Quincunx, YOD, Pythagorean Triangle



The quincunx, the YOD and the Pythagorean triangle are based on the 12th harmonic, which is found through dividing 360 degrees by 12 which equals 30 degrees.  The multiples of this division give us the:

semi-sextile   30 degrees;

sextile            30 x 2 = 60

square           30 x 3 = 90

trine               30 x 4  = 120

quincunx        30 x 5  = 150

opposition      30 x 6  = 180

As you can see, all the Ptolemaic aspects are derived from the 12th harmonic series.

The quincunx aspect:

Maximum orb is 2 degrees.

The quincunx aspect is a little like a bridge between signs that are different by element and modality.  Therefore they allow the person to have a rather quirky, flexible approach to situations that may cause puzzles or  problems to those who don’t have planets in these signs.  For this reason it often appears in the charts of those who are skilled at problem solving.

Quincunxes often describe a sense of humour – the ability to see the funny side of life in almost all circumstances – so they regularly appear in the charts of comedians.  This is particularly emphasised if  the quincunx is involved in a Pythagorean triangle (three or more planets in a square, quincunx and trine interlocking aspect)  the type of humour is shown by the planets involved in the configuration.

Here is the chart of Australian comedian Barry Humphries who has attained fame as Dame Edna Everage.

(click to enlarge chart)

Barry Humphries

As you can see, he has a quincunx between his MC and Ceres-Uranus.  This makes up a Pythagorean triangle with Pluto-Vertex.  Pluto is ruler of his MC and conjunct the Vertex, giving a ‘destined’ career.  In the sign Cancer this career is in the public eye and in the 5th house in the area of entertainment.  It’s interesting that Barry attained considerable fame through dressing as a woman (Cancer).  Uranus, the ruler of the Ascendant,  in Aries in the 3rd house gives him considerable skill in communication and the sharp, quirky wit for which he is renowned.  Conjunct Ceres again suggests that this involves a female focus.  Barry’s chart is particularly powerful as the Pythagorean triangle involves the ruler of his Ascendant and his MC and a planet conjunct the Vertex – so all three angles are emphasised.

The quincunx aspect by itself will always show when there are changes in the life.  The signs and houses involved describe the area of change.   As the unexpected is a keynote of the quincunx, these changes require you to be both flexible in approach and ‘on your toes’ when they are activated.

The potential for Long distance travel is almost always shown in the chart by a quincunx, either through transits, progressions or directions involving a planet in the 9th house or the ruler of the 9th house.    It shows so frequently at times of travel because travel itself requires you to be flexible and open to changes

The quincunx aspect is almost always present when there is death as death also describes a period of considerable change both for the person who dies and their family and friends.  The quincunx will involve the eighth house or the ruler of the eighth and the house that describes the person who dies.  E.g. if there is a transit of Jupiter in the 4th house making a quincunx to Venus in the 8th house, which  in turn rules the sign on the cusp of the 4th house,  then a parent is likely to be the person who dies.

Home moves also almost always have a quincunx transit, progression or direction as does conception and childbirth.

It can even show up when you meet the love of your life as this is likely to completely change your life.

The YOD pattern

A YOD is made up of two planets in sextile (60°) aspect and a third planet in a quincunx (150°) aspect to both of them.  Ideally the third planet should be making up a close to exact midpoint structure with the other two.  The outside orb for a YOD is 2 degrees, unless it makes up a midpoint structure, in which case it can stretch to 2 degrees 30 minutes.

There are all kinds of mystical interpretations for a YOD as it is also called “The Finger of God”, but from my perspective it is an entirely practical aspect pattern requiring commonsense and flexibility in the areas activated by the planets involved.  If outer planets are involved in a YOD, then the person tends to have very powerful and often stressful experiences that change their perspective and outlook on life.  These experiences develop an awareness and insight that can give considerable wisdom.

Here is an example of a true YOD pattern involving Venus-Uranus-Pluto, with Venus at the point of the YOD.  This pattern makes up the midpoint structure of Venus = Uranus/Pluto



Transits, progressions and directions that make a YOD pattern either with the natal chart or the progressed chart herald a powerful time in the life.

If just ordinary quincunx transits can indicate big changes in the life, imagine what transits making up a YOD in the natal chart can do!  It can greatly intensify the power of the transit and place considerable emphasis on the planet at the point of the YOD and the house and sign in which it resides.  It suggests major changes or considerable adjustment in matters connected to that planet, its house and sign through the people or circumstances described by the transiting planet(s).

