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The Basics of Astrology's Rising Sign

Keen Category: Astrology Advice

A zodiac clock

We all follow our own Sun signs and keep up to date on how the planets affect us. But any deep discussion of astrology eventually mentions the rising sign, or ascendant.

What exactly is your rising sign? How is it different than your sun sign? Your sun sign is the location of the Sun in the heavens at the moment of your birth. The Sun, Moon and planets all appear to move around us here on Earth. The ancients divided up the sky into twelve distinct sections and named each slice of the stellar pie after the constellation of stars nearest the beginning of each area. These twelve sections of the sky that surround us are called the signs. The 360° circle surrounding the globe is called the zodiac, the ancient Greek word for belt. Imagine a belt circumnavigating the globe thousands of miles above, which is how the ancients envisioned it. They noticed that while most of the stars in the heavens stayed in exactly the same spot on this imaginary belt above them, the Sun, Moon and what appeared to be stars wandered around the belt in a regular rhythm. Given this meandering behavior, the word "planet" is derived from the Greek word meaning "wanderers."

Each year the Sun wanders around the belt above us in a consistent and predictable rhythm. The Moon's journey along the same path lasts about a month. But this belt is not static and it too was thought to move. What we now know is that it was the Earth rotating – the zodiac belt itself is stationary, but our relationship to it is constantly changing. When the full moon rises in the night sky, the stars behind it rise too. The ancients marked the rising and setting of the zodiac's signs with equal precision in which the locations of the planets were recorded. In doing so, they noticed that the sign rising in the east at the time of a person's birth gave them definable characteristics that complemented their Sun sign. This became known as the person's rising sign. It is separate and distinct from the person's sun sign.

Sun Sign vs Rising Sign

The Sun rules our ego energy. Where the Sun is in the zodiac determines how you respond to life, all of its joys and all of its challenges. The zodiac sign on the eastern horizon at the moment of your birth determines your personality. This is what you involuntarily show the world. This is your public face. Your wants and needs are determined by your sun sign. How you carry yourself through life is determined by your rising sign.

Your rising sign is determined by the time of your birth. If you were born right before or right after dawn, your sun sign is likely the same as your rising sign. If you were born just before or just after sunset, your rising sign is most likely to be exactly opposite from your sun sign.

How to Figure Out Your Rising Sign

If you have your birth certificate with the date, time and place of your birth, an astrologer can calculate your rising sign as part of casting your astrology chart. If you have had your chart done, your rising sign is also the sign that rules your first house. If your chart were a clock, the first house would be right where nine o'clock appears. Once you discover your rising sign, read below to see the characteristics that guide you in the eyes of other people.

Synopsis of the Twelve Rising Signs

    • Aries Rising

      Your friends will consider you blunt when it comes to explaining your position. Others will see your desire to move on as an abrupt abandonment of a plan. Not explaining yourself only adds to your mystique and their frustration.

    • Taurus Rising

      Your pragmatism might be of great assistance to friends and acquaintances. A preference for material solutions instead of theoretical abstractions could make you come across as a wet blanket when talk of possibilities arises. Your love of shopping and acquisition are what guide your decision making process.

    • Gemini Rising

      Your chatty nature gets you into the most interesting situations and you can talk yourself out of trouble with the best of them. But it is accountability and results that may be your downfall. Finishing things before moving on does not come natural.

    • Cancer Rising

      Your sense of security is paramount; if you have any vulnerabilities, you will turn them into an identity that makes you seem even stronger to those around you. Anyone prodding you likely gets the silent treatment until you feel comfortable around them, and by then you are prone to get too sentimental about things.

    • Leo Rising

      Your appreciation for the finer things in life will make you appear to be a distinguished leader to many people. If you cannot back up your taste and status, though, you will more likely come across as a snob to all the rest. Drama and theatrical gestures rule your interactions with others.

    • Virgo Rising

      You like to do a good job in order to impress your boss and assert your own authority over the situation. You like to appear detail-oriented even when you may be juggling those details. You prefer a conventional appearance but would insist that a lover-to-be never judge a book by its cover.

    • Libra Rising

      You seek out an understanding of what is permissible behavior in whatever crowd you're in. You provoke with shock, confrontation and humor. Your aim is not to break up the party but for everyone to have a good time once the limits have been established.

    • Scorpio Rising

      Your intense silences say more than a long gab session ever would. You have an abiding need to be taken seriously and would rather people not know the real you rather than misunderstand the person they meet.

    • Sagittarius Rising

      Your hunger for adventure comes across as glibness. You quickly digest new experiences and move on without much thought to those who want to stay for a second helping. Your passion and commitment are based on a belief in yourself that inspires others and you can be a great leader if you choose to.

    • Capricorn Rising

      The feeling that you should be in the right place at the right time might sound exciting, but that proper place is often a lot more boring than you imagined. However, the safety of certainty cannot be beat and if you are going to gamble, it is from the position as an informed insider.

    • Aquarius Rising

      Your feelings for the people cause you to go to great lengths to do the right thing. When it comes to individual people, though, your critical nature often leaves your simple conversations taken as harsh words. Balancing kindness with causes is the best way to make friends.

    • Pisces Rising

      A preference for the visual over the verbal leaves you with a decidedly artistic and fashionable bent. Your aim is for pleasure and you might leave some pressing assignments behind as you pursue what feels good. Self-discipline is your greatest ally.

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