The Rising Sign: A Guide To The Ascendant

Most of us know our own and our friends’ star signs, but did you know you also have an equally important RISING SIGN?

It typically reflects how others see you in real life, and can predict your gut, spontaneous reactions to stuff. It is, alas, another potential personality malfunction to consider.

Let’s take a look at the rising sign.

Image of Saturn Return Graphic for Astrology 42


1. What is a Rising Sign

2.The Time is important

3. Rising Sign Meaning

4. Ascendants through the sign

What is a Rising Sign or Ascendant?

Your Rising Sign, otherwise known as your Ascendant, is the Zodiac Sign that was rising on the eastern horizon at the exact moment you were born.

It is the precise term for the cusp of the first house of your chart. The line between your 12th House and the 1st House.

It can be abbreviated on a birth chart as ASC or AS.  Our “ascendant” is the sign that was “rising” over the Eastern horizon at your time of birth.

For that reason, It is commonly referred to as both the Rising Sign AND the Ascendant.  On this website and many others, the 2 terms are interchanged often.

Rising Sign Summary

Angle: Asc
House Ruler: 1st House Cusp
Sign Ruler: Aries
Ruler of: Appearance, mannerisms, immediate environment, style

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The exact time determines your Ascendant sign. The Ascendant, house cusps, and points derived from these points are the most time-dependent factors in the birth chart. The Rising Sign change approximately every two hours, which is why the time of birth is really important in terms of erecting your true Natal Astrological Chart.

To calculate your rising sign, you need to know what time you were born—exact time if possible, approximate time if not.

The Ascendant sign changes, on average, approximately every two hours, but this is quite variable depending on how close the birth place is to the equator. It is not uncommon for a sign to ascend for only half an hour and another close to three hours, for example, and you see this happening the further you get from the equator.

Rising Sign Calculator

If you are not sure of your Rising Sign, you can simply use our Natal Chart Generator. This will give you a list of all of your planets, including your rising sign and house breakdown.

Why the time is important

There are 30° in every sign. It takes approximately 2 hours for your ascendant to pass through that sign completely.

This means your rising sign will change by a degree roughly every 4 minutes.  So even in a 20-minute difference in time, that is 5°  variation. It only seems like a small difference, but it is big.

Also, the moon transits a sign every 2 days, so this is another fast-moving entity that can be slightly out of position at the wrong time.

Exact times are great.
Close times are okay, but exact is better

How to view your ascendant on a chart

You can see here an image of a standard birth chart. When you’re looking at your birth chart, the rising sign is represented by slightly darker line at the 9:00 position, that runs from the centre of the zodiac wheel to the left-hand side. This line is the very beginning point of the chart.

The ascendant line represents the eastern horizon line that the Sun was “rising” over at the moment you were born.

The ascendant is also the beginning point of the 12 houses. From the 1st house’s cusp, with the first house beginning at the Ascendant, we travel around the zodiac wheel in a counter-clockwise direction until the 12th house ends at the same point that the 1st house begins – at the ascendant.

Rising Sign Meaning

Most of us know our own and our friends’ star signs, but did you know you also have an equally important RISING SIGN?

It typically reflects how others see you in real life, and can predict your gut, spontaneous reactions to stuff. It is, alas, another potential personality malfunction to consider.

Let’s take a look at the rising sign.

Image of Saturn Return Graphic for Astrology 42

The rising sign is considered one of the three most significant elements of your chart, along with your sun sign and moon signs. In Astrology terms, when people ask:

What are your big 3?

they’re referring to your Sun, Moon and Ascendant Signs. It forms an important— it’s part of the foundation of your personality.

The Sun represents your basic needs and personality traits. The moon sign covers your inner self and emotional needs. Your rising sign is more about your “outer” person. It is a service level filter that everything comes through.

In other words, your rising sign is what people first see when they meet you. Think of it as your “first impression” ign.  It also refers to how you interact with the world on a visual level.

The Ascendant is the mask one wears in public, but not because we’re hiding. It’s our natural way of presenting ourselves. It is the first impression we make when we meet new people.

