Next to the sun and moon, the ascendant is also an important part of the triad of astrology. The ascendant is the ‘vehicle’ or ‘mask’ that you use to present yourself to others. In our early years we behave more like the ascendant sign until we are able to grow into the full expression of the sun sign. When we are interacting with others for the first time we will also behave more like the ascendant sign.
The ascendant will show information about how we came into life (how we were born) and how we come into any new and unfamiliar scene. The ascendant will show whether we are shy and reserved or aggressive and outspoken. The ascendant can be aggressive while the sun sign is more reserved which can create a situation where we reveal ourselves to strangers but then retreat when the relationship deepens.
The ascendant/sun and moon blend also needs to be examined to ensure that the moon is not ‘railroaded’ by the energy of the ascendant and sun. For example a person with a Pisces moon will be deep and impressionable but if the sun and ascendant create situations where the moon may feel uncomfortable, the moon will be sent deeper underground. Understanding the nature of the moon and how it fits with the sun and ascendant is important in achieving a sense of peace and harmony with the world around you.
Ascendant in Aries (Ruled by Mars)
Entering any new situation, you immediately take the role of leader. Your confidence and take charge attitude makes others believe in your abilities. The Mars influence of this ascendant can make you come on too aggressively at times and other more cautious signs may feel a bit intimidated by your assertiveness. None of this has any influence on you however, because you are fast to size up any situation and jump right into the heart of it. Even as a child, you managed to take leadership of any situation. A strong competitive streak can make it difficult for you to be a team player. Others see that you have your skin in the game and often you win through intimidation. They often follow you because you demonstrate a sense of certainty that your way is the right way. There is a magnetic quality to your self confidence and even if you lose your temper you don’t hold grudges. Your physical appearance can be muscular and athletic and since Aries rules the head, it is not uncommon to have some type of scar on your face from your youth. You may dress in khakis or sportswear or in garments that allow for free movement.
Ascendant in Taurus (Ruled by Venus)
You are a traditionalist and may be slow to open up in new situations, but once a part of a group you are in for the long haul. As a friend, you pride yourself on your tenacity and loyalty. Others appreciate your patience and the stability you provide. You do not like to initiate change and once it is underway you can be stubborn about your needs as you seek to reassemble your pasture in a way that makes you comfortable. Cautious and careful, you are heavily focused on security in any new situation. The Venus influence on this sign makes you appear sensual and attractive and the earth ruled Taurus makes this a very organic and earthy attractiveness. You appear very earthy and stable and you provide comfort to those who are around you because of your calm. While you dress extremely conservatively for work, you may wear earth tones and loose fitting sweaters. There is a sturdiness to your body which can portray your tenacity and strength and teeth for Taurus rising can sometimes be prominent, with large smiles. The skin tone is often of the olive complexion and even the hair can be sandy colored or in the middle of the extremes of blonde or brunette. Even when dressing down in comfortable clothes, Venus always brings a sense of style that adds flair to anything you wear.
Ascendant in Gemini (Ruled by airy Mercury)
Others see you as nervous because your face can be read like a book, reflecting any particular mood of the moment. You are extremely expressive and inquisitive when entering new situations and others enjoy your ease of conversation. Strangers are always telling you: "I can't believe I am sharing this with you - I haven't told anyone this before!" Gemini rising often can appear youthful or childlike, with round features and big eyes. There is a lot of energy in their physical presence as if they never quite settle into the moment and are always looking for the next interesting thing that captures their attention. They crave newness and often bite off more than they can chew, promising themselves to all sorts of social situations. The eyes are always sparkling and it may seem their expression is always on the verge of breaking into laughter. Gemini will always be wearing clothing that reflects their youthful spirit so younger fashions appeal to them. They love wearing the new trends in fashion and therefore dress ahead of the times. They are demonstrative in their expression, using their hands when they talk. No matter how old a Gemini rising may be, they will always appear youthful and energetic.
Ascendant in Cancer (Ruled by the Moon)
As a water sign ruled by the Moon, Cancer is emotionally driven to understand the world because of how it makes them feel. First impressions resonate deeply for Cancer and while others can use logic or reason to overcome their emotional dependency on the responses of others, this is not easy for Cancer. There is a motherly and even psychic tendency of Cancer to pick up exactly what another is feeling and to apply whatever it takes to soothe another. There can be a roundness in the face and a teddy bear quality to the Persona. Others feel they can trust you and your integrity even with strangers is unquestionable. At the same time Cancer can act like the Crab who wears armor for emotional protection. Cancers are notorious for knowing they are moving forward even while others observe them to be skedaddling sideways. To the unsuspecting you do not look engaged in forward movement. The desire to nurture is strong and the outer appearance can be subdued, not flashy. There is an obvious emotional depth in the eyes and the features can be moist and pouty with fleshy lips. Tenacity, while not obvious, is driving them and they can often hold onto grudges that others would have released long ago. They remember everything and since the Moon rules the subconscious, letting go is not an easy task for them. They are drawn to darker tones, flowing styles and practical comfort.
Ascendant in Leo (Ruled by the Sun)
Leo as the rising sign almost always reveals itself in the mane of healthy hair that embodies the proud Lion as the mask you wear. Even people with short hair will begin to grow it when the sun or ascendant is progressing into Leo. Their physical appearance is more feline, with an alluring quality and languid approach. They may choose the rich jewel tones of a King or Queen, or decide on animal prints that capture their feline inspiration. One thing is certain: they will turn heads when they arrive! Pride and the demonstration of power is something intrinsic to this rising sign and you immediately assume the position of leader in any type of interaction. Unlike Aries who conquers through force, Leo wins through calculated confidence. In ancient times, Leo was the preferred rising of a King because of their power to lead. This placement lends a sunny and cheerful disposition and since the first house and ascendant are focused on the self, a hunger for stroking and admiration will keep you in the limelight. Even with strangers you are benevolent and kind, always fighting for the rights of the underdog. Much emphasis will be toward self actualization, creativity and the expression of the character. You are quick to offer advice to anyone in trouble although you are not one to ask for anything other than respect. This position can give you a larger than life character that often makes one a performer of some type, even if it is just to amuse your friends. Gregarious and sociable, Leo is happiest when they are the center of attention. It will be important to build a life for yourself where the freedom of self expression and the demonstration of your passion remains unbridled.
Ascendant in Virgo (Ruled by earthy Mercury)
Virgo on the Ascendant can make one a bit of a wall flower. In any new situation you would rather observe what is going on in an analytical way prior to revealing your thoughts. Once people get to know you and you feel comfortable, you can be quite clever. You have a profound type of tenacious intelligence that will ensure your success in any situation. The Virgo woman shares the same dead pan humor of a Taurus man. The Virgo man is a bit more analytical and cautious. Ruled by Mercury, your mind is always churning and evaluating, inspecting and quick to notice areas of improvement. You are probably happiest at a social gathering when you are serving others or helping the hostess. You are not one to need a lot of reassurance and find comfort and value in demonstrating your helpfulness. You can work long and hard following your vision without any input from others. The appearance for Virgo rising will usually be conservative, not one to draw a lot of attention to themselves. Even a librarian get up however, could never cover up the intense curiosity behind the eyes. The Virgo man might even be a race car driver on the weekends! What you see and what you get with Virgo rising is not always obvious on first appearance. Your only challenge is when you are self critical or critical of others. You may need to lighten up and accept the fact that just because you would rather remain reserved, others are not like you. If you feel judged by others it is only because you are judging them. Most people are busy thinking about themselves and would accept you warts and all. The satisfaction of knowing you are a steadfast friend and supporter is your highest aim.
Ascendant in Libra (Ruled by airy Venus)
Libra rising is ruled by Venus and since the ascendant and rising sign describe the outer appearance, this usually is a placement that makes one magnetic and attractive. The life of the party, there is a zaniness to how you like to pull the rug out from beneath the unsuspecting. There can be a bit of indecisiveness associated with this placement because Libra is always seeing all sides of everyone's opinion and sometimes forgets their own. This placement can make one very inquisitive in social situations, asking questions in order to understand how others tick. The pursuit of harmony and a dislike of discord is something Libra finds challenging. There is always a desire to smooth out difficulty or bridge differences among others so that everyone can get back to the party. The only challenge is the Venus influence that can lead to over indulgence of all sorts, so moderation may need to be developed. The appearance for Libra, which is Venus ruled can seem blessed by the deities, giving the male an irresistible masculine charm. The Libra woman will have the body that is the epitome of feminine attractiveness. The reason I say it is blessed by the deities, is because while other signs work hard to look good, Libra achieves it naturally. They can be voluptuous or toned without even working at it, much to the envy of other signs...unless of course, they overindulge. Even as they age and grow more fleshy, their attractiveness will remain.
