Oh my Yod!

All these years of looking at my chart, as a self-taught, novice astrologer, I can’t believe I failed to notice yod in it! Maybe because I’ve been overly obsessed with Sun-Saturn-Mercury in the 6th house. At any rate, I recently discover that I have a yod, the apex of which points to the sleeping Venus, which I was told to try and wake up… I looked up a few websites and realised that very little attention is paid to the yod, maybe because it is so difficult to describe and analyse.

Bob Marks offers a very decent analysis of the yod, and his article prompted me to get Karen Hamaker-Zondag’s The Yod Book. The result is a flash of amazement on my part — finally, my chart and my life are starting to make sense…


A yod in a chart is made when two planets in sextile with each other make an aspect to a third planet opposite the mid-point of the sextile. The sextiled planets make a 150° aspect, called a quincunx, or inconjunct, to the third planet, and the shape of the configuration takes the form of an isosceles triangle.

The yod in a chart has been variously noted to have a sense of ‘destiny’ or ‘fate’ to it, but as Bob Marks notes, such a statement really says nothing at all. Nonetheless, the yod is also known as ‘the Finger of God’, suggesting that the energy is directed towards the apex of the triangle. Hamaker-Zondag, however, suggests that any planet in a yod configuration can influence a chart because it is the entire configuration that generates meaning, not just one part of it.

The yod has generally be neglected in astrological writings (at least in the popular stuff) because its effects and meaning are hard to quantify. It is difficult to say if it is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Whilst modern astrology no longer considers any aspects or transits as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, it is still possible to say if an energy conduit is smooth, as in a trine, or rough, as in a square.

Yod energies are hard to quantify because the involve planets in different signs, modes, and elements. So, for example, a yod of Moon, Mercury and Pluto in Aquarius, Cancer and Sagittarius, respectively, would be exhibiting energies that are fundamentally either incompatible or simply indifferent to one another. Schematically:

Moon in Aquarius — fixed, air, positive (yang)
Mercury in Cancer — cardinal, water, negative (yin)
Pluto in Sagittarius — mutable, fire, positive (yang)

The Moon in Aquarius would be sextile Pluto in Sagittarius, both making quincunxes to Mercury in Cancer. According to Hamaker-Zondag, similar tensions can be felt with a T-square, where three planets occupy three different elements. However, because planets in a T-square share the same modality (either cardinal, fixed or mutable), their modes of coping with a difficult aspect would generally be in the same direction. So people with cardinal T-squares or Grand Crosses would perhaps try to address their problems by taking action, people with mutables by adapting, and people with fixed signs by sticking to their guns. With a yod, the energy matrix is more unstable, and the strategies of coping for one planet in one modality and element is uncomfortable to the other, and so on.

People with yods, therefore, if I may summarise from Hamaker-Zondag’s book, often don’t have a coherent coping strategy, because what may seem right may seem equally wrong. This does not mean they are indecisive, but rather stereoscopic in vision and feeling. Yod people can feel things strongly, but not be able to articulate their thoughts or feelings clearly, mainly because the thoughts and feelings are not clear to themselves. Yet, yod people often find themselves placed at, or even effecting, the ‘turning-points’ of events. Yod people often experience an inner turbulence they have no explanation for, nor seem to be able to be calmed by anything or anyone. As a rule, yod people are loners, often feeling (and being!) misunderstood, yet having no clear way of making themselves understood.

Hamaker-Zondag offers this solution to people whose yods feature strongly in their lives, and I paraphrase: accept the turbulence, and the discomfort of not-knowing (practice?!). The vague sense of insecurity may hum in the background but shouldn’t hinder real achievement, because it seems that yod people are capable of extraordinary things, if only because they are accustomed to living/thinking/feeling on the margins, the edge, and the shadowy grey area most others don’t even acknowledge. Yod people seek integration but something always (feels like it) slips out of reach.

Tough life, is all I can say. But, in typical yod fashion, tough and happy, too. I’m not sure I could have it any other way.

Image: Detail from Michaelangelo’s Creation of Adam, c. 1510. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

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18 Responses to Oh my Yod!

  1. chirotic says:

    That’s very interesting, I don’t know which planets your Venus gets yodded by though (maybe you said, but I struggle to read sometimes).

    I got the Yod by understanding that it speaks to constant dissatisfaction. That is the quincunx in a nutshell, never happy with the attempt to blend the two energies. You get this doubled up in a Yod, twice the dissatisfaction, that alone creates a continual restless hunting for peace of mind, in your case in relationships, in trying to feel relaxed, with not having to worry about money, with how you look as well.

