Rising Into Your Ascendant

Let’s talk about one of the most important points in your birth chart:  the Ascendant/Rising Sign.

It is the sign that is just on Eastern horizon, where the light first hit your chart on the day you were born.  I love that symbolism!  In fact, that is why I named Ascent Astrology after the Ascendant; you only go up from there.  But, back to my blog post. (Ahem…)

The sign on your ascendant is a power point and part of the big 3 when determining personality (Sun, Moon, and Ascendant).  This sign is the way that you present yourself to the outside world, how you interact with others, and the way you get things done.

The moment you were born, you first left your mother and became your own separate person.  The sign of your Ascendant expresses that essence and characteristics of how you will view the world forever.  It is key to your personality. Some astrologers refer to it as “your mask” as it’s the first thing people see about you.  However, I’ve found that the longer you wear a suit the more it becomes part of you.  It intertwines into your identity.  Think about your first professional job.  You probably felt like an imposter your first day, but the role you occupied became more ingrained the longer you stayed.

In social situations astrologers get asked the party trick question called: “Guess my sign.”  I know the average person is asking me to guess their Sun Sign, but what we pick up on is their Ascendant.  So 9 times out of 10, even if I guess, I’m going to get it wrong from their point of view.  

What’s the Difference Between Sun/Moon/Ascendant?

The Ascendant represents your Self-Awareness, Self-Sufficiency, and Self-Interest.  It signifies your goals, your ambitions, and the way you direct your energies to make things happen.

The Sun Sign represents your Identity, Soul Urge, and Ego.  It takes time to evolve and can be a bit hidden.  Your Ascendant is your shield of your Sun and Moon Sign.  Most people don’t grow into their sun signs until their teens or early adulthood.

The Moon Sign represents your Inner Emotional Life.  It’s how your gut responds and how you best nurture yourself.  Some people cry it out, others talk, while others have to get active to work through their feelings.  All of this is in your Moon. I wrote more about that here.

How to Find Your Ascendant:

Most people don’t know their Ascendant unless they have been to an astrologer or have done their chart online from a reputable source like www.astro.com or www.astro-seek.com

You also will need your exact birth time to figure out your Ascendant.  Find your birth certificate for this vs. relying on Mom’s euphoric memory.  The Ascendant hour changes roughly every 2 hours so it’s important.

Depending on the house system you use, the Ascendant can fall anywhere in the first house, but for the purpose of easy visuals, I’ve put it on the cusp line dividing the 12th and 1st house.  Always look for “As” or “Asc”.

If you don’t know your birth time, it’s still possible to figure out your Ascendant through a process called rectification.

Ascendant Signs:

Aries Ascendant:  There is nothing shy about this individual.  They have strong opinions and an innate way of raising their hand to go first.  They are enthusiastic, jump in head first, and like to get projects off the ground.  They like recognition but sometimes have a hard time sticking with things through the end.

Taurus Ascendant:  They are steady-eddy’s of the Zodiac.  They will order the same thing off of the menu because they know it will be consistently yummy.  They have a reputation for being resistant to change, but once they see the proven results they are 100% on board and it will be hard to get them to alter the path.  Refined and slower paced, these individuals don’t like to be pressured with time or opinions.  They aren’t afraid to put in the long hours and can accumulate wealth.

Gemini Ascendant:  Their hands move as fast as their mouths when they are talking.  There is always potential for everything in their minds which is why they are natural worries.  They are excitable, witty, and love to be with people.  They love to have multiple projects going on at the same time.  Don’t worry about deadlines; they will make it at the last minute by a hair.

Cancer Ascendant:  These individuals are warm, affectionate, and wear their hearts on their sleeves.  They are sensitive and can pick up on moods of others.  It’s almost like they have a 6th sense of what other’s need before that individual can articulate it.  When they perceive their security is threatened, expect a little emotional spiraling. Cancer Ascendants are the natural mothers of the Zodiac.

Leo Ascendant:  The magnetism these individuals possess is astounding.  They attract people, but sometimes doesn’t have the natural ability to organize them like Capricorns do – just in a sense of their radiance.  They celebrate everyone’s uniqueness and they believe life is fun as a basic principle.  They are natural cheerleaders and love to be celebrated.  False pride and grudges can be their downfall though.  Loyalty is the number one value until they feel betrayed and then expect to be shut in the darkness forever.  There are no second chances.

Virgo Ascendant:  If you get unsolicited advice in a crisp manner and it’s coming from a helpful place, chances are it’s coming from a Virgo Ascendant.  They want to be helpful as their core principle, but logic can feel a little cold.  They aren’t as stubborn as a Taurus; in fact they will change their opinion if the opposition has sound logic.  If given a problem their first instinct is to hit the information sources and gather as much information as possible.  Expect these individuals to be extremely health conscious.

