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Thursday, June 28, 2012

REVIEW: Astrology on the Cusp


Astrology on the Cusp:
Birthdays on the Edge of Two Signs

by Sally Cragin
Llewellyn Worldwide

Paperback: 240 pages
ISBN-10: 0738731544
ISBN-13: 978-0738731544
Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches

TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

Astrology on the Cusp by Sally Cragin (Llewellyn)
Born on December 19, with my feet firmly in the Sagittarius-Capricorn cusp, I was curious to see what Sally Cragin could tell me about "cuspies" in general, and my placement in particular. Also of special interest to me is the Leo-Virgo cusp, where the sun resided when my younger brother was born, and the Taurus-Gemini cusp, where my son was born.

Sally does a masterful job of thoroughly and clearly exploring the individual signs as well as the implications of being born during the roughly 11-day period when the Sun is departing from one sign and moving into the next. I love that she breaks this period down into three subsections. In the case of Sagittarius-Capricorn, these are:
  • December 17, 18, 19, 20 (Sagittarius, Cusp of Capricorn)
  • December 21, 22 (Sagittarius-Capricorn Cusp)
  • December 23, 24, 25, 26 (Capricorn, Cusp of Sagittarius)
Her comments on my situation are quite revealing. I confess that I did not find her list of my most likely careers to be on target. She did hit on one major interest of mine -- animals (as a child I thought I'd like to be a veterinarian). We Sagittarians are known for our love of animals. None of the other ideas on the list had any appeal for me. Some made me laugh out loud: physical fitness trainer!? bathroom tile specialist!? accounting?! It's important to note that my 10th house (House of Career) is in Gemini, which might explain why I always wanted to be a writer -- and actually became one!

The vocations listed for the Leo-Virgo cusp (my brother) did not seem to ring true for him, either. I had to laugh at "hairdresser" because on a long car trip our family took when he was about 10, he rode in the back of our station wagon, behind the back seat, and passed the time by "styling" my sister's hair. Once again, "physical fitness trainer" was recommended, but my brother is even less likely to be one of those than I am. (He does have a successful career as an industrial engineer/manufacturing plant manager.)

Astrology on the Cusp by Sally Cragin (Llewellyn)
My son was born in the Taurus-Gemini cusp, on the Taurus side. I don't see his chosen occupation (sport management) on the list for this cusp. Least likely for him: bridal wear, cake decorating, music teacher.

Another "mismatch" in the vocations area appears to be George Harrison of the Beatles, born February 25, under the "Pisces-Cusp of Aquarius" influence. One of the occupations listed for that cusp is "electrician." As all true-blue Beatles fans know, Harrison once said: "I had a short go at being an electrician's apprentice, but I kept blowing things up, so I got dumped."

Having said all that, I still think that the level of detail and enjoyable writing style in this book will appeal to anyone who wants to better understand what being born in the "cusp" might mean -- especially if you have never delved into this area before. It helps explain to me why I have never felt like a "pure Sagittarius."

Of course it's also important to take into account the entire birth chart if possible when trying to analyze a cuspy. For example, not only was I born in the Sag-Cap cusp, I have Venus and Mercury in Capricorn, reinforcing any Cappy traits I might have acquired by virtue of being in that cusp. My Moon sign and Rising sign are both Earth element signs, another reason I might exhibit a more down-to-earth attitude than a "pure" Sagittarius.


"Is your birthday between two different signs? Discover new insights into yourself and others with this first-ever guide to cusp astrology.

We’ve all heard the term “born on the cusp”—but what does it mean, exactly? What if you were born just as the sun moves into Aries, but you feel more like a Pisces? If your birthday falls on a date when a sign changes over to another, you probably possess traits of each. Engaging and easy to use, this book goes beyond simple, cut-and-dried archetypes of sun sign astrology, yet doesn’t require any special knowledge. You’ll get a deeper understanding of your personality and motivations—and those of your partner, friends, family members, and anyone else whose birthday is on the edge of two signs.

