Posted by: Donna Cunningham | June 18, 2011

Q&A Session: Transits to Stelliums

handbookcvrsmToday’s Question and Answer session is  about stelliums, since that’s the topic we’re working on. It’s time to zoom in on transits and how they affect and alter the ways a person uses a stellium.   You can follow track them in an individual chart by downloading my: HO-transit trackingtable-1990-2020.

UPDATE 11/11/13: My new astrology/self help book, The Stellium Handbook: An Owner’s Manual for People with Stelliums or Triple Conjunctions is finally available. Order here:

This is such a complex topic with so many details that it’s difficult to make it manageable in a comment section. So, here’s what I’ve come up with for today’s session.

This time around, don’t ask me specific questions about your chart or your loved ones’ charts, or your BFF’s. Only ask GENERAL questions about generic charts, going for principles that readers can to apply to interpreting stelliums. Here’s the difference:

Specific chart question: (the kind NOT to ask.)Transiting Pluto in Capricorn and Saturn in Libra are both transiting my stellium of 4 planets in Cancer, including the Sun at 1°,Moon at 8°, Venus at 9°, and Saturn at 20°. Will I finally have children and when?”

Questions on General Principles of Stelliums: (the kind I’m happy to tackle, though I don’t claim to have all the answers.)

“If two planets are transiting a stellium at once—say Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries to a cluster in the early cardinal signs—how can we sort out the effects of the two planets?”

“If two planets are transiting a stellium at once—say Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries to a cluster in the early cardinal signs—how can we sort out the effects of the two planets?”

“How long does a transit to a stellium last, and is it this intense the whole time?”

“If natal Saturn is part of a stellium, how do transiting Saturn’s aspects to the stellium affect the person?”

“Does everyone with Pluto transiting a stellium have a death and rebirth—or are some of them just dead meat?”

“HELP! I’m only halfway through a Neptune transit to my stellium, and I’m already down for the count. Is there light at the end of the tunnel—and should I go to the light?”

You get the point. I’m not certain how many questions I’ll  be able to answer, since some of them are likely to require lengthy answers.  I reserve the right to select the questions that will make the best teaching points.

UPDATE:  After two hours of nonstop typing, I’m going to close off the questions now–lots of good ones requiring long, thoughtful answers.   See the questions and answers in the comment section below, and perhaps you’ll see one that sheds light on your own concerns.  

If you, one of your loved ones, or an astrology client has this feature, you’re doubtlessly wondering what it means and how to get the most out of it. This ebook from Moon Maven Publications will give you a greater understanding of stelliums and triple conjunctions and provide you with tools to channel their immense potential.  order here:

The Stellium Series:

Past Q&A Sessions by Donna and Guest Bloggers:

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  1. I like your questions: “If two planets are transiting a stellium at once—say Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries to a cluster in the early cardinal signs—how can we sort out the effects of the two planets?”

    • Thank you, Mary. For the last couple of years, Pluto has been in Capricorn, transiting those early degrees from 0-7 degrees of a Cardinal sign. Uranus has been following behind in numerical order, and during 2011, with only get as far as 4 degrees of a Cardinal sign before retrograding to 0. It won’t reach 7 degrees of Aries until June of 2012.
      So people with planets in early cardinal degrees up to 7 won’t experience them at the same time.

      Let’s say there’s a planet in the stellium at 5 degrees of Cancer and another at 9, and the rest further on, all in the 10th house.

      There’s already a very long process in the works that Pluto has been catalyzing as it travels through the 4th and opposes the planet at 5 Cancer in the 10th. Anyone experiencing that transit would already be well aware that something having to do with their career and life goals (10th house) is either at risk or that they’re being presented with a huge challenge and a huge opportunity.

      The kinds of events and challenges they have been dealing with would be Plutonian in nature–perhaps learning to deal with wealthy, powerful people in their career (10th) and with workplace politics. Given that Pluto is traveling through the 4thk they’d also at the same time be gaining insight and healing into any family of origin issues (4th) so that parental models don’t get in the way of their success.

      Hopefully, they’re working to capitalize on the potential of that transit AND working to clear away any personal characteristics or issues that could sabotage their chances of success. They’ll have additional events/challenges/opportunities this fal to work withl because Pluto continues to activate the planet at 5 Cancer.

      As Uranus gets entrenched in Aries and reaches that 5 degree point, then Uranian events, people, and stirrings will start to make themselves felt in that same career arc. Their own inventiveness but also rebellion agains authority figures and conventional life styles will start to be pressing.

      At that point, especially if things are not going well in the career or workplace, things may happen–bolts out of the blue, wild cards–that will bring matters to a head there. For instance, the company could experience a takeover or corporate heads above them could roll. Or the person wakes up one morning and says, that’s it. I quit. I’m going into business for myself. Not possible to predict, but bringing the long process that Pluto signaled to a sudden end. Donna

  2. Are people with stellium more subjected to big personal failure/challenges and just more ups & downs in life in general (especially that in most stellium, the sun is involved)? Are there any ways to reduce this impact?


    • A good question, Nathan. There ARE other chart features that can be subject to ups and downs—a t-square, for instance, or perhaps a triple conjunction that doesn’t quite make it to a stellium.

      However, as I said in the article about John Edwards’ chart, stelliums can bring great accomplishments, but the sheer concentration of so much energy in one sign or house also makes that a point of incredible vulnerability. Major transits to that sign or house can produce the highest highs and lowest lows in the course of a lifetime. Hard work to develop those talents and abilities can pay off handsomely during transits to one planet after another of the stellium.

      How high and how low might depend in part on the planets that are part of the cluster. If they were predominantly difficult ones—let’s say it includes a cluster of Mars-Pluto-Saturn or the one common to young people born in the late 1980s with Uranus-Neptune-Saturn—then transits to that stellium are bound to be difficult life passages.

      (Still, Hillary Clinton and Al Gore both did well with Mars-Saturn-Pluto triple conjunctions on the angles, though not joined by a 4th planet.)

      If, on the other hand, the stellium planets were fairly benign ones—say Sun, Jupiter, Venus, and the Moon—does that ensure a lifetime of highs and only rarely lows? I’d say not. Those being indicators of “luck,” the person can get to taking the sweet life for granted and maybe coasting or pushing their luck too far. (Kind of like a Grand Trine)

      So then even Saturn crossing through that sign can bring a rude awakening, a head-on meeting with some of the less pleasant realities. It might be a time when they are expected to grow up, step up to the plate, and be responsible for themselves and their actions. Bummer—but important in pushing them to use that lucky stellium for something of substance.

      You ask, are there any ways to reduce the impact of a stellium’s lows? Well, it’s a matter of coming to know the planets in the stellium really well—the constructive ways of using them versus the dubious shortcuts and undesirable side roads. And working toward the constructive uses and heading yourself off at the pass when the undesirable ones start to become tempting.

      As I mentioned in the John Edwards’ article, some of the highs and lows are not in your control, because the transiting outer planets also show world-wide changes that affect us all, but that affect people whose series of stellium planets receive those transits even more profoundly and directly.

      These global shifts can represent both great losses and great opportunities when a stellium’s sign or house is affected. The genius of a stellium is that a personal failure can stimulate the individual to come up with solutions that help others affected by those same collective changes.

      Where there are huge losses, it can take years to come back, though many of these gifted folks DO rebuild—better, stronger, and wiser—because that’s all they know to do with the special abilities and interests that make up the heart and soul of their existence. Donna

  3. You formulated the question I was interested about: “If natal Saturn is part of a stellium, how do transiting Saturn’s aspects to the stellium affect the person?” May I add this is my first Saturn return. Thank you Donna! Elise

    • Glad you asked, Elise. In general, any aspect that Saturn makes in the natal chart—not just stelliums—is up for what I’d call a performance review each time transiting Saturn forms an angle to natal Saturn OR to the other natal planet in the aspect.

      You’ll be called to account for what kind of a job you’re doing with making the best possible use of those planets and that aspect. That’s true of everything from a trine to a square to an opposition.

      The strongest Saturn aspect, however, is always a conjunction, and if natal Saturn is part of a stellium, then there’s a strong chance you have at least one conjunction to Saturn, if not multiple conjunctions. If so, you’ve signed on for a master class in how to make the most of Saturn.

      I always say, take care of Saturn, and Saturn will take care of you. Are you doing what Saturn wants from you? Essentially, Saturn wants you to grow up, step up to the plate, do the right thing, and do it conscientiously, consistently, and well. (The “right thing” to do is determined by the sign and house involved in natal Saturn’s position.)

      And that’s what your performance review will be about, each time transiting Saturn makes an aspect to natal Saturn during its 28+ year cycle. The 1st and 2nd Saturn returns—predictable points when Saturn comes back to the place it was when you were born—are THE major performance reviews.

      So, given that your Saturn is woven into a stellium and that each planet in that stellium will be conjunct transiting Saturn, it’s likely that this will be an especially strong call to Get Right With Saturn.

      It’s traveling through Libra, the sign of relationships, now so you’ll want to take a close look at that. There are LOTS of articles about Saturn in Libra on this site, so use the onsite search engine at the top right hand corner.

      You are also being called to account for how well you’re doing on the areas of life described by the house the stellium is in. And again, you’ll find lots of articles on the various houses in the Category “Houses” on the right hand side.

      The great thing about astrology is you can see those periods coming in advance and start working on any deficits as long as a year before the aspect is exact. Wise use! Donna

  4. Since Saturn, Uranus and Pluto are now located in the cardinal signs, most of people with the stellium in cardinal signs will be affected sooner or later. I wonder how can the people with the stellium can use each of these intense planetary energies in a constructive way and ripe the benefits from them?
    Thanks Donna!

    • For background, see my answer to Mary, Ruby. I would also add that I did a very long series of posts last year during the long Pluto-Saturn square that explored both the things that were at risk and how to work on them in advance and some of the positive outcomes as well. I would encourage you and others to explore the series. It’s linked under “Categories” in the right hand column of the blog, where it says “A Pluto-Saturn Preparedness Kit.”

      I and several others also did a huge event last spring called the International Astrology Day Blogathon, each developing a slate of self-help articles for managing issues of the three planets that woud be transiting the Cardinal signs.

      I collected 11 articles on Plutonian topics, CJ Wright of Auntie Moon collected about 11 for Uranus, and Mandi Lockley did Saturn, and Sasstrology had one on Saturn in Libra and relationships. There was also a collection on flower essences and astrology. Look for all the links here: Donna

  5. Hi Donna,
    Would love to hear your comments regarding Neptune moving into Pisces and at 0 degrees beginning to aspect a stellium of personal planets in any house, or any house for Pisces people, and other stellium folks which Neptune could possibly beginsquaring , trining or opposing, and especially a stellium of Virgo planets since Neptune is such an ethereal planet and Virgo so attuned to details.

    Will we all see much more confusion over the next decade or so? Or just a greater group of people focusing more on their spirituality? Thank you if you can comment in general on this.

    • Good question, K. I’ll give you the same answer I did Victoria–it’s not either/or, it’s both in the course of a long transit by one of the slower moving planets through a sign or house. (Neptune takes 14 years to a sign)

      What you typically see is a process in which the person tries out various ways of expressing the outer planet within the framework of the house involved.

      Much depends on how old they are and thus how experienced the person already is in keeping that outer planet in healthy channels versus self-destructive or undesirable ones.

      Wherever a planet goes by transit, it takes itself along. So you’d have to look at what natal Neptune is doing in the person’s chart and also ask a lot of questions about how well or how poorly they’re using Neptune now.

      It would generally be pretty hard for a young person to escape the temptations and slippery slopes Neptune can present….the illusions and ideals of a star-struck teen or young adult, for instance.

      There used to be a time in their 20s when young people routinely experienced transiting Pluto crossing over natal Neptune. but at that time, many of them went down for the count with addictions (if tending toward negative Neptune) OR if they were already bottomed out on addictions or other self-destructive behavior, they learned not to do that any more. Many, myself incuded, experienced a spiritual awakening.(I don’t know what age that will be for those with Neptune in Capricorn.)

      There’s also a part of the Midlife cycle where Neptune is square natal Neptune, and if natal Neptune is part of the stellium, then it will be a major interval of shifting how Neptune is used.

      As an example of Neptune’s long cycle through a house, read this about neptune transits to the vocational houses:

      As for what Neptune will be like in Pisces, there’s not a person alive who was around the last time Neptune was in that sign, so all we can do is speculate. But, yeah, it’s likely to be extremely Neptunian. Donna

      • Thanks Donna, this is hopeful! k

  6. Here’s another. As the planets all transit your stellium, does the transit of a planet to itself (in your natal chart) carry special energy, more than it does to the other planets as it transits them?

    • Absolutely, Mimi! In fact, that’s what the major planetary cycles of our lives (marking various life stages) are all about. Like the 1st and 2nd return of Saturn to its place at your birth. And like the midlife cycle where transiting Pluto squares natal Pluto, transiting Neptune squares natal Neptune, Uranus opposes natal Uranus, and Saturn opposes natal Saturn is a huge one.

