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Episode 139 | A Practical Guide to Your Rising Sign

astrology podcast Aug 19, 2023
A Practical Guide to Your Rising Sign

When people look at a horoscope or pick up an astrology book they usually flip immediately to their Sun sign because that’s the one astrological position most people know - even if they think astrology is nothing more than wootastic hocus pocus. 

But the Rising Sign and ascendant (which are technically two different things) are more than just terms you come across in astrological discussions; they have real, tangible implications for understanding behavior and personality traits. And they are mission critical for predictive work. Whether you're new to astrology or astro-literate, today's content is designed to give you clear, actionable insights about the Ascendant and its role in the natal chart.

Basic Astrology

The natal chart, commonly referred to as the birth chart, is a detailed map of where the planets, Sun, and Moon were in the sky at the exact moment and location of your birth. 

This unique record not only offers insights into your inherent strengths, challenges, and personal traits but also provides valuable information about your character, relationships, career prospects, future and other facets of life.

The Big Three: Sun, Moon, and Rising:

When working with astrology, three primary placements often come to the forefront: the Sun, Moon, and Rising Sign. Together, these form the foundation of your astrological identity.

Sun Sign 

The Sun Sign is the placement most people are familiar with. Your Sun sign is determined by where the Sun was located in the zodiac at your time of birth. This is fairly easy to determine with just the date on which you were born because the window of time the Sun is in any give zodiac sign is basically the same every year.

The Sun represents your core being, your ego, and the essence of who you are. It sheds light on your main personality traits, ambitions, and general life path. When someone asks, "What's your sign?" they're referring to this.

Moon Sign 

While the Sun sign speaks to your conscious mind and outer self, the Moon sign reveals your emotions, instincts, and subconscious patterns. It's about your inner world, your emotional reactions, and what makes you feel secure or vulnerable.

With both the Sun and Moon sign it is also important to take into consideration a variety of other factors such as the house the planet is in and the house it rules. But that is much more advanced than you need to understand for now.

Rising Sign 

Unlike the Sun and Moon signs, which are determined by your birth date, the Rising sign requires both your birth time and location. This sign was rising on the eastern horizon at the exact moment of your birth, hence its name. It acts as a mask or facade, influencing first impressions, your immediate reactions, and how you present yourself to the world. It also sets the tone for the rest of your natal chart, defining the layout of the twelve astrological houses.

The Importance of Birth Time and Location

Your Rising sign, which shifts approximately every two hours, is particularly sensitive to the time and place of birth. Even a difference of a few minutes can change its position, making it crucial to have accurate birth information. This sign acts as a starting point in your natal chart, determining which signs each of the twelve houses falls into and influencing every area of your life, from relationships and career to personal growth and life challenges.

Now that we have the basics down it’s time to get to the fun part.

Deep Dive into the Rising Sign

I’m going to have to be a little technical because I’m a history nerd but I promise to give you a two sentence breakdown before I’m done.

Within the framework of Hellenistic astrology, the most important mathematical point of a chart was the Ascendant, now widely referred to as the Rising sign. This system's origins can be traced back to the Hellenistic period of ancient Greece, roughly spanning the late 3rd century BCE to the late 2nd century CE, and represents a synthesis of Babylonian, Egyptian, and Greek astrological practices.

The term Ascendant refers to the specific degree of the zodiac intersecting the eastern horizon at any given moment. While often used interchangeably with terms like "rising" or "rising sign," the latter actually alludes to the entire zodiacal sign ascending over the eastern horizon at a particular time, not just its specific degree.

Astrologers during the Hellenistic tradition, writing predominantly in Greek, often used the term horoskopos for the Ascendant. Translated, it means “Hour-Marker.” This term occasionally denoted the degree of the Ascendant but could also reference the sign. This dual usage probably accounts for some of the modern terminology's ambiguity.

For these ancient Hellenistic astrologers, the Ascendant was not merely an astrological point of interest—it was foundational. It established the starting point for charting one's life, character, and the journey of planets across the twelve astrological houses, each house resonating with its unique life themes.

So to sum it all up… 

The ascendant is the exact degree of the sign on the eastern horizon at any given moment, this point establishes your first house, and the sign becomes your Rising Sign. However, Ascendent, first house, and rising sign are often used interchangeably. 

The Rising Sign's Role

For simplicity’s sake, I’m just going to say ‘Rising Sign’ going forward. 

The Rising Sign has a unique vantage point, acting as a lens through which the rest of the chart is experienced.

In practical terms, it offers insights into one’s outward behavior, physicality, and life approach.

  • Your Outward Behavior is how you react instinctively, especially in unfamiliar situations, it is often how other people perceive you (which is why it is sometimes referred to as a mask)
  • Your Physical Disposition  can dictate appearance but it can also suggest certain physical tendencies 
  • Your Life Approach reveals how you navigate challenges, opportunities, and everyday occurrences.

