“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.
Aquarius: The Water Bearer
Aquarius Ascendant: Saturn as the Chart Ruler
The masculine, airy, fixed Aquarius Ascendant embodies the diurnal expression of Saturn. With Saturn as the Hour-Marker, the meaning of Aquarius Ascendant is derived from the qualities of Saturn. As such, Aquarius rising projects cerebral discipline and structure to its external environment. Seemingly detached or impersonal, this Ascendant retains a critical, stoic approach to problem-solving and social obligations. Saturn’s stern grasp is applied to the external persona of the Aquarius Ascendant. As a fixed, human, vocal sign, Aquarius Ascendants can appear stubbornly resistant (commonly misconstrued for ‘rebellious’, the modern ‘Uranus-ruled’ derivative). Aquarius rising’s unyielding approach to set ethical standards often parallels the native’s own caliber of commitment.
Of Saturn-ruled natives, Lilly notes:
‘Body more cold and dry, of a middle stature, his Complexion pale, swarthy or muddy, his Eyes little and black, looking downward; a broad Forehead, black or sad Hair, and it hard or rugged; great Ears, hanging; lowering Eyebrows…’
The placement and condition of Saturn in the natal chart guides the direction and purpose of the native’s life, while the body and identity is influenced by transits through the Ascendant, natal Saturn, Saturn retrogrades, and Saturn profections. The house ruler of Saturn also directs the expression of the Saturn Ascendant. For example, if Saturn occupies a sign polarizing its essential nature, such as Leo, the native may not approach life as a typical Aquarius Ascendant. Planets occupying the first house can significantly alter the personality of the Ascendant. Again, for example, Jupiter occupying the first house of an Aquarius Ascendant will significantly alter the appearance and personality of the native. The chart’s sect will further punctuate the full expression of Aquarius 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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