Life is a Quincunx

Maritha Pottenger

Next up for analysis in our quincunx series is the 5/10 quincunx.


The strongest form of a 5/10 conflict would be a quincunx between the Sun and Saturn. Although any aspect between the Sun and Saturn points to 5/10 issues, the quincunx implies the most restlessness, feeling of incompatibility and potential of projection or “forced” choices. Harmony aspects would indicate that Saturnian themes (effort, responsibility, achievement, focus, power, work) will aid and abet solar themes (recognition, attention, applause, admiration, self-esteem, creativity)—and vice versa.

We might gain recognition through hard work, ambition and focused, productive efforts. Our self-esteem may be built through our career and contribution to society. Similarly, our creativity, charisma, star quality and capacity to shine could enhance our material accomplishments. Our magnetism might be a professional asset.

Other conflict aspects (square, opposition, octile, tri-octile) symbolize the need to make a place for both solar and Saturnian principles in our lives. We might be moderate in our expression of each, or take turns doing them in different times and places. Until we integrate the drives symbolized by Sun and Saturn, we may feel torn between them or they might sabotage one another in our nature.

If Saturnian themes are carried to an extreme (at the expense of the Sun), we are likely to hide our light under a bushel, inhibit our self-esteem, be afraid to take center stage, limit our creativity, be judgmental of our loving instincts (or loved ones) and choose work over play. If solar themes are carried to an extreme (at the expense of Saturn), we could promote, sell and promise with nothing solid underneath. We might demand the recognition and attention of leadership, but eschew the responsibilities it entails. We might get easily excited and turned on by people, projects and new ideas—but lack follow-through. Our child side may overwhelm our responsible adult.

With the conjunction, we get Saturn and Sun together—but it is up to us to create a constructive (as opposed to destructive) blend. We might be the professional (Saturn) leader (Sun); the responsible (Saturn) promoter (Sun); the exciting (Sun) executive (Saturn); or the inhibited (Saturn) creator (Sun); fearful (Saturn) child (Sun) or display limited (Saturn) zest and enthusiasm (Sun) along with many other potentials.


Other variations of the 5/10 quincunx would include quincunxes between the 5th and 10th houses, or between the rulers of those houses. There could be quincunxes between planets in Leo and planets in Capricorn. If other aspects repeat the 5/10 motif, integration is called for, but the degree of intensity (in terms of a “forced choice,” fork in the road, or challenge to getting both sides) is less than with the actual quincunx.

The following would be forms of the “natural” quincunx, where we have 5 and 10 combined in some fashion. As with the conjunction, we are facing these two letters of the alphabet in tandem, but the blending we make could be more positive (or more negative).

1) Sun in the 10th house

2) Saturn in the 5th house

3) Any ruler of the 10th in the 5th

4) Any ruler of the 10th in Leo

5) Any ruler of the 5th in the 10th

6) Any ruler of the 5th in Capricorn

7) Sun in Capricorn

8) Saturn in Leo

9) Sun or any 5th house ruler conjunct Saturn or any 10th house ruler

Any aspects linking the 5th and 10th houses, or Leo and Capricorn planets, or rulers of the 5th and 10th (natural or actual rulers) repeat the 5/10 theme. The automatic mixing, however, is most likely with the conjunction. When a conjunction is involved, we ARE—in some way—dealing with both of these motifs together. Such combinations may manifest as an expression of the commonalities of the Sun and Saturn: parental, ambitious, forceful and oriented toward power. Or, the blending may combine planetary motifs such as inhibited (Saturn) expression (Sun); anxiety (Saturn) about love or loved ones (Sun); pragmatic (Saturn) speculation (Sun); enthusiasm (Sun) for work (Saturn) or dramatizing (Sun) order and consistency (Saturn).


One feature of the 5/10 quincunx is the classic pull between love and work. We are striving to balance passion, emotional extraversion, creativity, outreach and love relationships (Sun) with responsibility, emotional restraint, tradition, consolidation/constriction and a focus on achievement (Saturn).

Here are some of the different parts of life we are trying to balance with a 5/10 quincunx:





seeks excitement

seeks stability


authority figures



needs admiration

needs results



childlike, naive

mature (jaded)

emotional expression

physical deeds







eager, enthusiastic

deliberate, cautious


A situation which illustrates many of the 5/10 issues is love affairs on the job. As more and more women have entered the marketplace and male/female interactions become more numerous, the number of office affairs has also risen.

