Born On The Cusp

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If you were born on a day when the Sun changes signs, do not suppose that you have the qualities of two Sun signs. Your sign will be one or the other, depending on the time of day when the Sun moves from one sign to the next (an ephemeris will give a precise time). If, reading the descriptions of both signs, you think, "yes, I'm just like that", it is probably because of the influence of Venus and/or Mercury, which can very often be in the sign immediately before or after your Sun sign. So if your sign is, say, Cancer, but you recognize the influence of Gemini or Leo, it may be because Venus or Mercury was in Gemini or Leo when you were born.

A Copernican depiction of the universe from 1708, using a heliocentric (Sun-centred) system.

As the Earth turns on its axis, a different degree of the zodiac rises and culminates roughly every three minutes. Therefore, for two individuals to have identical birth charts or horoscopes, they would have to have been born within three minutes of each other and in the same location. It can happen, but is very uncommon.

The sign the Moon occupies at birth is extremely important too. Traditionally, the characteristics shown by the Moon sign are those you have inherited from your parents, but the Moon sign also shows the way in which you instinctively react to situations in life. The appearance of all the planets in individual signs is significant and must be considered, but most astrologers would agree that these three basics - Sun sign, Rising sign, and Moon sign - are the most important when first looking at a birth chart.

Your Sun, Rising, and Moon signs can be found in an ephemeris - a book of astronomical tables (which is also used by mariners). These can be ordered from booksellers, but at the end of this book, you will find our own simple charts that are sufficiently accurate for anyone who wants to start discovering the mysteries of the full birth chart.


Finally, the signs fall into traditional categories that originated in the distant past. In a horoscope there are different emphases on the categories, and these form the beginnings of interpretation.

Among other traditional groupings, each sign is assigned an element, or triplicity. (The placing of the elements is summarized in our chart, above.) The theory attributing characteristics such as dry, hot, cold, and wet to elements was much used in medical astrology, and extended to the planets. Jupiter, Venus, and the Moon were said to be

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