Life is a Quincunx

Maritha Pottenger

We continue our discussion of quincunxes with a look at the 2/9 quincunx.


The strongest form of the 2/9 quincunx would be a quincunx between Venus and Jupiter. To some extent, any aspect between Venus and Jupiter would indicate the need to integrate 2/9 themes, but the actual quincunx carries more of the potential restlessness, projection and seeming incompatibility or “forced choice” feelings. Harmony aspects accentuate the potential of integration. Squares emphasize the need to make a place for each, while oppositions highlight the danger of seesaws—going from one extreme to the other. Conjunctions imply that, in some way, we WILL do Venus and Jupiter things together—but we still have to deal with the strong differences in order to ensure our expression is constructive.


Any quincunxes between rulers of the 2nd and 9th houses would also emphasize the 2/9 quincunx. So would quincunxes between planets in the 9th and planets in the 2nd houses. The least emphatic form of this quincunx would be between planets in Taurus and planets in Sagittarius. Of course, other aspects could be involved (e.g., a trine or tri-octile between planets in the 2nd and 9th houses), but the quincunx itself emphasizes the restlessness most highly. Other possibilities (besides the Venus/Jupiter conjunction) which emphasize the “natural quincunx” or automatic need to put together Letters 2 and 9 include:

1) Jupiter in the 2nd house.

2) Venus in the 9th house.

3) Any ruler of 9th house aspecting Venus.

4) Any ruler of 9th house in 2nd house.

5) Any ruler of 2nd house aspecting Jupiter.

6) Any ruler of 2nd house in 9th house.

7) Jupiter in Taurus.

8) Venus in Sagittarius.

9) Any aspects linking 2nd & 9th houses.

10) Any aspects linking Taurus & Sag.

Depending on the horoscope, this theme might occur from zero to fifteen or more times!


What then, does this theme mean? The old books will tell you that a Jupiter-Venus conjunction means you are fat because you overeat. Or, they may tell you that you will be very fortunate and gain much pleasure in life. With Jupiter in the 2nd, the traditional reading is lucky in financial matters, while Venus in the 9th is assumed to marry a foreigner, or enjoy long trips, or make money through education, travel or religion. Jupiter in Taurus is commonly dismissed as self-indulgent, while Venus in Sagittarius is accused of being a flirt—”If I’m not near the one I love, I love the one I’m near.” With quincunxes between the 2nd and 9th houses, you may be told you are in danger of leaving all your possessions behind to find the truth in Tibet, or spending all your money on books and seminars, or curtailing your travel because you like all the sensual comforts of home.

None of these possibilities are wrong, per se. But they are all only possibilities, and the trap of trying to pick the specific details is one that waits patiently for the unwary astrologer. Any individual human may have tried any one (or several) of these details, plus other outer manifestations we have not mentioned. Here is where astrology’s greatest gift—as a COUNSELING TOOL—truly shines.

To tell a client that s/he will probably get fat because of eating too much is not terribly helpful. If we are wrong, the client is insulted. If we are right, the client feels trapped, “Oh, it’s written in the stars. I guess I am condemned to a life of overweight.” Similarly, to inform a client that s/he is destined to be a flirt, or to get romantically involved with foreigners, etc., is not helpful. The missing ingredient is the “WHY” behind these various behaviors. When clients understand their motivations, they have a much better chance of changing their behaviors! If they know the drives and desires with which they are working, they have more options for expressing these drives in other ways, for meeting those desires through alternative routes. The astrological alphabet’s greatest strength is in pin-pointing the psychological essences with which people are dealing.


With the 2/9 blend, we are putting together the desire for pleasure from the material, physical, sensual world (including eating, drinking, smoking, money, sex, and beauty) and the reach for meaning, truth, understanding of life, a world view, the quest for something MORE, something higher in life. [When Venus is part of our picture, it gets a bit more complicated as Venus rules both Taurus and Libra, 2 and 7. The letter 7 side of Venus brings in pleasure from people—the desire for partnership, marriage, one-to-one interaction, etc.]

