Greetings, Solstice Blessings and welcome back to Journeys! 🙂 Things are still busy in my life, but I am returning to you this month and next with a two-part series that complements my earlier two-part series on rising planets published this year, “Arising Worlds”, by looking at each of the 12 signs on the ascendant. This month I take you through Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo and Virgo. I will cover each sign in terms of 5 categories: embodiment (how it affects the body, aura, attire and gait and posture), traits (mostly psychological), difference to the Sun or Moon sign, significance of rulers placement and well known faces. If you enjoy this or benefit from it, please consider pledging some support on Patreon.
Embodiment: A strong, rugged, proud warrior attitude or demeanor is reflected in form and appearance. The face may be scarred, have moles, or otherwise bear some kind of mark. With Aries rising, the eyes are commonly larger and more open, communicating simplicity and often gentleness but capable of swiftly growing cloudy, red and sharp with righteous anger (Aries is a lamb as well as a ram, but never a sheep). The complexion is ruddier and more prone to flushing with blood (this includes embarrassment as well as anger and stress), the gaze can zap around restlessly and makes direct eye contact very quickly and frequently, and be very challenging. Males often have thinning or receding hair early in life (it ‘burns up’ because of hot-headedness). The body is commonly athletic with large bones and strong limbs. The forehead and prefrontal cortex of the mammalian brain (associated with the will to live) becomes more prominent (for butting things out of the way). The pumping of the blood around the body is fiercely driven, which helps distribute heat and power throughout and brings a boost to the overall health. However these people may suffer more severely and regularly from headaches and migraines until the Fire Element is tempered with some Earth and Water. If Fire becomes excessive, dehydration and dryness in the body produce poor vitality.
The body tends to (very subtly) lead head first, producing a gait which is top heavy and subconsciously inclines people to think they are being charged when being walked towards. This can trigger confrontational responses. The head hangs low when feeling shame, embarrassment or defeat. There is also a youthful impression that remains throughout life and the person is often quick to smile. The aura is bright and colourful, being quite fiery and radiating courage and strength of will and purpose. The body tends to look better or ‘more you’ in colours and tones which are warm and energised, such as red, orange, yellow and so on, and it will tend not to feel very comfortable in the binding costumes of business like a shirt and a tie – their style is more the sporty look, relaxed and casual but ready for action. It is important at some level that the appearance they generate is ‘one of a kind’ and not a clone of those around them. Of course, they do not have to take these guidelines to extremes – they don’t need to go to work dressed in crimson, a simple splash of red colour on the tie can work too – but on the other hand if they feel uncomfortable wearing such bright colours at all it is sometimes a sign of being uncomfortable with their body and self on some level (the same also being true of other rising signs and their associated colours).
Traits: They do not like to have to wait or retreat and this is reflected in their manner which leads others forward and motivates them to take direct actions to solve their problems. They believe that people should -indeed must – go after what they want in life, they must keep moving forwards and believe in their ability to overcome any obstacles in their way. This leads to an aura of confidence and to the gathering of followers and the attraction of people embodying the opposite principles to the ones they identify themself with (Libra on 7th). Aries attracts stress and pressurized situations towards it and frequently wades into them as tests of its mettle. They draw confrontation to not only strengthen willpower but also to find balance between opposing perspectives and a way to co-operate with other people in partnerships.
The key to putting the identity into action is to do so with directness, boldness of heart and courage, knowing that you have the power and the will to overcome any obstacles in your way. Accept no excuses from yourself but do not overly chastise yourself or become so easily discouraged because of any failures, simply employ your natural way of finding a creative way around the obstacle/s and persist. Continued dedication and persistence lead your way through life.
The time of Aries in the zodiac – the last week of March through to the last week of April – is an important time of year in which these people can initiate new beginnings. It is also the time of year in which they should make important new additions or changes to their appearance, health care, body or overall lifestyle. More detailed instructions for working with this date and with the ascendant are given in ‘The 26 Keys’. Each month there is a similar opportunity when the Moon is in Aries.
The Aries rising person draws vital energy, life energy, motivation and other renewing energies from the presence of fights, battlegrounds, drums, warriors, new life (babies or new projects), naked flame (held as torchlight, on a bonfire, campfire, etc), from volcanic, desert or hot natural wonders like hot springs, from pulsing bass drums or loud noises in general, from the colour red or bright and vivid colours that make an unambiguous statement or from any experience which feeds the will and the opportunity to define and make more distinct the character and mettle of the self. When ill or lacking in vital energy Aries rising could visit or meditate on connecting with these things and enjoying the spirit of them. It can also choose to invite the energy of Aries by magically working with its analogies. Aries will respond.
The spiritual and magical dimensions of this rising sign concern themselves with the creative direction and application of the will towards alignment with the power of the True Will (which can never be opposed), the enactment of defence and reinforcement (especially for the weak) and the direction of charisma and leadership powers to ends which are unselfish or at least not exclusively self centred or motivated solely by our own needs and wants. Battles must be chosen, that is in the Aries nature, so the choice of which battles we make worthy of our precious energy determines the ultimate end result as far as spiritual awareness and growth are concerned.
Difference to Sun and Moon signs: Less forceful, blunt and abrupt than the Aries Sun, which adds greater burning power and so leads to more rudeness and hot tempered behaviour. The enterprising spirit is often stronger in Aries rising than Aries Sun because the ascendant is connected with initiating things. Often less self centred and self reflective than the Aries Moon because of the Libra 7th temple which seeks others ideas and opinions and is more willing to adjust to them than an Aries Moon.
