What’s A Killer Instinct?

killer instinct

Hi, Elsa

Very recently someone from work (a senior guy, one who’s known to bring in lots of money/resource) told me (in confidence) something – that they’re always looking for people who have “killer instinct”, because these people know how to deliver work no matter what. This has been sitting in my brain for sometime, and I don’t know if something like this can be learnt or it’s just a quality, or what is this even.

I felt kind of unsettled, mostly because I don’t think I have this, but is it something one should aspire to? What’s your take on “people with killer instinct”? Please help me decode this!


Hi, Pondering. What a great question!

I don’t have killer instinct, which surprises me. I almost feel like I should. I’ve been around it enough.  I’m kind of hoping someone who does will comment on this. If they do, you will feel the authenticity.

I’m glad you asked for a “decode”. This much I can offer. Here comes a brainstorm:

“Killer instinct”. Mars would be involved. I associate instinct with Pluto.
Mars aspecting Pluto, Mars in the 8th, Mars in Scorpio.

Mars in Aries in the 8th or aspecting Pluto would be a primo option if trying to isolate such a thing.

Mars in Capricorn aspecting Pluto, if you’re talking about someone potentially, ruthless on the job. They’re getting to the top, come hell or high water.

Not everyone with these aspects in their chart is going to have a killer instinct. I’d say they’d have the aptitude. They’d be more driven than most but generally there are other aspects that force or allow a person to control themselves.

This senior guy you mention is essentially stating they prefer to hire psychopaths or people who trend that way. It’s not surprising. Industry in general has become cutthroat all around, from what I can see.  If you’re not willing to play dirty, I don’t think you have any hope at all of getting to the top. I also feel this mindset is being cultivated in society today, successfully.

A psychopath is not going to have any problem with any line.

“Know how to deliver, no matter what”.  This means, lie, cheat, steal and kill, literally.

I don’t think I have this, but is it something one should aspire to?”

I don’t think you have it either or you wouldn’t have to ask. You’d already be honing your skills, sharpening your fangs and such.

As for striving to develop this characteristic, it’s a personal choice.  Would you kill to get to the top? If not, your best course may be to get comfortable with only ascending to a certain level.

Personally, I made this choice long ago.  “The law of the jungle” is real.

What do you know about having a killer instinct?

32 thoughts on “What’s A Killer Instinct?”

  1. It could vary depending on the field of work… In my field, the killer instinct could be likened to a sort of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). Perfectionism, the need for organization, and a tendency to obsess over minutiae are desirable traits for the practice of architecture.

  2. “no matter what” doesn’t sound good either, i agree with Elsa. Sounds very shady and those companies will usually fall down after awhile. It’s best to work in an environment with good intentions and good work ethics, for conscience and goodness all around. It’s just not worth the money and power for that kind of shadyness. My mother has an Aries mars with Scorpio stellium, she uses her power for good, and i do notice she was a powerhouse in the past before her dementia and age/weakness. But she’s always praying and praying for the good and to be good, i appreciate that kind of power.

  3. it’s a choice. I say this from personal experience so far. I certainly don’t have the aspects in my birth chart (perhaps Sun opposite Pluto?) that indicates Elsa (the name Elsa reminds me of a film I loved as a child and still moves me today when I see it again: “Born Free”), so one can say “you you’re not involved in it” but yes, time and time again I had to make choices in which I gave up rather than stay in the arena with certain rules. I don’t list but, it’s about seeing yourself die over and over again…egoically. but every time I asked myself at what cost/price would I do this? Am I willing to take the responsibility of “killing” even when I have everything in my favor? (Ego-career-honours, perhaps domination and.. certain consequent “freedoms?”) This life is all a show and so what? am I playing this game? survival or life? let’s not get ourselves wrong, we all have something rotten, we can all see it if we want. (at a certain point, it’s not about naivety), there is no human circumstance that is not within our possibilities, it depends on what we choose and often not we are aware of it or it suits us not to try to be. the cases of life are many, often in a duality. It’s often either/or. But are we sure it’s just like this? you have certainly not come across a topic like this by chance, with this “powerful colleague” who somehow offers you the “shortcut, the tip”. it is a “revelation that will lead you to a lot of work, in a broad sense to discover parts of yourself which then it is only you who choose what to feed on yourself and in the world and how. you can get all the energy possible, necessary and beyond to choose or otherwise operate.