Here are some of the different drives we are trying to integrate (to make room for each) with the 2/9 quincunx:
























Letter 9, therefore, is our search for the Infinite, our quest for God in some form. We may seek “Truth” through religion, philosophy, travel, education or other avenues, but the desire is for ultimate answers and meaning. Because the focus is infinite, the tendency is to expect more than is possible in this area. Whatever is associated with Letter 9 can easily be turned into an idol. When one area of life is seen as ultimately good, valuable and ideal, it is easy to overdo in that area. A Letter 9 emphasis is quite prone to the “If this is good, more is better” fallacy.

Letter 2, as indicated, is the quest for pleasure, especially from the physical world—including enjoying eating, drinking, making love, making money, creating and appreciating beauty and other sensual delights. The Libran Venus includes pleasure from people and relationships.

Sticking to the Letter 2 side of Venus, a 2/9 theme is therefore combining the quest for physical, material pleasures with the quest for something MORE and higher in life. What are the options? We could turn a small part of our physical, sensual pleasures into “god”—see them as what gives meaning, purpose and goodness to life. In such cases, the individual is likely to overdo strongly in that area. The astrologer could not predict whether the overindulgence is more likely in terms of eating, drinking, smoking, making or spending money, creating beauty, or other channels. Essentially, the individual is saying, “Food (or drink, money, etc.) is my ultimate value. It is the greatest good for me.” Overdoing is a natural consequence. (And, the individual may change the focus of overindulgence, from smoking to food to money, or other variations, over a lifetime.)

For such an individual, we see the importance of understanding the basic drives of the 2/9 theme. If food is the problem, it is not enough for the person to know s/he ought to eat less and exercise more. With the 2/9 blend, faith is also a central issue. The individual needs to seek a sense of something higher, something more, something ultimately meaningful in life—away from the material plane. Trying to satisfy an infinite thirst with physical (limited) means is self-defeating. The person needs to find a “bigger god”—a sense of Higher Meaning beyond the material. Once the over-investment (in food, alcohol, money or whatever sensual connection is the focus) lessens, the overindulgence can be handled and turned into moderation.

Contrast this approach with the individual who has a weight problem with a strong Letter 4. There, a primary focus is emotional security needs. Issues revolve around dependency and nurturance. Such a person needs to look to his/her support system. Is food a reassurance for safety? (“At least I can still eat.”) Is excess weight a bulwark or protecting barrier against a threatening world? Is food a substitute for nurturing from other people? The better we understand our motivations, the more easily we can find satisfying ways to meet our various needs.

So, the 2/9 blend can be expressed as “Pleasure (2) is my ultimate value (9).” The ramifications of this are many. We can get the hedonist—who truly believes enjoying life is all that matters. We can get overindulgence in many forms of material enjoyment. One possibility is the person who turns money into god. S/he may spend a lifetime seeking more and more financial gain—with the restless reach for the infinite never satisfied. Possessions may become a source of meaning and faith to the person, so they collect more and more material goods. Creating beauty could be the individual’s answer to the meaning of the universe, and they could be strongly committed to a number of different aesthetic paths.


But look what else is possible with the 2/9 blend: “My pleasures and possessions (2) exist only to support my quest for meaning and Truth (9)” or “Seeking the Truth (9) is enjoyable (2). The quest for ultimate knowledge (9) brings me pleasure (2).” Here is the individual who spends all his/her money on books, seminars, higher education, pursuing spiritual paths, astrology workshops, travel, etc. Every penny goes to a 9th house function! Such people find great enjoyment in learning, teaching, traveling and pursuing meaning through any highways and by-ways of life.

Also possible is “Religion, education, travel and/or the quest for truth (9) is my source of income (2).” Teachers, preachers, travel agents, gurus and a number of similar individuals can have the 2/9 blend, linking material goods to the search for something more in life.