Characteristics and Traits Associated with Each Rising Sign

While it is an oversimplification to categorize traits to each Rising Sign (since other factors in the chart, like planets in the first house or aspects to the Ascendant, also play a part), here’s an oversimplification for each Rising Sign.

  • Aries Rising: Energetic, direct, confident. A pioneering spirit. Individuals typically possess a strong and muscular body of medium height or slightly taller, with sharp, penetrating eyes, bold eyebrows, and a slightly flushed complexion.
  • Taurus Rising: Steady, practical, seeks comfort and security. They tend to have a sturdy build with pleasing, rounded facial features, often accompanied by dark, curly hair and calm, grounding eyes, typically brown or hazel, with full lips and a pronounced neck.
  • Gemini Rising: Curious, communicative, adaptable. Slender and tall, they display lively, sparkling eyes and have a restless demeanor with flexible hands, expressive gestures, and hair color that varies.
  • Cancer Rising: Nurturing, intuitive, protective. These individuals are usually of medium height with a round face, a moon-like pale complexion, wide-set soft eyes (often blue or gray), and typically have wavy or thick hair.
  • Leo Rising: Charismatic, proud, seeks recognition and validation. Often boasting a strong and statuesque physique, they have mane-like hair that can be golden or reddish, bright commanding eyes, broad shoulders, and a regal posture with a warm skin tone.
  • Virgo Rising: Analytical, detail-oriented, health-conscious. Generally a medium to slightly shorter stature, they have delicate facial features, observant eyes, a neat appearance, and often possess dark hair.
  • Libra Rising: Diplomatic, charming, seeks balance and harmony. Their physique is graceful and symmetrical, with clear facial features, almond-shaped eyes (often blue or light brown), and an inherently pleasant and harmonious appearance.
  • Scorpio Rising: Intense, investigative, seeks depth in experiences. With intense, piercing eyes and a strong, defined facial structure, they carry a mysterious or magnetic demeanor, often having dark hair and a somewhat brooding appearance.
  • Sagittarius Rising: Optimistic, adventurous, values freedom and exploration. Tall and athletically built, their demeanor is open and optimistic, marked by bright, wide-set eyes and an enthusiastic presence.
  • Capricorn Rising: Disciplined, ambitious, values structure. Usually lean with a bony appearance, they exude a serious or mature vibe, often having dark eyes, darker hair, and prominently defined bones.
  • Aquarius Rising: Innovative, independent, seeks change and progress. Typically tall and slender, their appearance can be unconventional or unique, characterized by bright and alert eyes with a clear or somewhat detached gaze.
  • Pisces Rising: Compassionate, intuitive, dreamy. They often have soft, dreamy eyes and a fluid appearance, generally of medium height with a delicate build, and frequently with fair hair and complexion.

Remember, the Rising Sign is just one piece of the intricate puzzle that is the natal chart. While it offers a vital entry point into understanding an individual's approach to life and their appearance, considering all the elements of the chart, is essential for a complete astrological analysis.

The Role of Rising Sign in Horoscope Writing

When exploring horoscopes, people are often told to read the horoscope for their Sun Sign. As previously stated, this is largely because it is the astrological placement people are most familiar with. However, the way all  horoscopes are written are from the perspective of the sign on the ascendant, the Rising Sign. 

So why does it seem like reading the horoscope for your Sun Sign is often relevant? Excellent question.  Let’s sepend some talking about horoscopes and the different ways to read them.

The Significance of House Placements

In astrology, the Rising Sign is pivotal in determining the distribution of zodiac signs across the twelve houses. 

Each house highlights different facets of life, from personal aspirations to relationships and career trajectories. The zodiac sign associated with each house influences experiences and challenges tied to that life sector. So, when writing horoscopes, the Ascendant plays a defining role in pinpointing which life areas are likely to be in the spotlight during a specific period.

So, even if you aren’t reading your Rising Sign you are always reading a horoscope that has been written from the perspective of whatever sign being the Rising Sign (the first house).

The Allure of the Sun Sign

It's no secret that Sun Sign horoscopes have gained significant traction in mainstream culture. This popularity is largely attributed to the simplicity of determining one's sun sign—it's directly tied to one's birth date. Reading horoscopes through the lens of the Sun Sign offers insights into overarching life themes and potential challenges or opportunities aligned with one's core self.

This is an excellent option if you do not know your Rising Sign or you want greater nuance from general horoscopes.

Moon Sign: A Dive into the Emotional Realm

While the Sun Sign provides a broad perspective, horoscopes read from the Moon Sign introduces a more intimate layer. The Moon Sign reflects our inner emotions, desires, and instincts. 

