I’ve heard the term “rising sign” bandied about for years, from the mentions in Hollywood films to the horoscopes in my daily paper. It never quite struck a chord with me, however, until I realized that my Virgo Ascendant was the reason I didn’t embody my Leo sun sign: I lack a head of fiery curls, and I have never had any real desire to be the center of attention. Why was I almost the antithesis of a Leo? For years I just didn’t quite understand.
Your rising sign (or ascendant, the two terms are used interchangeably) is the zodiacal sign that was on the Eastern horizon when you were born. Ascendants change in two-hour intervals, with the entire zodiac being represented in one 24-hour day; that said, you chose to enter this world during one of those two-hour periods. The rising sign at the moment of your birth is the one you will embody not only physically, but also emotionally and spiritually.
Your Ascendant is often considered to be that by which other people understand us; when meeting others, they will see you through the lens of your Ascendant, rather than your sun sign. Our Ascendants show our natural, knee-jerk reaction to new people and situations.
Not know your exact time of birth? Take a gander at the detailed Ascendant descriptions below. My guess is that you can readily pick out your Ascendant (especially if you have the time narrowed down to at least a portion of the day, say early morning or late evening).
Aries Rising: In Astrology for Beginners, Joann Hampar gives this excellent description of an Aries Ascendant: “The Aries Ascendant gives an outgoing personalityâ€”one who is energetic and impulsive. If you have this cardinal fire sign on the Ascendant, you express enthusiasm, impatience, and a zest for life. You are not easily deterred, and when presented with a challenge, you rise to the occasion.” Most likely, your hair is relatively sparse, and you are reddish in complexion.
Taurus Rising: Someone with a Taurus Rising will be strong and steady, with a quiet personality. These individuals will be rather stubborn, though, as they are bulls. You stay true to your word, and do what you will to provide a comfortable life for yourself and your loved ones. You will have a serene appearance, though you may have a prominent neck or a stocky build.
Gemini Rising: The Gemini Ascendant is friendly and talkative, with a witty charm and youthful personality (not to mention appearance!).Â Those with a Gemini Rising is most concerned with the flow of informationâ€”most importantly, the flow of information to help them broaden their social circles. Your face is heart-shaped, and you have long, graceful fingers.
Cancer Rising: The Cancer Ascendant provides a shy and sensitive disposition; you may get easily flustered when in new situations or environments. You will be responsive to the needs of others (perhaps even seen as mothering), and have a strong intuition and sixth sense. Your face is likely round (reflective of the water full moon), and your hands are small and square.
Leo Rising: “The Leo Ascendant gives a friendly and self-confident personality, one who walks with pride and assurance. If you have this fixed fire sign on the Ascendant, you are courageous and don’t mind taking risks,” says Joann Hampar in Astrology for Beginners. These are people who simply can’t help but be noticed. Those with a Leo Rising are prone to drama; nothing these individuals do is small. Your hair is a mane of flowing curls, and your eyes may be cat-like in shape.
Virgo Rising: The Virgo Ascendant gives a youthful appearanceâ€”you will always look younger than your years. These individuals are intelligent and reserved, but are willing to work at something until it is absolutely perfect (given the analytical and methodical nature of Virgo). You may be a master of many crafts, but still plagued by self-doubt that your efforts are never quite good enough. Your body frame tends toward the lean side, and your long, thin lips will accentuate this. Whether or not you are aware of it, you tend to talk with your hands.
Libra Rising: Like those with a Gemini Rising, those with a Libra Rising are charming and creative. These individuals can be incredibly persuasive. You strive to find balance in all that you do, and will even go so far as to avoid disagreements so as to not create an unpleasant environment. You have a wide social circle, but unlike those with a Gemini Ascendant, you are not interested in gaining personally from your connections. You are likely physically attractive, as your outer beauty matches your inner beauty.
Scorpio Rising: Charismatic and magnetic, those with a Scorpio Ascendant have an intensity that draws people to them. Whether quiet or loud, these individuals tend to be noticed. Also self-reliant and independent, you are goal-oriented and determined. Your eyes are the window to your soul, and they are bound to be piercing and intense in color.
Sagittarius Rising: The best word to describe those with a Sagittarius Ascendant is adventure. These people are continuously looking forward to the next new thing. Your sense of humor and optimism are contagious, and you go out of your way to help others so that all have equality. You are likely to be a globe-trotter. You have a wide grin and a playfulness about you.
Capricorn Rising: You may have had a difficult childhood, but you are a natural leader and have learned to overcome your personal obstacles, both past and present, through your determination and drive. There is an air of seriousness to these individuals, and those with a Capricorn Ascendant may have a very dry or wry sense of humor. Moneyâ€”both earning it and worrying about itâ€”is an important topic for those with Capricorn Rising. Your body may be just as dark and sturdy as you are: you may be short or stocky, and likely have dark hair.
Aquarius Rising: Those with an Aquarius Ascendant are unusual and unique, with eclectic interests and hobbies. You are strongly independent, and will refuse to conform to the ideas or plans of others (there is a rebelliousness in you that may show itself at times).Â Of all the zodiacal signs, those with an Aquarius rising are the most likely to be involved with metaphysical subjects, including astrology. Unusual facial features and wild hair characterize your appearance.
Pisces Rising: In Astrology for Beginners, Joann Hampar describes the Pisces Rising as “a gentle, thoughtful personality. If you have this mutable water sign on the Ascendant, you are receptive to those around you and sensitive to your environment. Empathetic and intuitive, you can be overwhelmed by too much input.” With an artistic personality, those with a Pisces Rising will go with the flow of things, and can be perceived as having the chameleon-like quality of changing their personality from day to day. You have an oval face, along with small hands and feet.