Yods – the grit in the oyster becomes the pearl

Yods in astrology are talked about as rare and ‘fated’, the finger of destiny, which sounds scary. The truth is they are fairly frequent occurrences in birth charts and while they do give rise to their own specific issues they can be a blessing rather than a curse.

  They are formed by two planets in sextile both inconjunct a third planet. Because the focal planet is in an element with no natural connection to the base planets – for example, Fire sextile Air inconjunct Earth or Fire sextile Air inconjunct Water there is a sense of discomfort, of things not fitting, of the individual not being the same as everyone else. They feel different and initially unworthy.

  All configurations bring their own challenges. Trines and sextiles make the energy of the planets in aspects flow easily. Too many in a chart can bring a problem of laziness and discontent and in the case of a Grand Trine getting stuck in a comfortable rut. Individuals with easy aspects tend not to place value on their achievements and talents because results tend to come without effort.

 Squares pull together planets in the same modality although in a clashing way – Cardinal to Cardinal, Fixed to Fixed and Mutable to Mutable – and have the advantage of fostering a problem-solving approach. There’s a hurdle to overcome and finding the solution leads to a stronger and resourceful personality.

Oppositions create a see-saw effect, or being pulled constantly in opposite directions – the grass is always greener somewhere else – but can be helpful in understanding the Other point of view. The best example being Ted Kennedy, who had several oppositions and for all his shortcomings was a past master politically at the art of cross-party negotiations.

  Howard Sasportas who had a yod in his chart had an interesting take, describing the focal planet as trapped, not free to operate because it was stuck between dissimilar energies – and yet, perhaps precisely because of that, it becomes the person’s destiny.  He says you have to grow through something you can’t escape from.

  The yod more than any other element of a birth chart headlines Carl Jung’s epithet – “Free will is the ability to choose that which we must do.”  With a yod the focal planet must be lived out. The switch from an early sense of never fitting in and being different is triggered by a seemingly random outer event and not a willed one. Being different with its sense of unworthiness now becomes a uniqueness which has a singular purpose.   

  The examples on this forum are not helpful to those struggling with less elevated lives. Celebrities, Royals and turbo-charged business types have by and large made the transition from outsider to finding their niche, and, however edgy their personalities, have found a way to make their yods work – Disney’s Bob Iger (below), Martha Stewart, Pablo Picasso, Marine Le Pen, actor Jim Caviezel, Prince William and Harry, Princess Diana, Meghan Markle.

  Howard Sasportas said of his yod: ‘I was led by an instinct, a feeling of being pushed along by the Yod formation of the Sun and Uranus to the MC – and it affected my choice of work. It drove me. I didn’t have to make a lot of conscious choices.’

  Princess Diana in her book Diana: Her True Story, made remarks about always feeling different, of carrying a burden that she was unable to articulate, but always knew was there. Her intuition, she said, told her that life would be a winding road, always feeling separate from others; never feeling in the right place. What happened to her ultimately was not the result of her Jupiterian yod though they can be mishandled, especially with Saturn, Mars or Pluto focal points.

  Not everyone lives out the full potential of their chart though Gauquelin (I think) found that the most successful are the ones who do. That means knuckling down to accept the hand of cards that come at birth over which there is no choice. Which means finding a life and career context in which those energies can be used to their fullest. The patterns of life are not always kind but cause less damage if they are embraced.

  Howard Sasportas as a lowly 9 to 5 civil servant or a factory conveyor belt operative would never have worked. Homing in on your individuality, valuing your originality and being pleased at your difference is the sacrifice a yod demands and its reward.

18 thoughts on “Yods – the grit in the oyster becomes the pearl

  1. Here’s a case study….male 21 died from brain tumor at young age of 21.
    He also has two YODS.
    Asc-Psyche, brain/Mars, ruler 6th, illess = focal point 8th House is
    one YOD, the other YOD IS Moon/Neptune, tumor = MH.
    Notice at death the activation of these two YODS by transit and
    Solar Arc. The focal point of the yods is activated as well as the
    midpt of the yodal base.
    Yods have been known to operate in charts during the time of death,
    the onset of illnesses of long duration, serious injuries, and during
    separations (often by force or circumstances beyond one’s control) in
    The Yod will function according to the level of understanding that
    the astrologer has concerning the basic principles of the planets involved.
    and the House meanings of the focal pt of the Yod.
    He also had a challenging t-square.

    Enlarge death triwheel to 400%.

