The Ascendant lies east of the place of birth. At the time of a person’s birth, one of the twelve zodiacal signs will be rising on the eastern horizon at the exact moment an individual enters the world.
The Ascendant is the doorway and entry point of the personality. It represents the basic mode of expression of any individual upon a first encounter with the social world. In astrology, it is believed that the great luminaries – Sun and Moon – can only express themselves through this particular facet of the chart. In the horoscope, the Ascendant describes how we approach life and signifies the colour of the lens through which we meet new experiences. The sign and planet/s in the first house can describe our actual birth experience. Those early events of childhood, tend to influence the way we perceive the world.
Liz Greene describes the Ascendant as a gateway to life that is symbolic of the link between one reality and another. In a general astrological analysis, this area of the chart represents an Arian flavor as this is the sign covering this domain. This entry point is, therefore, symbolic of a new phase, new beginning, and “fresh start“. The Rising Sign is often referred to as the persona if we enter into more psychological terrain and it is the mask we wear in social situations. Although one shouldn’t be too liberal with this term of thinking as it will often give the wrong impression that The Ascendant is merely a superficial point in the chart. The Ascendant is also usually much more obvious on first meeting than our Sun and Moon sign.
The Descendant in the natal chart lies opposite our place of birth and represents the unconscious side of us. This part of the horoscope wheel is usually projected onto others. The qualities here are symbolic of those things we are seeking to develop. However, we are not consciously aware that this energy actually belongs to us. Sometimes we are so close to the Ascendant (face) that we cannot always observe its characteristics directly. The Ascendant possesses an integrating influence over the personality and so reflects an important aspect of the developing personality. The Rising Sign presides over the whole birth chart, influencing the planetary house positions which set the horoscope wheel in motion. The Ascendant sign is the first point an astrologer uses to begin chart interpretation as a way to personality by knocking on the front door.
We see people approach new situations in all kinds of different ways. One individual may walk into a new situation with optimism, openness and positivity (Jupiter). Others approach situations with caution, fear and defensiveness (Saturn) and all of this can be assessed just by looking at the Rising Sign and planet/s in the first house. The Ascendant filters all of our life experiences and the ruling planet of the sign rising at birth, acts like a kind of “God” parent. The modern day version of a god parent is to support the parents (Sun and Moon) and to act as a kind of mentor and guide to the developing child. Lastly, it’s also important to analyze the sign and house position of our ruling deity to see where our energies will be immediately expressed.