Degree Theory in Astrology — The Perry Rose Academy (2024)

Ever wonder what those numbers next to your zodiac placements mean?

If you’ve ever looked at your birth chart, you’ve probably noticed a set of numbers on the right of your zodiac placements. These are degrees and are quite specific based on your time of birth. Accurate birth times are imperative for applying degree theory when studying your natal chart.

Degrees serve numerous purpose in astrological study. For example, it helps us “tell time.” Consider how the Moon moves through each of the zodiac within two days. So, if we observe the moon at 28 degrees, we can safely estimate it will ingress into the next zodiac sign within a set time period, specifically half a degree per hour. Degrees also mark the exactitude of aspects and alignments or even transits like Retrogrades.

There’s an esoteric and energetic element to studying degrees. Those who consider themselves on the “cusp” of two signs will find that the degree of their placement can provide significant context, as it accurately marks the mathematical position of a planet as well as the decided zodiac sign.

Looking at my placements, most of my degrees are between 12 and 29. There’s a sense that I am picking up on previously started soul projects, and completing cycles passed on to me. Interestingly, I have the same Moon sign and placement (Aquarius in the third house) and Rising sign as my mother. Though at different degrees (mine later than hers), we enjoy exploring these “cosmic inheritances” when discussing our birth charts.

You may notice I have two placements at the 29th degree, aka the Anaretic degree. This marks the end or completion of a cycle; I personally like to reflect on endings simultaneously presenting beginnings. After 29 degrees, a planet or position ingresses into a new zodiac sign. The start of a new cycle begins at 0° of the following sign. For example, after 29° of Scorpio is 0° of Sagittarius.

It’s worth mentioning that degree theory can be used not only when interpreting natal charts, but also event charts.

Degrees follow the order of the Zodiac, with the first degree associated with Aries and its ruling planet Mars. The first twelve degrees continue this archetypal pattern until we reach the thirteenth degree. There, the idea of critical or Anaretic degrees comes into play. What you may notice is that the critical degrees are marked by Aries (Cardinal energy), Leo (Fixed energy), Sagittarius (Mutable), Capricorn (Cardinal Energy), and Taurus (Fixed Energy).

You can use the information on your degrees to analyze your chart. In my case, I look to which House in my chart Aries rules over for insight on the esoteric associations of my Sun sign’s degree — it’s a critical degree and Aries rules my 4th house (and seeps into my 5th based on the House System that I use). Then, I would look at any current transits or natal aspects that cross this house. You can get as intricate as you like with this information.

Below you will find the list of each degree and a (simplified) meaning of that degree.

Keep in mind, astrology has many layers to explore. This is a brief notation of the order of each degree.

0° - Marks the beginning of a new cycle, starting “all over” with relation to planetary energies and meanings, critical degree.

1° - Aries / Mars: car engines, abuse, sports/athlete, military, weapon, anger, business person, speed/quickness, the color red, coming first, “in front” arguments, war.

2° - Taurus / Venus: containment/small spaces, wealth, forest, trees, food, luxuries, voice, singing, the color green, earth.

Gemini / Mercury: two of something, siblings, hands, double, local, small town, neighborhood, groups, birds, tea, friends, the color yellow.

Cancer / Moon: mother, home, public, crowd, water, in the home, the color white, critical degree.

Leo / Sun: strong, royal, leader, high school, fun, athletics, gym/working out, outdoors, top of a hill, family, mountain, view, hair, ego, children.

Virgo / Mercury: health, “ex”, sickness/illness, work, routine, pets, hospitals, doctors, manual service.

Libra / Venus: beauty, luxury items, earrings/jewelry, fashion, couples, music, art, marriage, justice, associates, legalities, courtrooms.

Scorpio / Pluto: secrets, death, sex, insurance, taxes, jealousy, pregnancy/womb, someone else’s “things”.

Sagittarius / Jupiter: college, borders, professors, foreign, travel, archery, having a plan.

10° Capricorn / Saturn: public office, public official, public-facing, coal, slow, delay, the color black, shadow side, depression.

11° Aquarius / Uranus: interruptions, divorce, high places, flying, airports, high tech, engineers, helping others, friends, networks, organizations, electricity.

12° Pisces / Neptune: swimming, near water, disguises, illusions, missing, rain, flood, out of focus, misplaced, unclear, “foggy”.

As you can see, degrees 1 through 12 align with the zodiac calendar. Once you reach the 13th degree, you reset in the sign of Aries as you can see below:

13° Aries: critical degree.

14° Taurus

15° Gemini: assassinations or killings.

16° Cancer

17° Leo: critical degree.

18° Virgo

19° Libra

20° Scorpio: jealousy or revenge.

21° Sagittarius: large road, new places, critical degree.

22° Capciron: destruction, critical degree.

23° Aquarius: “to cut”.

24° Pisces

25° Aries

26° Taurus: critical degree.

27° Gemini

28° Cancer

29° Leo: kingdoms, critical degree.

Additional Resources

I found this super user-friendly website where you can learn more about degree theories. All you'll need to do is select the degree and zodiac sign you wish to learn more about. Then, search for results. It’s easy and free! How lucky are we to have these resources?

Many astrologers recommend focusing on the degrees of your personal planets and placements. If you need recommendations for apps, podcasts, books, or blogs to uncover and understand these and other placements, check out my list of astrology resources here.

Degree Theory in Astrology — The Perry Rose Academy (2024)
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