Life is a Quincunx

Maritha Pottenger

We continue our examination of quincunxes with a systematic look at each of the twelve possible quincunx combinations in a horoscope. This issue will consider the 1/6 quincunx.

The most intense form of a 1/6 quincunx would involve two planets (or a planet and an asteroid or a planet and an angle). Possibilities would include:

Vesta (super-Virgo asteroid) quincunx Mars.

Ceres (a Virgo/Cancer blend) quincunx Mars.

Mercury (when a Virgo Mercury as opposed to a Gemini Mercury) quincunx Mars.

The ruler of the 6th quincunx Mars.

Vesta, Ceres, Mercury or ruler of 6th quincunx the Ascendant.

Vesta, Ceres, Mercury or ruler of 6th quincunx the East Point.

Vesta, Ceres, Mercury or ruler of 6th quincunx the Antivertex.

Vesta, Ceres, Mercury or ruler of 6th quincunx the ruler of the 1st house.

The more times such placements occur, the more important the 1/6 quincunx is as a theme in the chart (and in the person’s life). Besides the actual 1/6 quincunxes, there are other ways a chart can highlight the need to integrate the 1/6 theme:

Any aspects between Vesta, Ceres, Mercury (in a Virgo sense) or the 6th house ruler and the Ascendant, East Point, Antivertex, Mars and 1st house ruler.

Any quincunxes between the 6th and the 1st houses.

Any quincunxes between Aries and Virgo.

Vesta, Ceres, Mercury or the 6th house ruler occupying the 1st house or conjunct the Ascendant, East Point, Antivertex, Mars or 1st house ruler.

Mars, the Ascendant, the East Point, the Antivertex or the 1st house ruler occupying the 6th house or conjunct Vesta, Ceres, Mercury or the 6th house ruler.

Vesta, Ceres, Mercury or the 6th house ruler in the sign of Aries.

Mars, the Ascendant, the East Point, the Antivertex or the 1st house ruler in the sign of Virgo.

Actual quincunxes emphasize the likelihood of changes, restlessness and possibly abrupt shifts in the life. “Natural” quincunxes (involving planet/house, planet/sign or house/sign combinations) are a bit easier to integrate—not as off balance as when two planets are concerned. As always, the more times a theme is repeated in a horoscope, the more important it is!

The 1/6 quincunx crosses the territory from personal needs (I want what I want and I want it now—Letter 1) to interpersonal desires (I wish to be of service, to work productively and effectively with others on the job and in my own body—Letter 6). We have to create the time and space to be ourselves, do our own thing, be free, independent, spontaneous and self-expressive while still leaving time and space to be painstaking, practical, efficient, careful, dedicated, disciplined, hardworking and precise.

Following is a list of the contrasts inherent in the 1/6 theme which we must positively combine (or learn to take turns between in a constructive fashion):















assert self

serve others

naiveté (childish openness)


intrude upon

figure out

provoke/conflict with


























with anger

with discrimination

identify (with)





take apart


common sense


work on


worry about





The quincunx can also be experienced as a push/pull between two different life areas. People may feel they are dealing with a “forced choice” situation. People may not believe they can have both when it comes to:

Speed versus Accuracy

Self-expression vs. Productivity

Sexual Desires vs. Discipline

Bodily Exertion vs. Healthful Training

Personal Wants vs. Demands of the Job

Self Needs vs. Needs of Coworkers

Impulses vs. Careful Planning

Action vs. Thinking

Independence vs. Routines

Doing Own Thing vs. Caring for Business

The “natural” quincunxes, when positively handled, give clues as to how we can balance true quincunxes in our nature. Mars quincunx Vesta may be prone to rush too much and then be agonizingly slow with incredible, painstaking detail work. Or, the individual might identify with the Martian end, being a bit rash, impulsive and impatient, and unconsciously attracting other people to live out (and overdo) the Vesta end in terms of being picky, workaholic, judgmental, compulsive or overdisciplined. Another person might repress one side and develop appropriate illnesses, such as headaches or colds if the Martian side is blocked or diverticulitis, intestinal problems or general ill health if the Vesta side is denied.

This quincunx, more than any other, points to possible health issues if not integrated. Letter 1 symbolizes the physical body (as well as our freedom, ability to act, courage, initiative, self-expression, identity, etc.) and Letter 6 symbolizes the desire for efficient functioning in the body (good health) as well as on the job. Hence, if there is a problem—a lack of integration or some repression or projection or denial—health problems are quite possible. Since Letter 1 also includes the instinct for speed, accidents are among the possibilities. If aggressive instincts are improperly channeled or one is simply living life too quickly, it could affect the health. If vitality is low, energy is blocked or tiredness is a problem, the likelihood is that the Letter 1 side of the nature is being underdone and needs to be encouraged and strengthened. If the general health is disturbed, Letter 6 may be the more vital issue. The individual needs to look at feelings about the job, about productivity, about feeling s/he is doing something worth doing and doing it well. Ill health is often an escape hatch from a detested job, from one not worthy of our talents or one that lacks any potential for growth. Sometimes illness is the only avenue a person has for being unique in some fashion. Finding other forms of self-expression and an arena to express one’s need to contribute will improve the health.

Mars in the 6th (or an integrated 1/6 theme) could find work which requires action, courage, independence, vitality and immediate decision-making. Work routines might include short bursts of high energy, competition or assertive action. Another integration (more likely with Vesta in the 1st) is that one’s identity is tied to work (“I am what I do”). Work is a form of self-expression and is done only on one’s own terms, in one’s own way. Careful analysis and repairing instincts are part of the basic nature. Data is gathered quickly.

Healthy integration of a quincunx theme means doing some of both or finding a way to take turns. Then we see such alternatives as:

I want to analyze. OR I analyze my desires/wants.

I act sensibly on information gathered. OR Gathering information is natural for me.

I enthusiastically find flaws. OR Flaw-finding generates my enthusiasm.

People who have integrated actual quincunxes involving 1/6 themes have created room in their lives for spontaneity and careful analysis, for freedom and for discipline, for work and for self-expression. The places may not be the same, but each side of the quincunx is granted a healthy forum. People who have balanced the “natural” 1/6 quincunx have made some sort of blending. They are likely to view their work as a place to express themselves. They need to work in their own particular fashion, without close supervision, with room to move, to breathe, to not be tied down. They may enjoy criticism, arguments, conflicts and competition at times, but also work hard, with dedication, practicality and efficient functioning at their competitive challenges. They can identify flaws, produce and contribute to life, while still enjoying the pure pleasure of life and just being. They are sensibly spontaneous and wholeheartedly practical. They enjoy their passions and their productivity, their cautions and their courage, their inner integrity and their outer achievements.

Copyright © 1987 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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