Rulership placing: If Mars is also hot and/or strongly placed or stressed (for example, at an angle or in the 1st temple, or in Leo or Sagittarius, or throwing out squares or oppositions or is conjunct with sensitive places), things can get out of control quickly as the temperament has a shorter fuse. However Mars in another Fire sign can often make a constructive use of its strong desires and lead to an expression of Mars which is less confrontational, particularly if Mars manages to make a trine aspect to the ascendant. Mars in a cooler and more restrained place (any Earth sign or Water sign except for Scorpio), keeps the more destructive forcefulness in moderation. Scorpio Mars can be so determined but ruthless when Aries is rising. Note however that Mars in both Cancer and Capricorn put Mars in a square position with an Aries ascendant and so have more than their usual share of problems. Mars in an Air sign produces more vacillation and second guessing and goes after more intellectual pursuits, there is a keen thirst to learn. However, Mars in Libra creates a confrontational energy within the self, a need for vigorous internal debate over action. Mars in the temples shows a main thrust of activity in life, a strong channeling of desire nature that is ambitious and restless.
Faces: Stephane Mallarme (poet and critic), Marcel Proust (novelist), Barbara Cartland (romance novelist), Joseph McCarthy (politician), John Lennon (musician, activist), Barbara Hutton (debutante), Willy Brandt (politician), Lena Horne (performer, activist), Billy Graham (evangelist), George Blake (spy and double agent), Marshall Applewhite (‘Heavens Gate’ cult leader), Joan Baez (performer), Bobby Womack (performer), Bette Midler (performer), Nancy Kerrigan (figure skater) and Heather Locklear (performer).
Embodiment: The most solid in appearance of the 12 rising signs, Taurus rising projects a physical presence with substance and weight and invests heavily in the sensual physical experience of life that its body provides. The rulership of this sign by Venus also often brings beauty and a clean, healthy look and a perfumed, naturally scented or musky body odour and skin. The voice is also often very beautiful to others. The eyes are placid, the eyelashes curled. The thickness or solidness of a Taurus rising body can imply a larger form, more muscular frame, more bulky proportions and a shorter height. The hair is often thicker and more copious, not just on the head but wherever hair grows on the body, and it tends to be darker in colour. The hair of a Taurus rising person also retains its colour for a longer time. The shape of the head is commonly square or well-rounded and the neck is often thicker especially in males, whereas in females it tends more to be prominent through being long, thin and elegant. The strength of the upper body is increased in both sexes but again especially in males. The lips are fuller and express a greater sensuality than is the norm and the nose is often rounded or upturned. Jewelery frequently adorns the ears and the neck, sometimes the nose. Rings are also frequently seen upon the fingers. There is emphasis here being placed on the sensual organs, they are being given jewels and symbols for a reason that is only instinctively sensed. Earthy, soft, rich tones are favoured, especially greens and browns and muted yellows, and the choice of wardrobe is often on the expensive side, including a few status conferring labels, but also includes working garments, like jeans, that last longer. Careful consideration is given to the way a Taurus person presents themselves through their choice of clothing. They have a classic style which tends not to break the rules but instead demonstrates why they became rules in the first place. When relaxing, a Taurus rising person favours comfort over appearance, but there will still be a touch of the luxurious or the indulgent.
The aura is calmer and far more passive than the Aries rising aura and resonates strongly with nature and all that is connected with the world of growing things. Many of these people have the fabled green thumb when it comes to interacting with plant beings, while those who don’t still enjoy the sensation of gardening or spending time in nature. It is deeply restorative to these people to simply be. Simplicity is a key quality these people need when they are feeling sick or out of sorts, and a simple afternoon in nature provides that and more, all of which quickly revitalize their bodies. Patience and persistence – the qualities of the slowly growing oak in the shady clearing, the oozing of sap and the gradual unfurling of flowers to the light – are strong characteristics which radiate out from the presence of these people and easily stabilize chaotic situations around them, and they have a keen sense of when people’s emotional turmoil is being hidden away (Scorpio on the 7th temple). Taurus rising by its very presence brings about stability through keeping it simple, but in truly great emotional catastrophes it can start to feel very lost.
The gait is slow and steady, the footing more sure and the overall form of the body more grounded, as if standing on four legs rather than two. Body language is controlled (fenced in) but extremely communicative and expressive of what these people are feeling, and there will very often be a common tell which indicates they are about to get very angry (the equivalent of the bull warning you by scraping at the soil). In other words the body language gives fair warning when you’re about to cross the line emotionally. They may have other body language which acts as a tell for their other emotions, particularly those which involve touching the neck, ears or nose.
Traits: Unusual degrees of interaction with the world through sensuality and the physical senses are key, as are practicality and simplification, often by ignoring emotional complications. Beethoven, who was deaf and therefore relied heavily on other senses to create his music, was born when Taurus was rising. Investment in the physical world becomes deeper, more concentrated as an experience and more secure or unshakable, more substantial, which often also means money and possession is a big draw to the psyche. Of course, money offers no protection against the messiness of feeling stuff, but it certainly helps to know your rent is going to be paid at those times. That’s Taurus rising, keeping it simple but effective.
Essentially Taurus rising people have an extremely physical, sensual approach to life and a strong need for security, affection, and closeness or intimacy. They don’t like to rush or be rushed, because they want to enjoy every moment and every pleasure in the here and now as much as possible – hence they are slow, non-hasty and controlled in their movements. Stability and reliability will become the cornerstones of identity in life, traits which others will vouch for very quickly after an initial meeting. Taurus rising, being far more grounded than other signs, is also rooted in the present moment by its attachment to the input of its physical senses and so the mind and the emotional body are less likely to pull the identity one way and another, in particular it is not prone to nostalgia or contemplations about the future. Interactivity with the physical world is conducted primarily by asking the identity “what use am I here?” and then getting on with whatever job or task comes to hand in answer.
The Taurus time of year – From late April to late May – is the key time of year for Taurus rising people to make significant new beginnings or changes in their appearance and embodiment. These changes will take a longer time to emerge than the life changes initiated by someone with Aries rising for example, partly because the characteristics or traits which a Taurus rising person seeks to change are more stubborn and entrenched, but they will be more permanent and they will have more staying power. Similar opportunities for making fresh starts in life or changing the way we embody ourselves come to these people whenever the Moon is in Taurus once a month. The body can draw vital energy from Taurus during these times of the month and year, but as mentioned it can also find a great deal of vital energy through contact with nature and the plant kingdom, or through any activity which simplifies life.
