Life is a Quincunx

Maritha Pottenger

We continue our discussion of quincunxes with a look at the 4/9 quincunx.


The strongest form of the 4/9 quincunx would be a quincunx between the Moon and Jupiter. To some extent, any Moon-Jupiter aspect shows the need to integrate 4/9 issues, but the actual quincunx would carry more of the restlessness, sense of incompatibility and feeling of having to deal with a “forced choice” situation, fork in the road or possible projection. Harmony aspects suggest that integration will come more easily. Squares show tension, challenges and the need to take turns or be moderate in the different drives involved. Oppositions include the possibility of pulling apart, or polarizing (opposite ends of the seesaw) until a middle ground compromise is achieved. The conjunction of Moon and Jupiter indicates that one does not get the Moon without Jupiter and vice versa. However, the person must still deal with the issues in order to reach constructive rather than destructive combinations and intermingling.


Any quincunxes between the rulers of the 4th and 9th would also highlight this 4/9 quincunx. Similarly for quincunxes between planets in the 4th and 9th or in Cancer and Sagittarius. Other aspects are possible. One can, for example, link the 4th and 9th houses through a tri-octile (135 degrees). The quincunx itself, however, always carries the most restlessness, inner ambivalence and need to combine very different parts of the nature.

The following all point to a need to combine Letters 4 and 9. They are all variations of a “natural” 4/9 quincunx:

1) Moon in the 9th house

2) Jupiter in the 4th house

3) Any ruler of the 4th in the 9th house

4) Any ruler of the 9th in the 4th house

5) Moon in Sagittarius

6) Jupiter in Cancer

7) Any ruler of the 4th aspecting Jupiter or any 9th house ruler

8) Any ruler of the 9th aspecting the Moon or any 4th house ruler

9) Any planet in or ruling the 4th aspecting any planet in or ruling the 9th (including natural rulers Moon and Jupiter)

10) Any planet in Sagittarius aspecting a planet in Cancer.

The more important the theme is within the nature, the more times it will be repeated in the horoscope.


With the 4/9 blend or interaction in a horoscope, we are trying to blend comfortably our dependency, nurturance, emotional vulnerabilities, security needs, drive for mothering, home and family with our faith, trust, values, ideals, philosophy of life, religious or spiritual beliefs and quest for ultimate answers and why we are here.

Here are some of the different parts of life we are trying to integrate (make room for each) in the 4/9 quincunx:




pull from above


open road/broad horizons





seeks security




the land

the spirit


full of faith

children/parents grandchildren/ in-laws nurturing


emotional needs







One option is turning Letter 4 qualities into ultimate values. This can include putting our faith in mother, in motherhood, in home and family (“Blood is thicker than water”), in material or emotional security. We may believe closeness and emotional commitments are the most important things in life. We may idolize mother, children or family members. Motherhood may be seen as a “sacred trust.” We may adore our country (homeland), idealize our roots, or strive to create a “perfect” home.

Idealization of the mothering principle can express in many different variations. We usually begin dealing with the issue with our own mothers. Options can include feeling that mother IS perfect; feeling mother SHOULD HAVE BEEN perfect and being disappointed when she is human and not godlike; an absent or disappearing mother figure who is then created in fantasy—the ideal image of what she WOULD HAVE BEEN like. Or, we may deal with mothers with very high religious, ethical or moral standards, or strong principles. Or, mother could be involved with spiritual quests, educational fulfillment or love of travel (all of which might take her away from the nurturing role). The mother (or mother figure) may also idealize the child, or feel disappointed that s/he is not perfect. These options are all most likely when the combination is a conjunction or an automatic blend (e.g., planet in house). With conflict aspects, the mothering principle may seem AT ODDS WITH the quest for ultimate answers and ideals.


Regardless of our perceived experiences of being mothered, our goal is to be the perfect mother ourselves, when 4 and 9 are combined in the chart. This includes the option of: perfect or not at all! Some people will value their freedom tremendously, so excessively high standards in a given area allow them to say: “Since I cannot do it perfectly, I will not even deal with that area.” In terms of children, Jupiter-Moon conjunctions can go to either extreme: none or many. If we turn children and motherhood into God, then the tendency is to overdo—how can one ever have too many children if children are an ultimate value in life? If we say, “I only want perfect children, to be raised perfectly, brought into an ideal world,” the likelihood is having none.

If the individual does have children, expectations are an important issue. The parent may be trying to be a “super” parent—to supply that ideal, supportive, loving, nurturing that s/he wishes s/he had received as a child. Such parents may try to do TOO much for their kids, or may expect TOO MUCH—of themselves, of the children, of the family relationship. Their goals may be more than human. They might also overidealize domesticity. If we turn a limited part of life (such as home and family) into a “god,” we may end up having to lose that part of life to discover it is NOT everything—to develop a larger faith. Mutual idealization is also possible—which is fine as long as parents and children recognize one other as human and the idealism is not excessive. Families which emphasize religion, travel, philosophy, education, fun or the quest for MORE in some fashion are all potential expressions as well. The parents and children together are learning to balance security needs with the urge to explore; domesticity and quests for answers; perfectionistic idealism and human warmth and closeness.