Libra Ascendant:  Indecision is one of the hallmarks of this Ascendant.  It’s not because they don’t know what they want; it’s because they don’t want to offend anyone else by stepping on their toes.  They love hosting and making sure everyone feels welcome.  They are neat and discriminating.  In fact, their houses will look like an interior decorator swooped into every room and it was just their own eagle eye putting things together.  Don’t open their closets though; you’re going to find all of the unfinished design jobs they forgot. 

Scorpio Ascendant:  These individual are some of the hardest go get to know and they pride themselves on it.  They keep secrets like currency, but wouldn’t dare to cash in because they know the value of relationships.  Their minds are always working to go deeper and uncover the next piece of information.  They like to work behind the scenes and have amazing powers of observation to solve problems.  Like Virgo Ascendants, not much slips by them.  They can be cruel when crossed and will sting with their tempers if provoked.  They will never let you know how deep you hurt them.

Sagittarius Ascendant:  They would never try to box another person in which is why it is hard to get them to commit.  Respecting everyone’s need for independence, exploration, and ability to be themselves are key values.  They love a spirited debate and honestly don’t take offense when opposing views are expressed as long as clear thinking is shown.  These archers have a wide range of friends and are optimistic about the future.  Generous with their time and money almost to a fault.  They can be impulsive and will value any action forward in the spirit of trying to solve the problem.  They love to brainstorm.

Capricorn Ascendant:  As children you wonder if they know how to play.  Their ambition is focused and everything is directed toward making a better life and improving themselves.  All goals are just stepping stones where hard work and self-reliance are expected. They tend to have older person health problems when they are younger (need reading glasses, joint problems, etc).  They are extremely intelligent and build things that last.  They are the CEO’s of the Zodiac.

Aquarius Ascendant:  Lively and friendly, Aquarius risings are fun to be around.  They paint pictures with their words, expanding the “what could be’s” for everyone to see.  They don’t like conflict like Libra, but it’s more on a global/group level than on a personal/individual level.  They can be inflexible in their opinions though and will be intolerant of other’s short comings.  Their minds are quick and expansive and they have no patience for those who cannot see their vision.  They find the flaws in other’s arguments effortlessly and point them out with humor.  They don’t mind being independent.  They believe they are special.

Pisces Ascendant:  These individuals have the reputation of being the scatterbrains of the Zodiac.  They follow their instincts without reservation.  They are naturally optimistic, devoted, willing to help, and flexible.  Sometimes these traits get interpreted as them being wishy-washy.  But really they are so devoted to others that just have a hard time setting boundaries, sometimes to their own detriment.  They endure and believe in miracles and if that doesn’t work then they will play the victim so others will set the boundaries for them.

Bonus Astrologers Tip:

Most horoscope columns are written from the Ascendant’s point of view so try reading them from your Ascendant’s sign.  It’s particularly important when they are talking about topics that will be highlighted that month or year and the accuracy of the timing and issues will improve.  

Moon Signs in the Birth Chart

While everyone knows their Sun sign, did you know you also had a Moon sign?  This second luminary rules those born at night. Your moon sign tells us how you like to be nurtured and loved. Understanding this can help you feel like you can conquer the world or the fastest remedy to break out of a funk.  It is how we react instinctively. Let’s dive right in, shall we?  

Moon in Aries individuals can be pretty direct, spontaneous, impatient, and reckless. They need to be assertive in order to feel secure.  However they can be over reactive.  Their competitive natures can turn combative and get in the way of finding security.   

Moon in Taurus individuals are ruled by their 5 senses.  They like to cuddle up with warm blankets, their favorite chocolates, and their favorite meal lofting from the kitchen.  These individuals are stable and loyal friends who are there with you until the very end.  But, they will also hang onto their territory as it’s being pried from them as well.  They are beyond stubborn and will argue the sky is green if that’s what they first became attached to.  

Moon in Gemini natives can see both sides of the coin.  Part of their own frustration is that they can feel everyone’s point of view and their emotions can change on a dime.  They are perceptive socially and they are expressive.  Often they can get pegged as being inconsistent, but this has more to do with their talents of being open to everyone and trying to filter things vs. a malicious intent to frustrate others with their behaviors.  They often get criticized for not keeping intimate things private, but its their way of trying to process and make sense of their world.

Moon in Cancer natals can be a bit over-sensitive and thus over-protective.  They are the original Mama Bears of the zodiac.  They almost have a second sense for what someone needs before they need it.  Nurturing is their strength.  However, they are highly in tune with other’s moods and reactions even to their own detriment.  They have all the feels.  