    I don’t have a Yod. Lucky me :)

  2. hitchhiker72 says:

    Hey Chirotic, thanks for stopping by.

    My Venus is yodded by the Moon sextile Neptune. Constant dissatisfaction is pretty much it, and also constant confusion by the dissatisfaction, since the external circumstances don’t necessarily mirror it (often they do though!).

    As for not having a yod… Well, Karen Hamaker-Zondag writes about temporary yods…. I may write more about this later.

    Cheers,
    hh72

  3. mm says:

    Good post with excellent links. Thanks for this. Knowledge is indeed power and I’m glad you’ve had this breakthrough – a bit yod-like in itself.

    I don’t have a yod (well not really: Jupiter at 2 Aquarius is probably too wide an aspect) but I do have a generational sextile – Uranus at 29 Gemini and Saturn 29 Leo. So the Yod point is 29 Capricorn, which is the natal degree of my sister’s Sun. I have to say that our relationship is much more less edgy than might be surmised but we have other harmonious links going on between our charts …..

  4. grandtrines says:

    I’m looking forward to the temporary yod article. I note & study yods by transit, looking to how they represent points of decision for everyone.

    But, the temporary yod must be inevitable, no matter who you are. (All that is necessary is for two planets to form a sextile with it’s mid-point opposite a natal planet or cluster.)

  5. hitchhiker72 says:

    Thanks, mm and grandtrines,

    From what I’ve been reading of yods by transit and by synastry, they are pretty interesting!

    I’ll post when I’ve digested the subject a bit more.

    Cheers
    hh72

  6. chirotic says:

    Well, I get a Yod by secondary progression of course every 27.5 years when SP Moon transits the opposition of the midpoint of Neptune and Pluto and the next one of those that I get is in 2012, December, if you can believe that. You get as many SP Yods every 27.5 years as you have sextiles of course and I would imagine they are pretty powerful affairs.

    The last time I had that one was in around 1975, I was pretty young then.

  7. inger says:

    oh MAN!

    thank you for this amazing entry on the yod. i have mercury in gemini (9th house) and venus in leo (11th house) yodding my moon in capricorn (4th house). oof. all of that stuff – the lack of synthesis, the inability to communicate effectively about one’s feelings – i don’t remember the last time i read something that resonated so deeply with me.

    fantastic. really. can’t wait to read that book.

  8. hitchhiker72 says:

    Hi Inger,

    The book is very good. Had the effect of lightbulbs going off in my head the whole time I was reading it. I think the yod is really interesting, because it lays a non-positivist layer over astrological chart interpretation. In other words, you can’t say these three planets ‘mean’ something when they are in this particular configuration because the very configuration problematises their ‘meaning’.

    There’s my yod trying but failing to articulate what I mean, but you know what I mean. Lol. :)

    Good luck.

  9. Suzanne says:

    Great article about Yods – its so hard to find anything out about them. The inability to articulate what I’m thinking and/or feeling has been with me all my life. In my natal chart I have the generational sextile of Neptune and Pluto forming a Yod to my Sun and Mars in Pisces in the 5th house.
    I’ve felt like a misfit all my life and have definite loner tendencies.

    One thing I have learnt is that I can often work out just what it is I am thinking through writing. Visual art helps me get in touch with my deeper feelings.

  10. hitchhiker72 says:

    Hi Suzanne,

    Visual art and writing is very much 5th house activities, so good for you!

    My yod points to the 7th house so a lot of it comes out in relation to other people. Sigh. But I’m working on it.

    Thank for stopping by.

  11. Suzanne says:

    Hi hitchhiker72,
    thanks for your reply.

    I read a previous post of yours where you said your yod points to Venus in the 7th. I can see how this must be difficult. Here’s a thought, and ignore me if I’m totally of the mark.-

    the 7th is about relationship and marriage and is ruled by Libra. This suggests it is about the deep inner need for balance and harmony. Perhaps on a deep level the 7th house could manifest as a relationship with oneself – ‘the inner marriage’ as the mystics call it. Venus is about love, beauty and creativity. Maybe a release for the stresses of the yod configuration could be found, in part, through seeking to express love and the urge to create beauty and harmony in ways that resonate with your own inner being. – I think its my yod making these sentences so tangled – I know what I mean!

    What I’m trying to say is that finding ways to consolidate your own inner sense of balance, peace and beauty through expressing love (whether that is for another person, a tree, a cat or even this web site) could help release the energy of the Yod. After all, it is called The Finger of God and does, apparently, indicate a particularly intense focus of energy.

