“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.
Scorpio Rising: Mars as the Chart Ruler
The feminine, watery, fixed Scorpio Ascendant embodies the nocturnal expression of Mars. Because Scorpio Ascendant’s chart ruler is Mars, the meaning of the sign is derived from the qualities of Mars. With Scorpio rising, the Mars-ruled native is strategically severing, intuitively active, piercingly intense, and suspiciously inquisitive. The martial courage of the Scorpio Ascendant aims to disrupt and dismantle the secretive, murky recesses of the human condition. Its correlation with endangerment and peril, again, originates from its planetary ruler, Mars. If Mars in Aries exerts fearlessness relative to the external environment, Mars’ courageousness in Scorpio aims at dissecting the psychological, intuitive, and emotional (watery) depths of the internal sphere.
Of Mars-ruled natives, Lilly notes:
‘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 guides the direction and purpose of the native’s life, while the body and identity is influenced by transits through the ascendant, natal Mars, Mars retrogrades, Mars profections. The house ruler of Mars also directs the expression of the Scorpio Ascendant. For example, if Mars occupies a sign polarizing its essential nature, such as Taurus, the native may not approach life as a typical Scorpio Ascendant. Planets occupying the first house can significantly alter the personality of the Ascendant. Again, for example, Venus occupying the first house of a Scorpio Ascendant will significantly alter the appearance and personality of the native. The chart’s sect will further punctuate the full expression of Scorpio 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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