(c)5-27-2011 by Donna Cunningham, MSW
UPDATE: With the help of reader feedback, the test has been revised for clarity, ease of use, and accuracy. I’d suggest you use the new version, which has downloadable copy of the test. It’s located here: Skywriter’s Impact Test for Stelliums and Multiple Conjunctions–Version 2.0. However, you may enjoy reading the comment section for this post, which has input and scores from over 150 readers.
Stelliums and multiple conjunctions supposedly add Star Quality to a horoscope. Because several planets are concentrated in a small area of the zodiac, they identify something very special about the individual.
How many planets does it take to make a stellium? The classical rule was four planets, of which two had to be something other than the Sun, Mercury, or Venus since those three are usually very close together in the zodiac.
Modern interpretations lean toward three planets or more—but is that stretching the definition too far? I’m inclined to think three is not a stellium–especially if it’s the Sun, Mercury, and Venus in the same sign, because they’re so close together in the zodiac all the time. If three planets are conjunct, however, they form a multiple conjunction and are strong.
How stellar is your stellium? Are some stronger than others? How rare or how common are various stelliums?
I’m devoting the next year to researching questions like these in preparation for my lecture at UAC in May, 2012. You’re invited to come along in this journey of discovery.
And what about multiple conjunctions–three or more planets in range of a conjunction*, with a bit more allowance than a regular conjunction? Are they as strong as a stellium—or even stronger?
Is there more juice in a multiple conjunction and therefore more star power? Ask the fans of Johnny Depp and Robert Downey, Jr, both of whom share a conjunction of Mars, Pluto, and Uranus in the first house. (For charts see their AstroDataBank files at Depp, Johnny and Downey, Robert Jr. )
(*A note on orbs: The orb for a conjunction is usually 8° but can be extended to 10° in a multiple conjunction if Planet A and Planet B are conjunct, while Planet B and Planet C are conjunct, but Planets A and C are slightly too wide for a conjunction.)
Today I was inspired to create a test to measure the strength of a stellium or multiple conjunction and therefore to find out their comparative strength.
It’s similar to the tests I’ve created to measure the strength of a single planet or element in your horoscope. They’ve been a popular feature on Skywriter—you can see links to them here: Planetary Tests. (The test for Pluto tops the list, since nearly 15,000 people have taken that test so far.)
You may wonder why I’ve assigned a certain numerical value to some chart features and a lesser one for another. These aren’t scientific measures, of course—that would be impossible. They’re just estimates based on over 40 years of observing clients, notables, and friends through the lens of their charts.
That’s why I’d value your feedback on how well this test measures stelliums and multiple conjunctions. Try it out on charts in your collection.
Many of you want to include the dozens of asteroids, Black Lillith, the vertex, chart ruler, and myriads of other chart features in your stellium. If I included all those things, the test would be too complicated and there would be no such thing as a standard score, so, no, even though they might strengthen your score, don’t report them here in the comment section.
As for why the outermost planets get higher scores than the inner planets, it’s because they are observably higher in impact on our world. They relate to issues and trends in the collective–global and universal trends rather than personal ones–and therefore the person with the outer planets strongly featured in the horoscope is more attuned to such issues and more likely to come up with solutions or the next big step in humanity’s evolution. Dare I say transpersonal or even archetypal figures?
Note: For the most accurate picture, don’t use Whole Sign Houses to score this test, as in that system, the house cusps are automatically set at 0° of the sign on the cusp. Thus, any stellium by sign is automatically a stellium by house as well, skewing the scores.
(As explained in Robert Hand’s Whole Sign Houses: the Oldest House System, the zodiac degree found on the ascendant in the whole sign house system is not the beginning of the 1st house. The 1st house—and all the other houses—start at 0° of the sign in question and end with 30°. Whole sign houses are similar to equal houses, except that equal houses start and end at the cusp, whole sign houses start at 0° of the sign on the cusp and end 30° later. This means the Midheaven is unrelated to any house cusp, plus there are no intercepted signs or houses.)
In case you don’t have many stelliums in your collection of charts, here are links to AstroDataBank records of some famous people whose charts have either stelliums or multiple conjunctions or both so that you can practice scoring. Post the scores in the comment section so we can see how the scores rank, and we’ll list them here:
How to Find the Impact Score: Note: This test is a work in process and is being updated as scores come in. The revisions are shown in red.
Check what you’re measuring: ___ 4 planet stellium ___3 planet multiple conjunction ___4 planet multiple conjunction ____ Other: ________________
_____ 5 points per planet in a stellium or in a multiple conjunction placed in the same house. (So, 3 planets=15, 4=20, and so on.)
_____ 4 points per planet in a stellium or in a multiple conjunction placed in the same sign.
_____ 7 points if the Sun or Moon is included in the group. (14 for both of them.)
_____ 7 points per outermost planet (Saturn, Chiron, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) included in the group.
_____ 5 points per inner planet included in the group.
_____ 4 extra points per planet that is part of the group AND is also conjunct the Ascendant, Midheaven, or Node. (No points for a planet that is in the group but not conjunct the Ascendant, Midheaven, or Node.)
_____ 4 points for each separate conjunction involved in the stellium or multiple conjunction. (For example, a conjunction of Mars-Pluto-Uranus scores 4 for Mars-Pluto, 4 for Pluto-Uranus, and 4 for Mars-Uranus, for a total of 12.)
_____ HIGH PROFILE BONUS: Add 10 points if the stellium or multiple is in the 1st, 10th, or the 9th near the midheaven, as these are the positions of most visibility to the public.
_____ LOW PROFILE DEDUCTION: Subtract 20 points if the stellium or multiple conjunction is in the 12th, 4th, or 6th house, as these are positions where the person is uncomfortable in the public eye and may be less visible.
Since this is a brand new test, I have no idea what would be a moderate score vs. a blockbuster, so please tell me what kinds of scores you’re getting by posting them in the comment section.
I’ll venture say that I scored pretty well with my 4-planet stellium in Gemini (including a triple conjunction) in the 11th (score 50) and a 3-planet Leo stellium/triple conjunction on the Ascendant in the 1st (score 67), for a total of 117.
For a complete list of Skywriter’s tests of the strength of planets, elements, and modes, see Planetary Tests.
Articles about Stelliums on Skywriter:
- Readers Ask: Question and Answer Session on Stelliums by House
- The Incredible Vulnerability a Stellium Creates
- Readers’ Insights into their own Stelliums
- A Few Last Insights into Stelliums from Readers
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