When someone says, "What’s your sign?" people born on or near a cusp have to answer with a caveat. A lot of "cusp babies" don’t even know what their official sign is until they consult an astrologer. No matter what, however, it is one or the other, because we’re actually dealing with math here.
All 12 constellations of the zodiac contain 30 degrees, and depending on the exact time of your birth, your Sun sign lives at one of those degrees. Your "sign" in the colloquial sense is actually your Sun sign -- the constellation that the Sun was in when you were born. You can be born toward the end of one sign -- at 27 or 28 degrees of your Sun sign, but the true cusp is 29 -- that would be the last few hours of the Sun's trip through that constellation.
The same goes for those born in the first few hours of the Sun's visit to the first degree of the next sign. Note that every year, cusps can change slightly. You really need to look at an ephemeris to know what was going on in the year of your birth. (Or just ask your friendly neighborhood astrologer!)
Another important thing to remember is that if you’re born toward the end of one Sun sign or the beginning of another, even if you know which sign you are officially by checking the degree, you can definitely take on the traits of the prior or next sign. Venus and Mercury tend to travel close to the Sun, so if you have one of those in the sign before or after your Sun sign, you might take on more of those qualities too. So if you know you’re a Leo but feel like a Virgo, you’re not a freak -- it’s complicated!
From Leo to Virgo
No matter what your sign, if you were born on or near the cusp, you know what it’s like to hover between two identities. And when the Sun moves from fiery, creative, passionate Leo to efficient, precise, detail-oriented Virgo -- that shift is palpable!
Leo is a masculine, fixed Fire sign, steadfast in its loyalties and always ready for the Red Carpet. Virgo, a feminine, mutable Earth sign, tends toward diffidence, critical thinking and has an eye for detail. They couldn't be more different!
It's easy to understand the energetic shifts between Leo and Virgo by simply looking at the months in which they exist: Leo comes in the center of the hot and sexy summer months (beginning approximately July 22) when everybody wants to strut their stuff and play outside. Leo is ruled by the Sun and associated with the Sun card in the Tarot, which depicts a child playing.
Virgo, on the other hand, comes to us near the end of the summer (approximately August 23) when we’re starting to put childish things away and thinking about going back to school. It’s time to sharpen those metaphorical pencils.
If you were born on the cusp of these two signs, at about 29 Leo or 1 Virgo, you probably embody a bit of the temperament of both. Fiery yet detail-oriented, efficient yet dramatically creative -- you’ve got it all. Now get out there and use it. It’s the time of YOUR season!
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Are you a Cusp baby from a different time of year? Explore more about your cuspiness in "Were You Born on a Cusp?"
The Astrologer's Daughter is a Los Angeles-based writer, astrologer and radio host who has been listening to the music of the spheres since she was 8-years old. She is a UCLA alum and graduate of the Steven Forrest Astrological Apprenticeship... read more