Quincunxes: An Overview
It’s useful to think of this line when working with inconjuncts (quincunxes):
“When she was good she was very, very good but when she was bad she was horrid.”
So how do you interpret such ambivalent aspects and, more importantly, how do you make them work for you?
Quincunxes (also called inconjuncts) are hard to define because, while they are considered to work “erratically,” they also provide us with all the abundance and “ease” of trines.
This is because they work somewhere between a trine (luck and ease) and an opposition (tension and discord).
In this 12-part series on inconjuncts I’ll take you through each of the 12 possible inconjunct combinations, starting with the Aries-Virgo inconjunct.
Before I get started, here is a list of all the possible inconjunct combinations:
Aries and Virgo
Aries and Scorpio
Taurus and Libra
Taurus and Sagittarius
Gemini and Scorpio
Gemini and Capricorn
Cancer and Sagittarius
Cancer and Aquarius
Leo and Capricorn
Leo and Pisces
Virgo and Aquarius
Libra and Pisces
Taurus and Libra: Key Concepts
Both signs are traditionally ruled by Venus. The beauty of love and the love of beauty. Aestheticism (both earthy beauty –Taurus- and abstract beauty -Libra). Venus is about fashioning raw material into something greater than it once was. Astrological Venus is “passion aroused by beauty.” Venus deals with an alchemical process whereby abstract (Libra) and earthy (Taurus) forms transmute and transform. That which we find beautiful clearly defines our values (morally, symbolically, abstractly –Libra) and (physically, tangibly, materially –Taurus). Translating fantasy and imagination into beautiful forms is the hallmark of Venus’ domain.
“Venus needs to ornament, to civilize, to transform something instinctual into something symbolic and psychic –that is, of the psyche, of the soul.” Liz Greene.
Good Cop/Bad Cop
So we can see that when this quincunx is behaving more like a trine it lends itself to beauty, grace and effortless style, sophistication and the appreciation/execution of exalted forms of beauty. If well handled, this quincunx can give polish and panache to any area of life (art, work, politics, creative aspirations etc).
When this quincunx is behaving badly there can be profound discord between the “loftier” more abstract portrayals of beauty (law, philosophy, ethics, morality) and the sensual more tactile forms of beauty (sex, food, money).
Because Libra is a masculine, yang sign it recoils from too much earthiness and sensuality (the life of the body and instincts), which is Taurus’ natural domain.
Because Taurus is a feminine, yin sign (and an earth sign to boot) it is deeply rooted in instinct. It is in the realm of food, money, material objects, plants, flowers, insects, trees and the secret (and not-so-secret) life of the body that Taurus finds its hearts pleasures.
Libra finds this all rather crass and would rather offer a more “civilized” version of reality, a reality far removed from the “unpleasantness” of human instinct and “vulgar” interests like money, material possessions and sex. Taurus, on the other hand finds Libra’s airy aestheticism far too cold and chillingly removed from the warmth of instinctual life.
Cold Stone and Human Warmth
Libra is the cold stone, Taurus the human warmth.
Libra is abstract, Taurus is matter-of-fact. Libra is subtle, Taurus is gross.
How can these two get on when they meet and form a quincunx?
How does one reconcile the airy and the earthy facets of this quincunx so that they can form a good working relationship?
By tempering the tactile earthiness with the airy “castles in the sky” of Libra and bringing Libra’s “castles” down to earth where they can be put to practical use in the here and now.
A Complex Refining Process
Both signs are about offering us a more beautiful and polished reality but with each version of “reality” so dramatically different to the other, how do the two signs agree on a middle ground?
Taurus offers us a more beautiful version of reality by accruing and/or creating the physical resources one needs to weather the trials and tribulations that life throws at us. It is about building up physical and material security and enshrining and concretizing our values through the continuous act of living and “being”.
Libra does this by carefully weighing up (and sifting through) opposites and ultimately choosing one reality over the other.
