When it comes to your horoscope, the difference between your rising sign and your ascendant is key to seeing how the stars shape your life.
Imagine the heavens from the moment you were born.
The word “horoscope” means “view of the hour.” Imagine a photograph of the heavens taken by someone standing right next to your mother when you were born. The sign of the zodiac that was coming up over the Eastern horizon when you were born is your rising sign, and it plays a major role in your natal horoscope. Your chart “ascendant” is the exact degree of that sign, but the terms ‘rising sign’ and “ascendant” are often used interchangeably.
The ascendant is the cusp of your first house, the house of “self.” It channels the complexity of your entire chart into the way you interact with the world. The rising sign is the “color” or “style” or “face” of the personality; it’s like a window through which you view the world, and the world views you. The planet that governs your rising sign is considered the “chart ruler,” (i.e. if your rising sign is Capricorn, the planet that governs Capricorn is Saturn). The sign and house your chart ruler falls in play a huge role in your personal make up. First house planets – if any – are also extremely important; they become part of your “style” and how you approach and experience life.
Since your rising sign is not your core self, but the filter through which you experience that core self, it’s different to have Sagittarius rising than to have your Sun in Sagittarius, for example.
Here are some basic insights into the different signs as they manifest on the ascendant and the role that plays in your life:
Aries: The “Warrior” archetype serves to project and protect the identity. These folks are here to develop courage, channel vitality into constructive challenges and take a proactive approach to life. Exercise, assertiveness training and heroic quests are your allies. Shadow: Letting unexamined emotional baggage manifest as a chip on your shoulder. Picking fights to let off steam. Aries ruler is planet Mars and the placement of Mars in the chart is important.
Taurus: An earthy, solid dependability serves to ground and channel the personality into methodical, practical action. Sensuality, artistry and industry guide expression and purpose. Serenity, simplicity and music are your allies. Shadow: Unhealthy indulgence and overly materialistic. Refusing to acknowledge complexity. Taurus ruler isVenus and the position of Venus in the chart is important.
Gemini: An inquisitive, mentally sharp and conceptual approach to life serves to engage the greater self in an active, outwardly focused relationship with the world. Objectivity, travel and education are your allies. Shadow: Mental overwhelm and nervousness. Distrust. Unfocused energy. Mercury is Gemini’s ruler and the position of Mercury in the chart is important.
Cancer: A sensitive, nurturing and subjective approach to life serves to protect the greater self and channel identity into emotionally supportive action in the world. Creativity, soul family and boundaries are your allies. Shadow: You can be overly cautious. Ruled by your moods and self-involved. The Moon is Cancer’s ruler and the position of the Moon in the chart is important.
Leo: A creative, proud, active enthusiasm channels the identity into a playful and powerful engagement with the world. Energizes the personality into an outward focus. Self-esteem and leadership are your allies. Shadow: Needing attention to counter low self worth. Can be overly dramatic and self centered. Leo’s ruler is the Sun, and the position of the Sun in the chart is important.
Virgo: An analytical, grounded and growth orientation serves to focus the identity toward self-refinement and meaningful work in the world. Development of practical skills necessary for self-esteem. Organization, self-acceptance and nature are your allies. Shadow: Perfectionism to the point of pickiness. Low self- worth. Drudgery. Virgo’s ruler is Mercury and the position of Mercury in the chart is important.
Libra: An artistic, gracious, socially conscious orientation channels the greater self into an active, outwardly focused engagement with the world. A peaceful environment is necessary to maintain equilibrium. Beauty, diplomacy & intimate relationships are your allies. Shadow: Sacrificing authenticity for the sake of being accepted. A fear of conflict. Indecisiveness. Venus is Libra’s ruler and the position of Venus in the chart is important.
Scorpio: A penetrating, intense and emotional emphasis channels your energy into a courageous, impacting relationship with the world. Gives depth to the personality. Personal growth, financial partnerships and healing are your allies. Shadow: You can be obsessive. Sexually preoccupied. Opportunistic. As Mars and Pluto are Scorpio’s rulers, the positions of both planets are important in the chart.
Sagittarius: An enthusiastic, positive, faith-filled approach channels the greater self into an action oriented, high-energy relationship with the world. Helps to lighten the personality. Spontaneity, spiritual study, adventure and animals are your allies. Shadow: A tendency to exaggerate, over-extend or over-indulge. Can be impatient. As the ruler for Sagittarius, the position of Jupiter in the chart is important.
Capricorn: A serious, grounded, methodical approach channels you toward disciplined and ambitious achievement in the world. Helps focus the personality in the material world. Goals, the ability to process and authority are your allies. Shadow: You can be overly controlling, and a feeling of being burdened by responsibility. Capricorn’s ruler is Saturn and the position of Saturn in the chart is important.
Aquarius: An individualistic, mentally focused and humanitarian approach guides you toward an outgoing, active relationship with the world. Prompts the personality to follow unique, inner guidance. Intuition, liberation and genius are your allies. Shadow: Emotional withdrawal & aloofness. Unconscious rebellion. Stubbornness. As Aquarius rulers the positions of Saturn and Uranus in the chart are important.
Pisces: A profoundly sensitive, gentle and intuitive orientation channels the personality into an emotionally meaningful and creative relationship with the world. Gives depth and helps soften earthy or fiery charts. Dreams, spirituality & artistic expression are your allies. Shadow: Escapism, addiction, withdrawal from the world. As Pisces ruler, the positions of Jupiter and Neptune in the chart are important.