What to Know About Critical Degrees in Astrology
But what do these numbers really mean—not only in your chart—but for your destiny? These degrees could be the key to unlocking your future. Here’s everything you need to know about degrees in astrology.
Degrees in Astrology
While most people don’t associate astrology with math per se, astrologers actually have to do a lot of math and geometry when generating horoscopes and reading birth charts. A birth chart is laid out in a 360-degree circle (because of the ecliptic). That circle is then divided into 12 segments (made up of the 12 zodiac signs) at 30 degrees each. These are then divided once more into three decans of 10 degrees each.
Okay, we know that sounds like a lot of math and dividing, but stay with us.
Birth charts are snapshots of what the cosmos looked like the moment you took your first breath. This includes what signs the planets were in and to what degree. This is why knowing your birth time is important when creating your chart. Even being half an hour off can change the degree of a planet or your ascendant.
Degrees are also the reason that the idea of “cusps” isn’t real, as the degrees the planet moves through are so precise. You are a Libra sun, even if you were born on October 22, and the sun was at 29 degrees in Libra. It’s important to get your chart reading done, especially if you were born when the signs change over. Two people can be born on August 23, but, depending on the time (or year), one person can be a Leo sun at 29 degrees, and the other can be a Virgo sun at 0 degrees.
Every degree in your chart has a special meaning, as astrology believes nothing is random. However, some degrees hold more weight than others. These are called “critical degrees.”
The Critical Degrees
Critical degrees are an ideal in degree theory that some degrees on the zodiac wheel bring more challenges than others. They can bring the worst (but also the best) of a sign. The challenges that the degree brings can help create insight on how to make the best of your life’s journey. Let’s look at a few critical degrees.
The Ingress — 0°
The Ingress degree occurs the moment a planet moves into a new sign. This is truly the beginning of an astrological season or the beginning of a planet’s journey through a sign.
Because this is the beginning, the sign the planet is in is VERY felt here. If you’re born with a Virgo sun at 0 degrees, you are very Virgo, with all those traits felt intensely. If you’re born when Venus just enters Scorpio, all the traits of Venus in Scorpio are intensified.
You get the sign as it’s most pure, and when it feels fresh and brand new. People born with a planet in the Ingress (especially in a personal planet), are considered new souls starting their journey through life for the first time. There’s much to be done here, and it can be very difficult with everything feeling so new. However, there’s much awareness and insight to gain.
Right in the middle between the first degree (0°) and the last (29°), 15 degrees represents the key issue of the sign. If you’re born with your sun in 15 degrees in Capricorn, you have to deal with the issues and struggles that Capricorn must deal with—even if that’s your only Capricorn placement.
This degree is also where you find your reason for living in a sign. If you have 15 degrees in a fixed sign (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, or Aquarius), this is called “The Avatar Degree.” The Avatar Degree means you’re the “go-to” person for your friends, family and colleagues. You make things happen with your bountiful luck and resourcefulness.
Anaretic — 29°
The anaretic degree occurs when a planet is at 29 degrees in a sign, which is the last placement of the sign before a planet moves into the next sign. This is a degree of karmic completion, and people with this degree usually appear to be “old souls.” This marks the end of a cycle and is often considered the “degree of faith.” In this area and sign in this lifetime, you’ve done everything you can, and now your soul just has to wait for the next season to arrive.
However, while this can feel like a degree of “giving up”, it’s actually the degree of mastery. If the anarectic is in your birth chart, this means you have all the tools you need to overcome all challenges of your sign—and there will be a lot.
You are gifted with understanding and self-reflection and can use those to reach your highest purpose. This can be tough to handle, knowing you have a higher purpose, but you can grow into your role as you get ready to start your next chapter.
Degrees Associated with the Zodiac Signs
Every degree is also associated with a zodiac sign. If you have a planet with one of these degrees, expect to feel the traits of that sign with more depth and intensity.
- Aries = 1, 13, 24°
- Taurus = 2, 14, 25
- Gemini = 3, 15, 26
- Cancer =4, 16, 27
- Leo = 5, 17, 28
- Virgo = 6, 18
- Libra = 7, 18,
- Scorpio =8, 19
- Sagittarius =9, 20
- Capricorn = 10, 21
- Aquarius =11, 22
- Pisces = 12, 23
How to find your degrees?
You can find your degrees by looking at your birth chart—provided you known your exact birth time and location of when you were born. You can discover your degrees by getting a birth chart reading done.