What does it mean if I'm born on the cusp?
Find Out if You're Really Born On the Cusp
Consult one of the great astrologers Steven has personally trained.
People sometimes talk about being born on the cusp. I'd like to talk about that. It's kind of an interesting concept. We start off with the idea, a familiar idea to pretty much everybody, that the Sun is in a certain sign for a month out of each year. So we get to about March 21st, say, and the sun enters Aries. And all of the kids born during the following 30 days, we'll call them an Aries. And then it's the turn of the Tauruses to be born. So that's a familiar idea.
But the notion first as we begin to look at it quite precisely is that from year to year you may find that it's the 21st of the month, or the 22nd of the month, or the 23rd of the month that the sign actually changes. In other words, it varies a little bit from year to year.
And then within that, there's a certain minute on a certain day in which the Sun would cross into a new sign. The approximate idea is that if we're born anywhere near that changing, we will often describe ourselves as being “born on the cusp.” But we can actually think of it more rigorously than that.
Here's how I have come to understand it. We start off with a very simple observation that the Sun, when you look at it in the sky, is not a point like a star. It's a circle. It's a disc. And it's about half a degree wide actually, the physical image of the Sun in the sky.
Now the Sun moves approximately one degree each day and so the next thought would be that it takes half a day for it to move through half a degree. Or you could say it takes half a day for it to move through its own diameter.
This maybe is starting to sound kind of technical, but you can think of it very simply. Let's imagine you have a ruler and a pencil, and you draw a straight line on a piece of paper. And then you have a quarter, a coin, and you begin to just push it with the end of the pencil slowly across the line. It takes a while for the disc of the coin to actually cross that sharp pencil line. And that's like the Sun entering a new sign.
So, literally, it takes about 12 hours for the Sun to physically cross the frontier between Aries and Taurus, for example, or any other pair of signs. And so it works out that for every month there are about 12 hours in which the Sun is physically, literally on the cusp.
Many people who say, "I was born on the cusp of Taurus and Gemini," for example, in fact were not born on the cusp. The sun was fully in Taurus, or fully in Gemini. And the only way to know that is to ask an astrologer or go online and set up your own chart and see where the Sun was physically.
Now typically, when you get a professionally set up birth chart, which is easily done online nowadays, the position of the Sun will be given in degrees and minutes, minutes of arc. One minute of arc equals 160th of one degree. So if the sun is 60 minutes of arc wide, that equals one degree, you realize that if your Sun's position is given as zero degrees, zero minutes of Gemini, let's say. What that means is that the center of the Sun's disc was exactly there at the instant of your birth.
And so half of the Sun, 15 minutes of arc, one quarter of a degree of the sun, was still in fact in the previous sign, in Taurus. And the front half of the Sun, another 15 minutes of arc, was physically in Gemini.
This obviously gets very hairsplitting, but the point is there is that period of about 12 hours when the Sun is literally in transition. If your Sun is in 0 degrees 10 minutes of Gemini, then it's mostly into Gemini and a little bit dragging out of Taurus. I find these people interesting. I've made a kind of collection of them. They are truly energized by both of these archetypes. Often you will see that one is clearly predominant, as when the Sun is in 0 degrees, 10 minutes of Gemini so the Taurus is really just a little spice and you could probably safely ignore it.
But anybody born near that exact zero, zero degrees, zero minutes territory, are dealing in a very complex way with multiple archetypes. And this could launch into a weekend workshop.
What does it mean to be half Aries and half Taurus trying to calm down in a stressful environment, so to speak? You can see how complex this becomes. It always, always boils down to dealing with paradox, because adjacent signs in the Zodiac always exist in a certain tension with each other. Each sign is, in a sense, a correction of the other.
And so when we're truly born on the cusp, as about one out of every 60 people are, we're in this complex situation. And a good, helpful, subtle, intelligent, experienced astrologer can help you sort it out.
Get Your 2018 Timing Report$ 39.00
Get a look at the year ahead with our computer-generated astrology report with text written by Steven Forrest. Find out what your most important transits and progressions are this year, along with some introductory comments about each. Created using your birth time and delivered by email as a pdf document.