Astrology Lessons, bad astrology, Cusps

Debunking the Cusp: Stelliums & Just How Important Is Your Sun Sign, Anyway?

Say it with me: astrology isn’t just your sun sign.

Many people are drawn to the illusory image of “the cusp” as the explanation for why they just Don’t Feel Like a Typical Zodiac Sign. But any astrology take worth its salt will point out that your sun sign isn’t the be-all end-all. While the luminaries (the Sun and Moon) and rising sign dominate in explaining the crux of someone’s personality, the other planets can pose specific challenges to those points. They can drown them out in number and intensity, or even negate and obfuscate their strengths.

Astrology already accounts for designated patterns of why someone would relate or not vibe with their sun sign. The most important of these is the position of the inner planets, which describe parts of our personality that are present, but less focused on discussing direct things like our ego and our emotions, pieces that are more personal or obvious to us.

Even more so, because of simple astronomy, we already know specifically why so many people feel aligned with a sign adjacent to their sun sign. Not just any other sign, but exactly the ones highlighted by The Cusp – the signs bookending their sun sign.

The inner planets’ relatively similar orbital rates and close positions mean that, unless recently interrupted by a retrograde, they often tend to clump up in the same few zodiac signs, and from Earth’s vantage point this is often pretty close to the location of the Sun. In natal charts, this means that it is very common for people to have a stellium (three or more placements) that falls in the sign adjacent to their sun sign.

Cusp babes, as said by the “general cusps,” tend to fall on days when the Sun has recently changed signs (clearly.) But there’s something else important about this. Usually, when the Sun has changed signs, the inner planets change signs, have already changed signs, or are about to change signs as well.

Basically, the planets and Earth are all moving around the Sun at different rates. The inner planets – Mercury, Venus and Mars – orbit the sun on rates that are even marginally similar to Earth’s and all of their distances are similarly much, much closer to the Sun than all those other guys. The gap between Mars and Jupiter alone could fit several more sets of Mercury, Venus, and Earth between them.

This means that within the scope of one Earth year, one revolution of the Earth around the Sun, the inner planets cover quite a bit of ground in the zodiac. Because the zodiac is a geocentric system of mapping the sky in relation to Earth, the ground they cover in the zodiac is quite similar to that of the Sun. The illusion of retrograde motion additionally makes them track closer to the Sun through the zodiac. The outer planets, being much further away and taking more time on the scale of an Earth year to cover the same ground in the zodiac, move at rates more like tens of Earth solar years. Jupiter itself, the next closest one, takes over a dozen Earth years to clear the entire zodiac wheel.

The result, in astrology? It is exceedingly common for people to have one or more inner planet in the sign next to their sun sign. Some people even have all three, which alone is a forceful stellium that can displace much of their visible characteristics and traits onto that sign. If you have three major planets in Libra, you’re going to feel a bit like a Libra to other people. You have very defined and wide-ranging traits that are absolutely informed and described by the energy of Libra, and that’s a totally legitimate interpretation of the chart.

It’s worth nothing that each year, based on outer planet movements and retrogrades, having a stellium in a particular sign is more or less common for given signs. That’s because outer planets can make up stelliums as well. For example, in a year when Jupiter is in Virgo and no inner planet retrogrades occurred within a few months’ radius, Virgos and possibly Leos or Libras might commonly see Virgo stelliums occur in their birth charts.

Another rarer example would be when two outer planets conjunct or pass in a sign, such as the Uranus/Neptune rendezvous in Capricorn around the early 90s. Many millennials born in the winter of affected years have supercharged Capricorn from the abundance of planets in that region of our zodiac at the time. It has a magnetic pull on the place of the chart where it falls, since two heavyweight planets are holding it down. For someone who already has a lot of activity in the sign, the stelliums get enormous – I have seen Sagittarians, Capricorns, and Aquarians from the time period with 5 planet stelliums in Capricorn. It affects each chart a different way, but it always has an effect. Something similar will happen with an upcoming conjunction of Pluto and Saturn just a few years from now – some Capricorns, some Aquarians, and some Pisces born in that span of time will be very, very Aquarian, and lots of children born in those years will have a similar magnet on the part of their chart that holds the degrees of Aquarius.

What does having a stellium mean, though?

When this does happen, and someone DOES have a stellium in an adjacent sign, made up of inners, outers, or some combination, they obviously approach the venues of those planets (and the regions of the affected houses) in ways ruled by that sign. This is the case for everyone, but the weight and proportion of traits ruled by one sign will change according to the number of planets. For people with significant or very affective personal stelliums, the line becomes blurry – how much of their personality is ruled by one sign, their Sun sign, or the other, their stellium?

Astrological interpretation is meant to suss out these differences and explain them fully. This is why you need someone who can actually read the chart, take stock of what’s there, and interpret it based on their knowledge – someone who can understand what it’s trying to tell you about yourself and your path, your roles and your opportunities. The chart, when read thoroughly, describes very clearly what traits belong where and how they can manifest. Like reading any planet, the traits of the sign and planet and house and any aspects or important movements it makes will affect what it has to stay. A stellium just adds a gravity to the energies in their corner, and can give someone an air or a flavor of a different sign.

