Friday, March 31

Interpreting the Ascendant

Interpreting the Ascendant

* Interpreting  the  Ascendant :-

Although the Ascendant is of deep and pervasive importance for each individual, there is no denying that it must be related to the rest of the chart.“ and especially to the Sun Sign. in order to understand it thoroughly for a particular person. The Sun, after all, is the core identity. the very center of the consciousness, the way we assimilate much of our experience. whereas the Ascendant-although it varies in importance from person to person-is not as central to the person's nature. It shows, among other things, the approach to life; but the Sun shows life itself! The Ascendant must serve the purposes. values, and creative goals of the Sun for the individual to function happily and fully.

The Ascendant modifies the expression of the Solar energy. An entire book could be written studying the interplay of all the combinations of Sun and Ascendant, but just to give an example, a Gemini rising will always give a more socially lively and intellectually curious approach to life to any Sun Sign. It will even speed up a slow Taurus Sun, make a Scorpio Sun more social and less secretive. help a Capricorn Sun to be less defensive and more communicative. and encourage a Cancer Sun to be less shy! And yet. in all cases, no matter how similar all these Gemini rising people may seem in approach and observable personality, the central nature shown by the Sun remains defined by the Sun’s sign position.

Another useful tool for understanding how a person's Ascendant and Sun Sign interact is to compare the elements of the two factors. For example, a Cancer Sun Sign person with a Fire sign rising is usually far more extroverted. forcefully expressive, and confident than a Cancer Sun individual with, say. a more conservative, self-protective Earth sign rising. For another example. an Air sign Sun person with a Water sign rising may appear much more emotional than he or she really is. whereas a Water sign Sun person with an Air sign rising may appear far more detached and less emotional than he or she is.

The Sun in a sign always brings forth a strongly energized manifestation of that sign; although aspects to the Sun add a modifying tone to the Solar expression. one’s Sun Sign energy will hardly ever be as thoroughly altered as that of the Rising Sign can be. The Rising Sign often contains no planet, and even when it does contain a planet or two, it cannot be equal in power to the sign that contains the Sun itself (unless of course one has the Sun Sign rising”. The Ascendant qualities are thus far move easily modified. in most cases. than are the qualities and energies of the Sun Sign. Close aspects to the Ascendant strongly modify its expression, and the Sign position and aspects of the Ascendant’s ruling planet have a profound impact on the expression of the Rising Sign’s energies.

The resulting complexity of the Ascendant factor explains many things. It explains why some people do not identify very much with their Rising Sign. It explains why new students of astrology often have a hard time grasping the concept and interpretation of the Ascendant. It explains how it is that many central characteristics and tendencies of a given individual are not immediately apparent in the symbolism of the Sun and Rising Signs, and thus why many people simply do not see much immediate usefulness in basic astrological “labels.”

It should also be pointed out that people are often relatively unaware of their Ascendant nature, as compared to their Sun Sign. In that sense. the Ascendant is a factor that can be consciously developed further over time and consciously utilized to aid one's self-expression. I have known people who were relieved to find what their Rising Signs were, since it finally gave them a way of identifying a very deep but only semi-conscious tendency in themselves. In some cases, the qualities and abilities symbolized by the Ascendant were just beginning to emerge, and learning the astrological keys to this factor helped personal development greatly. (I should emphasize here that, perhaps more than with most other factors in the chart. the early environment can encourage or suppress the expression of the Ascendant's energies. since it is a primary channel with which one interacts with the outer world.)

Keeping in mind that the Ascendant is quite readily modified by the ruling planet’s position and by aspects to the Ascendant (as well as by first House planets), we can make a few general observations about the twelve different Ascendants. The reader should also use the interpretive guidelines for “The Sun in the Signs” in Chapter 5 to further explore the essential nature of each Ascendant. Newer students especially are encouraged to utilize that section for interpretive help with the various Rising Signs. I find that those guidelines for the Sun work quite well when applied to the Ascendant, and therefore, rather than repeating those key phrases in the following paragraphs, I will try to approach the meaning of each Ascendant from another angle.

In the following notes, I often use the widely accepted abbreviation for the Ascendant, ASC, for brevity. Here and there in the following, I have also mentioned various significant contrasts between the Sun Sign and the same sign on the Ascendant which I have observed over the past twenty years. These observations are admittedly subjective and may not apply to every case that the reader may know of. But I feel that the value of stimulating thought and perhaps even controversy is a more useful learning method than simply listing endless adjectives for each Ascendant. The reader should view the following comparative evaluations as guidelines, and as questions to explore, rather than as rigid statements of absolute truth.

ARIES ASCENDANT: Abrupt, ambitious, restless, impatient, always in a hurry to rush through life, these people can be quite abrasive. If Mars is in Pisces, Cancer, or one of the Earth signs, these forceful qualities can be somewhat moderated. The blunt directness of Aries Sun that can seem so offensive. insensitive, and inconsiderate to others is often toned down in many people with Aries ASC. Nonetheless, the enterprising spirit of Aries is still there, sometimes even more dynamically than in many people with Aries Sun.