Spiritually and magically a Taurus rising chart indicates embodiment for the purpose of mastery of some aspect of the material world and the physical senses and calls upon initiates to embody great patience and love of repeated practice. The focus is in some way on the forms which existence takes and how they can be strengthened and nurtured.
Difference to Sun or Moon sign: Often less stubborn and obstinate than either the Sun or Moon in Taurus. Sun or Moon in Taurus also appears to be more possessive while Taurus ascendant seems to be lazier and less productive than Taurus Sun or Moon because of the vital energy provided by the solar principle and the exalted energy provided by Moon in Taurus. However all three representations of Taurus insist on doing things at their own pace so that they can fully enjoy the experience.
Rulership placing: Materialism and addiction to sensual experience can become problematic if Venus is placed indulgently, for example in exaltation in Cancer and with Jupiter in aspect. Generally however Venus in Cancer is good for Taurus rising because it adds much-needed empathy and emotionality while potentially connecting Venus by sextile with the ascendant so that it flows in a stimulating way. Vanity, drama and superficiality can result if Venus is in Leo and complicated social and emotional situations tend to arise which challenge the need for Taurus peace and simplicity if Venus is in Aquarius. Venus in Scorpio will often create similar situations but in much closer relationships and with much greater emotional intensity. So these can all be challenges for Taurus rising. In terms of other Earth signs Venus in Capricorn is not especially happy or empowered to be effective at doing Venus things, while Venus in Virgo can take the emotional detachment and the simplification of things a little too far, but in both cases if Venus is seen to make a trine to the Taurus ascendant it can allow a greater expression of positive qualities connected to both the sign and the planet such as a loving and affectionate nature, beautiful skin or appearance, etc.
Faces: Amelia Earhart (pilot pioneer), Percy Bysshe Shelley (poet), Robert Kennedy (politician), Helmut Kohl (politician), Anna Freud (psychologist), Herman Melville (novelist), Ursula K. Le Guin (novelist), Liza Minnelli (performer), Dionne Warwick (singer), George Washington (politician), Joe Pesci (actor), Mia Farrow (actress), Antonio Salieri (composer) and Charles Manson (cult leader).
Embodiment: Impish, cute, wispy, light on their feet and often marvelously dexterous as both dancers and players of instruments as well as within their own minds where they perform spectacular acrobatics and gymnastics on a continual basis. Whereas Taurus rising perceives the persistence of forms as they move through the present moment, Gemini rising perceives their constant change in both status as well as appearance. Hair tends to be of a lighter colour and much finer and straighter than the thick curls of Taurus, but it tends to go ‘frizzy’ and need more management. These people are also extremely smart and intelligent looking, even without glasses. You used to see them running around everywhere with a magazine or a book (or several) in their hand at all times, but now they are more hidden behind the ocean of mobile devices that everyone uses constantly, and the strained eyesight is concealed by contact lenses (and common use of spectacles as collective eyesight is more heavily strained). Nevertheless, if you look closely enough you can sometimes tell who these people are because they are the ones who type texts at speeds faster than the eye can follow, and in many cases they simply can’t ignore the notification bells and whistles. They have to look, because curiosity leads the way in all things. They also move around more frequently than the other people you know who do not have Gemini rising, and are rarely seen sitting completely still and inactive. They are quick to react. Their gait is generally erect with good upright posture but sometimes edgy because they have highly strung nerves and a nervous system which makes them responsive to sudden changes around them, but their movements are often very graceful and balletic or simply fast and precise.
Perhaps of all the rising signs Gemini rising is the one that gets the forever young medal. The childlike energy with which these people engage and interact with the physical world moment by moment can be exhausting for others to keep up with and nerve wracking even for the Gemini rising person. There is little natural rest here. However this continuous activity keeps the body supple and mobile enough that it keeps entropy and decay at bay and so the Gemini rising person is often gifted with a very youthful appearance and state of health. There is a spark or a subtle mischievousness in many of their eyes and an expression of curiosity and wonderment, brightening especially when in contact with something fresh or new. The shape of the face and body is generally slimmer and longer with a straight nose and the hands are often seen to be busy touching, holding or otherwise fondling things, frequently unconsciously. The style of dress is changeable, meaning that they like to have a wardrobe that gives them options. This generally means that Gemini likes all colours at different times but on the whole they tend to prefer brighter and more cheerful shades and tones such as yellow, green and light blues. Flower motifs and delicate ornamentation are common in females and some men. Outfits and clothing express ideas and opinions for Gemini rising, ideas and opinions which are facets of their personality. Slogans and other written forms of communication, particularly those which are jokey or light-hearted, are frequently favoured, especially if the words help to identify the person as belonging to a particular subculture or social agenda.
The Gemini rising aura is restless and hypnotising in the sense that it enchants and sometimes bewilders. It is particularly sensitive to mental and nervous stimulation and becomes more alive and vibrant in conversation than it does when, for example, sitting alone on a park bench. Socialisation and communication are vital to maintaining the integrity of the aura as without it the Gemini rising person feels too isolated and paranoid in life. Reading, learning and sharing knowledge are three of the key ways in which these people can help themselves when they are feeling out of sorts. In nature they are revitalised by the feeling of the wind on their faces, provided it is not a brutal gust but more of a gentle playful breeze. Laughter and party also lift their spirits more than is the norm.
