Study Notes - The importance of the Ascendant

While the Sun-sign is always important in the horoscope, neither Moon sign nor ascendant should be treated as much less significant—all three matter, in different ways. The ascendant in particular is inclined to be treated too lightly, partly because any lack of information about the time of birth makes it difficult to determine.

However, the ascendant is extremely important, as everything else in the horoscope has to manifest through it. Indian astrologers have always considered that the precise position of the ascendant in the zodiac holds the key to the incarnation. While we may approach astrology a little differently from our Indian brethren, they have a point. The ascendant matters a lot!

All these things are related to the ascendant:

  • Outer personality, face we present to the world
  • Physical body in general, and its appearance
  • Overall health and wellbeing
  • Basic attitude to life
  • General nature of day-to-day existence
  • The manner in which we meet life’s lessons
    (as opposed to the nature of the lessons themselves, which are of course shown by the Sun)
  • The self and sense of identity
  • Ability to maintain physical life.

This is an impressive list, and while we should remember that other factors in the horoscope also influence these matters, we should give the ascendant its due.

Interactions between the ascendant and other chart features should always be studied closely.

In particular, elemental conflicts between the ascendant and the basic balance of the chart or between ascendant and major significators such as Sun or Moon will always have important results and can explain many of the problems in a life.

Naturally, these will often be for karmic reasons. Provided the ascendant is accurately known, aspects to it should also be carefully looked at; they have smaller orbs but that is not a licence to ignore them!

Rising planets, i.e. those within a few degrees of the ascendant, are always significant and can sometimes be more important in the life than the ‘official’ ruling planet (which is the planet that rules the ascendant sign).

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