As Originally Published in the September 2010 issue of Dell Horoscope


by Sister Ray the Astrologer


©Gail Lawson Clough


This article is the property of Dell Magazines and is not to be copied or reproduced without permission.


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The stage is dim and the audience hushed as three participants take their places on the Panel.  One by one, the spotlight falls on:  (1) Panelist Number One:  She is the most famous homemaker in the world with her own TV show, magazine, and over a dozen books to her name; (2) Panelist Number Two:  He is a beloved astronaut admired by the whole world for his bravery and courage in saving his crew on a half-million mile journey through space in a crippled ship; and (3) Panelist Number Three:  He was a brilliant French psychologist and statistician who shocked the scientific establishment with his daring theory correlating planetary positions at birth with specific professions.  These three participants in the Panel of Life have each made significant contributions to humanity.  Who are these three amazing , but very different people and what common bond do they share?  Contestant number one, Martha Stewart; contestant number two, Commander James Lovell; and contestant number three, Dr. Michel Gauquelin all have one thing in common:  All three have a rare and powerful astrological configuration called a Yod. 


For those of you who are not familiar with the Yod configuration, it is an isosceles triangle formed by two planets sextile each other and both quincunx a third, fulcrum planet.  Like the Grand Cross, the Yod can be said to be one of the most challenging configurations that can occur in a horoscope.  Just as a person with a Grand Cross can feel like they are always “up on the cross” in life, so too is a person with a Yod “crossed,” in particular, star-crossed by the Finger of Fate, for the Yod is also referred to as the “Finger of God.” 


Are you driven by forces that seem beyond your control?  Do you feel that you have a great reservoir of talent that is just within reach? Do you feel certain that you have a special purpose in life?  You may be experiencing the power of the Yod.  If you have one, it will likely be the dominating factor in your chart because the Yod takes on a life of its own.  Yod Bearers are driven people, haunted by the Finger of Fate to find the special purpose in life for which they have been chosen.  A Yod Bearer’s search for his or her special purpose is like a quest for a personal Holy Grail.  How does the Yod work?





There is a four-way exchange of energy involved in the Yod configuration:


1.     The Yod Fulcrum (or Foot planet) shoots energy out through the double quincunx to planets 1 and 2, trying to find its “sea legs” [earth legs] or “a leg to stand on.”


2.     The sextile from planet 1 to planet 2 forms the base of the Yod, trying to stabilize the configuration. 


3.     The individual quincunx energy flowing from planets 1 and 2 back to the Yod Fulcrum “talk back,” providing feedback; and


4.     The point directly opposite the Yod Fulcrum called the Activation Point, i.e., the Midpoint between the two Yod sextiles, sets the Yod vibrating when it is activated by transit, synastry or act of will.  The Yod energy in the Fulcrum (or Foot) planet is bound up in the world of form and personality until the Activation Point triggers it into action.


The Yod is a powerful circuit that puts intense pressure on the Fulcrum, demanding release like an arrow shot from a bow (this analogy comes from Joan Kellogg’s book, The Yod:  Its Esoteric Meaning). 





Analyzing the Yod involves:  (1)  consideration of the sign, house position and dispositor of the Fulcrum planet; (2) the same for the two sextile planets;  (3) aspects from any other planets to the three Yod planets; and (4) transits and progressions to the three Yod planets and the Activation Point.  The quincunx (also called the inconjunction) is the main component of the Yod and one of the keys to understanding it, but the quincunx aspect is a trickster defying analysis by its very nature.  Wise and renowned astrologer, Alan Oken, says that, “Like Uranus, the effects of an inconjunction are the least predictable of all the aspects.”  (p. 356, Soul-Centered Astrology).  The disruptive, capricious quincunx creates a great deal of nervous energy that is focused on the Yod Fulcrum.  There is also an esoteric component to the Yod because it is by its very nature a highly spiritual configuration with karmic connotations.   Thus, the Moon’s Nodes, which represent karma, should also be part of the Yod analysis.





The theme of the Yod is revealed by the Yod Fulcrum planet’s zodiac sign.  Each sign of the zodiac has a symbolic theme when considered in the Yod context, as follows:


SUN – Symbol of the life force and character.  You are called forth to take a leadership role as part of your life’s central purpose.



