Ask Kevin: House Cusps at Critical Degrees

By | March 7, 2020

Justin, thank you for your question. “Critical degrees” is a term that shows
up quite a lot in older astrology books. It may refer to the last few degrees of a
sign, or only to the 29th degree of a sign. But at least in natal astrology, the idea
of a “critical degree” has almost no practical value. Context is important, however, and I want
to make some distinctions here, because we’re really talking about three different cases:
A planet at a critical degree. An angle at a critical degree. A house cusp at a critical degree. Planets are what matter in the chart. In fact, they’re the only things that matter. Signs, angles, and house cusps only have meaning
in relationship to planets. A planet at the final degree of a sign is
in a precarious position. It’s getting ready to go through a significant
change. With very few exceptions, when a planet changes
signs, it either gains or loses a considerable amount of power because of the change of Essential
Dignity. Adjacent signs have no common ground — when
a planet changes signs, it changes element, modality, and polarity — so everything about
how that planet expresses is different. There’s also evidence that ancient astrologers
felt that the final degrees of a sign were difficult or inherently challenging because
either Mars or Saturn — the two traditional “malefic” planets — has dignity by Term
for the final degrees of every sign. This matters a lot in predictive astrology
— but in the context of a natal chart, it’s not nearly as significant. Having the Angles of the chart at critical
degrees — especially at 29 degrees — is something to consider. First, I would consider if the birth time
is accurate. Obviously, people are born with the angles
at the very end (or very beginning) of a sign, but when a timing error of even five minutes
results in different signs on the angles, it’s important to be 100% certain the birth
time is accurate. When planets change signs by transit, especially
slower-moving planets, they correspond to shifts and changes in our daily lives and
in world events. Everyone experiences these energies to some
degree, even if the transit doesn’t trigger us personally. But people who have the angles in their chart
at “critical degrees” may be especially sensitive to these changes because each time
a planet transits critical degrees, it activates one of the angles in their chart. Last — and least — we have the other house
cusps at critical degrees. This has no significance at all. When considering houses, what matters most
is the planet that rules a house, not planets that occupy a house. Unless a house is ruled by a planet at a critical
degree, having the house cusp at a critical degree is not important.

One thought on “Ask Kevin: House Cusps at Critical Degrees

  1. incense junkie Post author

    Thanks for answering a question I've had myself. For me it's the 2/8 axis at 29'56 Taurus/Scorpio. I thought potentially 29 Scorpio on it's own house might have been significant, but sounds like it's not the case.


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