Rising Signs II

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! This month I give you the second part of my 24,000 words on the ascendant or rising sign. This month I cover Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces rising. Please join in the conversation in the comments for either post and if you would like to help contribute to the contination of this site please visit us at Patreon to make a pledge. 

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LIBRA

Embodiment: This is probably the most likable ascendant, with other people finding Libra rising to be agreeable and pleasant to be around. Traditionally it is suggested that Libra rising confers great beauty to the body and the face and there is some truth in this with the people who possess it having a classic form of beauty that most people recognise. Partly this comes from the rulership by the planet Venus, but Libra is inherently sweet, comely and well composed and this expresses itself in the appearance and embodiment when Libra is rising. It tends towards fair hair and light-coloured eyes, strong bone structure in the face, a healthier and more beautiful quality to the skin, a rounded and cute rather than pointed nose and ears, there are well proportioned lips and the body is often similarly well proportioned and lacking in scars. Dimples and beauty spots are common, as are sweet names like “Venus” and “Love” (the way our name works as an initial impression relates it to the ascendant, yet what is shown is not the name itself but more our relationship to it). Curves and roundedness can also show themselves in the buttocks, belly and hips, with Libra rising being fond of indulging in sweet vices like sugary treats. The gait or bodily movement of Libra rising is graceful and holds itself with poise and dignity (like its sextile partner Leo) and is often upright and erect (like its other sextile partner Sagittarius). These people do not hurry or act clumsily very often, since they are quite sensitive to being seen in these flustered states and are generally calm and collected, highly composed individuals.

Tired, old worn out clothing with holes and messy stains or loose threads are rarely kept for very long by this rising sign unless it has a strong sentimental attachment. Damage to the face or appearance can have extreme psychological impact upon their identity. More than any other sign I think Libra rising has an innate sense of style which is part of its endearment and identity, and so it often has an extensive wardrobe and impeccable taste. Libra rising dresses to please without being coarse or exhibitionist, how it presents itself is extremely important in its efforts to interact with other people personally and it also possesses an innate ability in flirtation, so it’s outfit is a carefully constructed balance between attracting attention and maintaining dignity. You will very rarely see these people as they appear first thing in the morning, with an un-brushed hairdo and no makeup. If you do it is a sign of extreme trust, probably love. Jewellery is often evident, especially earrings (which come in pairs like the scales) but it is always to accentuate or provide balance to the choice of clothing, never to completely distract attention from it.

The colours that Libra rising resonates with are often strongly influenced by whatever sign natal Venus is in but in general they are subtle and not excessive in hue, like pastels, they are soft and pale in nature like peach, lavender, pink, cream or pale blues and greens. Small, sparkling things are adored. The aura also follows suit with Libra rising sparkling but expressing itself subtly and gently and seeking to equilibrate and balance itself with its surroundings by taking upon itself some of that colouring and flavour. Thus it will behave and appear very differently at a rave party than it does in the supermarket or at the office. Frequently it can be perceived to have a connecting tether or bond to a nearby partners aura, alongside which it shifts like a reflective mirror. This is why breaking up is very hard for them. 

Traits: The demeanor or outer form of the identity, the interaction with the present moment, is undertaken in the guise of a peacemaker and diplomat, a negotiator, co-operator and truce caller, with traits others label as creative, attractive, handsome/beautiful, artistic, aesthetic, calm, charming, civil, polite, tactful, graceful, inoffensive, gifted with finesse, equal-handed, moderate, fair, unbiased, temperate, pleasant, kind, considerate, receptive and gentle. Libra rising can also strike people as aloof (like all Air signs) as well as terminally indecisive, fence-sitting, co-dependent, judgmental (a thing is good or bad according to how it weighs up on the scales), inconstant, flirtatious, easy to flatter, lazy, de-motivated, cowardly, spineless, polarizing, vain, overly analytical, indirect, superficially harmonious, ambiguous, gullible, false, adept at persuading other people to do and give whatever it wants, morally shallow, easily distracted, in denial and in the way of closure, resentful and overindulgent in the things that sweeten life. Yet it must always be remembered that the ascendant is only a superficial representation of identity which we use to safely interact with the world, it does not necessarily display any deep character traits. Scratch the surface of the rising sign and the sign of its planetary ruler bleeds through first, followed by its Sun sign and Moon sign. These deeper traits can be completely at odds with the rising sign. People are strange, as they say. This is important information for Libra rising, as it often ‘hovers’ over the superficial layers of things and so misses the deeper motivations of the people it naturally has to partner with.

Libra maintains composure in us. Wherever it falls in a chart there is a greater spirit of compromise, tact, poise, serenity and equanimity, but the problems arise from taking too Airy an attitude and not paying enough heed to the whispering song of Venus in the wind – the feelings. In the case of a rising sign this colours life and identity generally and connects these issues to the condition of the body and its health. This is why Libra rising feels sick when there is little peace and tranquility to be found, when things are in turmoil and people are arguing. It needs to learn when and how to quit the scene and wander away to a quiet spot instead of lingering to try to smooth things over. In that quiet place the feelings can return to calm and then the Libra rising people can return to negotiate a truce. If this is not practiced during extended periods of conflict the physical body eventually grows weak and unwell. Libra rising can also recharge its batteries in places where the wind is light and breezy, at bridges over water, in art museums and theatres and other Libra themed locations.

Under this rising sign one to one relationships become a direct experience (Aries on 7th) through which we will make adjustments to our identity, which will naturally seek to tactfully adapt itself to a complementary and harmonious position with respect to another person. Libra rising become aware of who it is through the interaction it experiences with other people, who tend to directly reflect their own identity back to them and clarify or alter it in the process. Gently, like a soft breeze, the identify shifts its point of reference from one person to another, which leads to a sense that nobody really knows the Libra rising person for who they are, because they don’t themselves. Granted this is partly human nature, with each of us taking on various roles for different people, but in Libra ascendant charts the theme is being written large and characterised so that human nature can actually perceive it. Who they are can become a creative and artistic process determined by the person they are presently with. Libra rising turns life into art, which is different to a performance (Leo rising).

The Libra time of year (late September to late October) becomes a period in which new beginnings can be launched with the Suns support, especially during the New Moon of this month. This can be an especially important time of year for these people to change their appearance or take stock of the status of their relationships and how they are affecting their health and identity. This can be an important part of the year for maintaining their equilibrium, magical or otherwise, for during these times the magic of the Libran spirit can light them up, illuminating how to live in harmony with other beings. Truth – that most delicate but permanent of things – flutters its wings in their hearts, and so the acuity of judgment is heightened. Like the master of balancing it is, Libra rising can navigate through almost any personal or karmic entanglement this way.

Difference to Sun or Moon sign: Libra rising is less indecisive and troubled by its choices than Libra Sun, but has less of a fix on its identity when apart from others and is not as inclined to be truthful. Libra Moon is more artistic and sensitive to what people feel, but not as composed or calm as Libra rising. Libra rising can also mitigate its own indecisiveness through tactical partnering with an Aries type of person, whereas Sun and Moon in Libra do not necessarily have that option.

Rulership placing: The placement of Venus in the chart creates an emotional relationship between two groups of things – the matters of the temple and sign of Venus and our ability to express our identity, health and appearance (1st temple). Venus in Aries often attracts devils advocates and partners who we can spar or debate with, either at work or in more intimate relationships. Venus in Cancer and Capricorn creates emotional complications for the identity which are connected to showing the feelings too much or too little, though Venus in Cancer (too much feeling) generally gets it easier because of exaltation of the chart ruler. Venus in Leo and Sagittarius both bring a more extroverted and outgoing creative (flirtatious) expression of Libra rising while Gemini and Aquarius lead it into ideologies and social interaction.

Faces: Richard Chamberlain (actor), Camille Paglia (writer), Noel Coward (playwright), Antonin Artaud (playwright, director), Olivia Newton John (singer), Catherine Deneuve (actress), James Spader (actor), Bill Clinton (president), Cary Grant (actor), Venus Williams (Tennis player), David Bowie (musician, and look close into the eyes, at the colours), David Icke (author, speaker), Harrison Ford (actor), Denzel Washington (actor), James Garner (actor), Nancy Reagan (First Lady), Leonardo DiCaprio (actor), Robert Redford (actor), Richard Chamberlain (actor), Warren Beatty (actor), Tom Welling (actor), Sidney Poitier (actor), Rock Hudson (actor) and Ted Danson (actor).

