While the sun sign describes your fundamental character, desires, and wants, it's the rising sign or ascendant that represents the lens through which you see the world, how you go after what you want, and the part of your personality that's most readily seen by others. Astrologers call it your astrological mask; however, the rising sign is much more than that.
Determine Your Rising Sign
Your rising sign can only be determined if you have an accurate time of birth. Hand calculating your ascendant takes a lot of mathematical gymnastics and patience. However, you can easily and quickly find out what your rising sign is online at Astrolabe, the well-respected developer of Matrix astrological software. All you'll need to do is fill in the form with your birth information, submit, and you'll know almost instantly.
What Is the Rising Sign?
The rising sign, or ascendant sign, is the zodiacal sign and degree that was ascending on the eastern horizon at the specific time and location of your birth. It's the lens you see the world through and describes how others perceive you when they first meet you. It's as significant as your sun and moon signs because everything else your birth chart reveals, your entire life's story, is filtered through this sign. Many excellent books are available on the rising signs, and what follows offers only the basics.
Your rising sign describes the influences that became a part your life the very moment you took your first breath. It speaks of:
- The circumstances of your birth
- Early childhood family conditioning and environment
- How you first present yourself
- The first impression you make on others
- Your physical appearance and overall health
It also describes:
- Your demeanor
- Your automatic response to your environment
- Your survival instinct
- Your natural defenses
- How you cope with day-to-day issues
- How you start things
- Your most natural first reaction to new people and new things
The rising sign is one of the most important parts of a birth chart because it's the most personal.
There are untold numbers of individuals born each day that have the same sun and moon signs and planetary placements. It's the sign that was rising at moment of birth that leads individuals born on the same day to have very different lives and experiences.
Astrology's Twelve Faces
Behavior related to your rising sign is instinctual; it's something that's done without thought so if you're sometimes confused at how others described you, it's because they're describing your rising sign and not your sun sign. While the descriptions below may not perfectly match your outward appearance (your rising sign), to a greater or lesser degree you will take on those characteristics.
Aries rising has a smile on his or her face and a fighting spirit. Their demeanor is enthusiastic, outgoing, energetic, impulsive, and always in a hurry. They go after what they want in an assertive (perhaps even aggressive) manner and must guard against impatience and anger when things don't go their way.
- Physical Appearance: Strong and angular features with a prominent chin, nose, and mouth are characteristics of Aries rising. Most have broad shoulders and slim hips. They're athletic, agile, and act and look younger than their years.
- Health: Generally in good health, Aries rising may be plagued by sinus or eye problems and headaches. However, they do tend to have accidents that could affect their health.
Those with Taurus rising are seen as a comforting presence. Their demeanor is steady, peaceful, practical, hardworking, and quiet. They go after what they want in a calm, tenacious manner. Taurus rising must take care they don't appear plodding and obstinate.
- Physical Appearance: Physically, they are sturdy and stable and move calmly and slowly. Their eyes may be round, and their ears small. They may also have a hairline that forms a peak in the front.
- Health: Those with Taurus rising are usually healthy and robust. However, they are prone to throat problems, which extend up into the ears in the form of infections or ear aches. Their general health is most affected by a penchant for overindulgence.
Those with Gemini rising are perceived friendly, versatile, adaptable, inquisitive, restless, lively, chatty, witty, fun, and a bit impatient. They go after what they want in a light-hearted manner but must guard against becoming too carefree and scattered.
- Physical Appearance: Physically, Gemini rising individuals have a youthful look, sparkling eyes, a lithe, slender body, elegant hands, and delicate facial features.
- Health: Their bodies might seem frail, but there is no serious concern because they generally have robust health. They are, however, susceptible to respiratory problems, infections, and flu.
A Cancer rising individual's demeanor is typically shy, cautious, and prudent. They can appear sweet, caring, and nurturing on one day, but on another day moody and difficult to approach. Cancer rising individuals go after what they want in a quiet and indirect way and must guard that they don't become overly defensive and self-protective.
- Appearance: Those with this rising sign have a full, round face, are small to average in height, and have a stout body and a tendency to gain weight as they age. Their hair is often sparse, and their hands and feet small. They also tend to have broad chests or large breasts.
- Health: They have a tendency toward indigestion. Their general health can be improved if they are careful about what they eat and avoid overindulging in food when upset.
A Leo rising's demeanor is sunny, good-natured, kind-hearted, and generous. They are charismatic individuals who appear passionate about life, easily draw others to them, and go after what they want with a sense of authority, perhaps even entitlement, and must guard that they do not come across as overly aristocratic and demanding.
- Physical Appearance: Thick hair, keen almond shaped eyes, a well-shaped face, and strong, broad shoulders are typical with Leo rising.
- Health: They are vital and strong but may have a tendency toward developing a heart condition. Their general health can be improved if they are disciplined about matters of health and adopt a strict workout routine.
