Understanding Yourself: What Your Rising Sign Can Tell You
Astrologers believe that each part of our birth charts tells us about ourselves and our lives. Taking a closer look at your sign can reveal some surprises.
Peruse astrology websites or hang around some enthusiasts and you’re likely to encounter a lot of discussions about rising signs. Perhaps you’ve pulled up your birth chart to find out your rising sign or heard the term “chart ruler” tossed around. Yet what does this all mean? Answering that question involves some science, geography, and a peek into the human psyche.
What Is Your Rising Sign?
Your birth chart shows quite a bit of information. Mastering the Zodiac briefly explains what each detail means, focusing on four primary elements: the Sun, the Moon, the rising sign, and the chart ruler. Mastering the Zodiac and other astrology sources sometimes refer to the rising sign as the “ascendant,” but it’s more than just a fancier word for the same concept. As Astrostyle reveals, it’s the zodiac sign that’s ascending above the eastern horizon at the time each person is born.
As you may already know, some planets and points change position more slowly than others. Consider our Moon, which makes its trip around the Earth in only 27 days. With such a short orbital period, our speedy satellite stays in each zodiac sign for only 2.5 days. The ascendant changes signs even faster than that. Depending on a location’s latitude, each sign takes anywhere between 30 minutes and three hours to cross the horizon. The earth’s axial tilt of 23.5 degrees also causes these differences, with the ascendant jumping 180 degrees or disappearing completely in extreme northern and southern locations.
Because of how quickly the rising sign changes, finding it requires knowing a precise time and place of birth. Even twins born a minute apart can have different ascendants if a sign finishes crossing the horizon before the younger one is born. If you’re not sure about your ascendant, check your birth certificate to get an accurate time of birth. You can plug this data into any free birth chart generator to see your results.
What Your Ascendant Means
You may have heard that our ascendants represent the masks that we wear, the faces that we choose to show to the world. This is one basic interpretation, but Astrostyle adds that it’s the sign of first impressions. The way you dress, your interpersonal style, your demeanor, and even how you style your hair are connected to your rising sign. It adds another layer to how you can be perceived by others. Astrologers often say that it’s one possible reason you could be mistaken for a zodiac signifier other than the one under which you were born.
Mastering the Zodiac suggests additional meanings for you. While it may speak to how you present yourself to others, it can also reveal the qualities you’re developing as you age. If we look at both points of view, the ascendant represents both the personality you show to others as well as the personality shaped by your life experiences.
Your Rising Sign and Chart Ruler
The rising sign has another important function: determining the chart ruler. In astrology-speak, the chart ruler is simply the ruling planet of your rising sign. For instance, someone with an Aries ascendant has Mars as a chart ruler. This planet exerts its influence over the entire natal chart in areas such as personality, goals, desires, and strategies for learning, relating to others, and solving problems. In our Aries ascendant example, Mars will significantly impact whatever signs and houses it’s in. This individual may love competition, testing oneself, and pushing the limits.
Astrologers believe that each part of our birth charts tells us about ourselves and our lives. The rising sign represents the impression we make on others, but it also speaks to central life themes. Taking a deeper look at your ascendant can reveal some surprising details.
Astrology 101: Signs and Planets
What does it mean to have a Gemini rising sign, a Capricorn Moon, or your Venus in Leo? Astrology buffs may already get it, but you may be wondering about the significance of planetary positions in your birth chart. Understanding how sign and planet energies blend is key to comprehending how interpretive astrology works.
Why Are Planetary Positions Important in Astrology?
Astrologers examine and interpret how a planet’s energies combine with those of its resident sign. This synergy produces certain effects based on the date, time, and location of a person’s birth. Think of these combined energies like an equation: planet plus sign equals meaning. For reference, Mystica Astrology briefly explains the qualities represented by each planet. Astrostyle also offers an extensive guide to each of the astrological signs.
The Basics of Interpretation
While celestial energy combinations are an important basis of astrological interpretation, looking at how they specifically play out in someone’s chart can also be useful. A key starting point is the primal triad consisting of the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant signs. Together, these three compose the core of an individual’s personality. The three planets that follow, Mercury, Venus, and Mars, represent concerns in our personal day-to-day lives. The five outer planets exert long-term effects and can impact generational groups due to their longer orbits.
An Example of Basic Astrological Interpretation
For an in-depth example of how interpretation can work, let’s examine the natal chart of an individual born on August 14, 1976. For brevity’s sake, we’ll only look at the first six planets and points in this chart:
- Sun in Leo
- Ascendant in Aries
- Moon in Aries
- Mercury in Virgo
- Venus in Virgo
- Mars in Virgo
The Primal Triad and Its Meanings
The Sun speaks to one’s personality, ego, and self, but it can also represent the search for identity. Meanwhile, Leo represents creativity, generosity, loyalty, and charisma. With these two energies combined, the individual in our example prefers to be passionate, generous, devoted, and expressive.
Yet the Sun is just one component of the primal triad. You’ll notice that this person’s Ascendant and Moon are both in Aries. The Ascendant, or rising sign, signifies our external selves: the masks we wear and how we present ourselves to others. Conversely, the Moon stands for our inner selves, emotions, and deepest needs.
Aries symbolizes energy, drive, will, and direct action. Others may view an Aries Ascendant personality as direct and straightforward. Those with an Aries Moon value emotional independence, direct expression, and the desire to act. Because this individual has the same rising and Moon signs, outer presentation and inner emotions won’t usually conflict with each other.
Mercury, Venus, and Mars
Astrologers also view Mercury, Venus, and Mars as critical planets. Mercury stands for communication, thought language, information gathering, and analysis. Venus represents desire and attraction on many levels: love, sexuality, and even our preferences in art, politics, and culture. Finally, Mars symbolizes human drives, motivations, aggression, and even how we choose to fight.
In our example, the natal chart shows that Mercury, Venus, and Mars are all in Virgo. As you may remember, Virgo is the sign of details, service, practicality, and modesty. This individual likely prefers a precise approach to communication and easily keeps track of details. Partners shouldn’t expect showy romantic gestures, but they’ll enjoy dedication and lasting commitment. Virgo energies temper Mars’s natural aggression, resulting in someone with focused, disciplined, and sustained efforts in reaching goals.
Putting It All Together
It’s one thing to know what zodiac signs your planets and points are in, but it’s quite another to recognize potential interpretations. That’s part of the fun with astrology: divining meanings and possibilities. Everyone deciphers details differently, but basic principles can help you understand the core meanings behind planets in your natal chart.