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SCORPIO

Embodiment: Scorpio rising confers an appearance that is a complex blend of dark mystery, intensity, threat or danger, and sexiness. The hair and/or eyes are usually dark with the hair sometimes having natural red highlights under sunlight. The eyes and/or voice are typically penetrating and intense and can be uncomfortable or withering for others (see Clint Eastwood in ‘Dirty Harry’ delivering the line “Go ahead, make my day”). The nose is often prominent, tending to be longer, sharper and more hooked like an eagles beak. Unless other factors dominate the face is usually gaunt with high cheekbones, helping to accentuate the eyes as conveyors of feeling. In men the beard is thick and concealing when grown in and there is more body hair. The eyebrows in both genders are strong and also thick. The body language of this ascendant is carefully monitored for signals that it does not want to give away and so the person is often reserved and silent, clinging to shadows and background. For this reason sunglasses, longer hair, hats, caps and hoods are popular choices. Tattoos seem to also be popular, especially in some of the more private and hidden areas of the body. In terms of its gait or bodily movement it is generally more cautious and conserving of energy. Scorpio rising is sexual and sensual, or expressing something emotional that impacts other people, often with the Scorpio rising person being unaware of the intensity of this phenomena. The things these people wear tend to have a deep hidden meaning to them, including items like jewellery and make up.

The aura is likewise unusually intense and emotionally charged although again the Scorpio rising person is often largely or somewhat unaware of the effect it has. The presence of these people arouses strong and deep emotional responses in others without anyone being aware of the source. When they set themselves firmly to a given course they can be frightening, ruthless even, and this is sensed and causes mysterious commotions. This rising sign attracts emotional complication in many ways. Similar to Aries rising it thrives on crisis situations and really shines when placed in the middle of an emergency. It tends to appear stronger in black and/or red but is also drawn to purples (see Prince). The wardrobe is often designed with the philosophy of dressing to strongly impress and will convey both power and sexuality.

Traits: Scorpio is an occult sign keen on penetrating The Mystery, and thus it is often the case that Scorpio rising will lead to an interest in the occult, in detection and mysteries in general and the hidden motives of others. As a rising sign it is seen by others in its worst light as suspicious, violent, cruel, sharp tongued, jealous, lustful, manipulative, vengeful and proud, but it is also perceived as being obviously insightful, deep, passionate, loyal, persistent, magical, intense, sexually magnetic, strong willed and mysteriously powerful in countenance. Life through Scorpio rising is viewed as a battle in which triumph and defeat often feature, a life or death struggle to overcome some force of darkness and unleash hidden reserves of power felt stirring deep within.

Life then is viewed as a battle for survival in which triumph and defeat often feature as absolutes and the will to power is often perceived as the key to mastery. Intensity, secrecy and passion are the key modes of the identity in action and expression. These people become resourceful and insightful due to their dramatic experiences. They see or sense hidden forces at work in every moment but may not be able to name or understand them. They project focused energy and willpower and are inclined to be interested in dangerous or taboo activities. Those who question their loyalty or integrity or hurt their feelings are generally warned once and then stung as soon as they repeat the offense. Occasionally when existence is really threatened the tail will strike randomly or at everyone. Once set on a course it is almost impossible to stand in the way of this sign or dissuade it from its path – indeed it can be dangerous to do so. The turbulent emotional vortex within Scorpio is of necessity tightly controlled, but once unleashed it can know no half measures. Do it or die trying is a Scorpio rising truism.

Many of the disruptions to the health and vitality of the body will be of a Mars nature which include abrasions, cuts, painful blockages, inflammations, ruptures and ulcers, and thus there should be plenty of clean fresh water taken in and the emotions must be kept crystal clear and gently flowing to build the vitality. This rising sign also warns about the possible danger of bites, stings and other poisonous attacks so any potential encounters with venomous or poisonous creatures of any kind should be considered extra carefully.

This rising sign is retentive both in terms of its emotional memory and its motivations and secrets. The emotional retention can manifest as holding grudges and seeking vengeance or as a clear memory of past events because they have been recorded in the emotional body. Scorpio rising is as secretive with true feelings as it can be, so it is not often understood by others just what deep and intense emotions often lie below the surface of the cool, in control, Scorpio exterior – except perhaps to another person tuned into Scorpio. There is more than enough complexity in life for them, so they are magnetically attracted to simpler, more down to earth people (Taurus on 7th). Loyalty will be a cornerstone of any lasting relationship, with Scorpio rising knowing what and who it would lay its own life down for, and being truly ready to do it if ever necessary. A lot of Scorpio rising may actually stem from a traumatic birth experience. 

The Scorpio rising person draws vital renewing energy from the presence of deep and oceanic forces such as caves and seas, wells, fountains, geysers, waterfalls, deep voids of outer space and other places where the force of water can be seen and felt to intensely purge or flense away, or from any experience which feeds the passions and intensity of the emotional self. When ill or lacking in vital energy it could visit or meditate on connecting with these places and enjoying the spirit of them. During the Scorpio time of year (from late October to late November) they can experience profound transformations which set them on a new course in life, often as a result of coming into contact with deep feelings that have remained hidden or obscure, or an occult or deeply private experience. The Scorpio Moon time of month increases this potential during the Scorpio time of year, but at other times tends to lead to a deep withdrawal from life so that inner reflection can take place leading to a fresh start of some kind.

The essential drive of Scorpio rising is to move through the present moment discovering what makes you different from other people with a sharks unerring sense for blood, seeking what your distinction is and how you can more intensely express this individuality with feeling, a process which is like an unshackling, a release from bondage. Scorpio rising should learn to focus in the present on observing what it is feeling on as deep a level as it can penetrate to and then seek to bring this individual feeling up and out into the world where it can be profoundly insightful, transformative and empowering. It is about training yourself to dwell on the deeper implications of what is happening around you now and diving within to return to the surface world the sunken treasure that is revealed. Ultimately, it seeks to strip the mystery of life experience and identity completely naked, both for itself and others.

Difference to Sun or Moon sign: Scorpio Sun has more willpower and focus and its identity is more deeply and securely rooted, resulting in greater magnetism. However Scorpio rising is less obsessive and power hungry and better at hiding itself or masking its inner nature. Scorpio Moon attracts more suspicion and projection of others darkness while being more insightful and mysterious than Scorpio rising, while Scorpio rising is more emotionally at ease with itself, less secretive and manipulative and more inclined to show its sexuality and deeper feelings to the world.

Rulership placing: The placement of Mars and potentially Pluto can modify all of the above. The positioning of Mars in signs and houses will show where the Scorpio rising person has the greatest drive and channels most of their willpower, while Pluto will reveal more of where they encounter transformation and occult mystery. Mars in Aries will make for a very strong willed person who is more direct and blunt, possibly rude, and is drawn to stressful encounters. Mars in Scorpio, especially when placed near the ascendant or in the 1st temple, increases the libido and everything sexual about the sign (especially for those who identify with the masculine gender) but also heightens the desire for power, control and occult activity. Mars in either Leo or Aquarius also increases the combative nature, especially if the birth is during the day and Mars is in Leo above the horizon. Mars in Cancer or Pisces helps to soften the penetrating power by introducing greater empathy but Mars in Cancer has trouble expressing itself. Mars in either Virgo or Capricorn, with Capricorn being the better placement, produce the easiest expression of Scorpio rising because they temper the emotional intensity with either logic or long-term planning. Mars in Taurus however tends to create stubborn, slow burning combative situations in the workplace or in personal relationships, mostly as a means to hone willpower and endurance.

Concerning the placement of Pluto in the chart this planet is very slow moving and so it will be in the same sign for several years and so be in the same sign for tens or hundreds of millions of people born with Scorpio rising at a time. This also means that it will be in the same temples, with a variation of only two or three possibilities depending upon the house system being used. I will say more on this in the section on Capricorn rising. For now it’s only important to point out that some people with Scorpio rising will identify more with Pluto than with Mars, but among those people there will be much less major variation in the expression of the basic ascendant qualities.

Faces: Marcel Duchamp (artist), Henri Toulouse-Lautrec (artist), Eva Braun (wife of Hitler), Mata Hari (spy), Christian Dior (designer), Gianni Versace (designer), Gore Vidal (author), Michel Foucault (philosopher), George Eliot (author), Victor Hugo (writer), Graham Greene (author), Hermann Goering (politician, Nazi), Aretha Franklin (singer), Diana Ross (singer), Prince (performer, musician), Edith Piaf (performer), Sigmund Freud (psychologist), Clint Eastwood (actor, politician), Humphry Davy (chemist), River Phoenix (actor), Louis Braille (inventor) and Margaret Thatcher (politician).

