Your Rising Sign is determined by the sign that was hitting the Eastern horizon at the time and place you were born. That’s why precise birth info is required to determine the Rising sign, and hints to its significance. Aside: The term “Ascendent” (ASC) is pretty much used interchangeably with term “Rising sign,” although Ascendent refers to the degree of the ecliptic ascending on the Eastern horizon, not the sign itself.
Beyond the Sun and the Moon (aka “Luminaries” or “Lights”), the rising sign is one of the most important parts of your natal chart. If you know only three things about your chart, they should be Sun, Moon and Rising sign!
If the Sun sign reflects core identity (nature), the Rising becomes a filter for expressing that identity to the outside world (nurture). The Rising sign is sometimes referred to as a mask we wear, sort of like our personality’s front door. It’s the default Self you take out to meet and greet the world, whether or not you’re aware.
Rising signs can also flavor physical appearance as well as the impression you make on others. It will always fall somewhere in your first house, and determines the house positioning. If someone else is describing you, they will most likely pinpoint characteristics related to your Rising sign.
The planet associated with your Rising Sign is generally called the Chart Ruler–not your sun sign! For example, I am a Virgo with Leo Rising, so my Chart Ruler would be the Sun, as the Sun rules Leo. A Virgo with Leo rising like me may indeed be critical and perfectionistic by nature, but will have learned to express it in a warm, sunny way. How’s that for a trick?
Ascendents falling closer to the beginning of a sign are expected to have stronger influence, because most of the first house will fall within that sign. The Rising Sign is also said to have more influence if the Sun falls towards the bottom of the chart, which would make the Sun’s influence less outwardly visible. The differences may lessen after an individual reaches their first Saturn return (28ish) and may tend to have a more integrated presentation of the Sun Sign and Rising Sign due maturity and greater self-confidence.
Aspects to the Chart Ruler, either natal or by transit, will tend to have a noticeable impact on an individual. What’s going on with your Chart Ruler packs punch, so it makes sense to pay attention.
Do you feel the influence of your Chart Ruler?