The Ascendant in our natal chart is formulated by our time of birth, while the Midheaven is formulated by our place of birth.
The Ascendant in short defines our external expression to the world. It is what a person sees when we first meet them. It can define our appearance, can denote our grandparents, speaks of our vitality (along with the Sun and other components in our natal chart) and is often quite different from our Sun sign expression. If we have a soft Sun sign like Capricorn or Pisces, an Ascendant sign of Aries or Leo will over-ride some of the more soft character traits or more subdued traits defined by these Sun signs. This is why some people do not identify well with their Sun sign or visa versa, do not identify well with their Rising sign.
When we are describing our Ascendant sign it is important to take into consideration its natural ruler and which house this ruler resides in, within our natal chart. For example, if you have a rising sign (Ascendant sign) of Capricorn, you will have to see where its ruler (Saturn) is placed in your natal chart. Once you locate this house position, you will be able to further define how you represent yourself including Saturn and its significant characteristics as well as how this would be defined in its house position.
Saturn for example, suggesting a Capricorn Ascendant, found in the second house, depending on the aspects to Saturn, may suggest a critical view of the potential for success in finances, or if favourably aspected, a secure financial foundation. If poorly aspected, this may surface as someone who has low self-esteem, someone who is unsure of themselves, and in turn, creating security issues, which may be reflected in their ability to do well when it comes to financial matters. Someone with a favourably placed Saturn in the second house may do well in the financial world, building a solid financial base over time and as a result feel secure about themselves.
Our example is just one expression of how Saturn might be reflected in the second house and it is important to know that although Saturn will often suggest challenging conditions linked to the area of life where it is found (house position) we can always find ways to work our way through these obstacles. Saturn usually means that there are lessons in that area of life as well as gain secured through a diligent effort on our part. Saturn is the disciplinarian but it is also the teacher and our greatest ally to the building of a solid structure as time passes. Saturn often delays or restricts, but can be quite favourable once we decide to work at what needs our attention.
Another example might be someone with a Sagittarius Ascendant with Jupiter in the fourth house in their natal chart. This individual might appear to be overly optimistic, a freedom lover, a believer in finding the truth, a philosopher to others, and someone who may say things without considering what impact their words may have on others (foot in mouth disease). When we take into consideration Jupiter in the fourth house, these attributes may be seen through family and friends or they may try to push these qualities or learned experiences onto their family. They may also find luck and opportunities somehow related to their home environment perhaps earning potential through property or good luck attached to the home or land investments.
Adding to this information in our example, in their outer expression, these Sag Rising individuals may be verbal about their family and proud of their heritage and may also be optimistic about their family and proud of their children’s attributes. They may also come across as caring and nurturing as well as psychic in their expression, remembering that the natural ruler of the fourth house is Cancer. While in the former example the natural ruler of the second is Taurus, so building a proper foundation would be important for this individual and they may also be somewhat withdrawn or appear to be holding back in their expression.
I hope these examples have helped to explain the importance of the Ascendant’s natural ruler and the house this ruler resides in within our natal chart.
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