The Ascendant is the point where you emerge into the world. Fixed by the moment of your birth in a particular Zodiac Sign – your Rising Sign – it is, quite literally, the first impression you make on the world around you. Your looks, preferences, personality, attitudes and demeanour are all heavily influenced by your Rising Sign, so much so that if someone is playing the old party game, ‘Guess My Zodiac Sign’, they are almost always going to be guessing your Rising Sign as that’s the one they see. Planetary placements in the First House of your Natal Chart will also be visible.
Your Rising Sign qualities may be how others see you but they are also a major influence in how you see yourself. In fact, it is often said that your Ascendant is the lens through which you view the world as all your experiences and perceptions are filtered through your Rising Sign. This rationale can be seen in your Natal Chart wheel. In both Quadrant systems and Equal House systems of house division, all our life experiences follow in sequence from the moment we were born.
Depending on which house system you choose, your Ascendant degree marks the beginning of your First House (or falls in your First House) and takes on the characteristics of the Zodiac Sign rising at the time of your birth. This is why it is so important to know not just your place of birth – but also the time with accuracy.
So, what are the effects of each Zodiac Sign on our outlook, attitudes and personality? I have to point out each of us is a unique combination of astrological factors and genetics, however, we cannot hide our Rising Signs and each one of us will be looking at the world in exactly the way we were born to do – by expressing our essential nature in the manner of our Rising Sign.
With Aries on the Ascendant, your Arian qualities were stamped on you at birth. You may have arrived into the world rapidly and noisily – and we usually start the way we mean to continue. This means the full force of your outer personality is Aries personified with the bold, forceful and direct personality to match. You may appear to be an Aries archetype with Aries visibly stamped on your appearance. For example, you may have red hair (or no hair), be heavily involved in sport, love a uniform, pick up too many speeding tickets and have more fights and arguments than average. Does that sound familiar?
Aries themed things interest you because they come so naturally to you. If your Sun Sign is a different zodiac sign (and that’s usually the case) you will express your solar nature with the enthusiasm and directness that reflects your bold and assertive approach to life. So, you’re likely to be the person who takes the initiative or who refuses to stand on the sidelines. You make a good leader because you push things forward with confidence and enthusiasm. You see yourself as a direct and honest person – and not many people would disagree with you on that – it’s how you live your life.
If it walks like a bull, talks like a bull then it must be Taurus Rising! Your ascending sign is often more visible than your sun sign, so your Taurus personality will be plain for all to see, You may have come into this world as every parent’s dream child. Placid, good natured – with only the occasional tantrum – you will have established your own coterie of favourite people and things, eaten and slept well and may even have been regarded as a sturdy and strong child with a very friendly and companionable personality. You will be appear to be a creature of habit with strong likes and dislikes. Your approach to life is consistent.
Taurus themed interests and activities – music, food, the arts, gardening – interest you because they come to you so naturally. If your Sun Sign gives you a completely different inner character, your Taurean personality means you will often express your Sun’s characteristics in a Taurean manner – steadily, practically, realistically and reliably. If your sun sign means you have an unreliable or changeable character – you will be reliably unreliable! Those of you with Venus in the first house may also share some of the traits of Taurus Rising – particularly if there is an Earth sign emphasis in your natal chart.
With Gemini on the Ascendant, you came into this world with a pen in hand and you will have wasted no time in absorbing as much information as you could. As a child you would have been a fast learner and no doubt managed to walk and talk ahead of many of your peers. You developed a personality that is demonstrably Gemini. You will be the chatty one, the social butterfly with a packed social diary.You move with ease between groups of friends and acquaintances and it is almost impossible to pin you down to any course of action where there aren’t several options available to you.
You act, look and behave like a Gemini. All things Gemini come easily to you and you are happy in the world of ideas because Gemini enables you to express the qualities of your Sun Sign at the mental level. You see the world through a Gemini lens regardless of your Sun Sign and it is this that makes you such an effective communicator on every subject under the Sun. Those of you with Mercury in the First House may also identify with Gemini traits, particularly if you have an emphasis on Air Signs in your natal chart.
