Oh my Yod!
11 July 2008 18 Comments
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.