MOON – Symbol of the mother, nurturing principles and emotions. You are chosen to utilize the nurturing principle.



MERCURY – Symbol of the mind, communications and writing.  Your life’s purpose involves intellectual activity through speech or the written word.



VENUS – Symbol of love, pleasure, art, sensuality, social harmony.  Your purpose is to bring people together in a spirit of love and cooperation.



MARS – Symbol of war, combat, action, military impulses.  You have been chosen to take up the sword, whether literally or symbolically and fight for a cause.



JUPITER – Symbol of Royalty, kings, high priests, expansion, religion, pomp and circumstance, good fortune.  Your purpose is to expand horizons and bring abundance to the lives of those around you. 



SATURN – Symbol of structure, limitation, time, repression, responsibility, lessons, burdens, requirements, karmic adjustment.  Your life’s purpose involves principles of structure and responsibility, shoring up foundations.



URANUS – Symbol of rebellion, electricity, sudden change, disruption, genius, brilliance.  You are a revolutionary.  You have been chosen to turn your world upside down, challenging the status quo and disrupting complacency.



NEPTUNE – Symbol of music, mysticism, higher love, sacrifice, inner vision, transcendence, duplicity, subterfuge.  Your special purpose involves the higher mysteries and the heights of consciousness.



PLUTO – Symbol of annihilation, obliteration, resurrection, transformation.  Your special purpose in life is to transform, you are the phoenix, chosen to resurrect.






There are certain patterns that occur in the lives of Yod Bearers.  According to Karen Hamaker-Zondag, there is a see-saw effect at work in their lives, a before/after phenomenon:  the first half of life is sometimes completely different from the second half of life, as though there are two different people and two different lives.  Instability is common in the lives of Yod Bearers who have not found their special purpose.  If you have a Yod, you are a talented person, but your talent may be hidden or blocked in some way, especially during the first half of your life.  Yod Bearers can be abrasive and difficult to get along with, whether they mean to be or not.  This is because they are under constant stress, driven by the need to find their special purpose in life.  Once they find it, they are likely to be tireless overachievers like Martha Stewart, John Glenn and Pablo Picasso, who have Moon Yods; the great Duke of Wellington, who had a Venus Yod; James Lovell, who has a Saturn Yod; Karl Marx and General Douglas MacArthur, who had Uranus Yods; and Michel Gauquelin, who had a double Moon/Uranus Yod.  The Yod configuration undeniably affects the Yod Bearer’s relationships, which leads to a very interesting phenomenon.





If you have a close friend or family member with a Yod, YOU MAY HAVE A YOD, TOO!  This all-consuming configuration has a tractor effect involving not only the Yod Bearer, but also the people with whom she or he is closely associated.  In other words, the intense energy of the Yod acts like a magnet, drawing others into its orb of influence.  A good example of the Collateral Yod effect is the relationship between the Queen of England, Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and her son, Crown Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.  Not only does Prince Charles have a Yod, so do his two sons, as did their late Mother, Princess Diana.  When Prince Charles married Lady Diana in the wedding of the century on July 29, 1981, it activated both of their Yods like a time bomb.  Diana’s king-maker Aquarius Jupiter Yod crossed swords with Charles’ power-loving Scorpio Sun-Chiron Yod, setting the stage for the marital battle of the century, as well as producing two Yod Bearer baby Princes. 


As head of the Royal Dynasty, Queen Elizabeth became a Collateral Yod bearer whose symbolic Yod was activated by the union of her Son with a female Yod Bearer.  As the Charles and Diana Yods engaged each other, Queen Elizabeth found herself faced with greater and greater challenges, culminating in the “Annus Horribilis” (“Horrible Year”).  When Princess Diana died, the Queen’s world again came crashing down upon her as she was accused of being cold, lacking in maternal warmth and out of touch.  The Queen adapted to this situation, confronting her detractors and facing them with courage and dignity.  Her strength of character and commitment to duty serve her well in conquering her Collateral Yod challenges, and experiencing the fulfillment of her own special purpose.  Yod Bearers can be difficult people and if you have a close personal relationship with a Yod Bearer, you may also experience the effects of this rare and powerful configuration.  With four Yod Bearers in her immediate family (Mother, Father, Brother and Sister), Sister Ray can personally affirm the existence of this phenomenon!  To see how the Yod works, it is useful to study some famous Yod Bearers.









