Decoding Quintiles [Astrological Aspects]

Did you know that every family of astrological aspects has a certain characteristic vibration and meaning?

I see them as colors: as every wavelength produces a distinct hue when interacting with light, each family of aspects has a vibration and meaning when it connects planets to each other (and angles). If you’d like to see how astrological aspects work, I wrote Aspects [Angles] for you!

I do extensive work with quintiles, the family of aspects that is based on dividing the circle into five, so multiples of 72 degrees. I have been studying and interpreting them for a few years now—in self-defense because I have eleven of them in my natal chart. I had to get to the bottom of that!

Background on Quintiles

As I cast charts for clients and help them understand their energies and potentials, I learn the vibrations of aspects better. This week, I’ve been working on a composite chart that contains many quintiles and septiles.

There is little written about quintiles, so if you want to understand the vibration and its meaning and significance, you have to derive it yourself, so I am doing that. Few astrologers use quintiles; they do not appear in astrological cookbooks. For many years, conventional astrologers have relegated quintiles to the “minor aspect” pile. I agree with Dane Rudhyar that no aspect should be considered “minor” out of hand, especially when it is close to exact. Be that as it may, quintiles’ significance is neither explicated nor standardized.

Conventional astrologers have relegated quintiles to the “minor aspect” pile. I agree with Dane Rudhyar that no aspect should be considered “minor” out of hand.

I have included below references for some of the most useful writings I’ve encountered about quintiles, but I have found Robert Hand’s insights especially helpful. I respect Hand as the ultimate modern and rather rational astrologer, very studied, experienced, and focused. Others I have studied are more on the other end of the spectrum, much more Neptunian and esoteric.

Robert Hand, in Horoscope Symbols:

“All these aspects seem to have a quality that we usually associate with Pluto, with overtones of Venus and Mars. They seem to link planets in such a way that some kind of concrete creation or destruction is brought about. The number five has a connection with life, death, and mortality; the pentagram is the figure of humankind. John Addey, one of the leading researchers in the field of non-traditional aspects, believes that the five-series has to do with the intellectual function and all those affairs that are peculiarly human.”

“The other major characteristic of these aspects, and the one longest noted, is that they seem to grant the ability to turn creative inspiration into concrete end-products. They have long been noted as aspects of talent or even of genius…”

“If the five-series [quintiles] gives the ability to turn creative inspiration into concrete end-products, the seven-series [septiles] gives the creative inspiration itself. It is as if these aspects enable one to peer outside the everyday universe into one of expanded possibilities and truths.”


By invoking Pluto, Hand infuses quintiles with power and transformation, and its insistence on destroying outdated things and creating anew. By referencing Venus, he brings in the desire to bring together, to create harmony. Mars adds the drive, the compulsion even, to act.

New Insights

Many writers have remarked on quintile energy’s drive or compulsion, and its unique creativity. The metaphor of the oyster and the pearl is instructive here: a grain of sand enters the oyster and irritates it, so it creates a beautiful pearl in response.

Quintiles fuse a driven restless energy with intense creativity to organize or arrange something that’s usually tied to earthly reality.

Another crucial element to quintile energy is the fact that it is self-perpetuating. It doesn’t require external stimulus to maintain its own energy. It is as if its energy is its own reward. I think this characteristic is one of its most powerful traits. Someone with quintile energy has limitless drive to do that thing.

Quintile energy is related to joy and play (see Joy and Ecstasy) although it often manifests as driven energy. It’s an itch that one just has to scratch, and one is generally unaware of one’s scratching. As children can play without end (it is its own reward), so quintile energy can seemingly go on forever. There is inherent joy in creativity, and quintiles carry this joy. When quintiles are operating, the native seemingly has tireless energy.

Quintile energy is related to joy and play although it often manifests as driven energy. It’s an itch that one just has to scratch.

One of the most unique characteristics of quintiles is related to joy and play. Since the energy is such a drive, the bearers of quintiles take their energy and abilities for granted; they assume their drives or talents are common; they rarely recognize that they carry a unique energy. Joy is often invisible to the person experiencing it; joy moves one into a timeless space. This can be one of the most revelatory outcomes of having one’s chart done; it is often literally like finding gold in your back yard.

How Quintiles Work

Let’s compare a quintile between Mercury and Saturn with a trine and a square of the same two bodies. All these interpretations will be be made more specific by the signs and houses of each planet, but the meaning is distinct in itself. The more exact the angle, the stronger its effect.

Mercury square Saturn will create friction between the native’s mental and communication ability, and the friction can manifest in many ways. S/He will probably be slower to take things in, to learn and relate things to each other. S/He may have difficulties forming and communicating thoughts. His/her thoughts may be especially disciplined and logical. S/He may be prone to social or mental gaffes.

Quintiles create a joy, creativity, and drive between the bodies and angles they connect.

Mercury trine Saturn will create harmony between Mercury and Saturn. The native will tend to communicate easily and to learn and understand easily, and s/he may even be playful. S/He is likely to be less conscious of her/his mental processes than the Mercury square Saturn native, who is usually painfully aware of them. Mercury trine Saturn will be more disciplined than, say, Mercury trine Jupiter or Neptune.

Mercury quintile Saturn will feel the weight of Saturn on his/her mental and communication processes, but s/he is likely to enjoy the rigor that Saturn imposes. And the rigor of her/his thinking and communication will often be unusual due to the quintile’s vibration. Mercury is not normally known for being disciplined; it darts this way and that, connecting things and communicating thoughts about them. Saturn’s quintile will make Mercury more disciplined, so the effect is deeper, more rigorous thoughts and communication.

Trines are harmony, but their bearers often take that talent for granted and often don’t use it to its best effect. Squares drag down the relationship between the bodies they connect; here, it’s discipline (Saturn) against thinking and playing (Mercury). I write “playing” because thinking is often playing. Quintiles create a joy, creativity, and drive between the bodies and angles they connect.

Joy is often invisible to the person experiencing it; joy moves one into a timeless space. Quintiles infuse the interaction between the bodies/angles they connect with an element of joy.

Learning More

I hope you can appreciate how you can increase your understanding of your own energies, and your clients’, by using quintiles. My remarks here have been not specific to quintiles versus biquintiles, but their interpretation has much similarity. I interpret all aspects according to whether they are waxing or waning and many other characteristics; it’s really a specific art/science!


Robert Hand =>
Michelle Falis, Astrofix =>
Jbuss =>
Robert Wilkinson =>
More =>

10 thoughts on “Decoding Quintiles [Astrological Aspects]

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