Your Rising Sign: The Role of the Ascendant in the Birth Chart
It’s a widely held misconception that the Natal Chart is simply a description of our personality. So, according to pop astrology, if someone “is an Aries” (which is actually shorthand for saying that their Sun is in Aries) then they will automatically present and experience themselves as assertive, enthusiastic, and fiery.
And this is because the reality is much more complex. And actually, so is astrology. Professional astrology accounts for this complexity, pop astrology doesn’t.
While our birth chart does describe us, no one can predict exactly how we—as the unique individuals we are—will respond to and express that complex mixture of energies and influences.
Both nature and nurture play a role.
Nature being the qualities we are born with (described by the birth chart), nurture being the environment we grow up in and the experiences that influence our development.
And, then there’s “free will,” of course. No one can live our lives for us. Only we get to decide how we respond to what we are given.
That being said, it’s possible to over-emphasize an under-emphasize parts of our personality. And when this happens we often feel out of balance.
The Rising Sign is the zodiac sign that was coming over the horizon as we emerged from the womb. It was becoming visible, revealing itself, while we were revealing ourselves to the world for the very first time.
And, fittingly, on the personality level the Rising Sign represents our most external layer of Self—what people see/feel/experience when they first meet us.
It is our social personality.
The Ascendant also tells us about how we view and approach life. So, for instance, someone with Scorpio Rising will tend to view life through a psychological lens and may present as quite intense and perhaps a little guarded. Whereas a Sagittarius Rising will meet life with palpable enthusiasm and likely come across as upbeat and extroverted. ((Always keeping in mind that how much these descriptions fit any individual person will be dependent on how these signs interact with the rest of their chart... but you get the idea.))
On the soul level the Rising Sign serves as a description of the ideal personality for us to embody, as well as the types of experiences we are meant to have, in order to learn our spiritual lessons in this lifetime and to carry out our highest purpose.
So, what happens if we have an over or under-developed Ascendant?
If we over-do it we’ll have a harder time letting others in, and they might find if hard to trust us (because it can feel as if we are hiding something). If we under-do it we will feel socially awkward and vulnerable because we might be throwing around lots of deep parts of ourselves with no ability to set protective boundaries and adhere to social norms.
The key to addressing an imbalance is a thorough understanding of our Rising Sign, as well as how our Rising Sign interacts with the rest of our chart. Is it meant to temper and cool our fiery disposition? Is it meant to ground us?
Armed with this knowledge we can then build more self-awareness and, if necessary, consciously begin to tweak the way we relate to our Rising Sign, to the benefit of our overall functioning and mental health.
What is your Rising Sign?
Do you think you might be under or over-expressing it?
Curious What your Natal Chart Says?
In addition to providing online therapy anywhere in Kansas, I’m a professional astrologer, and offer Birth Chart Readings anywhere in the United States, as well as abroad.
Astrology is a powerful tool for gaining self-awareness, finding meaning in and understanding of our difficult experiences, and for receiving validation regarding our own unique life path. All of which supports our mental health in a positive way!
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