Your rising sign meaning – going beyond appearances.
Sun-Moon-Rising – this is the tripod, on which the individual horoscope is built.
If the Sun is the self that we consciously manifest, the Moon expresses what is hidden in the subconscious, and the ascendant is the path we have chosen in this lifetime.
Our rising sign is indeed a factor, which we must pay great attention to.
It is believed that a person achieves satisfaction and self-fulfillment when they manage to manifest the characteristics of their rising sign. Then he or she is on “their path.”
Also see your True Moon Sign Meaning
However, we should not forget that the Sun sign is the central factor of the birth chart, which gives an idea of one’s individual spirit.
In many cases, there is confusion among beginner astrology students, because they do not understand which of these three signs we should actually identify with.
The Ascendant gives the possibilities, weapons and means of the Self to manifest in the present life, and the Moon is the ‘storehouse’ of past experiences and talents, from which we can draw.
Let’s take a look at a random example: someone with an ascendant in a mutable sign, such as Gemini. They are likely to have many contacts and be talkative. The Moon in Leo would give more loyalty, stability in feelings, integrity, and love, and would remove from this person’s personality the Gemini’s inherent duality. And, behind all this stands a Sun in Capricorn. The cardinal earth sign is actually very purposeful in its manifestations. Therefore, behind the outwardly light and extroverted, friendly demeanor that others see through Gemini and Leo, there is one essence, one Self, identifying with success and the realization of goals. This person is ready for personal and professional achievements through discipline and hard work (Capricorn). However, because of the Gemini rising, they are able to do this in an almost game-like way.
So, what exactly is the ascendant or rising sign?
The astrological sign, which rises on the eastern horizon at the time of birth is called the rising sign, or ascendant. It is determined by the time and geographical location at the time of birth.
On the other hand, the Sun sign, usually called the zodiac sign, is determined by the month and day of birth. Due to the fact that the Earth revolves around its own axis, the rising sign changes approximately every two hours.
The ascendant sign determines our psychological motivation that leads us through life.
The difference between our Sun sign and the ascendant is based mainly on the fact that one determines our external behavior, i.e. this which we show to other people, while the characteristics of the other are hidden and known only to a small circle of people – those, who know us very closely – parents, husband, wife, etc.
Traditionally, it is considered that our rising sign, or the ascendant is the ‘mask’ we show to the world. Nowadays, however, this is not always so, and we will discuss why later on in the article.
The ascendant is the focal point within us, through which everything is refracted, so it largely determines the way we perceive the outside world and what we strive for in life. Our rising sign reveals the mere foundations of our personality and well represents the way we develop and grow as well as how we adapt ourselves to life’s circumstances.
Since the ascendant is connected to the eastern horizon, an analogy can be made with Sunrise. Just like the Sun gradually illuminates the hitherto dark landscape of the earth during Sunrise, so does the ascendant gradually shed light on the subconscious and dark realms in our complex human psychology.
The planets that at the time of birth were just below the horizon and have not yet “risen” are located in the first house in the astrological chart, and those that have already “risen” and are just above the horizon are located in the last, 12th house.
The closer such planets are to the horizon (or rising sign line), the greater their significance. If there are planets in the chart that are located no more than 8-10 degrees from the horizon, either below or above it, then they coincide with the ascendant, and their importance in shaping the personality plays a decisive role.
The only difference is that the characteristics of the planets in the first house are much more visible and obvious to other people, while those located in the twelfth house, have a strong influence, but mostly on a subconscious level.
Nowadays, most people know what their Sun sign is. For example, almost everyone knows that those born between April 21 and March 20 are Aries, those born between April 21 and May 21 are Taurus, and so on. Most are familiar with the characteristics of Taurus, Aries, Gemini, etc. For this reason, many people consciously or subconsciously change their behavior to some extent to fit into the existing stereotype regarding certain zodiac signs.
What most people don’t know, however, is that their psychological motivation (ascendant) can be quite different from their Sun sign. It is calculated by the time and place of birth, so not everyone knows what their rising sign is. Given that we know it, the question arises:
How to correctly interpret our rising sign or ascendant
Things are, of course, much more complicated, because the presence of planets in the immediate vicinity of the ascendant must also be taken into account, as well as the aspects that they make.
Aspects to the ascendant itself are also very important, and so is the ruling planet of the ascendant and its position by sign and house.
The possible combinations are hundreds of thousands. Each astrological chart is unique and should be considered in its entirety, only on the basis of vast experience, gained over the years. As a first step, however, it is important to learn the general meaning of your rising sign (I will post a link with a detailed explanation for each of the 12 possible rising signs).
