Rising Sign Astrology: All About Your Ascendant

What do others see in YOU? Your rising sign is the first impression you make.

Your rising sign, or ascendant, colors your appearance, attitude and demeanor.

The meaning of the Rising Sign in astrology

In astrology, your rising sign colors the first impression that you make—everything from your appearance to your attitude and demeanor. Are you warm and welcoming, or reserved and a little awkward? Do you prefer bold colors and bling, or are you most comfortable in an Armani suit? All of these factors can be easily pinpointed by the rising sign in your chart.

If people always peg you for a sign other than your own, don’t be surprised to discover that it’s actually because of your rising sign. You can also think of your rising sign as a “filter” or a “tint.” If your Sun sign made you blue, your rising sign determines whether you’re a powder blue, a bright cornflower or a dark navy. 

The rising sign changes approximately every two hours, so you need to know your time of birth to get an accurate answer. Some birth certificates unfortunately don’t list time of birth, so you may need to rely on a parent’s memory or have a professional astrologer “reconstruct” your chart and make their best guess for your rising sign.

How do you know your Rising Sign?

Use our cosmic calculator to discover what zodiac sign the ascendant was in when you were born. To accurately determine your ascendant, you will need to know your birth time.

The ascendant is always “in” your first house—in fact it’s the very first degree or the beginning cusp, found at the 9 o’clock point on every chart. Don’t have your birth certificate? If you were born in the United States, you can write to the Office of Vital Records in your birth state for a copy.

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How to find your Rising Sign in a birth chart

When looking at your natal chart as a picture, you can find your rising sign at the 9:00 position on the zodiac wheel. This is the very beginning point of the chart, which is indicated by a darker line. Do a free chart here to find your rising sign.

chart with ascendant drawing
A sample birth chart showing the position of the Rising Sign or Ascendant

The first 1st house, or ascendant, begins at what would be 9:00 on a clock. From the first house’s cusp (or borderline), we travel around the zodiac wheel in a counter-clockwise direction. Imagine that you are standing right in the center of this horoscope wheel. The ascendant indicates the eastern horizon line that the Sun is “rising” over at that moment.

The ascendant is also the starting point of the twelve houses, with the 1st house beginning at the Ascendant, and all the houses follow counterclockwise around the chart, until the 12th house ends at the same point that the 1st house begins—at the ascendant.

How often does the Ascendant change zodiac signs?

The ascendant changes zodiac signs about every two hours. Since the sun rises and sets at different times depending on the season, a person born at 10:00 a.m. in April would have a vastly different ascendant than someone born at 10:00 a.m. in November. Fun fact: If you were born at sunrise (or within two hours of it), your ascendant will likely be the same sign as your Sun sign (e.g., Taurus with a Taurus rising—or a “double Taurus”).

Someone born at the exact same time as you, but in another time zone, may have an entirely different birth chart because they will have a different rising sign. This puts all the planets in different houses. It’s like the difference between Bradley Cooper appearing in The Hangover II (perhaps that would be a raucous Leo rising) versus a serious drama such as Silver Linings Playbook (maybe a deeply moving Pisces rising). 

How does the Rising Sign determine my “chart ruler?”

Each zodiac sign has a ruling planet.

For example, Libra is ruled by Venus, Cancer is ruled by the moon, etc. Known as the chart ruler, the ruling planet associated with your ascendant gives more insight into your overall persona—and even the types of people you attract into your life.

For a person with Sagittarius rising, jovial and expansive Jupiter (the ruler of Sagittarius) is the ruling planet of that person’s whole chart. Translation: The cycles and movements of Jupiter will have an especially strong influence on this person’s life. A Sagittarius rising person would also have strong “Jupiterian” themes in their lives: They might love travel, have international and multicultural friends and possess a spirit of eternal optimism.

Chart rulers for every Rising Sign

Aries Rising: Mars

Taurus Rising: Venus

Gemini Rising: Mercury

Cancer Rising: The Moon

Leo Rising: The Sun

Virgo Rising: Mercury

Libra Rising: Venus

Scorpio Rising: Pluto

Sagittarius Rising: Jupiter

Capricorn Rising: Saturn

Aquarius Rising: Uranus

Pisces Rising: Neptune

Learn about your Rising Sign

Aries Rising Sign

Aries rising signs are the firecrackers and go-getters of the zodiac. Quick and headstrong, you command a “take charge” energy that’s inspiring and motivating. Aries is a fire sign, ruled by warrior planet Mars. This imbues you with red-hot passion and quick impulses. Although Aries ascendants may come across as bossy, you really just want to be seen as courageous and bold for being the first to blaze your own trail. Careful about jumping into leadership positions, because you might just bite off more than you can chew! You’re an engaging presenter, performer and motivational speaker who can light up the room with megawatt energy.

Read more about the Aries Rising Sign

Taurus Rising Sign

With sophisticated Taurus as your rising sign, you’re a class act—but you’re no air-kissing poseurs. This is one tough ascendant! You don’t mince words, even if you set firm limits clear with style and grace. You greet people with a firm handshake, a warm hug or a friendly slap on the back. Equal parts tough and tender, you’re determined and persistent when you want something—and you don’t bother trying to hide those desires!