      In all those cases, we go through a period of assessing how we’ve used that planet up to now and how we need to start using it for this new stage of life. And if we’re not using it well, we may hit a major speed bump and have to learn a better way. So yes, in some respects, the aspect of the transiting planet to itself is crucial, but each of the other planets in the stellium is affected by the changes in the way we use that transiting planet. (Particularly when the transit hits the Alpha Dog planet in the stellium.)

      So, supposing that one of those cyclical planets-Saturn through Pluto–is part of a stellium at birth. Then any natal conjunctions from other planets in the stellium to that outer planet come to the fore and are challenged, for better and for worse. Like those gifted folks with the Pluto-Uranus conjunction in Virgo as part of a stellium, for instance. Then when their midlife cycle came about, as it did for a few years recently, you suddenly saw them in the news–some for great reasons like Academy Awards, others for terrible reasons, like public drug debacles, and some, like Robert Downey Jr., for both. Donna

  7. Donna,

    In your experience, do you find that a set of outer planet transits to a stellium tends to revolve around a single core issue represented by the stellium or a series of different issues represented by each natal planet in the batch?

    Thanks and get well soon!

    • What a good question, Victoria! It’s not either/or, it’s both. The set of transits do relate to the area(s) of life signified by the house the stellium is in (due in large part to conflicts of interest with the matters of life AND people signified by the house the transiting planet is in.

      Since most houses describe several areas of life–all related to one another in one way or another–then the totality of events and situations signified by the transit may touch on several of those areas.

      (If it’s transiting Uranus, for instance, then the events will all take on a Uranian cast, even though several of the house matters are affected over the course of the transit. Take the 4th house, which could mean the actual residence, the nuclear family, the family of origin, older relatiives, real estate dealings, etc., etc.)

      In addition, the transiting planet will also accompanying challenges to the various planets in the stellium, although in the context of those events it presents.

      For instance, Uranus transits to a 4th house Moon might bring a series of uprootings in terms of geoegraphic location. If Mars were also in the 4th, transits from Uranus might bring upheavals due to a male in the home going through a rough adolescence (?due to the moves?) or plenty of conflict. And so on for the other planets in the group. Complicated, yes, but thankfully not all at once unless they’re closely conjunct. Donna

  8. Will every planets transit to a 8th house stellium have something in common like money?

    • See my reply to Victoria, above. During the course of a transit to a stellium in one house, several if not all the areas of life related to that house are likely to be affected and undergo an important change.

      Sometimes it is a major, pivotal event or situation arising near the beginning of transits to a stellium that sets off a chain reaction.

      (For instance, with the 8th house, suppose that someone who had been a major source of financial help for years either went broke or had a change of heart–or conversely, suppose you hit the lottery or conversely got an inheritance. The event would set off a chain reaction in which all 8th house levels of meaning would be profoundly altered.)

      Sometimes, conversely, the transits to planets early in the stellium progressively produce internal changes—e.g you’re getting stronger and wanting to be more self-sufficient and you go through training that makes it possible to support yourself. Then when the planet later in the 8th house series gets the transit, you make the change you’d been working on, and it changes everything else related to that house, including your relationships with people signified by that house. Donna

  9. Hi Donna, try some arnica gel on that wrist!

    My question, is there an Order of Operations, like in math when a natal stellium is lit up by transit, or does the transiting planet(s) proximity to each individual planet being transited bear the most influence- bearing in mind that there is a harmony/structure in play? Thanks Heal Soon!!

    • good question–and good suggestion on the Arnica gel–Kelly. In one of the posts about stelliums (“4 Big Things You May Not Know about Stelliums”), I talk about one of the planets in the stellium being the Alpha Dog planet. That dominant planet is likely to show its importance in the stellium hierarchy during a transit, in that events and developments are most likely to be strongly triggered when that planet gets the transit.

      Each of the planets in the stellium in turn, of course, will get its day in the limelight–the opportunity to show what it’s made of and to plead for it’s own needs and issues to be addressed. But I’d bet on the Alpha planet having the leading role and either coming to its full glory or –if it’s being mnisused–its comeuppance.
      On the basis of transits and behavior, by the way, I’ve decided that the Alpha Dog planet in John Edwards’ chart is his Mars in Gemini in the 12th trining Neptune and squaring his Pisces Midheaven. Donna


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