Everything You Need to Know About Cusps — and Why They’re Probably Not Real
Some very special people are born in the moments leading up to or immediately following the sun’s monthly change of signs, making it sometimes a little difficult to guess their birth or sun sign. As an astrologer, I’ve talked to many people who were sure they were one of the signs, not either of the signs, or even the next sign over! Cue the identity crisis. This is commonly referred to as being born on the cusp, and it typically occurs when you are born on the day the sun changes signs.
In astrology, each sign is exactly 30 degrees, meaning that whatever planet is occupying that sign will touch 0 degrees all the way to 29 degrees before moving to the next sign. When you’re born on a cusp, the sun—which represents your sun or birth sign—occupies either the very last degree of a sign (29) or the very first few degree of a sign (0). Based on this, a planet cannot be in more than one sign at a time, but can be very close to a transition.
Why you cannot be more than one sign
Sorry to break it to you, you’re one sign or the other. (Of course, there are other astrologers who believe differently—but please allow me to break it down for you.)
So, no, you cannot be both an Aries and a Pisces because you were born on the cusp of Aries. If your sun was at 0 degrees of Aries, you are most definitely an Aries—no matter how much you want to be a Pisces!
Yes, you’re nodding your head, but you still want to understand why you identify so much with both signs, right? Lucky for you, there’s an answer for that! The coolest part about your astrological natal chart is that is tells you not only where the sun was at the time of your birth, but also the location of all eight planets, Pluto, the moon, and even some asteroids!
In astrology, we have a tendency to place a lot of emphasis on where the sun was at birth and not nearly enough emphasis on all the other planets. We forget that the sun represents only one portion of the entire chart. Even if you have the sun at 0 degrees of Aries, it might literally be the only planet that you have in the sign of Aries. Even if the sun wasn’t at 0 degrees, you could also share this same feeling of not complete alignment with your sun sign.
Breaking it all down
Here’s a personal example. Perhaps you’re like me; I have the sun at the very end of Libra. It’s the only planet in the sign of Libra in my chart. Libras are generally regarded as really social and sometimes aren’t as deep as the rest of the signs, preferring to keep surface level. Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m all about the depth! The deeper and mysterious and weirder it gets, I’m more committed. This is because I have a whopping four planets in the sign of Scorpio; my Mercury, Pluto, Venus and Saturn. Now, I won’t claim Scorpio—sorry, Scorpios!—but I very much identify with many, many, many of their traits. However, this is not to say I dismiss my sun, as it is still a very large part of my identity. I was once told that the combination of my Sagittarius rising sign, Leo moon and my Libra sign softens my personality just enough to not to freak people out with all of that Scorpio intensity. Thank the heavens; freaking people out is no fun.
We looked at the chart as a whole—which brings us back to the earlier point of why you sometimes won’t totally identify with your sun sign.
Another reason for this—which is even more interesting!—has to do with the planet Mercury. Mercury is the sun’s closest pal—it’s almost always in the same sign or one sign away from its big, bright neighbor. Mercury rules how we communicate, as well as how we process information.
Interestingly enough, Mercury is commonly in the same sign as the sun for a lot of people–which means many people’s core identity and way of processing information is very similar. I would add that if you were born on a cusp, this becomes less likely. So, in theory, if you have your identity (the sun) and the way you process and put out information (Mercury) in different signs, it might also be the reason you’re not totally in alignment with your sun sign.
For me, I love to process until there’s no more process to be processed—because Scorpio is a master investigator. Libra isn’t really down for all of that. I like to think that Libra just adds a little charm to my intensity. This is probably one of the most common explanations for why people born on the cusp aren’t really feeling their sun that much when I look at their charts.
Look deeper than cusps
There are many, many reasons why this feeling might pop up less to do with being born on the cusp and more to do with the other planets in your chart and how they interact with each other. Interestingly enough, being born on the cusp makes it a whole lot easier to feel split between more than one sign. So, hey! Either way, next time someone tries to tell you that they’re more than one sign, tell them it’s just not possible. Then, if you want to look like an astrological genius, tell them to go find their Mercury sign!
Shereen Campbell is a 30-something New Yorker striving to create the life of her dreams. She’s an astrologer, ecommerce manager, and the founder of My Little Magic Shop. She loves sailing, southern Italian food, and all things magical.
Photo: @ihatedust via Twenty20