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Zodiac Sign Cusps: What’s It Mean to Be Born on a Cusp?

Zodiac Sign Cusps: What’s It Mean to Be Born on a Cusp?

Episode 177 features a discussion between Chris Brennan and Austin Coppock about a recent issue has arisen in the astrological community over zodiac sign cusps, and what it means when a person is born on a cusp.

Sun-sign astrology became popular over the course of the past century, and everyone knows their “sign,” which is the sign of the zodiac the Sun was in on the day they were born.

There is an issue though because the Sun moves into a new sign roughly every 30 days, and the dates given for Sun-signs are only approximate, and can vary near beginnings and ends of the signs.

This naturally leads to an issue when someone is born near one of the sign boundaries, where they wonder whether they are one sign or another.

In popular astrology such individuals are said to be “born on a cusp”, with cusp here essentially meaning boundary, border, dividing line, or interstice.

So, this phenomenon primarily arises out of an issue in popular astrology, where there is confusion over Sun-sign dates that fall near the borders of the signs.

However, over the past few decades this confusion has morphed into something else, and in popular astrology it is becoming increasingly common to treat sign cusps as areas where the meanings of two signs overlap or blend together, rather than the cusp being a very distinct and strict boundary.

While this issue initially seems to have arisen due to confusion over Sun-sign dates, it is compounded by the fact that some people born close to a cusp really do report feeling like or exhibiting traits of both signs. The question then becomes, why is this?

The most obvious answer that astrologers usually give is that if your Sun is in one sign, then there is a pretty good chance Venus and Mercury could be in the adjacent sign.

But is that all it is, or is there more to cusps than that? Is there any traditional or practical validation of sign cusps having more qualitative significance than just acting as strict boundaries?

These are the questions that we set out to explore in this episode.

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A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 177 transcript

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  • Great, as usual. There’s a Grand trine at 29+ of the water signs just about to happen, Moon, Merc/jup and Chiron. I’m keeping an eye on it.

  • Love this! Just wanted to point out, you guys gave a lot of examples of a planet being in 29’56 of one sign or 0’10 of another, but my chart is an example where the moon literally can’t be determined to be in one sign or another, even with an exact birth time. At some millisecond during the minute I was born, the moon crossed over from 29’59 Taurus to 00’00 Gemini, and different chart calculation programs give me different results by default. In solar fire, 2:48:00 am gives me 29’59 Taurus, and 2:48:30 am gives me 00’00 Gemini. You might be tempted to say that I was still born at a certain time, and if I knew exactly what millisecond I was born, I would know which sign my moon is in… But then if you think about the event of birth itself, even if you specify what exactly counts as the instant of birth, like the 1st breath, it’s still entirely possible that the length of that event spanned the actual ingress. In my case, there’s no way to know. But I do feel the effects of both. And so, I maintain, my moon is both (so, Gemini :-p). By the way, I’m a little morbidly curious what Hephestio says about that spot…

  • I know vedic astrologers who cld that feeling of not being a certain Sun sign is because you are a different Sun sign most likely in the Sidereal zodiac. Also, those w a repressed Sun often express in the opposing sign. An Aries woman may have been socially trainedfir example to be very Libran.

  • What about the influence of bring out of bounds in those last degrees? Adding to a sense of not quite belonging to one or other?

  • Well, the point I was trying to make is not about feeling like both. The point is that the assumption that a planet must be in one sign or another and never literally on the cusp actually breaks down when you consider situations like a birth time recorded to the minute where during that minute the moon sign changes. It takes a certain non-zero amount of time to emerge from the birth canal, or even to breathe a first breath. Let’s say you’re recording the time of that first breath. That one breath could begin with the moon in one sign and end with it in another. At that point, would you still really want to maintain that it’s either in one sign or the other, and not literally on the cusp?

  • Ha, ha, when I met Rick Levine, an Aries, he asked me what my Sun sign is and I said Aries, the 29th degree. He said “Your not an Aries”. My Aries Sun said YES, I do have an Aries Sun. My Moon is in Taurus so I have that earth, however, I have the fire from the Aries. No doubt. 29 degrees 23 minutes, only 6 hours+ from having a Taurus Sun. By the way Uranus is within minutes of exactly conjunct my Sun, very interesting.

  • I’ve been looking for this discussion for more than a decade and a half! Thank you both, Chris and Austin, for talking in such detail about sign divisions and the source material. I’m going to have to return to this and take notes.