“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.
Leo Ascendant: The Sun as Chart Ruler
The masculine, fixed Leo Ascendant embodies the expression of the diurnal luminary, the Sun. Leo is the only house of the Sun, fiery, choleric by nature, and of the East. Leo Ascendants are regal, confident, proud, and often possess natural leadership proclivities. Ruled by the illuminating Sun, Leo Ascendants project a striking presence to the world. External praise and recognition, in a sense, is akin to the visibility of the Sun. Likewise, expressing the qualities of the Sun, they exude confidence, optimism, generosity, and can be motivating figures in the public sphere.
Of Solar natives, Lilly notes:
‘ The Sun represents a man of good, large, and strong corporature; a yellow, saffron Complexion, a round, large Forehead: goggle-eyes or large, sharp and piercing; a Body strong and well composed, not so beautiful as lovely; full of heat, their hair yellowish, and therefore quickly bald, much hair on their beard, and usually a high ruddy Complexion, and their bodies fleshy; in conditions they are very bountiful, honest, sincere, well-minded, of great and large Heart, High-minded, of healthful Constitution, very humane; yet sufficiently Spirited, not Loquacious.
The placement and condition of the Sun 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, the natal Sun, and Sun profections. The house ruler of the Sun also directs the expression of the Leo Ascendant. For example, if the Sun occupies a sign polarizing its essential nature, such as Aquarius, the native may not approach life as a typical Leo Ascendant. Planets occupying the first house can significantly alter the personality of the Ascendant. Again, for example, Saturn occupying the first house of a Leo Ascendant will significantly alter the appearance and personality. The chart’s sect will further punctuate the potency of the Sun 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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