Moon in Leo individuals love to be the centers of everyones attention.  They are generous, warm, and respond with enthusiasm that radiates from their heart.  They rely on their ability to dramatize and create a one-person show that draws you in for everyones amusement which feeds into their happiness.  Sometimes the life of the party is so caught up, they don’t realize that others are not receiving them as well as they’d hoped.  When they don’t get their way they can get a bit dramatic and petulant.

Moon in Virgo individuals are precise.  I once read that they take worrying to an art form (I am a Moon in Virgo).  There is always a practical solution to every problem for a Moon in Virgo.  Indeed.  In a former life I was a pediatric emergency social worker.  You came in to the ER via ambulance?  No problem.  I’d find you a ride home.  You came in without medication or food?  No problem.  I could take the most terrible awful emotional situations and break them down into steps of intervention, emotional reassurance, and practical assistance.  I served others to my hearts content.  It. Was. Awesome.    But it also burned me out.  I was so efficient that I also boxed my own emotions up in the process.  It was like Mary Poppins on steroids.  That is what Moon in Virgos do:  practical solutions to problems, refines their own emotional reactions to the point it looks rehearsed, feels secure by making improvements, reinstalls order.  They love working behind the scenes making things happen magically.  Practically Perfect in every way until you end up on anti-anxiety meds to deal with all the repression….just sayin’…

Moon in Libras are infamous for what I call “the dinner conversation.”  You know the one:  It starts off with the innocuous question,  “Where do you want to eat?”  30 minutes later there are 140 options on the table and not a decision in site.  Never, ever, ask a Libra.  They will always default to whatever you want and its not because they don’t have an opinion.  They do.  But they would rather make you happy and eat icky sushi 100% of the time.  Moon in Libras value harmony above everything else.  They are the ultimate conflict avoidant personality types.  They are the sequential relationship people and only feel they are at their best in close relationships at all times.  

Moon in Scorpio key phrase is ‘the waters run deep”.  With these individuals you can see the depths of their beings in their eyes.  Everything is experience to them, especially experience where things did not work out in their favor.  To them, they wrap that up in a bow and carry it into their heart for their soul to grow from.  They survive off of deep emotional connection.  Fluffy talk about the weather will not sustain them, and those who are the privileged few in their inner circle will be let into their mystery and passion.  You will ask a question and they will deflect with a question.  Scorpios are the original masters of psychotherapy:  the diggers of the emotional depths.  They are hard to truly understand, and they like it that way.

Moon in Sagittarius brings people who like to explore and have fun doing it.  They crave independence, the higher truth, and an active search for meaning.  They feel the most comfortable when their mind is on a journey either through the pages of a book or across a new landscape on a new adventure.  They are the natural questioners of everything and often times the quest becomes more important than the question itself.  There are times when their enthusiasm follows the pied piper and they become gullible, arrogant, fanatic, or preaching.  

Moon in Capricorn struggles a bit here as the moon is in its detriment.  The moon, which represents emotion, is in the most restrictive space yet.  Can transformation happen?  Yes!  All we have to do is look to Scrooge himself and see that.  Natives with the Moon in Capricorn are incredibly hard workers and they get their emotional self-fulfillment out of what they have accomplished.  Often they are the “Negative Nelly’s” of the group, as they are always seeming to be responding less than enthusiastically (especially compared to a Leo Moon).  However, it’s more of a realistic flair than negative flair, in their book.  They want to feel secure and not let down or disappointed.  Being realistic from the get go helps them manage their expectations and their emotions better.  They feel comfortable in the role of being in charge.  But as they say, it can be lonely at the top.  

The Moon in Aquarius person is one who hasn’t met a friend he hasn’t liked.  Everyone is a potential friend or social connection in their book.  They need to connect socially and share their ideas in order to feel like themselves.  Imagine a college professor without a classroom to lecture to.  That would be an Aquarius’s idea of hell.  Where would they have the space to challenge ideas, feed off of each other, make connections, come up with other new schemas?  They will play devils advocate, not because they agree, but because no one else will and because it’s interesting and fun.  They like to know the limits just so they can peer beyond them.  They may not realize they are driving other people absolutely crazy by doing it.  Most ideas were not born in isolation as Aquarius would attest.  They like their freedom and their independence and the recognition that what they contribute is worthy and meaningful.  Anyone who wants to be part of an Aquarius’s inner circle or love interest must start with the friendship realm first and foremost.  Only by not needing an Aquarius, will you actually attract one.  

Moon in Pisces individuals are compassionate and sensitive.  They are often unfocused as they are daydreaming and highly imaginative.  They also live for peace and a sense of group wholeness in order for them to feel secure in their place.  While it seems they are unaffected by emotions, the opposite is true.  They in fact are very sensitive to the emotional tide, but let it flow in and out of them trusting everything changes.