astrological signs

Cusps and compatibilities: Astrology myths busted

Cusps and compatibilities: Astrology myths busted
You can’t be 'born on a cusp,' there’s no 13th zodiac sign, and having incompatible signs with your crush isn’t a big deal

What do cusp signs, Ophiucus and Sun sign compatibility have in common? 

They’re all concepts that have crept into social media and Internet discussions about astrology.

As the study of celestial bodies becomes more mainstream, fake news have sometimes made their way into the conversation. Here are some of the most common astrology myths, busted:

Myth #1: “I was born on April 20, which means I’m an Aries-Taurus cusp.”

Astrological identity crisis? Unfortunately you can’t be two signs at once, simply because the Sun (or any planet) can’t be in two places at the same time! 

This misconception usually comes from horoscopes that overlap the dates it associates with signs. But astrology doesn’t follow calendar dates. It measures the movement of planets.

Each sign has 30 degrees, calculated from the 360-degree circle of the zodiac divided by 12. The Sun moves through the sky from 0 to 29 degrees of one sign, until it progresses to the next one. This means person can be born when the Sun is either in 29 degrees of Aries or 0 degree of Taurus, no exceptions! If you were born on a “cusp” date, you need to plug your precise birth time in an online birth chart generator to find out what your Sun sign really is.

So why do some people not “feel” like their Sun sign? This usually points to other things going on in the birth chart.

Venus, the planet of love, and Mercury, the planet of communication, are never far off from the Sun. If your Sun sign is in Sagittarius, Mercury can only be in the same sign, in the previous sign (Scorpio), or the next sign (Capricorn). Meanwhile, Venus can only be two signs away in any direction (in this example, it can be in Libra, Scorpio, Capricorn or Aquarius).

This means it’s extremely common for someone to have the Sun placed in one sign, but other planets in a neighboring sign. So if you’re a Sagittarius, but have Venus and Mercury in Scorpio, you probably have more intense, secretive Scorpio traits than other Sagittarians.

Myth #2: “There’s actually a 13th zodiac sign called Ophiucus, which means my zodiac sign has changed.”

Every few years, news website and social media rehash a NASA blog post announcing there are actually 13 constellations gets rehashed by news websites and social media.

The apparent discovery is the basis for the idea that the 13th constellation, Ophiucus, should be added between Scorpio and Sagittarius in the zodiac. This would shift everyone’s astrological signs off by a month, triggering panic, confusion and identity crises among horoscope enthusiasts. 

But your zodiac sign won’t change, and here’s why:

Astrologers have known for over 2,000 years that there are more constellations. The ancient Babylonians named the signs after some of those constellations, but the zodiac is NOT based on their positions in the sky – it’s based on the seasons.

The Tropical zodiac was originally conceived in the 1st century BC, and has developed into the system used by Western astrology today. This system is anchored by the solstices and the equinoxes, the events that mark the changing of seasons.

When the Sun enters the sign of Aries, it’s the spring equinox; when the Sun enters Cancer, it’s the summer solstice, and so on. Basically, ancient Babylonians just used constellations as visual bookmarks to see where the sun is at any given time.

In ancient times, the constellations and the zodiac belt were pretty much aligned. But as time passed, astrologers noticed that the Sun didn’t enter Aries on the first day of spring anymore. The Sun’s apparent movement in the sky changed, in relation to our vantage point on Earth.

The Greek astronomer Hipparchus, in 2nd century BC, found that as the Earth spins, it also rotates on its axis and points to a different direction – imagine a spinning top that tilts slightly as it turns. This phenomenon, called precession, is one of many concepts used to debunk astrology. But since the zodiac doesn’t follow constellations anyway, it doesn’t affect how we practice astrology today.

Myth #3: “I’m a Cancer and my partner/potential love interest is an Aquarius. That means we’re not compatible!”

Romance horoscopes are fun to read, but while some contain a grain of astrological truth, others can be misleading. If you’re being told to avoid a certain Sun sign you’re “incompatible” with, you’re not getting the full picture.

The Sun sign are just one thread in the tapestry of a birth chart. It represents just one facet of your personality: your ego, soul’s purpose, and identity. Other facets are signified by different planets — communication style in your Mercury sign; emotional nature in your Moon sign; passion and drive in your Mars sign, and so on.

Synastry, the astrological study of how people affect each other, accounts for these additional factors when looking at compatibility.

Consider Venus and Mars, commonly known as the relationship planets. In their most basic nature, Venus governs love, while Mars governs sex. Venus shows what you find desirable, then Mars shows how you go after it.

In Synastry, astrologers compare one person’s Venus and Mars placements with another’s. If you have Venus in Taurus (an Earth sign), and your romantic interest has Venus in Capricorn (another Earth sign), it means your love languages are similar, and the ways you both like to give and receive love are more easily sync up.

Cross-connections between Venus and Mars, known as inter-aspects, reveal even more about your relationship. If you have Venus in Taurus, and your sweetheart has Mars in Taurus, you both have a classical indicator of attraction: they pursue and court you (Mars) in a way that you find pleasurable or attractive (Venus). In theory, your Venus in Taurus would also be complimented by another person’s Mars in a fellow Earth sign or a Water sign; while it would be challenged by another person’s Mars in an Air or Fire sign.

Astrologers will check a multitude of combinations between the charts of two people to study how they get along. Sun-Moon, Moon-Mars, Moon-Venus, Sun-Jupiter, and many other inter-aspects add up to the full picture of your romantic compatibility, and it’s best to consult with a professional to dig in deep into the details. Synastry is an incredibly complex and complicated art that reflects how complex and complicated people are.

But at the end of the day, compatibility shouldn’t be the last (or only) word in relationships. As human beings, we also enter into soul contracts with other people to grow and challenge ourselves. Synastry can help reveal points of incompatibility, and by working through them as a unit, a couple can thrive together while becoming their best individual selves. –

Gigi practices a blend of traditional and modern Western astrology, and has been reading charts since 2014. Having first learned through self-study, she is now formally studying the ancient language of Hellenistic astrology under a course by renowned astrologer Chris Brennan. She does private consultations and birth chart readings over Zoom and Skype. You can reach her at

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