  2. I found the emphasis on Capricorn that recent years transiting planets have had has left me with a life that somehow at last makes sense. My Sun at 8 Capricorn makes a yod with 10 of Gemini (my mother’s birthday) and 9 of Leo (my father’s birthday). It also opposes Saturn 7 and Moon 12 of Cancer and tucks in Neptune at 6 of Libra. I always felt a bit like The Ugly Duckling trailing around the farmyard asking everyone “Are you my mother?” – I didn’t actually do that of course, but it was a recurring line inside my head.
    After all those transits, my life is somewhere I’d never thought of, but most importantly – it being a 4th House Sun – I feel comfortable at home in world mythology/ libraries/ stories/ on the road. Its a pity that the yod doesn’t feature in some astrologers’ work as it clarified so much for me. Eventually – am now 78 – took a while!

  3. Thank you Marjorie. I have read Howard Sasportas’s explanation, but your summary synthesises and clarifies what he said very well indeed, much appreciated.

  4. Great post, Marjorie. Thank you. I’ve got a question about yods in general: Can a yod be formed between two sextile planets inconjunct one of the major points of the chart, for example, the Asc., Desc., MC and IC? And if so, how does that affect the interpretation and impact on a person’s life? Thanks.

    • Hi Graham, I also a focal point Saturn (retrograde) yod, in Marjorie’s new follow on post she says ‘Yods are tough enforcers, even more so than Saturn and require not only acceptance but also constant adjustments’ (gulp) 🙂

      • Tough for sure. My focal point Saturn is also conjunct the south node opposite Venus / north node square Neptune . Could be worse…or maybe not

  5. Great thanks, Marjorie. That was quite helpful. I bought a book about yods some years ago to understand my own chart but your post outdoes it in a few words. I have two yods actually, both involving a conjunction. At age 68, they are finally coming to a head and I am at last learning to master them in my own way. The first is a Moon-Pluto conjunction at 26-28 Leo inconjunct a Chiron-Mercury conjunction at 28 Cap and 0 Aquarius sextile Mars at 27 Pisces. Transiting Pluto and Neptune are messing about with that one. They are real eye-openers and bring seemingly miraculous windows of opportunity. Solar Arc Saturn at 27 Cap also helps. The other has Mars as its focal point near my IC (difficult beginnings) inconjunct both Moon-Pluto and Neptune at 28 Libra in the 10th. I did have a somewhat idealistic and humanitarian career, and am quite impractical. Transiting Pluto is squaring natal Neptune while conjunct natal Chiron (ouch). Transiting Neptune on Mars isn’t easy either. Sometimes the intensity is a bit much so I react by more sports and leisure as well as increasingly spiritual pursuits. I think my saving grace is Jupiter-Uranus at 25 Cancer opposite Sun at 20 Cap, a maverick with social concerns. Of course Moon in Leo wants to think big and has to be brought down to earth from time to time. Moon-Pluto are square Saturn at 19 Scorpio, which I won’t comment. Jupiter-Uranus and Pluto are in the 8th, Moon on cusp of 9th.

  6. Thanks Marjorie, this has been really helpful especially talking about there being positives to yods. Having a yod with a focal planet of retrograde Saturn in Aries inconjunct Mars in Scorpio sextile retrograde Venus in Virgo, I have now learnt (& still learning) that it plays a pivotal place in my life. I seem to go into action when it is activated. And, there has been one large random outer event/experience that has had such an impact that it drives everything I do, even when I have tried to leave it. I now think it is something I am meant to go along with the push of it, no matter how stressful it is (and actually I don’t think it will let me go).

    Especially as a child, I felt like I was on the outside & having two planets of the yod being retrograde it’s been difficult to deal with.

    It’s been an interesting life journey, so far, but it would be nice to have some peace.

    My son, who was born on my Saturn return (and also has it retrograde) has a yod with Saturn, but it’s not the focal planet & also has two grand trines, a kite, & a grand cross. He’s always open to astrology through me. He was a baby when the random outer event happened to us & I hope that he won’t have to experience another random event.

  7. Thanks for your explanation of the yod Marjorie. This is very helpful as I have been wondering how 2 yods play out in a composite chart with Saturn as the focal and a Venus/Pluto Uranus sextile. Also Venus as focal to a Saturn/Jupiter sextile. Pretty heavy going …..!

      • I don’t know about relationships, but a Saturn focal point yod is a nightmare and mine being retrograde just muddles things even more! I’m not sure I’ll ever be mature enough to get fully to grips with it.

      • My relationship (of 41 years) has 4 yods, and a grand trine too. It has always felt extremely fated to me (and not always happily). I’m keen for some insight into this and looking forward to what you have to say.

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