The First House in Astrology – The Ascendant

Zodiac Sign Ruler: Aries
Astronomical Ruler: Mars
Element: Fire
Type: Angular (Initiating)
Traditional Associations: ego in action, initial contact to the world around oneself, primary personality characteristics, physical appearance (Oken, Rulers of the Horoscope, 194)
Modern: What I am to myself and project to others. (Oken, RotH, 193) Surface personality, how we assert and initiate, how others see us initially (first impression), instinctual expression, spontaneous action, initial impulse, first step forward, body language, what we do to survive as a separate entity. Focus on adventure, freedom, autonomy. (Perry, An Introduction to AstroPsychology, 360)

House 1 self

The First House is the House of the Self. It is “home” to your personality, character, manners, style, temperament, and (in classical astrology) physical characteristics. Since this House leads the chart, it has a special designation and is also known as the Ascendant and/or Rising Sign. If Scorpio “rules” your First House, then you have a Scorpio Ascendant or Scorpio Rising. The Point that rules the Sign of your First House is known as the Chart Ruler. In the case of the Scorpio Ascendant, the Chart Ruler is Pluto (modern) and Mars (Hellenistic).

Since the Sign of the First House determines the Signs for all the other Houses, this House receives extra attention in astrology. You will find a link to a detailed description of each Sign ruling the First House at the end of these short explanations.

What Role the First House Plays in Your Life

Since the First House represents our quest for identity, it is considered one of the three most prominent Points in the chart, along with the Sun and Moon. They make up the Primal Triad, according to Steven Forrest (The Inner Sky). If you obtain knowledge of your Sun Sign, Moon Sign, and Rising Sign, you will get the needed fundamental picture of your design that the Sun Sign alone cannot provide.

In fact, it is often the case that the Rising Sign is more obvious in the outward expression of the personality than the Sun, especially if the energies are quite different. If you read about your Sun Sign and do not feel it reflects you clearly, trying reading about your Rising Sign. Since the Moon represents how we feel inside, people around us may not know anything about us regarding our Moon Sign, unless we make our feelings explicit. But they will certainly “bump into” our Rising Sign, just as we will “bump” into theirs.

What is you Rising (ascendant) sign?

In order to calculate your ascendant, it is important to know the specific time when you were born, or it is impossible to precisely determine your ascendant and know the abilities and skills you should use in order to adapt the best possible behavior to meet your goals.

Thanks to your ascendant, you will then know precisely what other people see in you and what they think about you. As a consequence, you will have a clear vision of how you should behave and communicate with other people.

The First House and the Zodiac Signs

The First House in astrology reveals the individual, the Self that goes out to meet the world. Depending on the Sign of your Ascendant, astrologers can interpret how you present yourself to others and how they perceive you. The Air Signs will use their intellect and communication to quest for their identity. Fire Signs will use creativity and action. Earth Signs will be practical and conservative. Water Signs will invest their emotional energy and use close connections to learn about themselves.

Aries Ruling the First House (Aries Ascendant/Aries Rising)

According to Marica Moore and Mark Douglas in Astrology, The Divine Science:

Individuals born with Aries rising want to come first. They move from ideas to action with scarcely a backward glance. This pioneer of the Zodiac is seldom too discouraged to begin anew, nor are they likely to outgrow their propensity to stake a claim and then roam to greener pastures, leaving others to dig and hoe where they have been. (361)

These individuals prefer to be active and can become agitated if forced to stay in one place for too long or be unable to expend energy by moving and doing. They will fight for the underdog and love competition. They do not have to win and can easily bounce back from losing to compete and play again.

Present Positively As: Independent | Negatively As: Selfish

Perceived Positively As: Fearless | Negatively As: Impatient or Reckless

Taurus Ruling the First House (Taurus Ascendant/Taurus Rising)

Taurus Rising individuals prefer security and safety, so they present as steadfast and are perceived as reliable.

According to Jodie Forrest in her book, The Ascendant:

This person has come into the world wearing the mask of the Earth Mother/Earth Father, the Indigenous Tribesperson, the Pagan, the Sensualist, the Farmer, or Salt of the Earth. This man or woman has reached an evolutionary stage where he or she must present an earthy, solid, commonsensical, and centered face to the world. (96)

Once they establish themselves, they are hard to move and prefer to put roots deep into the ground, the family, and the community. They are naturally conservative, regarding money, time, and life philosophy, preferring tradition as a foundation for their beliefs and guiding principles. Routine and consistent expectations give them considerable joy.

