Why is the 29th degree called “the critical degree” in astrology?
There is a mystery whenever the 29th degree is mentioned in astrology and I would say that some people are even afraid of that degree. It is true that in astrology the 29th degree is called the critical degree, but when we say “critical” it carries a certain amount of fear. How critical? What kind of critical situation will I find myself in? When something is critical, we connect it with danger. I will explain how I see that degree and what that same degree has brought me personally so far.
What does it actually mean when someone has a planet at a critical degree in the natal chart, solar, or progressed chart? Each sign has 30 degrees, but in fact, the planet never reaches the 30th degree. When the planet reaches the 29th degree and 59 minutes changes the sign and comes to the 0 degrees of a new sign, which is actually the very beginning. This tells us that the 29th degree actually carries certain events that bring a reversal and then some new beginning.
My natal Jupiter is on the 29th degree of Gemini, as is Mars in Cancer. The Progressive Sun has recently changed sign and moved from the 29th degree of Taurus to the 0 degrees of Gemini. When we talk about the progressive chart, we are talking about personal development and evolution rather than a specific event. So, that same transition of the Sun from Taurus to Gemini brought me the need to socialize and also brought me the desire to learn. Since last year, when the Sun was at the 29th degree, I have been studying very intensively and I have also started to socialize much more with the people around me. I also started to feel the need to go out. By the way, I am by nature someone who hangs out with a couple of selected people all my life. For me, as an introverted person by nature, this was a turnaround and an entry into something new.
When we talk about the planets in the natal chart on the 29th degree, we are talking about situations that you feel are destined and you might not plan to go in that direction at all. It often happens that those who have a planet at this degree are more often than others brought before some important decisions that change the course of their lives. On a personal example, it looks like this. Just before finishing college, I said: “I can’t wait to finish college and finally get a job.” That’s what I really thought. I had absolutely no ambitions to pursue a master’s or doctorate. I was never interested in that. However, Jupiter did its job on the 29th degree. At the very end of the faculty, I received an offer from my professor to go to do a master’s degree in Italy. I remember looking at her and thinking: “She obviously sees something in me that I don’t see.” Even today, I have the impression that I did not consciously say: “Yes, I would like to go”. A reversal, I will not work, I will continue to study and I never thought I would be doing that.
During that same period, I also decided that marriage might not be for me and that I should dedicate myself to work. And with that decision, I went to Italy. And then there I met my current husband. Again, Jupiter on the 29th degree. Turnaround again, I entered something new and I got married in two years even though I had absolute peace with my previous decision to never get married. And yet, no I change my mind so easily when I make a decision. Mars on the 29th degree of Cancer also contributed to all that. In my chart, Mars represents my father who played a key role in my decision to leave the country and go to my future husband while I was struggling with myself and feeling of guilt on how to leave my parents as the only child in the family. Mars on the 29th degree also had a crucial decision to start a family soon after although I previously wanted something else. Mars is naturally the ruler of my first house (me) and is in the fourth house (home, family) so I identify with the family. Without family, I wouldn’t feel complete.
I hope I was able to explain what the 29th degree brings and in what sense it is a critical degree.
This does not necessarily mean critical events in a bad way, but it brings moments where you make important decisions in your life according to what your soul intends to experience. In this way, you start something new and end one cycle that remains behind you.