Zodiac cusp explained: Signs, dates and meaning

    Let’s be real: astrology is hot. So knowing your zodiac sign is something everyone learns at some point in time.

    However, I’m here to set the record straight once and for all: Cusp signs do not exist and are simply a myth. (You’re welcome.) So before you get that zodiac sign tattoo, be sure to consult with an actual astrologer like myself before you end up learning years down the line that you made a glaring mistake.

    What is a ‘cusp’ sign?

    According to the myth of cusps, people who are born a few days before or after the Sun changes zodiac signs take on the characteristics of both signs — blending them together to gain the best aspects of each sign while leaving out the more troubling ones. Sometimes these people feel that they don’t entirely identify with their specific zodiac sign and “relate more” to the other zodiac sign instead.

    For those who are born on the exact day that the Sun shifts from one zodiac sign to the next, they may be uncertain which one to identify as altogether — and often just “choose” what intuitively feels right.  

    None of that works because — drum roll, please — astrology is not about guessing. Astrology is about being exact.

    Why did the idea of ‘cusp’ signs become popular?

    Oh! So you saw a hilarious meme or random article about being born on a cusp? Funny? Sure. Accurate? Hell-to-the-no.

    In recent decades, the explosion of horoscope predictions and astrological articles hitting magazines, newspapers and blogs worldwide can at times be general, as the person who is creating them is looking at key planetary factors that will be affecting each zodiac sign by day, month or year. However, there have also been many people who are not actual astrologers who have stepped in to write these predictions — and they have neither the experience nor the knowledge to write these pieces. Some novice astrologers even employ guesswork when it comes to creating horoscopes, which is the antithesis of what astrology is about. Astrology uses the exact placement of the planets to understand how someone’s birth chart — or future predictions — are going to be assessed.

    The Sun is the brightest force in our solar system and nothing can dim its light.

    Why do people believe in ‘cusp’ signs?

    While that may shatter some people’s visions of how they’ve been identifying themselves, the key to understanding astrology is to realize that no planet — especially not a luminary like the Sun — can be in two zodiac signs at the same time. Even for those who are born within 12 hours of the Sun’s shift from one sign to the next, who could be considered “born on a cusp” still only have one Sun sign — and this would not give them blended characteristics of both.

    Because many people aren’t immediately aware of what their exact time of birth is, this can create some confusion and guesswork around how they identify. Knowing this information will help an astrology app, platform, or professional astrologer like myself to examine exactly where your Sun sign falls. While the dates that the Sun moves through the zodiac signs are generally the same, sometimes there can be a slight difference by the year.

    Why do I feel like a ‘cusp’ sign?

    If you’ve been an adamant believer in cusps your whole life (I, too, reflect back to my teens when I also believed I was born on a cusp), I’m sorry if this is a bitter pill to take. I’ve even had some of my celebrity clients and people worldwide try to debate me on this, but no: you cannot have two Sun signs. The Sun is the brightest force in our solar system and nothing can dim its light. However, there is a reason you may feel like the idea of cusps really relates to you.

    First off, check your Ascendant (AKA Rising Sign), because this is one of the most important placements to find out from your birth chart. Not only does this dictate the overall map of one’s natal chart, but it explains when key life events will take place and how one presents themselves to the world. The Ascendant is the mask that we wear and our social personality. More often than not, this is a different zodiac sign than the Sun sign, and in esoteric astrology some mystics state that your Ascendant is the zodiac sign that the Universe wanted you to be — even though you were likely born in a different time of the year. This Ascendant blends with the other aspects of your chart, most notably your Sun and Moon signs. To learn your Ascendant, you must have your exact date, time and place of birth.

    Next, wherever the Sun is in the sky, the planets Mercury and Venus are sure to be close by. Often, for individuals who consider themselves a cusper, these planets are orbiting in the previous or later zodiac sign, showing that, yes, you do have a blend of personality traits. Even if someone has other planets (Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) in that other zodiac sign, you’ll have a stronger presence of that energy in your psychology, too.

    However, I once again repeat: This isn’t coming from a cusp Sun sign because your Sun can only be in one zodiac sign at a time.

    Do not believe anyone who tells you that ‘cusp signs’ are real. They are not real astrologers.

    Your Sun can only be in one zodiac sign at a time.
    Your Sun can only be in one zodiac sign at a time.

    While it can be fun to think that astrology is a choose your own adventure where you can create the life that you want using the starsthis has been my particular message for years now — that does not include ignoring where the stars are or how they interact in one’s birth chart.

    In more advanced astrology, there are a few more ways to illustrate that cusp signs are not real.

    First up: zodiac degrees. Each zodiac sign consists of 30 degrees (0 to 29), creating the zodiac wheel of 360 degrees in total. The first and last degree of each zodiac sign are known as critical degrees, meaning that they are extremely important to how you express yourself. If someone is born with a Sun (or planet) at 0 degrees of a zodiac sign, it increases the characteristics and qualities that you embody of that particular sign — meaning that you’re more purely that energy. The closer you are to 0 degrees of that sign, the more potently you are that zodiac sign. The final degree — the 29th — is known as an anaretic degree and is also powerful because it is a high-energy placement for the Sun (or planet) to be. Because it’s the last degree of a sign before it ventures into the next one, the anaretic degree can make someone especially intense and eager for change. However, they still embody that zodiac sign and have a strong energy to present it in their lives. Both critical degrees come with sense of movement and strength — ready to charge on but wear their zodiac sign in a core way.

    Next: progressions. This is a predictive tool that astrologers use to map out how an individual’s birth chart (as well as life and personality) are evolving each year. In progressions, astrologers forecast each day after your birth in correlation to a year in your life. Progressions show that some planets roughly move a degree forward depending on each year you age. This means that if your Sun sign is in Taurus, eventually your progressed Sun will move into Gemini and then into Cancer. This doesn’t represent that you’re becoming that zodiac sign, but that you’re experiencing growth around the themes of that zodiac sign and how it falls within your chart. If you have an Aquarius Moon, you’ll eventually experience emotional evolution as it dances forward into Pisces, Aries and Taurus. These represent important cycles and phases we move through. Progressions of the Sun and Moon always move forward — never backward — which again reveals you can’t lean back into a previous zodiac sign.

    They say that knowledge is power. So now you know.

    Kyle Thomas is a globally recognized pop culture astrologer who has been featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine, ABC Television, Hulu, Bustle, Elite Daily, House Beautiful, Marie Claire, YahooNews, MSN and more. He is known for his cosmic guidance for celebrities, business executives and prominent influencers. His work harnesses the power of the stars in regards to entertainment lifestyle and trends affecting people worldwide. For more information, visit KyleThomasAstrology.com.

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