My mother, who was born on February 19, always considered herself to be born on the cusp of Aquarius and Pisces. Whenever someone asked what her zodiac sign was, she’d always say she was “on the cusp,” as if she were a hybrid sign, plucking out the intuitiveness of a Pisces and the airiness of Aquarius.
Maybe you, like my mom, were born in the days near the sun’s transition from one zodiac sign to another, and are proudly “on the cusp.”
Well, as a professional astrologer, I have to break it to you: Cusps aren’t real — and I enlisted the help of my fellow astrologers to explain why the issue is more complicated than it seems.
What are cusp signs?
Tarot reader and astrologer Meghan Rose explains how cusps became such a popular buzzword.
“Cusps are a relatively new myth. Over the last couple of decades this buzzword has circulated and gives people who don’t identify with the traits of their sun a sort of ‘out’ to feel more understood," Rose said.
Cusps, in popular understanding, are the days bordering the sun’s transition into a new sign. For example, those born between February 16 and 21 may consider themselves on the Aquarius-Pisces cusp, like my mom. Or if you were born between June 18 and June 24, you’d be on the Gemini-Cancer cusp.
It’s as if the energy blends between signs — so if Aries is red and Taurus is blue, then “cuspers,” born in the transition period between April 18 and May 24, would be purple.
These are commonly held cusp dates
If you've considered yourself "born on the cusp," then your birthday falls between these dates.
- Aries-Taurus: April 16–22
- Taurus-Gemini: May 17–23
- Gemini-Cancer: June 17–23
- Cancer-Leo: July 19–25
- Leo-Virgo: August 19–25
- Virgo-Libra: September 19–25
- Libra-Scorpio: October 19–25
- Scorpio-Sagittarius: November 18–24
- Sagittarius-Capricorn: December 18–24
- Capricorn-Aquarius: January 16–23
- Aquarius-Pisces: February 15–21
- Pisces-Aries: March 17–23
Here’s why astrologers say cusps are impossible
Most astrologers agree on this: Your sun sign is your sun sign, period and end of story. Despite popular opinion, there are no hybrids, or “in between” signs.
The reason comes down to degrees. Within astrology, planets are stationed between 0 and 29 degrees in a person's natal chart. The sun moves forward in a sign one degree each day, before transitioning to a new sign.
As astrologer Roya Buckland put it, “If you were an Aquarius-Pisces cusp, that would mean the sun was positioned in Aquarius and Pisces at the same time. That’s just not mathematically possible, as each zodiac sign stretches between the critical degrees 0 to 29 degrees on your birth chart. You are either an Aquarius sun or a Pisces sun, which is more than enough.”
But there is some value to the idea of cusps
Heather Roan Robbins, who’s been practicing professional astrologer for over forty-five years and penned many books including the recently published “Starcodes Astro Oracle: A 56-Card Deck and Guidebook” told TODAY there is some credence to the idea of cusps.
Robbins said that energy from one sign can “leak over” to the next in the 12 hours before or after the sun enters a different sign, a shorter period of time than cusps are conventionally considered to span.
Astrology Lauren McBride explains the influence also comes from other planets transiting signs.
“The majority of people are highly influenced by the sun sign just before, or just after theirs. This is due to the placement of personal planets such a Mercury and Venus, both of which travel no more than 1-2 signs before or after the Sun. Mercury, for example, rules intellect. Let’s say you are a Leo, your Mercury sign might be in Virgo (the sign after). This might result in someone who acts like their sun sign Leo, but thinks like a Virgo. The blend of concurrent signs in personal planets often gives the impression of cusps,” McBride said.
Rather than looking at the day you were born, look at degrees
Instead of trying to discern whether you’re on the cusp, check out the degree the sun is placed in in your chart. This provides important context to understanding your sun sign.
If you’re born on the cusp and your sun is at 0 degrees, that means you more fully embody the sign’s qualities. Astrologers consider this the purest expression of the sign.
The closer you get to 29 degrees, which is the end of the sign, the further away you are from the pure essence of its energy. Astrologer, coach and intuitive Celeste Brooks concurs. “There are differences in energy expression within the sign. The first degree of the sign embodies newness — a tentative nature that develops over time. The last degree is a veteran. The light and shadows embed deeply within it,” Brooks said.
Remember, you’re more than your sun sign
Cusps are a faulty notion for another reason. They imply your sun sign is the most important part of your chart. In reality, your sun sign is only a component of your birth chart.
Birth charts capture where the planets (or stars) were in the sky at the exact moment of your birth. Each planet represents a different strength, challenge or vibe. Your sun sign is where you shine; it’s your purpose and your strength. But it’s in conversation with your moon sign and rising sign, as well as Venus, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn and more.
Say you’re born at the tail end of Aquarius. You can have a mature 29 degree sun and other planets in Pisces, making you act more tenderly and intuitive (generally thought to be Pisces qualities) than intellectual and sharp (Aquarius qualities). Or, you can be born with a 0 degree Pisces sun with several other planets in Aquarius that make you more independent than emotional.
Ultimately, everyone has a “cusp” personality, because people are more than their sun sign. You may feel estranged from your sign — but have you considered all the other planets at work in your chart?
Maybe you don’t relate to the descriptions you read about Aries or Taurus sun signs. By taking all the different planets in your chart into consideration, as well as their aspects (or how they relate to each other) you may finally see yourself represented in astrology.
To access your birth chart, plug in your birth information to websites like astrocafe.com, where free charts can be drawn up in seconds. Then, let the self-reflecting begin.
Disclaimer: Astrology is not based in science. These posts are not intended to act as a directive.