What Is a Yod?
A Yod is made up of at least three natal planets and/or points (the Ascendent, Descendent, MC or IC). Two planets (or a planet and point) form a sextile—or a 60-degree angle—with each other, and they are the base of the Yod. Both of these planets/points then form an inconjunct (or Quincunx, a 150-degree angle) to a third planet/point (the apex, or focal point, of the Yod). In your chart, it will look like an elongated triangle, and the inconjuncts are often portrayed as dotted lines. Yods are rare configurations; if you have one, you’re dealing with some unusually powerful energy.
A sextile is easy, flowing energy. So the base is harmonious. But the inconjuncts to the apex are not harmonious; an inconjunct demands adjustment between incompatible energies. So the potential of the base is focused on the apex through a tense stream of energy that demands release. This is what makes Yods so difficult. When relationship planets/houses are involved, you may find that your partnerships have a “fated” quality. At the same time, these partnerships place impossible demands or choices on you. Let’s look at some examples.
Example 1: Learning Unusual Ways to Express Identity Within a Relationship
But these two planets form an inconjunct to the cusp of her First House (Ascendent) in rebel Aquarius. And Mars is conjunct her Ascendent. All that loving sacrifice is funneled into her drive (Mars) to be independent. Not a comfortable fit. She found herself in relationships with men (Mars) who demanded that things go their way, or no way at all (Aquarius). They were attracted to her because she’s unique, but over time she got the message that she wasn’t quite good enough (Virgo) for them. The more she tried to meet their standards (Virgo) and give them what they needed (Cancer), the more they pulled back (Aquarius). But if Greta pulled away, she was accused of being cold (Aquarius).
It took Greta many years (and many relationships) to come to terms with her Yod. Yods can be quite slippery, so their potential can be difficult to get a handle on. But it’s a fact that each Yod points to a specific task that must be explored. That task is usually symbolized by the focal point. In Greta’s case, she had to learn unusual ways (Aquarius) to express her identity (Mars) in a relationship. This involved a series of relationships in which, through trial and error, she learned to love and give the way she wanted to. She stopped reacting to her partners’ demands.
Eventually she met and married a man who loved and respected her differences. They maintained separate residences on the same street so they could be close, but not too close. Greta was able to love and nurture her partner while maintaining her independence. Venus is also the ruler of her Fourth House of home and family (house cusp in Taurus); she was able to manifest a stable home life (Taurus), her way (Mars in Aquarius).
Example 2: The Journey to Understand the Purpose of Your Yod
Here’s another example: Bill’s Leo Moon is in his Eleventh House (friends and groups) sextile Gemini Venus in his Ninth House (foreigners) Gemini. These planets form an inconjunct with his Fourth House (home and family) Mars/Saturn conjunction in Capricorn (Mars also rules his Seventh House of partnerships). So we have Bill’s need to stand out (Leo) in the group (Eleventh House) supported by his attraction to women (Venus) who are bright, curious (Gemini) and very different from him (Ninth House).
But all this attention-grabbing social energy is beamed down onto his rigid family life (Saturn). Bill comes from a conservative, old-world family that wants him to marry someone just like them. Bill is young (20 years old) and he wants to honor them because he is intensely loyal to his family. So he’s torn when he falls in love with Helena, a foreign exchange student. She is from a completely different culture than Bill. Her Sun also falls right on his Venus, so she activates his Yod. He feels like she is “The One.” Bill has decided that he wants to marry her, but his family will never approve. As a matter of fact, they’ll disown him if he doesn’t break up with her—an impossible choice for Bill.
What will he do? Cave to family pressure and stew in resentment for the next 30 years? Or break away from his family and stew in guilt for the next 30 years? The outcome is unsure because Bill hasn’t yet learned how to handle his Yod. His task is to initiate (Mars) a solid foundation for himself (Fourth House in Capricorn) that still gives him room to express his individuality (Leo). But he must maintain that sense of pride (Leo) in his actions (Mars) while exploring different relationships (Ninth House Venus). And he must somehow do this through his partnerships (Mars is ruler of his Seventh House). Because the ruler of his Seventh House is sitting next to his Fourth House Saturn, he can’t just run away from his family obligations. Family and partnerships must be united, but in a new (Mars) way. Bill’s Yod marks him as the trailblazer in the family.
Exploring the Potential of Your Yod
I haven’t presented a nice, neat conclusion to Bill’s scenario because Yods don’t work this way (especially during the first half of your life). This doesn’t mean that if you’re under 40 and have a Yod, you’re guaranteed to have relationship failures. But it takes most people years of searching before they understand the purpose of their Yod.
Know that if you have a Yod that involves relationship planets or houses, you will probably get involved in a number of difficult partnerships. They are all designed to further your understanding of the potential in your Yod. Many of the partners whom you get involved with will probably have one or more planets that activate your Yod. You’ll have to get creative, and approach relationships differently. But the clue about your task lies in the focal point. No matter what you do, you’ll have to honor this task. You won’t be able to conform to other’s expectations—not your partner’s, your family’s, or society’s. The good news is, the Yod is there for a reason. And you will continually run into relationships that activate it, so you’ll have multiple chances to explore its potential.
Further reading: The Yod Book: Including a Complete Discussion of Unaspected Planets by Karen Hamaker-Zondag.
Do you have a natal Yod complicating your relationships? Tell us about it in comments below.
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