There’s actually quite a bit that goes into making up your astrological makeup. There is a sun sign, moon sign, and then a house placement and position for each of the signs. In this article, I will be sharing what the rising and ascendant sign is in astrology, and what that means specifically for YOU!
Lately, I’ve started to share more openly with strangers that I am an astrologer. Most times, this leads into conversations that begin with “what’s your sign?” I always feel like this is a trick question because, technically, we are all ALL of the signs. Or, at least we all have all of the energies in our charts.
What IS the ascendant?
The ascendant sign, or rising sign, is the sign that can be found on the cusp of one’s 1st house on their astrological chart. This sign determines which planet is your chart ruler and is an integral part of the foundation of your personality. The sign that is on the eastern horizon at the exact moment of birth, the precise time of that first breath, will show up in your birth chart at the 9:00 position as the sign of the ascendant. Furthermore, the ascendant rules a specific planet, and the location of that ruling planet will tell you very specifically about how that ascendant energy will express itself in your life. (See planetary rulership section below)
What does your ascendant (rising sign) say about you?
Your ascendant sign tells you what you are learning about in this lifetime. This first house space tells us about our instinctual behaviour, and so the sign that is in this house will tell us with which energy we will behave in our lives without forethought. You can think of this area of your life as your “knee jerk” reactions; without thinking you respond automatically in a way that correlates to your rising sign.
If you consider specifically when you are in a brand new situation, you do not have experience or foresight to lean into, so there is a level of vulnerability, fear, excitement and unknown. Our ascendant energies show up most powerfully when we are in new experiences because they relate to our instinctual actions. This instinctual action then becomes a starting point for us to begin to understand our identities and who we are.
Consider the feelings that would be involved in your very first time having a specific experience, for example, sky diving. Since you’ve never done this activity before, you don’t know what to expect and that provokes certain emotions, in this case, let’s say anxiety. When you look to your left, you see the person next to you with a smile as bright as the sun.
This is also their first time, but they are not feeling the same anxiety you are. Rather they are feeling thrilled and are caught up in the excitement of this new experience. Because you do not have a developed consciousness relative to this experience, its very difficult for you to temper your reaction to the journey you have just embarked on, and so, in a way, your rawest “identity” is being revealed.
When you think of the ascendant from this perspective, you can see that not everyone meets each experience the same way. This is because their rising signs are different. So it is not only the first impression that people get when they meet you, rather it’s the energy that you exude when you are in a state of flow or honest being or approaching something that is new for you.
You can begin to gain an understanding of this aspect of your sense of self through relationship.
Consider that without mirrors, we are unable to see what we look like.
So our ascendant sign, or rising sign, is not something that we are able to see so clearly about ourselves since it is our own personal “autopilot” setting.
This is where the polarity of our rising sign, or our descendant, comes in. The descendant works in conjunction with the ascendant, to help us understand our instinctual behaviour and our sense of identity.
When we are in romantic relationships, friendships or close connections, we act or speak, and then in response the other person acts or speaks back. The way that the other person responds to us is a type of energetic mirror that allows us to see and understand our own way of being.
If you see the other person respond to your comment by crossing their arms or frowning, well then you know that what you have communicated has struck the person in a way that feels offensive or destabilizing to them. This reflection will naturally lead you back to “what did I say to them?”, which will lead to “why did I say that?” Which will, necessarily, take you on a journey through your own inner world.
This hard, and consciousness growing work will help you to gain a clearer perception of your own thoughts, feelings and sense of identity.
The rising sign can also be looked at as a type of emotional security, in that it is the mode of operation that we fall into when we are not comfortable or entirely secure.
Of course we are not always aware of the dynamics at hand in all of our interactions, however the dynamics between the ascendant and descendant (or 1st and 7th house) show us how the rising sign shows us the energies we are learning about through instinctual action.
Are the rising sign and ascendant sign the same thing?
Yes, the rising sign and ascending sign are the same thing. In Vedic astrology, the rising sign is referred to as the “lagna” and is located in this same position. The word “ascend” means growing in importance or leading upwards, which makes sense when you consider that the “ascending sign” is the sign that is the sign that is on the horizon at the exact time of your birth.