Present Positively As: Steadfast | Negatively As: Stubborn

Perceived Positively As: Reliable | Negatively As: Stubborn

Gemini Ruling the First House (Gemini Ascendant/Gemini Rising)

Gemini Ascendant individuals have strong intellectual abilities and tremendous curiosity. In personal relationships, such individuals learn about themselves through communication, humor, imagination, and intellect. It is very easy to become friends with them due to their ability to create a connection with any person.

According to Moore and Douglas:

The Geminian identifies with ideas. They consider themselves to be essentially mental rather than physical beings and strive to develop an inquiring intellect and nimble wit. They have an urge to communicate verbally and to dress their thoughts in appropriate phrases. Most Geminians are agile and well-coordinated but they sometimes neglect their bodies for the sake of pursuing their various interests. (369)

Present Positively As: Highly Intelligent | Negatively As: Scatter-brained

Perceived Positively As: Knowledgeable | Negatively As: Erratic

Cancer Ruling the First House (Cancer Ascendant/Cancer Rising)

Cancer Rising individuals learn about their identity through their emotions and the emotions of the people around them. Often these individuals have empathic depths that require them to be very careful with their time and energy when around other people; ones they know, as well as strangers. With strong nurturing energy, they will attract people who want or need an emotional safe harbor.

According to Jodie Forrest in her book, The Ascendant:

This person has come into the world wearing the mask of the Nurturer, the Healer, the Mother, or the Sensitive. Cancer doesn’t mean biologically female, but this is the Sign of the archetypal feminine, the archetypal Great Goddess, the lunar counterpart to the Leonine Sun God. Think of Cancer as the epitome of “yin” energy, that which is nurturing, receptive, and fertile – and dark, mysterious, inward, and unpredictable. (111)

Present Positively As: Caring | Negatively As: Smothering

Perceived Positively As: Caring | Negatively As: Passive Aggressive

Leo Ruling the First House (Leo Ascendant/Leo Rising)

Leo Ascendant individuals want to be appreciated and learn about their identity through performance and creative expression. According to Moore and Douglas:

The person with Leo on the Ascendant can shine like the Sun when their lives are unclouded by trouble, but they are less well equipped to handle adversity. They emanate rays of personal power which can raise others to glory or raze them to rubble. They need to avoid overdoing, for they are king-sized in extravagance as well as in generosity. Their virtues are dignity, courage, and integrity; their vices are egotism, bombast, and arrogance.

Like all Fire Signs, Leo Ascendant people need to be active, social, and engaged. They thrive on recognition and will go above and beyond to get or sustain attention, both good and bad.

Present Positively As: Generous | Negatively As: Arrogant

Perceived Positively As: Fun-Loving | Negatively As: Narcissistic

Virgo Ruling the First House (Virgo Ascendant/Virgo Rising)

Virgo Rising individuals learn about their identities through service, the care of their health, and problem-solving. They present as helpful and are perceived as useful. Jodie Forrest says:

This person has come into the world wearing the mask of the Craftsperson, the Analyst, the Worker, the Details Person, or the Growth Ninja. This man or woman has reached an evolutionary stage where he or she should present a practical, can-do, detail-oriented, humble but not servile face to the world. The development of honest self-appraisal and dedication to self-improvement are essential. (128)

Like the other Earth Signs, Virgo Rising people appreciate quality experiences in the world, but they can be more frugal than Taurus. Taurus looks for the best quality; Virgo looks for the best solution for the right price. Being practically helpful is one of their most defining traits.

Present Positively As: Helpful | Negatively As: Perfectionist

Perceived Positively As: Supportive | Negatively As: Critical

Libra Ruling the First House (Libra Ascendant/Libra Rising)

Libra Ascendant individuals learn about their identities through relationships, joint decision-making, and analysis. They present as sympathetic and are perceived as fair. Moore and Douglas say:

The gift of Libra on the Ascendant is personal grace and charm. These individuals can be polished and urbane, but may carry diplomacy to the point of vacillation in their efforts to please everyone. They tend to react to others rather than to act in their own right, largely because they are keenly aware of the gravity of the causes they are setting in motion. (387)

Like the other Air Signs, Libra Rising people appreciate communication and intellectual curiosity. They prefer harmony and balance in their day-to-day lives. Other people enjoy their ability to get along with most anyone.