The Ascendant takes part in your appearance and personality, going as far as influencing physical characteristics sometimes. The Sign becomes expressed in your image, style and mannerisms. It is also expressed in how you act.

Some astrologists theorize that the Sign becomes weaker after a person reaches 30 years of age, as their confidence grows in who they are.

Because the Ascendant Sign is specific to the time and place of the individual birth, it represents the environment and conditioning a person may be influenced by during their childhood and is considered as important and significant as the Sun and Moon Signs, because all other aspects on the chart are filtered through this Sign.

The Ascendant is thus considered to be of great significance in all schools of astrology because it in effect serves as the filter through which everything in a horoscope- including the Sun and Moon – is expressed. 

It can also serve as a shield or mask to guard a person’s real nature. As in we see the rising sign first and we can hide behind the visual.  Many astrologers believe the ascendant also has a strong bearing on a person’s physical appearance and overall health.

The Ascendant (or rising sign) is often considered the mask one wears when meeting others. Perhaps it is most aptly thought of as the automatic responses to one’s environment. The Ascendant shows our natural defenses and how we

The Ascendant shows our natural defenses and how we cope with day-to-day issues. The energies of the sign and condition of the Ascendant are most overt and obvious to others. The Ascendant shows an individual’s first, natural reaction to new people and situations.

What follows are general interpretations of the sign position of the Ascendant. Remember that these characteristics are modified by planets conjunct the Ascendant, planets that aspect the Ascendant, and the position of the ruling planet of the sign on the Ascendant.

Rising Sign through The Signs

So now that we have discussed the Rising Sign, let’s take a little look at how the Ascendant manifests itself through the signs of the zodiac in a bit more detail. Every astrological sign has a specific set of qualities – positive and negative.

Below are some of the key traits of each sign of each zodiac sign.

Ascendant (Rising Sign) in Aries

Specific physical qualities often associated with Aries Rising include a fast walk, lean forward with their head. Often, they may be plagued by sinus and eye problems, and headaches, especially migraines, may be the bane of their existence. Some Aries Rising people often suffer from rashes, insect bites and acne. Their complexion could be a bit ruddy…. They tend to turn red or blush quickly if they’re annoyed or angry. This Rising Sign often exhibits broad shoulders and slim hips. These people are quick to smile, and they retain youthfulness throughout their entire lives.

Those born with an Aries Ascendant are quick to anger and quick to let it pass. They don’t hold grudges as a rule…. They prefer to be straightforward and direct. They prefer to be active rather than staying still and will not hesitate to stir something up to keep things interesting. They often may have difficulty finishing their projects because they would rather start something new.

Ascendant (Rising Sign) in Taurus

Taurus Rising is steady and capable. They are stable and responsible, and they are loyal to the core to those they love. They radiate presence… there is no doubting when a Taurus Rising is in the room. Resistant to change, it can be hard work to convince this sign to try something new. They have a strong stubborn streak and become set in their ways. Before they try anything they must feel it out. Security is the most important thing in the world to them, so they don’t want to do anything that would jeopardise it. Constant and reliable, people with Taurus on the ascendant have an earthy endurance about them. Methodical, practical, patient, persevering and strong willed, they come across as steadfast, dependable types – even if their Sun sign is more flighty or risk-taking by nature! They tend to be cautious and emotionally stable types, and they’re no pushover. Taurus rising people have true staying power, although their persistence can sometimes be interpreted as stubbornness or bull-headedness!

Ascendant (Rising Sign) in Gemini

An inquisitive, mentally sharp and conceptual approach to life serves to engage you in an active, outwardly focused relationship with the world. Objectivity, travel and education are your allies. Gemini needs to get out into the world and mix it up a bit, so a style that is up-beat and expressive, while letting you move and multi-task, helps you be who you were meant to be. Accessories and a touch of whimsy help your personality shine. Inventive Mercury is Gemini’s ruler and the position of Mercury in the chart is important.

