Breathing Refined Air: The Esoteric Aspects

Before we get going on the minor aspects, let’s put things into perspective.

These aspects were introduced by Johannes Kepler in the 16th century—along with all the non-ptolemaic aspects defined by harmonics. These aspects evolve from the number by which we divide the circle. Did everyone run out and start using these aspects, seeing how effective they were? No. We’ve only got to grips with the quincunx in recent times (post 20th century), and most people still have no clue what to do with a semi-sextile (both introduced by Kepler).

Do you consider a semi-square a major aspect? I do. I’ve seen it do powerful things, particularly in progression. Watch out if you have a planet at the midpoint of a square—that planet will make your square implode by creating two semi-squares from inside it. It’s as if the square swallowed a stick of dynamite, like in the cartoons. Do people pay attention to the semi-square? Not much. At their peril. I use sesquiquadrates, too. They behave like a square, only more nervous, and are more likely to get set off at random, sometimes ‘behaving,’ sometimes not. Unlike the square, which eventually brings solutions through practical experience, the semi-squares and sesquidradrates often point to issues, problems and energies that are irresolvable, and that we must learn to live with and cope with. Where the cousins of the four are concerned, we may never find rest.

If we’re not using aspects in the natal chart, and not using them to figure out what’s going on within an entity, it’s virtually impossible to figure out what this aspect will do between two charts. Research on these aspects is ongoing. The only baseline we have is that everything—and I mean everything—in astrology is built on number. (This article will make more sense to you if you read my piece on why the aspects behave the way they do; scroll to the middle). So we have to go back to number, and personal observation, to tell us what these aspects are about. Aspects to personal planets have more tangible effects. The further out the planets involved, the less likely these aspects manifest in real terms.

These aspects essentially deal with energies that manifest beyond physical reality—depending on your philosophy, you could say that they effect us on different energetic planes and on different levels of consciousness. They can, occasionally, filter down to this mundane plane of existence, but their work is essentially done on a higher, more refined level. (Meditators seem to be able to access these energies more easily in real terms.) By effecting our thought, they alter our way of being, and so affect our world. On the whole, I haven’t seen any of the aspects we’re discussing today manifest in a negative way—each one seems to bestow its own type of gift. We run into problems only when there is an overabundance of them.

Quintiles: Dividing the Circle by Five

When we divide the circle by the number five, we get an aspect of 72 degrees. The meaning of five is complex. In sequence, it’s the first number to step out of the materialistic ‘box’ of the four. It’s the first number to transcend the four, which creates material reality. The five is represented by the pentagram, which shows a ‘four’ transcended by a fifth point above it. This fifth point acts as a funnel through which concentrated higher energies can flow down into manifest reality. The five is considered creative and is associated with the Sun (Leo). It is made up of the energy of duality (the 2) transcended by the 3. Natally, quintiles indicate gifts—the two planets can use their qualities in a beneficial, creative manner. Quintiles may show unusual talents or abilities that seem complete and god-sent—abilities that we don’t have to struggle to perfect.

In synastry, between charts, quintiles can produce an almost other-worldly understanding of the way the individual planets are operating. If my Saturn is quintile your Venus, you will have an innate compassion for my Saturn issues, and I will instinctively know how to support your Venus. However, relationships dominated by quintiles often possess an other-worldly quality of their own, as if they don’t rely on the common things of this life to survive. Loves that continue long after the affair is over are often quintile loves.

Septiles: Dividing the Circle by Seven

The septile family, dividing the circle unevenly at about 51 degrees, are a curious lot. They have to do with Higher Mind (the 3) entering the manifest reality of the four. In essence, they are about higher guidance and contact with the divine mind. Where the septiles are concerned, we have the ability to see beyond the mundane. They are less compassionate and more observant than the quintile series.

The septiles give us the ability to know what is the right move at any given time. We have an instinct for truth where the two planets are concerned, and have a hard time telling ourselves anything that isn’t absolutely honest. In this way, septiles can be a bit ruthless. Septiles are where we know better, and we can’t turn away. Sometimes, it seems that septiles can manifest as a ‘get out of jail free card’—but this only happens when we are jailed unjustly by other elements.

Septiles between charts behave somewhat like high-powered lamps pointed at the planets. Those two planets will relate in a truthful way, and we won’t be able to hide from one another.

Noviles: Dividing the Circle by Nine

Noviles (forty degrees) divide the circle by 9, and represent initiation. Where noviles are concerned, we will experience each planet in a new way, and it will be a revelation. The number 9 represents completion, and preparation for the new beginning which will begin again at the 1. Noviles often take us by surprise, and push us further up the ladder of our conscious evolution whether we like it or not. Noviles are about wisdom, and the responsibility of using that wisdom. When a novile in a chart is activated by a transit, it’s like being shang-haied into a cult of knowledge. When noviles are dominant, life can change in surprising and unexpected ways, but never without added responsibility.

When noviles are active between charts, we push one another forward. If there are a number of them between charts, they can be either stimulating or annoying, depending on how much we like to be nagged in spiritual terms. Noviles between charts can make us feel as if the other person is always expecting more from us. With noviles dominant, we can feel as if we have a purpose together, and may find it easier to share our individual growth processes.

Of the three aspects, I find that noviles and quintiles are more tangible than septiles. And, although I despise hierarchies, I have to admit that I’ve seen them manifest more readily in those who are definitely seekers, and on some path of awareness. It’s as if we need to expand and refine our own consciousness, via the more straightforward aspects, before these energies are able to show themselves in our lives.


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