Meaning of the Quincunx or Inconjunct Aspects in Astrology

the 150 degree aspect

The inconjunct or quincunx (the terms are generally used interchangeably) aspect in astrology is formed between planets that are roughly 150 degrees apart. If we use an orb of 2 degrees, the planets or points in question can be anywhere from 148 degrees to 152 degrees apart.
The planets and points involved in a quincunx don’t understand each other. Unless it’s an out-of-sign quincunx, the signs not only are of a different element, they are also of a different modality. For example, take Leo-Pisces. Leo is Fixed Fire, while Pisces is Mutable Water. It’s difficult to see common ground between the signs.

Some keywords that describe quincunxes are: redirecting, challenging, requiring adjustments, diverting.

What I have found is that people with quincunxes tend to compartmentalize the two areas of life indicated by the planets and points involved.

When we express one of the planets or points involved in an opposition, the other planet or point feels “left out”. Nevertheless, the opportunities to find a balance are there. With the quincunx as well, it can be difficult to merge the energies of the planets involved. But the difference here is that there is a sense that the two cannot be merged, and this is where compartmentalization comes into play. The areas of life described by the planets tend to conflict with each other�not in as overt a way as is commonly seen with a square or opposition, but the individual separates them either consciously or unconsciously. This is why adjustment is associated with the quincunx�both planets/points represent distinct needs and areas of life, and it can take a lot of energy to sort them into different compartments!

A couple of examples will shed some more light on the theory. With a Moon-Venus quincunx, our emotions (Moon) and our values/love nature (Venus) are difficult to blend. We feel the need to separate satisfying the needs of our Moon (by sign, house, and aspect) and the needs of our Venus (by sign, house, and aspect). This will play out in a variety of ways, depending on the individual involved, and depending on what the Moon and Venus represent, by way of their position and what houses they rule in the chart.

Take for example a mother with this Moon quincunx Venus aspect. She might have a difficult time blending her romantic life with her role as a mother. If she is married, she may compartmentalize her role as a romantic partner and her role as a mother. She might slot the two roles/needs into different categories, and find it too uncomfortable to take on both roles at once. If she is unmarried, she may have a difficult time even imagining that she could fulfill her children’s needs and her partner’s needs in a harmonious way if they are done at the same time. She won’t neglect either role, but she will separate them. As a result, much energy is spent in her life trying to deal with both roles or needs at different times.

Now, she may consciously separate these areas of life, slotting them in such a way to keep them separate, or she may feel like life circumstances force her to do so. Whatever the perception, the challenge is coming from within her because it does not feel natural for her to blend the two areas of her life. Integrating the energies of these planets within her is the only solution if she feels outside forces are causing her to make constant, energy-draining adjustments.

On another level, if we equate the Moon with what makes her feel comfortable, and Venus with what makes her feel good, there can be a conflict between her social life and her need for safety. She can feel ill at ease in social situations. Perhaps a vague sense of guilt or fear accompanies her when she is playing the social butterfly. When she isolates herself, however, and tends to her inner sense of peace, she might feel lonely and unloved. Because Venus rules pleasure and money, she may find that spending money on herself, or on things that seem frivolous, takes away from her family or home in some way. Another possibility is that the people she is romantically attracted to threaten her sense of security in her family. Perhaps her family does not approve of her partners, or she has difficulty integrating her friends and partners with her family. Conversely, her partners may have difficulty accepting her family.

Moon quincunx Venus is associated with overindulgence. It is not hard to imagine that a person with this aspect may overdo comfort food, spending, and so forth because a quincunx, when it is not integrated and handled properly, leads to dissatisfaction with both planets. The Moon and Venus both deal with comfort and pleasure, and if we’re unhappy with these areas of life, we are certainly more prone to overcompensating.