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SAGITTARIUS

Embodiment: Bodily the sign Sagittarius rising tends to make us taller and thinner with longer legs and arms, it forms a narrower and longer face shape (especially around the nose, chin and cheeks) with a twinkle in the eyes that shows enthusiasm and sense of humour. There is also a rounder, more jolly form that it can take, but it seems less common. The forehead is higher than is the norm. The hair colouring often has tinges of orange or red whether it is dark or light and the eyelashes are often large and curled, as with Taurus rising. The body is often lithe and athletic but if too much indulgence is allowed it quickly gains weight which the rising sign lacks the proper discipline to shift. Many of the women like to colour their nails, both on their hands and on their feet. Complexion and skin tone can be tanned, flushed or rosy cheeked. Body language can be pushy and restless – this is an armed centaur, you do not stand directly in its path – but is generally broad and expansive and conveys positivity and exuberance. This rising sign often has no qualms about showing off lots of flesh. The sign is not typically shy of semi or full nudity and the more adventurous centaur also often loves to do things that show off its legs and thighs.

The wardrobe is similarly adventurous and positive. Sagittarius can often add spice to its appearance with something exotic or of a foreign culture, such as Indian jewellery for a New Yorker or day-glo trainers on the feet of an Imam. In fact the entire style of dress may evoke either a gypsy or traveler look or something from another country and culture. Religious or spiritual symbols of faith are often present in the appearance. Another possibility is an athletic look, with great attention being given to muscular definition and tone. The colours of Sagittarius are vivid and bright, they energise and warm the eye, and there is a special affinity for dramatic and colourful use of red, orange, yellow, blue and purple.

The aura of these people is likewise exuberant and can stimulate a comfortable sense of inhabiting the body and being present in the moment, moving with it, a sense that can make us “glow with health” to observers and which can also impact our environment by warming it up and injecting it with expansive aims and idealism. There is a strong quality of faith and aspiration driving the radiation of our energies which gives them momentum and power. Additionally there is a strong resonance with honesty and truthfulness which others can sense almost immediately. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the person themselves will be honest and truthful, it just means that they strike other people that way on first impression. However, it does mean that a lack of honesty and truthfulness will result in poor health for the Sagittarius rising person because these qualities are things which it needs.

Traits: Sagittarius rising strikes other people as being inspiring, funny, gregarious, adventurous, forthright, earnest, optimistic, generous, uplifting, motivating, bold in spirit and outgoing or outdoorsy. When it rubs people the wrong way they describe it as tactless, blunt, promiscuous, inconstant, unreliable, flaky, idealistic, rootless, insensitive, feckless, a reckless gambler and greedy.

The Sagittarius rising person tends to be distracted from living in the now by the beckoning horizon of the future. They can fixate on a future destination and become restless in their desire to be on the way there. When events stimulate this, such as when a new direction in life becomes apparent, the Sagittarius influence can become very restless and lose its focus on the immediate needs of the moment. Idealism can cloud clear judgment as the archer becomes fixated on the target and loses sight of the arrow. For example, in creating a work of art, an emphasis on the outcome – the reaction of the perceiver or the form of the end result – can interfere with the art of making art itself. The refocusing of attention on the moment – on the act of creation – brings back all this emphasis on the outcome as intuitive and psychic guidance in the creative process. The centaur wanders far and wide and reaches its destination by generally moving in a straight line towards it at great speed, but must learn that it is the journey and not the destination that counts.

However the destination is also important, or at least a destination. At some point the archer has to focus their vision upon something and aim for it to the exclusion of other targets. Sagittarius rising generally means that this situation revolves around the question of identity, so that the Sagittarius rising person is on some kind of quest in life to discover who they are or at least expresses that aspiration in some way. Until that time they generally tend to shift their identity both to themselves and others in a restless way that can be difficult to keep up with. They become quite unsettled by the fact that there seems to be no perpetual truth to their identity, nothing they can claim as their own, and so they set off over the horizon of the world seeking it. These twin areas of identity and truth are almost magically entwined for Sagittarius rising, and resolving one typically resolves the other at the same time. For this reason, they often attach their identities to universal models of meaning like religions or philosophies, but only once they have found a model that can stretch and adapt with their flexible quest for truth and inspiration. When the model of reality adopted ceases to do so the identity is threatened and has to change, which often means setting off on the literal and/or metaphorical road again to seek a new and better vision of the world. Sagittarius rising can go through entire lifestyles like other people go through wardrobes.

The task for Sagittarius rising is to learn how to realistically project the aspirations and need to identify truth as parts of the conscious identify and as traits that others can recognise and identify us with. These people probably need to learn some difficult lessons in life about what is achievable and pragmatic in relation to what they believe and they need to move away from generalities to more concrete and workable specifics. Despite its humorous and often comical attitude to life there is a deep sensitivity and compassion to this rising sign, and there are some matters it takes extremely seriously. Foremost among these is being true to oneself, but equally important is some kind of moral compass which points in the general direction of truth in each and every present moment that passes. Sagittarius is very much concerned with right behaviour and so when it rises the identity is constructed around ethics and morals.

The Sagittarius time of year (late November to late December) is the optimal time for these people to initiate new beginnings, take stock of the path they are on and what it means, or to make resolutions to change patterns in their lives. During these times they can have strong hunches and intuitions about truths relating to the things they are pursuing. The time in which the Moon is in Sagittarius every month but especially in the Sagittarius time of year is also the time for them to reflect inwardly on the nature of their identity and the course they are on and how the two are related together.

Difference to Sun or Moon sign: Sagittarius Sun is more committed to truth and to staying focused on its targets while Sagittarius rising is more active, swift and mobile, and often more travelled. Sagittarius Moon is more humorous and light-hearted in its approach to life while being comparatively less adventurous and exuberant than Sagittarius rising. Sagittarius rising is also more inquisitive of what others think and is more flexible in general than both Sagittarius Sun and Moon while being more direct and to the point.

Rulership placing: Placement of Jupiter in the chart will strongly modify expression of the Sagittarius rising qualities mentioned above, including the physical appearance. Jupiter in Sagittarius with Sagittarius rising possesses enormous energy and positivity but runs the risk of being unable to accept failure or disappointment in itself. It will deny failure even when it is obvious to see, like a pollyanna. Jupiter in one of the other two Fire signs (Aries and Leo) brings enormous self-confidence and the ability to attract good fortune by navigating to the place where fortune lands ahead of everyone else. However this combination lacks humility and inflates the ego. Jupiter in either Virgo or Pisces leads to overindulgence in something and a need to curb exaggeration but can also bring both logic and empathy to the philosophical side of Sagittarius, with Jupiter in Pisces being especially strong at stimulating compassion. Jupiter in Gemini often creates a “gasbag”, a person who can’t stop talking about numerous things and it also increases the overall restlessness of Sagittarius rising to the point where it becomes a chronic problem, especially in relationships or the workplace (depending upon whether Jupiter is in the 6th or the 7th temple). However the enormous curiosity and inquisitiveness of this combination often unlocks many doors. Jupiter in either Libra or Aquarius can cool things off so that the Sagittarius rising person can act In a more detached way, and both signs increase the sociable qualities and imply a more flirtatious expression of the ascendant.

Faces: Michelangelo (artist), Freddy Mercury (singer), Jimi Hendrix (musician), Princess Diana (royal), Tom Waits (musician), Ted Turner (businessman), Leonardo de Vinci (artist), Samuel Adams (politician), Hans Christian Anderson (storyteller), Isambard Kingdom Brunel (engineer), Cheiro (William John Warner, occultist), Sylvester Stallone (actor), Coco Chanel (designer), Eleanor Roosevelt (first lady), Don Ameche (actor), Marlon Brando (actor), Shirley Temple Black (actress, singer, dancer) James Dean (actor), Brigitte Bardot (actress, animal-rights activist), Elvis Presley (musician), Bob Dylan (musician), Danny DeVito (actor), Jodie Foster (actress) and Nicholas Cage (actor).

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CAPRICORN

Embodiment: Capricorn rising gives more pale or gaunt features, a more defined bone structure and an air of maturity. It tends to be sluggish and the paleness and cold of the body increases, but the preservative power of this sign keeps skin young and hair colour looking strong way beyond the usual expiry dates. The eyes of Capricorn rising are typically shrewd, dark and not bright in colour, they remain distant or unmoved and display little of any emotion that is felt, and they often have more prominent eyebrows. The light of humour in the eyes is wise, cynical and astute. The hair is typically dark and curly or wavy rather than straight but also sometimes lanky and a bit lifeless. The chin tends to be narrow, the cheekbones strong and the body as a whole and especially the face can appear to be those of someone who is older or more mature, especially when the person is young, and then the slower aging mentioned above makes them seem younger than they truly are as time goes by. There is a hint of wizened, dry Saturnine humour in this making fun of our perception of time.