The intricate details to further understanding your rising sign
Unlike the Sun sign (or the so-called zodiac sign), which is determined by the month of birth, the ascendant is determined by the time and geographical location at the time of birth.
Due to the fact that the earth revolves around its axis, the rising sign changes almost every two hours. As a matter of fact, we must note that there are also subtleties that apply primarily to the areas that are located in close proximity to the poles of the Earth. The city of Murmansk, for example, is located at 69 ° north latitude. There the Sun does not set in the summer for approximately 2 months, after which it does not rise for almost 2 months in the winter.
The calculations of the ascendant for such geographical areas must be done in a specific way, but this is subject to a separate topic. The majority of people are born in latitudes, where the Sun rises in the morning on the east horizon, and sets in the evening on the west horizon to rise again the next day. This means that all the signs of the Zodiac successively rise on the east horizon for one day. Since the day lasts 24 hours and the signs of the Zodiac are 12, it follows that each sign of the Zodiac is located on the east horizon for approximately two hours.
This statement is most valid for geographical areas near the equator. The further we move away from the equator and closer to the poles of the Earth, the more some signs remain longer on the east horizon than others, which results in the anomaly described above for the zones, located in the extreme north or south.
From an astrological point of view, however, this is not crucial. It is important for us to determine which zodiac sign was on the east horizon at the time of birth, not how long it was there. This can be easily determined in almost all cases.
This is only the astronomical explanation of the ascendant phenomenon, which can easily be calculated by any good astrological computer program. The question that arises, however, is: what is the meaning (or interpretation) of the rising sign. To answer this question, I reviewed the papers of approved authors, who have written on the subject. Below I have tried to sift out some of the definitions given by the greatest names in Western astrology, in chronological order.
How The Greatest Astrologers Of Our Time Define The Rising Sign or Ascendant
In his book A to Z: A Handbook for Compiling and Outlining Horoscopes, first published in 1910, the famous astrologer and founder of the eponymous world-famous astrological and New Age publishing house George Llewellyn (1876-1959), wrote:
“When a child is born, the magnetic fluxes set in motion by a given ascendant leave their imprint on the individual and thus leave a lasting mark on the chemical processes in his or her cells, and throughout their life the qualities of this ascendant will seek expression.
It’s as if different people look at the world through their own window. A person with an Aries rising will look out towards the world through the window of Aries, a man with a Taurus rising will look at the world through the window of his sign, etc. The same applies to all twelve sets of the signs of the Zodiac.
In general, we can say that the month of birth (the Sun sign) determines the individuality, while the ascendant determines the personality. The individuality, defined by the Sun sign consists of innate tendencies, abilities and talents, or in other words, these are the inner qualities with which the individual self-determines. Personality can be seen as an external expressions that characterize a person – that, which distinguishes him from others and establishes his or her identity.”
Isabel Hickey (1903-1980) is known in Western astrology as the “astrological mother” of the generation, dealing with the study of this science in the 60s and 70s of the 20th century. Her main merit is the fact that she removed the fatal inevitability of destiny, shown in a natal chart, inherent in ancient authors. She was the first to cautiously introduce spiritual, karmic and esoteric concepts into astrology.
In her most famous book, Astrology, A Cosmic Science, published in 1970, she says:
The rising sign, or ascendant, is the one that marks the differences in temperament, personality, appearance and personal characteristics of people born at different times on the same day…
You can imagine the ascendant as the window through which you look at the world. Each window has a different shape and color, thus changing the way we perceive things. No one else can see things in exactly the same way as you, for they cannot look through your window or, in other words, through your eyes. Native Americans have a saying that can help us in this regard: “Never judge another man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins.
Betty Lundsted (1941-2001), the wife of Donald Weiser, who, together with her husband founded and managed the existing and so far specialized publishing house for esoteric and occult literature Weiser Books, in her book Astrological Insights into Personality, published in 1980, wrote:
When we are born, the ascendant (or rising sign) marks the horizon. Our rising sign sometimes describes our physical characteristics, and when people try to guess what our zodiac sign is, they often guess the ascendant instead of our sun sign. The ascendant shows what we are trying to be rather than what we are. The sun is the principle: “I am”, the moon shows how we react to life, and the ascendant gives us the key to what we are striving to be. It reflects not what we are, but rather, what we are trying to be – which is different from what we really are…
The qualities of our ascendant become apparent in every new beginning in life – a new job, a new home, a new love affair, even our first dance on the dance floor during a party!