Honorary Mention:  Charles and Diana


Two of the most famous Yod Bearers in modern astrological history whose extraordinary case deserves honorary mention are Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana.  It is hard to think of a better example of astrological incompatibility than Charles and Diana with their crossed Yods and a plethora of other psychological problems.  Here we see the destructive power of the Yod at work.  It is as though they were both chosen to destroy each other, and they did, Diana literally, and Charles, socially and symbolically.  For an in-depth discussion of this relationship, please see Karen Hamaker-Zondag’s excellent book, The Yod Book, which devotes an entire chapter to Diana, Charles and Camilla (see Chapter 11).  The complexities of the Charles and Diana Yod interactions and its tragic consequences are astrological legend, and will be discussed and analyzed for years to come. 


Queen of Homemaking:  Martha Stewart – Chosen to Nurture


Martha Stewart has a Sagittarius Moon Yod in the second house with a Taurus Saturn-Uranus leg in the seventh house and a Cancer Mercury leg in the ninth house.  She was born to nurture and in many ways she has done a superlative job.  With the Sun quintile the Saturn-Uranus leg of her Moon Yod, she is intensely creative, aggressively marketing herself (Sun) into a one-woman business empire (Moon, Mother, the feminine archetype in the second house of money trine Mars in Aries in the fifth house of creativity).  Queen of Homemaking, she resurrected the lost art of housekeeping.  Her bestselling book, Entertaining, sold nearly as many copies as Julia Child’s classic, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.


A driven overachiever with Scorpio rising, this super-ambitious Yod Bearer began racking up accomplishments at an early age.  After working her way through college as a model, she became a Wall Street stock broker.  In 1972, Martha discovered her talent for decorating when she and her husband, Andy, bought an old Connecticut farmhouse and renovated it with their bare hands.  She combined her culinary and decorating skills and opened up a catering service, which eventually led to book contracts through her husband.  Immensely successful in the publishing business, she has more than a dozen books to her name.  With all her success, she should be happy, but beneath Martha Stewart’s calm persona is an obsessive/compulsive control freak (Sun conjunct Pluto, Saturn conjunct Uranus, Mars in Aries and Venus in Virgo) who has been deeply wounded in some way (Chiron conjunct Sun and Pluto).  She is an expert at hiding the secret turmoil behind her serene public persona.  With the Moon in Sagittarius opposite its ruler Jupiter in Gemini applying to her Yod Activation Point, there is a compulsion to engage in excessive behavior.  Herein may lie the key to her suffering -- she is never satisfied.  Hers is a restless soul.  No matter how many accomplishments she racks up, there is still something missing, a Mt. Everest to climb in her psyche.  She will always be the poor girl from Nutley, New Jersey who will never have enough.  The Yod that hijacks her chart also wreaks havoc in her personal life.  Her mother, father, husband and daughter certainly must have felt the collateral effects of Martha’s Yod.


The Moon Yod Fulcrum is in the second house of money.  Martha is particularly vulnerable here, because she is intently focused on making money, lots of it, to the point of obsession.  The Moon in Sagittarius is opposite its ruler, Jupiter, planet of excess and abundance.  It is afflicted with only a trine to Mars to provide positive reinforcement.  Headstrong to a fault, Martha, the ultimate control freak, seems out of control when it comes to money, as was painfully evident in her 2004 court case. 


Martha Stewart is trapped in a vicious cycle of endless conquest and overachievement.  Certainly, some of her suffering results from being a driven Yod Bearer overachiever, which results in an overbearing personality.  Martha Stewart’s North Node is conjunct Neptune in Virgo, which is trine the Saturn-Uranus leg of her Moon Yod.  Regardless of the state of her personal life, or whether she has a difficult personality, she has created great good karma with her resurrection of the lost arts of homemaking, teaching (Saturn) and inspiring (Neptune) other women (Venus in Virgo, the same sign as Neptune and the North Node) how to nurture (Moon) their homemaking skills.  Martha has nurtured homemakers everywhere, encouraging women (and men) to take pride in their homes and cultivate their culinary skills.  It is regrettable and seems unfair that a woman who has inspired so many seems to have so little enjoyment of the rewards she has reaped.  May her soul ultimately find satisfaction and joy in all that she has achieved. 


Astronaut James Lovell – Chosen to Bear Responsibility


American astronaut, James Lovell, has an amazing Yod.  James Lovell has a twelfth house Saturn Yod in Sagittarius with one leg extending to his fourth house Taurus Moon and the other to his seventh house retrograde Pluto in Cancer.  With mighty Saturn (which is also the ruler of his Ascendant) as his Yod Fulcrum in the mysterious twelfth house of secrets, the subconscious and things that are hidden from you, this exceptional man has been challenged like few others in the elite astronaut corps of which he was a member from 1962 to 1973.  Death and danger have always been a part of his life.  Lovell’s most famous brush with death occurred during his command of the Apollo 13 mission to the Moon.  Apollo 13 blasted off from Earth on Saturday, April 11, 1970 at 1:13 p.m. (which is 13:13 in military time).  Fifty-five hours and fifty four minutes into the flight and the day after the transiting Moon made a conjunction with the Pluto leg of his Yod, one of the oxygen tanks on the space ship Odyssey exploded, leaking precious oxygen into space and effectively ending the mission.  At first, the crew was only given a 10% chance of making it home alive.  Millions of people all over the world held their breath for three and one-half grim days as Commander Lovell and his crew raced back to earth in their crippled space capsule.  A heroic effort by the brave crew and scores of brainstorming scientists at NASA resulted in a triumphant ending to an otherwise harrowing event in the history of space exploration. 


Saturn is the planet of responsibility and also symbolizes the Father.  James Lovell has always had a great deal of responsibility, beginning when he lost his Father in a motor vehicle accident and had to take charge of his own fate before even graduating from high school.  He was separated from his family following his Father’s death (Saturn), staying with relatives while his Mother, Blanch Lovell, struggled to feed and clothe her family.  Her presence in her son’s Yod is unmistakable with the Saturn Fulcrum quincunx his fourth house (early life) Moon (Mother).  The Moon leg of Lovell’s Saturn Yod is involved in a T-square with Mars in Aquarius in the second house and retrograde Neptune in Leo in the eighth house.  Disappointment followed by triumph over adversity is a recurring theme in the life of this remarkable man.  Some examples include his initial rejection (Saturn) by the Naval Academy, only to be accepted the second time; his initial rejection (Saturn again) by the Astronaut Corps’ Mercury program, only to be accepted into the Gemini program (his Yod Activation Point is in the sign Gemini); and the biggest disappointment of his life -- being denied the experience of walking on the Moon.  After logging the most hours in space (715 hours and five minutes per of any man on Earth prior to the Skylab program, this was a brutal disappointment.  Ironically, as backup Commander to the Apollo 11 team, he might have been the first human being to walk on the Moon, but this was denied (Saturn) him as the Finger of Fate pointed him in a different direction.


With Saturn Quincunx Pluto (the other Yod leg), danger has always been a part of Commander Lovell’s life.  His powerful Aries stellium of the Sun-Jupiter-Uranus is ruled by the planet of war, Mars, which is in mutual reception with the planet of disruption, Uranus, and opposite Neptune.  Death and danger have always been part of his life.  Before he was an astronaut (a very risky job indeed!), Lovell was a test pilot for four years, one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet. 


Although some Yod Bearers have difficulty finding their special purpose, this was not the case for James Lovell.  Even as a boy, he was fascinated by rockets and rocket science.  He was destined for the stars.  His North Node (good karma, karma we control) is in Gemini, the sign of his Yod Activation Point, and the name of the Astronaut Corps program that set him on his path to destiny.  His South Node is in far-seeking Sagittarius, the same sign as his Saturn Yod Fulcrum -- he was destined to fulfill his passion for rocket science in a very direct way, ultimately being on the first team of astronauts to ride on the King of Rockets, the Saturn V.  Pursuing his interest in rockets and rocket science would also eventually result in his being the only human being to have traveled to and from the Moon twice. 


