The Ascendant sign establishes the physical look, behavior, and overall life pattern of an individual (life pattern in the sense that all remaining house cusps, planetary placements, and aspects are locked into place in the natal chart).
Experience has shown that physical and mental descriptions pertaining to Ascendant signs are fundamental and show up in people’s physicalities and behaviors. Physical identification of these indicators in people is universal, regardless of race or sex, although factors pertaining to genetics such as height, weight, and age can make identification less clear-cut. In such instances, it’s always important to remember both the physical AND the behavioral traits or temperament of an individual need to be taken into consideration.
There is a multitude of influences that contribute to the looks, manners, and behavior of a personality. For example, the Sun sign establishes the underlying skeletal structure, the individuality, essential spirit force, and character of one’s being—i.e., how it oversees, channels, and directs its consciousness, will, & life-force energy inwardly in various states of mind and outwardly through external activities. The Moon sign contributes to the emotional intelligence and attitude of an individual. The Ascendant sign establishes the head shape, characteristics of the eyes, nose, chin, skin, and behavior patterns of a person. Planets on the Ascendant (i.e., conjunct, parallel, contraparallel, or opposition) or in the first house contribute additional influences that can actually modify the expression of an Ascendant sign. And lastly, the location(s) of the Ascendant ruler(s) in a particular sign and house further adds nuances to one’s expression, as does a planet(s) conjunct (or strongly aspecting) the ruler of the Ascendant.
Hence, all of these factors that combine the Sun sign, Moon sign, Ascendant sign, planets on the Ascendant, aspects to the Ascendant, the location of the Ascendant ruler in other signs, and the Ascendant ruler conjoined (or strongly aspecting) other planets all contribute to the unique mold, physical features, and “personality” of an individual.
Ascendant signs also have mirror opposites that are similar yet distinct. Here are examples of the head shapes pertaining to the 12 signs of the zodiac on the Ascendant:
The diagram above shows the “pure” characteristics of Ascendant signs without additional influences from those factors previously mentioned. Of course, in reality, there will always be a blending of contributing factors (Sun sign, Moon sign, Ascendant sign, and planets impacting the Ascendant—either directly or indirectly) that will mold the shape of the head, the behavior, and nature of activities with which a person is involved.
Below are real-life examples of prominent people and their actual Ascendant signs, all of which have been tested and verified through INCARN. The general tendencies and traits of each Ascendant, both positive and negative, are provided, as well.
Physically, Aries has a bony ovate face—meaning the look and structure of the face have bones closer to the skin than is average and produces very strong facial and photogenic features. The men can have a prominent bony chin that sticks out (a Mars-Pluto influence), as opposed to the Pisces chin in men which has a smaller rounded point. Joe Pesci is a male example of Aries rising. General behavioral traits of Aries on the Ascendant include strong ambition, a pioneering spirit, and a desire to lead or be at the forefront of a particular profession or sphere of influence. They are trailblazers, natural-born leaders, pioneers, builders of enterprises, chance takers, and fearless. The temperament is one that can be very forward and direct, aggressive, egocentric, impatient, energetic, alert, reckless, self-centered, and confident. Again, the differences in each individual are further modified by the Sun sign, Moon sign, planets on the Ascendant or in the first house (if applicable), and the degree or level of development of character. Aries is co-ruled by the planets Mars and Pluto.
*Astrodatabank has Bette Davis’ physical birth time as 9 PM, with a Rodden Rating of A. But after testing all Incarnation times and horoscopes corresponding to that time, none of them matched who she was as a person nor or showed pertinent aspects to signifiycant events in her life (via Naibod Secondary Progressions). That lead me to do an entire day’s run for all possible horoscopes for Bette Davis based on the date and precise location of her birth. The only horoscope that matched her was the 11°40′ Aries on the Ascendant (or 5:18:04 PM, EST)—which corresponds to the morning hour times quoted by Lynne J. Palmer and John Bradford. What stands out in her horoscope is that Neptune, Venus, and Uranus are all aligned with her MC/IC axis in declination, and Neptune is her fourth house. In addition, the Sun and Mercury are parallel and make their closest aspects in declination to her ASC. The combination of these configurations fit the horoscope of an actress/movie star perfectly.
