Posted by: Donna Cunningham | August 6, 2011

Looking for your Alpha Dog Planet? A Tool to Help!

(c)8-11 By Donna Cunningham, MSW

If you’re trying to track the Alpha dog planet in a stellium or major configuration, it helps to know the major issues and qualities of each of the planets. You’ll find a link to a useful new tool below–a table I’ve created that summarizes them briefly.

Here is a segment of the table. I’ve chosen the outermost planets, as many find them the hardest to describe succinctly. Download the full table here: issues of the planets-handout .  Having a bad hand day, folks, so can’t write more.

SATURN ISSUES: Structure; discipline; desire for quality and
accomplishment; maturity; authority; perseverance; realism.

EXCESS: Rigid, perfectionistic, hypercritical,
authoritarian; fearful, depressed; workaholic.

DEFICIT: Lack self-discipline, structure, goals, and planning;
irresponsible, give up easily.

URANUS ISSUES: Finding your uniqueness and where you fit into
groups; friendship; independence; breaking with the past; becoming your own
authority; adolescence.

EXCESS: The rebel, non-conformist; having to prove
oneself and constantly fight authority; inability to accept ­structure.

DEFICIT: Follower, conformist, afraid to
express individuality; can’t establish independence.

The desire to transcend the self and surrender to something greater; seeing
beyond apparent reality; service, psychic abilities, spirituality.

EXCESS: Poorly grounded; deceives self/others;
savior/martyr; delusions; addictions, escapism.

DEFICIT: lacks imagination, creativity;
not in touch with spirituality or dream life; little compassion.

PLUTO ISSUES: Power and control; trust; to analyze what lies
beneath the surface and eliminate the undesirable; separateness;  holding on to things or feelings; death.

EXCESS: Alternates isolation/symbiosis; controlling;
mistrustful; overly intense; bitter, vengeful.

DEFICIT: Unable to look deeply within;
lack of psychological insight; insufficient desire for transformation.


  1. Nice Format Donna! Thank you!
    I’ve just printed it… I know this stuff but I like the handy reference:)

  2. Thanks Donna.
    Sorry to hear that your hands are not cooperating!
    I hope resting will help you to feel better soon.
    How would you pick the Alpha dog planet out of a grand square? Or, wouldn’t you?

    • The same way, essentially. watch monthly as the moon circuit hits off the 4 corners. Donna

  3. Hi Donna and Angela !
    Just thought to share some info from Esoteric Astrology by Alice Baily and The Tibetan. Cant help it, her book on Astrology was my FIRST book on Astrology and it made an impression on my approach.
    After certain initiations ( expansions of Conscious awareness) the Sun and Moon are shattered and have no effect and become conditioned by veiled planets. Neptune and Uranus. It seems this is so for me because the transits of the moon ticking off certain positions has little effect, even on the angles. However when one of the 3 outer planets hits an angle there is definite effect…so I must conclude all three are a unit. I can relate to all 4 you have listed above, positive and negative throughout my life.
    One of the first things I studied was gestalt patterns and the Fixed Cross is a major TEST and initiation in this lifetime for you Angela. How it plays out , one would have to see the chart. Its a pivotal lifetime . Love/ Wisdom in Action,tests.

    • I remember the Bailey books from decades ago, too,BH. I must have given them away in one of my cross-country moves. An esoteric astrologer who follows her still is Alan Oken in his regular Dell column. Donna

  4. Thanks for the table Donna! It definitely ended my wondering what my stellium alpha planet is. It is definitely Saturn. The Sun, Moon, and Uranus descriptions barely fit me but Saturn is spot on! Especially for my 8th house issue, which is where my stellium is.

    I hope your hand feels better! ❤

  5. Any chance of a Chiron Issues/Excess/Deficit list? 😉 When I do the tests, Chiron tops out, and I wouldn’t disagree with that at all, from everything I’ve read about Chiron it makes sense. Plus it’s the apex of a yod and part of two T-squares. (I also have a stellium as part of the yod, with Merc-Sat-Pluto – looks like Saturn lords over that trio!) I’ve seen a comment before with someone else having a similar chart and you commented that they have a complex chart, and I agree there, I’m a complex person and have had a complex and never-boring life full of challenges! All of it does seem to get filtered through Chiron.