Another example: A man with Venus quincunx Mars. In this case, his Venus is in Cancer and Mars is in Sagittarius. The differences between the needs of the signs involved are emphasized because of the additional energies of the quincunx. (If a quincunx weren’t formed between these planets, and he simply had Venus in Cancer and Mars in Sagittarius, there isn’t a critical relationship established between the energies of the planets). His needs for nurturance, closeness, and warmth in romantic situations and in partnership are at odds with his sexual and assertive needs. If we tear this down to basics by equating Venus with love/partnership and Mars with sex, we might find that this man will find a way to compartmentalize these two needs instead of attempting to merge them. Perhaps he will maintain a romantic partnership (such as a marriage) and find other outlets for his sexual needs by way of affairs in which he can act out his more fiery, independent sexual nature that seems to run counter to his need for security, romance, and tenderness in love. Because he doesn’t naturally see a way to integrate the two energies, he feels the need to separate them. As with the example above, he may feel he has to do this for some reason or another. Perhaps he feels his sexual drive will interfere with the harmony (Venus) or family goals (Cancer) of his partnership.

This aspect often plays out in such a way that people who he is romantically attracted to are radically different than those he is sexually attracted to. Taken at a different level, let’s equate Venus with finances and Mars with sports. Perhaps he has to face the problem of not having the funds to finance his sports endeavors. If we equate Venus with comfort and Mars with action, we might find that he can’t, for example, go on a vacation that combines lots of activities with leisure. He will do one or the other! Or, he may satisfy his desire to travel (Mars in Sagittarius) outside of his partnership by going on trips without his partner. If we equate Venus with harmony, and Mars with assertiveness, we might find that this man separates the two drives/needs as well. He may go out of his way to avoid asserting himself or getting angry with his partner, feeling that it would be disastrous to his partnership, and redirect that anger into another area of life. If Mars rules his 6th house, for example, he might channel much of his aggression and assertion into his job. As a result, he may seem like an entirely different person at work than he is at home with his partner.

Sun quincunx Moon in the natal chart suggests an individual who seems to live life constantly making adjustments and concessions. There can be a tendency to offer too much and then feeling taken advantage of. Passive-aggressiveness can be a problem as well. The native seems to expect that he or she has to make compromises in life in order to get what he or she wants, but in the process, undervalues his or her needs. When the native expresses his or her will (Sun), he or she feels vaguely insecure, as the emotions don’t “back up” the will. When the native expresses his or her needs (Moon), the ego balks. Indecisiveness is the result, as well as a tendency to be quite unfocused, tense, on edge, and largely unsettled. The native needs to work on accepting both the Sun and the Moon in his or her personality in order to feel whole and to avoid sabotaging relationships and life goals with self-defeating attitudes.

The bottom line, I have found, with the quincunx is that the quincunx’s “owner” perceives the energies of the two planets as very separate and has difficulty satisfying the divergent needs concurrently. Adjustments that can be energy-draining are felt to be necessary and accepted as a fact of life. From the outside looking in, we might be puzzled as to why the person cannot fulfill the needs simultaneously. Often, the individual has no idea why this cannot be done, and might blame life circumstances or others for the problem.

Some astrologers have associated quincunxes with health problems. This makes sense, because the way I see it, there is a lot of misplaced energy involved when the individual works to compartmentalize the planets and points involved in a quincunx. Guilt and a sense of failure are often a by-product of the quincunx, and these can certainly contribute to health problems.

Quincunxes show areas of weakness, in terms of low self-esteem, that others find easy to prey upon. The individual, by not accepting the areas of life represented by the planets in quincunx, leaves himself or herself open to being taken advantage of. Quincunxes point to an area where we may have an inferiority complex. We have difficulty integrating these energies into our personality to the point where we are not happy with either energy. Feeding one planet’s needs is a separate activity from feeding the other planet’s energies. A vague sense of guilt is often the result, and this can undermine confidence with both energies.

The key to handling quincunxes is, firstly, knowledge, and then integration. Awareness that the discrepancy lies within the personality is essential before integration can occur. Quincunxes can often make us feel that external events or other people are forcing us to separate, compartmentalize, or redirect the energies of the planets involved. We need to understand that it is, in fact, ourselves who are compartmentalizing. These needs are especially difficult to integrate because they are not as “in your face” as aspects like the square or opposition, and the nature of the quincunx itself is awkward.

Look for quincunxes in a composite chart to see what basic energies of the relationship the couple will naturally tend to compartmentalize. The planets involved in a quincunx in the composite chart can be the source of weakness in the relationship, unless they are consciously worked on.