In the initial stages of an affair, people seem to have the best of both worlds. Each lover finds the other stimulating and exciting. They feed each other’s egos, generating lots of solar enthusiasm, admiration, attention and positive regard. This solar excitement and applause seems to spur them on to greater Saturnian accomplishments. They feel more productive, more focused. Work is more interesting, more stimulating and they get more done.

As the affair progresses, however, it may get out of hand. One option is the people becoming so focused on their desire for excitement and sexual stimulation, they let work duties and responsibilities slide. Rather than taking care of business, they are busy planning their next rendezvous. They choose thrills over discipline and the excitement of their love affair over the necessary details and effort of their jobs.

Another negative option occurs when one individual is attracted to another person at work, but the other individual is not interested. If the person who is attracted has less power than the individual they want, yearning from afar is usually the worst that happens. Or, they may hint around, give lots of compliments and stroke the ego of the other individual, hoping for some positive response. If, however, the person who is attracted to a coworker has a position of authority over that coworker, things can get VERY uncomfortable. Sexual harassment (ranging from verbal to physical) of all varieties is a real danger. The individual having power may be very tempted to wield that power in the pursuit of sexual “favors” of one sort or another.

Whether or not an affair is pursued and desired by both people, when the relationship begins to break down, one person often cools off before the other. The individual who feels “abandoned” or deserted is likely to react with hurt, emotional scenes, blackmail, threats or other attempts to either go back to the status quo (the affair) or “get back” for the hurt they feel. A typical tactic is to overdo the Saturnian facility for flaw-finding and focus on everything wrong with that other person. Another option is to put professional roadblocks up for the other party—hindering his/her vocation ambitions in order to soothe one’s own hurt feelings. Another common reaction is to give up on the job, feeling that one cannot stay in close contact to a former lover. Often, the person having more power (especially if s/he has wielded it) will force the individual with less power to leave to avoid exposure, because s/he feels guilty and the other party is a reminder, as a revenge tactic, or for numerous other reasons.

Generally office affairs remind us that we must be very careful in combining love and work. Loving one’s work can be very satisfying and rewarding. But loving a coworker is fraught with peril unless both individuals have clear agreements and perspective on where the (Saturn) boundary lines are. A spark of sexual attraction can liven up a work day, but should not interfere with one’s responsibilities and duties. People who admire and praise us do encourage us to do more, but it isn’t essential that our colleagues be in love with us. Above all, promotions, perks and other vocational rewards should be based on performance ON THE JOB—not any kind of sexual exchanges between individuals. Keeping a clear demarcation between Saturn (work) and solar (love/excitement) drives may be vital.


Another issue which is related to the love versus work dilemma is the balance between duty and recreation or work and play. One of the hazards of an office affair is that work time can be taken up with playtime activities! Life is set up to encourage both productive accomplishments and tangible results (Saturn) as well as zest, fun, recreation and playful activities (the Sun). The person who fritters away his/her life on exciting, expressive activities (sizzle over substance) will end up feeling a lack of accomplishment, a sense of not really contributing to life. But, the individual who locks into a workaholic lifestyle will miss much of the joy, drama and excitement of living and loving. A full human experience requires some of each.

Most bosses are uneasy with employees who have too playful of an attitude. If they seem bent purely on excitement and “messing around,”

the person in charge may look for replacements. However, being serious about playing is also asking for trouble. A focus and concentration on doing things “right” is a sure recipe for disaster where games, love and creativity are concerned. Spontaneity, joy and emotional expression do not follow set rules; they create their own timing.


Another clash between the Sun and Saturn is the tension between a desire to create, to reach out, to do more than has been done before versus a desire to consolidate, to conserve, to batten down and cement in the traditional hatches. The solar side of our nature is drawn toward expression, extraversion, creativity and reaching out into the world for more. The Saturnian side of our nature is drawn toward control, introversion, repeating the past, and holding on to what already is.

We can spend our time torn between expansion and contraction, between taking risks and being careful, or we can make a time and place for each in our lives. We retain some highly creative, speculative projects and other areas where we are extremely careful, traditional and unimaginative. We know when to take chances and when to consolidate our gains.

These motifs also relate to promotion or initiation versus completion and production. The Sun’s flair relates to a spark of inspiration, enthusiasm and motivation; it is wonderful for initiation and cheerleading. Saturn’s strength lies in regularity, discipline and a faithful carrying through of responsibilities. Saturn plods along; the Sun rises to great heights. The Sun by itself may burn out with no tangible results; backed up by Saturn, much can be accomplished. In business terms, the two together could be seen as the marketer and the manufacturer. (They need each other.)


A related issue is the pull between emotional expression (even volatility or hysteria in extremes) versus emotional restraint and control. Saturn represents the desire to constantly keep a lid on, relate practically, and inhibit emotional responses. The Sun represents our desire for emotional response, our need to pour out, and our seeking of admiration and attention from others.