The 4/9 quincunx (whether it is repeated in aspects or just indicated by planet/sign/house combinations) points to a freedom-closeness conflict around the nest. People are torn between the desire for emotional closeness and the desire to seek the truth to the ends of the Earth. The mother figure could originally be a freedom or truth-seeker and the child is likely to feel there was not enough closeness and emotional support. If the child identifies with the need for a secure, rooted nest, unconsciously s/he can attract a home in a foreign land, frequent moves, a home with people constantly coming and going, a home full of intellectual stimulation and openness. Or, the child who early on identifies with a need for independence, is likely to feel mother was too possessive and clinging. If the child identifies too much with the need for freedom and the search for ultimate answers, s/he may run away from home (literally and figuratively), leaving what seems an overly constrictive nest to search for the meaning of existence.

It is not at all uncommon for children to initially identify with the desire for emotional security, and feel frustrated by a home involving lots of moving around, or parents out involved with transpersonal issues (e.g., social justice), or partying, or other forms of expressing their freedom and searching for what they value most highly. If the child has turned emotional security and the nest (Letter 4) into an ultimate value (Letter 9); if the home (4) represents “god” (9) in some form, the child is likely to feel let-down and disappointed that the family and emotional security provided are not as ideal as they would like. This can include a sense of disillusionment that parents (especially Mom) are not perfect.

Often, once the child is older, s/he identifies more with the searching/seeking represented by Jupiter. At that point, the individual may voluntarily move a lot, create a home on the road, bring lots of intellectual stimulation and idealism into the home and express the restlessness directly. S/he may still place a high value on the home, but not stay in it a lot. The idealized (9) home (4) could express as a very large house, an apartment in perfect taste, a place where anyone can drop in at any time, strong patriotism (high value on the homeland), a house in the right part of town, etc., depending on the values of the individual—what is ideal for him/her. If the ambivalence between security and roots versus wandering, studying and looking for ultimate answers is not resolved, the person may continue to unconsciously attract events, people and situations which disrupt the domestic life OR events, people and situations which tie down the quest for MORE in life. Whichever side of the ambivalence is not being integrated, will be mirrored by the people and situations we attract.


Another variation is find our emotional security (Letter 4) through Letter 9 routes. We may feel safest when on the road, find security in more and more education, look to a guru or religious or spiritual figure to nurture, protect and support us. We may seek closeness through shared philosophies, involvements in the wider world or long-range goals. We can strive to protect others through our world view, or seek succor.


Challenge aspects accentuate the need for integration. We have to pay more attention, work a little harder to make peace between our various ambivalent sides. With the “natural” conjunctions (e.g., Moon in the 9th, ruler of the 9th in the 4th, etc.), we ARE combining in some fashion these various sides. We may not be comfortable yet with the blend, but we have some of both sides. In some way, we are finding security through taking risks, or taking risks in a secure environment. We may make the world our home, or take our home into the world. We are combining past and future, roots and adventure, emotional needs and intellectual exploration.

With conflict aspects, putting the pieces together may FEEL (subjectively) impossible—or at least difficult. We may experience our search for life’s meaning as taking us away from home and family (or vice versa). We may feel our mother (or mother figure) is at odds with our chosen philosophy, religion or world view. Children (4) may limit our freedom, educational goals or spiritual quests (9). We may be torn between a confident trust and faith that life will always work out (9) versus a desire to play it safe, conserve and protect ourselves and others (4). We could experience conflict between our concern for roots and the past (4) versus our impulse to do, learn and expand more into the future (9). Our cultural, physical and family background (4) may seem at odds with our interest in other nations, ideas, philosophies of life (9).

Harmony aspects suggest the blending will not be too difficult. Outer world possibilities do include the home in a foreign country; the home on the road (trailer); the intellectual home, etc. Both parents and children may value one another highly and share a quest for meaning. Emotional support and protectiveness may be a major value without the extreme of expecting those we care about to be “everything” for us. We can appreciate close, emotional, caring commitments as well as the intellectual freedom to seek more answers, to explore life more fully and completely. In some way, we look to take our home/emotional security into the world of the mind, spiritual quests, wider horizons, etc. OR to bring that wider world into our home—through books, bright and challenging people, etc.

Mother gave us our first opportunity to deal with our desire for the ultimate, our quest for perfection. How we handled that early relationship gives us clues about our later reactions to this inner conflict. But we can ALWAYS change and it is never too late to make peace. We merely need some stability, security, emotional rootedness and comfort along with a sense of independence, an active mind, an unrestricted exploration of the world, a seeking of answers and a yearning for understanding the nature of existence.

Copyright © 1989 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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