Another Look At the Quintile
by Gary Lorentzen
The Quintile has come to the attention of many as this Grand Quintile in October 2004 appears in the heavens. Perhaps it is time now to take another look at this so-called minor aspect that may in fact not be so minor. In the past, people have referred to the aspect as ‘latent creativity’ which only becomes manifest or active after the individual has been ‘seasoned’ by life crises. Others say it is a moot point–a minor aspect that doesn’t have the same dynamic quality as the traditional Ptolemaic aspects. Yet the most interesting approach to the Quintile, and for that matter any aspect, was outlined by the late Marc Robertson. In his book, Cosmopsychology, Robertson interprets aspects according to the phase relationship in which the aspect falls. These phases are based on the eight phases of the Moon, i.e., New, Crescent, First Quarter, etc., etc. In the case of the Quintile (72 degrees), the waxing aspect falls within the Crescent Phase and the waning aspect falls within the Last Quarter Phase.
As Robertson describes it, the Crescent Phase refers to the behavior of breaking away from the past, from old behavior patterns and personal history. Whatever the personal history, one’s family and tradition cannot adequately support what is instinctively developing within the individual. In this situation, the Quintile would provide from within a ‘creative’ means by which one could effectively pull oneself out of the past from which the growing personality demands to be separated.
If the Moon is 72 degrees ahead of the Sun in the Crescent Phase, for example, then this highly individualized growth of the personality is emphasized and not in subtle ways. The individual may often completely deviate from family and social tradition, striking out in new directions on his or her own with no tangible support from the past, the family or the society. There’s a tendency to ‘run away and join the circus’, metaphorically speaking, as the individual seeks to escape issues of conformity and expectation. What such a person accomplishes in life is a matter of will and self-determination with little reliance on others for help, guidance or support.
Another example: If Venus is 72 degrees ahead of Mars in the Crescent Phase, then the individual’s personal values and sexual identity are somehow not in sync with the social or family tradition. Such a person might marry outside of the family’s religion, class or race, or one’s sexual orientation might not be accepted by the family or community., yet the person finds the inner strength of character simply to be him or herself with an admirable grace. If the person has artistic talent, the art will express an eccentricity or uniqueness that could start a new artistic movement. The issue here is the individualization of one’s creative and procreative powers at whatever level. In any case, the individual will purposefully, if not willfully, find within him or herself the capacity to express creatively, uniquely and individually the behaviors and values represented by Venus and Mars.
The Last Quarter Phase refers to the behavior of looking to the social and family norms and traditions in order to find creative support for personal changes and continued development.
The waning phase Quintile (that is, for example, the Moon 72 degrees behind the Sun) falls within this Last Quarter Phase. Here the individual is in an inner crisis due to the awareness of the need to establish a change of attitude, reevaluate one’s life experiences and reorient one’s perceived purpose in life in a new direction. The process is incomplete, however. Such a person still lives in the tradition out of which he knows he must eventually evolve. Unlike the Crescent Phase Quintile, however, the person doesn’t look within for the answer, but rather extracts from the environment and society around him the ways and means to support the necessary changes in consciousness.
When Venus is 72 degrees behind Mars in the Last Quarter Phase, the individual may have difficulty with healthy socialization and may not have a positive relationship to the family and community. Because of these difficulties, the person is often shy and fearful of stepping out of social and family traditions. She is still fully living the family and social values, yet is aware of the need to shoot above conventional morality and social behavior in an effort to become a complete individual in a healthy relationship with the society and community around him/her. There is an attraction to alternative life-styles and sub-cultures in an effort to find elements in the society that can be ‘tried on’ in order to find the right social fit. But often there’s a tendency to bring a sense of normality and tradition to such relationships. For example, there may be the issue of sexual relationships (we’re dealing here with Venus/Mars), in which the person adopts a traditional-appearing, long-term non-traditional relationship. Depending on the sexual orientation, it could by a gay or straight relationship that in some way doesn’t reflect the standard traditional forms of behavior expected by the family, and there’s a great deal of anxiety because of it. It could be a relationship with someone of a different race or religion, for example, but the effort will be made to make it look as traditional and normal as possible. It may be an alternative life-style, but with the trappings of the traditional culture, in order to please the family or lessen the ‘in your face’ impact. In any case, as the person individualizes her Venus/Mars values and behaviors, she will look outside of herself into the society and community to find the stimuli necessary to make the needed changes.