Physically, Taurus has a rounded rectangular face, where the face is wide enough to see the rectangularity but it’s rounded off at the four corners and not as sharp. Behavior wise, Taurus on the Ascendant portrays a temperament that is stable, laid back, peaceful, kind, affectionate, self-reliant, direct, responsible, dependable, very practical, and good with simplification (breaking complex things down into simpler terms). They are introspective, have a love of beauty and nature, knows quality (and would rather spend more money for one high-quality item that will last a long time than spend less money for several quantities of a cheaper item of low quality), are builders of estates, and pillars of strength that family or others turn to when in need. On the negative side, they can be obstinate, dogmatic, self-centered, brusque, prejudiced, overly sexed, and express extreme wrath when angered. Overall, they are steadfast in their actions and believe actions speak louder than words.
The physicality of Gemini on the Ascendant produces a rectangular face, i.e., one that has straight lines on the sides and is generally elongated. Behaviorally, Gemini on the Ascendant denotes excellent communicators, analyzers, and conversationalists. They have curious, imaginative, and nimble minds as well as playful personalities that like to have fun. Good at multitasking. Likes keeping their options open as opposed to being tied down or limited to just one choice. Adept chameleons. Very good at seeing the big picture of situations and can be highly intellectual. Can also be fickle and opportunistic.
Physically, Cancer on the Ascendant has an ovate shaped head that tends to be narrower at the temples. There are no straight lines on the sides of the face as it is in Gemini. Behaviorally, Cancer on the Ascendant denotes passionate individuals with very strong emotions who get heart, body, and soul into their activities. Important decisions are made intuitively and by gut feeling. There is a strong attachment to family and close friendships. Like Leos, they are big on loyalty. Very good teachers, counselors, and storytellers. They are often popular and can be the power behind the scenes. Can be emotionally sensitive or take things too personally. Tries to avoid confrontations wherever possible, unless planetary aspects/indicators (such as a Mars, Uranus, etc.) are configured in such a way as to predominate through one’s personality or reputation.
Like the other fixed sign of Taurus, Leo physically has a rectangular face. The face can sometimes be quite large. But unlike Taurus, the rectangularity is sharper. Depending on the underlying sun sign, the rectangularity can make the face longer or shorter. It’s a bit more difficult to see it in females since they have softer features. Leo Ascendants also typically have large chest cavities and torsos. Behaviorally, the more outgoing types love being the center of attention and catered to, especially if they have a planet like Pluto or Jupiter sitting on the ASC which almost always leads to a heightened egoism and magnanimous gregariousness about them: they are bighearted, generous, radiate positive/joyful demeanors, like to have fun, and have royal-like, commanding attitudes that like delegate and be in charge. Those who are not as gregarious still have an air of nobility in their demeanors. They unquestionably assume and maintain quiet authority in leadership roles. Negatively, this sign can be very condescending to others or express extreme wrath when annoyed or pissed off.The variations of expression, of course, depend on the underlying Sun signs of individuals, the planets affecting the Ascendant (first house), and the overall unique configuration of energies within a horoscope.
Physically, Virgo on the Ascendant has a triangular or V-shaped head. The noses are distinctive and can be pointy or have a downward curve. Behaviorally, Virgo on the Ascendant denotes a personality that is very exacting and highly analytical—one that examines every aspect of life in detail. They strive for correctness, cleanliness, perfection, and like to apply practical precision in their activities. Productivity is a virtue, as is making good decisions, being healthy, and germ-free. Some are comedic and have a sardonic sense of humor. A negative trait of this sign is to be extremely judgmental or critical of others (even when their own lives are far from perfect) and think there’s only one right way of doing things, which is their way.
Libra on the Ascendant has an ovate to rounded out wedge-shaped head. In most cases, the head is not as small as pictured in the diagram. The sides of the face are rounded out as opposed to having straight lines. The underlying Sun sign and location of Venus in another sign also plays a role. The facial features of Libra on the Ascendant can be distinguished from the sharp convex curves in Virgo (and softer ones in Pisces), but if doubts arise, look to the temperament next. Behaviorally, Libra on the Ascendant shows a person who is socially sophisticated, fashionable, well-groomed, and known for trying to bring about balance and fairness to opposing viewpoints. They make good advertising or marketing professionals as well as good mediators. Appearance and social perception are of utmost importance, and they know how to communicate ideas in ways that gravitate towards that which is the most socially acceptable. Negatively, they can be unemotionally cruel, indecisive, and elitists that look down upon others who are not as sophisticated as them. Their minds are quick and so is their repartee, which makes it easy for them to ridicule and make others look foolish. Those whose characters are more developed have superb taste, are highly cultured, are advocates of justice, peace, and fairness as well as excellent professionals in leadership roles. They are capable of seeing both sides of an issue and bringing people together.
