Hello, my witches. It’s another beautiful spring day, the first episode of April. Today, we are back in our birth charts, and we are going to talk about Ascendants, which are also called rising signs. It’s a really cool part of our birth chart that I don’t think gets enough recognition for the role it plays in our personalities, but before we dig into that, I want to address a sentiment that I’m seeing a lot of recently in the messages and emails that I’m getting.
I’m seeing a lot of doubt. I’m seeing a lot of uncertainty. And I get it, because I feel it. We all feel it at different times and to different degrees. I got a beautiful message from a witch last Thursday just expressing how hard it was to really heed the call and embrace being a witch at 53 years of age (which isn’t even old, if you’re listening, Rose), and she lives in an area that isn’t super open to the idea of witchcraft, and it sounds as though she doesn’t have much of a witch support system, and that resonates with me. And I think it probably resonates with a lot of us.
There are a lot of would-be barriers to living our lives authentically as witches. Often those limitations are familial; we don’t want to disappoint our families, especially if they’re very religious. We don’t want to jeopardize our jobs if we work in an environment that is hostile toward our belief systems. We don’t want to lose lifelong friends, and so forth. And even beyond that, we place our own limitations on ourselves sometimes. But here is the thing: we are not guaranteed a tomorrow. We aren’t guaranteed a life beyond this one. This is the only opportunity we will ever have to live THIS life. We get one turn on this particular ride. And we really can’t waste any of it worrying what people think of the way we decide to enjoy it.
And as women and men who are walking a path that diverges from the norm, we also bear a certain responsibility to those witches who will follow us. We have the great privilege of demonstrating that being a witch isn’t deviant. Our beliefs, our philosophies, our way of life, these things are valid and they deserve respect. But with ALL of that said, if you are not personally in a position to wear your witchcraft loud and proud, you can’t beat yourself up about that. In a perfect world, we would be able to be as obnoxious about it as we’d like to be. But in reality, if being open about the craft would jeopardize your job, your housing situation, your relationships, or even your safety, please take solace in the fact that this does not diminish your identity as a witch. Just keep doing what you can safely do, and don’t be hard on yourself for not doing more than that.
And that’s all I really wanted to say about that topic. I just know that as exciting as it is to see witchcraft going more mainstream in public spaces, there are still a lot of us who don’t really get to enjoy that kind of freedom. And I hate to think that those folks feel either forgotten or guilty that they’re not doing more to advance that freedom for themselves. Change takes time.
So, on to the subject of the day. Rising signs. Or ascendants. The two terms are interchangeable and they mean the same thing. A rising sign is simply the astrological sign that is ascending on the eastern horizon at the specific time and location of your birth. We talked about sun signs several weeks ago, which is essentially how the world sees us, and we talked about moon signs a couple weeks ago, which indicates our impulses and instincts, and now we will talk about our rising signs, which can tell us a lot about our outlook on life and our outward behavior.
Now, 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. The easiest way to find out your sign is to get a hold of your birth chart. I’ll put a link in the show notes to a site that will calculate it for free. But our rising sign, and the reason I think it’s so important to know about, combines almost 50/50 with our sun sign to create our outward personality. And this is why a lot of times when we read generic descriptions of sun signs, we don’t always relate super closely. Unless your rising and your ascendant are the same. In which case, that’s convenient. It also means that your personality is probably very quintessentially whatever that sign is. Like if you’re a Leo sun Leo rising, you are probably Leo as hell. But most of us have two different signs and they can be very opposing.
So let’s dive in. If your rising sign is Aries, you are probably known in your circle as the instigator, the spokesperson, the one who decides what movie you’re going to see, you’re the one who will let the waitress know if your friend’s order is wrong, your tendency is to be a straight shooter. You’re not shy about expressing your likes and dislikes. And while this can rub people the wrong way, this bluntness does not come from a place of maliciousness or bossiness. You just don’t see a reason to not get straight to the point.