Read more about the Taurus Rising Sign

Gemini Rising Sign

Can we talk? This communicative ascendant blesses you with unparalleled social skills. There’s nothing you love more than being consumed in an engaging conversation. You might lose track of time, but  c’est la vie. A wink, a smile and a genuine apology is generally all it takes to get you off the hook. Gemini is a breezy air sign ruled by quick-witted and intellectual Mercury. Convivial and charming, you know how to get people talking. At gatherings, you’ll be the person zipping around the room faster than the messenger planet himself! 

Read more about the Gemini Rising Sign

Cancer Rising Sign

Who needs a hug? This nurturing ascendant makes you a connoisseur of comfort, ready with a compassionate ear, a hot mug of tea and the kind of support most people could only expect from their family. Cancer is a water sign, ruled the shape-shifting moon. You understand the ebb and flow of emotions more than most. In fact, yours are rarely far from the surface. 

Read more about the Cancer Rising Sign

Leo Rising Sign

With beaming, radiant, Leo as your rising sign, you’ve got presence! Much like this sign’s ruler, the all-powerful Sun, you are the biggest and brightest star in the galaxy. There’s no missing you when you step into the room. Whether you’re brooding or bouncing off the walls with excitement, you externalize your current mood. Which is why, more than most other rising signs, you need to be mindful of the vibe you’re carrying. Since Leo is a fire sign, you don’t just shift energy. Your flames fan out, touching everyone with their heat. This can warm hearts or scorch souls; the choice is yours.  

Read more about the Leo Rising Sign

Virgo Rising Sign

Is that you, giving the world service with a smile? With helpful Virgo as your ascendant, you’re innately tuned in to the needs of everyone around you. This zodiac sign is ruled by analytical, systematic Mercury, which is also a people-focused planet. Generosity is your compass and you’ll readily make a sacrifice in the name of greater good.

Read more about the Virgo Rising Sign

Libra Rising Sign

You’re the picture of elegance, floating through the world with the grace of a runway model, ballet danseur and socialite rolled into one. And wow, do you look good doing it! Libra is a free-flowing air sign, governed by glow-up goddess Venus. This aesthetically oriented ascendant makes you a true lover of beauty. You may express it through art, music or dance—or create a feast for the eyes with your keen, sartorial fashion sense. Or both! You have excellent taste. Expensive too. You’ve never met a fine bottle of wine, soft-spun silk or luxury bedding set that you didn’t like.

Read more about the Libra Rising Sign

Scorpio Rising Sign

Piercing gaze or a faraway, mysterious look? With deep-water Scorpio as your ascendant, you’ve likely perfected both of these expressions. When you really turn it on, look out world! You emit an energy as intense as a thousand burning suns. Powerhouse Pluto is Scorpio’s ruler, which may explain your magnetic force. Having the lord of the underground directing your GPS is no small (or laughing) matter. Yes, you can come across as relaxed and ultra-cool. But with your keen powers of observation, you’re ready to strike like a king cobra if necessary. 

Read more about the Scorpio Rising Sign

Sagittarius Rising Sign

Quick…what’s your opening line? Wise and witty, there’s no telling what will come out of your mouth, but it’s bound to memorable…and possibly controversial. Not that youmind ruffling feathers! Sagittarius is the zodiac’s truth seeker and this rising sign does not mince words. If something’s out of sync, you’re going to speak up, even if your candor clears the room. 

Read more about the Sagittarius Rising Sign

Capricorn Rising Sign

Can we do lunch? Business is pleasure for those born with an ambitious Capricorn rising. Achievement oriented, you see every opportunity as a chance to build and grow. For you, life is about material security and success—and all the better if your efforts help provide for the people you love. 

Read more about the Capricorn Rising Sign

Aquarius Rising Sign

Rainbows and unicorns…and butterflies too! If you happen to be an Aquarius rising, we might literally  be talking about your outfit. Aquarius is ruled by Uranus, the only planet in the zodiac that spins on its side. Having this planet as your chart ruler makes you an iconoclast in your own right. But even if you’re a die-hard denim and athleisure type, this eccentric ascendant ensures that you’ll be one of a kind. Whether you’re shocking the world with your sartorial choices or disrupting industries as a thought leader, you’re a true original. 

Read more about the Aquarius Rising Sign

Pisces Rising Sign

What’s going on below the surface? With dreamy, esoteric Pisces as your rising sign, you’re a mystery unto yourself. Like the current that carries the zodiac’s fish, your feelings ebb and flow along with your moods. Sometimes you crave extreme stimulation: lights, music, sensual touch! The next minute, you need to be far away from everything in a safe, serene setting that helps you regain your chill. 

Read more about the Pisces Rising Sign

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

AstroTwins

Identical twin sisters Ophira and Tali Edut, known as The AstroTwins, are the founders of Astrostyle.com and the authors of multiple bestselling astrology books. Their horoscopes reach millions here and through their resident astrologer column at ELLE Magazine.