“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.
Gemini Ascendant: Mercury as the Chart Ruler
The masculine, airy, double-bodied (or mutable) Gemini Ascendant embodies the dual expression of multifaceted Mercury. Gemini is the diurnal house of Mercury, sanguine, and of the West. Gemini Ascendants are naturally inclined to absorb and disclose an amalgamation of knowledge and information. Mirroring the fleet-footed Messenger, Gemini rising speaks and moves swiftly, possess the innate ability to interact with a broad spectrum of people, is strategic in action, and crafty in calculations. Because Mercury has a potent connection to the native’s body, appearance, personality, and physical vitality, Gemini Ascendants are predisposed to delicate nervous systems.
Of Mercury-ruled natives, Lilly notes:
‘One of high stature and straight thin spare body, a high forehead and somewhat narrow long face, long nose… long arms, fingers and hands.” Here, Lilly proceeds to describe distinctly malleable nature of Mercury according to its configuration(s) with other planets.
The placement and condition of Mercury 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 Mercury, Mercury retrogrades, and Mercury profection years. The house ruler of Mercury also directs the expression of the Gemini Ascendant. For example, if Mercury occupies a sign polarizing its essential nature, such as Sagittarius, the native may not approach life as a typical Gemini Ascendant. Planets occupying the first house can significantly alter the personality of the Ascendant. The chart’s sect will further punctuate the full expression of Mercury 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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