Traits: Communication of intelligence. Communication will become vital in the life, and they will develop a strong desire for knowledge and expression. They need to beware of scattering their energies, and of leaving things incomplete. At the beginning of things they tend to generate lots of good ideas and have difficulty narrowing down their options. There is a need to learn to follow through on instructions rather than improvise on the fly, but the same trait allows them to wittily and cannily respond to the ever-changing flux of events in the present. Gemini rising is rarely caught completely by surprise with its pants down – there is too much investment in networks and information harvesting for them to not have heard rumours of things before they happen, and the ability to debate on the fly is too adaptable. These are the people that you can reliably turn to for the latest on the grapevine. This brings a reputation for being not only talkative but gossipy and this is only partly true for Gemini rising is just as good a listener as a talker (and this is true for Gemini in general). Cooking ideas up and hooking people up are what Gemini rising feels reborn by. It seeks to be a true witness to what occurs so it can be reported to others factually.
They are the seeker on a search for knowledge in any viable form. This means they are continuously asking questions of experience and other people. The endless flow of questions supplied by Gemini rising only birth new questions, for the symbolism of the twin as it applies to the present moment makes clear its power of multiplicity. Each answer is only a doorway to further questions – ultimately, there are no answers for Gemini rising, only an infinite enquiry into the patterns. An absolute answer implies a truth that never changes and an opposite that is absoluely false, a concept which is beyond the grasp of the Gemini rising awareness, for whom fixed solutions are like butterflies made of light – they simply pass through the net. Doubt, insecurity and changeability can become the banes of their existence. The multiplicity of choice can paralyse them if they become too fixated on finding “the right answer”. So the identity must engage and interface with life by asking it questions, but much like the Aries rising person must engage and interface with life by seeking carefully chosen battles, the Gemini rising identity must select carefully chosen questions. Some questions will need to be ignored as either irrelevant or as distractions from the real questions that need answering. The presence of Sagittarius on the 7th temple cusp show that they seek people who help them to focus on broader truths over gathering more facts, to assist with this. Gemini rising tends to magnetise into its life people who provide both adventure and something exotic but also greater context for their information.
The time of year when the Sun moves through the zodiac sign of Gemini is the ideal time of year for these people to begin again or to make a fresh start, especially if that beginning involves studying or communicating something. This period is from late May to late June. Similarly each month when the Moon is in Gemini there is an opportunity for these people to gain fresh perspective, new information and new ideas which enable them to make a more personal fresh start in some way. These periods are also the ideal periods to make changes to appearance because the person will fill more inspired and more satisfied by the changes. A positive mental attitude helps them enormously because they put out so much mental energy into the mental plane. Conversely, their negative thinking can have extreme impacts on their body.
The spiritual and magical dimensions of Gemini rising include its ability to connect with different intelligences and communicate between them, acting as a kind of switchboard for various ideas and their living representatives, people and spirits. In this way Gemini rising provides the doorway for new ideas and fresh thought to enter our awareness. The seeking of patterns in answers to significant questions in order to extract their meaning is the essence of this path and the person with Gemini rising interfaces with all physical experience proceeding with this agenda.
Differences to Sun or Moon sign: In the Gemini ascendant as compared to the Gemini Sun there is a more pronounced tendency for one side of the mind to counter-point what the other side is saying, leading to internal dialogs wherein one part of the identity has different opinions to another part of the identity (and this is not necessarily known to both parts of the identity!), and so a reputation for changeable behaviour or in the most extreme cases unreliability is acquired. The Gemini rising person is also more inclined to think and worry excessively about themselves and what others think about them, much like Libra rising does. On the other hand – 🙂 – Gemini rising makes us less inclined to superficiality than the Gemini Sun, and the focus often gets better when they team up with a partner because the Sagittarius 7th temple input gives them a target that Sun in Gemini is always busy trying to choose (and when Sun in Gemini partners up with someone it often generates a difference of opinion and a further loss of focus as doubt increases with new information and perspective). Moon in Gemini is frequently more nervy and edgy then Gemini rising with greater insecurity over its ideas and intelligence and deeper worry about the inner self rather than what others think of them or how they appear to others (which is what Gemini rising tends to worry about more). However, Moon in Gemini is more innately intelligent than both Sun and ascendant in Gemini because the intellect is in consultation with the instincts. It’s actually easier for Moon in Gemini to sense the correct answer to questions of true significance.
Rulership placing: A strongly placed Mercury will greatly emphasize the intellectual, if not the rational, especially Mercury in its own signs of Gemini or Virgo, but also including Aquarius. Mercury in Aquarius will bring an especially ingenious flare in the intellectual department if Mercury makes a trine to the ascendant. Mercury in Libra is less scientific and intellectual and more focused on personal social interaction while being very keen to be seen as polite and well mannered, especially if that trine contacts the ascendant again. Mercury in Aries adds a boldness and a directness to lines of inquiry and intellectual attack routes, which can be extremely helpful in cutting through the flim-flammery and double-backs of Gemini rising but increase rudeness (like the opposite of Mercury in Libra), yet with the sextile to the ascendant they can often get away with it as being just ‘cheeky’. Mercury in Sagittarius can pit the mind against other people, but this is in reality a projection of an internal conflict, a difference of opinion we have with ourselves. Mercury in a Water sign can help Gemini rising people see the emotional consequences of their decisions on others, something which is often missing unless Water is prominently featured in the chart, but Mercury in Pisces is generally not favorable for this because it often creates too much tension and emotional confusion for the mind.
Faces: George Bernard Shaw (writer), Lady Gaga (performer), Martha Graham (choreographer), William Waldegrave (politician), Francis I of France (called “Father and Restorer of Letters”), Charlie Sheen (actor), Ally Sheedy (actress), Greta Garbo (actress), Michael Stipe (singer and songwriter), Miles Davis (singer and musician), Sam Cooke (singer), Bruce Springsteen (musician, singer), Queen Victoria (monarch) and Orson Welles (filmmaker and actor).
Embodiment: Visibly vulnerable and soft inside yet also well armoured, tenacious and defensive, Cancer rising influences the formation of the physical body and face by making them smaller in stature with heavier breasts in the female (or the top half of the body form is generally larger than the lower), lending a rounded or oval shape to the face with a pale complexion and small eyes which tend to be light blue or grey. There is a gentleness, devotion and a humble affection to the eyes which can remind others of their parents or close family, or a child. There is sometimes also a glint of lunacy in those eyes too or a glimmer of childhood mischief, but this is less impish and naughty than it is in Gemini rising. The voice is soft and delicate and gentle in tone and cadence. The jawbone is often strong in a way that others find attractive. Cancer rising likes creams, blues and greens and resonates with comfortable clothing which emphasises sentimental value over newness or fashion. There can be a homely or patriarchal/matriarchal image and they are less likely to wear make-up or jewelery simply because it is not in their nature to draw attention to themselves.
The aura of Cancer rising is highly retentive of astral and emotional experience and evokes defensiveness, cautiousness, empathy, protectiveness, sensitivity, moodiness, dependency, memory, sympathy, imagination, gentleness, dedication and instinct. It is innately attuned to the lunar rhythms and so can find its vitality fluctuating not just with its own moods but with the moods of others and even the phases of the Moon in the sky, depending upon how sensitive the person is. This is different however to the perpetual flux experienced by Gemini rising because there is a rhythm, a tide which settles layer upon layer of sediment and so leaves a permanent historical record. It is this astral recording of emotional experience gradually building up rhythmically that allows Cancer rising to sense things in the invisible world. Vitality can be regained easily through visiting a shoreline or a large moving body of water, but it can also be gained during the time when the Sun is in the zodiac sign of Cancer or the Moon is in Cancer. These are typically good times for a Cancer rising person to begin something or to make changes to their appearance.
The gait of these people is really indirect and shies away from direct attention. You can sometimes see them shrink in size when the eyes of the room turn upon them. They don’t like to attack things head on and prefer instead to go the roundabout way where there is less attention and probably therefore less resistance. Conservation of energy is an important principle for both Capricorn and Cancer, but for Cancer the focus is on conserving its emotional energy which means reducing tension and minimising stress. So they will rarely walk directly up to you and launch into an attack. They are much more likely to tackle you from the side or behind. This behaviour shows itself in a number of ways in their body language. They rarely face you directly with their body, preferring instead to present an angle of some kind, for example, and they firmly shy away from direct eye contact in sensitive situations or in general.
Traits: Cancer is the Active Water sign, and thus these people interface with the outer world primarily through the realm of the emotions in action. The key approach of Cancer is one of instinctive devotion and protection, the prime virtues of parenting, and it is this that goes out to meet the world. It is not simply that they like caring for others, but more fundamentally that caring for others provides the key for total self-expression, for facing life head on. In some, they instead remain like a child somehow and seek a parent (Capricorn rising) to discipline or care for them. Sometimes this isnt as toxic as it sounds, sometimes there are genuine special needs, biological or astral.
The focus of Cancer rising is on the emotional tides and currents moving through the present moment. It is intuitively able to sense the mood and the atmosphere around it and is equipped admirably to be able to respond to it. Usually the response is to pacify and defuse the situation where there is tension and to reassure and comfort where there is distress. Cancer rising has an innate instinct for nurturing and for detecting what needs nurturing, and often strategises its approach to its identity tactically, selecting modes of behaviour calculated to get what it wants without drawing attention to the acquisition. The crab is sneakier than it first appears. Being strongly guided by instinctive emotional responses their movements can be hard to predict, even by themselves, and they are even harder to explain to others. Yet, however illogically, they work.
Secretly, subtly, the grasp on identity will be influenced by the ebb and flow of the lunar tides, the waxing and waning of the Moon. Each and every living thing on the Earth is affected by these tides (the police and emergency services in many cities are well aware of this and step up their shifts and patrols during the Full Moon for example), but certain patterns make us more sensitized to these shifts and flows of mood. Cancer rising is one of these patterns and so they may find their emotional cycle is strongly connected to the influence of the Moon. The occult explanation for this is that prior to incarnation the soul dwelt for an extended time in the Moon sphere which then enabled its birth. This is what the rising sign symbolises in terms of the incarnation, its ruling planet indicates the sphere in which we astrally accumulated physical presence and so went through physical birth.
The Cancer time of year which lasts from the solstice of June to late July is a cosmically appropriate time for these people to initiate new projects, make changes to their appearance or their body and generally to take stock of who they are. Additionally during each month when the Moon is in Cancer the identity responds to the different amounts of light and dark that the Moon shows in the sky so that when the Moon is dark and in Cancer (which will happen during the month when the Sun is also in Cancer) then the identity goes somewhat dark as it resets itself for an entirely new cycle and takes stock of all the waves that have landed on the shore since the last time there was a Cancer New Moon, about one year ago. However, when the Sun is in Capricorn and the Moon enters Cancer (sometime in late December to late January every year) she will be Full and this time will mark the period when the awareness of the identity brims over the edge of the cup as it were. So there are rhythms and cycles for these people to gradually come to grips with and these cycles are very important for their health and their contentment as people.
Spiritually and magically speaking Cancer rising attunes the physical body to the astral plane and enables it to sense movement and inhabitants therein. It is the best rising sign for gaining intuitive hunches that cannot be explained but which turn out to be accurate. The sensory array that this rising sign has for detecting astral phenomena can be honed to a great degree and produce many psychic and magical abilities.
Difference to Sun or Moon sign: This is a rising sign that tends to the more introverted and private world, more homely and with less ability to act at being happy and content than the Cancer Sun, and with a more directly defensive and brittle protective shell around the personality. Ascendant in Cancer is however often protected by a strong and earthy partner in the form of Capricorn on the 7th temple, something that Sun in Cancer is not innately born with. With Moon in Cancer nostalgia is much higher because the rising sign of Cancer is more focused on the present. Moon in Cancer is also more private, the heart is not worn on the sleeve where others can see it but is concealed deeply within the shell where it remains more mysterious to all concerned.
