Astro Advice Column: Degree Theory (2024)

July 9, 2024, 9:51 a.m.

Welcome to my Astro Advice Column! If you subscribe to my Astro-Kats or Star Kids Club groups you are able to ask me questions about astrology for this advice column.

Hi there! I just learned that my sun sign, Aries, is in the "Cancer Degree," which is 28 degrees. I'm also a Cancer rising, and a Taurus moon. My sun and rising are square, so I always thought that they are in opposition, but now that I've found out that my sun sign is in the Cancer degree, I'm wondering if that mitigates it somewhat. Do you have any thoughts about this? Thank you for being you! :)

—"The Cancer Degree"

Oof, fellow Aries Sun! I like that you’re asking me about an Aries and Cancer square in your chart. My Sun is in Aries and my Moon is in Cancer so I have a similar square, though yours is with your ascendant and Sun. Let’s see if I can answer your question, or at least respond to it, without getting into too much trouble. Degree theory is highly controversial. I’ll try to allude to why.

Degree theory was created solely by astrologer Nikola Stojanovic who, at least according to what I see from his students on social media, was a pretty rigorous astrologer with a good understanding of technique. I haven’t looked too much into it so your query made me ask the question—why is the 28th degree of a sign called the Cancer degree according to the creator of degree theory himself?

I think that the question of why something works the way it works is important in everything, especially astrology. If you can answer the question of why something works the way it works, then you can interpret using that principle. If you can’t, then you shouldn’t use the principle until you figure out how it works.

I came across this article by Stojanovic. Why does he say that the 28th degree of a sign is the Cancer degree? Because the 25th is the Aries degree, the 26th is the Taurus degree, and the 27th is the Gemini degree. Okay. But why is the 25th degree the Aries degree?

The reason that Stojanovic gives is because Hitler’s ascendant is at the 25th degree of Libra. Hitler was a genocidal maniac and a fascist. Stojanovic associates Hitler’s behaviors with Aries and not Libra. So, the 25th degree is Aries and the 26th is Taurus and so on. I think you might see from this why degree theory is so controversial.

Stojanovic also gives the reason why he sees the 13th degree of a sign as the Aries degree. The US has Sun at 13º Cancer and American presidents are warmongers. They all want to enter history as imperialists. Imperialist is my own word, Stojanovic uses the word warrior which he connects to Aries. Thus, the 13th degree is Aries, the 14th Taurus, the 15th Gemini, and so on.

I don’t know. I’m fairly open to any theory of astrology but I will also use a good dose of skepticism when engaging with any theory. I’m really not sure personally about using one historical figure’s chart to create a theory. Now, Stojanovic also gives other examples based on people he has met in his personal life. I think that different astrologers will debate this—can you base an astrological principle on what you observe and see? Along with this question are other questions: whose observed reality is objective enough for theory? What are the limits of one person’s perspective? How does the chart really manifest? Is it through theory or consensus? How does consensus inform theory?

Whose lives do we use to create our theories about the stars? Whose lives and biographies do we allow to shape our consensus about the past and the future? Do we look for Mars in the imperialists of history or in our resistance? What are the benefits and drawbacks of either?

I won’t debate these questions here. Your question is of a more personal nature. You are interested in the interpretation of your Cancer ascendant with your Aries Sun. These two placements square each other because Aries squares Cancer.

When I looked through Stojanovic’s article, he doesn’t say anything about the degree of a sign taking away from the aspects that the sign is already making. According to his theory, the 28th degree of any sign is the Cancer degree. Aries still squares Cancer. That doesn’t change.

Your rising sign still squares your Aries Sun. Your chart ruler is still your Moon in Taurus. These principles still remain the same. We can debate the theory of degrees but the base building blocks of your chart don’t change. Aspects are still aspects. Do you believe me about this? If so, look for the theory of aspects and why aspects do what we astrologers say they do.

I hear your concern over your square. I say that a square isn’t necessarily a bad thing in astrology based on what I know about it. A square actually shows us two signs are of the same modality. Both your Sun sign and your rising sign are cardinal. Since Aries and Cancer can see each other, your rising sign and your Sun will try to work together in some way even if they try to do different things at the same time. Cancer is like a wave breaking against the shore and Aries is like the breaking of the light at dawn.

Squares have a bad reputation. I say, just “bad” isn’t enough. Consider what planets are involved. Consider why two signs are squared and what a square might mean for the planets in those signs. Then, you can make a judgment about what a square is doing exactly.

You can read into degree theory if you are interested. Since I’m not personally a proponent of the theory, I won’t make any interpretations using it. Your aspects still remain what they are—that is, if you subscribe to the theory of aspects. In my book, you are free to debate any theory in astrology as long as you can find a good enough reason. This is the reason why all astrologers have idiosyncrasies about what theories we use and which we don’t.

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Astro Advice Column: Degree Theory (2024)
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