Posted by: Donna Cunningham | August 13, 2011

Cosmic Piñata #9—Yods and other Oddities

©2011 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

 You know what a piñata is, right? It’s a paper mache thingie filled with candy and other goodies, and at a party, somebody gets blindfolded and whacks away at it. The goodies fly all over and people scramble for them.

 Well, this is a feature for Skywriter in which you’ll get a shower of goodies from time to time that are astrological in nature—sometimes related, sometimes, like today, random. What you get in this series of Cosmic Piñatas are wee bits I’ve collected from the comment section of this blog, from my Dell column, or email exchanges or other venues—treats that I’d like to share. 

 Q: Is the Yod a fated chart feature? It sounds dire!

 A: For those who aren’t familiar with it, a Yod is also known as an Eye of God or Finger of Fate. It consists of three planets forming a triangle. Two of the planets are 60 degrees apart (a sextile), while the point of the triangle is a planet that is five signs (150 degrees) away from both of the others in an aspect called a quincunx or inconjunct.  

That’s a lot of awesome-sounding names for one triangle, and old-time interpretations of a Yod love to awe you by saying that Destiny and Fated circumstances will strike you in the house and sign at the point of that triangle. I don’t know that I buy that—much depends on the particular planets, signs, and houses involved…and on your point of view in terms of how much you believe that outside forces cause your difficulties.  

A more modern, psychological view would hold that the quincunx (a.k.a. inconjunct) aspect is most understandable in terms of a kind of incongruity between the houses and signs involved—that their goals, interests, and activities don’t mesh with one another naturally or easily so it is hard to fit them together comfortably. When two different quincunx aspects form to the same planet, house, and sign, the resulting lack of fit between the three almost forces a creative leap for resolving the conflicting sets of desires.  

Q: A reader wanted to know, I have Neptune in my 12th house, in Sagittarius like most of my generation. The cusps of my 12th and 1st houses are both in Sagittarius actually. Am I right in seeing this as a sort of “tie” between the two houses, making them more closely related? Would Neptune also therefore somehow affect the first house indirectly?”

A: “Yes, there’s a 12th-1st house tie in your chart. It’s true of anyone with the same sign on the 12th and first. The ties come through the ruler of both houses–in your case, Jupiter, since Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter. In the case of someone with Libra on the 12th and 1st house cusps, the ruler of both would be Venus. And so on.

The ruler of the 1st is considered a very important planet in classical astrology–it’s called the ruler of the chart. So then you’d look at the sign, house, and aspects of that planet for important information about your approach to life. Its house shows ways to find a certain amount of fulfillment and purpose. Here, with it being a double ruler, look for it to show some ways both the 12th and 1st can find their fullest expression.

In your case, Neptune in the 12th reinforces the pull of your energies toward the 12th house, because the 12th and Neptune and Pisces are all similar energies. Study intensively on the planet Neptune. Be vigilant for the negative creeping in and twisting the positive. It is fully possible to begin by serving and end by twisting it into something sick and destructive for both you and the party you’re trying to help. In its negative forms, Neptune is seductive and extremely deceptive and can so easily lead you down the path to self-destruction.

Q: Your tests based on planets in signs, houses, aspects with the Sun, Moon, ASC, and Midheaven were very interesting. What if almost all planets score high? This makes it difficult to find out which one is most dominant. (See: Take the Planetary Tests.)

A: A very good question. Some charts have a lot of oomph–that is, many planets in the angles, many that have lots of aspects, especially many conjunctions, and certain signs or houses strongly emphasized, in which case the scores are probably high on a number of the tests. Others have few aspects, not many connections to the angles, and no particular planets, signs, or houses emphasized, in which case, there are few high scores.

When you find either extreme to be true, you’ve discovered something important about that person. The one with many high scores has a lot going on, can be very intense, juggles and integrates many interests, and make quite an impact on those around them. The one with low scores overall probably doesn’t have many aspects in their chart either, which can mean fewer tools to use to integrate the energies of the planets, and usually makes less of an impact.

