Anaretic & Critical Degrees - Transcending Astrology (2024)

Anaretic & Critical Degrees

Anaretic & Critical Degrees - Transcending Astrology (1)

The 29th degree of any sign is known as a critical, or anaretic, degree. This point is the culmination point where everything learned in that particular sign comes to an apex, often even starting to envision and take on the qualities it needs, which are more prominent in the following sign. This explains cusps.

The 29th degree in a natal chart has many significations, often mimicking the characteristics that an out-of-bounds planet takes on – a Uranian signature. Keywords include: unique, free, counter-cultural, rebellious, innovative, or outcast. This degree has been found in the charts of people who blazed trails, building legacies that last well beyond their time.

But, as much positivity as there is associated with the anaretic degree, it has also garnered a lot of notoriety, and for good reason. It’s prominent in the charts of fascinating, if not bizarre, people throughout history (Judy Garland, Billy Tipton, Billie Jean King). People who broke the rules, graced the presence of taboos (and then blew through them), and some who even fell out of favor with their contemporaries.

They also brought gifts from the gods, often leaving the world a better place for having been here. What’s interesting is that the symbolism of the planet at the 29th degree is what they are often most known for, not necessarily the Midheaven or Sun alone. Something to think about.

So many people tend to focus on the negatives of the anaretic degree: the soul-crushing indecision that is marked by its Janusian typology. The god Janus had two faces looking in opposite directions and so always saw multiple outcomes. We can see the symbolism here, in that the degree straddles two signs. But it goes even further.

For natal and transiting planets, the anaretic degree is a point of culmination and vision. There is often a crisis that goes with the territory, where the planet needs to show some grit and ingenuity. This is how it begins to pull traits from the following sign – out of necessity – a natural evolutionary process.

The final degree encapsulates all three modes, three different elements and three signs. This is because it is not only in the third decan, but also within the last dwad, all while approaching the next sign. It is by being at this culmination point that the anaretic degree begs a decision must be made out of crises. But, because it draws on so much different energy, it can become stuck in limbo.

This is where the stifling indecision could come in, and it often does. But, if the person allows themselves to draw from their own personal creative wellspring, they might just make the right choice, properly integrating the three modes and signs. Integration is key with the anaretic degree. It is through the function of genius, boldness, and creativity that it accomplishes this task. The native must trust his or her own vision and push forth. Easier said then done.

Logically following all of that, the 0 degree of each sign is also a critical degree because it represents the purest essence of that sign as the traits from the previous sign are shed, no longer needed. In the first decan and the first dwad, which are all ruled by the same sign and planet, the first degree (0’00”- 0’99”) is the sign in its purest, most unadulterated form. Often, this critical degree also denotes some type of crisis as well, as everything is new and unfamiliar.

In a natal chart, planets in these critical degrees (and there are other degrees labeled “critical” as well) get additional strength just for being where they are. They will have more prominence in the life of the native and are often activated during crises (with other transits or progressions supporting this – just because a planet at a critical degree is activated by transit or progression does not necessarily mean there will be a crisis, so don’t freak out).

Different degrees hold different meanings, even beyond the traditional decans and dwads, which divide the signs into different parts and give sub-rulerships. Knowledge of the anaretic degree, and the critical degrees in general, add depth of understanding to any chart reading, significantly boosting the ability to offer help where it has been asked.

Anaretic & Critical Degrees - Transcending Astrology (2024)
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