Degrees in Astrology: Meaning, Critical Degrees, Decans | (2024)

With 360 degrees in a birth chart, a lot can be misconstrued. Let’s say you’re new to this and you just start learning about zodiac signs, the birth chart, and even the Houses in the birth chart. Did you know the degrees in the Houses in the birth chart mean something too?

If you’re ready to go deeper, we asked astrologer Maisy Bristol to tell us more about degrees, why they’re so important to the birth chart, and how to interpret them.

Degrees in a Birth Chart

As mentioned above, there are 360 degrees in a birth chart—which means 30 degrees, per sign, per House. “It’s a lot to take in,” Bristol says. “But, once you understand a few very important degrees, you can apply it to every House and sign.”

While there are 360 degrees in the chart, astrologers look at them in segments of 30. So, really, there are just 30 degrees to define, remember, and use while looking at charts.

READ MORE: Houses in the Birth Chart: What Do They Mean?


As Bristol mentions, there are a few very important degrees in the birth chart, called “critical degrees.” According to her, “the critical degrees represent the three modalities of the zodiac: cardinal, fixed, and mutable.”

So, why is this important? Well, any time a planet lands within a critical degree, it suggests that we’ll have some extra challenges there to overcome. And, of course, all of this is in relation to the modality of the critical degree, the zodiac sign that the planet is in, the meaning of the planet, and the House that it falls in.

“This may sound daunting,” says Bristol, “but critical degrees are there to provide insight into the life lessons that you are meant to learn in this life. They can be really insightful!”

Critical Degrees

To make things easier, Bristol broke down the critical degrees for us:

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

How to Interpret Degrees

Depending on which modality your critical degrees fall, you might tend to: over-express (cardinal), under-express (fixed), or choose a path of ambivalence (mutable). Here, we’ll cover what each means and how it may pose challenges.

READ MORE: What’s My Big 6 in Astrology?

0, 13, 26 Degrees (Cardinal)

If you have planets that land in one of the cardinal critical degrees, this means that you’re likely to overexert or overestimate in those areas. For example, if your Venus sign (planet of relationships) is stationed at 13 degrees Aries in your birth chart, that means you may be overly impatient, risky, or bored in your relationships—and will likely be hard to pin down.

Bristol points out that whenever a sign is at 0 degrees (or 29 degrees, for that matter), the sign is working at its fullest potential, according to Bristol. “Any sign placement at 0 degrees is likely to embody all of what that sign stands for,” she says.

8-9 and 21-22 Degrees (Fixed)

For the fixed degrees, this will likely appear as a shield, according to Bristol. “Fixed critical degrees give that placement a sense of restriction, restraint, or fear about the possibility of ‘letting loose.’”

The sense here is that to express or to openly show vulnerability is to be weak or to risk getting hurt. So, you can apply this kind of sentiment to the sign and planet shown in the fixed critical degree.

She gives an example of the moon at 9 degrees Virgo. This person might be so critical of their feelings, and of others, that it might be extremely difficult for them to share.

READ MORE: Types of Full Moons

4 and 17 Degrees (Mutable)

With the mutable degrees, these placements do not provide a sense of “overdoing” or of “restraint.” Instead, they provide indifference, according to Bristol. She explains that this placement has much more trouble taking a hard stance on the energies provided here—whereas the other two placements have more trouble either doing too much or avoiding entirely.

An example of this might be if Mars was placed at 4 degrees Cancer. This individual would likely experience great challenges regarding bringing up feelings and how others have affected them.


What is ‘degree theory’ in astrology?

Degree theory is different from critical degrees. Invented by Nikola Stojanovic, this concept suggests that every degree in the 30-degree Houses have a purpose or tell a story. Her notion was that as you get farther away from 0 degrees, the energy of the sign becomes less and less or more transformed into something different.

This can be applied to the energy of the sign but also to the energy of the planet that the sign is in. For example, Venus at 0 degrees Taurus would show up much differently from Mercury at 0 degrees Taurus. Likewise, Venus at 0 degrees Taurus would show up differently than Venus at 0 degrees Gemini.

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Degrees in Astrology: Meaning, Critical Degrees, Decans | (2024)


What does a critical degree mean in astrology? ›

A critical degree in the birth chart can make you more sensitive and intuitive and push you to work harder to attain what you want most. It's important to remember that astrology has no wrong or right aspects. It is just the energy that you are meant to work with in this lifetime.

What are degrees and decans in astrology? ›

Decans are subdivisions of 10-degree increments per sign, which is 30 degrees. Your decan, then, is wherever your birthday falls within that 30-degree spread.

What are the crucial degrees in astrology? ›

Critical degrees are specific points within each sign that are known to have intensified astrological significance. These degrees are 0, 29, and sometimes 15 degrees. Each of these has a special energy and deals with beginnings, endings, and heightened traits or intensity.

What does each degree mean in astrology? ›

In astrology, degrees serve many purposes. For one, they notate how far into a zodiacal “season” a planet is. For example, we see the Moon move through each of the zodiacs within two days. So, if we saw the moon at 28 degrees, we can safely estimate it will ingress into the next zodiac sign within hours.

What degree is millionaires astrology? ›

The millionaire degree falls in cancer at 29 degrees. So anybody who has a late degree cancer, sun or moon, or an early degree Leo, Sun or moon, is destined for wealth.

What is the rich degree in astrology? ›

Degrees and Houses: Secrets of Financial Luck

29 degrees Cancer, the famous “millionaire degree”, and 29 degrees Taurus, the corresponding “bankrupt degree”, are particularly astrologically significant. Similarly, degrees in Scorpio can indicate potential financial loss or significant gains.

At what degree are planets powerful? ›

Planets that are conjunct or square the Ascendant within 5 degrees (and preferably less) are among the strongest planets in the chart. Planets tightly opposed the Ascendant may have strength too, but usually to a lesser extent.

What does 25 degrees mean in astrology? ›

If Sun is at 25 degree in Aries , it means you have Sun in its exaltation sign. Such Sun indicates you may be a proud and assertive person. You will have strong and well built body structure with full eyes. You will have social success and will come out victorious in various struggles in life.

What does 28 degrees mean in astrology? ›

In astrology, the 28th degree of a sign is known as the anaretic degree. It holds a significant meaning and is often associated with: 1) A sense of urgency, completion, or crisis. 2) Karmic crossroads. 3) Heightened sensitivity and vulnerability.

What degrees in astrology indicate fame? ›

Personal planets at 5°, 17°, and 29°

According to Nikola Stojanovic's degree theory, personal planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars) at 5, 17 and 29 degrees are more significant than others in terms of acquiring fame.

What is the zero degree in astrology? ›

In the natal chart, planets or points at 0° of a sign take a stance that either indulges in or embraces the very pure, undiluted nature of the sign.

What are important angles in astrology? ›

One of the key parts of astrology is the four angles of a chart: the Ascendant, Midheaven (also called the medium coeli/MC), Descendant, and Nadir (or imum coeli/IC). These angles are what determine much about the chart, including its ruler, the house placements, and derived points like the Lots/Arabic Parts.

How to read degrees on astrology chart? ›

Look at the 12 zodiac signs encircling the outside of your chart. A circle is 360 degrees, and each zodiac sign takes up 30 degrees (one 12th of the circle). Each sign begins at 0 degrees and grows to 29 degrees going counterclockwise. Every time you hit 30, a new sign begins.

What are decans in astrology? ›

In astrology, a decan is the subdivision of a sign. In order to give fuller interpretation to the zodiac signs, ancient astrologers subdivided each sign into periods of approximately ten days.

How many degrees is one house in astrology? ›

In the whole sign house system, sometimes referred to as the 'Sign-House system', the houses are 30° each. The ascendant designates the rising sign, and the first house begins at zero degrees of the zodiac sign in which the ascendant falls, regardless of how early or late in that sign the ascendant is.

What are the famous degrees in astrology? ›

Fame degrees, in the simplest terms, are degrees within the chart that determine whether or not an individual has a higher possibility of having a career as a public figure or being well-known in some way. 5°, 17° and 29 are the most well-known variants of these.

What are the degree ranges in astrology? ›

A circle is 360 degrees, and each zodiac sign takes up 30 degrees (one 12th of the circle). Each sign begins at 0 degrees and grows to 29 degrees going counterclockwise. Every time you hit 30, a new sign begins. Signs can also be split into 3 decans, or sections that are 10 degrees wide.

What is the critical degree of 29 in astrology? ›

The 29th degree indicates that you're completing an important phase in your life that's connected to the planet at that degree. According to astrology TikTok creator @shawtyherbs, the 29th degree of any zodiac sign, also known as an anaretic degree, is commonly associated with feeling the need for emotional support.

What is the critical degree for a Virgo? ›

The classic critical degrees are 0°, 13°, and 26° of the Cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn); 8° and 9°, and 21°and 22° degrees of fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius); and 4° and 17° degrees of mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces), per astrologer Bob Makransky.


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