Your ascendant sign and your planetary chart ruler
If your ascendant sign is ARIES, your chart ruler is MARS.
If your ascendant sign is TAURUS, your chart ruler is VENUS.
If your ascendant sign is GEMINI, your chart ruler is MERCURY.
If your ascendant sign is CANCER, your chart ruler is THE MOON.
If your ascendant sign is LEO, your chart ruler is THE SUN.
If your ascendant sign is VIRGO, your chart ruler is MERCURY.
If your ascendant sign is LIBRA, your chart ruler is VENUS
If your ascendant sign is SCORPIO, your chart ruler is PLUTO.
If your ascendant sign is SAGITTARIUS, your chart ruler is JUPITER.
If your ascendant sign is CAPRICORN, your chart ruler is SATURN.
If your ascendant sign is AQUARIUS, your chart ruler is URANUS.
If your ascendant sign is PISCES, your chart ruler is NEPTUNE.
Your ascendant and your appearance
The first house is known as the house of “identity” or house of “self”. It is considered the point of incarnation or the point of beginnings as it is where new cycles are initiated.
As the point of incarnation, the first thing that someone incarnating on earth needs is a physical body. So the ascendant also correlates to our physical appearance and our physical characteristics.
It can give us a glimpse into the general nature of the types of physical issues one is likely to deal with in their life, and also how they will relate to their own aesthetics and body.
For example, someone with Chiron on their ascendant or in their first house will likely have trouble enjoying life or wanting to be in a human body.
Someone with Venus on their ascendant or in their first house would likely be very symmetrical and aesthetically attractive. Venus has to do with both beauty and the divine feminine, and correlates to both the breasts and the stomach. So, fore example, a woman with Venus conjunct their ascendant is likely to have a frame that is very vuluptuous. They would also have an inner drawing towards art, beauty and fashion.
Each astrological sign correlates to a specific part of the body, and depending on the placement of the associated ruling planet, planets in the first house, and any aspects made to the ascendant, one could determine the specific body parts that would be emphasized or is most likely to be affected by their rising sign.
How do I find my astrological ascendant (rising sign)?
- To calculate your rising sign the very first thing you need is your birth chart. There are many free sites where you can type in your birth information, and your natal chart will be generated for you in less than 30 seconds. In order to draw up an accurate chart, you will need to enter your birth date, birth location, and an accurate birth time. I often recommend this site for getting free birth charts made.
- Once you have your birth chart drawn up, you will see that the chart is divided into 12 sections, which are called houses. The houses will be numbered 1-12. Your rising sign is the sign that is in the house marked “1”. Alternately, you can imagine that the chart is a clock face, and look to the 9:00 position.
- The sign that is on the cusp (or border) of the first house is your rising sign or ascendant. You can look at the examples below to see where the ascendant would be on the natural zodiac, and where it is on an actual chart.
There are also sites with free rising sign calculators, you can find one HERE . The downside to this second option is that you will receive only the name of the sign on your ascendant, as opposed to receiving your whole natal chart, which of course contains a lot of other very useful and helpful information.
If all of this technical stuff is not suitable for you, there is always the option of seeking out a professional astrologer, who will have the necessary program to pull up not only your birth chart, but also transit charts, progressed charts etc., and they will be able to interpret these charts for you in a way that is meaningful and very specific to your queries and questions. ( Click HERE to book a reading with me! This will take you to my consultation info page where you can read a little about my process, then click on the email icon to send me an email expressing your interest. I’ll get back to you within 72 hours!)
Where to find your birth info
In this situation, knowing the exact time of your birth is crucial. Often times, people have an approximate time (“around 2 pm”, for example), however natal charts are calculated exactly to the minute, and so having an incorrect or approximate birth time will result in you obtaining a birth chart that does not belong to you, and is, therefore, not helpful for you.
If, for whatever reason, you are not able to confirm your birth time with your biological mother, there are typically medical records out there that will be able to provide accurate information. In the United States and Canada, you would want to go through the process of obtaining a long form birth certificate. On your birth certificate there will also be a section that will indicate the location of your birth by state or province and country (For an accurate natal chart, the state and country is specific enough).