Aries is the sign of new beginnings, and Aries ascendants excel at starting new jobs, new projects. They jump right in with enthusiasm and work really hard to master whatever it is. And then as soon as it’s mastered, or if they get bored, they are prone to find something else to occupy that very active mind. Aries is ruled by Mars, and Mars is a strong influence, and so Aries ascendants have a lot of willpower, a need for recognition. And they can be a bit accident prone, just as an FYI.
Taurus as an influence is very different to Aries. Taurus rising is much more steadfast, much more calm and easygoing. Taurus rising is very set in their ways, but not in a confrontational way. They just like to do things a certain way, and that’s how it is. They’re not going to fight about or try to make someone see it their way, but Taurus rising isn’t going to change their habits either. Taurus is ruled by Venus, and so Taurus rising likes beautiful things, they’re also very concerned about money, and future security. Taurus rising is a hard worker, but they’re also good at enjoying their leisure time. They know they’ve earned it, so they don’t feel guilty about it.
In relationships, Taurus rising is very jealous, but not usually in an obvious way that throws a lot of red flags. They’re happiest in a relationship that is calm and secure; they’re not interested in drama or in being made to feel insecure. Taurus ascendants are graceful and charming, but they are also prone to overindulgence, so that’s certainly something to be aware of.
Gemini Rising always seems to be on the go, they’re always looking for something. Gemini rising gives the impression that they’re never completely satisfied with whatever it is they have, and this is because Gemini rising always feels like there’s something they’re missing out on. They’re very good communicators, and they’re very good at handling people. They’ve got the Gemini wit, the conversation skills. It’s not that they’re smooth talkers, they are just excellent at expressing themselves and in understanding what others are trying to say. And although this makes Gemini Ascendants very good at dealing with people, there is a bit of analytical detachment there.
Gemini rising isn’t unemotional or fake, they just see things through a different lens. They see things intellectually rather than emotionally. Mercury rules Gemini, and so we see this influence in how Gemini rising is very perceptive and clever, but also very capricious. Their good mood can become a bad mood quickly, but it doesn’t last. They aren’t interested in being upset; they’re looking for the next big thing that’s going to occupy their minds.
If you are a Cancer ascendant, you’ve definitely got a bit of moon child in you. You’re very sensitive and very artistic. You can be sort of moody, and you’re difficult to get to know, but you’re also a very devoted friend. You are really good at picking up on other people’s motives, and that comes from your sensitivity to people’s emotional signals; you’re extremely intuitive. Nothing gets past you, but the downside to that is that you often take things personally that aren’t actually about you, so you are a person who really needs to make sure that you’re not hurting your own feelings.
Cancer rising is excellent with money, and although it doesn’t just get handed to you, you have to work for what you have, you are very prudent. You’re not out there throwing your money away on anything frivolous. Unless your chart is also Libra heavy, in which case you probably have an angel on one shoulder trying to save money and a shopping demon on the other. Since Cancer is ruled by the moon, you feel a lot of its influence in your kindness and sympathy, and also in your restlessness and your tendency to keep a messy room.
On the flipside of Cancer, we have Leo ascendants, and Leo is of course ruled by the sun. So Leo Rising is very friendly, very engaging, likes to be in charge. Gets a little pissy when they’re not in charge. Leo is the sign of pride, and that’s definitely something a Leo rising should be aware of. The thing is though, that Leo rising excels at being in charge, they’re great at getting the best out of groups of people especially. Leo attracts attention, and they love it. But while this can come off as showy on their part, it really isn’t. Leo doesn’t dress for attention, they don’t act larger than life for attention, it’s just who they are. The reason attention is drawn to them is because they’re just naturally magnetic.
Leo ascendant is generous, and warm, and they’re really positive. On the other side of that coin though, when Leo rising feels wronged or that they’re not getting what’s owed to them, they can be really biting, arrogant and temperamental. Leo rising is not on this earth to be a wallflower, and yes, that can be a little overwhelming for the more timid signs, but if you’ll let them, Leo ascendant will bring you with them to really high heights. Leo rising is an excellent friend, they love to see the best in people, and they want everyone to enjoy life as much as they do.
