Although there are many ways to view a birth chart, this article focuses on one way astrologers view it: degrees.
In astrology, every degree has a certain influence over your life.
If you want to look into the future and see where this degree’s influence will take you, find out what each of them means for you.
Degrees in astrology can give depth to every planet you have in your chart. They give you an even more accurate interpretation of the different placements and actually determine the aspects they have with one another.
In this article, we will discuss Degree Theory and how degrees influence your birth chart.
What Are Degrees In Astrology?
When you were born, the earth spun on its axis just like it does every day. In other words, your birth time relative to the earth’s position and rotation contributed to the specific degree you were born under.
Degrees are important components in a chart because they mark planetary positions at birth. Degree Theory was pioneered by Nikola Stojanovic, a Slavic astrologer.
Because the topic of degrees in astrology can point to so many different exegeses, here are the most common ways that degrees are used when reading a chart.
Where your first house begins determines the rest of your chart. If your Rising Sign is in Libra at 20 degrees, that would mark the start of your journey through the astrological houses. Degrees in astrology determine your house cusps and which signs and planets fall under them.
This could mean the difference between having multiple planets in one house or another. So it’s best to know your exact birth time to maximize your interpretation!
Calculating Aspects and Orbs
In the most basic sense, your birth chart is like a map. Think of them as coordinates on a map or locations on a dial that represent a certain position. By doing so, every planet is situated within a sign and a house.
An easier way to think of your birth chart is that it’s like a pizza. And that pizza is divided into 12 slices. Every house, as a circle has 360°, would have 30°. Just look at your generated chart. It looks just like a sliced pizza, doesn’t it?
Aspects between celestial bodies and planets in your chart are calculated by using the degrees.
So if both your Sun and Moon are in Capricorn within 0-10 degrees of one another, it is said to be conjunct. Generally speaking, the closer the orbs, the more exact and influential an aspect is.
Degrees are also used to determine decans. Decans are subdivisions of each sign. It is the division of every sign and planet into increments of 10 degrees and allotting them into different rulers.
For instance, Taurus’s three decans are Venus (0-10), Mercury (11-20), and Saturn (21-30).
Special Degrees in Astrology
At this point, it may be a good idea to whip out a copy of your birth chart. Below, you can find two types of special points in a chart: the critical and malefic degrees.
The critical degrees of 0° and 29° are considered highly potent and influential. Those with those numbers in their chart are enigmas who can wield the absolute power of that sign. But they can also tap into the might of the sign next to them, all thanks to sitting right at the cusp.
Malefic degrees (18° and 22°), on the other hand, are considered to have a negative connotation in most astrological systems. Individuals with these degrees in their chart tend to be more afflicted in the areas where the corresponding signs, planets, and houses rule.
29° and 0° are considered to be two of the most important degrees to have. Some interpretations state that they are right at the cusp. An individual with placements in these degrees can manifest both of the signs on the cusp of the degree.
It is like witnessing the sun just before it rises on the horizon. While you may not yet view the sunrise completely, the 29 and 0 degrees already experience the warmth and energy of the sign next to them.
Having a placement at 0° is said to be the purest manifestation of the sign. (E.g. A Pisces Jupiter at 0° is the embodiment of that sign: lucky in mind and spirit).
The 29th degree is a tricky one. Some astrologers believe it’s a weakened degree, others like Stojavinoc say it’s a benevolent one.
The 29th is supposedly a weakened degree. This means that if a planet is at 29°, you are less likely to feel its effect on your life. For instance, if you are a Leo Sun at 29°, you may not feel as energized and assertive as the average Leo, or you may not feel like a Leo at all.
If your Venus is at 29°, the same principle applies: you may not feel as motivated by love and pleasure.
Some astrologers, however, like Pat Geisler and Stojanovic, argue that the 29th degree is actually a beneficial one to have. In fact, Stojanovic himself has 29° in his chart.
It may indicate divination and/or destruction. If anything, having 29° in a chart indicates high potential in creating massive good or bad through the use of the placement.
Having critical degrees in your chart could also mean you face extra challenges when dealing with these placements.
According to Stojanovic, the most malefic degrees a person can have in their chart is the 18th or 22nd degree. This is not to scare you. Remember, astrology is not fate or destiny but rather a way of guidance in our lives.
It may indicate difficulties in life. According to Nikola, this is the most challenging degree to have. May point to health-related issues and other evil.
Supposedly a ‘kill or be killed’ degree. Stojanovic has noted that he’s found the degree in both murderers and murder victims’ charts.
Note that ‘kill’ could also apply figuratively. So if your Moon is at 22°, you may have had friction with a maternal figure in your life.
The Signs and Their Degrees
Each sign has corresponding degrees associated with them, whose themes you can equally apply to your placements. For instance, a Scorpio Mercury at the 9th degree, a Sagittarius degree, can be much more honest and philosophical in their way of thinking and speaking than the average Scorpio Mercury.
Another example is if you have Aries at the 11th house in 4° (Cancer degree). You may be considered as the mom friend in your group instead of being the impulsive and juvenile Aries is known for.
Similarly, a person with Mars in Taurus at the 4th degree may find many of their motivations to be driven by their family and earning power.
For your reference, here is a chart of the important degrees in astrology:
|Aries||Cardinal||1, 13, 25||Brave, physical activity, fights, sports, cars, red, military, throat|
|Taurus||Fixed||2, 14, 26||Stubborn, pleasure, food, green, material wealth, beauty, throat|
|Gemini||Mutable||3, 15, 27||Curious, communication, siblings, twins, early education, social media|
|Cancer||Cardinal||4, 16, 28||Nurturing, home, mother, water, protecting, breast|
|Leo||Fixed||5, 17, 29||Proud, restaurant, royal, mountain, creative, heart, spine, hair|
|Virgo||Mutable||6, 18||Organized, workplace, service, pets, routine, health, hospital, digestive system|
|Libra||Cardinal||7, 19||Balanced, luxury, marriage, legal contracts, justice, art, weddings, partnerships, kidneys|
|Scorpio||Fixed||8, 20||Inheritance, death, taboo, sex, secrets, other people’s money and possessions, womb or sexual organs|
|Sagittarius||Mutable||9, 21||Philosophy, tertiary learning, travel, horses, foreign settlements, thighs|
|Capricorn||Cardinal||10, 22||Career, public office, black, old, time, investments, stoic, winter|
|Aquarius||Fixed||11, 23||Innovation, divorce, networks, friendships, technology, future|
|Pisces||Mutable||12, 24||Illusion, water places, foggy, dreams, mental institution, sea|
As you can see, the numbers begin from Aries until Pisces and repeat consecutively as you go along up to 30°.
A sign’s corresponding degrees can supplement the way you read a chart.
Take actor Salma Hayek’s 7th house as an example, whose 7th house (partnerships and marriage) is at 22 degrees, a Capricorn degree.
Her husband, Francois Henri Pinault, is a successful and wealthy entrepreneur. Similarly, Pinault’s Venus is also at 6 degrees, and Hayek is a Virgo Sun.
Let’s say your Jupiter is in the 11th degree. Even if you don’t have any placements in Aquarius, you still embody some of the waterbearer’s characteristics, thanks to that degree.
Having a placement in certain degrees adds another layer to what they can mean.
Degree Theory Takeaways
The degrees in astrology are often said to be a fatalistic way of reading a chart. But everything in our chart contains information, whether we like it or not.
So, you can definitely look at the chart with a completely different lens by using degree theory.
A single planet can have many different meanings depending on its placement, and often it’s not as black and white as people make it out to be.
The degrees give you another more complex way to look at a chart and interpret the placements in a way you may not have previously considered.
Instead of simply looking at the planet, sign, and house, you also have a fourth dimension to consider through degree theory.
Other considerations in studying the degrees of the chart, such as the critical degrees of 0 and 29, are said to enhance or challenge a placement.
Another would be the malefic degrees of the 18th and 22nd, which supposedly create difficulties to where it is in the chart.
Remember, your birth chart is a story of where you came from and your potential. It makes sense why it is a multi-layered process, a story that continues to unfold, just as it does in reality. Nothing is ever too complicated for the stars.
Are you interested in learning more about degree theory? We recommend researching Nikola Stojanovic’s Degree Theory in astrology. He has interviews on YouTube where he discusses some degrees in further detail.