If they are thin and bony these people can appear fragile but don’t mistake their lack of physical muscles for lack of stamina, these people can be surprisingly tough and able to rough it up. This is one of the most enduring rising signs, a true survivor, and there is an extremely powerful but understated sex appeal that comes with it. The body language will be conservative and disciplined, often polite and managerial and the expression will rarely waver from sobriety and seriousness. They do not like to be rushed and so their gait is slow and measured, their dancing and expression through movement carefully managed. They feel more powerful when dressed in uniform or in some kind of attire that clearly defines their role and authority and are one of the rising signs that like to dress up in suits and ties and more formal attire. Earthy browns, black and muted understated colours and patterns are usually their preferred kind of clothing, and if jewellery or other adornments are worn they are kept to a minimum of one or two impressive items like a watch or an elegant brooch. Less is more in the eyes of Capricorn rising, both in terms of more impact and more saved away for later.

The aura of Capricorn rising is less radiant and more conservative of its energies than is the norm and additionally less reactive with respect to the environment – it is inherently more stable as a structure. It reaches out to people in a supportive way offering stability to chaotic situations and impresses people with its responsibility, sense of duty, ability to direct from a position of authority and its discipline. The initial impression it makes is one of dependability and predictability, a lack of emotional conflict and a strong streak of ambition, but with melancholy and a heavy kind of seriousness.

Traits: Strict, disciplined, ambitious and austere do not sound like pleasant qualities but in the right situation it can be just what you need and Capricorn rising has them at hand the moment they are called for. On its more positive side it strikes people as reliable, competent at managerial tasks, down-to-earth, resourceful, practical, sober, sensible, self-sufficient and wise, but in its negative light it is seen as being mean, uncaring, unemotional, authoritarian, a killjoy, boringly conventional and uninteresting.

Capricorn rising is the hiker of rising signs, intent on going places which provide a panoramic view and brimming with plans and preparedness. More than any other rising sign Capricorn rising is aware of the consequences of what happens in the present moment and so can perceive mistakes before they are made. The metabolism of the body is usually quite slow which can manifest in weight gain, depression, chronic fatigue, dry skin and brittle nails, sugar cravings and constipation. If these conditions are present the Capricorn rising person can help to remedy them by becoming more active so that they burn more calories. The sluggishness of the body can also result in blockages and conditions like arthritis. Capricorn is always a sign that labours under a lot of burdens and Capricorn rising seems to embody this either to increase discipline or to slow the body down. When in need Capricorn rising can replensish vital energy from being nearby to mountains or extremely big and ancient rocks or trees, or by spending time with the elderly, listening to their stories and supporting them. 

While commonly being seen as overly serious and completely lacking in humour, a sense of humour is of course there. It tends to be cynical, dry, ironic and pessimistic and also to possess a kind of wry wisdom. Fear, which most people take to be an unwelcome guest, is instead taken by Capricorn rising to be a survival guide up the rugged, rocky path of life. The direction of Capricorn rising is always orientated upwards, its focus is on whatever ladder or stairway they need to climb in order to fulfill the next stage of the master plan. In this, fear is a great instructor for Capricorn rising, it enhances caution and strategy rather than acting as a short circuit because Capricorn rising does not actually feel the fear (at least not deeply), it simply sees the reasons to be afraid and acknowledges them. To do otherwise is madness, like being a mountain climber and not recognizing the reality of chasms, avalanches, running out of supplies, exposure, hypoxaemia or unreliable company.

While it seems to be an imposing and seemingly impenetrable fortress of solitude housing a kind of superbeing who never shows vulnerability, Capricorn rising has a soft spot. Regardless of whether or not the chart provides Water Element planets Capricorn rising will always have Cancer on the 7th temple, meaning there is an empathic connection to other people, in particular to those they have close partnerships with, whether business or romance. This is a rising sign that actually needs to take care of somebody like Cancer rising, it’s just that this need is perceived as a vulnerability and is kept closely guarded, or in more extreme cases it is denied entirely and becomes projected onto other people (in which case it complicates relationships with the parent-child interpersonal dynamic). Partnership for Capricorn rising people is an important component of life because it allows them to open up emotionally without the fear of this vulnerability, so they are highly selective about their mates and very protective of them once they have them. Mating rituals of any kind are also a thing of dread for Capricorn rising, it is not the kind of ascendant that is good at chatting people up, making small talk and flirtatiously commenting upon their appearance. It’s a little awkward and shy in social situations that require less formal interactions.

The Capricorn time of year (from late December to late January) is the optimal time of year for these people to re-organise their schedules and plan ahead for the next year, setting targets and goals. They should use these times of the year to take stock of their progress up whatever particular mountain they are scaling and perhaps rethink their route or their objective entirely. During the time of month when the Moon is in Capricorn it can feel unusually heavy and serious for these people and they can come to realise important things or take on new responsibilities, but all of this helps them to feel more secure and more in control because they both thrive on the heavy and serious situations in life and do not have the usual problems with accepting responsibility.

In general the astra-mental quality of Capricorn rising means we become more grounded when our attention of awareness is trained to remain focused on the present moment. By training the awareness not to wander from what is happening in the present they find the touchstone they need to deal with any problems and numerous other benefits including a more robust and enduring physical body, the perception of the timeless wisdom arising from many lifetimes of experience and greater ability to change the course of their own life. Cultivation of the fruit produced by continued work through long periods of time and the patience to wait for results are magical keys which empower the identity for Capricorn rising.

Difference to Sun or Moon sign: Capricorn Sun is more patient and disciplined in general but has less consideration for the feelings and emotions of others. Capricorn ascendant is comparatively more secure and self sufficient than Moon in Capricorn is but it doesn’t have as canny or cunning a business instinct as the Moon does. Overall Capricorn rising is also less shy, conservative and reserved than either of the Lights in Capricorn are because the caution and skepticism is merely a veneer that acts more as a safety mechanism, boundary or armour for the identity.

Rulership placing: When we get to the slower moving planets like Saturn and Jupiter we see larger groups of people being born with rising signs that have the ruler of the rising sign in the same sign as everybody else who is busy being born. So for example with Capricorn rising the fact that Saturn takes about 2 1/2 years to go through a single sign of the zodiac means that for those two years whenever Capricorn rises Saturn will be placed in the same sign. The same fact also means that Saturn has a very high chance of being in the same temple as well. If two people with Capricorn rising are born very close in time together, then they can even share the same aspects of Saturn. All of this creates less variation in the expression of the Capricorn ascendant between individuals of a particular span of time. For this reason if you have Capricorn rising and find someone who is born in the same year as you then you can be pretty certain that you will have met some kind of a match in terms of how you express yourselves and view the world. In typical Saturn style, Capricorn rising expresses a unique kind of solidarity among its peoples. It’s like together they form a kind of private club where the nature of the membership changes every two and a half years. 

Saturn in Capricorn with Capricorn rising is one of the more austere and frugal of possible combinations. These individuals have enormous self-discipline, to the point where it becomes a flaw in many cases since they cannot break any of the rules that they hold themselves and others to. Saturn in either of the other two Earth signs (Taurus or Virgo) means the person is much easier on themselves but is still very stoic and straightforward and in possession of significant resources (not just things, but also qualities) which they use sparingly and usually wisely. Saturn in either Aries or Libra very often creates inhibitions which affect self-confidence and/or relationships. Saturn in Aries is more troubled than Saturn in Libra because of the fall/exaltation of Saturn in those signs. Pressure and stress can be big problems for a Capricorn rising/Saturn in Aries person. Saturn in either Scorpio or Pisces makes Capricorn rising less cold and callous, but with Saturn in Scorpio the sensitivity and compassion will be hidden behind a walled fortress of defences while with Saturn in Pisces the individual will be protected by evasive maneuvers. Saturn in Cancer is somewhat troubled by life and depressive and prone to fearing far too much but has the most impressive array of evasive tactics, defences and shielding.

Faces: Mary I of England (monarch), Charles Darwin (scientist), Rupert Murdoch (businessmen), Auguste Rodin (sculptor), Susan Sarandon (actress), Lucille Ball (actress), Tom Jones (singer), Paul Newman (actor), Sophia Loren (actress), Liberace (performer and for about 20 years the highest-paid entertainer in the world), Dustin Hoffman (actor), Tennessee Williams (writer), Queen Elizabeth II (monarch), Buddy Holly (musician), Carrie Fisher (actress), Clark Gable (actor), Yehudi Menuhin (musician), Malcolm X (activist), Enoch Powell (politician), Francis Ford Coppola (filmmaker), Christiaan Huygens (scientist) and Sean Connery (actor).

