I have many times walked down Deansgate in central Manchester, England and admired the exterior of the grand Victorian gothic building that is the John Rylands Library, now part of the University of Manchester Library. It was only a few weeks ago that I first entered the building, on impulse while showing some French people around the North’s industrial capital. The library was built in memory of textile entrepreneur John Rylands, Manchester’s first multi-millionaire, by his wife Enriqueta, and open to the public in 1900. What a fine building it is, an implicit rebuke to the surrounding Manchester modernity.
Highlights include the very fine, light and airy reading room on the top floor, and the original Victorian toilets, still in use in the basement. The other floors house a large number of old books and manuscripts, some featured on display. Most famous is perhaps the oldest extant papyrus fragment of St John’s gospel from the New Testament, believe to have originated in the 2nd or 3rd century. Enthusiastic and welcoming staff, plus an in-house cafe, make for a very positive visitor experience.
What particularly caught my eye in one of the display cabinets was a copy of Ptolemy’s ‘Tetrabiblos’. Ptolemy was a polymath of Roman times, living in Alexandria c90-168AD. He wrote major treatises on Astronomy, Geography and Astrology – the latter being the Tetrabiblos, which had formative influence on the subsequent development of astrology.
As it happens, the book was open at a page containing Ptolemy’s diagram of the aspects, highlighting the sextile 60°, quartile (square) 90°, trine 120° and opposition 180°. Ptolemy also mentions elsewhere the other ’30°’ aspects – the semi-sextile 30° and the quincunx 150° – but does not imply much significance to them. In the book Aspect Pattern Astrology, Bruno Huber explains how the system of ’30°’ aspects used in astrological psychology was firmly based on Ptolemy’s work, but also indicated why the semi-sextile and quincunx aspects have come into greater prominence in more recent times.
As I understand his argument, from Roman times to the middle ages human psychology was essentially dualistic. Black-and-white thinking was the norm, while subtlety of thinking with shades of grey was not. As the Western world went through the processes of Renaissance, Reformation, revolution, development of science and ultimately the development of psychology itself, we moved into a world of much greater psychological subtlety – the awareness/thinking functions of the semi-sextile and quincunx aspects came into their own, and they thus became relevant in chart interpretation.
Of course, here I am just skating over the surface. Another key point to the Huber Method of astrological psychology is that the House System found most reliable for psychological interpretation of the the birth chart is that of Dr Koch, and the orbs used for determining validity of an aspect are specifically defined for this approach. You can find more in the above referenced Aspect Pattern Astrology, or the introductory The Cosmic Egg Timer: Introducing Astrological Psychology.
Interestingly, in the early gothic architecture, eg at St Denis or Notre Dame in Paris, the common form of arch was the Equilateral Arch, which has the characteristic that you can inscribe an equilateral triangle, comprising three trines (a ‘harmonious’ aspect), within the curved part of the arch. The Rylands arches appear to be slightly flatter than this, thus allowing more light in at the windows, as is appropriate for a library.
The green aspects indicate more changing mind sets based on information and learning. Red and blue represent the ambivalent , black and white thinking. Thanks for the reference. It is good to know the basis for use of the green aspects and the historical context from which they were derived.
Thank you, John. Yes, I perhaps should have added that Bruno chose the colour green for the new psychological aspects. He also linked Ptolemy’s ‘lucky’ sextile and trine aspects with the colour blue, and his ‘unlucky’ square and opposition aspects with red. The blue aspects have a fixed quality and the red a cardinal quality; both need a bit of green mutability to transcend the black and white mindset.
Very interesting thanks for the explanation Barry.
I wondered what experiences tutors and pupils have of the quincunx in AP? Is it as strong as the square or opposition?
The quincunx plays a very important role in Huber astrology as an aspect that is likely to raise doubts and ask questions, and support mediation and problem-solving in preference to the direct action associated with the square and the see-saw effect of the opposition. Its operation can be seen in the three-colour Dominant and Large Learning Triangles that combine red, blue and green aspects in a learning sequence. Whereas Ptolemy rejected semi-sextiles and quincunxes because signs in adjacent or inconjunct relationship were neither harmonious nor challenging, and the quincunx did not divide equally into the circle, Huber astrology for modern humanity utilizes them for coping with difference and raising consciousness.
I can respond to Steve’s question about the quincunx in AP aspects. I’ve personally found it to be very powerful because it demands deep learning, leading to a greater understanding of the qualities of the planet receiving the quincunx AP, and how this planet/drive is operating in real life. This personal experience has been reflected in the charts of clients I’ve seen whose charts have had an AP quincunx at the time of my session with them. The quincunx has a stretchy quality, in the sense that it can stretch us out, make us grow and open our minds. I’ve found it can be as challenging as an AP opposition, maybe because it provokes thought and awareness, leading to understanding.
Thank you for your comments. As a former student I am looking for clarity with age point aspects. The course emphasizes conjunction and opposition. So for your comments I am grateful.
I certainly agree with Joyce that quincunxes created by Age Points are very important. As my Age Point entered the 12th house this summer it made a quincunx to Mercury and a sextile to Neptune. As Mercury and Neptune are in an exact square aspect in my natal chart, the Age Point quincunx and sextile (still in orb) have created a temporary Large Learning Triangle and released a lot of sensitive mental energy that had been hitherto suppressed, so I am accessing different levels of intelligent knowing.
I very much agree with the comments about the quincunx. I’ve personally experienced it (in mine and other’s charts) to be like a wake-up call to consciousness, to something that needs attention, in connection with both the AP aspects and transits (particularly of the outer planets). The combination of an outer planet and a quincunx can be very dramatic, and can certainly stimulate growth. And this has been personal experience relating both to Natal and Nodal charts.
My own experience of the Diploma Course while a student was that there was some very helpful stuff written about the quincunx in the early Modules, which enabled me to understand charts that I was working with, particularly involving the Dominant Learning Triangle. And this information (together with the in-depth ‘Aspect Pattern Astrology’) can of course be equally applied to the age-point aspects.
Thanks for all the comments. It helps me in using AP to reassess my birth time. I have two very plausible birth times fairly close to my mothers original guess! But one of the times I dismissed originally because I was still thinking on traditional lines regarding aspects. Which have no time for the quincunx as it is deemed to have little relevance and strength. Due to what already has been written above.
What is strange is the two quincunx’s from AP to Uranus are many years apart, 15 to be precise and both concerning major life relationship decisions which were totally out of character for myself.
Uranus in my chart in near the ascendant and square an exact Jupiter/Mars opposition. So basically Uranus is the focal point of an efficiency triangle. That makes it sound so sweet but it has been hard work! LOL
Thanks again fro your comments.
Links are not working
Thanks for pointing that out, George. I have brought those links up to date.