No, it has nothing to do with teeth!
Those of us who were born ‘on the cusp’, in astrological jargon, were born on or about the 20/21/22 of the calendar month. Most tabloid astrologers will suggest particular dates as the definition of an astrological sign, and this can be confusing as they are not fixed.
These dates mark a transition from one sign to another. I’m one of those kids… and for the first 16 years of my life I ‘identified’ as a Gemini. I recognized my nature as being perennially curious, changeable, alternately sociable and reclusive, nothing seemed more compelling than the promise of good conversation or a new idea.
At 16, I met an astrologer who offered to ‘read my chart’…ushering in a whole new perspective.
As it transpired, after using my precise time of birth, it was determined that I was, NOT, in fact, a Gemini but a Taurus on the cusp… A verrrrry end of, squeaking-over-the-edge but irrefutably, Taurus. After I broke the news to my mother, who had always assured me that I was *such a Gemini*, I began to ‘try on’ my new persona, to test the waters.
So I found myself stepping into a whole different territory, exploring what it might mean if I am a Taurus after all. Fast forward thirty-some years and my fascination with astrology only grows and invites me to look twice.
I now can recognise and revel in my slowness, my love of all things green and earthy, my practical, sensuous self.
So… how DO you know whether you are one sign or the next? The zodiac is not precisely synchronised with our Gregorian calendar. Once every four years (Leap year) we have inserted an extra day in order to rectify the measure of the earth’s journey around the sun. The Equinoxes, days of equal daylight and night, mark the beginning of Spring and of Autumn (and occur at 0 degrees Aries and 0 degrees Libra)and the Solstices, (days of longest or least light, 0 degrees Cancer and 0 degrees Capricorn) occur at the 20/21/22nd of the month. This has a subtle but distinct knock-on effect for each of the zodiacal signs. The zodiac is a two dimensional representation of the planets movements around the sun, from our perspective on earth.
Each of the signs is allocated 30 degrees, 1/12 of the 360 degree circle. So, when we are determining the cusps or beginnng and ends of signs, we are superimposing a hypothetical (30degree) model on a movable (time) feast!
Now, what does it mean to be born at the very end of one sign or the very beginning of another? From an astrological perspective, these are sometimes referred to as the critical degrees of a sign. Critical in that they hold a certain weight or gravitas. Those of us born with the Sun in the final degree of a sign are said to be at a point of fullness, ripeness and potential mastery of that particular sign’s expression.
In my mind’s eye, I imagine the sun as a traveller and as it makes it’s way through the constellation of a certain sign, it gathers up the experience, both shadow and light of that particular sign’s ‘style’ of expression. The Sun, represents the quality of integration and when it’s placed in a certain sign, it becomes the lens through which the Spirit is expressed.
As the movement of the planets is inexorable, it makes sense that the ‘steps’ it takes as it moves from the 29th degree of one sign to the first degree of the next is a bit like stepping across a threshold. This threshold between signs marks the boundary between very different energies, inviting us into a totally different room.
At the very end of a sign, we have said that there is a certain sense of mastery of the quality and the element of the sign. At the beginning of the next sign, there is a sense of innocence and naivete – a freshness to the new territory. Awkwardness and a sense of the un-skilled infuses this placement, this is balanced with enthusiasm and willingness to engage with the new elemental energies.
A common experience for those born on the cusp of a sign is a bit like having a foot in each world. The terminal degrees lend themselves to a sense of closing down or perhaps a hankering for something unknown, utterly different. For those at the beginning of the sign, a bit of discomfort, sense of not knowing or understanding how the ‘system’ works from this new vantage point.
Astrology is a complex art and as such never really relies on only one key element to tell the whole story. As with all life, we are multi-coloured and multi-faceted with shadings to temper the absolutes of symbolic systems.
One of the most marked tempering elements of the chart is represented by the Ascendent or Rising Sign. If, for example, the Rising sign of a person who was born on the cusp of Taurus/Gemini is Taurus, they would be far more likely to strongly identify with their recognizably Taurean, earthy characteristics. If the Rising sign falls in Gemini, the individual may identify, on first glance with more of the changeablity of the airy Twins…
The time we are born is one of the important details that an astrologer will ask you. It is with this information combined with the place and date of your birth that the correct calculation will reveal the Ascendent or Rising sign.
For those of us who are born on the ‘cusp’ of a sign this is a critical factor in understanding the nature of your astrological profile.
Curious? Get in touch for a reading and expand your understanding and maybe change your mind!