In the event of a home birth where there is no written record of a time of birth, there is a process called chart rectification, where an astrologer can work through very specific questions in order to determine the correct time for your natal chart.
How often does the rising sign change?
f course with our naked eyes, we are unable to see most of the movements that the celestial bodies above are making, however the constellations and planets do in fact move! Approximately every 2 hours the ascendant changes zodiac signs, which means that the degree that the ascendant sign begins at also changes approximately every 2 minutes. This is how in the case of twins being born at different times, but only minutes apart, they can have natal charts that are different.
How do the elements and modalities affect your rising sign
In the natural zodiac, there are 4 different elements (earth, water, fire, air) and 3 different modalities (cardinal, fixed, mutable). These elements show us which body the energies are primarily concerned with, and the overall objective of each type of energy.
The earth element is concerned with the physical plane. Issues of physical comfort, practicalities and survival. The signs correlated with the earth element are Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn.
The water element is concerned with the emotional body and managing or processing feelings. The signs correlated with the water element are Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces.
The fire element is concerned with the heart and the inner fire connected to one’s passion and sense of being. The signs correlated with the fire element are Aries, Leo and Sagittarius.
The air element is concerned with the intellect and the mental capacities. The signs correlated with the air element are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius.
The modalities of the energies show us the natural progression of a project.
When something begins, it requires bursts of forceful, directed and inspired energy. This initiating energy is “cardinal” and is associated with the signs Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn.
When something is in the midst of it’s process, it requires energy that would support it in maintaining its forward motion: this energy is called fixed.
Fixed energy is stable and known for being stubborn in not wanting to be changed. The signs associated with fixed energy are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius.
When something is nearing the completion of it’s process, it is time to consider what changes need to be put in place. The purpose of mutable energy is to be malleable in order to promote change. The signs associated with mutable energy are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces.
In observing the types of energies that each element and modality are concerned with, it becomes very clear how different energies would express themselves differently.
(Consider how a mutable air rising sign might be concerned with coming up with new ideas when they are experiencing something for the first time, where as a fixed earth sign might respond to the same new situation by worrying about being home in time for lunch.)
How is the rising sign popularly misunderstood?
You will hear a lot of astrologers today describing the rising sign as “the mask you wear” or “the way others see you” which is not entirely true. The reason that the ascendant is not our “mask” is because the fact of wearing a mask suggests a type of personal awareness or consciousness around the way we are coming off.
The ascendant is behaviour that is very instinctual and habitual to us, so much so that we don’t think about it and the only way we are able to understand this energy is through the feedback loop that happens when we interact with others who become like a type of mirror.
The rising sign is associated with one’s “true self” in a way: the finer things and more subtle aspects of one’s identity that are a lot more difficult for someone to perceive of themselves entirely independently.
The spiritual lessons associated with each rising sign
Click on each rising sign below to get more specific and detailed information about what each ascendant sign is learning about in this lifetime through instinctual action.
The rising sign in our natal charts is a very important one, and tricky in that we are very immersed in the energy, but at the same time unable to be completely objective about it. The ascendant is one very interesting aspect of the secret garden that is the birth chart, and a great starting point for delving into the evolutionary goals that your soul has for your life.
My own rising sign is Cancer, with both Chiron and Venus conjunct. I’m learning a lot about emotional responsibility and emotional security, as well as how to enjoy and accept the challenges of life, and how to meet my own needs.
It is a journey for sure! One day at a time,
What is your rising sign? What is the experience of that energy like for you?
Let me know below in the comments!
Aja Celeste is a mom to 6 beautiful children and a twin mom! She is also creator and writer of That Zoi Life and a professionally trained Evolutionary Astrologer who has been doing astrology for 7 years. She is also a health care assistant, has a Bachelor of Ministry Degree, and is passionate about supporting people in conscious parenting. She also does Psychosomatics using Recall Healing.
Please contact her at [info@ThatZoiLife.com] if you would like to find out more about working with her.