Critical & Anaretic Degrees
Critical Degrees and 29 Degrees (the 29th Degree) in Astrology
Classic critical degrees are as follows:
0, 13, and 26 degrees of the cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn)
8-9 and 21-22 degrees of fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius); and
4 and 17 degrees of mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces).
These are considered sensitive, and sometimes strengthening, points. If a natal planet is found in a critical degree, that planet is thought to be emphasized and to assume more power in the life of the native due to its placement.
Many astrologers consider 0 and 29 degrees of any sign critical degrees as well. The 0 and 29 degrees are more crisis-oriented points, especially in predictive work.
NOTE: While the 29th Degree is a term used by astrologers (it’s also known as the Anaretic degree), technically it’s the 30th degree. It actually refers to a planet or body positioned anywhere from 29°00’00” to 29°59’59”.
If a natal planet is found at 29 degrees of any sign, also known as the Anaretic degree, there can be some real issues with decision-making in that part of the personality represented by the energies of the planet. The native may evaluate and re-evaluate situations before making a move one day, and the next day, jump into the action without listening to himself or herself! For example, if Mars is at 29 degrees, the native may devise many plans of actions, worry excessively about the possible actions and different routes to take, and then execute a spontaneous action that is contrary to the decision!
I know a woman whose Juno is at 29 degrees, and despite the fact that she has many theories about taking relationships seriously, jumps into them quickly. A man with 29 degrees of Mercury agonizes over decisions in his life and vacillates between talking too much and too little.
Besides decision-making problems, vacillation, and jumping into situations blindly, the 29th degree is also associated with a sense of urgency. It’s the last degree of the zodiac sign, and there can be a real sense of urgency surrounding the characteristics and associations of the particular sign. There can also be a general weakness in this area – it can be a point of poor choices, difficulties, crisis, or overcompensation.
While the classic critical degrees above are thought to give added strength to the planet or body, the anaretic degree is more of a debilitating position.
In progressions, when, for example, the Sun enters the 29th degree, the native’s year can be crisis-oriented. If the Sun progresses to 29 degrees of Libra, for example, the sense of urgency and crisis can surround relationships. Divorce or jumping into a new partnership rather blindly may be the result of this urgency. If the Sun progresses to 29 degrees of Virgo, a big change might be made in work. Generally, decisions made at the time of the 29th degree can be hasty.
Because the progressed Moon moves the fastest of the planets, we encounter more Anaretic degrees of the Moon than we do with other planets and luminaries. The secondary progressed Moon makes a complete circle of the chart and the signs approximately every 28 years, so we encounter 12 Anaretic degrees of progressed Moon per 28-year period (every 2-1/2 years or so).
When counseling a parent of a child in university, I noticed that her daughter’s progressed Moon was at 29 degrees transiting the ninth house. Uranus was also transiting her daughter’s ninth house and coming to a square to her Sun. I counseled the parent to watch her daughter carefully at this time, because she might be inclined to either make radical, hasty changes in her area of study or even decide to drop out altogether. In fact, the daughter did quit university and took a job despite her parent’s urging her not to make the decision. She later regretted the decision to drop out and returned to university to finish her degree.
In her book, The Art of Predictive Astrology: Forcasting Your Life Events, Carol Rushman puts forth a compelling case for the importance of critical degrees, including classic ones mentioned at the top of this article, in predictive work using the progressed Moon.
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