Septiles are another one of those astrological aspects that have been overlooked by most astrologers for centuries, and this omission is actually an element of their character! Septiles, the family of aspects that results by dividing the circle by 7, are special in many ways, and very revealing.
I am forever indebted to Dane Rudhyar for helping me discover septiles. His “Less Familiar Aspects” addresses all aspects, including common and uncommon aspects (“contacts”). One element of his genius is seeing things holistically, putting things in context. If you want to understand aspects at a totally new level, I highly recommend it. The aspect wheel below is based on Rudhyar’s discussion.
Septiles Are Mysterious
To approach septiles, it is best to put oneself into a detached space because they are like Neptune; they indicate links to non-earthly reality. Of course, one may divide the circle by any prime number, but 7 is the only number that does not divide the circle evenly; it results in an irrational number (one that doesn’t repeat and goes on to infinity). It shares this trait with other mystical numbers like π (pi), and the Golden Ratio.
Rudhyar interprets this irrationality as signifying that septiles cannot be “completed” in earthly terms; they cannot be understood in terms of earthly words, thoughts, or “rationality.” As when considering Neptune, one has to decouple from earthly grounding. I promise, I won’t do that here, but I just wanted to give you a background for how to work with them in astrological charts.
Dividing the circle by 7 produces 51.4285714… This works out to 51°26 (rounded). Therefore septiles sit between sextiles (60°) and octiles (45°). Rudhyar approaches all aspects from the context of a progression of a kind of orbit that starts at the conjunction (0°) and waxes until culminating at the opposition (180°) before waning until the next conjunction. Like the lunar cycle. This has important ramifications for all aspects because the meaning of a waxing septile is different from a waning one, and this is true for all aspects except the opposition, which is unique in being the culmination of the cycle, the boundary between waxing and waning. This also means that the conjunction is the boundary between waning and waxing, so it is simultaneously an ending of the old cycle and the beginning of the new one. That bears pondering; it says that a beginning is also an ending.
A waxing septile occurs after the waxing octile and before the waxing sextile. The waxing cycle is focused on the subjective, earthly, rather unconscious learning (involutionary, first hemicycle). The waning cycle is evolutionary and focused on conscious objective learning because one has met “the other,” the core meaning of the opposition, as one must have two to have an opposition; it confronts one with the other and sparks awareness.
How to Find Septiles in a Chart
It is not terribly easy to find septiles in a chart, but I have developed an easy hack for it. I don’t have a fancy astrological software to do it for me; I use Astrodienst, which has no option for septiles. So I take a screen shot of the chart I am casting, crop it square, and put it into a Keynote (or PowerPoint) page where I superimpose a seven-point star, which I size and center on the chart. Starting with Sun, I look where the arms are pointing. When an arm is pointing on a body or angle, I do its math. Then I draw the septiles on the chart. Then I use Keynote’s Inspector to rotate the star to point to Moon, etc. Of course, this works for any aspects (noviles, for example); I just change the number of arms of the star.
Septiles’ Core Meanings
There is little written about septiles in terms of interpretation, so one must derive one’s own interpretations. I do this by grounding them in reusable principles and observations. In this post, I am not including noviles in the discussion for simplicity (40° aspects), but they are relevant to the septile series. That is another post ;^).
The faster moving body septiles the slower-moving. Use this relationship to determine whether the aspect is waxing (the faster-moving is after the slower-moving) or waning. Angles are always faster moving than bodies.
Waxing Septile (~51°26)
Astrological writers often associate septiles with events or situations that natives describe as “fated.” The preceding waxing octile of the two bodies/points indicated a point at which one was confronted with the users of one’s creation (which happened at the conjunction) in quite earthly terms. As social animals, humans must create work that can be used or paid attention to by other humans to have significance, and the octile is about learning about that, about becoming more objective about one’s creation. A waxing septile indicates that the issue tends to be concerned with subjective, more earthly issues, but this varies with the bodies/houses/signs.
Example: Mars Septile Saturn
For example, in Mars septile Saturn, Mars is “septiling” Saturn, the slower-moving body. At the conjunction, Mars–Saturn started a new cycle. Something new started then (“creation”), and the octile confronted the native with the need for objectivity and learning about how her/his creation/insight affects other people. The septile indicates a situation or event that one cannot resolve using rational thinking; one must use one’s “higher sense,” which most people call “intuition” or some such.
Mars conjunct Saturn probably has to do with slowing down Martian action to use it in consideration of structures, rules, etc. The preceding octile gave one the opportunity to learn about how one’s creation affects other people (is accepted or rejected). The septile tests one by presenting an “irrational” situation in which one must use one’s higher sense; it tests one’s higher order understanding and willingness to act on it. This action sets the context for the sextile, which signifies tension and affinity, so an opportunity. In interpreting septiles, I focus on the higher order understanding and action, for action is commitment and spiritually significant.
More specifically, I consider the slower-moving body’s core meaning, sign, and house placement. Then I overlay the faster-moving body’s core meaning, sign, and house. Of course, it’s quite possible that the faster-moving body will simultaneously aspect another body or point at the same time, but for simplicity, let’s set that aside. The two bodies’ meanings create a story. If I feel that the septile is very important in the chart, I’ll find where/when they were conjunct (before the native was born), in what house and whether they simultaneously aspected other bodies. This reveals the beginning of the story of those two bodies in the native’s life and puts the septile in that context.