    1. Welcome, Birdy. I’m familiar with the movie, of course.

      On the other, it’s a seduction in many case. Will you do this? How about this..?

      1. Elsa Thanks for the welcome. you say: “in many cases it’s a seduction” it depends what you mean. something that raises important questions about who and how we are and this aspect is seductive in the true sense of the term.
        I would do it ? literally ? I would say No. The way I feel and experience things, for me I’m not at any cost to get them. I have Mars in Cancer XI, Moon VI, Saturn in the 1st house.
        I really like what I read here and all the proposals you make, I thank you so much. I agree with: “it depends on what, context and how the knife is used” Mars Aries can be an excellent tool for a surgeon with a scalpel, it depends on the individual and all his baggage (I am not familiar with writing in English and little time to dedicate to it, Google Translate is helping me, I hope it’s not as boring as it seems to me)

        1. just to correct two things: I have Mars in XII and “I’m not willing to do anything to get something”. I’ve happened several times to step aside rather than hurt. for me the law of the jungle or who lives like that, is depressing. interesting from an analytical point of view and perhaps with the hope that the best side of the human being will awaken in any case

  4. I have Mars in Cancer in the 2nd trining Pluto in Scorpio in the 6th.

    While I don’t know if this imbues me with killer instinct, what I have been told, and have acknowledged from first-hand experience, is that my debilitated Mars (debilitated in Cancer) is not one that will give up easily. It also makes an opposition to both Uranus and Neptune in Capricorn.

    Astrologers have told me that my Mars in the 2nd trining Pluto in the 6th is about rolling up one’s shirt sleeves to do the hard work, and this, I know, is true. The picture I get is someone trying to scale up a skateboard ramp and repeatedly sliding back down, time after time, and yet, still attempting the climb.

    Mars in Capricorn placements have been known to make me bristle, because I feel there’s an easier time for them in achieving this power or status, but that is my experience.

  5. I definitely have it, as anyone who has played games against me knows, and have had to learn how to control it..Mars in Capricorn 8th house conjunct Sun and Mercury but not aspecting Pluto..Pluto is widely conjunct Saturn, and trining my Moon…

  6. There are two astrological camps: one that attributes the characteristic of a planet to the people represented by the house (this disowning the energy themselves) or one that claims those attributes to be theirs, only that it operates in that sphere of life. I belong to that latter.

    A Mars in Aries can cut like a knife, while a Mars in Libra can cut with diplomacy. One can cut meat, one can sculpt bonsai. It really depends on the cutting called for. It depends on when and where and for what reason they are asked to wield their weapon of choice. Any weapon can be effective if used in the correct context.

    As I live with a Mars in Libra, L7, square Pluto on the IC, I can say emphatically say that these people are not ruthless. They will however get the job done. I give credit where credit is due.

    If I had to choose between another damsel to rescue and one who can paddle his own boat through any waters, I would definitely go with the latter.

  7. I definitely feel this in myself. It’s natural for me to rise to the top of my job quickly and without intent. I literally have never meant to. People are intimidated by me and I never ever want this. I am only 27 and only just understanding this for what it is. My moral code is just as strong as the natural progression my subconscious takes with my career no matter how big or small. I’m understanding this is to be used as a weapon. A blade of kindness and strength in the face of those who will do anything to succeed. I am beginning to value this heavily as I have seen the gross behavior of people who WANT to be successful. Not that I don’t value success in the material world (to a degree, of course) but that it clearly does not matter the same. I hope I am able to convey what I’m saying. It’s just wild to watch my subconscious play out as I start to understand how I’m programmed. Mars in Capricorn as well as almost everything else in my chart.

    1. Really interesting. I know that gross behavior. Some will sell their own mother. Every contact you have with them tainted because they’re constantly angling.

      It reads as mental illness. Like mania, and always keeping score… with crazy math, no less.

      You sound like you have a handle on it and you’ll continue to do well.

      I’m also curious about your comment because I feel psychopathy is being cultivated at this time. If you’re near the edge for whatever reason, you can be pulled pretty easily. Everyone else is doing it!

      It’s an ideal setup, if this is the goal, because there’s very little support or encouragement for doing the right thing. It’s not even neutral. People are mocked for merely being decent.

      Psychopathy is on the rise, both real and faux, with no end to the trend in sight.

      1. “It reads as mental illness. Like mania, and always keeping score… with crazy math, no less.”

        The math! The crazy math!

        “ It’s an ideal setup, if this is the goal, because there’s very little support or encouragement for doing the right thing. It’s not even neutral. People are mocked for merely being decent.”

        This has always been a theme for me. I’ve always felt like I was lingering outside a circle that people wanted me to be in but just couldn’t understand what they were getting that I wasn’t. Kind of like “it’s weird over there and I don’t like the way those people make me feel”. Only thinking to myself they were in on something I wasn’t. I’m realizing now it’s just the fact that they were the circle itself and that’s what they were getting from it. No matter what behavior they had to demonstrate to maintain the exclusivity of it all.

    2. you remind me of an old friend of mine. We’re not in touch anymore but I hope he’s learnt to wield his Mars in Capricorn well…

  8. Hmmm…I certainly don’t have a killer instinct in the work context, financially, or socially – lol, Venus-Neptune rising! – but that conjunction is in Scorpio, and if you take killer instinct back to a more general sense of being able to kill, I’ve always known that even as a slender and not very powerful or tall female, I could and would kill if I had to so as protect myself or anyone else I love. The only time someone tried to mug me, they came off worse than I did. That experience banished any nightmares about freezing in such a situation…as he closed in, I was aware of this unearthly, deep, threatening sound that I later realised was ME, growling at him, like the Year of the Tiger I am. So there’s killer instinct and there’s killer instinct…

      1. Hey Elsa, I’ve been watching your writing and the comments forever – god knows, mid to late 2000s or something.
        Mostly too busy to post these days, but since I did and you said hi, I just wanted to express my deep appreciation for your work and your wisdom.
        The day when you wrote about the surgery you had that fixed your back to a degree that no one else thought they could – that was beautiful. I can’t remember if I said how happy that made me back then (I probably just lurked!) but I want you to know that there are people all over rooting for you, always – more than you’d know.
        Over the years, you’ve really helped me to understand the practicalities of negotiating material reality – the dark, in particular. Thank you 🙂

            1. Exactly. Thanks for being nice about it.

              For the record, I would also kill to defend myself, but I don’t think it’s organic to me. I had to come to this point, but I am definitely there. It was a conscious decision I made @ sixteen years old, that’s brought me a lot of peace.

              1. That’s an interesting thought! I’ve always felt that all of us are capable of killing, if the stakes are high enough. But perhaps we ought to inquire as to how little it would take for someone to kill

  9. These posts have been highly charged, and it makes so much Spider Sense to hear and see the threads leading to republishing your book. I read it when you first published and years later with all your blogs since?!
    The spider weaves all those webs from the core of herself: she draws silk from her.
    You have and you do! Through you example the spider within me has learned to value the consistency- so many don’t see the webs, take them down; we reweave and catch all manner of feed.

    Which leads to the killer instinct question
    When I worked corporate life, my Mars& Pluto squaring Scorpio Sun-Mercury thrived on the seduction (accurate word Elsa) of being the storyteller and translator and only woman in those early computer creating days of the late 1980’s. For almost 13 months I earned a good wage, traveling often, exercising that Mars and Pluto 7th and 8th houses. I didn’t see it as killer instinct, but this was a transition time in – American biz removal of small mom and pop and new language came with the UPC code

    I felt the slide and my physical body and cultural call made those 8th House planets (Saturn is conjoined with Mars) I have been relearning my destiny ever since. It’s a journey not a marathon and it takes many forms of reconciliation and forgiveness to be a grandmother with true power. Like spiders

    Thanks for the webs here, Elsa!

  10. Thought provoking post.

    My youngest son has Pluto in H1 in Scorpio & he has intuition by the bucketloads.

    I have Mars conj Pluto in H10 in Virgo less than a degree apart. All through my school years, my report cards described me having ‘aptitude’. All through my working years, I have had a knack for locating and uncovering different things at work; particularly with stocktakes, asset registers, missing paperwork, etc – all those Virgo thingys.

  11. I think I have a “killer instinct for digging up information”. I seek it out, no matter the cost, day, time or whatever. I attract it with my vibe thanks to Mercury in Scorpio.

    I will always find the truth, no matter how long it takes. I will get there, BUT ONLY IF I WANT TO. Or need to. This is the dividing edge between killer instinct, psychopath behavior and morality, eh?

    I saw it happen in my previous job. This instinct got me very far up in the high ranks. But after it happened, I quit the place, because I lost all respect and didn’t see any integrity in the way they handled stuff in any way. They got what they deserved (data), and I got away.

    I think of killer instinct as a way of knowing where to look, where go to, what to do, to bring out the max outcome in a situation, for yourself or others. It’s not the same as survival instinct which all people have.

  12. Anette : “I think I have a “killer instinct to find information”. I look for it, no matter the cost, the day, the time or anything else. I attract it with my vibration thank you..”
    I would say that those characterized by Scorpio are not new to this aspect, it’s like turning around and seeing, taking a cisa in your hand and feeling. I have a Scorpio mother in my family, and my father’s ascendant, without going into details. my life partner has a lot of scorpio. I too have my flashes of revelation. I find it an evolved aspect of the Scorpio sign. many are damned trying to find and reveal something, in any way by any means (often incorrect with a lot of waste of energy, countless errors of evaluation and interpretation but also a lot of loss of clarity etc. but these Scorpios I’m talking about don’t have any need, anything hidden vibrates on them. Not all of them I say, but potentially yes. I think that Elsa also has this type of vibrational magnetism. There are no divinations or anything else that matters, at most you can find them using instruments of this kind as a vehicle , but they themselves have that particular magic. They don’t need to have groups of allied hounds etc. at their command.

    1. “anything hidden vibrates on them”

      Haha, I loved that. Because it’s true! It does takes quite a bit of soul evolution to go there,but once you GET IT, there is no turning back. That’s why I am also trying to be conscious about what I share and reveal…

      I tend to say “I have an intimate relationship with Death” …. because it’s probably true, and it can feel quite mystical or how one puts it.
      I can often sense people or things having run their course, and I don’t know what to do with the feeling that insight evoke, so I usually freak out. Not so much anymore though, as life has taken me through some gritty stuff now, but often as a youngster I didn’t know how to respond to all the issues I sensed people had.

      These days I see Death as just another plane of consciousness, an evolutionary step or transition into another/higher realm somehow.

      I am not afraid of Death anymore, the only thing that bothers me is when I haven’t had enough time to let go.
      But Death is really unconditional love in the purest of forms. It’s the transition of the soul to its home <3

  13. Thanks for the really relevant question and the answer r.e. psychopathy!

    Growing up, not having a ‘killer instinct’ was often portrayed as a negative, i.e. equated to having no urgency to get things done, a lack of commitment in general or even no survival instinct. In that context, it’s easy to see why a parent, for example, might be worried for their child, or a manager about an employee.

    But I’ve since learnt that altruism, community, the ‘common good’ and *cliche alert* love are also powerful tools for survival. In fact, I’d say they are even more powerful than an individual having the killer instinct. The sad thing is people often have to go through a lot of pain to realise it.

    I love the fact that the first evidence we have of civilisation is not the invention of the wheel but the healing/mending of a femur bone.

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