The word “journey” is overly used and it is a bit cliché. Nonetheless, it doesn’t’ make our spiritual path any less profound. Our passage begins with our birth. The date, time and place of our first emergence in the world is very important. Astrologers use this information to cast a birth chart and position the signs and the planets in the twelve houses of the horoscope. The Ascendant point, represents the moment that anything is brought into being, and the moment of coming into existence. When we ascend into life we feel the impress of all of the planet’s onto our individual being and this is also true, not only for human beings, but for plant life, and animals. In fact, this imprint of celestial energy happens to absolutely anything that begins. For every new activity, enterprise and thought – everything has a starting point in time.
The sign rising at birth describes the way we express ourselves out into life. How we perceive life, and how others see us. The Ascendant is the journey we must make and describes the task and the qualities we need to develop which will take us on the road to becoming whole (Sun). Indeed, the journey of life from birth to death is something that is common to all human beings. How we reach our destination, accomplish our goals and realize our destiny is dependent on our ability to navigate the contours of our horoscope chart. On the way, we meet successes and obstacles and we cope with a myriad of events that cross our path. Astrologically we seem to move towards the Ascendant throughout our lifetime, and we need to integrate the qualities of our Ascendant Sign into our life. Yet, it is also very common for people not to relate to their Rising Sign. However, as life progresses they will meet the challenge of the Ascendant in some shape or form. Learning how to navigate the world through its traits as described by the Ascendant sign/planets/aspects is our pathway to realizing who we are.
The rising sign represents a new phase of growth, so although we may constantly analyse the traits of our Sun Sign and Moon sign, we really need to look closer to home. Through examining the characteristics which need to be developed first on the Ascendant, then we learn how to cope with life’s challenges. Many astrologers believe there is a greater intelligence behind why we are born at a particular time. Thus, when we are beginning to assess the Ascendant, we could start by looking at the element of the sign across it and assess if we are charting an earthier, practical and real-world view of life (EARTH) and taking on the practical tasks which will help us achieve our goals. Or perhaps we are charting the watery domain of feelings, intuitions, and our deepest emotions (WATER). Whatever the case, the Ascendant says something about the path we often need to follow to integrate the other parts of the chart. The planet that rules over this area is the one we will always meet in the outside world.
According to Demetra George:
The birth chart can be read, not merely as a description of the personality or a prognostication of events that will take place, but also as a guide to the activities that can facilitate the living of a purposeful life. The Ascendant indicates the basic motivation that drives the soul, and the planet ruling the Ascendant guides the life to its destination. The Ascendant is perhaps the most sensitive and personal factor in the zodiacal sign and degree that rose above the eastern horizon at the precise moment and place of a child’s birth. The Ascendant marks the spot where heaven meets earth at the location of sunrise on day of birth. It is what makes a child unique from any other child born that day. The ancients knew the Ascendant as the horoskopos, the “hour-marker,” as a place of life, it designates when the newborn takes its first breath as an independent entity at the moment life comes into physical incarnation. The Ascendant degree establishes the line of the horizon, marking both the sunrise and sunset points on the birth day, and hence distinguishing the boundary between the location of the other planetary bodies that are in the upper hemisphere of earth and those in the lower hemisphere. The sign in which the Ascendant is located occupies the first house. Hellenistic astrologers named this house: Breath, Spirit, Life and Helm. The helm contains the sterring mechanism of a ship and, in this context, refers to a nautical metaphor used in ancient texts that envisioned the life as a sea faring journey.