Astrology Lessons, Moon Stuff, New Moons

So, How Was Everyone’s New Moon In Taurus? | Some Moon Stuff, and then some moon stuff

Mine was stressful. I don’t recommend scheduling large-scale product fulfillment during good ol’ Mercury Gatorade, and in fact, I did not, but Mercury did anyway. It’s cool though, except your new moon ~ insights ~ are a little late this week. Sometimes I think I need a Gemini moon to write.

But the fact that they’re late is totally fine, because for some reason, everyone loves to talk about the moon on the day that she’s doing something exciting, but then forgets that her influence lingers for a lot longer than that.

You probably know already that the moon takes almost exactly a month to complete an orbit around month. The length of time it does in fact take is called a “lunar month” — it’s 29.5ish days. (There are slightly different figures for it depending on whether or not you’re using a sidereal system of astronomy / astrology or a tropical system. I’ll tell you about them in a later post because an explanation of them is necessary to understand why Ophicius is a scam and a lie. For now, think of them like the Celsius and Fahrenheit of figuring out where in the heck we are in relation to the other stuff in our neck of the galaxy.)

Throughout its lunar month, the moon passes through different “phases” depending on how much we can see of it. The amount we can see of it is directly related to where it is in relation to both the Sun and Earth. The moon just reflects the light of the Sun. The less of it that’s facing the Sun, the less we can see. You’ve probably incorrectly been told that the new moon is caused by Earth’s shadow; it’s actually the exact opposite. It occurs when the moon is between Earth and the Sun. The side of the moon that’s facing the Sun is getting all of the sunlight, and the side facing us isn’t getting any, so we don’t see a moon at all.

This is reflected pretty directly in astrology, too. At the new moon, from Earth’s point of view, the Sun and moon are lined right up — and so they’re in the same region of the zodiac, the same sign. We call this a conjunction. (As you might imagine, the full moon is when the opposite happens, and the moon is on the other side, directly opposite the Sun. That one is called an opposition.)

Anyway. The energy of the new moon and full moon are very different, which is why in astrology they’re said to “set” for different time periods. At the new moon, the Sun and moon are in the same sign, and working through the same kinds of energy. Since the Sun represents our will, and the moon represents our emotions, this loosely means that the new moon is the best time for us to act upon an intention to try and set it in motion — our desires and energy are lined up with our hopes and feelings, and we can set a goal more easily. The full moon, instead, is a time when things feel pulled apart or amped up by the oppositional activity, and is a time more prone to conflict (or passion, or elevation, or conviction.)

The new moon is the setting of the scene, and the events of the full moon usually come from and relate to it. So its themes have more a longer life than the period of opposition and conclusion that follow it. In this way, most astrologers will tell you that a typical new moon usually sets the tone of an entire month, where a full moon defines the following two weeks. Both have a tendency to completely “conclude” one month later during the next lunar cycle. (Eclipses are the same thing but longer.)

So, why am I telling you all this moon stuff now?

Because every lunation is impacted by the aspects it makes with the rest of its chart, and this one was really beautiful and special — it doesn’t have any.

The rest of the zodiac is doing all kinds of weird stuff, and on this month’s New Moon, the Sun and moon just kind of sat there quietly together, alone, ignoring everything, in lush and restful Taurus.

Sometimes we are completely honest that the things we have been through affect us emotionally. We can be really on top of unpacking and feeling it through just sensing the wear-and-tear the world puts on our hearts daily. We move into a period where pain feels pressing and understanding it intimately is necessary to survival, and analyzing where it came from is so clear as to be almost subconscious — because it’s obvious. We can feel exactly where it hurts.

But sometimes, even if we have gotten really articulate about how the history of ourselves has written us into being, and even if we have identified the places in ourselves where trauma has snagged and loosened our weaknesses, we still fail to trace the thread through to how we allow us to hurt ourselves through it. We can be unable to see how those emotional blockages, tensions and traumas that we have gotten so used to impact our ability to recognize what we deserve. We don’t slow down enough to feel the way the stress carries on. It’s through connecting with other people that we can often identify parts of ourselves that need attention and work, but actually unwinding it often requires real isolation, even though that’s the time when it’s sometimes the hardest to feel. Like a chronic condition or a mark on the body, we become so acclimated to its existence that we might almost forget that it is there. This might make our emotional states more manageable on a day-to-day basis, but it can also make us forget the injustice of the cause of our stress and distress in the first place. If you can’t remember that it shouldn’t have been done to you, you forget that you need to treat yourself with kindness and softness, and think of yourself as someone who is deserving, because you need it, right now and always from now on.

This New Moon falls in Taurus, a sign that always wants us to acknowledge what we materially need in every sector of our life, and even asks us to spoil ourselves a little, with any experience that stimulates and soothes our bodies. Since it does have the luxury of occurring unaspected by other planets, the whole month is about a part of you that is only for you. Every other planet can retrograde. Everyone in your life can be going through something you can’t fix or handle. Every step of the process can hit a roadblock. Everything else can go wrong, but there is one place in yourself that you trust enough to just be there. Accordingly, the new moon this month wants to let you know that no matter what else is going on, you can create a part of your life that feels good, and you can use it to treat yourself to space, solace, and rest. I hope you do.