The Answer Box
Kathryn: I have been told that you are doing research on the quincunx or “finger of God” aspect. Since I and my husband both have that aspect, I am interested in getting more information than seems to be readily available. Can you make any suggestions?
Zip: The quincunx, or inconjunct as it is sometimes called, is an aspect of 150 degrees or 5/12th of a circle. A double quincunx, one planet holding the aspect to two other planets which are sextile to each other, has been called a “yod” or “finger of God” by some astrologers. I have recently been experimenting with the concept of treating aspects as another form of the basic 12-letter alphabet of astrology, and plan an article on the initial results in the next issue of the Mutable Dilemma. In the meantime, until we have space to explore the concept more fully, you may find it helpful to think of a quincunx as associated with Virgo and Scorpio. If we think of one planet as being at zero Aries, another planet could be quincunx it at zero Virgo or zero Scorpio. What do these signs symbolize in our journey through life?
Virgo and of course the 6th house, and I think also the asteroids Vesta and Ceres call for “efficient functioning” as their keynote. To do a good job on whatever we have taken or accepted as “our job” means to look for flaws in our techniques or tools, to discard what is not working effectively, and to do the best job we can. We learn to discriminate with Virgo or any other form of letter 6 of our alphabet. We take things apart and figure out how to put them together so they will run better. The ability to do this is very important if we are to survive in the physical world. It is highly valuable if we practice the skills where they belong, in our job. Of course, if we do our “flaw-finding and make-it-over” action in the wrong place, to our family, our friends, or ourselves, we are likely to have problems. That is a displacement—a right action but in the wrong place.
Scorpio (and of course the 8th house and Pluto) calls for us to move toward in-depth self-knowledge and self-mastery. Usually, we do this with a mate, whether marriage partner or business associate or competitor or any systematic contact with a peer where deep feeling and a joint concern with the material world are involved. We may be sharing or competing for money, possessions, pleasures, or very intangible emotions, but we are learning to see our own depths in the mirror of the other, and to master ourselves out of respect for the rights of the other. We are learning to turn our power inwards to control ourselves instead of using our power to control others or giving all the power away to others. We are learning to both give and receive and share the power, possessions, pleasures, appetites, passions, etc. We are seeking to become an adept. To do this, we learn what is ours and what is not ours (another person is not our possession). We learn when to stop; when is enough; how to love and let go; how to be dependent without being threatened and how to give without taking advantage of our strength. We clean the Augean stable, in the words of one great myth, or face the shadow in Jungian terms.
Until I realized this Virgo-Scorpio meaning for the quincunx, I kept seeing people experiencing separations when a progressed quincunx occurred in their charts. Calling it an aspect of “adjustment” did not seem to clarify things for me. What kind of adjustment? Does that mean we just have to adapt to whatever life brings us with a quincunx? My concept of astrology is that a clear understanding of our character permits us to choose positive alternatives, no matter what the aspects are. There are always positive alternatives but we have to know what our character and life are calling for in order to know what to do. So with a quincunx, we are learning to discriminate to do a good job and to discard what is not functional in our efforts, and we are learning what is outgrown and should be discarded; no matter how valued it may have been, it is now “dead” and if retained, will eventually produce one or another variety of pus in the system, just as will food which is retained when we should eliminate it through the bowels (the Scorpio principle on the physical level). However, we do have to be clear about what is outgrown and not try to run away from something prematurely. In the end, it is by consequences that we know whether our actions were the right ones for our growth. If we try to run from a person, job, situation, etc. when we have not really learned what we needed to, we will just meet it again in another form. And again, and again, and again, until we learn the lesson. On the other hand, if we cling to what we should be releasing, life will forcibly remove it from our grasp and teach us that we can really manage without it.
Since the end of Leo and the end of Libra can also form the quincunx to zero Aries, their themes should be considered as additional clues to the situation. When we move from Leo to Virgo, we give up our kingly role and go to work, but in exchange for this humble service, we get a confidence in our own ability to cope with the world by our own efforts and a sense of our skill at doing something that is well worth the effort. Still, it is an effort, to stop telling others and to learn to do it ourselves. When we leave Libra, we leave the initial stage of learning to share power with a partner or opponent, the open stage in air, and we have to probe the murky depths of the unconscious. We have to face feeling totally emotionally involved without losing our capacity to control ourselves, resisting the temptation to control the other for our own security or gratification, and resisting the temptation to retreat altogether from the threat of the intensity.
I hope that this is helpful when you deal with a quincunx. Remember that the nature of the planets, the signs, and the houses are always part of the picture. Astrology is a complex and challenging study. Remember that the key is to look for repeated themes. What is the chart saying over and over and over again?