“To know the character of the native’s mind, look at the Lord of the Ascendant and Mercury (who is the significator of the intellective power, speech and oration). These signify the matters of the soul, and the morals of the native, just as the Moon and the Ascendant signify the body.” (Abu’Ali Al-Khayatt, The Judgment of Nativities)
The Natal Ascendant: A Chart’s Profile
The Ascendant is simply the zodiacal degree rising over the eastern horizon at the exact time and location of birth. Known as ‘the Helm’ in Hellenistic astrology, the Ascendant expresses the native’s navigational strategy, a metaphorical grappling of the steering-oar of life. Because it reveals one’s interaction with the external environment, unfurling the native’s vitality, health, character, temperament, and corporeal constitution, the Ascendant is a critical feature of the natal chart. As the first house does not fully surface above the horizon, it remains both visible and concealed. Akin to the flight of fleet-footed Hermes, the Ascendant symbolizes the oscillation between the diurnal and nocturnal realms of spirit and matter. In essence, it is the merging point between the macrocosmic and microcosmic hemispheres of the natal chart: as above, so below.
Aries Ascendant: Mars as the Chart Ruler
The masculine, fiery, movable (cardinal) Aries Ascendant embodies the ferocious qualities of Mars. Aries is the diurnal house of Mars, choleric, of the fire triplicity and of the East. These qualities will be expressed, for better or worse, depending on the condition and placement of Mars, as well as its sect in the chart. In isolation, the Aries Ascendant is severing, bold, confident, contentious, invincible, and rebellious. Equipped with the fortitude and courage of a pioneering spirit, in isolation, the Aries Ascendant is prone to heady temperament, impulsivity, and swift activity. The native’s pace is of quickened tempo as is his metabolic rate, and his energetic constitution is best expressed through physical exertion. Valiantly, the Aries Ascendant can motivate others through the native’s own exemplified perseverance.
Of Mars-ruled natives, Lilly notes the following:
‘They are of middle stature, their bodies strong, their bones big, rather lean than fat, their visage round, their hair sandy or flaxen, and many times crisping or curling… a bold confident countenance…’
The placement and condition of Mars in the natal chart signals a key focal point in the native’s life, and the manner in which it is actualized. The body and personality is influenced by transits through the Ascendant, natal Mars, and Mars profection years. The house ruler of Mars also directs the expression of the Aries Ascendant. For example, if Mars occupies a sign polarizing its essential nature, such as Libra, the native may not approach life as a typical Aries Ascendant. Planets occupying the first house can significantly alter the personality of the Ascendant. Again, for example, Venus occupying the first house of an Aries Ascendant will significantly alter the appearance and personality of the Aries Ascendant. The chart’s sect will further punctuate the expression of Mars in the natal chart.
*Ascendant descriptions are intended as general, isolated references, and are but one component of the natal chart.
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