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AQUARIUS

Embodiment: Aquarius rising bring lighter coloured eyes and hair with a look that is typically sharply observant, clear, intelligent and awake. The eyes are often an icy blue, light hazel or steely. However, hair colour is often dyed unnatural colours like pink, blue, purple or violet, and they also have the capability to change their eye colours today with different contact lenses. Aquarius rising is exactly the kind of rising sign that would have multiple coloured contact lenses and hair dyes for different expressions of their identity – it’s a rising sign in love with experimentation, cosplay and variety. As with Capricorn rising there is a Saturn quality to the appearance which brings angularity and a somewhat serious manner of expression, but unlike with Capricorn rising Aquarius rising has an appreciation for the absurd and ridiculous and so overall the facial expressions are less stern and more airy and light. The stature is often short or compact but well formed and the face has a friendly, clever or open look to it. This rising sign tends to fidget a lot and its body language can be nervous, confusing or abstract, it’s gestures a little arcane or just weird. Spectacles are often an important part of the wardrobe and can easily become fashion accessories more than they are visual aids.

Aquarius rising dresses to shock or to express its own identity freely and independently, it is averse to dressing like anybody else and strives never to be a clone. It may also place jewellery around its ankles or in other unusual places or choose novelty, unconventional items as adornment (for example bin liners, safety pins through the nose, bumless trousers and bow ties that spray water). Slogans and pop culture references on shirts are sometimes favored. It doesn’t easily form attachments to items of clothing or jewellery as its focus is on newness and what is going to be fashionable in the future. The colours it favours are typically silver, violet, light purple, pink or magenta and black (for Saturn). It’s aura is enlivening and awakening and brings about unexpected and surprising events, it is also highly sociable and incredibly curious and tries to assimilate information telepathically through the principle of resonance. It is a genuine mind readers aura, fully wired for all kinds of ESP. 

Traits: In her famous activist song “Strange Fruit” singer Billie Holiday, Aquarius rising, gives this rising sign one of its timeless anthems. Poking the collective conscience is what this rising sign was designed to do, but the metaphor of a strange fruit extends even further for Aquarius rising. Depending upon which side of the social commentary you sit upon, the input of Aquarius rising is either refreshing, inspiring, amazing, genius, spectacular, enlightening, awakening and liberating or perverse, freakish, rebellious for the wrong reasons, chaotic, insane and spaced out. They are exiles, and most of them are happy with that because only in exile can we explore the truly unknown territory of extreme possibilities.

To Aquarius rising life is viewed as an endless surprise where nothing is certain, with human beings acting as the joker in the pack, and this goes a long way to explaining the nervousness and edginess they display in the company of others. With a keen eye for the way the rules have become straitjackets and the way things have always been done have become creative prisons this rising sign plays the role of the maverick and the contrary, the outsider who has the vision to imagine the rules as they should be – this is the critical difference between the two signs ruled by Saturn, one sticks to the rules and the other reinvents them when it is necessary. When you have the power to change the rules you have the power to change the game of life itself, to revolutionise it but also to inject it with the spirit of renewal and a refreshing embrace of the future. That is the mask you will see these people wearing 9 times out of 10. They are not out to shake things up for the sake of creating chaos and upheaval but for the purpose of unburdening them, freeing them of the chains of the past which hold them back.

In some cultures the invaluable role of the contrary is still recognised but that is now sadly largely a thing of the past. To be different is okay, but not too different, and Aquarius does not recognise any boundaries at all so it pushes beyond all the expectations despite the disapproval of the status quo and in many cases in spite of it. Outsiders generally gravitate towards subcultures where they can discover the missing sense of inclusion and belonging that society denies them and in so doing form themselves into clusters or groups, smaller bubbles within the larger bubble of the national and global collectives. This is why Aquarius rising is often drawn to groups, it is not merely for the human interaction but more deeply because they are looking for the subculture within which their identity will form a match and resonate. However the main reason why Aquarius needs group interaction is much simpler – being an independent outsider has dangerous psychological consequences, which means that from time to time there is need to rejoin the crowd to recharge the battery and clear out the hangups. Aquarius rising is quite sprightly and fit in most cases and enjoys an active life but is prone to nervousness and mental disturbances caused by this continuous cycle of unplugging/plugging in, and trying to convey the insights gained to the sleepy sheep can be tiring. Aquarius rising can recharge some of its spirit in places where water is poured or sprinkled, under wide open skies and the stars of space, and also at caverns and deep wells, mines and quarries, and at hilly and uneven skylines. Lightning storms and hurricanes can also energise them.

Often with this rising sign relationships are a key issue. The problem is that the freedom and space loving nature of Aquarius also desires the admiration and love of a partner (Leo on the 7th temple). This can create several problematic situations in relationships involving freedom, aloofness, emotional coldness or detachment, blowing hot/cold, alienation, a sense of suffocation and stubborn pride. Strangely, while they come across as kind and friendly, accepting of individual quirks and aspiring to open mindedness and humanitarian ideals, they are also sometimes remote and distant, clinical and dispassionate, and in extreme cases, perverse and stubborn. Once they learn to use their new and original ideas to restructure their lives, especially in the field of relationships, they make radical breakthroughs in identity and self expression.

The Aquarius time of year (late January to late February) and the time of the Moon in Aquarius every month are times in which Aquarius rising can easily launch new projects and will often do so because these are times in which it will suddenly be struck with new ideas. Strong desire for experimentation during these periods can lead to both discovery and accident.

The essential task for this rising sign is to accept whatever healthy weirdness it is as its norm, as its ‘I’m ok’, commit to explore it in the identity and to express it to the world and at the same time to recognise the need to both identify and locate a suitable group or subculture into which the individual can return when their brain has been fried by the outer limits. By healthy weirdness here I mean whatever strangeness does not overrule others right to be who they are. When Aquarius rising gets this wrong and embraces an unhealthy weirdness it leads to smart but ideologically repulsive people like Heinrich Himmler. Yet when Aquarius rising gets this right, we get Billie Holiday singing “Strange Fruit”. Aquarius is indeed a very strange sign full of contradictions. And that’s okay too.

Difference to Sun or Moon sign: Aquarius Sun is more independent and more aloof from social interaction than Aquarius rising is. Aquarius Moon is more insecure about its social status than Aquarius rising and feels itself to be more of an irredeemable outsider. Both of the Lights in Aquarius are more eccentric and oddball than Aquarius rising is because the eccentricity of Aquarius rising is more of a mask or a costume.

Rulership placing: Aquarius is also, like Capricorn, ruled by Saturn and so my notes given for Capricorn rising concerning the rulership placing of slow moving planets apply here as well. However with Aquarius rising there is an emphasis upon uniqueness and so the commonality of experience will be less “solid” and more open, similar to a network rather than an exclusive private club. Individuals will put more of a unique spin on their expression of Capricorn rising if they have Saturn in Aquarius.

With respect to the planet Uranus some people with Aquarius rising identify strongly with it over Saturn. Others will shift between the two from time to time. Since Uranus takes seven years to go through a sign everyone born with Aquarius rising during that seven year period will have Uranus in the same sign, and because of the way charts are constructed and how systems work it will be in the same temple or potentially in one of two or three possible temples. One of the important things I have learned about this is that this is the location of the subculture the Aquarius rising person is looking for, the way they can rejoin society to share their fresh and strange insights with humanity. This may also apply to people with the Sun in these signs and possibly the Moon as well. I suspect that Neptune and Pluto play similar roles for people with Scorpio and Pisces rising, and that it doesn’t connect to the search for a subculture but to something different related to sharing the extreme visionary potential of these planets and signs. For example, I have the Sun and Moon in Scorpio with Pluto in Virgo in the 8th and right now I’m writing an analytical in depth blog about my occult experiences. Yet if my Pluto had just moved on a degree or so I would have Pluto in Libra, and I do not think I would be writing then, I think it would manifest as art. 

