Gail's AstroWorks

What Is A Yod?................................. by Gail Sandra Klein

[I have just discovered that this article has been referenced in Wikipedia, without my consent, and without my name.  The writer of the Wikipedia article plagiarized my phrases "train wreck" and "coma", among other things.  Please beware of Wikipedia; for that matter, beware of publishing anything on the internet.  It is subject to plagiarism and worse.  I should be thankful, I suppose, that they linked this article, of course without my name, in their sources.  However, Wikipedia was meant to be an online encyclopedia and, as such, should contain factual material.  While I may consider the opinions I express in this article to be factual, still they remain my opinions, based upon my observation, but not necessarily purely factual; whether they are factual in the sense of being utterly and flawlessly accurate is up to the reader to decide, and for further astrological discovery to determine objectively for all time.]


This, by rights, ought to appear on my Questions & Answers page, but since it's a good, solid question I've decided to give it a page of its own.  I was recently queried:

"What is a NOD?"

[to which I replied:]

There's nothing called a "NOD" in (modern*) astrology
(unless you're reading Dane Rudhyar and happen to "nod" off from boredom). Did you mean to say "Node", or "Yod"?

"I meant to ask what a Yod was."

Ohhh, a yod. OK. A yod is a particular aspect configuration involving at least 3 planets (or an angle: MC/IC, or Ascendant/Descendant). Two of the planets will be sextiled (60 degrees apart) and each planet or angle in the sextile will be quincunx (150 degrees) from the third, which is the "apex" of the yod.

If you 'connect the dots', it looks something like a narrow pyramid, or... a cannon.

[Please refer to the Subject: Re: Yods with Mars and Saturn on my Q&A page for my explanation of what I term "the cannonball effect".]

The yod configuration is also called the "finger of God". In addition to being a midpoint structure, it has a lot of impact because of the particular aspects which comprise a yod.

The quincunx aspect (discovered and/or publicized by the great astronomer, Kepler; a deed for which some of us will never forgive him) is one of the major appendages to the standard roster of the 5 Ptolemaic aspects, yet some astrologers still consider it a minor aspect. It isn't.

The quincunx has been noticed frequently in death charts; some astrologers parallel this propinquity to the fact that, from the Ascendant in the natural or equal houses, the quincunx will equate to either the cusp of the 6th house (illness, hardship), or the 8th house (death, crisis, loss). This is why some astrologers (including me) consider it to be a fateful aspect and a difficult one.

The planets' energies have to combine, but there is no straightforward way for them to 'resolve', or interact -- no apparent conflict, as with a square or an opposition; no fusion, as with the conjunction; and no flow, as with the trine or sextile -- so the result is something like a train wreck: neither saw the other coming.

A quincunx, because of this nebulous imperative to combine energies that can't 'see' each other, can often translate in natal charts to obsessive/compulsive disorders, and other sorts of chronic, unresolvable conditions. Like house work, it is never 'finished'. Unlike a square, which creates a situation of tension and release (achievement; resolution), the quincunx is the astrological equivalent of a coma, since its energies are largely unconscious or subconscious throughout life and impossible to finish.

Now, when you have two of these lovely quincunxes joined together by a sextile to create a yod, you have a fateful situation. What is fate? That which cannot be controlled or altered. Why cannot a thing be controlled or altered? Because it is either subconscious, or beyond one's control -- thus the enigmatic moniker of the "Finger of God".

A yod will typically work out in a natal chart as some form of chronic (unfinishable) situation, such as illness, neuroses, habit formations one cannot change, etc. But, since it is always happening (like a memory
resident program on a computer), it is continually exuding the energy characterized by its planets, and their signs, and the houses in which they're posited... and in most cases this corresponds to some manner of creativity, because the energy must find an outlet for continual release.

With regard to the "cannonball effect" I mentioned above, and about which I've written briefly on my Q&A page, it is most potent when either the Sun, or the Midheaven, comprise one point of the yod. This is because by true Solar Arc direction, the Secondary Progressed Sun and Midheaven move forward in lockstep so that when either hit a natal planet or angle, that natal planet or angle gets shot by the whole cannon -- the Solar Arc directed yod. Remember, the most potent progressed hits will involve either the natal or progressed angles. Of course the difficulty of the manifestation depends on the planets comprising the yod! If it's Mercury, Jupiter, and MC, I wouldn't be nearly as worried as if it were Mars, Saturn, and MC.

If a yod were a cod, we'd all go fishing; but it's more shark than a lark, despite all our wishing.

[*I've learned there actually is such a thing as a "nod" in classical astrology.  The Moon "nods" or can be said to be "nodding" when.... well, it's in Vettius Valens, Anthology Book 5.]

Live and learn.  Die and be free.

All Rights Reserved, Gail Sandra Klein, March 16, 2002, annotated July 14, 2007

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