Virgo rising is another aspect which is ruled by Mercury, so there’s a bit of crossover with Gemini rising, although Virgo ascendant is more analytical and more driven by facts and figures. It will depend on the other placements in your chart, but Virgo rising likes to look at people, situations, and problems through a logical lens rather than an emotional one. If you’re a Virgo rising, you’re usually very set in your opinions, but if new information comes to light, you will change your mind. For you, the worst thing a person can be is ignorant. You have a tendency to get bogged down in details, too. That’s something in general that anyone with a heavy Virgo presence in their chart should watch out for, sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees.
You’re tricky to get to know, and your emotions are kept deep below the surface, but they are there, and they do run deep. The right person just has to be willing to put in the time to get to know you before you’ll bother letting them in. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Mercury has given you an excellent gift for observation and perception, and you’re not one to jump into a love affair. Just be sure you’re not too aloof. It’s okay to show vulnerability sometimes.
Libra ascendant would do well to be a little less vulnerable to the moods of others, especially because nothing throws a Libra rising off their groove like a cranky pessimist. And this is true for Libra suns as well, they crave balance, calm and serenity, they’re very positive and optimistic, but they’re very sensitive to negativity coming from other people. And they’re very risk averse; everyone knows Libra struggles to make a hard and fast decision, and Libra rising unfortunately struggles with that as well. Libra ascendant sees all the possible outcomes of any given decision, so they vacillate forever trying to make sure the choice they make is the right one, so be aware of that characteristic if you’re a Libra rising. Sometimes, you just gotta pick something. As a Libra sun, this is one of the major issues I continue to struggle with, I am not pretending this is easy.
In romantic partnerships, Libra rising loves to be in love and definitely does their part to make a relationship successful. Libra is ruled by Venus after all. But again, they do not tolerate a lot of imbalance and if they feel like they’re unappreciated, they will sever a relationship in order to find a better match who is willing to put in the same effort. They’re also generally speaking very loving and concerned parents; they don’t have a ton of kids generally speaking, but they’re really involved and very loving towards those they have.
Scorpio is always called the most difficult rising sign to have. And I mean, it’s ruled by Pluto, and Pluto does not fuck around. Immediately after Pluto was discovered in the 30s, we had the great stock market crash which led to the great depression and Hitler’s eventual rise to power. I’m not trying to be melodramatic, but Pluto is a planet of intense destruction and annihilation. However, it’s also a planet of rebirth, regeneration, and great transformation. With all that said, Scorpio ascendant is not a person who does things halfway, and when they’re down, they don’t stay down. Your personality is intense, you’re very determined, your mind is always working. Even when you seem idle, that mind is working things out. You’re also very good working behind the scenes. You don’t like the spotlight, but you do like to run the show and often you do it in a very subtle way.
Scorpio ascendant also has that sharp Scorpio tongue. No matter what your sun sign is, no matter how easy going you are in general, when someone crosses you, you’re going to say exactly the right thing to utterly destroy them. That ability comes from not only Scorpio’s unmatched temper, but their keen observational skills. Scorpio sees everything and catalogs every weakness. Scorpio rising tends to have a life that isn’t what could be called easy; they do tend to have a lot of setbacks and disappointments, however, in the end Scorpio rising always comes out ahead.
On the other end of the spectrum is Sagittarius rising, which is ruled by Jupiter, the planet of good luck and success. And Sag rising is pretty lucky in general, things do typically go their way. They’re friendly, they’re outgoing and upbeat, they’re interested in the world around them and the people in it. Sag ascendant is happiest when they’re not tied down, they really prize their freedom. And commonly, they end up living far away from where they’re born. And it suits them; the only way they’re going to be happy staying in one place for a long time is if that place and the people there are so different to what they’re used to that it holds their interest. And this brings us to the only major downside of Sag rising. They’re not super great in long-term relationships UNLESS the other person in that relationship shares the same wanderlust and desire to stay on the go.
Sagittarius rising prefers a simple life as far as obligations go; having a 40 year career and three mortgages is not their idea of a good time; they like money, but only because of the freedom it gives them. Sag rising is happiest when they’re seeing new places and having new experiences, and because Jupiter is so prominent in their chart, it’s not hard for them to be able to have exactly that kind of life, if they’re bold enough to pursue it.
