Instinct Versus Intuition

39 Comments

I read the post “Intuition” on the blog Learning Curve on the Ecliptic this morning and I left this comment (edited a bit):

I don’t agree about Fire signs not being intuitive. Intuition is immediate cognition without rational thought:
http://www.answers.com/topic/intuition
Who better than Fire to achieve the immediate?
I do agree about instinct and intuition being used interchangeably when they shouldn’t be. I often think that Water is credited with being intuitive while really being instinctive. They have gut level knowing and response- not direct perception. The exception, I think, is Pisces because of its connection with Neptune. Cancer and Scorpio seem to have strong instincts- they feel what they don’t know. Intuition has nothing to do with feelings.
Air seems the least intuitive, or instinctual, because they run everything through their minds first. They logically and rationally figure things out. The exception is Aquarius because of its connection to Uranus. Uranus connections speed up cognition processes and help a person to skip steps to reach understanding. Neptune connections blur boundaries and make the unknowable, knowable.


Lightning flashI didn’t mention Earth in my comment, but I think that Earth signs know things through simple common sense. They look around, they see what’s happening, and they draw realistic conclusions about underlying motivations and possible outcomes. However, a person who has a lot of Earth, or Air, planets with a well-placed Uranus or Neptune, would have stronger intuitive abilities than the average Earth/Air person.

I think that we all have gifts in understanding, I think that we all have psychic tendencies, but, I do think there is a difference between instinct and intuition (and common sense and rational judgment). Each element (Fire, Air, Water and Earth) has skills in cognition, and may reach the same conclusions, but the methods are different.

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  • K1hodgman

    I believe instinct is the primal, gut-level feeling, whose sole purpose is self-preservation (in one form or another), which intuition then backs up with sudden understanding, and awareness, as to “Why?”. As if intuition were a sixth sense of sudden, immediate, understanding to why your instincts are making you feel or compelling you to act a certain way. Instinct compels you ask to “Why?”, to which intuition gives you the answer, and reason, to act.

    I’ve most planets in fire and earth signs, to which earth is split 50/50 with water. I’ll be the first to admit instinct and intuition are FAR more useful and beneficial, to yourself and others, than pure logic by itself.

    • K1hodgman

      I also think as Air really has neither intuition nor instinct, I believe Fire has both intuition AND instinct. Fire has the ability to immediately sense and then use intuition to “Know”. This makes Fire signs able to take risks because they intuit that they will be okay, and their gut instinct backs their intuition up; Fire can tap into a visceral, yet concrete sense of “Knowing”. 

    • Nice response.

  • amoureuse

    the question is when to use what

    • I rely on instinct more than intuition.

  • billow

    Billow here again. I really dislike the word “weakness” in my previous post. The word I was looking for was “insecurities”. That’s the pet peeve, as they say. Manipulating insecurities for alpha dominance.

  • billow

    For me, it boils down to knowing what you know no matter how you slice it. The trick is learning to listen to it, and of course being willing to learn. It was a little scary when I became aware of it. Like what is intuition and what is imagination. I still walk pretty slow with that one. A human behavior teacher once professed that it is absolutely a necessity for one to listen to their intuition. She continued to say that it is the repetition and cumulation of life experiences that comes to automatically instruct.

    I think it can be helpful to survival. But it can be destructive if action is taken to inflict harm or heighten ego control. Ill or ego intentioned actions, do not come from intuition but fear accompanied by mental and physical manipulation.

    I have to agree that it is open to everyone. And I have to disagree that there is only one way to sense. And I really don’t enjoy those who freak others out mentally selling their supposed superpowers by preying on innocence or weakness.

    I’m just sayin.

    • I really don’t enjoy those who freak others out mentally selling their supposed superpowers
      Me neither.

      • billow

        omg. I’m not alone on that one.

  • Idan

    I’ve read the intuition/spirituallity, is not in the map, cause everyone can be that.
    There’re just people who listen to it and relate to it.
    I have a lot of water, and I find my self intuative 🙂

    • I agree with you. Which planets are in water?

      • Idan

        saturn, sun, MC(in pisces) moon and north node(in scorpio).

  • Ryan

    testcomment #ryan

  • I'm not familiar with DBT, but I do think we have a wise mind. I'll have to think about this more.

    Uranian brain flashes aren't rational. There's also the concept of Uranus because the higher octave of Mercury, which to me makes even more sense in the context of intuition. Mercury would think about things and mull them over, while Uranus would instantly have access.

  • Thanks 😀

  • Grace

    Loving the lightning embedment BTW.

  • Grace

    I neither think of intuition as emotional or as a “brain flash” but something more akin to a spiritual phenomenon, even though I dislike the word “spiritual” (overused IMO) and would usually, haha, use the word intuitive instead. In Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (Marsha Linehan) there is something called “the wise mind” – which both encompasses and transcends rational mind and emotional mind. To me that's intuition. Of course, I don't hear anyone here calling Uranian brain flashes “rational”.

    Provacative post, Michelle.

  • I'm not familiar with DBT, but I do think we have a wise mind. I'll have to think about this more.

    Uranian brain flashes aren't rational. There's also the concept of Uranus because the higher octave of Mercury, which to me makes even more sense in the context of intuition. Mercury would think about things and mull them over, while Uranus would instantly have access.

  • Thanks 😀

  • Grace

    Loving the lightning embedment BTW.

  • Grace

    I neither think of intuition as emotional or as a “brain flash” but something more akin to a spiritual phenomenon, even though I dislike the word “spiritual” (overused IMO) and would usually, haha, use the word intuitive instead. In Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (Marsha Linehan) there is something called “the wise mind” – which both encompasses and transcends rational mind and emotional mind. To me that's intuition. Of course, I don't hear anyone here calling Uranian brain flashes “rational”.

    Provacative post, Michelle.

  • I think that instincts go beyond survival mechanisms, though survival is a large part of it. Instinct seems to be natural knowledge, the kind of knowledge we don't have to consciously think about (or act on, as you said). I think that's where instinct and intuition get mixed up because they both have something to do with knowing something, yet having no rational reason to know it.

    many people experience this as an emotion
    In my mind, that's empathy. The ability to know things by taking on the emotions around you- that's all Water. They pick up on subtle currents of emotional energy.

  • Lol 😀

    I see Pluto as being penetrating but I don't think it's intuitive. People with strong Pluto placements ferret information out of situations and people, but I don't think it's that instantaneous, lighting quick flash of intuition that Uranus has.

  • You're welcome 😀 Thank you for reading Yuliana!

  • Thank you for sharing junemoonchild. All of the water signs do share sensitivity. I do think the other elements can lack sensitivty- though, Earth's conscientiousness often makes up for it.

    Some of the definitions do mention sensitivity, and sensing, but intuition, to me, seems non-feeling, as in the phrase “flash of intuition.”

  • mysticskye

    Instincts are inborn 'mechanisms' that we need to survive. The instinct to suckle, the instinct to find the foods that are right for certain animals. This information seems to be genetically based and passed down through the lineage. Instinct is ruled by unconscious action.

    Intuition seems to be something else entirely, less concrete, much more elusive. A 'sense' of information, and many people experience this as an emotion. Especially water signs. I feel that earth signs are heavy on clear instinct.

  • Grace

    I think the moon, neptune, and pluto are intuitive. I think when we perceive other signs and planets as intuitive, it is because of the aspects made to these planets, and in the case of the moon the sign and possibly house it is in. That is, Aquarius might “feel” intuitive to me, but that is my moon sign. I'd like to say “and that is that!” (Taurus planets), but I will try to keep an open mind. 🙂 I could be wrong (strong Taurean reaction now, must go snort and scuff the ground with my hoof until it passes.)

  • Yuliana Angelova

    This is one of the most excellent posts I've ever read. It puts in words things I have been reflecting on for quite some time. Thank you so much!

  • junemoonchild

    I think we are unnecessarily caught up with two “words” which are actually synonymous….depending on what dictionary your using. INSTINCT=INTUITION….BOTH AN UNCONSCIOUS INSIGHT OR SIXTH SENSE. The meanings for both words also mentioned a shared definition of SENSITIVITY. That would definitely be a feeling which ALL of the WATER signs naturally possess. Fire, Air, and Earth signs either don't care about, don't have time for, or simply don't possess much sensitivity by nature.

  • Oh, yeah.duh! Jupiter is in Aries now.

    That's fantastic. Maybe you'll have a good experience with Neptune in Pisces as well ;D

  • firetiger13

    last year went thru that…. i was in a good place and i felt like “i just *WANT* to be happy…” life is about being happy and having fun and shining that light on people around u and basically spreading the love… that epiphany/realization was really great and almost had the feeling like “duh…….. what have u been doing this whole time?”

  • Yes, I like those descriptions too. That's what instinct feels like to me too.

