©2-16-2010 by Donna Cunningham, MSW
I have a stellium of four planets in Gemini in the 11th house and have always considered that a great asset—in fact, it’s the most blessed part of my chart. I ‘ve always been gifted with brilliant, witty, quirky and insightful friends. But recently I’ve also experienced how vulnerable a stellium can make you when something goes horribly wrong.
More precisely, I’ve re-experienced it, because this isn’t the first time an 11th house meltdown has occurred. It’s just that I do my best to block out the memories of those intervals and how excruciating they can be.
I really don’t want to write about this experience because it’s deeply personal, but I keep getting prompted to do it, and that’s a rule I’ve made for this blog. I can refuse twice, but the third time I get a nudge from the Great Whatever, I have to write the piece I’m resisting.
Not just write it, oh no, that I could handle, but I’m also honor bound to hit the PUBLISH button and share it with you readers.
I’m being asked to share it now because if I don’t, time will pass and I will make myself forget what it’s been like and so I won’t write it. And then what this passage has revealed about stelliums and how vulnerable they make us may never become part of the astrological literature.
That vulnerability can be starkly revealed during a transit from an outer planet or during a progression. (In this instance, transiting Pluto is at the apex of a Yod formed by quincunxes to my early Gemini planets and to my Ascendant.)
The Good Things–and the Bad–about Stelliums
Stelliums can confer exceptional talent and can bring a brilliant light into the world. As one of my students once observed, that’s a lot of watts in one small segment of the sky. But there’s also a great deal at stake in that one area of life if something starts threatening it.
We invest too much of ourselves in that area, and we expect too much of a return. We’re living out that saying about the risks of putting too many eggs in one basket. (It’s an antiquated metaphor. People don’t gather eggs in baskets any more. They pour them out of cartons in the refrigerator.)
Look to see which houses or even sectors of your chart are left empty, something that happens with a stellium. Check out the houses ruled by the planets in the stellium, because you’re probably diverting energy from those houses into the matters of the stellium’s house.
In my chart, the concentration of four Gemini planets (Uranus, Saturn, Venus, and Mercury) is in the 11th , which means I invest a great deal of myself in my friendships and probably expect too much. It leaves six empty houses. That one house contains energy that otherwise would be dispersed into that empty half of the major areas of life. Those four planets are the rulers or co-rulers of seven houses.
That means that my friendships take the place of many other sources of fulfillment. I have no family around me, no children, and no mate, but my friends are far, far better companions than anyone I’m related to or have ever gone out with.
The joy of my life is that they are exceptional, original, and funny folks who fill those spots in my heart so very well. There are, of course, occasional lonely moments—holidays, Sunday afternoons, or times when everyone goes on vacation at once. Luckily, I’m very good at entertaining myself.
The Latest Transit to my Stellium and What It Evoked
I can see I’m bombarding you with facts to keep from having to share my feelings. Metaphors, for God’s Sake! Breathe, Donna. Breathe. . .
Okay. Here’s what happened recently while transiting Pluto formed the Yod. One of my most beloved friends nearly died. Suddenly, shockingly, she was at death’s door with 10 blood clots to her lungs.
This is the part that’s hard to write, because she’s still not out of the woods, still dependant on an oxygen tank. She’s pretty much confined to a recliner and a housecoat, with occasional forays online. And she’s going to be reading this right along with you. Friend, you know how precious you are to me.
It was a horrifying time, her children flown in from California and Texas because the doctors were pretty sure she wasn’t going to make it. I was beside myself with fear and grief and wrenching flashbacks to the 1980s when I lost so many of my friends to AIDS.
This is the most agonizing part of the story. I was barred from coming to the hospital because I was not family. And it’s pretty clear that the ruling didn’t come from hospital staff but from her family. Something, I gather, about my being too emotional. I have no doubt that they felt they were protecting her, conceivably even protecting me. They did what they felt they had to do.
The Bottom Line for an 11th House Stellium
Here’s the bottom line of an 11th house stellium for someone who has no real family ties. When push comes to absolute shove, like when that friend is critically ill, you are not family, and you’re excluded. And then you have to face the fact that at the very core of your being, you do not belong. At that profound level, you are alone.
- A friend is not family
- A friend is not a mate
- A friend is not your child, nor is a friend your mother
- A friend is just a friend, and you’re not the center of their universe.
At other, less perilous times, life with that stellium can be amazing, but you have to survive the terrible times as well. When those times come, it feels like I’m in exile way out on the edge of the solar system, sitting on frozen, dark Pluto, the same old nemesis that’s so strong in my transits just now.
The sun is a dim, distant glimmer, an impression rather than a presence. There are no stars, but the winds of space howl mournfully. They wrap themselves around me as a cloak of shame, that haunting sense of deep and abiding shame that an outcast or exile feels. There’s not a soul on that planet but me, and I unfortunately happen to be immortal. The period of exile passes eventually, and I forget I was ever trapped in that icy place, but it is never gone for all time.
That’s why friendships are so very important to me. And I do have them, and they are exceptional people that I love dearly. I am quite contented most of the time, and yet that dark, frozen world still exists and would claim me if I let it. I imagine that nobody else will quite understand what I have written here except other high scorers on the Pluto test.
It’s time for me to hit that damned publish button, and already I’m having second, third, and fourth thoughts. I’m starting to imagine your response, picturing awful comments from disillusioned readers. And most of all, I’m worrying about my friend and hoping this doesn’t hurt her. If it weren’t for the rules of the blog, I’d take the coward’s way out and hit the trash button instead.
Do any of you readers have a stellium in one of the houses of your birth chart? What part of it is the joy of your life? And what part creates a terrible vulnerability when push comes to shove? Have you ever had a meltdown in that area of life, and what was it like? How did you help yourself come back from it?
Due to the remarkable replies from readers about their own stelliums, this post evolved into a series. See the follow up posts here: Readers’ Insights into their own Stelliums and A Few Last Insights into Stelliums from Readers.
Do I have any other posts about friendship on this blog? With four planets in the 11th, you bet I do!
- Readers Ask: Q&A about the 11th House
- Venus-Uranus Aspects: Two-Minute Friends and other Modern Relationships
- Neptune in the 11th House–Setting Boundaries in Friendship
- 11th House Transits—New Departures in Friendship
- Libra Alert: Personal Power & What It Looks Like in a Friendship
- Libra Alert: How to Stop Being a People Pleaser
- See more articles on the 12 houses here: Houses of the Horoscope.
- Download a chapter on the houses here: AGSA ch13-houses
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