The cusps between the signs are both boundaries and transitions. Maybe they are thresholds or movable screens, or like locks on a canal, places of transformation where energy is lowered or raised.
In this article, we shall be looking at cusps as ‘places’ in their own right. But places that share or synthesize qualities of the signs on either side. We shall be working with the inherent symbolism of the signs and their planetary rulerships to evoke the meaning of these special places.
As part of this exercise, I have included lists of well-known individuals from the worlds of art, literature, entertainment and politics (plus a few criminals) whose natal sun is on the cusp of two zodiac signs.
Please note that the dates I have given are not exact. The cusp between two signs can be considered as extending 2 or 3 days before or after the given dates.
Cancer / Leo
The mystical marriage of the sun and moon
Cancer is ruled by the moon, Leo by the sun. The cusp between Cancer and Leo is the alchemical marriage of the sun (male) and the moon (female). In Jungian psychology, it represents the integration of the two sides of the self. In mediaeval western alchemy, it represented the Hieros Gamos (sacred marriage) or the union of opposites. Those born when the sun is on this cusp are asked to strive for union within themselves
Rick Castro, Robert Graves, Ernest Hemingway, Cat Stevens, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Helen Mirren, C.G. Jung, Monica Lewinsky, Mick Jagger.
Leo / Virgo
Half lion, half woman – the image of the sphinx. The image speaks of wisdom that is beyond the human. The name is connected to the word ‘sphincter’ – a tight band of muscle that controls entry and exit. In the story of Oedipus, the sphinx was a monster that guarded a mountain pass. Travellers would be asked a riddle. If they answered correctly, they could continue their journey, if they couldn’t answer or if they answered wrongly, they were hurled to their deaths. Those born at the cusp of Leo and Virgo are asked to face a challenge that brings out their inner wisdom.
H.P. Lovecraft, Dorothy Parker, Mary Shelley, Charles Bukowski, Madonna, Sean Connery, Roman Polanski, Ted Hughes, Alma Mahler.
Virgo / Libra The Equinox
Balancing the books
The harvest that Virgo yields must be weighed before it can be sold. Then the farmer knows what his assets are for the rest of the year. Schools and universities begin their year in this period. This goes back to the time when society was mostly agrarian and everyone, including school children were needed to help bring in the harvest. After the harvest was in, school could begin. Also, around this time is the Jewish day of atonement (Yom Kippur), a day of repentance and forgiveness. The cusp of Virgo and Libra is a time when books must be balanced, accounts reconciled, and sins forgiven.
Agatha Christie, Stephen King, John Coltrane, Bruce Springsteen, Christopher Reeve, Brigitte Bardot, Pedro Almodovar, Greta Garbo, Silvio Berlusconi, Annie Besant, Gustav Holst
Libra / Scorpio
The Naked Lunchbreak
There are two ways of looking at this cusp. The moment when the beauty and exquisite sensation of Libra climaxes in absolute pleasure and you have the Scorpionic ‘little death’. This is the moment that Tantric and Taoist practitioners strive for – to pause on the edge of the breaking wave, delaying, delaying, delaying release. The energy of this cusp can be described as transformation and rebalancing at the deepest possible level, beyond rational thought. The other way is described by Jack Kerouac commenting on the title of the book by William Burroughs, “The Naked Lunch is a frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork”.
Robert Rauschenberg, Pablo Picasso, Ursula K Le Guin, Arthur Rimbaud, Dylan Thomas, Oscar Wilde, Friedrich Nietzsche, Marie Stopes, Carrie Fisher, Francis Bacon, Sylvia Plath.
Scorpio / Sagittarius
Scorpio’s depth combined with Sagittarian breadth. This is a dangerous place to stand if you’re afeared of the dark. It’s also a lonely place because who can you share your vision with? Scorpio is ruled by Pluto, Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter. Together on this cusp they grant the power to see through the world of appearances to the archetypes that underlie reality. You don’t want to know? Then don’t look. If you want to use this ability, then make sure you’re on the right side for who will catch you should you fall?
William Blake, Rene Magritte, Denis Nilsen, Andre Gide, Tina Turner, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther, Bruce Lee, Dora Maar, Jimi Hendrix.
Sagittarius / Capricorn
The Midwinter Solstice
The return of the light. To stand at this fulcrum point. The zero point. The point of endings and beginnings. Maybe of all the cusps this is the most challenging and transformative.
Having said that, a sense of humour is an absolute requirement here at this point of the transformation of darkness into light. For life is too important to be taken seriously.
Louise Bourgeois, Paul Klee, Phil Spector, Carol Ann Duffy, Philip K Dick, Mao Tse Tung, Ed Miliband, Pope Francis, Stephen Spielberg, Kenny Everett.
Capricorn / Aquarius
The cusp of time
Those born on this cusp hold time together: Capricorn’s structures of the past with the future vision of Aquarius. If you want to know about the future, you don’t ask a scientist, you ask the artists, the poets and the visionaries. They have no research grants to lose. Not only past and future are implicated here, but time and timelessness. Those born on this cusp partake of both the temporal and the eternal. They honour time and its exigences but are beyond it. To be aware that you have all the time in the world and at the same time you are dead.
Paul Cezanne, Lord Byron, Lewis Carroll, Janis Joplin, Captain Beefheart, Angela Davis, Klaus Nomi, Martin Luther King.
Aquarius / Pisces
Towards the limits and beyond
Whatever structure was there is dissolved. Not so much the personal but the collective reality that Aquarius accepts as given, the network or rather the net that holds us in its ideas, assumptions and fashions is not torn, nor broken – it is simply no longer there. What courage does it take to live this? Only the courage to be one’s infinite self, beyond others’ expectations and dramas. Aquarius dissolves into Pisces and everything is possible.
Auguste Renoir, Patty Hearst, Anais Nin, Victor Hugo, Kurt Cobain, Nina Simone, Yoko Ono, Queen Anne, Galileo, Elizabeth Taylor, Drew Barrymore, George Harrison, Carole King, George Washington, Sidney Poitier.
Pisces / Aries The Equinox
The Cusp of Conception
The infinite self in Pisces is transformed into the ego of Aries. This is the window of conception, equivalent to the ascendant. This is the Cabbalistic point of Shekhinah when Kether is in Malkut, when the nameless, transcendent spirit is manifest in the physical world as the Sabbath bride, the moment of rest after the 6 days of creation before the world begins again.
Michelangelo, L Ron Hubbard, Stephen Sondheim, Tennessee Williams, Diana Ross, Stephane Mallarmé, Dane Rudhyar, Chaka Khan.
Aries / Taurus
Turning to the world
This cusp is where the pure energy of Aries takes form, becomes embodied in the fixed earth sign of Taurus. With Austrian philosopher, Wittgenstein, the world of ideas becomes a world of facts. With Russian politician and revolutionary, Lenin, the theories of Marx became political action. With J.P. Morgan, American financier, the energy of money became manifest in projects which led to the growth of the USA as an economic power. With Elizabeth II, Queen of England, she came to embody the country after the turmoil of the abdication of her uncle and the death of her father. These world figures have transformed the pure energy of Aries into something tangible and real.
J.P. Morgan, Jacques Lacan, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Yehudi Menuhin, Elizabeth II, Guglielmo Marconi, Shirley MacLaine, Barbara Streisand, V.I. Lenin.
Taurus / Gemini
Masters of the Game
The realisation that the world with all its physical attributes is just a game. A game played out not just with ideas but with the bits and pieces of life, the things that we use and discard. Those born on this cusp are the players of the ‘Glass Bead Game’, the game that Herman Hesse refers to in the book of that name. At its purest, the game is played for the sheer joy of bricolage – finding connections between things that transform their use or meaning. For others it is a game that transforms culture and thought – a game played with lightness and suavity but with utterly serious intent.
Salvador Dali, Bertrand Russell, Cher, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Brian Eno, Erik Satie, Harvey Milk, Malcolm X, Julian Clary, Christopher Lee, Joan Collins, Vincent Price, Katherine Hepburn, Richard Wagner.
Gemini / Cancer
The Midsummer Solstice
The space of shared communication in Gemini becomes tribal consciousness in the sign of Cancer. Ideas have become an emotion, a collective sense of ‘who we are’ because this is the way we speak, this is our dialect, these are our customs – we don’t even have to think about them, they just feel right to us. This is the solstice, a moment in the year that celebrates our belonging thanks to what we share. The days are longest, the light is at its strongest but now it is the turning point.
Paul McCartney, George Michael, Brian Wilson, Richard Strauss, Prince William, Meryl Streep, Igor Stravinsky, Venus Williams, Alan Turing,