Organized by date of birth, this astrology book lets you quickly look up your birthday so you can identify your particular strengths, gifts, and challenges. You’ll also find out about your career and upcoming opportunities, times of the year when you can expect obstacles and rewards, and which signs are your best matches for love and romance. Helping to illuminate each cusp birthday’s characteristics are examples of well-known figures such as Robert Redford and Meryl Streep."

Sally Cragin

Sally Cragin (Massachusetts) is an astrologer and author who has published articles on astrology in newspapers across the country. She has written the astrology column for the Boston Phoenix since 1998, and can be heard live Mondays on WCRN-AM in the Worcester/Boston area. She is also a theater and arts critic for the Boston Globe. Visit Sally Cragin online at http://theastrologicalelements.blogspot.com/.


This traditional trade paperback has 240 pages and measures 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches. Paper is good quality. Type style is easy to read. There are no illustrations. Chapter One is titled "How to Use This Book." As the author tell us: "You can read this from front to back, but it can also be used as a reference tool."

Chapter Two is "The Twelve Sun Signs." This chapter begins with the definition of key astrology terms such as cardinal, fixed, mutable, houses, Air signs, Earth signs, Fire signs, and Water signs. Each of the 12 signs is given a little over one full page of commentary.

Chapters Three through Fourteen discuss the cusps. For each cusp, we have subsections titled:
  • The Signs at a Glance
  • Dates of Transition
  • Details on the Cusp Aspects
  • Lovers, Partners, Friends
  • Careers and Vocations

Astrology on the Cusp by Sally Cragin (Llewellyn)
These subsections are followed by a discussion of traits associated with those born at the end of the first sign, those born in the middle of the cusp, and those born at the beginning of the next sign. The last section in each of these chapters is Final Thoughts, which includes "Times of the year when you're 'on fire' and should move all projects forward" and "Times of the year when you may feel compromised or that your judgment isn't as sound as you'd like."

At the end of the book is a chapter called Cuspy Birthdays at a Glance, which includes a list of "actors, athletes, activists, writers, rebels and teachers, saints and sinners" born in each cusp.


In her Introduction, Sally Cragin provides some interesting bits of information. For example: "More than 20 percent of all birthdays are cuspy birthdays." I never stopped to think about that. There are a lot of us out there!

Cragin's writing style is casual and conversational. Some of my favorite lines:
  • Secretive Scorpio meets let-it-all-hang-out Sagittarius in a cusp combination that can bring a sublime sense of humor.
  • How can one see the big picture and all those tiny details at once? It's a gift for Leo-Virgo, but one that can make them thoroughly batty at times.
  • Capricorn's Eeyore-like gloom meets with Piglet's spirited sense of play in Capricorn-Aquarius.

As I mentioned earlier, the Careers and Vocations sections don't seem to work for me or the cuspies in my life, but they do make for interesting reading.


In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I hereby disclose that this product was provided by the publisher for free. Other than the occasional review copy, I receive no monetary or in-kind compensation for my reviews.  The substance of my reviews is not influenced by whether I do or do not receive a review copy.


  1. Thanks for the review of this book. It is quite an interesting subject although for me you are either one sun sign or the other. I look to the chart to see where the other planets fall and in what houses they are in. And the aspects made.

    I am not sure I would buy this book but would definitely get it from the library. It would be interesting to get her perspective on how two signs interact with each other.

    1. Hello Carol! Thank you for stopping by. I do consider cusp placement when analyzing a chart, but it's not a major consideration for me. In my case, for example, I feel the cusp placement simply reinforces the strong Earth influence in my chart. As you say, this book is also a useful guide to understanding how the signs interact with their nearest neighbors.

  2. i've def found cusps great for getting a more nuanced understanding of astrology. shall have to check this book out once i get back to somewhere with access to amazon shipping xD

    1. Hi Bonkers, I like your expression "more nuanced understanding". That's exactly what I get by incorporating cusp placements in my chart interpretations. Thanks for stopping by!


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~ Zanna