    Jupiter in Pisces would expand that Piscean psychic energy big time. Are you almost upon your Jupiter Return (every 12 years)?

  • I imagine that faith would come into play when actually acting on intuition. I wonder if, when we say, “I knew she was going to say that/that was going to happen/I should have… etc…” and we don't actually do anything about those things, it's because we have a lack of faith in our own perceptions.

  • firetiger13

    i feel like intuition goes thru the mind and u can think to yourelf 'i dont like this.' or 'i dont think so'. etc

    instinct (in my experience) has been a physical response on my end… my stomach hurts, i physically don't feel well, i physically 'know' and feel okay.. etc.

    haha i have very little earth in my chart (only neptune which is not heavily aspected) so i really don't rely on “common sense” which would be nice… i have a really nice jupiter in pisces tho ~one of the strongest planets in my chart.. i rely on my feelings, leaps of faith, intuition when i make big decisions and they haven't steered me wrong yet

  • Of course everyone is intuitive! And I am unanimous in that! 🙂

    Instinct and intuition are different, though. All of us get gut instincts or gut reactions about things or situations we're in. We physcially feel it in out bellies. May it's when we have the flight or fight syndrome and we feel more like flight. What you said about intuition not being about feelings (emotional attachments) makes a lot of sense in this regard.

    Intuition is seeing ahead without any historical evidence to back up our hunches. It requires some faith and that's quite Neptunian. I agree that fire signs are very intuitive. Jupiter plays double duty here: faith (through Pisces) and a desire to go into the unknown (Sagittarius) while intuiting something about that unknown.

    Earth signs can be very intuitive; they use their five senses. Something might not look, taste, smell, sound, or feel right to the touch. They might touch something and pick up vibes ~ psychometry. Think about the Moon's exaltation in Taurus, the most earthbound sign. It may or may not have anything to do with intuition, but it's something to think about.

  • I like your ideas and I realized I really didn't address what you wrote! I'm sorry!

    Yes, Uranus does seem more intuitive in the true sense. There is definitely non-rational empathic reception via the Moon. I do think Neptune gives more psychic inclinations.

  • Absolutely- everyone has Uranus and Neptune therefore everyone has intuitive and psychic abilities- I agree. I'm not referring Sun signs only- I do mean the whole chart.

    There are different means of perception, there are different modes of reception- and none are better than the others.

    everyone has the potential of being empathic, intuitive, and psychic.
    Yes, I agree.

    But, I guess, when thinking about personality traits in general, they are all a matter of degrees: everyone gets angry, everyone experiences pain, everyone gets hurt, everyone has some creativity, everyone experiences joy- but the way they happen, the circumstances in which they occur, and the experience of them is different for each person.

    My main interest is What is intuition? On forums I frequently see people explain their intuition in terms of feelings. There's also “women's intuition” and women are supposed to be more emotional- so the connection seems to be that emotions dictate intuition. I don't know if I agree with this. When I experience intuition, I don't necessarily feel anything alongside it. When I get gut level feelings about something- it's a completely different experience. I think that we all have instincts and we all have intuition, but that they are two different things.

    That was long! 😀

  • Nora Jean Stone

    Everyone has a Moon, Uranus, and Neptune in their chart. Therefore, it stands to reason that everyone has empathy, intuition, and psychic abilities to a greater or lesser degree, depending on sign and house placement. We need to move away from the Sun sign only perspective when discussing “intuition”. We also need to separate the types of ESP available to us in our charts.

    Moon = empathy. It feels what the other person feels. Connected to Cancer it also cares what it is feeling. Too much could make the individual feel sick when others feel sick.

    Uranus – intuition. This is mental. It doesn't move through the nurturing heart but comes as a flash in ones brain. Connected to Uranus, which rules astrology, this is what I look for in the charts of astrologers. Where is Uranus placed by sign and house, what aspects are there to Uranus. Because to be a good astrologer one needs to rely on their intuition – a lot.

    Neptune = psychic or mystic energies. Connected to Pisces the feelings that come are not organized or logical. There is a lot of faith involved when accepting the messages received via a Neptune channel. Learning psychic self defense is necessary if the individual's Neptune is stressed by harsh aspects, or even good ones from Jupiter, which would expand the reception of the incoming energies.

    So regardless of where someone's Sun sign is or whether one has a lot of one element or another, i.e., fire, air, earth or water, everyone has Moon, Uranus, and Neptune, so everyone has the potential of being empathic, intuitive, and psychic.

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