    • cHECK out Radical Virgo, blog of our resident Chiron expert, Joyce Mason. Ask her. Donna

  6. Hi, Donna. Sorry to hear about your hand injury.

    with me it’s definitely Uranus. I have always gravitated to what is unusual and different. When I was younger I kept my uniqueness under wraps (suppressing your true self is so hard and fear that other people will criticize you for it kept me in line). Now that I’m older I’m proud of who I am! Hanging out with artists and other non-conformists helps 🙂

  7. Donna, here’s to a speedy recovery for your wrists!

    I love this table – thank you for putting it together. It is a little scary for me as I resonate with a issues listed for each of the planets. There’s not one with which I don’t have some resonance. Fortunately I’ve been working on most of this stuff over the course of my life, and can say that while I’m not perfect, I’ve definitely brought many of them into balance.

    I guess the number of issues I relate to doesn’t surprise me given my chart. My Pisces stellium in the 10th is part of a T Square. The only planets that are not part of the T square\Stellium are my Capricorn Moon\Venus conjunct in the 8th, and Neptune in the 6th in Scorpio. Interestingly, Neptune is now conjunct Sun and Midheaven, and will spend time passing through the rest of the planets in Pisces and activating the T-square for a few years.

    If I had to pick an alpha, it would be Saturn in the excess and fortunately I’ve moderated most of those issues. Fear is the residual piece and it shows up as a persistent white noise in my life right now. I guess it’s good I can notice the white noise at all 🙂

    Even though Saturn is the alpha dog, it’s very blended with Mars and Pluto issues which also makes sense. Saturn is conjunct Mars and almost exactly opposite Pluto.

    But Neptune gets the top billing in my life right now given it’s play time with my Sun, Midheaven and the upcoming stroll through Pisces. Hopefully all the work I’ve done will makes it’s stroll more spiritually enlightening than illusory and confusing. It’s time with my Sun has been mostly about connecting spiritually, napping and keeping my mildly addictive qualities in check. Classic Neptune conjunct Sun.

    Thank you for your work on Stelliums. It has been most enlightening. Sandy

    • Great analysis–shows lots of work on self. Donna

  8. This IS great. thank you. As I suspected Saturn is my bull goose loony. Structure, discipline, hypercritical, fearful… all of those are me.
    and even cooler, it shows where i need to work more; Uranus!

    thanks for doing this; shining a bright light at those faraway planets!

    • LOL! I’m glad it’s helping. Not to worry–I charged TMA for it ages ago and just resurrected it. Donna

  9. OH! I just found the print out. GOOD GRIEF, it’s like a reverse Astrology chart!
    what a handy guide!
    yes, I’m printing it out too. You should be charging for this one.

  10. Donna,

    I pray to God that you will recover very soon.

    Best regards, Nathan.

    • Thanks, Charles, Nathan, Sabrina, all! This is frustrating, but the doctor sez I do need to take more time–I miss the fun! Donna

  11. Hello Donna, I’m Anges from Poland. I love Your book ” An Astrological Guide to Self-Awareness”. Thank You, You are very smart and inteligent woman, I read that book with real joy:)

    Donna Marry Christmas and happy New Year 2012, a lot health !!!

  12. I think I can safely say Saturn runs my chart.

    I have:
    Moon in Capricorn
    Mercury in Capricorn
    Venus in Capricorn
    Mars in Capricorn
    Neptune in Capricorn (I know, generational, but still…)

    Now let’s look at his aspects…
    Sun Trine Saturn
    Venus Square Saturn
    Mars Square Saturn
    Jupiter Sextile Saturn
    Saturn Sextile Uranus
    Saturn Trine Pluto
    Saturn Sextile ASC

    Gemini Ascendant = Mercury in Capricorn my chart ruler.

    And to put the cherry on everything, Saturn is also retrograde in my natal chart.

    Thankfully, no tenth house planets. I do have Pluto Square MC.

    I will definitely credit my self awareness to Saturn. I’m aware of my huge weaknesses and my greater strengths.

    • I’m sure you’re right, Kronos. Saturn just gets better with Maturity and as you pay your dues in the areas it touches. I’m going on 70, and although Saturn is not the alpha dog of my Gemini stellium, I doubt that I would have accomplished even a third of what I have with my writing without the steadiness and perseverence it brings. Donna

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