Learning astrology–what is a stellium?

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Astrology of the natal chart: stelliums

Do you know someone who seems to epitomize every quality of a certain zodiac sign so well that their face belongs in an astrological dictionary defining that sign?  Maybe the best (and least offensive) way to describe your ex is as a complete Leo?  Or perhaps your neighbor is the perfect example of everything good and bad about Cancers.  These individuals probably have what astrologers call a stellium in their charts.  As you learn astrology, this is an important chart configuration to recognize.

If you can sneak a peek at that total Virgo’s chart, you may very well find that he/she has several planets clustered together in Virgo.  This is a stellium—four or more planets grouped together in a single sign.  This natal chart configuration creates a strong emphasis on the sign where the planetary cluster occurs.  Astrology experts learn to look for this type of grouping and read its meaning when looking at a chart.

The most frequent type of stellium includes the Sun, Mercury and Venus because these planets are never distant from each other.  Mercury always remains within 23 degrees of the Sun, and Venus is never more than 46 degrees from the solar orb.  To be considered a stellium, all of the planets involved should be within ten degrees of each other.

Which planets?

Often, this many planets all grouped closely together will impart a strong sense of energy and vitality in the area of the chart where they appear, giving the person a very strong presence.  If the stellium includes planets other than the three which are most commonly grouped together, perhaps the Moon, Mars or Jupiter the stellium seems to have an added power, giving the person a more magnetic personality.

Outer planets such as Pluto and Neptune may be part of a stellium but since their placement in a sign is generational, they have a different effect on the planetary grouping.  More than one outer planet conjunct multiple personal planets can create many challenges in an individual’s life but can also make them an archetypal figure for their generation.

Which house?

Since everyone born during a certain period may share the same conjunction of planets in a particular sign, the house placement of the stellium is much more revealing of the individual’s goals than the zodiac sign.  In other words, all the people born when several planets met in Aries may have a strong Aries flavor to their personality, but how and where they express this depends on which house holds the stellium.

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