This is easily the most frequently read post on this blog! So – thought I’d repost it for the benefit of new readers – with thanks to Rian, who asked the original question.
Could you talk a little bit about cusps? How much does a person with their sun at 29.5 degrees take on the next sign? Or is it black and white. I think it might be a fade-out/ fade-in, but I’ve never found anything written about this. Thank you.
Anne’s Answer: I’m glad you asked this question. It’s one astrologers are asked A LOT !I’ll answer it in two stages.
Firstly, let’s imagine someone out there is due to give birth mid to late June 2013 in Glasgow, UK, and is wondering whether their baby will have the Sun in Gemini or Cancer.
At midnight GMT on 21st June (1.00 am UK summer time), the Sun is at the very end of Gemini:29 degrees 48 minutes. By midnight GMT on 22nd June (1.00 am UK summer time), the Sun has moved to the next sign and occupies the very beginning of Cancer: 0 degrees 45 minutes. Thus our imaginary child arriving on 21st June 2013 some time after midnight GMT in Glasgow, UK would be in popular terms, ‘born on the cusp’.
However, as anyone who takes their interest in astrology ‘beyond the Sun Signs’ will very quickly realise, there is a lot more to astrology than its popular Sun Sign face would suggest. With an accurately calculated horoscope which uses the date, place and vital TIME of birth, an astrologer (or, these days, anyone with access to a reasonable computer programme ) can work out to the minute where the Sun is on that child’s birthday.
To illustrate this, look at the image below. (click on it to enlarge). Our imaginary cusp Baby X, born in Glasgow UK at 6.00 am British Summer Time ( 5.00 am GMT ) on Friday 21st June 2013, will have the Sun in Gemini – at 29 degrees 59 minutes. If this child is born only five minutes later, however, he/she will have the Sun in Cancer – at 0 degrees 00 minutes.
Thus, strictly speaking, there is no such thing as ‘born on the cusp’. Our Baby X, horoscope accurately calculated, is either – in Sun Sign terms – a Gemini or a Cancer.
However, Rian, your guess was quite correct. Someone born with the Sun at the very beginning of the 30 degrees of any zodiac sign has a stronger, more vivid and obvious ‘charge’ of the sign’s energy than someone born at the very end.
Imagine you are standing in a favourite room which you have occupied for a long time. You are becoming a little bored, jaded with what that room may have to offer. Suddenly, a door you’d never noticed before opens slightly. A shaft of new light streams through from another room. You step forward, intrigued. Could this be a new adventure? Or, to conclude our analogy: the Sun in fickle, restless Gemini is becoming stale – the prospect of entry into a journey through another sign, watery mysterious Cancer, beckons….
The second stage of my answer, though, brings in a little of the more complex picture which more in-depth astrology has to offer.
Take another look at Baby X’s horoscope, featured above. (click on it to enlarge)
Even those of you with very little knowledge of astrology should be able to imagine the 360 degree zodiac circle before you as a stage. Stand in the centre, and look around the circle.
You will see various symbols, representing the planets. Humans have been standing on Earth, looking out into the night sky, plotting the planets’ positions against an imaginary 360 degree great circle, the zodiac, for more than six thousand years. That view has never changed, despite our knowledge for several centuries that the Sun, not Earth, is the centre of our solar system. We still look out from the same Earth to the same celestial view.
On the left of the circle, just above and below the horizontal black line, fall the sectors of Gemini and Cancer. Our Baby X may be a Sun Gemini – only just! – but very close to that Sun is Jupiter (desire to connect to the Big Picture) and not far away is Mars (action). This gives our Baby X a very strong emphasis on the Gemini theme.
However the horizontal black line is his/her Ascendant or Rising Sign, revealing the way s/he will appear to the world in general. This is in the sign of Cancer. Just below this point, squashed together on 22 degrees of Cancer, are Venus (urge to relate) and Mercury (drive toward communication, expression). Thus Baby X will have five out of the ten planets (or characters on the stage), and Rising Sign, occupying only two of the twelve signs of the zodiac.
This places a very strong emphasis on the signs of Gemini and Cancer, rational air and emotional water. Thus, at a very simple level – full interpretation has to take all the characters, their locations and interactions on the zodiac stage into account – Baby X will have the gifts and pains of that classic Shakespearian clash between reason and passion, to wrestle with and reconcile, be driven by– for as long as s/he lives.
A long answer for a short question! But I do hope it sheds some light – and reveals in the process a deeper astrology ‘beyond the Sun Signs’. Do let me know what you think!
And you new visitors and Followers out there. Drop by with your observations….. and, of course, your Questions….
900 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2013/2015
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page of Writing from the Twelfth House