Life is a Quincunx

Maritha Pottenger

We close our discussion of quincunxes with the 7/12 quincunx.


The strongest form of the 7/12 quincunx would be an actual quincunx between Venus (or Pallas or Juno) and Neptune. To a degree, any aspect between Venus and Neptune would suggest the need to integrate the 7/12 themes, but an actual quincunx will carry more potential of projection, restlessness, forks in the road or a feeling of “forced choice.” Harmony aspects accent the likelihood of integration (although excesses are still quite possible). Other conflict aspects (squares, octiles, trioctiles) suggest inner tension, blockages, the need to make room for each side. Oppositions carry a strong flavor of polarities with the danger of seesawing between extremes or denying one end and projecting it onto others in one’s life. Yet oppositions are also the easiest of the conflict aspect to harmonize as they point to areas of natural partnership, where both sides are inclined to find that middle-ground synthesis.


Any quincunxes between rulers of the 7th and 12th houses would also emphasize the 7/12 quincunx. So would quincunxes between planets in the 7th and 12th houses. The least emphatic form is quincunxes between planets in Libra and planets in Pisces.

Combinations which emphasize the “natural” 7/12 quincunx would include:

1) Venus (Pallas, Juno) in the 12th house.

2) Neptune in the 7th house.

3) Any ruler of the 7th aspecting Neptune.

4) Any ruler of the 12th aspecting Venus (Pallas, Juno).

5) Any ruler of the 7th in the 12th house.

6) Any ruler of the 12th in the 7th house.

7) Neptune in Libra.

8) Venus (Pallas, Juno) in Pisces.

9) Any aspects linking the 7th and 12th houses.

10) Any aspects linking placements in Libra and Pisces.

The more times such combinations occur in one horoscope, the more central the issues of the 7/12 quincunx are for that individual.


With the 7/12 blend, we are trying to put together our drive for partnership, equality, justice, fair play, balance, harmony, beauty, visual aesthetics, charm and grace with our drive for infinite love and beauty, compassion, visualization, imagination, fantasy, escapism, transcendence, inspiration and emotional yearning. Here are some of the different drives we are trying to integrate (by making room for each) with the 7/12 quincunx:





human partnerships

oneness with God

justice/fair play


visual arts

inspired arts


inward, meditative



people pleasures

Infinite meaning

weighing, balancing

unconditional acceptance

equalitarian teamwork

savior/victim associations

This quincunx is fascinating because Venus and Neptune have much in common even though they are very different in some respects.


One of the most favorable avenues for expressing 7/12 motifs is through the arts. With Venus and Neptune, we are combining the two planets of beauty, so any form of aesthetic creation is appropriate. Letter 7 is traditionally most connected to the visual arts (e.g., photography, design, architecture, painting, etc.), but can be drawn to music and many other forms. Letter 12, being mutable, seems open to any form of artistic manifestation, but especially seeks a transcendent experience—art which will inspire people, uplift them, take them beyond the mundane to an otherworldly reality.

Even with a quincunx or other conflict aspects, when Venus and Neptune are connected, we suspect a strong feeling for beauty and the potential of creating it in the world. (Of course, this can take many forms. The person overly concerned with his/her appearance may be focusing on beauty, but hardly in a constructive fashion.) Nonetheless a Neptune/Venus link suggests that involvement with the world of aesthetics could be a very constructive move.


Another commonality between Venus and Neptune is that they both can denote a desire for ease and a tendency to sweep unpleasantness under the carpet. Venus is the master of politeness and refinement (which can include a smiling denial of any real disagreements or problems). Neptune represents the drive for grace, for infinite love and beauty and the rose-colored glasses people can don when they would rather not see the (sometimes unpleasant) real world. The combination can get carried away with “little white lies,” overdone diplomacy, or complete denial of any real difficulties.

Both Venus and Neptune also represent receptive, attractive qualities. They signify the attribute of being so lovely or alluring that others are drawn into one’s sphere. When carried to an extreme, however, this can indicate someone passive and dependent—always waiting for someone else to carry the load, take care of business, do what is necessary, look after things, etc. Venus/Neptune can be the old caricature of the “Southern belle”—that lovely, ethereal-appearing individual (with her tiny, corseted waist) who faints at the slightest pressure and beguiles those around her into waiting upon her and serving her needs.