By exploring horoscopes through the Moon Sign, individuals can gain a clearer understanding of their emotional responses, innermost feelings, and subconscious patterns.

Personalized Insights with the Rising Sign

If you’re looking for a more accurate horoscope experience, the Rising Sign offers invaluable insights. This sign illustrates how individuals interact with the world around them, shedding light on initial reactions and general approaches to challenges and opportunities. Horoscopes centered around the Rising Sign often resonate more deeply with day-to-day experiences, making them a preferred choice for many.

That is why I always recommend people read their horoscope based on their Rising Sign if they know it.

The Limitations of Generalized Horoscopes

While Rising sign horoscopes offer a more nuanced perspective, they still come with their own set of limitations. Techniques like annual profections, which provide detailed insights based on specific time frames, can be left out of general horoscope readings. Additionally, the interconnectedness of various elements in an individual's chart—such as planet positions, house placements, and the relationships between them—often requires a deeper, more personalized analysis for accurate insights.

It’s important to remember that while horoscopes offer valuable guidance and insights, a deeper exploration of the entire chart is essential for a thorough understanding of the astrological influences at play. That is one of the many reasons I often use member’s astrology charts during our group coaching sessions within the Crusade.

Real-world Applications

Astrology, with its intricate nuances, isn't merely an abstract art; it has genuine applications in our day-to-day lives. Better understanding your Rising Sign and what transits are happening in it, can yield insights into significant life events and foster personal growth. Here's how.

Transits to the Ascendant: Indicators of Major Life Changes

Transits in astrology refer to the movement of planets and their positions relative to our birth chart. When a planet transit happens in your Rising Sign, significant life events often occur. Remember, the Rising Sign not only represents our immediate environment and physical self but also showcases how we interact with the world.

For example:

  • Saturn transiting through your Rising Sign might mark a period of self-discipline, taking on new responsibilities, or encountering challenges that lead to maturity.
  • Uranus could usher in unexpected events, innovations, or a desire to break free from routine or convention.
  • Venus moving through your Rising Sign can emphasize a time of increased social appeal, romantic interests, upgrading one’s image, or heightened appreciation for beauty and relationships.
  • Mars transits may bring about heightened energy, assertiveness, or even conflict.
  • Jupiter’s time in your Rising Sign could indicate a time of expansion, optimism, or opportunities for personal growth.
  • Neptune might introduce heightened intuition, dreams, self doubt, or possibly confusion.
  • Pluto could lead to transformative experiences, deep self-reflection, or power struggles.
  • The Sun making its way through your Rising Sign might bring renewed energy, recognition, or fresh starts.
  • Mercury’s transit can stimulate communication, short trips, or enhance learning opportunities.

Each transit introduces general themes, but individual experiences will vary based on the entirety of one's chart and current life circumstances.

The Moon goes through each of the twelve signs every month which means it goes through your Rising Sign every month. 

The rapid movement of the Moon is why tracking its location is so important when working with astrology. It gives you the ability to predict energy levels and areas of focus without knowing anything else about astrology. I’ll teach you exactly how to do this within the Crusade.  

Harnessing Self-Understanding and Growth Through the Rising Sign

The Rising sign also plays a crucial role in our interactions with the world, guiding both our challenges and opportunities. Recognizing attributes related to our Rising Sign can empower us to leverage strengths and be aware of areas where we may want to manage our minds a bit more.

Again this is an oversimplification but in general…

  • Aries Rising may highlight leadership qualities but also cautions against impulsive actions.
  • Taurus Rising individuals might find strength in persistence but need to watch for stubbornness.
  • Gemini Rising suggests adaptability and quick thinking, though they might be prone to shiny object syndrome.
  • Cancer Rising emphasizes nurturing and intuition but may struggle with excessive emotional guarding.
  • Leo Rising tends to have plenty of charisma and confidence, but may need to work on not seeking constant external validation or being too authoritarian.
  • Virgo Rising indicates a meticulous nature and a knack for details but suggests a need to avoid excessive criticism - both internally and externally.
  • Libra Rising excels at diplomacy and charm but may struggle with decision-making and boundaries.
  • Scorpio Rising exudes intensity and depth, but there might be a need to manage power dynamics carefully.
  • Sagittarius Rising encapsulates enthusiasm and a quest for knowledge but may need to guard against overextension.
  • Capricorn Rising tends to have plenty of discipline and ambition, but may need to work on work-life balance.
  • Aquarius Rising may be known for their innovation and individuality but find it necessary to avoid becoming too detached. 
  • Pisces Rising tend to be overflowing with compassion and intuition but may need more awareness of boundaries.