Capricorn rising is definitely a more serious person. Capricorn ascendants don’t jump right into any situation; they’re much more of a watch and wait kind of personality. They’re very disciplined; they get that from Saturn, which figures very heavily in their makeup. These are hard workers, these are the diligent people who don’t screw around about things that matter. Capricorn rising, due to the earth influence, is very concerned with matters of security and stability. These people can be overthinkers, they are very detail-oriented, nothing escapes their notice.
In matters of love, their feelings are very deep, but they aren’t on the surface. They are very loyal and they like to take care of their partner, they just need to make sure that their partner understands the depth of that love, because it can be so deep that it’s difficult to see from the outside looking in. Capricorn rising tends to have strained relationships with family, to an extent. The love is there, but there is rivalry as well. And Capricorn rising is a WORRIER. So please, if that’s you, understand that there are things that are outside of your control and it’s ok.
Aquarius rising is a study in very high highs and very low lows. Aquarius ascendants are the poster children for contradictions. People like JK Rowling, Khloe Kardashian, Roseanne Barr are Aquarius rising, and they have really intense periods of success and also really intense periods when it seems like everything goes pear shaped for them. I think of the tarot card Wheel of Fortune when I think of this particular aspect in a natal chart. What goes up must come down. They’re tremendous artists, or they can be, and they’re also great business people, or at least they can be. They like to be in a crowd, and they like to be home. They are a lot of fun to be around, but their moods can sour very quickly, too. If this is your rising sign, just be aware that you can be the architect of your own successes just as easily as you can be your own worst enemy.
In love, Aquarius rising actually does well for themselves. They are devoted partners and usually find happiness in their romantic relationships. Just be on the lookout for that fickle Aquarius rising streak to rear its head any time things are going a bit too well, and try to talk yourself into allowing good things to stay good.
And finally Pisces rising. These folks struggle with the same issues that Pisces moons have, which is this desire, or really this NEED, to see things as you wish they were instead of how they actually are. This can be the reason that Pisces rising will stay in a relationship far past its expiration date. Pisces ascendant is the master of self-delusion. They are sensitive and kind, they can be a bit emotional, they’re very artistic, not surprisingly, a little scatter-brained, they’re worriers, they’re loving. Pisces rising is a little adrift in their personal lives, but they make up for that in their professional lives.
Pisces rising excels at working within a group, and especially with leading groups of people. They’re intuitive, and that is really helpful for them when they’re dealing with people who can be difficult. Pisces rising is blessed with compassion and spirituality, and they’re also burdened a bit by worry and self-deception.
And those are the rising signs. Remember, your ascendant will blend, almost evenly, with your sun sign and it will manifest differently in different people. So we have to keep this in mind when we’re reading our own chart and trying to understand what motivates us and why the hell we do the things that we do. Some of the characteristics of your rising sign will be spot-on and others won’t be, at all, and it’s probably because your sun is more dominant in that particular area. As a Libra sun Scorpio rising, I promise you sometimes I will do something, and especially say something that seems so out of character for my own self, and I have to sort of realize, like, oh dear. I guess Scorpio is driving right now. And depending on the situation, I’ll have to dial it back, or if my attitude is justified I’ll sometimes just let Scorpio off the leash. Especially the older I get, the more Libra takes the back seat. But it is what it is!
Anyway, I truly hope this has been helpful, I hope this whole exercise is sort of demystifying the birth chart and making it more easily understood and more accessible, because that’s the whole point of doing this. There’s a reason why astrologists pay so much attention to a birth chart, but we don’t have to be professional astrologists to at least learn this stuff about ourselves and those who are close to us. So, we won’t talk about birth charts next week, because we are going to talk about garden magic. And if you don’t garden and don’t care about that, there’s going to be a lot of green witch information overall in that episode, so I hope you’ll listen anyway. There may be something in there for you nonetheless. I’ll talk to you soon, my name is Eli Ro, and this is the Middle-Aged Witch podcast.