Saturn in any other of the Air signs (Gemini or Libra) increases the intellectual inventiveness and social clout that this rising sign can have, but Saturn in Libra is especially productive in this respect, making it easier for these people to form long-lasting bonds of relationship or to meet life partners, while additionally bringing a greater sense of justice and fairness to the expression of Aquarius rising. Saturn in Gemini is very good at solving problems by finding new ways to think about them. Saturn in either Taurus or Scorpio is more problematic and tends to create complexes connected to money and/or emotions (often sexual emotions). There will be hangups or frustrations in these areas as the Aquarius rising person will be kicking against something. Sometimes they will not know what they are kicking against and this will be the first step for these people because once they know what they are kicking against – really kicking against – they can devise an effective strategy against it. Saturn in Leo is also difficult for Aquarius rising, and it can have serious health consequences if not dealt with. Typically the core problem is to do with an inhibited or oppressed self-expression, a fear of being the strange thing that we all are, an individual in their own world of perspective. Overcoming self-esteem issues is often key but there is also often need to allow others the freedom to be who they are. Saturn in either Sagittarius or Aries can be helpful in that it stabilizes and lends structure to the more chaotic side of Aquarius rising but Saturn in Aries can be difficult and bring about similar issues to Saturn in Leo connected to assertion and will to live. However it must always be remembered that the more difficult combinations are also those that provide the soul with the most potential transformative power and which promise the most dramatic kinds of breakthroughs once we have a handle on them.

Faces: Bjorn Borg (tennis player), Howard ‘Hopalong’ Cassidy (American football player), Belinda Carlisle (singer), Willem Defoe (actor), Kirk Douglas (actor), Michael J. Fox (actor), Whoopi Goldberg (actress), Larry Hagman (actor), Germaine Greer (writer), Heimlich Himmler (politician, Nazi), Benny Hill (comedian), Jimmy Hoffa (union activist), Billie Holiday (singer), Janis Joplin (singer), Jay Leno (comedian, TV host), Evel Knievel (stunt performer), Karl Marx (philosopher), Spike Milligan (comedian), Harvey Milk (politician), Jim Morrison (singer), Roseanne (comedian), Nina Simone (singer) and Stephen Sondheim (composer).

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PISCES

Embodiment: Pisces rising indicates shortness and puffiness or plumpness due to retention of water in the body, with a large, full face, the eyes being watery and reflective, deep and often soft, and a pale complexion with a tendency for skin disorders. The colour of the eyes tends towards the lighter scale and the hair to the darker, and also to be wavy, shiny or wet looking. There is very little angularity in the body and the overall shape (of nose, ears etc) is rounded or curved. Cheeks are often fleshy or dimpled, and the mouth is smaller. Overall the facial features put across a strong impression of gentleness and vulnerability, dreaminess and pacifism. The body language is flowing and gliding, their positioning sometimes hovering or floating, a little nervous perhaps and ready to flee. The posture is often not terribly good as they tend to slouch or flop like a fish. They can seem to react to invisible things and emotions are often rippling across the features and then vanishing into the mist. Everything about the appearance gives off a soft quality, like in a fairy tale. 

Typically Pisces rising does not like to wear tight-fitting clothing, preferring loose flowing garments that move with the wind or float around their bodies. The fabric is often important too, with soft fibres like velvet or silk feeling better and looking better on a Pisces rising person. Subtlety is the key word to the way a Pisces rising person dresses and seeks to appear through hairstyle, adornments etc. The colours are understated and soothing, calming and cool and in particular the sign is a match for violet, lilac, soft blue, light brown, milky green and cream colours. The aura of Pisces rising is assimilative and absorptive, it is able to mimic and consume the astral properties of its environment and so take on their form and nature, but it is a passive entity and not a predator so this process is often focused on taking on board the suffering of other creatures for itself. Shielding and psychic protection are not just useful but necessary for this rising sign.

Traits: Pisces rising is somewhat of a wallflower and so you will often see them in the background, but when you do notice them it can be like spotting a tropical fish, there is something innately dreamy, graceful and beautiful about them. Timid and evasive, there is a deep vulnerability to this ascendant which comes from having it’s now moment continuously exposed to the dominant mood of its surroundings. Pisces rising is also an ascendant that frequently wears its heart on its sleeve and doesn’t know how to take it off or to conceal it except by not drawing attention to itself at all. In some of the purest expressions of this rising sign we see mystical qualities in these people which can be extremely difficult to define.

The identity of Pisces rising is invested heavily in emotional contact with the world but there is one particular emotion connected to Pisces which seems to find its way into the expression of this ascendant very often and that is the feeling of yearning for something. Pisces is extremely devotional and the yearning for something to devote itself to, something higher and transcendent, really comes through in this rising sign. It is led forward into experience by the desire to fully merge with this thing, whatever it is, and Pisces rising very rarely knows what it is from the beginning, so it has to set off on a journey through life in order to discover something it can devote itself to, something it can deliver that yearning feeling to. Very commonly this yearning is for some kind of perfect partner (Virgo on the 7th), leading to a need for the Pisces rising person to be less idealistic in relationships. They match well with a Virgo type of person, someone who can ground them with facts and provable information and whose focus is on providing practical help to others.

Pisces rising also senses the living power of symbols, the animating spirit within them, it is highly sensitized to these beings and can even learn to commune with them directly. In the majority of cases however this results not in mediums but in people who find ways to convey the power of symbols to the rest of the world and who can also create new symbols for others to get behind. These symbols do not need to be physical, they can be things like music, art, poems, religion, etc. – what makes them a symbol is that they represent something transcendent. However there is great danger of losing ones grip on the identity through devotion to something symbolic, of having the identity consumed by something which is essentially an emblem with an invisible animating intelligence of its own. For example, the figure of Christ on the cross is one such symbol that Pisces rising people often attach themselves to and come to identify themselves with, quite literally in some cases. Thus there is the temptation to fall to complete madness or simple conflation rather than spiritual transcendence through this rising sign. The symbol must act to empower and uplift the identity, not define or replace it.

There is also a “drifting along with the current” problem, flowing along with the school without ever summoning the courage to swim against or away. They can need to develop some backbone sometimes in order to stand up for what they believe in. Another issue is the potential they have for extreme passive-aggressive behaviour. If you go up against an Aries rising person you may be replied with a blow directly to the face, and a good old-fashioned fight will then ensue in which there will probably be a clear winner, the one who is not bleeding on the floor. However, in conflict with the Pisces rising person establishing anything at all is a major achievement. When resisting something they employ procrastination and sullenness to maximum effect so that nothing actually happens, forever. They can even be this way in dealing with their own problems, which is obviously a character flaw which can grow into something truly tragic. In essence this ascendant needs to learn when and how to confront things more directly.

The coldness and sluggishness of Pisces can mean that these people need to take a more active approach to life in order to stay healthy, otherwise they run the risk of developing mysterious, complex problems. Allergies or some other kind of sensitivity to substances or even invisible frequencies is more common than usual among them. When feeling out of sorts they can not only re-vitalise by visiting oceans and seas as well as large expansive lakes and wide rivers (basically anywhere with deep water) but also through connecting with their sense of faith and trust in the invisible worlds of life, thus by connecting with the symbols that bring them into contact with something transcendent and transpersonal. Meditation is therefore extremely helpful to Pisces rising.

The Pisces time of year (late February to late March) and the time of the Pisces Moon every month are important times in which these people can really get in touch with inner truth and universal intelligence or divinity, but many instead experience it as a time of heightened imagination. These are the best times of year for these people to make their resolutions for the coming 12 months, to initiate new projects and to do other things which are resonant with the meaning of the ascendant.

Difference to Sun or Moon sign: Pisces Sun has more of a fix on its identity (even though that is still relatively nebulous) because it is less sensitive to the environment and the opinions of others. However Pisces ascendant often has the grounding of a Virgo like partner or equal, as well as greater skill at expressing the Pisces imagination to the rest of the world. It’s much better at accurately and precisely judging other people than Pisces Sun or Moon is. Pisces Moon is more delusional than the Pisces ascendant, prone to greater flights of fancy, yet on the other hand its attunement to the astral is far more immersive and navigation through it is more natural for the Pisces Moon.

Rulership placing: The placement of Jupiter and possibly Neptune modify this ascendant. Jupiter in Pisces increases the compassion and empathy and also strongly inclined the identity to identify with religious or spiritual realities and fantasies. It also tends to weight gain and overindulgence in alcohol. Jupiter in Cancer or Scorpio increases the psychic potential and power of this rising sign to almost limitless degrees, with Jupiter in Cancer overflowing with empathy and a desire to protect things from suffering and Jupiter in Scorpio adding deep, abiding faith and incredible willpower. However too much Water Element usually becomes a major issue with the person having really big and powerful emotional responses. Jupiter in either Gemini or Sagittarius often leads to people with endless questions that cannot ever be answered, questions that are too big and mysterious or overarching. Great restlessness is present in this combination and there is often a lack of discipline and self-control. However, these combinations can assimilate vast amounts of knowledge, it’s just that with Jupiter in Sagittarius (its own sign) that knowledge is philosophical rather than factual and so it is more in keeping with Pisces rising. Jupiter in either Capricorn or Taurus brings out greater productivity in this rising sign and allows it to function in the world with greater security and calm, but both of these placements increase the inclination to hedonism and indulgence in luxuries. Jupiter in Virgo, the other Earth sign, is often caught up in trying to figure out what it really believes or what other people really believe and needs to find a way to integrate logic with psychic intuition and feeling.

