The Ascendant is calculated from the time of birth and is placed on the left side of the birth chart. It is always the sign on the first cusp of the first house and is one of the most important factors in astrological interpretation. The rising sign and its ruling planet, provide most of the information about our outer personality and appearance.
The 1st house describes the outer expression and the way any individual approaches life. The point of the Ascendant is the timing of an individual’s birth, and it is the natural house of Mars, representing the entry of a person into the physical world. In fact, the Ascendant represents our first impression of the world. In turn, it also indicates how we are perceived by others, our immediate, conscious reactions, and the general impact we make on life.
The first house is often described as the ‘front door’ for it holds the key to the immediacy of our expression to the outer surface, expressively, it is also the way in which we view life. The Ascendant becomes the filter for all of our life experiences, everything that happens to us must first pass through this point of the chart. The Ascendant may have no bearing on the true character beneath, meaning, we can’t always judge a book by its cover.
Have you ever had a friend who was Miss Congeniality – until you got to know her? Did you ever encounter anyone who seemed standoffish and cold at first but warmed up later on? Do you know anyone whose devil-may-care light-hearted attitude masks a calculating, manipulative mind? And have you ever wondered how you strike other people, especially when they don’t know you well. Your horoscope provides the answer. While your Sun sign may not be apparent to people, they definitely notice your Ascendant. It’s your image, your façade, your surface personality. Whether it clashes or harmonizes with your Sun sign, it describes the way people see you and the impression that you make. Astrology For Dummies
The 1st house has also been described as the ‘mask’ or persona we wear and present to the world and this is the face we show strangers, acquaintances and people we meet for the first time. As a result, the Rising Sign often hides our inner personality, in other words, it almost feels as if the world is a masked ball in which people are hiding more and more of their true selves. In regards to this domain, it has also been described as a kind of lens, through which we view the life through, and signs and planets rising at birth, colour our approach and perception of our surroundings.
In psychology, persona means the personality an individual will project to others; the term derives from the Latin word referring to masks worn by Etruscan actors. An individual’s appearance is primarily a projection of who they want to be or what impression they want to project, mixed with elements of the self. Few people admit their weaknesses to the world, so they create an external persona. The task is to get our inner person and outside persona more in line with how we really are inside. Yet, weaknesses, fears, real or imagined flaws are “hidden” by the persona, and meets the demand for us to have a social mask.
The Ascendant (or “Rising Sign”) is almost impossible to sum up. It is many things at one: a symbol of how one acts in the world, the “mask” or “image of the personality” that others see, and a spontaneous energy and attitude toward life that pervades the entire being. Although in some people it is quite obvious, the Ascendant can also be, as Dane Rudyhar wrote, “the most elusive and hard-to-know factor in the birth chart.”
The Ascendant is symbolic of new beginnings and represents the urge to direct our inner motivations onto our immediate environment. Planets in the 1st house or rising planets within 10 degrees of the Ascendant have an enormous influence over our self-expression. The first house can also describe the physical body of the individual, certain mannerisms, specifically, the way they relate to the environment.
This house also says something about the early atmosphere of our childhood. Because the energies are formed so early in life, and we form a close identification with the archetypes represented by the planets and signs placed there. Some psychologists firmly believe that a person is “made” in his childhood. To sum up, the first house represents our effectiveness in outer life, and it describes our approach and, above all, our development.