The idea for this entry came to me when I answered someone’s question on reddit about stelliums. The question of “What is a stellium?”/“Do I have a stellium in my chart?”/“Tell me about my stellium!” seems to get asked a lot. Whether I’m being asked about this directly when reading a client’s chart, or I just notice people asking these questions on forums (like reddit) as I creep in the shadows and answer questions (hahahaha!), it seems like everyone has questions about stelliums. But….astrologers can’t really seem to come to a consensus as to what exactly constitutes one. This is probably because there are many different ways to read a chart, and really, it’s such an intuitive process that no one is really right or wrong. Over the 20 years that I have been doing this, I have come up with my own “guidelines” for reading stelliums in natal charts, and rules for deciding what constitutes a stellium in the first place. But before we get to all that, first a bit of pertinent information:
**A stellium is a massive group of planetary/celestial body energy in one’s natal chart in one location (such as having 4 planets in the 11th House). All of the planets might be in one house or sign, or the planets may cross over into two signs and/or two houses (though some astrologers don’t count a stellium as a stellium if all the planets aren’t in the same sign or house). Just as an example of what a stellium may look like, take a look at the First House in the photo below from my own chart.
And with all that said, let’s begin with my guidelines for stelliums:
1. If there are only 3 planets in conjunction with one another, and two of those planets are the Sun and Mercury, I wouldn’t consider it a stellium. Reason for this being that the Sun and Mercury are usually quite close together anyway (usually only a sign or so apart). If the Sun and Mercury are two of the planets in a Stellium, there would need to be 4 planets there all together.
2. When I look at stelliums, personally they don’t all have to be within a 10 degree orb in total, but each planet has to be within 5-degrees of the next one in line (for the Sun and the Moon, I will sometimes widen the orb to 7-degrees). For instance: Venus @ 3 Sag 33 to Jupiter @ 8 Sag 12 to the Sun @ 15 Sag 04. Even though Venus and the Sun are out of the 10 degree orb, they are linked by Jupiter in the middle.
3. Sometimes I will consider the North Node as part of a stellium if it falls somewhere in the middle of the stellium/all the planetary energy. If it falls as either the 1st or last planet in the stellium, then I usually don’t count it as part of it. Though that also really depends on the whole chart. I would definitely need to see 3 other planet with the North Node involved to count it as a stellium.
4. Since stelliums are such a massive amount of energy in one house, sometimes all that energy can be confusing and can cause some issues with the native. If there are any issues to work out, one of the best ways to work them out is to channel that energy into the opposite house (which generally gets neglected somewhat in this situation since the stellium puts so much focus on the house it is in). The only time this wouldn’t be applicable is if there is a stellium in the polar house as well (such as having stelliums in the 3rd and the 9th houses), or just having multiple planets in the polar/opposite house.
5. Some people don’t like to count the major angles as part of a stellium situation, but I usually do. At the very least, they color the entire thing somewhat in the area of life that the angle rules. I don’t believe that they should be disregarded here. If you are counting the major angles in a stellium, you would want to see 3 planets around it forming a stellium.
6. Some astrologers feel that in order for something to be a stellium, all the planetary/celestial energy has to fall in one house of the natal chart, or in one sign. Some are okay with the energy falling in different signs as long as they all fall in the same house. Some are okay with the energy falling in different houses as long as they all fall in the same sign. And some, like yours truly, are okay with the possibility of a stellium straddling different houses and/or different signs. Sometimes I find that what I consider to be a stellium actually ends up straddling two houses and/or two signs. We are such complex beings, that it seems like it would shortchange the person on the quest to better understand themselves to not consider something a stellium just because the planetary energy straddles two houses and/or two signs.
7. The best way that I have found to read a stellium in a natal chart is to first start by reading them as a series of conjunctions within the certain house (or houses) that they fall in. If the luminaries (the Sun and/or the Moon) are part of the stellium, I would start with one of those first and the planets that they conjunct. If neither of the luminaries exist, I would then look for the tightest conjunction between two planets and start there (in my own chart above I would begin with the very tight Venus/Uranus conjunction). Once you have a firm grasp on the energies that the series of conjunctions bring to the table, you can then merge those different planetary conjunctions together to give you a good idea of what the stellium in question actually means for the person. After that, you can then look to the House that the stellium falls in to figure out the area(s) of life most affected by the energy here, as well as different aspects that the stellium makes to other planets/celestial bodies in other houses.
8. The generational planets (and slightly slower moving planets like Saturn) can be involved in a stellium, but a clusterfuck of generational/slower moving planets (like Saturn, Uranus and Neptune in Capricorn all on top of each other in 1989) are not a stellium. THIS is called a SUPERCONJUNCTION (or triple conjunction) and is not the same as a stellium. The reason it is not the same thing as a stellium is because these planets aren’t generally as “personally” felt as the inner/faster moving planets (this is by no means universal, that generational planets can’t be felt personally….but it is the reason that most would not consider this a stellium in traditional and more personal terms).
Disclaimer: I am not saying that I am unequivocally right here, these guidelines just work for me (and have for a very long time), and I figured that if they work and resonate for me then they might resonate with someone else as well. That’s the only reason I figured I’d throw my hat in the “what is a stellium” ring here. It really all boils down to how someone feels about a particular chart while they’re reading it. No right or wrong answer here 🙂