Scorpio on the Ascendant has a regular shape rectangular shaped face, not as wide as Leo nor as soft as Taurus. Behaviorally, Scorpio on the Ascendant personifies an individual with extraordinary capabilities. They are down-to-earth, multitalented, and resourceful individuals with very intense, almost mystique, intriguing auras. Something is always hidden or held back., and they can be secretive even about the most minor things. Their resourcefulness enables them to excel in a multitude of professions. They are experts at efficiency and making productive use of time. Quite a number of them can be highly sexed and express extreme wrath and vindictiveness if provoked. Whatever it is they do, they seek to do it exceptionally well.
Sagittarius on the Ascendant, the opposite sign and a mirror image of Gemini Ascendant, also has the elongated rectangular face, but the forehead can sometimes be prominent or sloped back (or concave). Behavior wise, Sagittarius on the Ascendant gives rise to a curious, exploratory, jovial, and philosophical individual—one who constantly asked questions and seeks to explore new horizons and then to share that knowledge with others. They are seekers of the truth and have the great capability to reject data overload and see straight into the heart of a matter. Hence, the symbol of the archer’s bow-and-arrow for this sign is suitable, because the arrow (the mind), once released, constantly hits its mark (gets to the central truth or heart of a matter). Negatively, they can be careless, inconsiderate, care-free, free-and-easy, and non-committed to the family because they are too independent and don’t want to be tied down, and guilty of playing the “blame game.” Overall, they are openminded and associate with all types of people of different backgrounds, races, cultures, excellent at identifying causes and effects, make good mediators, and believe it is a duty to share and enlighten others (especially the young) of past knowledge and history.
Capricorn on the Ascendant has an ovate to ovate-triangular face (that is, the head can be round at the top with an angular face and narrow chin). One prominent feature is for them to have an elfish or pixie look, with ears either sticking out from the sides of their heads to the ears disappearing into the far sides of the face. Behaviorally, Capricorn denotes a mature, quiet-mannered individual with great discipline and ambition and an ability to look out for themselves. Each step taken in a profession is towards an advanced position (never backward), and they usually occupy managerial or leadership roles. They believe that each must earn his/her keep and rank has its privileges. Capricorn Ascendants are usually conservative, prudent, and practical. Negatively, they can show courtesy and respect to superiors but look down upon others who are not in such high positions or statuses as well as a tendency to be very bossy and order others around. Overall, they have respect for the past, for tradition, for values imparted from the past, and they set high standards for themselves and others. Some exhibit a sardonic sense of humor. Can also be excellent dancers. They are great leaders and good at handling crises with tact and total professionalism.
Aquarius on the Ascendant has pronounced square-shaped heads. Behaviorally, the Aquarius Ascendant gives rise to friendly, cooperative, platonic, highly intelligent, and unique individuals who like taking up for the underdog. They are original, independent thinkers who have a profound understanding of and insight into human nature, psychology, and social mores that they can use for good to benefit others or as manipulation to take advantage of others (to benefit themselves). Many of them are men and women of the cloth (preachers, ministers, bishops). Negatively, they can be procrastinators, preachy know-it-alls, too fixed in their ideas, and overly moralistic (yet not be such themselves). They also make good scientists and mathematicians and are strongly humanitarian-focused by caring, providing for, and helping the less fortunate.
Pisces on the Ascendant, like its opposite sign Virgo, also has a triangular-shaped head but a more rounded off curve at the chin. The skin can have a watery, translucent, or pale look to it. Another trait is the chin, particularly with men: it tends to have a small rounded point attached to its tip. The difference between the Pisces chin and the one that can sometimes be found in Aries (or Scorpio) Ascendants, is that the bulge on the chin of Aries is more prominent and not a small point; it’s as if a protruding bone sticks out in the center over which skin is laid or covered. Behaviorally, Pisces on the Ascendant gives rise to a perspicacious individual who is slow to make any definite decisions due to a multitude of factors he or she tries to consider and comprehend. The only problem is that all of these possibilities or scenarios of what can or cannot happen as they are weighing these things in the minds tend to go round-and-round or circular motion. That only further delays decision making when a choice needs to be made. They are kind, sensitive, intuitive, and are the most tolerant of all signs. They accept people for who they are. Negatively, they can be drifters who are guideless and delusional (Neptune) or overindulge (Jupiter) in drugs or alcohol for escapism. On the positive side, they see the unity of all things and have uncommon, and even mystical, insights that can inspire others. They’re oriented toward being of service to others, so it’s not unusual for them to work in government institutions, universities, hospitals, theatres, churches, music, or the movies. Pisces represents the accumulation of all signs and all past knowledge. When the character of an individual has fully developed, all such information comes to the forefront of one’s consciousness in seeing the unity and essential truth of all things.