Rulership placing: If the Moon is powerfully placed and/or Water is prominent or the Moon is in another Water sign (the Moon in Scorpio is in its fall and so is not as favourable as the Moon in Pisces), the sensitivity of these people goes through the roof and they become firmly in need of some kind of psychic protection and boundary placement. More problems than usual arise from having Cancer rising and Moon in Libra or Moon in Aries because both of these signs will square the rising sign and potentially create anxiety and internal conflicts which upset the identity. Moon in Capricorn can also be problematic in that the individual is torn between emotional security and material security and finding a relationship which provides both. Moon in Taurus can bring greater prosperity and also greater satisfaction and contentment in life, factors which stem from an internal sense of contentment, while Moon in Virgo is in synergy with Cancer rising because both of them are signs concerned with the care and welfare of others.
In this case there is an interesting additional point to note which is that the phase of the Moon in the natal chart will also have a bearing on how the Cancer rising expresses itself, because someone born under a New Moon will not be as extroverted as someone with a Full Moon.
Faces: Claude Debussy (composer), Judy Garland (actress), Shelley Winters (actress), Babe Ruth (baseball player), Steven Spielberg (film maker), Oliver Hardy (comedian), Peter Ustinov (actor), Bill Gates (businessman), Albert Einstein (scientist), Fatty Arbuckle (actor), Arnold Schwarzenegger (actor, politician), Gene Roddenberry (TV show maker), Ben Affleck (actor), Salvador Dali (artist), Cher (performer), George Michael (singer), Jane Russell (actress), Julia Roberts (actress), Celine Dion (singer), Meryl Streep (actress), Stephen King (writer) and Madame Blavatsky (occultist).
Embodiment: Characteristic of Leo rising are features like a strong back, a proud, regal or graceful look, a wavy or long mane of hair (often light or flame coloured), a broad strong chest, broad shoulders, fearless almond shaped eyes that frequently colour themselves vivid green, amber brown or blue and sometimes shine or twinkle, a full round or oval face and a robust bone structure. The voice is often strong or commanding. The body is often tall but can develop problems with circulation which lead to weight increase in later life, it is prone to heart problems (often through too much giving of self) and needs heat and sunlight to recharge its batteries and maintain its vital energy. Sick Leo rising people should never be in windowless rooms. Contact with actual gold can greatly help them, especially when infected. Loss of hair is often devastating to the ego and so image of these people. They are more vulnerable to syndromes like SAD (seasonal affective disorder). They look striking in reds, oranges, golds and yellows and both genders often enjoy decorating their bodies with ornaments and jewellery, with fondness for makeup and many hair, skin and nail products. The gait is catlike in many people with this rising sign even if their weight is heavy, the movements light and elegant or graceful and expressive of the development of poise in the universe. Their hands can sometimes pounce like paws onto things and they sometimes have the habit of stroking their skin. Leo rising typically takes great pride in its appearance and can spend a lot of time and money on vanity products and its wardrobe. Dress to impress is the motto that usually guides their choices, but the question is what kind of impression will draw the most favourable attention? Who do you want to impress, and how? For Leo rising the default answer to these queries is ‘myself’, but they can also strategise for the occasion and the audience, which they know how to play at Oscar winning levels.
The Leo aura is scintillating and warming, open and generous but can be scorching and blinding as well as predatory and extremely self-centred. It interacts with its environment in much the same way that our Sun interacts with our earthly environment, by enlivening and animating it into more dramatic expressions of life. So the presence of a Leo rising person in the room can whip things up and make them more exciting and colourful but also more melodramatic. It has an innate instinct for hunting, and so can set its own path through the jungles of life in search of what will sustain it guided by an unfailing sense of its prey. However it is also the comedian of the rising signs and tends to be performing some kind of entertainer role in the present moment as part of its agenda to lighten things up.
Traits: A radiant projection of the self onto the world and an essential demeanor or mask adopted in order to inter-relate with other beings that is warm, often sunny, cuddly (sometimes – probably often – lions are just big pussycats), bold and courageous, majestic, generous, creative, regal, romantic, dignified, self centred and proud. The virtues of this expression are heroism, magnificence, brilliance, radiance, charisma, fame which is used to uplift and motivate positive change, self confidence, bearing and poise, generously giving from the heart, charm, strength and a dominating Will to spiritual power. Its vices or unbalanced expressions are a ravenous hunger for might and strength, arrogance, pride, conceit, envy, bossiness, egotism, stubbornness (especially in admitting failings), bigotry, pushiness, being perversely self centered, tyranny, attention and affection seeking, grandiosity, vanity, the love of power and fame. They may be drawn to forming partnerships with Aquarian types – independent, coolly affectionate individuals with unusual interests, idealists with a knowledge of human nature and progressive views.
This rising sign puts huge amounts of energy out into the environment without really even trying. It gravitates towards positions of leadership but does so honourably and with dignity. Uncouth, coarse behaviour repels them. They have an innate instinct for the qualities of honour in the environment around them and so can often sense when something underhand is going on. To a Leo rising person, life is hard enough without being hard on yourself and so they generally tend to shrug off pessimism, defeat or failure and can sometimes become blind to their own darker nature as a result. Additionally they tend to have problems turning off – like the Sun or a languid lioness after feeding they just sink to rest only to emerge again for a new day full of fire and light. Sometimes this burning creative energy and zest for life burns them out completely and they shut down and often reject company during these times while they recharge their batteries. Usually this comes after a series of humiliating defeats or some particularly hot resentment sets in.
The difficulty for Leo rising people is that they often seek the approval of others over just being themselves. Thus, many seek a spotlight to be seen in, rather than radiate or create an individual Light that shines out into the world of humanity from within them. Don’t seek a spotlight, be one! In essence, every Leo rising sign seeks to express only the light of creations power within its identity, to co-create as a human being with life itself. Essentially then this Leo expression knows in the present moment that it is the very heart of the universe. This knowledge may be conscious or completely unconscious. There is nothing wrong with this assessment, provided the soul is mindful of the equality of all created things, and does not assume that it is The Only Centre, or the only one of importance.