With Cancer on the Ascendant, you were born carrying your shell on your back for all to see. Regardless of your Sun Sign, you take your time getting to know people and you really have to trust them and feel comfortable with them before you come out of your shell. Underneath that shell however, you are a kind and caring person who may at times appear somewhat shy, vulnerable and lacking in confidence. Don’t worry Cancer Rising, you have it in you to be tough when you need to be – and one thing you aren’t is a fool for others for you are far too self protective for that. Watch out for jealousy though – you can be prone to a bit of green eye…
You often act, look and behave like a Cancerian – even if your Sun Sign has completely different characteristics. Cancer themed stuff comes really naturally to you and the way you engage with the world will be very Cancerian in style. You may tend towards being frugal, your home will be important to you, you will be nurturing, may cook well or be a great collector. Whatever your Sun Sign, you will express yourself in ways that really resonate with your Cancer Ascendant. Those of you with a strong Moon in your natal chart – especially in the First House – will also share some traits with Cancer Rising.
You can’t buy charisma so just as well, Leo Rising, you were born with a lifetime’s supply and then some. Regardless of your Sun Sign, the way you express yourself is, well, exactly that – expressive. You express yourself probably better and more effectively than most people you know. Courageous and extroverted, Leo Rising, you will never feel shy of being yourself – and you will expect the world to accept your way of seeing things – if not, your roar will be heard for several miles.
You may look – or aspire to look – Leonine. Your hair will receive a lot of attention, you will want a lot of attention and you will be fond of jewellery and things that glisten and shine – even if it’s only in your eye. You will dress well and take great pride in your appearance and you may exude a natural confidence in all you do. Beware, however, of blowing your own trumpet a little too hard – you may bring music into people’s lives, just don’t turn the volume up too loud.
With Virgo as your Rising Sign you came into this world, no doubt, on time. As you picked off your developmental milestones, one by one, you will have impressed your elders with your facility for learning, talking and understanding and your, no doubt, excellent behaviour. So far so good – but you may also have been the pickiest eater and probably won the prize as the youngest vegan on the block. And I hate to say this, but ‘Geek’ is probably a word you’re way too familiar with…
So, Virgo Rising, the way you view the world is Virgoan in nature – even if your Sun sign is completely different. Virgoan things come so easily to you and you express the qualities of your Sun Sign, whatever it may be, in a Virgoan manner – precisely, diligently and with considerable forethought. Your Virgo ascendant can make you an authority on any subject that catches your undivided attention – for you will research anything that interests you to the ‘nth’ degree. As a Mercury influenced sign, you are also very happy to communicate your interests to the world at large – with excellent spelling, grammar and punctuation of course.
With Libra as your Rising Sign you probably won the most beautiful baby contest by a mile. Seriously, either that or you were a wonderfully well dressed child as you probably threw a sulk if you weren’t allowed to express your own preferences style-wise. Indeed, passive aggression is something you may have perfected at an early age as tantrums were not for you. Outwardly polite – but you certainly will have learned the art of getting your own way and your outer gentle nature masks a steely determination to see justice done.
So Libra Rising, The way you view and interact with the world is Libran in nature – even if your Sun Sign has blessed you with a completely different character. Libra things come easily to you and you express your Sun Sign’s qualities in a Libran manner – politely, intelligently, gracefully and with due deference to the need to interact cooperatively with others in this world. Your personality is congenial, your partner will be important to you and you will do everything you can to smooth over the differences between people and keep the peace. Those of you with Venus rising in the First House may share some traits with Libra Rising.
With Scorpio as your Rising Sign your entry into the world may have been traumatic. Born during a storm, earthquake or life threatening circumstances? That’s you. Even if your entrance was rather less dramatic, you will have become aware of life’s undercurrents at an early age and adapted your personality to suit your circumstances. Let me say right now however, that Scorpio Rising is quite often, a master/mistress of disguise, as you like to use your outer personality to protect the soul beneath – and can be quite happy to manipulate your audience to do so.