When we fall in love, we usually fall in love with the other person’s ascendant, as they fall in ours. But after a while we notice that this person also has a Sun and a Moon.
The masquerade of the ascendant rarely conceals the qualities of the Sun and The moon for a long time.
Initially, for some time he manages to do this – the rising sign covers us, protects us and shapes our mask, which we present to the world. We need this mask for our survival. It makes us less vulnerable and plays the role of a third person in the inner trinity of the personality. The trinity of one’s personality is represented by the Sun, the Moon and the Ascendant and if we are able to express all three qualities of this trinity, then we have all chances to gain deep self-knowledge.
Rising Sign Meaning: Traditional vs Aquarius Age Astrology
We see how some of the 20th century authors point out that the ascendant actually determines the energy that other people notice on first contact with us.
This definition is primarily based on ancient sources in astrology. Their argument is that since the ascendant is on the cusp of the first house, and the first house is related to the beginning of things, then it is the initial, most obvious energy flowing from a person on first contact with them.
In my many years of practice I have noticed that this definition is true for a person’s appearance, especially for their facial expression and facial features.
At the same time, however, I have constantly observed and continue to observe how a person’s behavior in everyday life, in their communication with others and especially in their first acquaintance with someone, is much more in the style of their sun sign than the ascendant.
The characteristics of the rising sign are imperceptibly revealed much later, by people who know him or her quite well. Such as parents, relatives, brothers, sisters, husband, wife, children, close friends, etc.
Probably some of the reasons for this discrepancy in the definitions between the traditional texts in astrology and modern reality consists in the following circumstances.
In the past, astrology was only available to a narrow circle of initiates. In the Middle Ages there were long periods when astrology was a forbidden science. People’s behavior in those times was instinctively devoid of the complexities and intricacies of the hectic and complicated modern life. It is absolutely possible that at that time people showed the characteristics of their ascendant and not of their zodiac sign on first contact.
Nowadays, however, almost everyone knows what their zodiac sign is and has read at least some of its characteristics. The Sun sign is easily determined by the day of birth. In the fast-paced modern life we are constantly bombarded with information from all sides. Much of this information is related to various predictions or “prophecies” of what awaits the representatives of a particular zodiac sign in the near future. Moreover, even the greatest laymen in the field of astrology have at least a basic idea of what this or that sign of the Zodiac should represent.
Therefore, from a very early age we consciously or subconsciously begin to behave in a way that is typical of our zodiac sign. At the same time, the qualities of our ascendant remain hidden and can only be described by people, who know us closely.
Another possible reason for this discrepancy between the older definitions of the ascendant and modern reality is most likely rooted in the specifics of the new era of Aquarius, in which we now live. For this era, ruled by the unemotional and impartial Uranus, is characterized by the removal of all kinds of masks and the exposure of the truth as it is.
This trend is evidenced by the popularity of a number of television shows, whose main driving theme is the truth and realism of the show (reality TV). Such shows are for example Big Brother, Survivor, The Biggest Looser and others.
It’s a completely separate topic whether these TV shows correspond to our personal tastes or not. Before we condemn them, let’s not forget that this type of production is the first step in television practice, where people are shown as they really are.
If we accept that the rising sign represents our mask, then we see that modern society is less tolerant towards wearing any psychological disguise. Therefore, since childhood, we learn to show ourselves to others through the qualities of our Sun sign.
At the same time, the characteristics of our ascendant actually remain hidden in the background. Hence the discrepancy in the definitions of the ascendant in the old astrological texts and what we can observe today. The age in which we live now requires that we take off our psychological masks. In this way, our zodiac sign stands out in the foreground.
Rising sign meaning conclusion
In conclusion, we can say that the rising sign determines our psychological motivation that leads us throughout life. Whether it is more visible and we wear it as a ‘mask’, or it is more of an internal driver, working in the background of our consciousness… getting to know our rising sign’s characteristics and the specifics of its ruler is an important key to unlocking another door in our journey of self-knowledge and self-exploration.
Rising Sign Meaning for Each Zodiac Sign
Please, remember that Sun Moon and Rising signs are not enough to properly evaluate compatibility or one’s personality.
You can see a very accurate and beginner-friendly step-by-step guide on how to check compatibility with your partner, taking into consideration the most important elements in the birth chart here.
And if you wish to order a full in-depth analysis of your natal chart that examines the interrelatedness of all elements as well as provides a report with remedies on how to overcome your weakest points and challenges, you can do so here.