TAURUS ASCENDANT: Methodical, controlled. measured movements that often seem like holding a pose: deep dislike of being rushed, strong aesthetic and pleasure motivated streak in the nature. Can be lazy or steadily productive. but still insists on doing everything in one’s own way and at one’s own pace. Venus’ sign position strongly affects how ambitious or dynamic the person is. Taurus Sun more often seems lazy than Taurus ASC (probably because the Sun is the essential vital energy), and Taurus Sun also seems to be more predictably possessive. Both want to enjoy everything they do, and therefore they refuse to rush anything, lest they interfere with the pleasure they are deriving from the here and now. An extremely physical and sensual approach to life, and a strong need for closeness, affection, and security.

GEMINI ASCENDANT: The most inquisitive and friendly Rising Sign. but also the one most inclined to be worried about oneself all the time [except perhaps Libra rising in some cases). Usually very intelligent and curious, and has a tremendous need to communicate verbally. The superficiality so often seen in Gemini Sun is not usually as evident in the Gemini Ascendant, but the tendency for one side of the mind not to know what the other side thinks or says is often even more extreme in the Gemini ASC-which can be most infuriating to those who would like to rely on the person and believe what he/she says. The person is not intentionally dishonest; it is just that the right hand knows not what the left hand is doing! (I should also state, however, that I have encountered at least two Gemini Rising people who are very reliable!)

CANCER ASCENDANT: A sympathetic, mild demeanor, but the sensitivity and sympathy are often directed just as much toward oneself as toward others, often being oversensitive to hurts and slights. In this sense. Cancer Rising seems to exhibit a more superficial type of empathy for others than Cancer Sun, whose feelings tend to go deeper and whose sentiment is more personally touching. Cancer ASC often seems even more reserved and private than the Cancer Sun person, who by virtue of his or her great acting ability can often seem quite social and out~ going. The Cancer Rising person is usually a strong introvert. although I have seen cases where the Moon was in Leo or a similar extroverted sign and the more outward-oriented tendencies were predominant.

LEO ASCENDANT: A Leo Ascendant often seems to motivate a person to try hard to express one’s best self. That is not to say that the pride (and even arrogance) of the sign Leo is completely absent from those with [20 Rising, but it does appear that they have less need to “lord it over” other people than those with Leo Sun do. The Leo ASC seems to encourage an especially authentic expression of the person’s Sun energy, whereas the Leo Sun person often displays a more self-conscious dramatization of his or her deeper feelings. Bigheartedness. often said to be a trait of Leo, seems to be a more reliable quality in those with Leo ASC than Leo Sun, which so often insensitively manipulates others for personal gain. Leo ASC can. however, demonstrate an extremely aloof hearing and, because of their inordinate need for respect and a show of dignity. often seems to lack the spontaneous humor and playfulness of Leo Sun.

VIRGO ASCENDANT: Virgo ASC people often have a higher level of self-confidence than Virgo Sun people, and oddly enough, their humility often seems more authentic in at least one way: those with Virgo ASC always acknowledge that they have more to learn and further to go to improve themselves. The self-criticism that so often defeats and depresses Virgo Sun people is sometimes. but not nearly so often, found in the Virgo ASC. It is as if the Virgo ASC more often “works off” their doubts rather than just dwelling on them. The conservative and conventional qualities found in abundance in Virgo Sun are not nearly so deep-seated in the Virgo rising person, who may appear aloof, severe, or withdrawn but whose appearance may hide a much wilder nature. The Virgo Sun person is usually better with detailed analysis than is the Virgo ASC, although both often display craftmanship skills.

LIBRA ASCENDANT: Although a Libra ASC often tends toward a somewhat narcissistic self-centeredness more often than is the case with Libra Sun. it must be stated also that the Libra ASC person is sometimes genuinely kinder and sweeter than is the Libra Sun. who often relates to others in a more detached way, realizing that life is not all sweetness and light. Libra Rising lends a personal tone to the way all the other energies of the chart are expressed. Although close relationships are of central importance to those with Libra Sun. the need for “the other" is sometimes even more crucial for the Libra ASC person, whose entire life often seems focused on the primary relationship of their life [or the lack of such a relationship). When there is no partner, the Libra ASC person sometimes loses all sense of direction and can feel a serious lack of initiative and physical energy. Fuller details about their relationship needs can be understood by evaluating Venus in the chart. The Libra ASC individual often at least appears more superficial than the Libra Sun, who is usually much deeper than they let on. Also, Libra ASC seems to retain a romantic view of life longer than the often cynical Libra Sun.