So, Scorpio Rising, the way you view the world is Scorpio in nature – even if your Sun Sign is completely different. Scorpio things come easily to you and you express the qualities of your Sun Sign in a Scorpio manner – intensely, passionately yet often sensitively and empathetically. Your Scorpio ascendant can make you a force to be reckoned with and can confer on you the kind of charismatic personality that makes people notice you. However, your need for secrecy makes you adept at revealing only those parts of you you are comfortable at revealing, so people may find it difficult to get to know the ‘real’ you. .
With Sagittarius Rising you came into this world with a backpack and guidebook. No doubt, at a very early age, you packed your teddy bear and favourite toy plane into a bag and declared you were running away from home – only to reappear at the next mealtime following the promise of your favourite food. As a child you were possibly a ferociously quick learner and precociously aware of the world around you. The environment, natural world, foreign languages and cultures probably intrigued you and you immersed yourself in tales of adventure and exploration – and probably still do.
You act look and behave like a Sagittarius – even if your Sun Sign gives you completely different underlying character. All things Sagittarius come easily to you and you are happiest in that intellectual world as this allows you to express the qualities of your Sun Sign in a cerebral and enthusiastic manner. You see the world through a Sagittarius lens; it is this that makes you an impressive intellectual force. You push the boundaries of human experience while others stand and stare. If you have Jupiter rising or a Ninth House emphasis in your Natal Chart, you may also share some Sagittarius characteristics.
With Capricorn on your Ascendant, you no doubt came into this world as a well behaved sensible child. You will have been the one your parents didn’t have to worry about – or maybe you were a late addition to the family and most certainly worth the wait. You would most likely have been diligent and dutiful and never late for school. All of this may make you seem perfect, but underneath it all you have a streak of mischievous humour and this – together with your natural empathy – make you friendly and popular.
So, Capricorn Rising, the way you view the world is essentially ‘Capricornian’ in nature. Capricorn things come easily to you and you express the qualities of your Sun Sign in a Capricorn manner – with discipline, patience, reliability and a sense of humour. Your Capricorn Ascendant gives you an air of authority and can bestow leadership skills as you naturally display the seriousness of intent that can take you far in many fields. You can be patient, fair yet uncompromising as you play by the rules and expect others to do the same.
With Aquarius on the Ascendant you probably entered the world unexpectedly – and possibly with a little technological assistance. Once there however, you would have been an independent natured child with lots of interests and you didn’t really care whether anyone shared those interests – or not. It’s fair to say, though Aquarius Rising is a sociable person, you’re also more equipped than most to cope with life on your own. You find solitary time useful to recharge your batteries and usually have your best ideas when alone.
You act, look and behave like an Aquarius – which means you have the freedom to create your own persona and be whatever you feel suits you best – regardless of your Sun Sign. You are comfortable with Aquarius’s intellectual approach to life and your express the qualities of your Sun Sign in an Aquarian manner even if your underlying character is somewhat different. So, regardless of Sun Sign you will hold firm opinions and not be shy of expressing them. You will be intellectually creative, an outrider for whatever is new and exciting. Those of you with Uranus in the First House will share similar traits.
With Pisces on the Ascendent you may have entered the world looking like an angel. You were probably a quiet child whose unassuming gentle demeanour masked a keen involvement with the affairs of others and a noted interest in the wellbeing of the toys, children and animals you collected along the way. You could have been treated like a Prince or Princess – however, you were more likely to have imagined yourself as one. Pisces Rising can be remarkably upwardly aspirational or mobile – even if it’s veiled in beauty or vulnerability. At a young age you learned that an air of innocence can unlock many doors for you.
You act, look and behave like a Pisces; it’s easy for you to hide your underlying character from the world at large – and that’s how you prefer it to be. You are comfortable with a spiritual approach to life and you express the qualities of your Sun Sign in a ‘Piscean’ manner. Your Solar qualities may be softened by this Rising Sign. They will be expressed more gently and you may be a notably kind person who makes space in your life for others – especially those in need. You may be regarded as a guru by some – and a victim by others. However, you will be happiest when meeting your own spiritual needs – and they will take many and varied forms.
Next: Descendant (DC) | Midheaven (MC) | Nadir (IC)
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© Sara Shipman
Picture credit: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay