Role of the Ascendant/rising sign

The constellation which sat at the most Eastern point of the chart – the horizon – is indicative of the initial impressions that our youngest, newest, earliest self, experienced. Not only the people involved, but the nature of cirumstances that were encountered.
The imprints on our consciousness in our first days and months forever mark how we learn to deal and safeguard our sense of what’s most important to us individually, usually our “self”, our reality, our way of life. These imprints birthed (and continues to sustain) the mask we wear daily. This mask ultimately affects how others view us and also how we filter external conditions, governing our perceptions of reality.

Our perceptions can be far off the objective reality, however, that’s not how masks work.
They are not transparent which means we see only within the confines of its defined shape, and also, they cannot convey to outsiders what lies beneath.

This is why the first house in Astrology is commonly referenced to our ‘ego’ – our sense of self or identity. The first house attaches to the ascendant, it is the house that sits just under the horizon. The nature of this house affects strongly how we present ourselves. The equivalent of the last-minute rehearsing and makeup arrangements that take place minutes before coming on stage to perform – regardless of other factors, prior plans and arrangements.

It is where the “I” within us, meets ‘the world’.

Ironically, this mask that was initially created to protect us can be the cause of our isolation as preventing authentic expression of our real self often creates conditions where there is a lack of true connection , suffering, or isolation. In terms of future growth, there are three things to be considered…

Firstly, knowing our reactions that we still have to this day, come from our earliest experiences. These reactions tend to become crystallised as they feel most familiar. They are not necessarily objectively true, and seeing our perceptions as potentially wrong, while still being connected to our heart/intuition, is one way to push past the limitations of our innate projections and perceptions.

Secondly, remember, we are no longer children. We are not victim to circumstance. We can choose what type of friends we want, our relationship with family, what circumstances we want to be in, and ultimately how we get through life. Despite our earliest upbringing and exposure, we can override the reactions people have to us initially (our mask) until they get to meet the real us. This is how we meet “our tribe”.

And thirdly, our ascendant also marks our NEEDS OF EXPERIENCE. We can change our behaviours and override past experience, but if there is an innate part of us that still wants a certain type of reaction/response, it is worth evaluation what we are truly asking for, and why, to then transmute or change the quality of the experience. This is ultimately evolution of self.

Something to note that could be of intererst to some, if you want to go a little deeper into the how…

The rising sign/mask is also in correlation to how we interpreted our earliest minutes/weeks/months.

Our parents and family (or the absence of), the doctors and midwives…

Were they frightening, suffocating, threatening (Pluto)?
Warm and nurturing (Moon, Venus)?
Alien-like (Uranus, Virgo)?
Serene, lovely (Venus)?
Forceful or invasive perhaps (Mars and/or Pluto)?
Was there a natural and easy going birth (Venus, Sun)? ”
Forceps involved (Scorpio)?
C-section (Chiron/Virgo/Afflicted moon/Pluto)?
Did we get flooded by drugs or toxins (Neptune)?

Regardless of what actually may have been or what may have happened back then, it was our experience that counts. What was on the horizon at the exact time can point to OUR EXPERIENCE of what was. The lens of perception and reaction and view of Earth. Our rising sign/ascendant indicates what was our immediate perception of our surroundings that caused us to ‘act’ or ‘react’, beginning our adaptive experience and marks our earliest and seemingly, most truest, knowledge, of what the outer world “is”.

Some of us may have felt how wonderfully tender Mum’s arms were and how beautiful her face was. Some of us have Venus rising and somehow everything around us at the first moment of life, was beautiful – including us – and seeing things with a rosy tint ends up serving us well.

Some other of us may have felt as if the soft comfortable, warm and constant nourishment that has been our birthright was suddenly taken away in an instant.  Why!???!! (Cancer Rising/Moon in 1st?).

Then there’s some of us that felt like coming into life was the threatening and tumultuous of struggles, but – we made it through and survived (an example of Scorpio rising or even a strong Scorpio in the chart – forceps or loss of air often a feature).

Some of us have Saturn, where we learned to be well-behaved, contained, “good”. We learned very quick to keep our emotions to ourselves, or else we were likely disciplined or shamed, or at least, we were witheld from reward/love. This kind of early experience ends up teaching one to constantly do things right and maintain order – ‘or else’, perpetuated by a loud and invasive innter critic.

Some of us have a strong Pluto featured, where we learnt to be eternally vigilant to safeguard our being from forceful external powers otherwise our whole sense of self felt as if it would be taken over.

Some of us have some of the chaotic Centaurs (e.g. asteroids Pholus, Nessus), where our earliest days taught us that nothing is stable, nothing is forever, change is constant, and perhaps constantly look forward to the next experience.

And so on and so fourth.

If we need a strong response from everything in life (perhaps Scorpio or Pluto on the horizon taking effect), there can be a shift from a hateful/opposing expectation/response to a deeply transformative and an upliftingly profound one. Both are stimulating and strong experiences, however one may be more preferable in the long run for both our and the whole’s greater good. The core Scorpionic imprint is forever there, however conscious changing of how this energy is utilised changes the whole game.

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