Our ascendant, or rising sign, is an entry point into our whole life and being, according to astrologer and author of The Stars Within You: A Modern Guide To Astrology Juliana McCarthy. Your ascendant describes your outermost layer and how you make a first impression. While the sun is how we see ourselves and the moon is how we really are, the ascendant is how others see us.
First Impression: Confident, strong, courageous, direct.
Individuals with Aries ascendants come across as strong, straightforward, confident, and enthusiastic. These ascendants have an easy time directly stating their points of view, asserting themselves, and asking for what they want. Swift and decisive, they possess natural leadership abilities. They like to initiate projects and take charge, becoming catalytic forces in every endeavor. Ruled by Mars, planet of virility, sexuality, and athleticism, these ascendants are often sportsmen, able to easily rouse their physical energies.
First Impression: Attractive, dependable, slow, sensual.
Others see these ascendants as attractive, regardless of how they look. They present well, with good style, steady demeanors, and natural displays of richness. Peaceful and easygoing, they magnetize many friends. Taurus ascendants take their time to feel their environments, appreciating luxury and the finer aspects of life. Uncomfortable with change, they prefer predictability and to operate in the realm of tangibles. They also enjoy connecting with others through the sense pleasures, mutually appreciating good food, wine, sex, and other indulgences. They allow ample time to rest and take care of themselves, which indicates healthy self-worth. They only have to be wary of stubbornness and forming opinions that are too fixed.
First Impression: Social, witty, adaptable, intelligent.
Gemini ascendants come across as intelligent and witty, possessing strong minds and social graces. Communication is key for these ascendants, who thrive when connecting with others and participating actively in society. Excellent teachers, they are adept at chatting, exchanging ideas, and sharing all that they’ve learned. Acquiring a variety of interests and trades, Gemini ascendants must sometimes work toward mastering one subject. They have insatiable curiosities, gathering pieces of information wherever they go. Inquisitive and restless, they love to meet many people, asking them questions with genuine interest. With so much to explore, it can be difficult for these ascendants to settle down or commit to one place, person, or career.
First Impression: Maternal, nurturing, emotional, sensitive.
Cancer ascendants are typically seen as nurturing and caring souls who readily demonstrate their sensitivity and emotionalism. These ascendants are quite psychic, with powerful intuitions and the ability to feel the emotions of others as their own. As such, these creatures sometimes develop hard outer shells to protect their vulnerability. They come off as sharp or moody. Establishing a safe and secure home is vital for these ascendants as it will take the place of their hardened shell. Particularly sensitive to their senses, they are best suited to clean, peaceful environments. Loyal to close friends, they enjoy nurturing and cooking for others. They like to connect deeply, preferring intimacy over superficiality.
First Impression: Playful, creative, dramatic, affectionate.
Leo Ascendants shine when they walk into a room, expressing a star quality and dramatic flair. Their lives are oriented toward creativity and unearthing their talents. These ascendants require much admiration and respect to feel okay about themselves, although they’re reluctant to admit it. They are warm, gifted, and generous souls who want to share their light and lead others in good times. Playful and fun people, they enjoy socializing, requiring regular outlets for their spontaneity, inspiration, creativity, and passion.
First Impression: Humble, helpful, innocent, shy.
Virgo ascendants are polite and soft-spoken, caring greatly for the welfare of others. They are humble and devoted, orienting toward helping people. With ample discernment, they can easily size up a room, along with everyone in it. Analytical and perceptive, they notice small details, with a penchant for recognizing disingenuousness. Cleanliness and order are important for these sensitive souls to feel good and productive. They only have to try and curb their critical bite, along with a tendency to self-sacrifice.
First Impression: Charming, graceful, indecisive, peace-making.
Libra ascendants are attractive and charming, carrying themselves with beauty and grace. They will harmonize a room as soon as they enter it—noticing energies that are off-balance and restoring them to equilibrium. Justice and diplomacy are important to these souls, who try their best to remain fair-minded and objective. Seeing both sides of any circumstance, they can struggle with making decisions, wavering in vacillation. Sensitive to harmony and aesthetics, these ascendants often dress beautifully and are able to create environments that are pleasing and refined. Excellent negotiators, listeners, and counselors, their sense of fairness and openness is immediate and pronounced. Identifying strongly with their relationships, they place tremendous weight on finding the perfect partner.
First Impression: Magnetic, intense, powerful, dark.
People see Scorpio ascendants as powerful, secretive, and determined, demonstrating immense magnetism and charisma. These ascendants are survivors who can handle intense situations. They are able to transform circumstances and energies by their very presence. Agents of change in the world, they hold much persuasiveness and influence. Formidable opponents, these are not people you would want to cross. They are willful and resilient, often becoming effective business people and leaders, applying their thoroughness and resolve to any challenge. With their powerful intuition they can see right through us. Natural investigators, they could make excellent therapists or scientists. Their greatest gift is their emotional fearlessness—their ability to plunge into the depths and lead others toward intimacy and revelation.
First Impression: Cheerful, optimistic, inspiring, restless.
Sagittarius ascendants are cheerful, outgoing, independent, and uplifting. Restless, they crave adventure, frequently traveling both physically and in the mind. Humorous and happy-go-lucky, they sometimes avoid difficult emotions, feeling burdened by other people’s problems (and even their own). Spiritual souls, they love the outdoors, tuning into the higher realms when immersed in nature. They can sometimes come across as blunt or tactless, dedicating themselves firmly to speaking the truth.
First Impression: Reserved, serious, determined, refined.
Capricorn ascendants come across as traditional and patient people—timid, restrained, and a bit inhibited. People may mistake them as snobby or aloof, but they are actually prone to feeling insecure, yearning to express themselves more freely. However, their restraint is also their asset, producing elegant and refined individuals. Capricorn ascendants are wonderfully trustworthy, determined, and self-sufficient. They can be funny and musically talented, since they have an excellent sense of timing. Able to accomplish any task, they must only be wary of their stifling perfectionism.
First Impression: Creative, independent, funny, quirky.
Aquarius ascendants show up as eccentric, rebellious, and exciting souls, who easily make people laugh with their unusual perspectives. Sometimes they seem obstinate in their insistence on doing things differently and thinking outside the box. With unique style and an unusual demeanor, these ascendants keep us on our toes, shocking us with non-conformity. Intuition and impulse are strong for these ascendants, who will flash on answers and insights that seem to come from outer space. They do best when they are able to express themselves authentically and freely, without feeling restrained or judged. They are able to establish interesting and creative friend groups with niche interests that bind them together.
First Impression: Easygoing, imaginative, sensitive, impractical.
Those with Pisces ascendant have the special ability to blend with their surroundings. They can become the life of the party as they merge effortlessly with the energies of the room. They are often creative and spiritual, enjoying highly imaginative arts—such as photography, film, dance, music, and drama. Chameleons, these rising signs can take on the personalities of those around them, moving like water to accommodate anyone’s twists and shapes. Magical, gentle, and soothing, these otherworldly creatures draw people into their deeply loving presence.
From The Stars Within You by Juliana McCarthy, ©2018 by Juliana McCarthy. Illustrations by Alejandro Cardenas, ©2018 Alejandro Cardenas. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO.