/6th.
    What are the issues related to 1st and 6th quincunxes??

    I haven’t yet identified what this Sun/Moon aspect is causing in me exactly?

  12. Retro Uranus in Leo, 6th house quincunx retrograde mercury in Capricorn, 11th house and quincunx Pisces ascendant. I habeen a devastating, rapid fire b wit ,and often can’t keep my mouth shut . With a Scorpio moon, mars conjunction, I often cut to the bone, without realizing it

  13. I have an exact quincunx between my Sun in the 12th and Pluto in the 6th. It’s kind of blowing my mind to think about. Would love to hear what others think, and if anyone else has a Sun-Pluto quincunx!

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