SCORPIO ASCENDANT: Always known for intensity, those with Scorpio Rising are very often associated with the healing arts. exploring other people's motives (such as through psychotherapy). or exploring the unknown or esoteric. Although Scorpio is often described as courageous, what is usually not mentioned is how much fear is the element motivating their actions. For Scorpio, the best defense is a good offense. Those with Scorpio Rising are constantly on the defensive to a degree not usually seen in Scorpio Sun. Scorpio is a sign of emotional extremism. and it is therefore easy to find a powerful negative expression of Scorpio ASC for every positive expression. Scorpio Rising has in fact gained a rather negative reputation over the years, one which is not entirely undeserved. No other Rising Sign can rival it for vindictive, ruthless, jealous behavior. Vengeance is often a strong motivating factor in their behavior, as is a sometimes paranoid obsession with self-preservation. This often takes the form of a reluctance to let go of anything-money or emotions; they have a great fear of letting go and losing control. Those with Scorpio ASC can be perceptive into others’ deeper feelings and motives, when not projecting their own motives onto others. They can be extremely resourceful and often intensely dedicated to a difficult challenge or life mission. The negative traits mentioned above are sometimes greatly ameliorated in Scorpio Sun people. who can be very loyal to those whom they allow into their “inner circle” of friends. Also. the tendency to undermine oneself seems much less common in Scorpio Sun than in Scorpio ASC. In considering the ruling planet of the ASC, the Mars sign is always more important than the sign of Pluto, and a positively directed Mars can help channel and transform the often self-destructive Scorpio energy.

SAGITTARIUS ASCENDANT: The optimism, buoyancy, enthusiasm, and broad-mindedness that are often, but not always, seen in Sagittarius Sun people are almost uniformly expressed by those who have Sagittarius ASC. Virtually every Sagittarius ASC person I have ever seen could be described as perpetually “up beat," even in the face of continued disappointments or obstacles. Although the tendency toward forcefully preaching one’s personal beliefs as universal truth is present in Sagittarius ASC as well as in Sagittarius Sun. the ASC expression of this tendency is usually more tolerant and inspiring. while the preaching of a Sagittarius Sun person is often experienced as being hit over the head with “the Truth." in other words. self-righteousness seems considerably more flagrant in those with Sun in Sagittarius. Also, Sagittarius ASC people almost never show the aimless. drifting discontent that is so often seen in those with Sagittarius Sun. Sagittarius Rising seems more inclined toward definite action in line with an ideal, whereas Sagittarius Sun is sometimes limited to mental or theoretical activity alone.

CAPRICORN ASCENDANT: Capricorn Rising often expresses itself with extreme negativity and skepticism, more often than Capricorn Sun does. However, one should understand that in both cases this apparent cynicism and disdain for the new is often a protective cover for a more inquisitive, vulnerable, even spiritually-open nature. Capricorn simply does not like to have time wasted on unproven ideas, but practical and logical proof even of unorthodox realities will often be enough to capture their interest and eliminate their automatic skepticism. Although Capricorn Sun and ASC are both extremely concerned with outer form, appearances, and reputation, the Capricorn ASC seems to be far more fearful of public opinion, often going to great lengths to appear normal, conservative, and “safe." Capricorn Sun seems to have a greater drive toward achievement and authority and a more determined approach to worldly success. Capricorn ASC sometimes seems satisfied merely with being secure. Both are so impersonal that relations with others am often problematical, although Capricorn Sun more often than Capricorn ASC finds it hard to relate on an even one-to-one level.
AQUARIUS ASCENDANT: An unconventional, rebellious streak pervades the personalities of both Aquarius ASC and Aquarius Sun people. but these traits go much deeper in those with Aquarius Sun. They are usually lifelong afficionados of the new, the imaginative, and the revolutionary, even if they don't express it overtly very often. Those with Aquarius Rising often seem a bit kooky; indeed, they often feel rebellious, but there is usually a stronger attunement to convention in them than is seen in most Aquarius Sun individuals. Both types usually exhibit an immediacy of perception and understanding, a thinking speed and rapidity of learning, that can be startling to their slower friends. Both exhibit a cold detachment that is frustrating and often shocking to move emotionally sensitive people; Sun in Aquarius seems to be more aloof and impersonal than is Aquarius ASC. The traditional Saturn ruler-ship seems to be stronger than the modem ruler Uranus in many people who have Aquarius Rising. But the house and sign position of Saturn is always important for all Aquarius ASC people.

PISCES ASCENDANT: Because the Sun is weak in Pisces, thus allowing Pisces Sun individuals to be strongly influenced by all of the other factors in their charts, there seem to be more types of Pisces Sun individuals than Pisces Rising people. Those with Pisces ASC are almost uniformly sensitive, compassionate, emotional, imaginative, and helpful. There seems to be a strength of character in the Pisces ASC that is sometimes lacking in the Pisces Sun, who is so often passive, evasive, escapist, and irresponsible. Probably it is the ancient ruler of Pisces, Jupiter, that accounts for the strength of character and buoyancy that is especially evident in so many Pisces ASC people; sometimes that is far more apparent than the influence of the modern ruler Neptune. In fact, one should always look to the Jupiter sign and house of Pisces ASC people for key insights to their nature. Besides being able to empathize with and help those who are having difficulties, Pisces Rising people am also often philosophical and surprisingly unperturbed when they themselves experience misfortune. Like Virgo ASC (its opposite sign), Pisces ASC people don’t feel the need for credit or public acknowledgement for all they contribute to others.