I don’t really know anyone who can flutter her eyelashes and get men (and/or women) to fall all over themselves to serve, but that ultra-”feminine” imagery (both Venus and Neptune are associated with qualities our society labels “feminine”) can do damage to honest relationships and the development of women as full human beings.

Yet nothing in the horoscope (and no drive in the psyche) is totally negative. It is a matter of how we channel our inner needs. A receptive, accepting quality is an essential part of life. We cannot always be driving, competitive, forceful (Mars/Pluto/Sun, etc.). There are times it is necessary (and healthy) to relax, flow with life and let things come to us. And grace, diplomacy, manners and charm certainly have their place in life as well!


Many of us are dealing with Neptune in Libra—a variant on the “natural” 7/12 quincunx. Some lucky souls born in the mid-1940s have Neptune AND Jupiter AND Chiron (all forms of looking for God) in Libra along with Juno (the marriage asteroid). The tendency to mix the quest for infinite love and beauty with human partnerships is an issue for all our generation, although those who have other 7/12 themes will face it most strongly.

One variant is the individual who unconsciously seeks God (ultimate meaning) through a partner or partnership. Such a person may put the partner up on a pedestal, convinced the beloved is perfect. If disillusionment sets in, they are utterly crushed because their idol fell so far and crashed so hard. If they never acknowledge the human flaws and shortcomings of their dearly beloved, they may have to lose their partner in order to realize that s/he is NOT God, does not provide total meaning and purpose to life. (And some may keep that “lost love” on a pedestal forever, convinced they’ll never find anyone so ideal again.)

Others may make relationships so holy and sacred that they can only marry God by going into the Church (nuns, priests, etc.). [Even people who marry God have the continuing tension of 7/12 in terms of how much time/energy to focus on their Union with the Infinite versus the human beings with whom they must relate.] Or, people may spend their lives fantasizing about an ideal, ecstatic union, but unwilling to risk any human associations which are sure to fall short of their dreams and visions. All other factors being equal in a horoscope (which they never are), Venus in the 12th is more likely to fantasize and never do, whereas Neptune in the 7th is more likely to take the plunge into a relationship but have real issues around clarity and overdone idealism.

Another option is savior/victim entanglements within partnerships. If we try to play “God” to a partner, what should be a peer relationship (Letter 7) becomes a rescuer/enabler or co-dependent association. We may unconsciously attract alcoholics, psychotics, chronic invalids, drug addicts or more mild forms of victims who we try to rescue, succor and save (make it all better). Or, we can be the victim looking for the savior. A mild version of this script is Pygmalion and Galatea—where one person strives to make the other over into a “perfect” image.

With Neptune/Venus (Pallas, Juno) connections, you can see real extremes in relationships—from the person with multiple marriages to the individual who has never had a close, intimate attachment. The former is “in love with love” and yearns so much for the beautiful dream that s/he repeatedly dons rose-colored glasses and marries a “perfect” partner. Then, disillusionment sets in; the partner is NOT perfect. So the relationship ends. Again, the rose-colored glasses take over and the individual tries yet another “ideal” relationship. And so on. The individual who never gets involved has simply set an infinite standard for relationships—one no one can ever achieve. Such people want more than is humanly possible—from themselves, their potential partners, or the relationship itself. “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” is a Neptune/Venus remark which ignores the reality that even people who love each other get angry and deserve an apology when appropriate.

People who have strong themes of 7/12 will handle their relationships best if they can do several (or all) of the following:

(1) have an artistic outlet

(2) do volunteer or professional work as a helper, healer, rescuer with office hours and limits (e.g., astrologer, therapist, doctor, etc.)

(3) choose a partner who shares their quest for meaning whether through meditation, spiritual quests, affirmations, interest in beauty, etc.

(4) use their idealism to see the best in their partner (the Higher Self) and to forgive the little foibles that do not matter, but use their practicality (shown by some part of the chart which is NOT Neptune/Venus) to be clear about necessary steps to achieve the best with one another.

(5) do not make their relationship (or another person) their “all in all.” Develop faith in something Higher so they can look for Ultimate Meaning in the wider universe.


Although the 7/12 combination is not usually connected to monetary issues, Venus/Neptune themes can be because Venus rules Taurus as well as Libra. I’ve seen cases where Venus/Neptune conflicts were part of the picture in terms of individuals who are too idealistic around money. One woman with Neptune (in Libra) quincunx Venus in Taurus does seem to expect God to balance the checkbook. She is often overdrawn—usually because she forgot to write down some checks she wrote for worthy causes (Neptune is in the 11th house).

Venus/Neptune may have truly infinite resources (as can Venus/Jupiter), but can also simply dream about “when my ship comes in” (winning the lottery) or space out about money because it is something “ugly” which the person would rather not face. Positively, people can earn money through artistic, compassionate, healing or idealistic avenues.


One of the built-in conflicts between Letter 7 and Letter 12 is the question of fairness versus forgiveness and compassion. In general, Letter 7 is very concerned with balance and fair play. Even-handedness is appreciated and seen as appropriate. By contrast, Letter 12 is more concerned with ultimate goodness and may forgive and forget many, many times. “Turn the other cheek” is a very Neptunian statement.

Letter 7 can be quite competitive or at least concerned with keeping score so that things are “even.” Letter 12 is willing to sacrifice for the whole, to see beauty and grace in the ugliest, most depraved of settings, to envision and affirm the potential which exists even when it has yet to evidence itself.

There are certainly times when turning the other cheek is deadly, and people deserve to experience what they have foisted upon others. Yet there are also times when exact equality and sameness would not be nearly as effective as affirming the highest potential in the people involved. Parents instinctively understand this when they treat their children with love and try to encourage the best in each child, even though this does NOT always include giving them the same exact toys, choices or settings. Life includes both justice and grace (mercy).


Another potential conflict between Letters 7 and 12 is a focus on polarities versus a drive for Union. Letter 7 is very concerned with opposites, with contrasts and can make quite a good devil’s advocate—arguing the opposite point of view to make sure it is represented. Letter 12 sees life in terms of Wholes, connection, and indivisibility. Letter 7 understands through comparisons, contrasts and identifying opposites. Letter 12 understands through communion, absorption, and merging.

The most common negative form of too much Letter 12 in this regard is martyrdom (being taken advantage of) or confusion (because everything is all caught up together). The most common form of too much Letter 7 in this regard is scapegoating—what is identified as “the other” (opposite) is denied, denigrated and abused. This is done traditionally to the “other side” in warfare and has been done for years to minority groups and women by the white, male power structure. (Many psychological studies have demonstrated that all too many people still think of “normal” as white, male. Females and other races are not “normal.”) Letter 7 alone may lack compassion, but Letter 12 alone may lack discrimination. (When everything is interconnected, one potential is cosmic mush.)

Naturally life is made up of both. In many ways, the successful resolution of this issue is represented by a mutually satisfying sexual experience. Both the male and the female are very conscious of polarities and opposites—the differences between their physical bodies and contrasting sensations. Yet, the heart of the experience is a sense of union, intense moments when two are one. The “war” between the sexes is overcome when people recognize their contrasts and differences while affirming and celebrating their connections and basic Oneness.


Letter 7 and 12 also have strong differences in terms of a need for people versus a need for alone time to process feelings, to meditate or to seek a sense of connection to something Higher. If too much of an individual’s sense of power, assertion or potency is connected to Letter 7 (e.g., Mars or Sun in 7th, ruler of Ascendant in 7th, etc.), it is true that one danger can be withdrawal from relationships (for fear of what others could/would do to us). More commonly, however, relationships are part of the “breath of life” for Letter 7. People with a strong focus on Venus (Pallas, Juno) often learn much about themselves through sharing and interacting with others. They have a natural sociability and orientation toward people.

Letter 12, by contrast, rules retreats, ashrams, protected and protective institutions. It rules the “still, inner voice” that usually requires tranquility and silence to be heard. Like all water, Letter 12 needs some alone time to work through emotions or reach inner clarity. Connections to one’s Higher Self tend to come in solitude.

Life consistently sends us a message of balance. Constant socializing may deprive an individual of a sense of purpose, meaning, spiritual understanding. Yet continual retreat and meditation keeps an individual from the learning and joy of human relationships. (There are many tales of the “enlightened” being who did just fine on the mountain top and lost it completely as soon as s/he came down with other people.) Sharing our quest for a Higher Purpose with our closest partner is one very viable option. The main theme is keeping room in life for both human, sharing, equalitarian associations and for inspired, uplifting experiences that give us a glimpse of the transcendent, the ineffable, the inspiration, the Divine.

Copyright © 1991 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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