Ascendant in Scorpio (Ruled by Pluto)
This is perhaps the rising sign most likely to rush in where angels fear to tread. If we look at the rising sign as the vehicle we ride around in, Scorpio rising makes one challenge any sense of rules or lines on the highway with the pedal to the metal. Not that they are thrill seekers like the fire signs. They just seem drawn to taboo, especially when it involves the psychology between people. Since Scorpio rules the 8th house of sex and transformation, having a Scorpio rising makes one rather curious about the whole subject of fear as if they are here to open the door and look at it, just so they can transform the boogeyman into deeper self awareness. The water aspect of Scorpio can make you deeply sensitive and even psychic to the moods and feelings of others. You have chosen a path of deep transformation with this Persona, so enjoy the ride. The appearance of Scorpio rising is often sexy and magnetic ensuring that you are able to explore the power of intimate interaction with others.
Ascendant in Sagittarius (Ruled by Jupiter)
With Jupiter ruling Sagittarius as a Persona or mask this placement can make one jovial, generous and having tendencies of the Archetype Bacchus who loved nothing more than social interaction and endlessly flowing wine. The appearance can either demonstrate the sporty and active side of Sagittarius or the over-indulgent waistline of the gregarious type. Regardless, you love philosophical discussion and are not one to tell white lies just to keep a stagnant situation from collapsing. Truth is important and you can sometimes be so blunt that others find you to be crude. Having Jupiter as your ruler however, you just shrug it off with a laugh and move on to the next adventure. You find the most satisfaction from competitive sports or simply testing your own abilities against nature. A love of travel can lead you to take up residence in foreign places. You may follow the Sagittarian path of being a life long student, whether that is in university or simply on the road. Your path is about finding the deeper meaning of life and you are not one to engage in superficial talk.
Ascendant in Capricorn (Ruled by Saturn)
Capricorn on the Ascendant can add a rather sober and reserved quality to how you interact with others. You are not known to be emotionally expressive and prefer to keep your thoughts to yourself. In fact, you would be a minimalist in all you do and would actually thrive well in a monk like lifestyle of living with just the basics. Your passion to achieve your ambition however, is unquestionable. You are an earth sign that is known for being practical, reliable and not one to deviate from routine. In fact, some might accuse you of being obsessive about being economical. Saturn as your ruler can make you a workaholic or taskmaster. While you are extremely ambitious, you may doubt your ability to achieve anything worthwhile. This is why routine is so satisfying for you. For you it is more important to set the daily tasks and go to bed with a sense of accomplishment than to chase after rainbows or castles or other grandiose schemes. In terms of your appearance, you may have a collection of several key pieces of clothing bought in duplicate. It's not that you are not fashionable, but like everything you do, it is just easier to wear the same thing without needing to waste a lot of time and energy out shopping when what you have works just fine. You can appear skeptical or disinterested but behind those steely eyes is a mind that misses nothing.
Ascendant in Aquarius (Ruled by Uranus)
Aquarius likes to be known for being different. When Aquarius is the rising sign, this is most noticeable. Like Uranus the planet that spins differently from the other planets, you come and go like a wild wind, leaving others wondering just who you are. Like Einstein, you may even have a unique way of wearing your hair. Even while you court the idea of being known as an iconoclast, you are the first one to be of service should anyone need a helping hand. There is nothing selfish about you and you are probably driven to correct social injustices. It is obvious to others that your mind is eccentric and bordering on genius. Your fearlessness is expressing your unusual ideas brings you great satisfaction. A lover of freedom, you may be tough one to tie down to any type of commitment. Everything you do ~ you do on your own terms. The only challenge for you will be in the emotional realm. You can tend toward intellectualizing your emotions rather than feeling them. If you feel lonely it is only because you are so good at being aloof and distant that others don't show up when you need them. You have a difficult time showing vulnerability so others never realize you have needs. Living in the mind like you do, you really don't need anything except the freedom to remain inspired.
Ascendant in Pisces (Ruled by Neptune)
Having Pisces on the Ascendant can make it hard for people to understand who you really are. Your feeling nature is intense and you are a natural peacemaker and nurturer. It is difficult however, for you to fathom the enormous inner world that you have access to. Attempting to label the vast ocean you call home with something like an ego description is foreign to you. Therefore, Pisces as a Persona can appear a bit nebulous. To take a bucket of sand and call it a beach or a drop of water and call it an ocean...well, you feel so intrinsically connected to everything around you that perhaps you don't need a clear sense of individuality. If you did, it would be something musical, spiritual, a boundless soul that serves humanity because it just feels right to do so. There can be a misty quality to your eyes, a deep and profound thoughtfulness that is immediately recognizable. There is also a vulnerability that is marked by Pisces rising. You are here to cross the boundaries that separate the self from the cosmos. Its your boat and you can sail it where you like so don't compare yourself to others. They just love that you are always there for them.