Recently, I’ve thought quite a lot about one of the very first jobs that I had, when I should have been in school but was instead spending most of my time hanging out in the East Village in New York trying to look and act older than I was. During those days, I used to pass by a small storefront where a woman would sit in the window day in, and day out, under a glowing neon sign that was twisted into the image of a hand with an eye in the middle of it. I wouldn’t know until many years later what that symbol meant, and I would pass by her storefront a hundred times before I spoke to her.
When I did finally speak to her, she asked me if I needed to make some spare cash and offered me a job. I would have to stand outside of that storefront and get customers for her, hyping the mystical wares she offered on the other side of the glass. She was a reader: not a fortune teller and not a psychic (those don’t exist, she insisted time and again). She could read people’s astrological chart and tell them who they really were. I was no more than 15 so the prospect of anyone offering me a job was exciting, even if I had no idea what it was that I was supposed to do. She said, “you’ll read them too, and you’ll convince them.”
So during those years that I should have been studying for exams and applying to universities, instead I sat at her small table and listened for hours about how the stars and planets were in constant motion and whenever it was that we made our entrance onto the mortal coil, that exact alignment would indelibly mark each one of us like a celestial fingerprint. The canvas upon which our lives would be drawn. It was, and remains, a lot more interesting than calculus.
She might not have been psychic, but she was right about me: after a few weeks of bluffing on the street corner, I could tell by the way someone walked if they were a Sagittarius or a Taurus, and I could see the unmistakable forehead crease of an Aries from down the block. I would stop people on the corner and say, “Libra!” - it would often fail but every so often I’d hit the mark and pique their interest. If they went inside of the shop I got two dollars; if they sat for a reading I got five. I can’t say that I made my fortune working on that corner of West 8th street, but it paid for me to get back on the railroad and home to Long Island before anyone started asking questions.
I still don’t know how true it all is, or if that even matters, but what I do know is that over time I learned how to read and interpret astrological charts so well that I turned it into a job myself at certain points, though now I mostly reserve it for friends and family as a birthday gift. I also learned that inevitably, I am drawn to and find that some of my closest friends seem to cluster around a certain period of time that astrology likes to call the cusp of magic.
So, astrology is a whole bunch of ingredients thrown into the pot which makes your own personal soup, and it’s far from the only thing stewing away in there. If you’re into astrology, I have but one piece of advice: most of it is rubbish. If you’re not into astrology, I have another piece of advice: some of it is spot on. It’s imperfect, based on a million different cooks in the kitchen, and like anything else, if you choose to believe in it you’ll find something to justify that and if you don’t, you’ll have plenty of evidence to back up your case.
Nonetheless, I find myself consistently falling in a sort of platonic (or sometimes not) love with people born anywhere between 15 and 30 June, and I have given up trying to understand why. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people that I adore who fall outside of these 15 days, but there is something about these characters that seems to stick to me. My Aunt Chris, who has been perhaps the most valuable ally I have had in my life, is born on 17 June, and my grandmother’s birthday was 29 June. My great friends Sharon and Melanie are both born on the cusp of magic and as soon as I met them I adored them both. There are even people that I have met only once or twice that, despite all reason and logic, I have felt that cliched yet entirely true sensation that I had known them all my life. Of course, the same happened with Mark, who is born on 24 June. Though it took a little while to get past his hardened chef exterior, when it happened I found the most wonderful person I’ve ever known.
So maybe there is something to it, after all; maybe the cusp of magic is filled with those possibilities and potential and maybe it really is because of how the stars align on those certain days. Ultimately I see little harm in believing it, and it does paint a pretty picture of the world. A little bit of magic goes a long way, especially these days.
In that spirit, let's do a deep dive into my favorite troublemakers, born on the Cusp of Magic.
1. The cusp
The cusp of magic is so called because people born in this time period (18-23 June, though I like to believe it extends a little further, perhaps even from 15-30 June) have this almost mystical connection between their thoughts and their feelings. See, you’ve got Mercury which rules Gemini, and which is known in mythology as the messenger. This makes Gemini a particular kind of communicator: they investigate, they sometimes even interrogate (they love texting and talking on the phone even more than actual face to face meetings), and they’re usually blown away by intelligence and stimulated by conversation more than most other things.
But Cancer is ruled by the moon, and the moon is a whole different story. It’s quiet, reflective, and sticks its head out only for a moment, always moving a little closer into the darkness to protect itself from the reflection of everything around it. So you know that the moon only reflects the light of the sun, and this is true for Cancer in many ways too. It absorbs so much of the energy around it, and in turn reflects that energy out to everything that surrounds it. Sometimes that's a lot for people to handle, and sometimes it's a lot for Cancer to handle too. It’s not a big surprise that Cancer is symbolised by the crab: sometimes they need to retreat into their shell and gather their thoughts, for everyone’s benefit.
2. The magic
When you’re on the cusp of magic, you don’t just listen when people talk, you feel their words on your skin and in your heart. That depth of feeling makes it hard for you to even know where to start sometimes, because the presence of other people, especially people that really interest you, can hit you like a lightning bolt, and you might not even know how to react to the impact of it. But you’re a Gemini so you can’t resist flying closer to the flame, like a moth towards a light. Your mind is connected to your heart, and words can move you like nothing else. You can’t always explain it, so it's a bit of magic to you too. You feel like you can almost hear what people are thinking and often, you think you must be crazy (especially when you’re young, but we’ll get to that in a minute) . But you’re not crazy, you’re right. The moon is doing all of that work that mercury wants it to do, and you can hear it loud and clear. Since you’re not prone to bragging, it shouldn’t become too annoying to your friends and family and if you make peace with who you are, you will be the person that people come to for advice, or for comfort. You’ll probably always know the right thing to say, even though you might think it’s nothing, and if the right people are listening you might only need to say a few words to make them feel better.
3. The importance of love
The cusp of magic is also characterised by a deep and constant search for love, but it's important to understand what kind of love you are looking for. Gemini Cancer cusp sees love in everything, because love is a form of harmony, or communion: because of this, Platonic love is a kind of sacred state for you. You don’t need the physical closeness of another person to feel loved or love them, because you see and feel something that goes way beyond that. Indeed, that Gemini bit (that loves texting and phone calls) kind of likes to not have a physical relationship, because it intrigues you to see how far your feelings go. Of course, that Gemini distance gives Cancer a lingering feeling of solitude or even loneliness, but as long as you feel confident that your feelings are reciprocated in either friend, family member, or lover, you don’t mind a little solitude. it lets you come and go into your shell without having to do much explaining. Your loyalty is almost unspoken, and you’ll be forgiving as long as you can understand why someone has done what they’ve done (Gemini is always logical above all things). But if someone you love hurts you, and you can’t make sense of their reasons, you’ll find it hard to forgive them. If your mind can’t explain it to your heart, your heart won’t ever heal.
4. The tough bits
So, even though you might be able to magically sense the world around you, that doesn’t mean you let just anyone know what you’re thinking (and most importantly, feeling). You might bottle up your feelings until they become dangerous to you or others, because you feel them so much that you might be a little afraid of what would happen if you let them out. You’re a deep well, and depending on what’s down at the bottom, you may not even want to look at it yourself, let alone let anyone else in there. And here’s the tough part: Gemini has an incredible memory, and can often remember faces or names of people or things from ages ago. But Gemini usually lets go of feelings pretty easily, especially traumatic ones. But you have that old Cancer moon just next to you, and Cancer does not let go of feelings (at all). Unfortunately it means that if you have suffered trauma in your early life, you are likely to carry it with you, and you might carry vivid memories of it as well. You’ll also carry pain, and that pain can become the thing that defines you if you aren’t careful. It’s a tough thing to manage: a lot of people who suffer trauma often shield themselves from it, even unconsciously, and can have gaps or blank spaces in their memories as a way to protect themselves. You often aren’t so lucky, and your pain sits just below the surface of you. It’s a burden you tend to want to carry alone, so even when you love people you try to protect them from your own pain. And you’re good at it- many of your closest friends might not know what you’re feeling, even if they sense that sometimes you’re not doing so well.
5. But there is hope!
As you mature, you might get better at carrying your pain with you, especially if you do confide in people you trust and let some of that burden out. Of course, it’s a hard thing to do and no one can make you do it (Cancer is also really stubborn) but if you do it, you might be pleasantly surprised at how much better you feel. Despite this, however, you never lose your curiosity, your almost childlike joy and fascination at the smallest details, and your real empathy for the world around you. Of course, your empathy might be taken advantage of at times, and you may be hurt along the way. That’s ok though, and you know it's ok. While you may not forgive those who deeply hurt you (in fact, you probably won’t) you also won’t blame other people or close yourself off from the world (at least, not for too long). See, it's called the cusp of magic because you see the world as magical, and nothing or no one can take that from you. It might mean that you get caught up sometimes in day dreams or fantasies, but you’re never gone for too long and you never go too far away. You can’t, because you’re too curious about what’s just around the corner...
6. Your magic is magnetic, but be careful
You have a kind of magnetism and energy that can feel intense for some people, and there will be plenty of moments where you might feel that people think you’re strange, or just too much. You’re probably right. Not everyone is going to be able to handle you, and some people might even run from it without you doing or saying anything. They might call you weird, but that’s just because they don’t have a word for the way you make them feel. It’s not always pleasant being on the other end of so much intuition, and you have to be aware of that. You’re a magnet, and sometimes that’s pretty powerful, and you have to know that it’s your nature. The more comfortable you are with your nature, the more you will attract people who have the same power as you, or who see your power and want to be around you. Don’t be afraid to embrace your nature, don’t hold it against those people who don’t understand it, and don’t abuse it.
7. Be patient (and not so possessive)
You probably know that 21 June is the summer solstice, when the sun shines brightest and (climate change aside) the world opens into bloom. In and of itself, that’s a pretty magical time, and astrology nerds believe it is one of the most powerful moments in the year. In human development, at the age of twenty-one, adolescence is over and adulthood is said to begin: for you, this might be compared to the development of your own magical abilities. Basically, you’ll take a while to figure out how to best use the gifts that come naturally to you, and along the way you’ll have your fair share of misfires, strikeouts, and generally embarrassing moments. “Well, don’t we all?”, you’ll say. Yes, but in your case, you might find that you get a little too possessive and maybe even obsessive about the objects of your affection, because of the feelings they inspire in you. And it will be pretty unfair, in retrospect: you’ll want to own them, but you’ll refuse to be owned by them. Your first love might just make you a little bananas, and don’t be surprised if it turns messy. Even the most beautiful flowers are sometimes a tangle of weeds and vines when they first burst into being. Indeed, these beautiful flowers sometimes need to be pruned all the way back before they blossom, so you might be brought to your knees at some point before you get it right. But if you can pick yourself up again, stop trying to possess (while also refusing to be pinned down), and learn to harness your magic, you’ll be just fine. Great, in fact.