If two or more of the outer planets have high scores, then you may have what I call an Outer Planet Person (OPP), someone who is unusual because their issues, concerns, characteristics, and focuses are not those of the average person, but more transpersonal, global, futuristic, etc. As a result of focusing so much attention on several outer planets and their connections to the inner ones, they also generally have greater difficulty fitting in with ordinary people and have many difficult questions, issues, and needs to resolve on a personal level.

Because of juggling such huge issues, OPPS don’t exactly come into their own in their 20s, and are more likely to reach a point of comfortability with who they are during their 40s. That’s when they go through that cycle of outer planet aspects to themselves. Transiting Uranus opposes natal Uranus; Pluto squares natal Pluto; and Neptune squares natal Neptune.
OPIL v1-2014 smYou’ll find lots more in-depth information about OPPS in my ebook trilogy, The Outer Planets and Inner Life, at: Volume 1 deals with the outer planets as vocational indicators.

Volume 2 deals with outer planets and our relationships (aspects to Venus and Mars).

In addition, volume 3 is where you’ll probably find a lot of high scoring folks, as it deals with subgenerations like the Pluto-Uranus conjunction in Virgo and the Pluto-Saturn conjunctions in Leo and Libra.

 Readers, If you get new insights from this or other Cosmic Pinatas, share them in the comment section. 

Other Editions of the Cosmic Piñata Column:



  1. Hi Donna,
    I do hope your hands feel better soon!

    I am an OPP; as is my daughter, which, I’m afraid, meant that I didn’t prepare her well for the world of non-OPPers. When she was young, I was still going about, assuming that everyone was equally passionate about global, metaphysical questions and what lies ahead….. I remember, in particular, one day at lunchtime on the school playground. My daughter was sitting with a group of her classmates, Grade 2 girls, who were chatting about this and that. Trying valiantly to join in, I overheard her say, in her natural stage voice, So, what do you girls think about the Middle East situation? I remember wincing and thinking, Oh no, honey, that’s not going to win you any points with that crowd. She’s now 25; has found her circle–other OPP’s needless to say and all is well! But, man, those early years were tough on her. As for me, I’m so far out in U-N-P land that I do best living a life of relative solitude, communing with children, animals, and other forms of nature. BTW, yesterday’s full moon was EXACTLY conjunct my Sun in Aquarius. What a whallop that’s been!

  2. Hi Donna, I too am an OPP, Uranus is the ruler of my chart, and is part of that huge stellium of mine. Hopefully I can get those ebooks of yours one of these days. Luckily I grew up with at least one OPP and we talked about the big questions. Also, with Pluto in Capricorn, my generation is already having an outer-planetary transit and maybe we can come into our own earlier than expected. Who knows what can happen?


  3. Great answer on the Yod question! I’ve never known quite what to do with the standard interpretation, because it seems to me that a person’s whole chart has a lot to do with fate and destiny – we are given certain traits and blessings and challenges at birth as building blocks that we use to create our lives. Why would a Yod be any more or less subject to free will than the rest of the chart? Your point about the creative leap seems exactly right – and suggests that people with Yods in their charts might draw attention to themselves because of those leaps, in a way that might look like “fate” singling them out.

  4. I am really glad you keep bringing up the idea of quincunx as a more major aspect as some traditional astrology texts I’ve seen over the years. I have a couple and have never really known what to do with them. I have two main yods, both involving Chiron and a Neptune/MC conjunction:
    Yod 1: Nep/MC (Sag)-Chiron (Tau)-Merc/Jup/Plu (Lib)* There is a whole stellium here of Sat/Jup/Mer/Plu/Sun, but only these three are in orb methinks
    Yod 2: Chiron (Tau)-Nep/MC (Sag)- Moon/N Node (Can)
    Really a bunch of planets involved here so this is something I would like to figure out more of in the next year (year of the quincunx?).