And what of the old traditions linking Jupiter (the “Great Benefic”) in the 2nd to luck in finances? Jupiter is a key to faith. Where faith is present, we exhibit confidence and tend to push forward into life. Who is not willing to risk when “God is on our side”! Thus, 2/9 blends CAN INDICATE people who are quite financially successful. They trust in the universe, believe they can manifest materially—and do! They put a high priority (9) on money (2) so tend to make more and more. They are good at visualizing (9) financial gain (2). Such an option is most likely, of course, when supported by the ability to be realistic and do what is necessary to succeed in life. Visualization alone is insufficient; the follow-up of effective action is essential.

When the individual has TOO MUCH faith (a possibility with Letter 9—especially if backed up by other strong fire in the horoscope), s/he may look to the universe to provide—and end up with little. Often strong fire can feel: “I have a right to what I want and the universe ought to give it to me. (Or, I’ll take it.)” Here we find the person who has grand schemes for “when my ship comes in.” Such people can tell you exactly how they would spend every penny of that winning lottery ticket (which, naturally, never wins). In extreme forms, the individual may even believe, “The world owes me a living.”

Since fire is connected to optimism and confidence—”I can always get more”—strongly fire people are often very generous. In such cases, they may see lots of money, but it slips quickly through their fingers, as they share with those around them. And, the individual whose priorities are connected to education or the quest for ultimate knowledge may be quite poor, spending all her/his material goods in the seeking.


Since the 2/9 blend IS a natural quincunx, we are trying to put together two parts of life which are inherently somewhat incompatible. In such cases, the easiest solutions are to either express these two sides of our nature in different times and places in life, or to do each in moderation—neither one to its fullest extent. Moderation is, of course, an inherent challenge for Letter 9. With its natural tendencies toward exaggeration, Letter 9 is normally prone to overdose. The parts of life we are trying to blend are, in a sense, the spiritual and the physical. Letter 9 is very much our reach toward the infinite and is naturally transpersonal. Letter 2 is our connection to the material plane, particularly through pleasures and is quite personal—our individual pleasures and possessions, uncomplicated by the desires of other people.

It is not at all difficult to feel a conflict between these two sides of life. Indeed, certain religions have made a very big issue of the pull between the “spiritual” or “ideal” and the “carnal” or “physical.” The assumption of the astrological alphabet is that BOTH sides of life and of our psyches, are positive; both are necessary. We merely have to decide when, where and how much of each we choose to express!

But the balance is not always easy. Some people equate “spirituality” (consciously or unconsciously) with poverty. In such cases, they will inevitably spend their money and give up most of their possessions in order to pursue their version of the spiritual path. If nothing else, one can always tithe to the church! Cults which demand all the material goods of their members are artificially placing Letter 9 above Letter 2 in importance. Belief systems which equate “spirituality” with self-denial and a removal of “pleasures of the flesh” are trying to cut out Letter 2 from our world. It is as short-sighted and unbalanced to say “Spiritual truths are all that matter to a person” as it is to say “Money (or food or sex or pleasure) is all that matters to a person.” A whole human being needs all 12 parts of life.

Another version of this quincunx is seen among spiritual teachers and preachers. Many are still ambivalent about receiving payment for their services. Should one be paid for God’s work? The myth that poverty is somehow more spiritual than wealth is part of the issue. Another part is the assumption that “enlightened” people need never ask; God will somehow provide. (I do believe God provides, but we have to do our part too!) Perhaps the core myth in all of this is money as the “root of all evil.” If that is still a part of our consciousness, how unsurprising that our spiritual, metaphysical needs are constantly separating us from material gain!

Naturally, the other extreme exists among some TV evangelists (and other would-be religious leaders). These people have turned money into a god of sorts, and measure the impact of their message by the mounds of moolah they amass. Some people imply (or say right out) that God rewards the righteous, and equate big bucks with a high degree of spiritual evolution. This is another example of giving too high a priority to one part of life (misplaced faith).


