QUINCUNX

star-gazingI like to keep narratives apart, I often say, but on occasion I find that I do more than just draw on the diverse competencies that I happen to possess to various degrees.

These days I’ve been doing charts, calculating degrees, prognosticating fixed star elections, and looking carefully at pages and pages of ephemeris.

You guessed: here is my self out of space, in good old-fashioned astrological style.

Stargazing is a favorite past time, even though this activity has always induced in me a sense of vertigo.

Quite literally, looking at the stars puts me on the verge of passing out. Vastness and the infinity of the universe have that effect on me.

But getting dizzy doesn’t deter me from getting my nose into correspondences between stars, planets, and our beautiful earth.

Metaphysically, there’s the sense of connection that I like.

Pragmatically, I think that by simply looking at the stars you get elevated to a higher state.

There’s freedom in disconnection. Imagine not having to depend on anything or anyone as you’re all of this already.

I recommend stargazing to anyone who is depressed or is having a hard time. It’s also cheaper than seeing a therapist, and more efficient.


Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 1.47.11 AMNow, while pondering an aspect that in astrology and astronomy goes by the name of Quincunx, 150 degrees, or 5/12th of a circle, I was thinking not only of what this means in classical astrology (that is, ancient, medieval, and renaissance) – a situation that’s odd in terms of knowing how to make constant adjustments – but also of where else we find the quincunx as it relates to mirroring. Indeed, as above, so below. Let the dice roll with all its five points on.

Musee de CLUNY-Ivory-1200s frenchLiturgical literature that stresses sacred geometry and geomancy in the work of the master builders of the cathedrals is filled with references to the quincunx.

We find this form embedded into the beautiful floors and ornaments in churches, often with the figure of the Christ in the middle, almost suggesting that all that which is imposed on us can be mediated through a form at the center.

But this point is both a point of aversion and one of conversion.

cosmati-pavement-san-silvestro

chossonThe 21st trump in the tarot, The World, is very much a quincunx.

There is no logical connection between the elements, which some identify with fire, water, air, and earth, or if you want to be scientific about it, with energy, liquid, gas, and solid states.

While all four are averted from each other, they also ‘tend to’ something, or converge.

What creates tension is the fact that whatever ‘blend’ we end up with (in which all the others will also be present to varying degrees of misaligning) it will be in the service of converging to the center.

In other words, it is through aversion that we get to conversion.


Claudius Ptolemy writes:

“All signs are inconjunct which are neither commanding nor obeying, and not beholding each other nor of equal power, as well as all signs which contain between them the space of one sign only, or the space of five signs, and which do not at all share in any of the four prescribed configurations: viz. the opposition, the trine, the quartile, and the sextile” (Tetrabiblos, 27).

I often think of the World card in the tarot as a full stop, or an ending that says:

‘This limitation or constraint is in point.’

A point that’s hot and cold, wet, and dry, all at the same time.

quincunx-thomas-brownLast night I dreamt of Empedocles. I was told in the dream that the beginning of esotericism starts with Empedocles.

Indeed, Empedocles’s own pentagram consisting of fire, water, air, earth, and spirit may well be the quincunx we need to rediscover in all its natural simplicity, for as Thomas Brown had it in 1658, ‘the Quincunx of Heaven runs low, and ’tis time to close the five ports of knowledge’.


What you do with a pack of cards in your hands is converge to the point all your questions. When there are no questions left, you start seeing the beauty of the useless in all spiritual approaches.

You go Zen, and in your Zen mind you see that you can swing your sword over ignorance without even having to make ignorance your target.

You will be the sword and the subject at the same time. If you find anything at the converging point, it will not be any savior, but sheer emptiness.

If this sounds complicated, let’s have a Tantric look at a string of 5 cards from the Lenormand pack, placed in the quincunx pattern, but read in a spiral in line to address this question:

What do people want to be saved from, essentially?

We got these cards:

Ring, Clover, Mice, Bear, Book

Photo 18-05-17 15.20.16

We get this clear message:

People want to be saved from chance relationships that lead to loss of power and not-knowing.

If this is the case, by inference it makes a lot of sense that people seek spiritual leaders who can save them from ignorance.

From a cultural point of view, we begin to see what was ‘gained’ when spirituality got insitutionalized, when rewards were promised for staying on the path, with your eyes on the ball (Jesus, Adam, or Mohamed).

I like the Book at the center, the converging point itself. The closed book is full of secrets.

The converging point is always one of not-knowing, not one of knowing everything.

That’s the Tantric Quincunx Lenormand for you, both as metaphysical and as pragmatic as you care to make it.


For the astrology interested, this post was written in the day and hour of Saturn (not planned), when Regulus was conjunct the Sun on the cusp of the 9th house, the house of God. Mercury was also in the 9th house, in Virgo, its place of high dignity.

This means that in matters of knowing, all we can do it take our time. The time it takes to know that at the point of convergence we find nothing at all. That’s the liberating part (as testified by Jupiter conjunct the Moon in the 8th house, Jupiter being the ruler of the Ascendent too).

At 0 degree 21 Virgo, the Sun has just left its own place of power, Leo.

Nothing is permanent.

Regulus shines its royal star power on this insight, and we’re all the better for it.

So it goes. We could go on… We keep going. Walking the tantric path, the path of the continuum.

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