    As I said – this just food for thought really.

    – Suzanne

  12. hitchhiker72 says:

    Hi again, Suzanne,

    Thanks for this. You are right, really. And I have been working on it (relating to myself) for the past few years. This blog is part of the process.

    Best wishes
    hh72

  13. cooloften says:

    Hi

    My whole chart is centered around the yod pointing to moon on the midheaven. Neptune sextile pluto at the base. I always, since I was a kid felt I was great, meant for great things, have some idea now, but for most of my youth it was a heavy, unexplained feeling. 15 jan 1981, alwaye, india, 8:15 pm

    My whole life i have experienced the extreme depths of emotions and feelings, but never a real, normal relationship. I can be really taken off balance just by watching a movie, i come out of the theatre not knowing who i am or what i should do next. I so forget myself.

    I came across the article when i suddenly realized how badly i wanted to go back to the country i was raised in, though not my native country, is because of the yod pointing to the moon. Then i started searching on the yod and found this.

    I am now of the opinion that going back to my real home is what will make me happy. Every day I find new reasons to do everything I can to make it happen.

    Thanks for the brilliant article….! :)

    • hitchhiker72 says:

      Hi cooloften

      Thanks for sharing. Yods and yod experiences are so hard to define clearly that it is always helpful to hear individual stories.

      Best of luck with the move.

  14. Niyati says:

    Hi Hitchhiker72,
    Great blog BTW. and very good on the Yod which is extremely difficult to articulate or is that my yod talking…LOL. I find Karen Hamachers book almost indecipherable regretfully though Ive just come across a download by Steven Forrest talking about yods which was really helpful.
    I too have a focused Yod of sextile Venus (Gemini 8th hse) Uranus (Leo 9th hse) with Saturn (Cap 3rd Hse) at the apex and Mercury (cancer 8th hse) opposite him.
    The Yod is the same as as Laurence Fishbourne of Matrix fame as we were born on the same day …. though regretfully Ive never been able to unearth a birth time for him. I would love to see it if anyone knows it.
    My whole life has been one long series of the mundane suddenly manifesting as the extraordinary. Believe me a yod is not easy to reconcile in anyones life. But I just wanted to add one detail for anyone who reads this blog that is I recently looked into the tarot symbolism for a yod and for me (Saturn apex) it came back with the 7 of pentacles. And my interpretation of that is about working hard in the background and having patience. My kids love X-factor and I wonder how many of the successful people on it have yods as lets be honest suddenly all the hard work and sacrifices they have been making come to fruition. Which is a seriously yod kind of event. My recent suspicions concering my yod is to do with integrating the radical and unusual into my local community (3rd hse), a marathon task but recently Ive come to see that it is possible to change netranched views by simply acting with dignity (saturn) and demanding respect from people who would normally make you a scapegoat, it is a lot about acting on an inner ‘knowing’ or intuition.
    The yod is a ramarkable feature in any chart but it does limit your life because you know categorically that you will need to sacrifice a lot of things in order to get to the place that ‘Fate’ has decided you need to be in, at the right time and place. Feels like hell a lot of the time……. best wishes to all you have that damn ‘finger of fate’ pointing righ at them ….. I know what its like….
    Thanks for you posting

  15. hitchhiker72 says:

    Hi Niyati, thanks for your insightful comment. I’m still trying to figure out my own yod, which is out of sign so I don’t have anything to add at the moment. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  16. littleminx says:

    Can anyone help me understand my yod, please? I have neptune (6th house of scorpio) sextile pluto (5th house of virgo) with the apex in Saturn (11th house of aries)). The saturn is the only planet i have in the nothern part of my chart. The rest of my planets are concentrated in southern sector and form a stellum around libra mostly

    Kindest regards

  17. hitchhiker72 says:

    Hi littleminx,

    Thanks for stopping by. I don’t have anything specific to say about your yod, as I’m still learning about mine, and yods in general. As I mentioned in the article above, yods seem to work in very individual ways for individual people so it is quite difficult to generalise (perhaps that’s why there are so few writings on the subject).

    My feeling is as your yod involves the outer planets, and their transits can span years, even generations, there are likely to be a sizeable number of people with your configuration, and it may be useful to exchange stories with people in your age group whether or not you ‘talk astrology’.

    Robert Wilkinson recently posted some general guidelines for reading yods which I hope can help somewhat.

    http://www.aquariuspapers.com/astrology/2009/11/astrology-class—the-yod-or-finger-of-god—what-is-it-and-how-does-it-work.html

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