Despite loss, delay, danger and close encounters with death, James Lovell has repeatedly turned adversity into achievement.  His courage, intelligence and strength of character have served him well in his odyssey through life.  Even though he has nobly fulfilled his special purpose, he is probably still seeking mountains to climb and missions to accomplishment.


Scientist Michel Gauquelin – Chosen to Revolutionize


Dr. Michel Gauquelin, the brilliant French psychologist and statistician whose work revolutionized the way world viewed astrology, was a Yod Bearer supreme with a double Yod that involved all of his planets in a dramatic, fiery focus of intellectual brilliance.  He was a pioneer (Uranus Aries Yod) who nurtured a theory (Moon Sagittarius Yod) that became his life’s work.  The two Yod Fulcrum planets, the Moon and Uranus, are trine, working together to infuse passion (Sagittarius Moon) into a pioneering endeavor (Aries) involving the ancient art and science of astrology, which is governed by the planet Uranus.  Gauquelin, whose father was an astrologer, had a lifelong interest in astrology and believed that statistics should support its principles.


Assisted by his psychologist wife, Françoise Gauquelin, he set out to critique the principles of astrology utilizing statistical analysis.  Together, the Gauquelins collected hundreds of horoscopes and found that there was a correlation between the position of the Moon, the personal planets, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn; and certain professions.  Quoting Michel Gauquelin:  “Around 1950, as we were preparing our critique of traditional astrology . . . we found ourselves confronted, somewhat unwillingly, with a strange result.  In one of our research samples -- composed of the birth dates of 576 members of the French Academy of Medicine – the frequency of the position of certain planets was altogether unusual. . . What we had observed was that a large number of great physicians were born when the planets Mars and Saturn had just risen or culminated in the sky.  . . . An undeniable statistical correlation appeared between the rise and culmination of these planets at the child’s birth and his future success as a doctor.”  (The Cosmic Clocks, p. 169, 170, citing to Méthode pour Étudier la Répartition des Astres Dans le Mouvement Diurne (Paris:  1957, M. and F. Gauquelin). 


They further discovered that certain planets when rising or culminating (the “Gauquelin Sector”) indicated a disposition towards certain professions:  Jupiter was found in the charts of prominent “military men, politicians, actors, journalists and playwrights”; Saturn in the charts of “scientists and physicians”; the Moon in the charts of “politicians and writers”; and Mars in the charts of “scientists, physicians, athletes, military men and businessmen.”  See p. 174 of The Cosmic Clocks.  The latter phenomenon was nicknamed, “The Mars Effect,” and caused a storm of outrage in the scientific establishment.  Like so many pioneers, the Gauquelins were attacked for their innovation.


Gauquelin’s Uranus Yod in Aries is retrograde in the ninth house of philosophy, higher learning, esoteric knowledge and publishing (he published numerous papers and many books).  It is quincunx Neptune in analytical, intellectual Virgo and Virgo’s ruler, Mercury, which is in the powerful, penetrating sign of Scorpio.  Mercury sextile Neptune means mind and soul are working together toward a special purpose.  Gauquelin supremely fulfilled his special purpose:  His North Node in Gemini (which is ruled by Mercury, a Uranus Yod leg) and his South Node in Sagittarius  (the same sign as his Moon Yod Fulcrum) put him squarely on the path of destiny to be a seeker (Sagittarius) and communicator (Mercury) of higher knowledge.


The Uranus Yod Fulcrum trine the Moon Yod Fulcrum foreshadows his scientist wife, who would play a big role in his life and work.  The nurturing qualities of the Moon express themselves in the way the two Gauquelins nurtured each other, putting up a united front against those in the scientific community who did not agree with them.  Jupiter and Venus are in mutual reception in Michel’s chart, symbolizing the strong bond of husband and wife in their unequivocal support of each other and their life’s work (at least in the first half of their lives).  Jupiter is Michel and Venus is Françoise.  They collaborated for many years, but eventually sucuumbed to a bitter divorce (Karen Hamaker-Zontag’s Yod see-saw effect at work).  Perhaps Françoise grew weary of sharing her life with a double Yod Bearer, and got fed up with the Collateral Yod effect!


Michel’s Moon Yod Fulcrum in Sagittarius is quincunx Mars in Cancer, which is in the same sign as his Scorpio Sun’s ruler, Pluto.  The Moon quincunx Mars gave Michel an abundance of nervous energy.  Even though at nine degrees apart Mars and Pluto are not close enough to form a conjunction, they still work together, as they are in the same sign and are both disposited by the Moon.  This gives deep, penetrating insight, which is reinforced by Pluto trine the Sun in Pluto’s natural sign of Scorpio.  Michel Gauquelin was a man of deep insight and prodigious intellect whose revolutionary discoveries turned the astrological and scientific communities upside down.  Jupiter is exactly opposite Mercury in Scorpio:  The Gauquelins were faced with abundant opposition to their theory, even to the point that it is said that certain experiments were conducted with fraudulent data to “disprove” the Mars Effect.  There is a book about this subject called The Tenacious Mars Effect by Kenneth Irving and Suitbert Ertel, but unfortunately it is out of print.


Although Gauquelin is famous for the “Mars Effect,” he made other contributions in the fields of astrology and planetary heredity.  Driven to seek the truth, he discovered some amazing facts about the universe around us.  A seeker supreme, Michel Gauquelin funneled the power of his Yods to bring enlightenment to the world.  Gauquelin gave us a great gift with his relentless, lifelong study of how the universe affects human beings, calling attention to the scientific basis of astrological theory.  Ever the revolutionary, he said on page 233 in the Conclusion to The Scientific Basis of Astrology:  Myth or Reality:  “. . . a concept of astrology is about to be reborn, transfixed like a phoenix.  Increasingly, a presentiment is growing as to the extent to which our bodies, and therefore our thoughts, are continually connected with the universe by invisible threads. . . . The object, now and always, will be to slowly piece together a little of the great secret which the mysterious and everlasting circle of the universe contains.”




Yod Bearers are the seekers of the Zodiac.  When you have a Yod, you have mountains to climb.  The Yod is indeed a challenging aspect, but challenges are a gift to help us learn and grow.  To all Yod Bearers out there who are on the Yod Quest (and your loved ones with their potential Collateral Yods), may wisdom and understanding guide you and reward you in your search to find and fulfill your special purpose.


Sister Ray has been practicing natal astrology for over 30 years. 

Please visit her at




Birth data: 

Queen Elizabeth:  April 21, 1926, 2:40 a.m., London, England

Prince Charles:  November 14, 1948, 21:14 p.m., London, England

Princess Diana:  July 1, 1961, 19:45 p.m., Sandringham, England



Martha Stewart:  August 3, 1941, 13:33 p.m., Jersey City, NJ

James Lovell:  March 25, 1928, 2:10 a.m., Cleveland, OH

Michel Gauquelin:  November 13, 1928, 22:15 p.m., Paris, France

Source:  AstroDatabank 4.0, AstroDatabank Company, Worcester, MA, 1998 – 2002




Gauquelin, Michel, The Cosmic Clocks, New York, New York, Avon Books, 1969.


______________, The Scientific Basis of Astrology:  Myth or Reality, New York, New York, Stein and Day, 1969.


Hamaker-Zondag, Karen, The Yod Book Including a Complete Discussion of Unaspected Planets, York Beach, Maine, Samuel Weiser, Inc., 2000.


Kellogg, Joan, The Yod, Its Esoteric Meaning, Tempe, Arizona, American Federation of Astrologers, 1989.


Lovell, Jim and Jeffrey Kluger, Lost Moon, New York, New York, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994.


Oken, Alan, Soul-Centered Astrology, New York, New York, Bantam Books, 1990.


Oppenheimer, Jerry, Just Desserts, Boca Raton, Florida, American Media, Inc., 2003.


Charts created with Time Passages software by Astrograph, Santa Cruz, CA, 2003.