Oh My Stars

A lot of astrologers love yods. I can see why that is. It gives us as astrologers a lot of opportunity to talk about things like “life purpose” and “higher goals” and things like that. That makes us all feel good and special about our work doesn’t it?

As I see it, there are one or two problems with this. The first is that yods are a second-order level of astrology. No matter how evolved you or me or the next guy would like to be, it’s hard to really stop and visualize a better life for oneself when you’re being chased by a bear. Let’s be honest here: as good an idea as “evolutionary astrology” is, it’s usually the Saturn squares and the Pluto transits and stuff that send people around for readings. There’s nothing wrong with that.

So just as a lingering illness is harder for a doctor to treat than a broken arm, yods are a little harder to figure out than some of the more obvious stuff like “Mars square Uranus.”

I think that’s only part of the problem though. The other part is that the yod consists of astrology’s laziest major aspect combined with its most aggravating minor aspect. Sextiles are fine and all, but have you noticed how damn lazy they are? A person whose birth chart was entirely made of sextiles would probably be smooth and charming and likable and friendly and probably wouldn’t get anywhere with their life. Sure they are useful in two no talent, but being useful and talented isn’t worth a lot of you didn’t do anything with it.

Now combine that aspect with the quincunx. And boy, don’t some astrologers sound useless sometimes when they wave their hands around trying to explain what a quincunx is like! 

When we talk about quincunxes, we tend to think of them as two planets with incompatible energies being forced to work together or find a compromise.  You ever get a bookshelf from Ikea and some of the parts were missing or the instructions didn’t make sense and you ended up having to glue the thing together against its will to make it work like an actual bookshelf? Sure you manage to do it, but it was a huge pain in the ass and no matter what your results, it will never be showroom quality.

That’s a quincunx for you.

So in a sense, the yod is a matter of “lazy meets awkward.” As either an astrologer or as someone who has one in your birth chart, it’s easy to stare at them and wonder if they either mean something much more than they appear to and you just aren’t getting it, or maybe they really are some sort of divine signature of higher purpose. Or maybe their just some sort of cosmic glitch.

They are powerful enough that they make their presence felt, but unlike other aspects they don’t seem to result in any fairly obvious outcome unless a person really works with them, or is really forced to deal with them.

So in my humble opinion, a yod is just the smooth and lazy, “why can’t we all just get along” sextile which is being provoked by an annoyance that is neither so horrible it needs to be defeated nor so compelling that it needs to be worked with… but with the potential to really help you grow as a human being.

There is a tendency to think of the yod as pointing to one Specific sign or House of the birth chart, and the place where it is pointing is where the yod should be able to work itself out. I think that is often the case, but not necessarily because the yod is pointing in that direction. I think that sometimes it’s a little more like being on a long road trip with three children in the backseat: two of them are polite and well behaved and the other one is a screaming terror. The kids are hungry and the too polite ones want pizza, or really, whatever comes up next. The screaming and difficult child insists on cheeseburgers. Just cheeseburgers. Only cheeseburgers, and only from that place you passed five miles ago.

Eight out of ten times, which of these two viewpoints is going to win? That’s right: sometimes the kids do make you stop the car and turn around.

Let’s look at some sample screaming and fussing kids and see how he can get some use out of them… or at least a little peace and quiet. I’ve yanked these from a more or less randomly selected client’s chart.


The good kids: Mars sextile Saturn

The bad kid: Neptune, quincunx Mars and Saturn

A Mars-Saturn sextile is normally pretty good news. It gives one the ability to focus one’s drives in a practical direction. This is probably an especially good thing given that both Mars and Saturn are in debilitated positions in this case.

The problem here of course is that Neptune is frequently spacey and unrealistic.


The good kids: Jupiter sextile Neptune

A Jupiter-Neptune aspect like this can bring great optimism and spiritual strength. it can be the mark of someone who leads their life in a very good and high-minded  manner. Of course, it can also lend itself to terrible excess.

The bad kid: Saturn quincunx Jupiter and Neptune

Of course both Jupiter and Neptune tend to be a little lazy, and frequently can’t stand up to a difficult aspect from Saturn… again, especially a debilitated one.


The good kids: Neptune sextile Pluto

Although this is a generational effect, it becomes important when it interacts with a personal planet. In many ways this is like Mars sextile Saturn, in that it gives one the ability to cut through and get results with things that might otherwise be fuzzy or unrealistic.

The bad kid: Mars quincunx Neptune and Pluto

Frankly, Neptune doesn’t know how to stand up to the aggression from Mars, and Pluto already brings too much of its own.

Now did you happen to notice the connecting feature through most of this is Neptune? Find where the yod is pointing (that is, the planet making the quincunx), and that’s where the solutions can occur. In this sample chart Neptune is in Sagittarius in the fifth house. A Fifth House Neptune is particularly noteworthy for its ability to vanish into movies or comic books or fairy tales or parables or something like that. It has an interesting way of dealing with reality through the power of unreality.

The big solution? Stop dreaming about a perfect world or a perfect relationship and pull up your socks and pick a practical goal and get to work on it. That’s it. Take a practical goal and get to work on it.

No really. That’s it. See how challenging a yod can be?

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