Gemini Ascendants like their space and freedom. They also understand their partners may like a little space as well, and do not tend to cling. They like to debate and swap ideas with others. As much as they like to use their mind, they are also gifted with their hands. They may be good at crafts, especially those that also stimulate their mental capacities. A Gemini Ascendant may end up being a “jack of all trades, master of none” if they are not cautious in controlling their desire to move to something new.

Ascendant (Rising Sign) in Cancer

People with Cancer rising tend to be less vital than average, sympathetic, compassionate, passive, nurturing, receptive, protective, retentive, changeable, psychic, sentimental, tenacious, timid, quiet, sensitive, acquisitive (pack-rat), and moody. Just like the crab Cancer represents, you may have the habit of looking ahead and behind you at the same time, not fully wanting to face the future head-on and always worrying about the past and what might be sneaking up on you from behind, causing you great worry. You go through life in a curious sideways motion, never going simply directly forward. You are sensitive and you retreat into your shell when you feel threatened. Your feelings can be easily hurt, even when no slight was meant and you can take things much too personally. You enjoy travel, but you absolutely need to know that you have a home base waiting for you to come back to. Security is everything for you in life. Physical security comes with a comfortable base of operations and emotional security comes from all your possessions and attachments that have sentimental value to you. In fact, that’s why you keep everything – because of all the emotional value and significance. Once you have latched onto something or someone, you do not tend to let go easily. You respond to life through feeling, not thinking. Your moods go up and down just like the tides.

A sensitive, nurturing and subjective approach to life serves to protect and channel your identity into emotionally supportive action in the world. Creativity, soul family and boundaries are your allies. Cancer does well with soft & sensual materials. Whatever you wear, dressing for “security and success” tends to influence your personal presentation. Classic styles that compliment rather than overshadow you are best. You are elegant rather than trashy. The sensitive energy of the Moon is Cancer’s ruler and the position of the Moon in the chart is important.

Ascendant (Rising Sign) in Leo

People with Leo rising tend to be generous, proud, emotional, romantic, extroverted, vain, egotistical, courageous, sentimental, self-confident, showy, and want to shine and be successful in wherever they go and whatever they do. They like to “rule” and have homage paid to them for their “royal” nature. You like to take risks and can sometimes be foolhardy, but you definitely have a zest for living. The worst thing someone can do to you is to hurt your pride or be unappreciative of you. You wear your heart on your sleeve in matters of love and you need a partner you can be proud of – and you want them to be proud of you. You are faithful to and protective of those you love. You can be quick-tempered, but you tend to not stay angry for long. You like to play the kingly role and have a sense of drama surrounding you. You are a ham. You like being the center of attention and will do things just to get that attention. You can be stubborn in a sunny sort of way. Your roar is worse than your bite. If your pride is hurt or your dignity is trampled on, then watch out, because you can forgive, but you don’t forget. You enjoy sports and out-of-doors activity. Your vitality and spirit are strong except if your heart is broken in love. Your need for love and affection is very great and you need to feel appreciated. If frustrated, you lose your desire for living.

Ascendant (Rising Sign) in Virgo

Analytical, grounded and growth-orientated, you work towards self-refinement and meaningful work in the world. The development of practical skills is necessary for your self-esteem. Organization, self-acceptance and nature are your allies. As a Virgo you can be very hard on yourself when it comes to appearance. While feeling more comfortable in a neat, organized and structured look, you aim for it to be put together naturally without too much fuss. Comfort is a big factor and you are attracted to brands that are fashionable as well as functional. Virgo’s ruler is creative Mercury and the position of Mercury in the chart is important.

Ascendant (Rising Sign) in Libra

Libra Ascendant usually looks good. They know the best way to walk, dress their hair, and what colors suit them best. They like physical comfort, personal luxuries and anything that is pleasing to the senses. This ascendant can be very persuasive, preferring to use a “soft sell” when they want to influence others rather than a heavy hand. They have a tendency to pass blame when they can so they can keep up the image of being nice. They make wonderful mediators and are very accommodating.

