THE ASCENDANT IS THE DEGREE OF THE SIGN RISING OVER THE EASTERN HORIZON AT THE MOMENT OF BIRTH. It shows us who we really are. The traits suggested by the Ascendant in a birth chart emerge only when we really know the person concerned. It is the inner expression of the personality. The Ascendant indicates the foundation of the character and shows how you adapt to your environment.
The Ascendant & The Elements
As students of astrology know, the focus on different elements (fire, earth, air and water) in the horoscope is essential for determining how people generally react and express themselves. Often the dominance of one or two elements sets the basic tone or color to the personality since they show how we come to terms with reality. Element focus determines temperament, how we always will relate to any experience in a basic sense. Since the Sun and the Ascendant are the two prime forces affecting how we make ourselves known to others, the combination of the elements of your Sun and Ascendant are extremely revealing for your public image and individuality.
Ascendant Fire Signs
The fire signs of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius are noted for their energy, enthusiasm and optimism. When a fire sign is on the ascendant the outer manner is friendly, uncritical and non-hostile, which makes such people good mixers and public relations executives. They typically send out friendly, but professionally competent signals which draw out a friendly and rather respectful response from others. Aries rising gives out a well-organized, slightly military bearing which makes them fit for any kind of military or civil service organization. Leo rising subjects have a dignified and rather formal manner which inspires confidence; while Sagittarius risers have a cheerful, pleasant and rather witty outer manner which suits all kinds of teaching, training and public speaking situations.
Ascendant Earth Signs
The earth signs of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn are noted for their practicality and security. When an earth sign is on the ascendant the outer manner is shy, serious and cautious. Taurus risers are the most sociable of the three and are often musical or artistic. Virgo risers look for mental stimulation in others, while Capricorn risers enjoy both work and social pursuits. People with these ascendants send out signals which are pleasant and tactful suggesting that they prefer to form part of a team - at least to begin with - than to push themselves immediately to the front.
Ascendant Air Signs
The air signs of Gemini, Libra and Aquarius are noted for their communication skills. When an air sign is on the ascendant the subject is friendly and sociable, but also independent and somewhat detached. The Gemini riser is constantly busy, fully engaged in a kind of juggling act, with at least a dozen activities on the go at any one time. The Libra riser occupies him or herself with business schemes which often need the aid of a more earthy partner to make them come into fruition. The Aquarius riser makes wonderful plans for himself and others and may even carry some of them out.
Ascendant Water Signs
The water signs of Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces are noted for their emotion, intuition and feeling. When a water sign is on the ascendant the subject will hide their true feelings and have a strong need to protect themselves from the world around them. What you see is often not what you get with water ascendants. In other words, the signals they send out are consciously or unconsciously chosen for effect. Cancerians appear chatty and helpful and they do well in any situation that requires tact. Scorpio risers can use many different forms of camouflage with people they do not know, one of their favourites being offensiveness and an off-putting manner. Pisces risers appear soft, gentle, self-sacrificing and sometimes even helpless, but this is misleading, as they will fight strongly for what they think is right.
If both Sun and Ascendant is in a Fire Sign: This is the purest of all combinations. A fire/fire person wants nothing to stand between themselves and the world. In every situation they react with idealism and faith and believe that nobody will misread their intentions. They tend to be gullible and always expect the best and most honest response from other people - if they are so open and enthusiastic, why shouldn't others be? They always aim to reach higher and further, and people may consider them pushy. Fire/fire people find it hard to soberly scrutinize their own opinions and desires, which they naturally assume to be universal law. Few have their capacity for involvement and passion, and they won't let anything get them down. Except too much colourless reality, which drains their power of spirit. Yet they badly need that cynicism.
This works with Sun in Fire & Ascendant in Earth or Sun in Earth & Ascendant in Fire. This mix of elements illustrates the idea of the burning heart tamed by social convention. Or more specifically, by the realization that one must be practical and sensible to fully establish one's personality and one's dreams. In many respects it is the "achievement" combination above all. These people are usually driven and intent on making their mark upon the world. They can be very warm and enthusiastic, but feel that they have don't have time for whims and vague ideas. They may lack the detachment and imagination needed for self-analyzing, and are at times not receptive enough to the surrounding atmosphere and other people's feelings. A "live here and now" combination.
