Questions about “cusps” and birth signs

[A portion of this article is taken from earlier posts.]  The idea that a person was born on the “cusp” originates from Sun Sign astrology.  Your sign as you know it is actually the sign that the Sun was in at the time you were born.   If you pick up a book or newspaper horoscope about your Sun sign, or as some publications call it, your star sign (if you see a publication that refers to star signs, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction), it will refer to a range of dates for your sign.  This stems from the fact that the Sun doesn’t move from one sign into another on the same date each year and these publications have no way to calculate the exact position of the Sun in your chart.

born on the cusp

Approximate dates of Sun Signs

For example, in this diagram Aries is said to begin on March 21st, but this year the Sun entered Aries on March 20th.

A question I was asked: “I am looking to understand the “CUSP” between a Virgo and a Libra? After reading [horoscopes for] both for several months, I am finding myself more inclined to be or leaning towards Libra. Can you give me any insight that might point me towards my true sign?”

This individual was born at 29 degrees 17 minutes Virgo. If you were born in the last four or five degrees of one sign, the qualities of the next sign begin bleeding through. He is moving away from the characteristics of Virgo, the previous sign, and his focus is more on the next which is Libra. Mercury in his chart is in Libra, so his thought process is filtered through the Libran love of beauty and harmony rather than the Virgo desire for details and safety and this adds to his sense of the Libra qualities.

The Sun sign is the biggest single piece of the chart but it is only one piece. Because the Sun represents our quest or mission, a placement in the last degrees of a sign shows that you are completing that mission and beginning a new one during this lifetime. That is not true for those born at the beginning degrees of a sign; once you have moved into the next sign there is no more bleeding through. Still, the rest of the chart adds a richly layered tapestry of other influences to complete the picture. This individual has Sagittarius rising, a Capricorn Moon, a Leo Mars, Jupiter in Cancer, Venus in Virgo. All very different influences that come together to create a unique individual.

I believe that one reason there is so much skepticism about astrology is that people equate astrology with Sun signs and think that astrology means that everyone who is born under the sign of Aries is the same.  This misses the richness and beauty of the astrological pantheon and frankly is the reason I started this blog back in 2005.

Sun sign astrology, or “horoscopes” as they are inaccurately called, is fun and entertaining, but it should not be mistaken for real astrology.

By | 2017-05-15T10:30:44+00:00 May 15th, 2017|Astrology, Lessons|5 Comments


  1. Dilara May 15, 2017 at 9:34 pm - Reply

    I have two questions: 1. How many degrees away from the following sign would cause “bleed” as you said above? 2. Also, does this apply as strongly to other elements in natal charts as well, like if instead of the Sun if someone’s moon were 29 degrees 17 minutes Virgo? Thank you.

    • May 16, 2017 at 11:18 am - Reply

      Dilara – yes, this does apply to other signs. The 29th degree, sometimes called the “critical” or “anaretic” degree, is associated with the endings of cycles and new beginnings so it has its own significance but typically we do see that bleedthrough occur.

  2. sonny nickolas May 16, 2017 at 10:09 am - Reply

    Would this also be considered if it were your ascendent mine is 29 degrees, 14 mins. libra and my actions ( in the outside world ) are far more those of a scorpio. thanks for another great post. I always learn something new here.

    • May 16, 2017 at 11:19 am - Reply

      Hi Sonny, yes it absolutely would. Which explains why more of the Scorpio is coming through for you.

  3. Lynne May 22, 2017 at 11:51 am - Reply

    Got 5 family members born sun 29 degrees Scorpio, and I have observed that they are really (underneath) Scorpio Sun but project the Sagittarian outwardly, so, you would never know(for instance) that they revere money., they all really do. My Grandson is 29 Sagittarius ascendant and he have always acted like a very sober Capricorn, so, that seems to me to be the other way around, I’m a Scorpio rising with Saturn, envy me don’t you? but people really think I am a Scorpion when I know that I am the Cancerian Sun and stupid Mars in Pisces, grand trine. Fascinating stuff. Know lots of Scorpion Suns in the early to mid degrees and they all project their their rising sign outwardly but really worship money and not afraid to go underneath the radar to get it! Believe me. Don’t know if that is any good to you. Regards from England.

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