What is a Rising Sign in Astrology?

The rising sign, also known as the ascendant, in is an incredibly important point of your astrological chart. If you’ve ever heard of ‘the big three’ in reference to astrology, it points to the sun sign, the moon sign, and the rising sign. Most people consider these the top three most significant pieces of a chart because they can tell us (broadly) who someone is internally, who they’ll likely grow to be, and their outward expression. You may be surprised to find out that the outward expression is not the sun sign, but is, in fact, the rising sign!

The rising sign isn’t actually a place that can be found in the sky, but is, instead, a point or location in the chart. That point is the result of a mathematical calculation and is the first thing configured when creating any astrology chart/wheel, while the rest of the chart will follow behind it. Basically, until the rising sign/ascendant has been pinpointed, there can not possibly be anything in the first house or any of the other eleven houses and without the houses, there can be no planets to place in the houses.


Let me show you!

This is an astrology wheel and the point that is circled is the ascendant aka the rising sign.

As you can see, the line that points to the ascendant is the same line that begins the first house. The same line is also pointing to a sign and in this chart, the sign is Cancer. This means that this person (me) is a Cancer rising. This also means that my first house is ruled by the sign of Cancer because the line above the number is the line that tells you where that house begins.

In my chart, both my first house and my ascendant are ruled by Cancer, but not everyone has the same sign ruling their ascendant and their first house. Most of the time, they are the same, but some charts will have a different sign for their house and ascendant. Look closely!

Another interesting fact about the rising sign is that it is what determines the planet that rules your chart and this is called the chart ruler. For example, my chart ruler is the moon because my rising sign is cancer, and cancer is ruled by the moon.

Chart Rulers:

If your rising sign is _________________ then your chart ruler is ___________________.


Rising Sign / Ruling Planet Meaning:

  • Aries/Mars: Confident, energetic, reckless, inconsiderate of others feelings without thought, determined, courageous, aggressive, possessive, athletic, inflexible, competitive, hands-on, the alpha masculine, likes weapons, looks physically strong and powerful, has/will have many scars and burns (one on the face), daring, self-expressive and verbal, hard-working, warrior mentality, highly competitive, and plays many sports throughout life. Facial marks and injuries, reddish skin, very athletic body, and swift, precise movements.
  • Taurus/Venus: Resourceful, slow and steady moving, self-indulgent, reserved, needs creative outlet, has a love for the arts and beautiful things, highly enjoys comfort, stubborn and fixed in their ways, resistant to changes, patient, self-reliant, charming, lazy, thick/curvy, craves stability, values material possessions, sensual, finds greatest pleasure in physical senses, jealous, passionate, can be pushy, loyal, and possessive of things and people. Solid, strong body, tendency to gain weight easy, broad shoulders, and wide or thick neck.
  • Gemini/Mercury: Bubbly, curious, manipulative, clever, talkative, intelligent, inquisitive, has a strong sense of self (and other self), will argue for days, quirky, adventurous, scientific, intellectual, tends to tell white lies, anxious, high mental energy, needs constant stimulation, quirky, a student forever, jittery and constantly bouncing and buzzing around, nervous energy, life of the party, and needs space and company at different times. Moves very quickly, uses exaggerated hand gestures with speech, and is both athletic and thin.
  • Cancer/Moon: Emotions easily read by facial expressions, extreme mood swings, both talkative and silent, sensitive, unassuming, kind, gentle, protective, needy, nurturing, overly-sensitive, sense people and environment through feelings, intuitive- even psychic, insecure, empathetic, comforting, cold and detached, trusts gut more than eyes, reserved, needs security, highly emotionally intelligent, and often hurt when pain wasn’t intended. Silvery-olive skin, dark hair, oval-shaped face w/ square jaw, wide hips, and thin arms and legs.
  • Leo/Sun: Confident, warm, child-like fun, immature, animated, selfish, natural comedian, throws childish fits, generous, highly attractive, successful using creative abilities, popular, will not express doubts of self, optimistic, generous, vain, giving, loves being admired, seeks validation and attention, very honest, self-centered, domineering, knows no boundaries, independent nature, does community work, boastful, heroic, and can easily motivate others. Very thick hair, dramatic way of moving, prominent features, and exaggerated head and shoulders.
  • Virgo/Mercury: Purposeful, anxious, productive, highly sensitive to body discomfort, studious, low pain threshold, matter-of-fact, standoffish at first, highly self-critical, never feels as if enough is done, responsible, carries nervous body tension, genius at creating and working systems and organizing, poor digestion due to stress, natural and modest, instinct for what is fair, very helpful, nitpicks, perfectionist, and frequently worries. Fair skin, smooth complexion, clean and well-groomed clothing and hair, heart-shaped face.
  • Libra/Venus: Makes presence known, cheery disposition, attracted to finery, thoughtful, advocate for what’s just, charming, highly perceptive, has many connections, people-pleaser, popular, social butterfly, passive-aggressive, agreeable, devil’s advocate, very competitive, self-righteous, intellectual, easy to talk to, involved in many circles, craves deeper relationships, can see the big picture, analytical, and self-compromising for sake of peace. Graceful and feminine movements, shapely body, and fine facial structure.
  • Scorpio/Pluto: Strong and intense feelings, secretive, mysterious, sexually driven, obsessive, extremely high highs and low lows, paranoid, passionate, strategically manipulates situations and environments, forever friend, fearless enemy, romantic, pushes all boundaries, unconsciously demanding and strong presence, self-destructive, unstoppable, great force, vengeful, aggressive, and powerful. Muscular, strong body, deep and penetrating eyes, shows little emotion with facial expressions, and has a yellow hue to skin.
  • Sagittarius/Jupiter: Adventurous, philosophical, tendency to be overly-optimistic, very curvy body, always on a quest, highly outgoing, lacking commonsense, vivacious, always smiling- even through tears, seeks new experiences, loves to travel, generous, says profound things at random, asks the big questions, gullible, trusts too easily, possesses much spirit, loves having fun, aims to kill, naturally flirty personality, and doesn’t budge. Has a broad smile, round face, is clumsy, and makes exaggerated movements.
  • Capricorn/Saturn: Hard-working, serious personality, highly sarcastic, capable but cautious, pessimistic, big concern for material life, structured, trustworthy, disciplined, boring, ambitious, successful after twenties, a born leader, dictator, too critical of others, supportive, never satisfied, high level of endurance, committed to responsibilities, self-loathing, will choose career over health, limited by guilt, and concerned for reputation. Cold and unapproachable stance, sharp, but small features- sometimes birdlike, and is thinner than others.
  • Aquarius/Uranus: Highly independent, constant needs for freedom and liberation, adaptable, unpredictable, easily transformed by experiences, dismissive of others, natural social reformer, both extra- and introverted depending on mood, control freak, will disappear at random, always authentic to individual self, trendsetter, high and mighty attitude, unnecessarily defensive, judgmental of those with different opinions, and is very expressive of self. Walks quickly, moves in a careless way, bold facial features, has eccentric fashion sense.
  • Pisces/Neptune: Highly receptive, has no boundaries, very gentle, tends to overshare, great listener, understanding, deeply spiritual, super friendly, constant urge to escape reality, malleable, addictive behaviors, tends to cry a lot, overactive imagination, can’t be pinned down, great love for animals, often appears lost, highly artistically inclined, intuition over critical thinking, never pays attention to outer world and falls into danger easily, self-sacrificing, a mystical being. Large eyes, short, long eyelashes, and small hands and feet.

From Within the Labyrinth,


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