This transit can be read as a midpoint transit, so it is handy to have a good midpoint interpretation book on hand – a couple of classics are Rules for Planetary Pictures’ by Witte-Lefeldt and  Ebertin’s ‘ Combination of Stellar Influences’;  These should give some idea of what to expect.

If you have a natal YOD,  transits, progressions or directions that activate this configuration will indicate important times in the life.  If the YOD involves outer planets, then when that outer planet activates either of the other legs of the YOD  by transit you are likely to have some powerful experiences that can make core changes to your nature and your approach to life.

The YOD illustrated above had transiting Uranus conjunct natal Pluto at age 13 when the person fell in love for the first time and transiting Uranus conjunct natal Venus at age 46, when she met a person who completely changed her environment and her life.  True to the nature of  Venus = Uranus/Pluto,  neither of these experiences were easy as both required involvement with people from completely different walks of life.  Interestingly both also involved the development of more strength and flexibility in the body – at age 13 through a sport and at age 46 through yoga.

I tend to think that transits by an outer planet to a natal YOD can, at times, have an almost Plutonic effect as the focus and intensity of this configuration can transform your life.

Copyright  (c) Alice Portman 2009

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5 Responses to “Quincunx, YOD, Pythagorean Triangle”

  1. Tom Bubb says:

    I have been studying astrology for a few years and I am fascinated and always seeking more. I have a yod in my chart that I would like to know more about. 02/17/51 0315 Houston Tx.
    The finger is point to Venus/Mars in Pisces. I feel Venus is dominating in that she is exalted in Pisces and conjuncts Jupiter who is well placed in Pisces. Neptune exalted in Libra Sextile Pluto exalted in Leo to complete the Yod.
    Can you give me some thoughts on about these aspects.

  2. ajav says:

    I was born in Cochabamba – Bolivia on May 21th 1985 at 12:55 pm., the thing is that I have A YOD with this three planets: sun, neptune and pluto, I would like more information about this particular position in my natal chart

  3. Alice says:

    Hi Ajav

    the orb between your Sun, Neptune and Pluto is too wide for a YOD. The maximum is two degrees. Your Sun is 0 Gemini 34, Pluto is 2 Scorpio 36 and Neptune is 3 Capricorn 04. The only time an orb over two degrees is allowed is when the focus planet of the YOD makes a midpoint pattern between the two other planets.

    People born on the 23rd May would have the exact YOD.

  4. Alice says:

    Hi Tom

    This is a separating YOD as Venus and Mars are moving away from the exact point. People born on the 18th February would have the exact aspect.

    However, it is still in focus within a 2 degree orb so can be used.

    Venus is ruler of your MC so will be a factor in the choice of career. In the third house it would describe a career involved in some communication field. As it is conjunct Mars, which is the ruler of your 4th house and 11th house, it would suggest the career could involve working from home (4th house) and a strong social orientation (11th house).

    This conjunction is in the Scorpio duad of Pisces (see articles on duads) which often gives skill in metaphysics, parapsychology, psychic areas or advanced scientific fields. The actual degree gives a penetrating mind, strong views and a tendency to be fairly critical.

    As you noted, Venus is exalted in Pisces and is quincunx Neptune in Libra – a mutual reception. This considerably strengthens both planets. As Neptune is in the 10th house this will again give a career orientation. Neptune is in the Taurus duad of Libra, which gives a love of beauty, art, music. It also gives skills in the business side of these areas. It is a good degree for sales and public relations.

    The other leg, involving Pluto in Leo in the 8th, further stimulated the occult energy of this YOD. Pluto is in the Pisces duad of Leo, which gives a strong creative imagination and excellent dramatic expression.

    As Venus-Mars is also conjunct the North Node, which makes a midpoint structure of Node = Neptune/Pluto, the whole combination of energies will draw you to groups, organizations or partners in metaphysical areas and give the oddest experiences to do with people at times.

    As I mentioned in my blog, the YOD can give an excellent sense of humor, and with Mars and Pluto involved, sometimes a bit scathing.

    The whole combination would be very good for teaching and/or writing about unusual subjects.


  5. karlii says:

    I find your insights fascinating! I have two yods in my natal chart.

    Jupiter @ Aries 12’06”
    Moon @ Aquarius 12’40”
    Pluto @ Virgo 13’32”
    Neptune @ Scorpio 14’55”

    Keep in mind that Saturn is at Aquarius 16′ 28″
    and Uranus is at Virgo 8’55”

    What, if anything is the significance of these aspects?

    Sun Scorpio 2’26”
    Asc Scorpio 16’53”
    Merc libra 26’14
    Venus Scorpio 17’34
    Mars sag 0’37

    26oct63 0811am 96w24 42n30