by Robert Wilkinson
As I've mentioned in this article about the Basics of Astrology, there are really only four factors involved in the craft. There are planets, signs, houses, and aspects. The planets are our "lights" symbolizing the different parts of our personality makeup, and each planet has a duality of function. The planets all occupy a sign. The 12 signs are the filters through which the lights shine, whether in healthy or dysfunctional ways. Thus a Sun in Aries is illuminated by Aries experiences and people, whereas a Sun in Virgo is illuminated through Virgo experiences and people. Venus is what we like, both in art, people, and life. Venus in Taurus likes Taurus types of art and people, whereas a Venus in Sagittarius likes Sag types of art and people. Saturn is what we fear, and our bottom line regarding boundaries and responsibility. Saturn in Virgo finds its limit through Virgo experiences, Saturn in Aquarius finds its limit through Aquarian experiences.
The houses represent the various areas of life. The first house, or Ascendant, indicates our self image, the second house is our values and wealth, our seventh house our partnerships, the eleventh house our friends and ambitions, and so on. Each house has a sign quality, sometimes two. This is determined by the time of birth, and shows our bias in that department of life. Then there are the aspects, the angular relationships between the planets and various points in the chart. These show us the relationship between the departments of our inner self as well as our outer life, and indicate when the timing on critical choices will occur. Through the aspects we can find out when we will be challenged, when things will proceed harmoniously, when things will specialize or hit a fork in the road or finally come to fruition.
Each aspect series results from division of the circle by the numbers 1 through 12. 1 results in the conjunction, 2 in the opposition, 3 the trine, 4 the square, 5 the quintile, 6 the sextile, 7 the septile, 8 the semisquare, 9 the novile, 10 the decile (or semi-quintile), 11 the elftile, and 12 the semi-sextile. There are harmonics of these, of course. For example, in the specializing series represented by the Decile and Quintile, there is also the Tredecile (108 degrees) and the Biquintile (144 degrees). All four of the aspects in this series show unique specializations, whether partly developed uniquenesses (decile), fully developed uniquenesses (quintile), interactive complementary uniquenesses (tredecile), or interactive fully developed uniquenesses (biquintile).
I know that some books credit the quintiles with qualities other than what I've just offered. Though there is general acceptance of the better known angles (dating from Ptolemy), there is some confusion about the more obscure aspects, such as the quintile, septile, and novile series aspects. I've just given you what I believe are some qualities of the quintiles, since 5 represents specialization, expansion, and "quintessence."
I originally outlined the basics of the septile and novile series aspects in my 1978 book "Astrology and the Spiritual Path," out of print for many years. (There is another by that name, but it was published years later by another author.) Today I will offer you some insights about the septile series aspects, so that you can apply some of your observations about these "forks in the road of destiny." Hopefully, this can help you understand why things can be so weird at times, why there seems to be no reason for some things to happen, and why often all of our thinking and reasoning and explaining still doesn't help us choose when confronted by critical decisions.
In the septile series there are the septile (51+ degrees), biseptile (102+ degrees), and triseptile (154+ degrees). Due to the non-rationality of the numbers produced when the circle is divided by 7, it is assumed that these aspects represent the non-rational points in the cycle. Thus on a personality level they show as obsessive or compulsive behavior, irrationality or strange inexplicable points in the process. And of course, as you know if you've been reading this column for any length of time, when operating as a transit they represent critical "forks in the road of destiny," where we must choose which way we will define our personality and therefore our future.
7 is Saturn's number, so that's why it is assumed these points deal with "destiny." Since "character is destiny," as you make your character by your choices you forge your destiny our of the mass of potentials you could choose into the concrete choices that reveal your ability to respond to your karma. This is the true "response-ability" that we accept as a result of Saturn's lessons. Any planet septiling, biseptiling, or triseptiling any other planet has hit a fork in the road of that process, a point where reason and rationality may not serve your ability to choose.
The septile, falling 51 degrees 25 minutes from any given point, shows the first or last fork in the road relative to the conjunction. The waxing septile comes after the first internal crisis of growth at the waxing semisquare and precedes the productive period shown by the waxing sextile. The waning septile comes after the final productivity of the waning sextile phase of the process and the choice at the waning septile precipitates the internal crisis at the waning semisquare. It is a point of emergent choice showing which way the process will develop, or final choice before the disintegration of the old form, forming the seed that will grow anew at the rebeginning of the next conjunction.
The biseptile, falling 102 degrees 50 minutes from any point, is said to be a point of "exteriorization of destiny." While sounding very dramatic, in fact it is simply the next fork in the road of the process that starts at any conjunction, or the next point where the irrational elements of being will show up. It is the natural decision point after the crisis of the waxing square before the productive period of the waxing trine, and usually involves some deep stuff, since it falls in the fourth house relative to any point. The waning biseptile has the same irrational "exteriorization of destiny" qualities, but since it falls in the ninth house relative to any point, it is the culminating fork in the road to seeing the truth of a thing, and it precedes the culmination point of the waxing square.
The triseptile comes in at 154 degrees 16 minutes, and indicates more of a non-rational, cooperative-collective point in the process, since it always falls in the sixth or seventh house relative to a point. It is like the other points in quality, except that it usually involves other people who are also at a critical fork in their own cooperative road. These are points of adjustment, refinement, shifts in how and who you related to, and show you how others are or are not a part of your larger "destiny."
A final important note: if you have two or more planets in a septile, biseptile, or triseptile to each other, they will naturally create resonant "void points" where other septile series aspects fall. These are trigger points for irrational conditions or personality "destiny" elements to come forth in the life. Though these periods can seem very weird indeed, they are points of choice, decision, and movement where reason may fail even though major things are in motion.
For example, you know that because of the Neptune septile Pluto we're in the midst of The Grand Irrationality. Over the past few months it has stimulated points at 7-11 Virgo, 29 Libra-3 Scorpio, 19-23 Sagittarius, 12-16 Aquarius, 3-7 Aries, 25-29 Taurus, and 15-19 Cancer. If any of these points are strong in your chart, you have all the other points also active. These have been progressing forward about 1 to 3 degrees a year due to the movement of Neptune and Pluto.
Since I have a planet in mid-Aquarius, it shows that planet will be influenced by any transitting planet occupying these points. Thus Pluto is in a long term waning septile to my planet, and Jupiter will be waning biseptile my planet in late October and early November when it occupies the Scorpio points, and so forth. The septile qualities will be more in evidence every time the transitting Moon occupies any of these points, and will obviously affect the areas of my chart where the planets occupy and what sectors they rule.
It works that way for all of us. The link to the Grand Irrationality can help you find out if your generation is one being influenced by this long term pressure. And if you know how to calculate aspects, take a look at your chart to see where your different planetary irrationality zones are, as it may help you the next time they activate.