How do Stelliums Work?

A stellium is three to four—opinions vary—planets in one sign. If you use Whole Sign Houses like I do, your stellium will also fall into one house.

If we take a look at the person who sent in this question, we see that he has his a stellium in Virgo as his Midheaven, Sun, Moon, Mercury and Venus are all located there in the 10th House.

Virgo is a mutable sign. So when a slower moving planet like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune or Pluto transit a mutable sign—Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius or Pisces—his 10th House planets will be activated by conjunction, square or opposition.

– Transits through Virgo will conjunct his stellium, fusing their significations first with his Sun, then Moon, Mercury and Venus.

– Transits through Sag and Gemini will square these planets, causing a tension that needs to be worked through, like solving a piece of a complex puzzle.

– Transits through Pisces will oppose them which means some kind of compromise will be required to find balance.

As the activating planet moves through the mutable sign, it will have a conversation with each of Ricardo’s Virgo planets. These conversations will be activating (conjunction), tense (square) and negotiable (opposition). Since these conversations are happening in mutable signs, Ricardo is more likely to adjust and “go with the flow” at these times.

Softer Aspects

We can look at trines and sextiles to his stellium as well. When the aforementioned planets pass through the Earth sign of Taurus and Capricorn, they will activate his Virgo stellium. But since trines are more harmonious than the “hard” aspects, they tend not to be as impactful unless we consciously team up with them.  The same can be said for sextiles, a 60° conversation.
What about the other planets?

I focus on the slower moving planets as they tend to have more impact. They catalyze karmic and often transformational experiences in our lives. Often times, a faster moving planet like Mars, Venus, the Sun and Mercury will activate a slower transit in play.

For instance, Uranus has recently trined Ricardo’s Mercury and is preparing to station Retrograde. We know that Mercury is in play for Ricardo. Since Mercury rules two important houses in his chart—7th and 10th—as transiting Venus, Mars, Mercury and the Sun journey through Virgo, they will activate the work that Uranus has been doing in its harmonious trine conversation with Mercury.  This could be a time of exciting breakthroughs, shake-ups and surprises in visibility, career, social reputation and relationships.

That said: I do pay attention to activations to and from one’s time lord. Like I mentioned previously, time lords are the spotlight planet for the year. Even if it’s a faster moving planet, it packs a special punch during the year it’s highlighted as time lord.

Domino Effect

As you can imagine, having a stellium means that life can hit you all at once. It’s kind of like eating an enormous cosmic meal—King Cobra style—instead of grazing throughout the day. In Ricardo’s case, the chain-of-effect goes like this:

  • Midheaven—Social reputation. How we show up in the Wide Wide World.
  • Sun—Identity. The plot line. Rules the 9th house.
  • Moon—Home, nourishment, security needs, mama + mothering, women in our life. Rules the 8th
  • Mercury—Learning. Teaching. Writing. PR. Dissemination of info. Business. Rules the 7th and 10th.
  • Venus—Love, pleasure, beauty, finance, relationships. Rules the 6th and 11th.

We can begin to craft a story here with each chapter titled the bullet points above and then filled with the themes indicated behind each planet. Knowing that Ricardo is adaptable, that he opts for the path less traveled, is a bit of a worrier (oh the mutables!), a bit of a perfectionist and takes the scenic route to get anywhere, helps us to fill in the arch of each chapter.

Ricardo: I hope this helps to answer your question on stelliums! If you or anyone else wants to learn more, The Astrology Podcast just had an excellent and very thorough episode on stelliums.  You can find it here.

Illustration by Ekaterina Tutynina |