An artistic, gracious, socially conscious sign, you are active and outwardly focused while engaging with the world. A peaceful environment is necessary to maintain equilibrium. Beauty, diplomacy and intimate relationships are your allies. Libra loves to be social. Ruled by Venus you have a deep need for beauty, so to feel comfortable you must feel coordinated. Whatever form that takes, whether jeans and T-shirt or evening glamour, you dress for yourself, but care what others think. You aim to be appropriate with your fashion choices. Goddess Venus is Libra’s ruler and the position of Venus in the chart is important.

Ascendant (Rising Sign) in Scorpio

A penetrating, intense and emotional emphasis channels your energy into a courageous, impacting relationship with the world, which gives depth to your personality. Personal growth, economic partnerships and healing are your allies. Scorpio must feel powerful and at least a little sexy to feel fabulous. Subtle yet dramatic, an understated charisma to your presentation draws attention while commanding respect. Sometimes, less is more, and frumpy is certainly not in the Scorpio zodiac fashion closet. People with Scorpio rising tend to be secretive, deep, withdrawn, mysterious, regenerate or degenerate, reserved, hard to understand, courageous, willful, persistent, stubborn in thought, creative, self-reliant, self-controlled (except perhaps with the passions), and silent. You appear calm on the surface, but you can be extremely emotional inside. “Still waters run deep”, as they say. You tend to be the silent type, always wanting to know others’ motivations, but never disclosing your own. You love to play the detective or the ferret. You have to know everything, all the how’s and why’s. You have great determination and strength, enough to overcome any adversary, even yourself. You need to overcome resentment, possessiveness and jealousy. There may be a fascination, preoccupation, interest and/or ability with the occult, death, sex or healing.

Ascendant (Rising Sign) in Sagittarius

An enthusiastic, positive, faith-filled approach channels into an action-oriented, high-energy relationship with the world, which helps to lighten the personality. Spontaneity, spiritual and religious study, adventure and animals are your allies. Sagittarius loves colour, and you will take bold chances with your personal presentation. It helps you meet the world with an adventurous attitude. As a fire sign, you get noticed and you have no problem with this attention. Your fun and flirtatious personality convey in your zodiac fashion look. Philosophical Jupiter is the ruler of Sagittarius, and the position of Jupiter in the chart is important.

Ascendant (Rising Sign) in Capricorn

A serious, grounded, methodical approach motivates you toward disciplined and ambitious achievement in the world. And it helps to focus your personality in the material world. Goals, the ability to process and authority are your allies. Capricorn feels comfortable when in control! Often that translates into conservative clothing, but you are very individual in the way you mix and match. You look for quality and can pick up bargain couture at a fraction of the cost. Business orientated, it is important to dress like a professional in your chosen field. Capricorn’s ruler is powerful and practical Saturn and the position of Saturn in the chart is important.

Ascendant (Rising Sign) in Aquarius

An individualistic, mentally-focused and humanitarian approach guides you toward an outgoing, active relationship with the world and prompts the personality to follow unique inner guidance. Intuition, liberation and genius are your allies. As an Aquarian, you put a unique spin on your personal presentation. Even if you wear a uniform, somehow you will make it individual and totally chic. Not one to follow the latest trends or adhere to traditional standards, you are your own personal trendsetter. You are comfortable in your own skin, and the zanier, the better. Unconventional Uranus and determined Saturn rule Aquarius and the position of both planets in the chart are important.

Ascendant (Rising Sign) in Pisces

A profoundly sensitive, gentle and intuitive orientation channels the Pisces personality into an emotionally meaningful and creative relationship with the world, which gives depth. Dreams, spirituality and artistic expression are your allies. Pisces can wear almost anything and feel comfortable. As long as you’re expressing an emotionally sensitive attitude that conveys depth and compassion, your fashion choices will work. You can cast quite a spell with your zodiac fashion style, and channel mystery, magic and a lot of glamour! As Pisces ruler, the positions of imaginative Neptune and adaptable Jupiter in the chart are important.