The placement of Neptune in signs is exceedingly slow – 14 years – and so there will be only a very small variation over a long period of time in the combination of Pisces rising and Neptune in the signs and temples (see the section on rulership placing for Capricorn for more details). The effects of this influence on Pisces rising have proven to be extremely subtle to me and can be very hard to detect but frequently show up in the imagery, music and symbolism that the given generation embraces. I suspect the people with Pisces rising have the potential to be spiritual pioneers for both the people who have Neptune in the same sign as they do as well as for the rest of the world, but not too many of them wake up to it at this point and those who do struggle to find a way to bring it to the rest of us.

Faces: Phil Donahue (TV host), Whitney Houston (singer), Mark Knopfler (singer, musician), Pope Benedict XVI (religious leader), Alexander Graham Bell (inventor), Robert Redford (actor, director), Vincent Price (actor), Antony Armstrong-Jones (photographer), Mary Tyler Moore (actress), Angela Rippon (newsreader,TV host), Dean Martin (singer), Antonio Banderas (actor), William Lilly (astrologer), Robert Zoller (astrologer), Bob Monkhouse (entertainer), John Coltrane (musician) and John McCain (politician).


 

This concludes my posts on the rising signs, thank you for reading and I hope this helps you in the journeys we make through life. 

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Rising Signs I

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. 

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ARIES

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).

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TAURUS

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).

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GEMINI

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).

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CANCER

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. 
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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).

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LEO

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).

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VIRGO

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! 🙂

Some Occult Anatomy

Greetings and welcome back to Journeys! This month I explore the relationship between the physical, astral and mental realms and the equipment we are normally given to investigate them. Next month I will be taking a break from posting to attend to some important business, but I’ll be back in June.

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Students of both astrology and magic often come to some confusion in the matter of initially grasping how these two systems relate to the human body and especially if they are students of both since there are seemingly conflicting views. For example, students of “Initiation Into Hermetics” learn that the chest area of the body is the Air region, but students of astrology are taught that the heart is of Leo, which is a Fire sign. This is often a problem when we combine two different symbol sets from separate traditions as people are very keen to do in the modern day (and with extremely disparate traditions), however in this case because of the historical connection between western astrology and hermetic magic going back to ancient times the symbol sets do actually correspond, to a degree. However they do so in a somewhat occult manner which requires a degree of understanding in order to penetrate. In this article I will attempt to explain how the western astrological and magical analogies correspond with one another to reveal a much more complex occult anatomy then either system describes.

To begin with, a word or two about the schemes themselves. The hermetic information is easier to summarize – the body is divided into four Elemental regions with the densest Elements at the base and the least dense at the top. So the head and neck region is given to the Fire Element, the shoulders, upper body and chest and upper arms are the Air Element region, the lower body including the abdomen and forearms are the Water Element region and everything below the waist down to the feet as well as the hands are placed within the Earth Element region. These four Elemental regions are divided in three places – at the base of neck, at the diaphragm and elbows, and at the hips and wrists. The earliest goal of the magician is to achieve an equilibrium of these four Elements in all three of their bodies. These three bodies are the physical body itself, the astral body which drives the character and the mental body which connects us to the trans-personal and transcendent realms. This is done through a series of progressive exercises involving the four Elements and the Elemental realms which are their source. So in its simplest form of expression the hermetic or magical occult anatomy discusses things in terms of four Elements within three manifest realms and their bodies.

This is quite similar to the way that the zodiac is constructed in astrology with four Elemental essences that express in three patterns or modes, called Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable, but the manifest realms (physical, astral, mental) and the modes of the zodiac signs are not the same things. However although they are not the same things as the physical, astral and mental realms the three patterns of astrology do actually describe the function of these three manifest realms in terms of their role in astrology itself. The mental realm is Cardinal (or Active) in nature because it is initiatory and causal, giving impetus to astral waves through the pristine archetypes within it, the astral realm is Fixed in nature because this is the real substance of astrology itself, the matter at hand that we are born with and must work through, and the physical realm is Mutable in nature because it is always undergoing flux and change as a result of or in response to the mental and astral realms and astrology.

However the hermetic scheme has additional important points which need to be brought up here, and these are the ways in which the physical astral and mental bodies are connected. There are two matrices and a number of other forms of connectivity involving the bodies. The first of these is the astral matrix which connects the physical body to the astral body and is often described as a silver cord. The astral matrix is positioned in the physical body at the naval, the place where the umbilical cord was cut at birth. When this occurs, the astral awareness of the newborn baby is for the first time a personally independent entity, with an individual astral and physical body connected together. The second connective tether is the mental matrix which connects the astral body with the mental body and which is sometimes described as a golden or violet coloured cord. The mental matrix is centred in the physical body at the solar plexus in the diaphragm area, and is fully established with our first breath.

Within this system the astral body acts as an intermediary or transceiver between the physical body and the mental body. Its sole purpose is to faciliate communion between these two forms, and so when the physical body expires, the astral body follows suit, and the mental body rejoins its Host. The mental body is initially formed on the mental plane at conception when the Greater Self begins incarnating as an individual self at a particular point in time and space. It is a vehicle for that Self to learn specific and particular things during an incarnation. It is therefore a temporal vehicle which will exist for a period of time only before it rejoins the Greater Self. In order to manifest itself in a physical body this mental body needs to accumulate an astral body through which it will be able to cause a physical body to accumulate. This astral body is formed of past experiences and the need to resolve them, in particular personal entanglements with other beings that we have incarnated with and things we need to return to as a result of our past incarnations. All three of these bodies grow together in the womb (in mammals this is the Water region of the mother, in other creatures – for example birds – it takes other forms) until a pre-set biological time kicks in and birth happens. Consider the Intelligence of nature required to manage this entire operation for countless individual species across billions of years. Until the umbilical cord is cut the baby is astrally connected to its mother’s astral body as well as to her physical body.

The mental body itself is always connected to everything that is (the Divine or Unity) via a connection which emerges from the crown of the physical head, however this is not really a cord like the other cords are, since they are temporary manifestations which serve the function of connecting and binding the three bodies while the Crown tether is a permanent state of universal connection to everything which does not vary in quality or tone from life to life. Only our awareness of this connection varies, not its qualities.

Similar to the hermetic view of placing the Elements in an order from head to toe, the astrological idea is that the zodiac signs are placed in order starting with Aries from the top of the head down to the bottom of the feet which are given to Pisces. In addition, all of the organs of the body and their systems are given over to planets or one of the Lights as well as being connected to a sign by virtue of where they are generally located in the body and which planet traditionally rules the sign. So for example in the head which is given to Aries there are attributions to the two Lights in the form of the eyes and brain itself, which is also given over to Mercury. In addition to this because many of the parts of the body are interwoven together as a system (such as the skeletal system or the nervous system or the endocrine system etc.) and also because certain sensations are associated with certain zodiac signs, the astrological system is greatly complicated and ambiguous. For example in the head which is the most complicated region of the body, the ears and the tongue and the lower jaw are often attributed to Taurus because it has a connection to taste and hearing and chewing the cud. So even though the head in astrology is viewed as a primarily Aries type area it has all these moving parts which are confusingly attributed to other astrological things, and while the head is an extreme example of this complexity the situation is present throughout the astrological system in every area of the body. The blood for example is attributed to Mars and to Jupiter and its circulation to Leo and Aquarius, among other things. But the basic idea is quite simple – zodiac signs are arranged from beginning to end at the major locations of the body starting at the head and the planets are given to organs and systems within the body.

The major apparent disconnect here is that the four Elements are distributed differently in the two different systems. Pisces, a Water sign, is assigned to the feet which are in the Earth region of the body. The problem here is that these are two distinctly different systems that developed differently and for different purposes, but with a common occult philosophy and a shared history in which they overlapped. The key thing to understand is that while their fusion does not synchronise perfectly, it is possible to flex the astrological symbolism to harmonize them together. The easiest way to show this is to discuss each Elemental region of the body and each sign within that region, starting with the Fire region.