The time when the Sun is in the zodiac sign of Leo every year (late July to late August) and the time of month when the Moon is in Leo are the key times for these people to initiate new beginnings in their lives and make changes to the way they express their identity or their appearance. The time when the Sun is in Leo are particularly important and powerful since the Sun is the ruler of Leo and therefore particularly powerful and commanding when placed there.
Difference to Sun or Moon signs: Leo Sun sign is generally more self-centred than Leo rising and displays more pride and arrogance and need to dominate others. Leo rising is often more concerned with bringing out the best in its Sun sign that it can, and it’s usually more generous as well. However, Leo Sun sign has more energy, willpower, charisma and leadership capability than Leo rising. Leo Moon is more sensitive – easily taking offense and so more given to resentment, but also more creatively sensitive – than Leo rising and Leo Sun, but also more private and introverted. Leo Moon also tends to be more instinctively creative than either Leo rising or Leo Sun, more inclined to be creative for the sake of art and creativity itself than for any fame, attention or prestige it might gather. Matters of personal pride are more priminent in Leo Moon.
Rulership placing: Too much focus on the Sun in the chart overall, especially if the Sun is rising and in Leo as well and not inhibited by Saturn, makes too much emphasis on the solar principle (probably at the expense of whatever the Moon is signifying). The Sun in another Fire sign can make the chart too pushy and bossy or too self-centred and concerned with its own drives and desires, but the energy level of these people will be second to none. If the Sun makes a sextile, conjunction or trine to the ascendant then the self confidence and ease of self expression will be even greater. However, the Sun is not given to operating powerfully and effectively in the sign of Libra (which is one of the two sextiles that the Leo ascendant can make) but the balance is restored somewhat through the fact that the Sun in Aries is exalted and so this combination tends to bring out the nobler and more positive virtues of both Aries and Leo. Sun in Gemini with Leo rising gives a charming gift of the gab, impressive knack for reading an audience or room, immense persuasion talent, natural aptitude for mimicry and sharp, creative wits. There are usually problems in self-expression when the Sun is in Taurus or Scorpio, and stubbornness is increased and usually part of those problems. The placement of the Sun in the temples of the chart will show where the self-expression and identity of the Leo rising person seeks to shine the greatest and brightest.
Faces: Richard Branson (businessman), Maya Angelou (writer, poet), Shirley Conran (writer), Alan Whicker (TV host), Peter Gabriel (musician), Tina Turner (singer), Elton John (musician), Julie Walters (actress), Jack Nicholson (actor), Christopher Reeve (actor), Anne Frank (diarist), Roger Moore (actor), Henri Matisse (artist), Pablo Picasso (artist), and Clive Barker (artist, writer, filmmaker).
Embodiment: Virgo is not a heavy Earth sign, and often gives a physicality which is slender and of average height, with a degree of angularity or straightness to the features, thin lips and under-emphasized but shrewd eyes. Others often feel uncomfortable under a Virgos gaze, as if scrutinized for flaws and analysed for imperfections. Often they are born with dark, brown, or chestnut hair and eyes. Makeup is minimal or absent – our natural beauty is often better to Virgo and so the focus is on hygiene and good nutrition instead of cosmetics. The brow is wide or high, sometimes shiny. The voice tends to become shrill when raised, which is very uncommon. The style of dress and chosen qualities of expression are neat, simple, understated and discreet. They tend to appear as a reserved and cautious personality to others with a critical eye for observation of details, perhaps somewhat fussy or too perfectionist at times, though they are more likely to direct this at themselves. A mercurial dexterity with skills that require the hands or the brain are common.
The Virgo area of the body is most vital and sensitive – this equates to the area between the stomach and the hips and so the functions of assimilation, absorption, selection and utilization of vital energy from food. If poor health is experienced regularly in these areas it will often be a sign of long lasting and difficult to heal afflictions which generally lower the entire healthiness of the body. This is because the treatment lies in restoring the sense of whole self and its relation to the body, something modern medicine is ridiculously ill equipped to do. The single most important thing that Virgo rising can do for its body and overall health is to think in terms of vitality instead of disease, purity instead of flaw – the sign is worrisome, tending to pessimistic analyses, fixated on tiny pains and thus prone to weakening the overall vitality. The essence of Virgo energy is the harvest which is founded upon the practicality and productivity of the Earth Element when it is stimulated by the rapidity and ingenuity of Mercury. In the human body this is analogous to gut reactions (instincts) being stimulated by intellectual rationality. The physical body can be vitalised by connecting with the Virgo principle through harvests, fields, wheat, virgin and maiden archetypes, study and learning, dairies, libraries, accountancy, cleaning and repairing, and all the herbs and plants of Mercury.
Virgo rising body language is restrained and often hard to detect because it manifests in small more precise movements and the emotions are not easily visible. Their appearances are usually tidier and more controlled, providing less information about how they are feeling than is the norm. They tend to subconsciously touch their forehead and the stomach when worried or considering something, which is more often than not because there are all these details to consider, details which the five senses are continuously providing.
There is often an intellectual aura and a skeptical air of intellectual detachment (Gemini is frequently on the midheaven or involved in the 10th temple, bringing about talents with writing, thought, quick witted comedy and communication). Colours (when healthy) are often brown or dark greens or other muted tones suggestive of harvest time. Overall however the emanation of Virgo rising into the environment in the present moment is both humble and helpful, it helps to smooth over problems and is focused on finding solutions through the application of skill and knowledge. It is an acute observer and record keeper, often needing no notebook or writing implements to recall facts and information that are useful to the situations at hand.