This is the fundamental difference between the waxing and waning Quintiles. The former is introverted and the latter is extroverted. That is, the waxing Quintile looks within to find the means to change and continue personal development. The waning Quintile looks outside to the society and external stimuli to find the support for the needed changes in consciousness and behavior.
In both instances, there is an individualized creative process, but it must be understood that the Quintile does not necessarily indicate any special talent in terms of Fine or Performing Arts. The nature of the aspect is inner and psychological, supporting the continued growth and actualization of the individual. As a ‘fifth house’ aspect, it represents the need to individualize and creatively express oneself in the most authentic and truest way possible. In that regard, some people may indeed use these aspects in developing artistic expression.
In most cases, those with Quintiles have gone through major changes in attitude and consciousness, according to the two planets in aspect. In the cycle of planetary phases, it appears that at 72 degrees the individual has dealt with the issues created at the conjunction, mobilized his energy at the semi-square and productively utilized those energies at the sextile. Now he must refine, simplify and willfully and authentically express himself in order to continue his development. Often the individual has instinctively stepped onto the path of individuation after earlier years were spent feeling uncomfortable with socially conditioned responses and ways of being.
To illustrate how these Quintiles work in actual birth charts, I have chosen three individuals who were religious and spiritual teachers. The reason for this is that in my own research I found very frequent Quintile activity in the charts of such people. These examples are indeed dramatic and exceptional and are not meant to imply that Quintiles are in any way exotic or spiritually evolved. There are Quintiles in the charts of many ordinary people as well. It is just that the lives of the following individuals are well documented and widely read and it, therefore, makes the interpretations of the aspect more readily understandable.
A classic example of the Quintile is in the chart of Edgar Cayce. There is a Mercury/Saturn conjunction in Pisces, quintiled to Jupiter in Capricorn. Jupiter is in the Last Quarter Phase to Saturn and Mercury is in Crescent Phase to Jupiter. Cayce, as is well known, was an individual who found it a great struggle in his early years to communicate what was going on in his mind. His psychic abilities were confined in a tradition that often would not accept them or only naively tolerated them. Psychologically, Cayce was so conditioned by his Christian background that he could not bring unconscious information rationally to consciousness. His mystical premonitions were nonetheless there. He was forced, however, to separate himself from his past tradition through a trance state (Jupiter trined a Moon/Neptune conjunction near the Midheaven). Once he tapped the treasures of his mind, however, he knew instinctively how to express them.
With Jupiter in Last Quarter Phase to Saturn, Cayce really could not entirely leave his tradition behind. He took what he learned and gradually worked it into his past, becoming a vanguard for a new wave of Christian thought. More important, however, was Cayce’s creative ability to extract from his tradition ways and means to support his changes in consciousness. This led to his unique Christianity and fame.
Abdul Baha had an example of the Mercury/Jupiter Quintile in the Crescent Phase. He, too, had trouble expressing himself verbally. He found it very difficult to explain and rationalize his religious position as not opposing Islam, but hopefully helping Islam to evolve and develop. He was finally forced to express his spiritual message through his actions and being: He was executed for heresy. Baha also had a Crescent Phase Sun/Moon Quintile. The Islamic tradition wasn’t adequate for him to express himself spiritually. He sought new avenues of creative spirituality, which ultimately led to the founding of the B’hai faith.
The final example is in Meher Baba’s chart. He had Mercury in Pisces quintiled a Neptune/Pluto conjunction in Gemini. Mercury was in Last Quarter Phase to the conjunction. He was compelled to make changes in the way he used language and regenerate his way of communicating. With the Pluto involvement he carried it to its logical extreme by refusing to communicate at all verbally. He saw words as a hindrance to psychological and spiritual development and challenged his followers to discover their true, authentic motivation to author their own lives. He purposely stretched his theories, challenging people and testing them to get in touch with their own spiritual archetypes on a non-verbal, non-intellectual level. He used ideas compatible with his Indian tradition, but he always remained aware of the impact his ideas would have on the future and on people outside of his own culture.
It is important to keep in mind that these examples are special and unique. In the average person’s chart, however, we can still see the influence of the Quintile if we look closely enough. It may not indicate any great creative talent or spiritual development in any socially influential way, but it will show where and how the individual will find support for his changes in consciousness and shifts in life direction. In itself, the Quintile is not the impetus for change, but rather it is more the psychological focus, refinement and expression that comes either from within or found within one’s family, community or society. It is often said, every person has his or own ‘genius’, and those with Quintile activity in their natal charts find their unique way of expressing it in life through the planets in aspect.