The Ascendant for Beginners

The three most influential parts of an Astrology chart are the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant.  Most know their Sun sign.  It’s the answer you give to the question “What’s your sign”?  If you know yourself to be a Leo for example,  in the sky, on the day you were born,  the Sun was located in the constellation of Leo.  The Sun defines your self image, your life purpose, and the quality of your core energy.  In the case of Leo that would be passionate, inflexible, and highly self-expressive.

Fewer know their Moon sign, but it’s very important.  It defines your emotional nature and what you need in order to feel secure.  For women especially, it tends to define the personality more accurately than the Sun.

Unless you have a special interest in astrology you probably don’t know your Ascendant sign but it’s critical.  The Ascendant is the exact point rising on the eastern horizon at the exact time of your birth. The Ascendant is graphed onto the chart as the left half of the line that divides the circle in half horizontally.  (see the illustration)  It’s not a planet or a luminary. it’s a demarcating line and it defines your style.  It defines people’s first impression of you.  It’s the approach you use when you’re starting something new.

If you are orienting for a job with other people who are new to their jobs as well, or attending an interactive workshop, for example,  you will notice that some will seem lively, social, and very engaged.  Others will seem quiet and reserved.  And still others may seem business-like and efficient.  What you’re observing is the quality of their Ascendant sign.  It may or may not match with their Sun or Moon sign.

If your Sun is in Aries, for example,  those who know you well (your family and friends) –  know you as a go-getter, a risk taker, an action-oriented leader.  But if your Ascendant is in Cancer you will present yourself to the world as self-protective, sensitive to the feelings of others, a caregiver who lets others take the lead …at least initially. The ascendant is your mask and your basic approach to the world.  It’s your style. After a few weeks, as you become friends with those in your workshop and they get to know you better,  they begin to sense the leadership action-oriented core that underlies your soft initial impression.

This is not you being fake.  This is how you’ve managed to combine all the various parts of yourself – some conflicting, some harmonious, some unconscious, some over-developed – into some kind of a coherent and beautiful statement to the world.  Think of the chaos that would result if you had to present all the different aspects of yourself, all at once, all the time.

The ascendant reveals a lot about who you are, your potential, your physical body, the way you start things, the circumstances surrounding your birth,  the kind of partner who would balance you, your impact on others, and your role in the world.

As an interesting side note, when you read a general newspaper or on-line horoscope, they will tend to reflect better what’s actually going on in your life if you read the one that matches your Ascendant  rather than your Sun. For myself, my Sun and Ascendant are the same so horoscopes usually read pretty accurately for me.  If your Sun and Ascendant are different, a horoscope may seem a little confusing depending upon how much of your core self you allow to engage with the world.

If you’ve never had an astrological reading and don’t know your Ascendant sign consider scheduling a reading of your birthchart and a thorough interpretation of your ascendant.  

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