©8-3-2011 by Donna Cunningham, MSW
If you have a stellium, triple conjunction or major configuration such as a T-Square, Grand Trine, Grand Cross, or Yod, it’s quite job to figure out how all the planets involved work together. It’s even more of a job to figure out how to make them all work together smoothly. That’s not a job, it’s s lifetime achievement. A key to making the most of chart features like these is figuring out which of those planets is something I call the Alpha dog planet.
Among the canines, the Alpha dog is the leader of the pack, the strongest dog, and the first to have access to the food or females. Transferring that principle to chart interpretation, the Alpha dog planet is the strongest of an interconnected group of planets like a major configuration and generally initiates and dominates their action.
Why would it be important to identify the Alpha dog planet? Well, dog trainers know that in order to have a well-behaved pack, they have to identify which one is the Alpha, and then manage that particular animal properly. I believe that the same is true of the Alpha planet in a configuration.
“What’s my Alpha dog planet, Donna?”
Since I introduced this concept, readers have been asking me to figure out the alpha dog in their stellium. I’d have to know you a whole lot better and a whole lot longer to do that. I can give you some general rules. A pit bull of the planet (like Pluto) is more apt to be thetop dog in the pack than a lightweight such as a Chihuahua (like Mercury).
But even if I were able to pick the planet accurately how would that help you? Nope, you’ll have to come to a preliminary conclusion on your own, after months of observation as the Moon and inner planets make their yearly orbit around your chart. Watch not only the conjunctions, but also the squares, trines, and oppositions as well.
Follow the Moon and inner planets around your chart, and be especially observant of how you respond as they cross one after another of the planets in the configuration. In my early days in astrology, I used a large poster board copy of my chart, moving pushpins that represented the Moon and planets’ ever-changing positions.
Following those transits, and keeping a special journal of events, situations, and emotions that arise under various astrological conditions will help you see your own patterns.
Slowly you’ll begin to get a sense of how each of the planets reacts under transits. Get a sense of how each of these planets feels when it’s activated. Then notice which planet in the picture has the strongest, most immediate response.
Don’t be fooled by drama! Neptune doesn’t yell and flex its muscles, but it can effectively bring the action to a halt by raising a thick fog or going on a drinking binge.
Here are some ideas about which planet may be dominant:
- The ruler of a stellium may dominate the stellium.
- The lead planet (first in the series) may also be the Alpha
- A planet conjunct the Sun, Moon, Midheaven, or Ascendant
- A planet that is part of a triple conjunction
- An outer planet if the test score is the highest (see Take the Planetary Tests.)
- A planet in a fire or Cardinal signs would have a slight edge.
- Suspect the planet that is the most brilliant/gifted but also the most trouble.
After a few months of observation, you’ll come to a conclusion about your dominant planet – one you’ll have to test by studying it over time.
Observing your Alpha in Action
In order to manage the Alpha and get the most positive results from it, begin by studying its qualities. Consider what that planet the wants and needs in your own life and how it acts out its characteristics.
Factor in the house position and sign as well and notice how and when it gets activated. What is it able to contribute to the house matters? How would it be a bad thing to have it involved, and how would it be a good thing?
Also go back in time and recall what was happening when the slower moving planets were in the same degree as the planets in this picture. An easy way of doing this would be to use the transit tracker that you can Download it here: HO-transit trackingtable-1990-2020.
In learning how to micromanage a stellium or major configuration, the key is to discover which is the dominant planet in the group. Like the Alpha Dog in a pack, that planet is going to run the show, and if Alphie isn’t happy, nobody’s happy.
If you want something out of one of the other planets in the pack, you need to give Alphie a chew toy to keep him contented. Figuring out what makes the Alpha planet happy and making space for that to happen is a major key to a smoother life.
So, Readers, do you have an idea about which is your Alpha dog planet if you have a stellium, multiple conjunction, or a major configuration like a T-square, Grand Trine, or a Yod? Tell us about it in the comment section.
The Stellium Series:
- Skywriter’s Impact Test for Stelliums and Multiple Conjunctions–Version 2.0
- (Download a printable version here: Stellium Test 1 page.)
- Readers Ask: Question and Answer Session on Stelliums by House
- Four Big Things You May Not Know about Stelliums
- Ryan and Tatum O’Neal – Stelliums and Symbiosis
- John Edwards’ Rise and Fall–a Stellium Meltdown
- The Incredible Vulnerability a Stellium Creates
- Q&A Session: Transits to Stelliums
- Readers’ Insights into their own Stelliums
- A Few Last Insights into Stelliums from Readers
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