Another part of the natural conflict between 2/9 is security versus risk. Letter 9 is one of our freedom letters. We need to be free in order to pursue the truth—wherever that quest takes us. Letter 2 desires material security, the known, the tried-and-true. Letter 2 has nothing at all against being in a rut, as long as it is comfortable with plush carpeting, delicious food and a good stereo. This inner ambivalence (between 2 and 9) can manifest in innumerable human variations. One option is the person who feels much closer to God in the wilderness (not uncommon with Letter 9) but hates to leave behind indoor plumbing and the comforts of civilization (Letter 2). Another option is the person who loves to travel (Letter 9), but worries about who will care for his/her lovely garden (or other Letter 2 possessions) while s/he is gone. Most of us are probably familiar with the question of: should I spend this money on something to make my life more pleasurable and materially comfortable (Letter 2) or something to expand my horizons and further my quest for meaning and trust (Letter 9)?

Astrology teaches us, as Zip is fond of saying, “Life is not an ‘either/or,’ but an ‘and.’” No part of life is innately better than another. It depends on the circumstances and how we choose to manifest that part of our nature. Both Letters 2 and 9 are necessary and both are highly positive. It is up to us to create a life which allows both to express in manners which we find personally fulfilling!


Alert readers will note that I have not discussed the “marry foreigners” or “flirt” options. This is because they have to do with Venus as a key to Letter 7 rather than Letter 2. Even though the 7/9 combination is not a natural quincunx, it is worth examining to help clarify issues. As always, with our astrological alphabet, we need to be thinking in terms of the logical extrapolations from what we are combining. If we are blending pleasure from people and relationships (Letter 7) with the quest for something more (Letter 9), what are some of the potential manifestations? And, most importantly, what are the basic motivations BEHIND any outer world details?

As we have said, Letter 9 is one of our freedom letters, so an attraction to many people (the “flirt” option) can be one way of keeping our options open. If we refuse to commit to one individual, we can feel that we always have the choice to leave, that we are not tied down to only one possibility. Even if the person is married, s/he may still flirt or have affairs partially to “prove” s/he is “free” to do as s/he pleases. Since Letter 9 is always looking for MORE in some fashion, there is a tendency toward insatiability as well. It is hard to be satisfied with just ONE person—when there are all those other fascinating individuals out there! (“So many men. So little time.”) In addition, Letter 9 may be looking for more than is humanly possible (seeking God). Expecting another person to be perfect is a big demand, rarely met by a partner. When a current partner appears to fall short of our high standards, it is easy to fantasize that the individual we flirt with would be better.

For me, one of the glories of the alphabet is that it points to the complexity of human motivations—and how often the same outer behavior can arise from many different inner motivations. Consider the instance of the sexually “unfaithful” spouse. With Letter 9, it may be that the spouse has unrealistically high standards for the relationship and keeps on trying new people, hoping the next one will be “perfect” or “ideal.” It could be that the person is feeling confined in the relationship and an affair is a means of asserting his/her freedom and independence. It could be that the person has turned relating into a “god” and places such a high value on involvement with other people, that it is hard for one person to be enough. But there can be many other factors in “infidelity.” Perhaps anger is an issue (Letter 1 or 8 most likely) and having an affair is a revenge or “get back” action. Perhaps the individual is feeling threatened and an affair is a source of emotional reassurance and security (strong water likely). Perhaps the person just seeks extra attention, admiration and praise (Letter 5), etc. If we understand what the basic issues are for our clients, they have a better chance of satisfying their many different sides in ways which are fulfilling and constructive rather than frustrating and destructive.


Astrology teaches me tolerance. While there are certain actions I do not support, there are no motivations I unilaterally condemn. It is entirely human and natural to want freedom, pleasure, attention, meaning and all the other parts of life. By getting BEYOND the outer action to assessing the inner needs, drives and motives for that action, we are able to be helpful to the individual. By not condemning those needs and drives, we leave room for the person to feel accepted and cared about. By seeing alternatives, we encourage the client to find ways and means of satisfying his/her varying desires in manners which are fulfilling to both the client and the people in his/her life.

For me, the astrological alphabet offers a world view of wholeness and of hope. It is my wish that it can do as well for you!

Copyright © 1988 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

back to top