When people talk about their Sun sign, you will sometimes hear them say, “I’m a cusp!” meaning that they are born on the day when the Sun changes signs. They tend to believe they exhibit properties of both signs. Firstly, one must keep in mind that they are talking about their Sun sign. There are ten luminaries used in astrology (Sun, Moon, Planets) and the angles of the chart as well (ascendant, mid-heaven, nadir, and descendant) and they all contribute to a person’s astrological signature. Carl Sagan had a Scorpio Sun, but he also had four planets and the descendant in Scorpio, giving him very Scorpionic energy. On the other hand, I have a friend who is a Leo Sun, but the Sun is intercepted in the 7th house, and she is a Capricorn rising, so she’s not very Leo-like when you first meet her.

The Cusp

Anyway, back to the cusp! For all of you cusp-types, you cannot be both signs. You are either one or the other. The way it works is like this; each zodiacal sign has 30° of arc associated with it. The Sun travels 30° across one sign and then enters the next sign. For example, in 2009, the Spring Equinox occurred on March 20 at 7:44 am EST, which means the Sun entered Aries (0° of Aries) at that exact moment. It stayed in Aries for 30° until April 19 when the Sun entered the sign of Taurus at 6:45 pm EST. That means anyone born on that day before 6:45 pm would be an Aries and everyone born after would be a Taurus. (Note: the Sun changes signs at different times and days depending on the year. In other words, the Sun does not enter Taurus at 6:45 pm next year.)

With our example, the April 19th Taurus will have very strong Taurian energy. However, the April 19th Aries would not be a strong Aries because the 29th degree of any sign is a critical degree. At that degree, the energy is starting to get foggy, it’s still Arian, but it is a bit unstable for lack of a better word. Therefore, the afternoon Aries of April 19th may not feel 100% Aries despite being one.

Progressions

There exists an astrological technique that is technically known as secondary progressions, which could explain why people might feel like both signs. Secondary progressions tend to represent the ever-growing psychological make-up of the person. Progressions are calculated by looking at the planetary movements for each day after birth as representing one-year time frames. The Sun moves about 1° every day, so your Progressed Sun will move a degree in a year. What it means to the individual is that they will have a different psychological stance when the Sun changes signs. (Note: this also applies to all the other planets in the astrological chart although they move at different rates.)

From our example, the Taurus baby born on April 19th after 6:45 pm will have Taurus tendencies until the age of 30, at which point they will then start to exhibit psychological aspects of a Gemini (analytical, thinker, learner), however still a Taurus in basic nature. Whereas, the Aries baby, born on April 19th at 6:43 pm, will be an Aries (impulsive, leader, combative) with Taurus (sensual, earthy, practical) psychological tendencies right away and will be that way until she turns 30 where she will start to exhibit Gemini tendencies. For people born at the exact middle of sign (15° of the sign) that change will occur around 15 years of age and at 45 years for the next sign. The progressions can explain why some people resonate with the one sign (Taurus in our example) and why some resonate with both signs on the cusp (Aries cusp in our example).

You should also note that the days that the signs change are not always the same. The year I was born, if you were born on April 19th, you would definitely be Aries. The cusp day was on the 20th. For all you cusp types, you need to figure out what time you were born and look at the day and year. So, if you’re not sure what you are, consulting your mother or your birth certificate, then you need to either consult an astrologer or try to find a website where you can calculate your chart.

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