The Rising sign offers a roadmap to personal strengths and areas for development. Just by paying attention to this one area of the birth chart, it’s possible to facilitate personal growth and navigate life's challenges with greater clarity.

Rising Sign Myths

So now that we’ve established that astrology offers a profound framework for understanding oneself and is the foundation for most predictive work. Lets talk about some of the misconceptions that have lead to oversimplifications and misunderstandings. 

Here's a clarification of some common myths.

Myth 1: The Rising Sign is Always the Same as the Sun Sign

Myth: Many assume that their Rising Sign and Sun Sign are identical.

Truth: Though both can be in the same zodiac sign due to specific birth timings, they often vary. The Sun Sign, based on the Sun's position at birth, encapsulates your core identity. In contrast, the Rising Sign, determined by the zodiac ascending on the eastern horizon at birth, dictates how you present yourself to others.

Myth 2: The Ascendant Only Dictates Physical Traits

Misconception: The Rising Sign just describes one's physical appearance.

Truth: Beyond influencing physical attributes, the Rising Sign governs first impressions, spontaneous reactions, and instinctual behaviors. It's metaphorically seen as the public "mask" or one's default self-presentation.

Myth 3: The Rising Sign is Static

Myth: Once established, your Rising Sign remains constant throughout your life.

Truth: While one's natal chart remains fixed, advanced astrological techniques, such as progressions, introduce dynamics where the Rising Sign and other elements can shift. These methods offer nuanced insights into personal growth and evolving life events.

Myth 4: All People with the Same Rising Sign are Alike

Myth: If two individuals possess the same Rising Sign, their personalities and life trajectories must align.

Truth: The Rising Sign offers essential insights, yet an individual's astrological profile is multi-dimensional. Aspects, mathematical points based on the exact position of the Ascendant, and the positioning of various planets create a unique astrological signature for each person, ensuring that no two charts (or lives) are entirely alike.

The Rising Sign, while very important, is just one of many factors in the intricate discipline of astrology. To grasp its full depth, it's crucial to approach it with an open and curious mind.

Each chart in it’s entirety is unique, just as each human is truly unique. You are not just like every member of your family, city, country, faith, or any other category that you broadly fall into - and you’re not exactly like every other person that has the same Rising Sign.

By now I’m hoping that you are super duper curious about your own Rising Sign. 


How to Find Your Rising Sign

Finding your Rising Sign, or Ascendant, can offer invaluable insights into your personality, behaviors, and how you present yourself to the world. One of my favorite online astrological tools is Astro-Seek

Here's a step-by-step guide to navigate this platform and determine your Rising Sign:

1. Navigate to Astro-Seek's Website

Open your web browser and visit

2. Access the Birth Chart Section

On the homepage, look for the "Free Horoscopes" section or similar navigational header. Click on "Birth Chart Horoscope" or a similar option indicating a personal birth chart calculation.

3. Enter Your Birth Details

A form will appear prompting you for specific birth details:

Date of Birth: Ensure you enter the day, month, and year of your birth accurately.

Time of Birth: Input the exact time you were born, down to the hour and minute, if possible. The Rising Sign calculation is sensitive to time, so accuracy is crucial. If you're unsure, check your birth certificate or consult a family member.

Place of Birth: Type in the city and country where you were born. Some larger cities might also ask for a specific district or area, so be as precise as you can.

4. Click "Continue" or "Calculate"

After entering your details, there should be a button to process the information. Clicking on it will generate your natal chart.

5. Locate Your Rising Sign

Once your birth chart appears, look to the left side (or the eastern part) of the chart. There should be a symbol that resembles "AC" or the glyph for Ascendant. Next to this, you'll find the zodiac sign symbol representing your Rising Sign.

6. Interpretation (Optional)

Astro-Seek typically provides a brief interpretation or description of each placement in the natal chart, including the Rising Sign. You can read this for an initial understanding of what your Ascendant signifies.

7. Explore Further (Optional)

If you want to learn more, Astro-Seek offers additional tools and resources to understand the various elements of your chart. Feel free to explore other sections, like transit forecasts or compatibility analyses.

Remember, while online tools like Astro-Seek provide valuable insights, individual interpretations might vary. If you're serious about understanding your astrological profile, consider consulting a professional astrologer for a detailed analysis.

Also, the accuracy of your Rising Sign heavily relies on the precision of your birth time. If you find out the time was off, even by a few minutes, it could change your Rising Sign, especially if it was close to transitioning into the next sign. So always strive for accuracy when inputting your birth details.

Astrology is not just about personality traits or new age ideas; it's a tool that, when used correctly, can offer concrete insights into our lives. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how to use astrology, I’d like to invite you to join The Crusade where I combine practical astrology with empowering mindset coaching. Learn all about it at 

Until next time, my wish for you is a deeper understanding of yourself and the world around you.

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