These people are very extrovert and socially expansive, interested in abstract ideas and progressive in thought. Since they always react to outer stimulus quickly and powerfully, they have a tendency to act and speak without much prior consideration. They would gain from being more patient and introspective. This is not the most stable of combinations - fire/air people are more dynamic and eager than most, but they lack a firm, grounding core identity and will frequently "spread themselves too thin". They prefer generalities over detail, and sometimes find intimate and personal matters difficult. The best quality of this combination is passion and enthusiasm combined with rational thinking.
Emotions are intense and unpredictable for people with this combination. The "hot and cold" image result in moods that tend to vacillate between on the one hand optimism and confidence and on the other introversion and elusiveness. Indeed, they would probably admit to being quite irrational at times. At best, this combination gives intuitive creativity and empathy underscored by initiative and determination. If they can balance their explosive side with the cooling, deeply reflective influence of the water element, these people will be appreciated for their honest and colorful personality. They need restraint and borders more than anything, and some of that good old commonsense thinking.
You wont find a harder worker or a more steadfast person than the earth/earth individual. Things mean little to these people unless they are related to the physical and practical world of things and forms. Needless to say, they could use some perspective and openness to more intangible and abstract phenomena. While extremely loyal and serious about their feelings and loved ones, they sometimes find emotional expression difficult or embarrassing. Always preoccupied with being sensible and rational, too much drama and exaggerration annoys them. Earth/earth people want to build something of lasting value, but could become too caught up in detail, and their innate stubbornness makes transformation tough. They are often sensualists and lovers of nature.
These people are seldom at the mercy of their feelings, because they tend to face themselves and situations in an impersonal and sensible way. In any area of interest they are organized and systematic thinkers, yet capable of materializing ideas that seem vague and far-fetched. It would be wise for Earth/Air people to try to be more spontaneous and emotionally receptive, in order to experience things in a more authentic and all-embracing way. They shouldn't have to know everything in advance and foresee all eventualities, but instead discover the benefits of just going with the flow. Learning to be more intimate and personal and to trust their intuition will do wonders.
Earth/water individuals are sensitive and receptive to other people, and usually creative in a relaxed but productive way. Their greatest issues are those of lethargy and lack of enthusiasm - sometimes these people really need to struggle to get themselves going. Since they are introspective and composed they usually have great potential for self-knowledge, but it is difficult for them to communicate some of their feelings and desires. Pessimism may be a problem, as may the tendency to find unnecessary problems where there isn't any just for the sake of safeguarding and being prepared. At best, they can establish dreams and visions in a concrete way. Their patience and insight let them reach deep into issues.
These people are truly gusts of wind in human form. There is no rest to their curiosity and changeability of mind and character. While extremely intellectual and logic in their way of dealing with everything, they're so detached and impersonal that they have trouble even grasping deep emotional conditions. For this reason they might be considered cold or shallow, somewhat lacking in genuine feeling. But since air/air loves people and social interaction so much, this will hardly be a great problem, except perhaps in intimate relationships. These people are communicators and connectors of experience, ever fascinated by the human mind and its potentials. They are very outgoing and verbal, but need a great deal more patience and profound reflection to fully realize their place in the world.
A very imaginative and sympathetic combination - these individuals are good at dealing with people and have a way of being real "darlings", appealing to most. They like to communicate and are usually good listeners. But at times they can be too agreeable, avoiding harsh and direct confrontation. They will tell people what they want to hear rather than what they really feel. Air/water people should learn to stand their ground and be less vacillating. It is likely that they follow some creative endeavour - any artistic or intellectual outlet is a potential goldmine for their inner growth. It may not be the most honest and reliable of combinations; these folks see "truth" as a relative concept, and are tempted to use fantasy to recreate their own view of the world.
Here we have a maelstrom of turbulent emotion, overflowing all boundaries. A water/water person experiences every single emotion intimately, as something of great significance irrespective of its nature. Usually this fingertip sensitivity is visible to the world, but some water/water people go to lengths to hide it, just to end up confined within themselves, shy and enigmatic. It doesn't stop with their own person - they experience also the emotions of everyone else, with great empathy. They have mysterious and inexplicable yearnings and feel connected to a dimension of strange unity, impossible to relate in words. Subjectivity and irrationality is their Achilles heel; all the compassion and imagination they store inside will hurt more than help them until they learn to step out and behold the world with clear eyes.