Libra, so gifted with seeing “both sides of the story,” often sits on the fence for fear of making a decision and upsetting the status quo. The gift of being able to “walk in someone else’s shoes”, however, does come at a price. For peaceful and peace-loving Libra must ultimately make a choice and it will be forced “choose” that which it values and desires most (what it finds most beautiful).
By carefully weighing up opposites and seeing both sides of the story it can, hopefully, make the world a more beautiful place.
In short, both signs deal with different facets of desire. Taurus is the primal life urge, it is life in the moment, while Libra is about choosing and refining what one desires through a process of selection.
Movement and Timing
Movement is another key concept in understanding the Taurus-Libra quincunx.
Taurus is the slow, gradual movement of nascent life, while Libra is known as a sign that tends to dither/fence-sit and is also slow, (but for totally different reasons). Libra tends to freeze and seize up because it doesn’t like to upset the status quo.
Libra fears the consequence of choice and the chain reactions that are an inevitable result of finally making a choice. This peaceful sign doesn’t like to upset things/situations/people is but it is precisely Libra’s capacity for deep reflection that makes it such an adept harmonizer.
In short, Libra might take a while to get going but the consequences of his/her choices will always get things moving whether he/she likes it or not.
Taurus takes the ideas and impressions in Aries and makes them solid and real. But haste makes waste and Taurus uses its gift of carefully intuiting and working with the lifespan inherent in every living organism to make the most of what it has to offer according to its pre-prescribed “nature.”
“Nature never hurries yet everything is accomplished” as the saying goes.
There is an innate, inbuilt wisdom at work within each living thing and Taurus’ ability to work with these natural cycles and rhythms can sometimes lend itself to laziness and sluggishness.
While Taurus is concerned with organic time (as it exists in nature) and with nature’s cycles, Libra imposes “manmade time” onto life. By finally making a choice and sticking to it, Libra alters the course of reality and thus imposes a time/timeframe onto an event or natural phenomena that might drag on and on and become stagnant. So Libra is about what man can bring to nature and Her cycles.
Therefore Taurus and Libra are about natural vs artificial timing and movement.
Desire and Value Systems
So Taurus is about creating the structures and possessions whereby we experience life as secure, safe etc while Libra takes subjective experience and passes judgment on them through a process of refinement. Therefore Libra’s judgment is based on what one values (finds the most beautiful).
When the quincunx is “behaving badly” it can feel destructive and perverse. The Taurus planet needs to build up and fortify security and inner strength and self-value while Libra brings it all under question. What do I want, really want? What do I need? How can I choose what is best for me and all parties involved?
As we have seen above, Taurus is also slow and doesn’t want to upset status quo because it is seen as a violation of Nature. Taurus likes luxury and comfort and values things that provide it with solidity and security. That strong “stubborn” (read: unchangeable) streak that Taurus is so famous for is really about wanting lasting contentment and security that it has worked so hard for.
Taurus deals with objective experience, while Libra is the first sign that moves away from objective experience to explore the realms of subjectivity. Taurus’ stubbornness and Libra’s flakiness are therefore at odds with on another and can be made to get along and co-exist when we understand more about our desire nature.
Desire and Rivalry
Because Venus is the astrological significator of desire, she naturally extends herself to rivalry and envy. Whatever we desire most is charged with emotional fervour and passionate attachment, which means if someone or something stands in the way of our object of desire, issues surrounding rivalry and envy are likely to ensue.
Venus isn’t all about passive enjoyment and frivolity (though, she can, of course be quite comfortable expressing herself in these ways). However, vain, self-indulgent Venus doesn’t like being ignored or unappreciated for too long and if she feels she’s not getting the attention she requires she will kick up a fuss.
Remember, she is “passion aroused by beauty” and if she feels she is not being given the attention she deserves, she is quite capable of unleashing the hounds of hell from their fiery cage.
Our Taurus-Libra quincunxes are about getting us to the heart and soul of what we want, need and desire and have a tendency to “act up” and cause havoc in the native’s life when key needs are not being given the respect and attention they deserve. Once a happy medium is achieved there is no other quincunx that can achieve such a profound and lasting world of beauty, grace and refinement.
This is “Venus’ quincunx” after all!
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