Present Positively As: Decisive | Negatively As: Indecisive

Perceived Positively As: Fair | Negatively As: Judgmental

Scorpio Ruling the First House (Scorpio Ascendant/Scorpio Rising)

Scorpio Rising individuals learn about their identities through intense transformative moments and by helping others through trauma or emotional hardships. They present as intensely focused and are perceived as confidants. Jodie Forrest says:

This person has come into the world wearing the mask of the Psychoanalyst, Hypnotist, Shaman, or Detective. A man or woman with Scorpio rising has reached an evolutionary stage where he or she should present a penetrating, intense, and probing face to the world. To minimize the possibility of others’ negative reactions to such a mask, the development of a certain level of psychological awareness of oneself is essential here. (148)

Like the other Water Signs, Scorpio Rising people connect with others through emotion, especially difficult, intense, or painful emotions. Their symbol is deep water that collects at the bottom of a lake or the ocean.

Present Positively As: Intense | Negatively As: Dramatic

Perceived Positively As: Powerful | Negatively As: Threatening

Sagittarius Ruling the First House (Sagittarius Ascendant/Sagittarius Rising)

Sagittarius Ascendant individuals learn about their identities through travel, adventure, and exploration. They present as outgoing and are perceived as “wise to the ways of the world”. Moore and Douglas say:

Sagittarians need to cover distance both physically and mentally. They have a predilection toward abstract thinking but are also fond of sports and games and are happiest leading wholesome, active lives. They are natural promoters who in their exuberance sometimes promise more than they can deliver, not to be deliberately deceptive but because they actually expect the best. (395)

Like the other Fire Signs, Sagittarius people prefer to be active as much as possible. If they cannot travel physically, then they will travel with their minds. However, they prefer to go boldly into the world and search out knowledge through experience.

Present Positively As: Adventurous | Negatively As: Interfering

Perceived Positively As: Wise | Negatively As: Authoritarian

Capricorn Ruling the First House (Capricorn Ascendant/Capricorn Rising)

Capricorn Rising individuals learn about their identities through achievement, goal-setting, and responsibility. They present as leaders and are perceived as providers. Jodie Forrest says:

This person has come into the world wearing the mask of the Wise Elder, the Prime Minister, the Executive, and the Authority. This man or woman has reached an evolutionary stage where he or she should present a dignified, practical, and rather reserved face to the world. (166)

Like the other Earth Signs, Capricorn Rising people appreciate quality experiences in the world, but they are much more extroverted than Virgo or Taurus. The want to have an impact on the outer world in a very tangible way.

Present Positively As: Inspiring | Negatively As: Ruthless

Perceived Positively As: Successful | Negatively As: Greedy

Aquarius Ruling the First House (Aquarius Ascendant/Aquarius Rising)

Aquarius Ascendant individuals learn about their identities through community, friendships, and culture. They present as social and are perceived as idealists. Moore and Douglas say:

The person born with Aquarius rising has a reputation for being the truth-seeker of the zodiac, but they also have a desire to put their knowledge of truth to work in practical ways. Although these individuals can be sociable and cooperative, they need to remain personally independent. This detached friendliness is only one of the paradoxes of their freewheeling nature. (404)

Like the other Air Signs, Aquarius Ascendant people appreciate high level conversation, the discussion of ideas, and social engagement. Finding where they fit in a group, community, or society is paramount to the development of their identity.

Present Positively As: Friendly | Negatively As: Detached

Perceived Positively As: Idealistic | Negatively As: Fanatical

Pisces Ruling the First House (Pisces Ascendant/Pisces Rising)

Pisces Rising individuals learn about their identities through dreams, imagination, and spirituality. They present as intuitive and are perceived as empathic. Jodie Forrest says:

This person has come into the world wearing the mask of the Mystic, the Psychic, the Contemplative, or the Visionary. A man or woman with Pisces rising has reached an evolutionary stage where he or she must present a gentle, expansive, compassionate face to the world. (184)

Like the other Water Signs, Pisces Rising people are sensitive emotionally and can feel the world all around them. They know they are part of a greater consciousness and sometimes struggle to be present in this three-dimensional world. Establishing and having good boundaries are necessary for them to develop healthy identities.

Present Positively As: Imaginative | Negatively As: Delusional

Perceived Positively As: Compassionate | Negatively As: Hypocritical

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