What Is Degree Theory?

August 2, 2022

If you’ve taken a good look at your birth chart, you might have noticed there are numbers next to the zodiac placements, referred to as degrees. Each degree represents one of the 12 zodiac signs giving it a specific energy and meaning—this is called degree theory astrology, invented by astrologer Nikola Stojanovic.

Definition of Degree Theory Astrology

“Degree theory is an analytical approach to astrology which adds layers of meaning to placements according to their degree,” explains astrologer and yoga teacher Emily Ridout. “This method works because astrology is a system of associations. By examining the degree of a planet, associations with other signs and personal tendencies can be understood in a more detailed way.” 

Below, Ridout shares a simplified version of each astrology degree’s meaning. 

Astrology Degrees Meaning

Aries — 1, 13, 25° 

The Aries degrees relate to the planet Mars. These placements are about expressing their personal goals and moving their vision forward. 

Taurus — 2, 14, 26° 

Taurus degrees are associated with the planet Venus giving these placements an energy of love, abundance, and beauty. 

READ MORE: Degrees in Astrology, Explained

Gemini — 3, 15, 27°

Mercury rules the Gemini degrees, which focus on expressing curiosity, learning, and communication.

Cancer — 4, 16, 28°

The moon rules Cancer, giving these placements lots of nurturing and caring energy and an affinity for all things home-related. 

Leo — 5, 17, 29°

“The Leo degrees relate to the sun and open the placement up to creative personal expression and the enjoyment of life,” Ridout says.  

Virgo — 6, 18° 

These Virgo degrees denote analytical skills and health in the body thanks to their ruling planet Mercury. 

READ MORE: All About Astrology Aspect Symbols

Libra — 7, 19°

Libra degrees focus on “connecting relationally and using the mind to understand the laws of cause and effect,” Ridout says.  

Scorpio — 8, 20°

Mars and Pluto are associated with Scorpio degrees and relate to receiving gifts and using creative potency toward higher ideals.

Sagittarius — 9, 21° 

For Sagittarius degrees, travel and higher philosophy are key thanks to their ruling planet Jupiter

Capricorn — 10, 22° 

Steady work and focusing on long-term goals are essential for Saturn-ruled Capricorn degrees.

Aquarius — 11, 23°

These degrees relate to Saturn and Uranus and are about self-expression and ingenuity. 

Pisces — 12, 24° 

Pisces degrees, associated with Jupiter and Neptune, deal with all things mystical. 

READ MORE: Big 6 Astrology: What It Is and How to Find It

Critical Degrees

Some degrees carry more weight in a birth chart. “If you have a critical degree in your chart, you are more likely to face challenges in that sign until the time comes that you transmute that challenge into your greatest strength,” Ridout says. “Once transmuted, critical degrees carry a weight of great power and influence.”

  • For the cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn), the critical degrees are 0, 13, and 26.
  • For the fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius), the critical degrees are 8, 9, 21, and 22.
  • For the mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces), the critical degrees are 4 and 17.


How do you read degrees in astrology?

“Each zodiac sign is composed of 30 degrees (0-29), which make up the circle (12 signs x 30 degrees = 360 degrees),” Ridout explains. “When you look at a chart, there is a number placed next to each planet. This is the degree and minute of that placement.”