Traits: Virgo is earthy and pure, tidy and exact. When it is the rising sign, order, helpfulness, humility, charity and precision are the preferred modes of self-expression and of perceiving events. These people will develop a strong critical nature and a strong need for perfection or at least exactitude and correctness. Other people will appreciate their practical, skilled, knowledgeable and helpful approach to daily problems. Virgo is attuned to the more analytical side of Mercury (planet of thought, communications and mentality), and so they tend to view life in a rather scientific way, analysing it for logical connections, and trying to isolate the processes, equations, chemical reactions and minutiae at work behind the scenes. To the Virgo rising perception quality supersedes quantity, immaculate perfection is the goal, experimentation and practice are the methods and all flaws are best eliminated (and the chances for success logically rise) when all the fine points are scrutinized under a microscope. And best do it one more time, to be completely sure…
Every Virgo rising has a need to keep learning. Some of them focus on intellectual learning and book learning, while others focus on learning a craft/s. There seems to now be a younger generation who are interested in electronics and gadgets as learning tools. In all cases the individual will seek at some point to mentor or pass on their knowledge or skill. So the Virgo rising interaction with the present is about discerning what there is to learn and what the best way to learn it will be, and if there is nothing obvious to learn (it will surely come later) then the focus is on how to be of service and help others in that moment. As a sign it’s not terribly well equipped to deal with emotional matters except as an analyst – talking with Virgo rising can clear your head of confusing emotion and allow you to see clearly the problems you are dealing with, but it has little power to comfort you. This is why it tends to attract Piscean like partners, people who are sensitive to emotional undercurrents.
The Virgo time of year from late August to late September is the appropriate “New Year’s Day” period for these people, a time in which things like affirmations and resolutions for the year ahead are more likely to stick because of psychological and astrological factors. The same is true of the Virgo time of the month, when the Moon is in Virgo. However the Virgo time of the month lasts only a couple of days while the Virgo time of the year last about four weeks, timing which is true for every zodiac sign discussed in these articles. With this more precise information we can understand that there are a couple of days each month when we get an opportunity to close off old cycles and tie up loose ends (when the Moon is entering the 12th temple but not yet near the ascendant), a time when we start to put into play the first components of a new cycle (the Moon enters the same sign as our ascendant sign) and a time when we have the natural cooperation of the universe in putting forward the energy to initiate a new beginning (the Moon passes over the ascendant angle and into the first temple). All of this will take place over about two or three days each month, more or less depending upon the size of our 12th temple, and its highly pertinent information to know when trying to break old habits and start new ones. This doesn’t give us a lot of time to perceive the ending of one astral cycle and the beginning of a new astral cycle or the phases and stages we go through internally as this occurs, however. Our collective astral ignorance means that we frequently dont even notice this monthly pattern, let alone use it effectively. Fortunately, the much longer passage of the Sun through the zodiac sign of about four weeks means that these different phases and stages cannot only be more easily observed but can be worked with practically. Through repeated observation of the Sun moving through these areas of the chart each year we can gradually build our astral awareness of these stages so that they have a clearer definition. The same can occur just from monthly observation and good note taking.
Spiritually and magically speaking the Virgo rising chart is seeking to sift through the physical world experience searching for grains of gold amongst the sand. It is prospecting for useful, practical distillations of experience and engages with life as a school in which it is seeking an education. During initiation the Virgo rising entity often has to go through purifications (physical, astral and mental) in much the same way that a chemical substance has to be purified by having all of its imperfections removed. As Michelangelo said, David was in the statue and all he had to do was remove the parts that were not David, carefully. This is the Virgo path.
Difference to Sun or Moon sign: Seeing imperfections in life and self all the time could be a drag, as it sometimes gets with the Virgo Sun, but the Virgo ascendant is less uptight and is more capable of digesting anxieties, failures and doubts because of its genuine humility – the Virgo ascendant doesn’t dwell as much on these flaws and always knows that no-one is absolutely perfect, but rather than despairing of this state of the world it is receptive to it, seeing it as an opportunity to continually purify and self improve, to learn. This, coupled with its sincere helpfulness, make it less detached and coldly analytical than the Virgo Sun. However, the Virgo Sun has a sharper, livelier intellect and a more focused concentration as well as greater memory for attaining facts and details. Virgo Moon differs from the Virgo ascendant in that it is more concerned with purity and innocence (innocence in the sense of having a virgin experience, unfettered by bias and prejudice and pre-fabricated suppositions and opinions). They are often domestically tidier since Virgo rising often puts messy Aquarius on the 6th temple, whereas the Moon is keyed directly to domestic matters. However Virgo Moon is habitually a worrier far more than Virgo ascendant and tends to experience more problems with the digestion being sensitive.
Rulership placing: Great craftsmanship or knowledge of some form is often present as a gift with which to create helpful tools, or to repair things, or to clarify and analyze with. The placement of Mercury often shows where this inclination will lie. If Mercury is placed in an Air sign it inclines more to the intellectual side while if placed in an Earth sign it leans more heavily towards skill in some kind of craft. Water and Fire signs with Mercury in them often produce more complex but equally useful skills and knowledge. The other Earth signs (Taurus and Capricorn) focus the Virgo ascendant on being much more practical and methodical, but the other Reactive or Mutable signs (Gemini included, but especially Sagittarius and Pisces) are the most problematic placements of Mercury for someone with Virgo rising. These positions of Mercury create conflicts from clashing ideas internally and externally and can greatly increase the nervousness and anxiety present in a Virgo rising chart. Mercury in Cancer specifically helps to stimulate the helpfulness of Virgo rising by lending it greater mental empathy, so that the individual knows what to say and do to be most helpful and has more of an edge in handling emotional problems. Mercury in Scorpio adds enormously to the deductive and perceptive power of the Virgo rising sign and stimulates the mind to ponder deeper mysteries and to yield more profoundly transformative solutions.
Faces: Amadeus Mozart (composer), Woody Allen (film maker), Elvis Costello (singer), Raphael (artist), Charlotte Bronte (author), Peter Sellers (actor), Oprah Winfrey (TV host), Marlene Dietrich (actress), Harold Lloyd (actor), Walt Disney (animator), David Copperfield (stage magician), Yoko Ono (performance artist), Barbara Stanwyck (actress) and Howard Hughes (business magnate).
Next month I will continue with the remaining signs, enjoy your summer, and don’t forget to love each other! 🙂