Those with Virgo rising have a shy and aloof demeanor and can appear to be modest, extremely discriminating, watchful, and the epitome of tact, neatness, and order. They go after what they want in an organized step-by-step manner and must guard against being overly self-critical.
- Physical Appearance: Bright, clear eyes, a delicate nose, and graceful movements are typical if of individuals with Virgo rising. They are of usually a little above average height and tend to be moderately plump.
- Health: Their general health is usually excellent, and their endurance long lasting, but they are prone to worry and have nervous reactions, such as rashes and allergies.
Libra rising gives an impression of straightforwardness, calm, class, sympathy, and finesse. Their demeanor is pleasant, courteous, agreeable, modest, and refined. They have a great smile and an infectious laugh, which makes them immediately likable to others. They go after what they want in a charming and friendly but indecisive manner and must guard against waffling between one thing or another.
- Physical Appearance: Libra rising individuals always look great. They are youthful, attractive, move with grace, and are often slender. They typically have a well-defined nose, a round to oval face, and a good complexion.
- Health: A potential weak point is the kidneys and bladder, and they are prone to gain weight, but their general health is usually good because of their constant concern about remaining beautiful, young, and attractive.
Scorpio rising bestows a demeanor of quiet intensity that conveys an impression of charm, power, secrecy, mystery, suspicion, skepticism, and seriousness at the same time. They are determined to get what they want and must guard against being manipulative.
- Physical Appearance: They are quite sturdy with strong, wide shoulders. The face is often square with clear-cut features, penetrating magnetic eyes, and sensual lips. They tend to be of average height or just below it, and they can be stout.
- Health: Scorpio rising individuals may suffer from constipation or other digestive problems, but they typically are strong, resistant to health problems and if a health issue does come up, they have remarkable powers of recovery.
Those with Sagittarius rising are charismatic and radiate energy and charm. The first impression they make on those they meet is that they are fun, friendly, and open. They go after what they want in a straightforward and enthusiastic manner and must guard against wanting too much too soon.
- Physical Appearance: They tend to be strong and tall but not particularly athletic. In most cases, they have long arms and legs and move their feet while standing in place. The face is typically long or oval with a more rounded forehead, full open features, and inviting eyes.
- Health: They are usually strong and healthy but easily stressed. They have a high level of energy during the first part of their lives but as they age, over-indulgence and excesses of all sorts can cause weight gain and health problems. Their weak spots are the liver, hips, and the thighs.
Capricorn rising individuals project ordinariness and competence. A serious and stoic demeanor that makes them seem unflappable is typical of this rising sign. They are practical, responsible, and tenacious in getting what they want. They must guard against coming across to others as cold and unapproachable.
- Physical Appearance: Straight hair, prominent eyebrows, serious deep-set eyes, a well-shaped nose, noticeable teeth, and a slender body of average height that moves deliberately are typical of Capricorn rising.
- Health: They are almost always healthy because they resist getting sick, their penchant for pushing on makes it difficult to relax, and they are prone to tiring themselves out. Rheumatism, arthritis, and stress-related skin conditions are common in those with this rising sign.
The first thing others notice about an Aquarius rising individual is they are friendly but a bit detached and eccentric. Their demeanor is that of an intelligent, discriminating, unique, and one-of-a-kind person. They go after what they want in unpredictable ways and must guard against random, irrational acts and total unpredictably.
- Physical Appearance: Heights vary but often the trunk of the body is longer than average, the hips and shoulders broad, and the legs are strong and shapely. They usually have finely chiseled, attractive facial features, a high forehead, and lips that seem to be half smiling all the time. Their physical movements are quick and at times can seem a bit disjointed.
- Health: A strong constitution means they will seldom have a serious illness to contend with, and their life expectancy is long. However, attention should be given to the arteries, veins, calves, and ankles.
Individuals with this rising sign come off as irresistibly charming, intriguing, and gentle. Their demeanor is one of mystique and dreamy melancholy. Showing kindness and courtesy usually gets them what they want but knowing want they want is often a problem. Those with this sensitive rising sign must guard against being too easily influenced by those they are near.
- Physical Appearance: A full, round face, soft dreamy round eyes, delicate features, and soft, fine hair are common to those with this rising sign. They are often short in stature, with a pear-shaped body and small feet.
- Health: Those with Pisces rising tend to be delicate and susceptible to the pains and ailments of others in a psychosomatic and empathetic way. Their biggest health problems come from overindulgence in alcohol, drugs, nicotine, caffeine, sex, or an unwise diet. These can all play havoc with their health.
The Rising Sign Is Always Modified
As an example, a person with Leo rising and its ruling planet, the sun, in Sagittarius will respond to their environment a bit differently than another Leo rising person whose sun is in Scorpio. Similarly, an individual with Leo rising who has Saturn conjunct their rising sign will present differently than someone with a Leo rising who does not have that aspect in their natal chart.
Who Am I?
Your sun describes what you want. Your moon describes what you need. Your rising sign describes the style in which you go about getting those wants and needs met. Astrologers consider that these three elements of your birth chart reveal on the most basic level who you are.