    An aside: best definition of a pinata I’ve ever heard: “paper mache thingie”

  5. I second the applause for your take on Yods, Donna. With three yods in my natal chart, “apex-ing” at Moon, Sun, and Mars respectively, a leap into the arms of Mystery via one creative channel or another, has proven to be, time and time again, the only way to bridge wide chasms of contradiction. And a wacky sense of humour comes with the territory, I believe.

  6. No yod here, but have found interesting info looking at your articles on things like quintiles, bQ’s and other lil bits and pieces.
    Learnt I have 2 x T sq’s, a mystic rectangle and a kite though… but also read your comments re Astrodienst charts having wide orbs or something, this is where I view my chart, so perhaps things are not as they seem.

    Thanx for these lil updates Donna.

  7. Heh. I have *four* yods in my chart (if one grants Jupiter a wider orb than is generally given to the yod), and I have felt most of my life that I have just “gone along” with whatever was offered me, never making any real choices or having any clear goals – this despite having the Moon, Mars, and Saturn in Scorpio and a Fifth-house Sun/Venus conjunction energized by various squares. I’m due soon for my second Saturn return and feel that I am going to fail to take advantage of this one too.

  8. I do believe that the presence of several yods–or perhaps even just one for that matter–in one’s natal chart does lend a certain extra feeling that one does best by going along with the flow, as the current of incongruity that infiltrates the yod is very powerful. It can feel, sometimes, like one is being passive or “failing” if one doesn’t somehow go against the current, but I for one, don’t think this is what the yod is asking of us. I think it is saying, go with flow in a creative way–make it your own. I will mention something my son said once,–which Donna has already noted in another of her blogs–that I felt really summed up the yod (quincunx x 2) challenge. My son’s joke is that someone came up with the word Yahweh to express the divine after struggling and struggling against all odds, saying over and over and over, no way, no way, no way. Then, one day, something just “worked” and the person said Yah-weh! The yods aren’t asking something superhuman of us; they just want us to find our absolutely unique little current in the great flow of life. All we can do is try.

  9. ..again..and again…and again.. and one day—-Yah-weh!

  10. I’m glad someone asked about similar high scores in many planets in the planetary tests. I was wondering that myself, most of my scores a relatively even in 30’s 40’s, including the OP. What you say about not getting in terms with one’s abilities or gifts until mid 30’s or later makes a lot of sense. It is very frustrating though, you know there is this great potential, but is hard to integrate and channel it.
    And of course OPP, feeling many times like an outsider, since pluto is near the asc, it just happens. Usually I gladly embrace it, but other times it doesn’t seem fair. We just moved farther south, and today I went with my son to a ‘Mom’s group’ well, there were at least 8 other women. Only two came to say hi and and talk. Some would just stare. After a while, I just removed my son and myself from the awkward scene as graciously as possible. When safely on the car, I was on the verge of tears.
    I’m SO tired of that. I’m not weird, social enough (3 planets in libra, my friends say I could make rocks talk!) I’m praying my husband gets a job in the west coast, someday…soon. Sorry if I over shared, but I’m sure many of you know what I’m talking about.

    • Ah, Sabrina, I do relate. I’ve aways felt that I’m just not like other women. One low point I’ll never forget was in my 40s after giving a weekend astrology workshop to a group of housewives in the middle of southern California. I felt so alienated and isolated at luch and breaks while they talked of their kids and grandkids and home improvement projects. You could only get there by Trailways bus, and I recall sitting at the very back of the bus, sobbing on the long buss ride back home because I felt like I’d come from another planet and would be a misfit all my life. Why I’m a city gal. Donna

  11. I have a yod that point to pluto in the 12th house.
    My Pluto conjuncts my moon within 3 degrees.
    My moon and pluto are in the 12th house.
    My Pluto is retrograde so would that energy be reflected back to me?

    The yod connects to mercury on the top and venus on the bottom.
    My mercury is in aries in the 5th house.
    My Venus is the 7th house Gemini.

  12. I got a 58 on my Pluto score.

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