Waxing Biseptile (~102°52)
The waxing biseptile occurs after the waxing square and before the waxing trine. The waxing square usually signifies an in-your-face confrontation that forces a realization and change. In the case of a natal chart, this happened before the native was born. Depending on the planets/houses/signs involved, although this confrontation existed on the earthly level, it also carried a spiritual lesson. The biseptile signifies a situation that cannot be resolved using earthly logic. Robert Wilkinson calls them a “fork in the road” [for which one has no earthly map]. He also finds that biquintiles involve other people (“interactive”) where septiles are more individual. I think that the purpose here is that one has to use one’s internalization of a spiritual lesson. Wilkinson calls the biseptile (quoting “others”) the “exteriorization of destiny.” I agree with Dane Rudhyar that “destiny” is only a label for something internal that manifests externally. If one does use one’s spiritual knowledge to make a decision, that action prepares the way for the harmony and grace of the waxing trine, which will occur after the native is born. As this biseptile is waxing, its outcome tends to be subjective and concerned with earthly details, although all septiles require acting on non-earthly, spiritual knowledge.
Waxing Triseptile (~154°18)
This triseptile happens after the waxing quincunx (150°) and before the opposition. Quincunxes generally indicate subtle, tenacious friction that most people find bothersome but relatively easy to ignore, but this varies considerably by how exact it is and with the bodies/signs/houses involved. This quincunx occurred before native’s birth, but it set the table for the waxing triseptile. Here again, native is faced with some kind of irrational situation that requires higher consciousness, however the native experiences it, to resolve. And the decision is pivotal. Like biseptiles, triseptiles involve other people (“interactive”) where septiles are more individual (Wilkinson). And since it is waxing, it occurs in the subjective, relatively unconscious part of the cycle (Rudhyar: “involutionary”). So it is the last fork in the road prior to the culmination of the cycle (the opposition), which occurs after the native is born.
Waning Triseptile (~205°44)
The waning cycle proceeds in the reverse order; it is more reflective (objective). This triseptile happens after the opposition and before the waning quincunx (210°). The opposition is the signpost for the more aware part of the cycle in which the native learns with more purpose, having experienced the illumination of the opposition. I reference the opposition for clues for the significance of this triseptile. It tends to present situations that call for intuitive sensing to make pivotal decisions, and the house/sign will provide clues about what the situation tends to be. By the way, these “situations” are not singular—they will appear until the native resolves them—and they are often triggered by transits.
Waning Biseptile (~257°08)
This biseptile sits between the waning trine (240°) and the waning square (270°), which indicates harmony and facility between the bodies before the native was born, so this biseptile creates an irrational situation in which the native must make a decision that cannot be resolved logically. It may have to do with complacency, and if it is not resolved, it will repeat. The square tends to be a confrontation. As this biseptile waning, it will tend to be somewhat more conscious and to involve personal growth at some level.
Waning Septile (~308°34)
The last septile in the cycle can be very spiritual, reflective, and individual as it is in the most balsamic phase of the cycle. Again, it is sandwiched between the last waning sextile and octile. As with the other septiles, irrational situations tend to present to the native; here, these will probably be more like psychological dilemmas that have no ready earthly solutions; the native must consult her/his higher understanding. In interpreting septiles deep in the cycle like this one, I take the cycle itself as the frame of reference, especially if the bodies involved are retrograde transpersonals (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto). In the latter case, this can refer to past lives if your client wants to consider them (and most people with significant septile vibrations in their charts will want to ;^).
Wrap Up and Learning More
- As you may have thought while reading until this point, this is pretty abstract stuff. I only do septile interpretations for people who express during the initial consultation an interest in or need for learning about their spiritual paths. I have three main levels of chart interpretation, and I include septiles in the spiritual path level.
- Since septiles are among the least known aspects, and there is relatively little written about them beyond the fanciful, I interpret each one individually, focusing on the most exact ones (I use fairly tight orbs, so 2° max). I have encountered significant septile chart patterns, and these are very special cases. My client really has to want to go there.
- Robert Wilkinson observes that septiles present “personal” (individual) “illogical” situations while biseptiles and triseptiles involve external actors (people, perhaps events). So the waxing septile and waning septile (individual learning) bookend the cycle (birth and death).
- The bodies involved change the dynamic because, if a personal planet is involved, it will return several times in the native’s lifetime, and this will activate the septile aspect (other transits will, too).
- My experience with septiles is personal and professional. I have three septile yods in my natal chart and several others. Here, my experience is subjective, all the more because five of them involve Neptune, which strengthens their “septileness” while shrouding them in Neptunian mist. My main experience of the three yods is that they make it very easy for me to see the illusions of incarnated life.
- A more concrete example I’ll draw from a composite chart of a man and a woman in a romantic relationship. Their chart has 1st house Venus/Pisces biseptile 5th house Mars/Gemini. In a romantic relationship, Venus and Mars offer strong indications of attraction and compatibility of the relationship’s yin and yang energies. The biseptile indicates that the connection of their energies involves simultaneously a “spiritual compulsion” (Rudhyar) and a crossroads, a choice. The connection between their energies has a strong spiritual component that’s difficult to explain in earthly terms. As I know the couple, I see how the biseptile manifests; they have a difficult relationship logistically, so the biseptile is confronting them to let it go and recede to their earthly lives or to take a “leap of faith” to pursue their relationship, which is hard to understand in earthly terms.
Here are some of the most substantial references I’ve yet found on septiles: