Classic Critical Degrees and Anaretic ('Crisis') Degrees

topic posted Thu, August 31, 2006 - 3:15 AM by  kEN
Ok, I couldn't find any previous posts encompassing Critical/Crisis Degrees in enough detail, so anyone have enough balls to add to our wisdom and provide comments on this topic? Even if some discussion was done before there could be some with new experiences since then. Anything is welcome: technical info., life experience info., questions, etc. Some bg for those who need it:

Classic critical degrees:

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)
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 emphasized and assumes more power in the life of the native due to its placement.

Anaretic ('Crisis') Degrees:

The 0 and 29 degrees of any sign are considered critical degrees as well. The 0 and 29 degrees are more crisis-oriented points, especially in predictive work.

A quote from somewhere I don't remember:

"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'm too slow moving to reply immediately but will be checking in from time to time...gotta sleep now. And anyways, its for all of us... :-)

posted by:
offline kEN
  • The Critical Degrees are something that remind me of something oft used in Vedic astrology. The owe their origin to something called the Mansions of the Moon.

    The Mansions of the Moon are a division of the Moon's path (through the 360 degrees of the zodiac) into 28 divisions. Now, the Moon moves faster at some parts of its orbit than others, but if you average out the Moon's daily motion it comes to 12 degrees, 51 minutes and 25.2 seconds. If you start with 0 of the tropical sign Aries, and apply this average motion, you end up dividing the 360 degrees into these 28 sections....and the start of each section (or Mansion) is considered a Critical Degree. (The Vedic equivalent are called Asterisms, and they are measured from the beginning of the sidereal zodiac rather than the tropical. I think the Vedic astrologers only use 27 Asterisms.)

    The table you gave of 'Classic Critical Degrees' is a rounded off version, which some astrologers use for convenience. The actual critical degrees would be:

    Cardinal Signs:
    0 deg 0'0"
    12 deg 51'25"
    25 deg 42'50"

    Fixed Signs:
    8 deg 34'15"
    21 deg 25'40"

    Mutable Signs:
    4 deg 17'5"
    17 deg 8'30"

    There is not a universal agreement about the meaning of the critical degrees, and some astrologers don't use them at all.
    Seharial believed that when the Progressed Moon reached one of the critical degrees, the person would experience important changes in the area ruled by that 'mansion'. Some astrologers came to consider these degrees as crisis points in the progress of an acute illness.
    Cafe Astrology write, "These are considered sensitive, and sometimes strengthening, points. If a natal planet is found in a critical degree, that planet is emphasized and assumes more power in the life of the native due to its placement."

    I have my Mercury at 17 Gemini 11, which puts it at a critical degree. But I have always found it difficult to see the 'critical degree' quality of it because that planet is of heightened importance in my chart for several other reasons:
    1. It is the ruler of my Sun Sign
    2. It falls in it's own sign
    3. It falls in the 3rd house, which has a natural affinity for Mercury
    4. It is the final dispositor of my chart.

    I did find a sight devoted to interpreting the critical degrees, which I'll direct you to in a moment. But first, let me analyze the section they have about Mercury being critical:

    "When your natal Mercury is critical you are sociable and eager to please; but you never quite seem to fit in no matter how hard you try. You are self-conscious and constantly aware of the impression you are making on other people. At times you may become too dependent on their approval or acceptance. You can be overly self-justifying in your efforts to dodge blame and reproach. There can be a sense of cheerful indifference or helplessness about you; you can be a little too pleased with yourself; as a reaction against others’ judgments. On the other hand, you tend to be nonjudgmental yourself, and are eager to learn and communicate. Typically your friendships cut across all lines of social class and educational background. There is a freshness, an openness, about you, which heralds a nascent innocence."

    I'd say that is all pretty much true, although some of the more negative aspects of it, I have been working on and they are not as true as they once were. But just about everything in that paragraph can be explained by something else in my chart.

    Anyway, here is that site, if you want to look up your own Critical Degree planet(s):

    The Anaretic Degrees are related to something called the Hyleg, or The Giver of Life. At one time, this was said to be a planet so located as to influence one's longevity. The whole subject is very complex, and also very controversial, because it was used to predict the time of death....and nowadays that is quite frowned upon. Basically, the strongest planet that occupied one of the Aphetic places became Hyleg, and was deemed to be the Apheta. The Aphetic places were from the 25th degree of the 8th house to the 25th degree of the 11th house; from the 25th degree of the 12th house to the 25th degree of the 1st house; and from the 25th degree of the 6th house to the 25th degree of the 7th house. It gets very complex, but the Anaretic places were those occupied by Mars or Saturn, or by the Sun, Moon or Mercury if they aspected Mars or Saturn. And the Anaretic planets were, unlike the Hyleg, considered the destroyer of life.

    Some people have taken the term Anaretic and grafted it onto the Critical Degree concepts, but these are really two entireley different things.
    Some people consider any planet at 0 or 29 degrees to be at an Anaretic degree, and thus a crisis degree, but that is not how the word was originally defined.
    • Thanks for the link.. I have Mercury at 0 Cancer with prog Uranus on it now, Saturn at 21 Leo with trans Sat conj now and trans Neptune opp. . The descriptions fit! Thanks for so much good info..

      This Sat return is much harder than the last one I think partly b/c of the Neptune opp, and being in a Saturn 19 yr cycle now( Vedic). Natal Jupiter / Sat trine the last time around felt easier, more helpful. I hope I figure this out soon, the tension is rough..
  • One thing I didn't realize is that the actual critical degrees were SO accurately defined, down to the second of arc, wow. Thanks for the clarification. Also I recall that most (?) pro astrologers tend to ignore the criticals and just focus on the crisis ones.

    I've got two planets @ 29deg that sextile each other and depend upon my experiences to interpret how they actually manifest in my life. Zane, I'd have to say that your description of Merc critical is, at least, not far off the mark. The more I think about it, I realize that these degrees DO affect me, or more precisely, affect how I project myself into the world.

    Kate, do you mean that 0 and 29's do not activate until later in ones life or ?

    I'll think about these things...and thanks again for your replies...I think OUR knowledge database needed some more info on this subject.

  • Interesting...

    I have Venus direct at 29° Aquarius in the 7th Mercury Rx at 29° Pisces in the 8th and Jupiter stationairy-direct at 29° Cancer in the 12th plus my Nodal axis on 17° Virgo/Pisces what does all of this mean?
    • Lucid,

      Good question man...All I know is what I put in my orig post...and i"m trying to figure it out too.

      go check out the link Zane provided - it has some info that was new to me

      ...and some others on the web have played this topic down a bit, but I can say that it is significant in my life and worthwhile to post here and discuss...
      • 29' Mars in Sag., 4th house
        - Conjunct Sag. Neptune
        - Sextile Libra Mercury, Saturn Pluto
        - Trine Aries Moon

        I resonated with the following sentence in the original post, though whether this is due to Mars being at 29 degrees or conjunct Neptune or both, I can't really say...

        "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!"

        Action has always been difficult for me. I can see where I want to go and I can normally see all the various steps I could take to get there, but how to actually get my feet to move in any one of those directions remains a mystery. Because of this I often feel very ineffectual. But again this could be the whole Mars conjunct Neptune thing and not so much Mars at 29 degrees...
        • hey k, thanks for your reply,

          I wanted to get us some more info on this and it looks like we did!

          As Zane reminded me, some of the original stuff came from: Cafe Astrology...I had it copied n pasted into one of my many text files for further study...

          Zanes other link also had some additional info too, not found in Cafe Astrology website, and I found it insightful...

          take it easy,
          • K- a thought..Mars doesn't plan.. Mars just does, right?? Point and shoot.
            • I'm not sure about this Ken, but it is an interesting thread. I've read a few things here and there. Another thing in astro I don't understand yet.

              Mars, yeah I guess it depends where it is. With Mars in Cancer, feels like cautious Mars to me. Like the way Mars is NOT supposed to be. I think that is the fall.
              • hey Bell,

                I remember you mentioned somewhere your husband had one or two 0's or 29's (?)

                ...check it out on him!...maybe there's a transit coming up that might 'trigger' these..

                secretly watch him and observe! :-)
                • thanks for broaching this subject ken and thanks for all the additional info and links zane. i'd never heard about this before and find it interesting in light that saturn in my chart is at 29cap50 and uranus is at 21leo45. i think neptune is off the hook at 9sco35. hmm... and because it's named after our beloved zane i've been keeping track of the asteroid (iirc) 'zane' in my chart and it's at 0tau56.
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    thanks for your reply...the sharing of info was what I wanted for our knowledge base...I only saw one prior thread about this with one reply and thought it deserved a bit more insights or anything! btw, Zane clarified some things so something to keep in mind...

            • DragonWire - yes, i do believe that's an accurate statement to make. the quote i pasted in my post sounded like it contained quite a bit of Mercury along with Mars, and Mercury is actually highly prevelant in my natal (sextile Mars, ruler of ASC and MH, conjunct Sat. and Plu., opposite Moon). so that could have something to do with the planning aspect of what i wrote.
              • K- I know... But.. w/ all the planing entry.. Mercury.. and MH ??? Mc Pluto... Well gees I should look ata chart huh... Anyway.. Pluto opp moon.. Makes sence....
                Just we can never expect Mars to really pay much attention to much really to any aspect....
                Good thing too, or we would never act inpusivly and learn from it....
                I Like's the 4 wheel drive that just goes foward... It's the responcibility of all the other stuff to make sences of it all...But really, after the fact... and....oh sorry.. but I just love this energy....
                has anyone ever gotten up at the crack of dawn in a frozen house, grabbed a blanket, ran for the wood stove, and got the fire going, newspaper, cedar scraps, and sone somewhat wet wood.. Shivering your ass off....
                Light dam it light dam it...LOL.. Ahhhh.. of What now... Breakfast.....
                like I said.. point and shoot....
                And ya... K- put all that togeather....
                Well have a great week......Smiles....
                • Unsu...
                  Yeah...I have some critical degrees...:(... Still don't know if it is a good thing. I was born 13 degrees in Aries, my moon is at 26 degrees Libra AND my Venus is at 29 degrees Taurus (in my 10th house...:(...). I don't know if this is a good thing at all. I also have my Uranus in Cap. at 1 degree. Yesh, I think my chart is confusing at times. i mean are "critical" degrees really bad? Plus some of my house cusps start at degree 29 (my eigth house cusp in Aquarius and 2nd house cusp in Leo).
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    I wish I could fill you on these things, but I'm not 100% sure either...I'm learning

                    but it seems as though critical degrees are actually good (?) I think the 'crisis' ones (0's and the 29's) have some bad press written about them (I've got 29's), but really...its prob. a safe bet that one can handle them, and once understood, use them to some sort of advantage (or at least minimize their negative effects)
                    • Unsu...
                      ^ Thanks for responding, Ken.

                      Yeah hopefully it isn't that bad (my sun and moon are in the "crisis degrees").

                      It just worried me because when I searched google (especially for the 29th Taurus degree) it has been called the degree of the "weepsing sisters" demmed to give its' holder misfortune or something to weep about...o.O. Well, I suppose everything has a flip side...or better side to
                      • Odessa: "It just worried me because when I searched google (especially for the 29th Taurus degree) it has been called the degree of the "weepsing sisters" demmed to give its' holder misfortune or something to weep about...o.O."

                        Odessa, even though you're younger, this also applies to you - I posted this for someone else in another tribe a little while back:

                        "When you really look at it though...we only have a 'few years' left to kick around on this planet... why stress ourselves out so much???

                        ...maybe its time to enjoy ourselves, and just roll with it"

  • FJ
    offline 6
    I have both Jupiter in Saggittarius and Saturn in Taurus at the 29th degree, almost O*. Therefore they are quincunx each other.

    I also have Mars jst one degree shy of the critical 26th degree (27*). I think because Mars is technically semi-sextile to Saturn and trine to Jupiter, it get's sucked into this overall spect pattern as a kind of "honorary member".

    The quincunx, and also critical and anaretic degrees bestow impulses which especially originate in the subconcious. Therefore I will not assume much overt or immediate authority on the topic. I hereby offer myself as a guinea-pig to the group! ;-)

    Because they are so near some type of "completion", anaretic and critical degrees are forcing a final fusion of completed karmic work...into the soul. These are traits which are about to BECOME you once once and for all. Youhave been working on them. The characteristics are becoming the subconcious "you"...but every once in awhile you need to step back and think about what you are doing, conciously. That's where the indecision comes into place. ONce in awhile are suddenly prompted by a rude reality-check saying, "Wait a minute... I thought I was DONE with that!". The truth is, with these placements you may be well beyond many people in the areas ruled by the planets in those positions...but the challenge is to surrender that ego-awareness to your id. AND LISTEN UP: It has a double challenge! Every once in a while your id spits it back out to your ego for further development. You are ALMOST done with the lesson...but not quite.
    • FJ
      offline 6
      With anaretics and criticals, even if you make progress with this lesson, you work with this for the rest of your life. You always think you are "done"....but guess again. (Hey, at least it gives you a tenacious will to live!)

      The quincunx is a blind spot sometimes. It represents something coming at you from a degree which is not directly opposed, not especially harmonious, and actually very confusing at a distance. Therefore, it urges a person to always need a closer look before he acts. It is like two cars approaching each other, a mile apart but in separate lanes. For awhile you think that car is coming right at you on a collision course, so you start making adjustments. You start compulsively using everything you've got to compensate....but eventually you end up with a different perspective. In fact, the quincunx is often found in the charts people who are mastering perspective and how to view things. Is it any wonder I'm a Surveyor AND an Astrologer?
      People with quincunxs often become very perfectionist or hairsplittingly analytical (the quincunx after all, relates to Virgo's position from Aries). This aspect is like an itch in a hard-to-reach place...and therefore the person may develop some every interesting, innovative techniques and methods to alleviate his discomfort.

      In my case, I am working with both the quincunx AND the anaretics and the critical Mars simultaneously, so I felt the need to get that out in the open. In both cases I am working with a "critical" lesson of some sort, but I wanted to separate the quincunx influence from the others before I proceed. It's possible that unless I mention it, all my characteristics will be atributed to the criticals and anaretics...which be a GRAVE error in our survey, wouldn't it? ;-)

  • The critical degrees were first associated with medical astrology, and it was deemed that any planet transiting or progressing to a "critical degree" affect the health, or precipitated a health crisis of the sort associated with the natal planet and sign.

    Here is a snip from an essay that I wrote in 1993, where I traced the origin and meanings of the word "Critic." (MLA-style references removed for readability. References to Hall's Astrological Keywords have been retained in case you own the book and would like to read the section.)

    "Further unpleasant connotations of the term "critic" were acquired through its connections with ancient medicine, and in the early seventeenth century, medical astrology. Hippocrates believed that diseases were linked with the four body humours, which "ebbed and flowed like the tide of the sea," and that the seventh day, and its multiples, were "critical days" on which the "crisis" (from "krinein"), or tide of the disease could be determined, in the doctor's judgement, to be changing for better or worse. Medical astrology later reinforced this idea through the notion that the moon, which governed the tides, also affected the humours and therefore, the individual's health. In Astrological Keywords, Manly P. Hall states that "... critical days are those in which the moon forms aspects with its own radical [natal] position" (60), and that "the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th days are adversely critical" (60). An affiliated concept, was that of "critical degrees;" which assumed that particular degrees of the cardinal, fixed, and mutable signs of the zodiac were sensitive, and that "planets when in these degrees at birth tend to affect the native greatly for good or ill, in health ... according to the nature of the planets, their power, and the aspects to them." Today, "critical" (a derivative of "critic"), in the medical sense, maintains its association with the period of risk, or "crisis" of an illness, as when a patient is referred to as "in critical condition."
    The most intriguing relationship between "critic" and disease is an analogous one: as disease attacks and weakens the physical body, literary critics are often viewed as attacking and undermining the canon, or "body of literature."

    (c) 1993 V. Hoskins

    • well done article! nuanced interpretation, thank you for postiing this deepening of the symbols
      • Sun in Virgo at 29 degrees in the 8th house and Capricorn rising at 26 degrees.

        I vacillate sometimes from being highly action oriented to experiencing periods of remaining in the "ponder zone" for too long. LOL! I'm definitely "slowly maturing" as I guess my Capricorn rising dictates. I'm not too sure about what the "critical degress" mean in my chart, but from the above descriptions I can see things a little better as they apply to me.

        Thanks for posting this, Brian!
        • Kim
          offline 0
          I was wondering if anyone could possibly offer me any insight to the details of my chart. In particular, I have 5 planets and my Vertex in critical degrees:

          Mars at 29 Gemini
          Pluto at 29 Virgo
          Venus at 0 deg Cancer
          Neptune 4 deg Sagittarius
          Mercury at 26 deg Aries
          And my Vertex is at 9 deg Aquarius

          I am a Taurus Sun, Aries Moon, Virgo Ascendant. Also interesting to note is my Mars is conjunct Venus with a Pluto Square. Pluto is in my first house and I have an 8th house moon. I am a pretty intense person (in fact I only display a few Taurus characteristics)– wondering if any of this could explain why. Thanks for any help! - Kim
  • nice thread.

    I have Uranus (does outer planets count?) conj Moon (5 orb though) square Mars in 29 Anaretic degree of Scorpio! It's like just sitting there, waiting to burst spontaneously and make my life a living lightbulb explosion.

    Mars is in virgo 4.53, that would be a critical degree right?

    "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!"

    sounds very much like uranus the planet. yep, yep and yep. my eagerness and decision-making is constantly electrified with new ideas. luckily I got the scorpio emotional depth and the sun-mars thing etc. but virgoan mars is squaring uranus and that's dynamite that has to be channeled the right way, through inspiration and wise choices grounded in reality and constructive rationality.

    Ive got Chiron in Tau 21.06.
    • oh and I can be pretty high strung. I dont really know what to do with my Uranus. I do feel like it's a part of me, though, but sometimes not. input is welcomed. :)
      • so apparently my Mars is Critical. Ive always felt Mars is an important planet of my chart, partly because asc trine it via the Sun, and also it being in Virgo (traditionally a quite unfortunate placement for the feisty Mars) and it making a square to Uranus in scorpio 29 critical degree, conj Moon. It's quite contradictive.
        And I guess I can relate this to my experiences. ONe aspect is that Im sensitive, very emotional, nervous at times, high strung, but only when feeling cornered and when i cant freely live how I want to. On the other hand, IVe always felt Ive got a multidom of inner power, and huge stamina, but sometimes have a hard time finding away to express it or use it correctly. Everyday when I wake up Ive got a huge enthusiasm and power to conrectionalize things. It's like my Mars energy, which I do have a lot of, is searching for ways to flow in the right manner, suitable for it's task. I need a heroic mission. :) Im quite courageous too. But sometimes my mars energy just gets locked in. And I dont like that Virgo crap. Im very passionate but I like subtle things too. I often feel frustrated and restless, but sometimes happy and calm. I dont really know what to say but I do feel the tenseness of uranus and mars. It's in house 7.

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