These factors become very significant in office affairs, for example, when the individuals are constantly balancing the discretion of Saturn with the need of excitement shown by the Sun. If they let their desire for love shine too brightly, they may betray themselves or lose professional respect. If they control themselves too much, limiting natural responses, they may dampen their attraction for one another. (Admiration feeds love.) Individuals are constantly choosing how much to opt for the calm, cool, collected practical approach of Saturn and how much to allow their lovelight to shine, their sexual charisma to manifest, their quest for applause and love to pour out to another person.


Some people attempt to avoid the problem by giving Saturn full reign. In such circumstances, we may see inhibited sexuality and diminished joy. People may hold back on their natural responses, curtailing their sexuality and other expressive emotions. Sexual and sensual blocks are possible. Another option is stifling one’s own creativity—in terms of artistic expression, having children, persuading others, or any form of emotional outreach. If we internalize the Saturnian motifs too strongly, we may become critical of love, or loved ones (or attract lovers who criticize us). If we overidentify with the need to take control and be responsible, we may unconsciously draw in people (children, lovers, etc.) who need extra care (such as the handicapped) or whom we perceive as weaker and amenable to our control.

The other extreme is people who allow the Sun full reign. They are often quite charismatic, magnetic and charming. They have a childlike enthusiasm for life and a childish self-centeredness that avoids responsibility and expects to play through life. They may refuse to consider the consequences of their behavior, chronically seeking excitement, stimulation and the adrenaline rush from life.

Somehow, the challenge is to ride the hurricane—to experience life to the hilt, while still dealing with consequences and carrying out one’s proper duties and obligations.


When the Sun and Saturn are prominent, the issue of power is inevitable. Both planets represent power drives and power needs. The Sun naturally seeks the limelight, gravitates toward power for the joy of expression, the zest of being center stage and the insistence on dramatic attention. The Sun represents our joy in ascension to power, a natural sense of leadership, the person who feels “born to the purple.” Saturn represents the burden of power, the responsibilities of leadership, power sought through guilt (“I’m responsible”), anxiety (“They’ll hurt me if I don’t take control”) or an overdeveloped sense of duty (“If I don’t do it, they won’t do it.”).

When both planets are prominent, the individual may swing between experiencing the joys of power, versus its sorrows. Yet both planets do point to a power drive, so it is vital that the individual have some outlet for the forceful, competitive, “take charge” side of their nature. Those who deny their impetus toward power simply attract negative forms of power struggles or power plays into their lives. Power can be wisely channeled into fighting for causes, competitive sports, business, politics or other socially approved avenues.

Ambition is a likely characteristic when both Sun and Saturn are strong. One of their most positive blends is the individual who takes great pride (Sun) in his/her work (Saturn), the person who builds self-esteem (Sun) through tangible, useful accomplishments (Saturn). Such people want to be and do their very best.

The father archetype is central to 5/10. The combination tends to manifest as a need to be responsible, in charge, to look after others. People naturally gravitate to positions of authority and tend to believe that they know best (for themselves and for others). The impact of the father or father figure is likely to be strong in the life. The individual is very focused on issues of control, ambition, authority and power—and needs positive channels to be a mover, shaker and doer in the world.


When we bring together the diverse themes of 5 and 10, we have the element blend of fire/earth. This reiterates the importance of having an impact on the outer world. Fire needs to pour out into the world and earth needs to DO something to the world. Their blend is externally-oriented and the most productive of all the element combinations. With fire/earth, the individual can initiate (particularly in terms of speculation, creativity, recreation, drama, magnetism, sales, teaching and other solar skills) and also consummate. Saturn represents our capacity to finish up, to focus, concentrate and truly get the job done—usually with expertise, disciplined focus and a professional eye. This can point to someone who is an expert at any number of areas.

To name a few of the potentials, they include: a dedicated teacher, speculative businessperson, professional gambler, creative executive, risk-taking leader, career in sales, sensible promoter, practical children, working with children, a career in recreation, an ambitious and charismatic controller, etc.

With integration, we can find zest, joy and excitement in tangible accomplishments and we can put much discipline, focus and concentration into loving and living fully. We can express strong emotions, yet also know when to be cautious, circumspect and plan ahead. We can be sensible, but freely tap into life’s vitality, excitement and enthusiasm. We have the wisdom and foresight of the adult melded to the freshness and joie de vivre of a child. Life is full; we achieve much; we love much; we feel much and we constantly strive to do even more.

Copyright © 1990 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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