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FIRE – Aries and Taurus, the head and neck.

This is the easiest region to explain, with Aries being the primal Fire sign and Taurus providing it with a support structure in the form of the neck. In the matching of the astrological signs to the four Elemental regions the Earth signs are all located at critical places where muscular support is needed – the neck, the diaphragm and the knees. In some astrological schemes Taurus is also connected to the lower jaw, where it also provides muscular support for chewing. However, there is another more occult reason for why Taurus as a zodiac sign fits in the Fire region of the body and this has to do with the connection of Taurus with the physical senses. Of all of the Earth signs, Taurus is the one which is most directly connected to all five of the physical senses, four of which have their organs located in the head. The sense of touch which is located throughout the body across the skin is still however connected to the activity of the Fire region simply because the brain, the locus of the physical Fire region, is the organ which interprets all of the electrical and chemical signals received by it through the body. Therefore, the external physical support of the neck and the input from the material, physical universe into the head and brain are related together through the concept of the sign of Taurus.

The brain however lacks mobility and therefore requires a body to move it around. The Fire region and the brain require an agent within that body to enact their will.

AIR – Gemini, Cancer, Leo, the base of the neck to the diaphragm.

That agent is the heart, which in the astrological scheme is the zodiac sign of Leo. The heart and brain are in a harmonious relationship since it is the brain which drives the beating of the heart while the heart pumps blood to the brain. We can say that the heart enacts the will of the brain to live. Leo is therefore the agent of the Fire Element in the Air region. The Air region is obviously connected with breathing because it contains the lungs, which are the organs of Gemini in this area. Gemini however also represents the shoulders and parts of the upper arms, ‘opening’ the Air region, so its placement in the Air region is self-explanatory. However it’s important to note that the division of the cerebral hemispheres of the brain (which in the Fire region is expressed externally through the symmetry of the face) now finds broader expression as the shoulders divide the skeleton into twin halves, and most of the organs of the body and its muscles follow suit.

The zodiac sign of Cancer is placed in the chest and breast area. When compared to the four Elemental regions of the body described by Bardon, the Water signs are all placed in the most sensitive areas of the external body as far as provoking an emotional response. The nipples in both sexes are the most sensitive area of the skin in the Air region. Additionally, the connection to nurturing and comforting (newborns breastfeeding, or consoling someone by laying their head upon your chest for example), also suggest a hint of Water to this part of the body.

The sign of Virgo which is placed at the diaphragm delineates the lower limits of the Air region, but it more truly belongs to the Water region since it descends from the diaphragm into the abdomen. Again we see the way that the Earth signs are used to provide a muscular support for the regions of the body, but the placement of Virgo is also significant because the diaphragm as a muscle is in service to the Water and Air regions since its purpose is to stir the activity of the organs and processes of the Water region (digestion, et cetera) and in doing so it drives the bellows of the lungs, forcing the breathing. The physical act of breathing is the way in which the physical body provides sustenance to the mental body. The physical act of eating and drinking is how the physical body provides sustenance to the astral body as well as itself. Thus, the placement of Virgo positions it to be in service to both regions of the body and to provide life force to the Air and Water regions, which are connected to the astral and mental bodies through the astral and mental matrices rooted in these physical locations of the body.

WATER REGION – Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, the diaphragm to the waist.

As explained above, Virgo divides the Air region from the Water region and while primarily in service to the Water region also serves the Air region. It is given over to most of the organs of digestion including the intestine, where its task is to separate purity from waste and clean out the system. The Water region is delineated in the astrological scheme by the sign of Libra which is given to the hips and the waist, however the sign of Scorpio is attributed to the genitals which are just below the waist. Internally though the sex organs are located within the Water region (ovaries, uterus, prostate gland). It’s worth noting that the Water region has these more fluid boundaries when compared to the astrological scheme, with Virgo ‘flowing’ into it from the top and Scorpio ‘flowing’ out of it from the bottom. Scorpio has its external manifestation in the Earth region (the sexual organs) but its internal manifestation in the Water region, where it is also very active in excretion and assisting Virgo through elimination.

Libra’s obvious manifestation at the hips need hardly be stated because they strongly resemble a pair of scales. Note that like the previous Air sign, Gemini, Libra sets a polarised form for the lower body, just as the shoulders do as they split in opposite directions, and that also like Gemini it is located at one of the borders of the Elemental regions. As noted previously, the Fire region needed an agent within the Air region of the body to enact its will or life. This was the heart represented so directly by Leo. Similarly, the Air region has an agent in the Water region in the form of Libra. This sign not only represents the hips astrologically but also the kidneys, a pair of organs which play a vital role in the harmony and balance of the body. The neutral nature of the Air Element is represented in these organs through their activity of neutralizing toxins in the body. The Fire region also has an agent in the Water region, and this is the solar plexus which is located between the naval and the sternum. The solar plexus or celiac plexus is a nerve cluster which acts as the brain of the Water region of the body, it keeps everything doing what it should, including the diaphragm, but it is obviously dependent upon both the brain and the heart in order to survive. However, both the brain and the heart need the solar plexus in order to stay healthy and to continue functioning, since it animates the breathing and digestion of substance, and is thus critical to the supply of Elements to the three bodies. Thus it is a nexus which binds the Air and Water regions and the astral and mental bodies to the physical and manages the absorption of the four Elements through the skin, lungs, digestion, elimination and by dealing with toxins, among other things. It is here that we feel the effect of our thoughts upon our emotions and our emotions upon our thoughts in a physical sensation which can at times be very distressing. Most people will recognize the tightening feeling in their mid-body area when extreme anxiety is affecting them or when they were undergoing something stressful. The solar plexus plays a major role in the manifestation of our aura and is extremely important in occult anatomy, and so I will come back to it shortly.

EARTH REGION – Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, the waist to the feet.

The Earth region is the most still and immobile region of the body. It requires an impetus from above in the Fire region in order to take any kind of activity. At the centre of the Earth region, at the knees, the zodiac sign of Capricorn is placed. Again, this emphasizes the importance of supporting everything above it, and flexibility of the knee enables most of the movement our lower body can take. While both Taurus and Virgo offered strong muscular support for their regions, the support of Capricorn is more about bone than muscle because this is the Earth region. The shinbone of both legs is also a Capricorn area.

Sagittarius is attributed to the thighs and upper legs, which are the primary muscles used by the Fire region in bringing the Earth region to life. It’s clear that the athletic potential of this area of the body is a good match for the sporty and adventurous Sagittarius, but the key quality of Sagittarius is mobilization and this is what it brings to the Earth region of the body.

The lower legs or calves and the ankles are the Aquarius areas in the zodiacal scheme, both of which allow greater flexibility of movement and swiftness. Note that like the other two Air signs this is a complex joint in the bones, but unlike the shoulders and the hips, the ankles come in two pairs and are designed differently. Aquarius is not placed at a border of an Elemental region because it ignores borders. Instead it hovers just above the ground and facilitiates mobility like the Sagittarius sign. There are also pressure points around the ankle which connect to the other regions of the body, especially the solar plexus.

The Water sign of Pisces has again been given the most sensitive part of the Earth region, the feet, particularly the soles of the feet. Everyone knows how pleasurable, ticklish or relaxing it is to be touched here. The feet also have energy connections to every organ and muscle in the body as well as serving as an unconscious sensory instrument from our times listening to things through the ground with bare feet. However, it is primarily the sensitivity of the feet which connects them to Water.


 

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As you can see, the two systems do not really contradict one another but the astrological attributions add some detailed information to each of the regions without changing their essential Elemental affinity. This brings up an interesting point in that while undergoing the practice of “Initiation Into Hermetics” we load each of these regions with the appropriate Element, the regions themselves are not pure expressions of the Elements. They contain nuances and a mixture of the other Elements while retaining the dominant affinity that they have. This is because nothing in the physical or astral realm is a pristine expression of a single Element – everything in the physical and astral universe is to some degree a mixture of more than one Element, including the beings which inhabit them. To locate a pristine expression of the Elements you have to seek for it in the mental realm.

The integration of these three bodies so that they are working harmoniously together in perfect tandem results in greater health and vitality as well as clarity of perception both in terms of ideas and feelings, among other things, while a disharmony between the physical, astral and mental (which often happens through blockages such as things we do not allow ourselves to feel) weakens our ability to draw vigor and energy from life and in some way interferes with our ability to engage with it. The equilibration of the four Elements in the appropriate regions of the physical, astral and mental bodies is what enables a magician to operate magically. The primary way of doing this in the physical and astral bodies is through Eucharistic magic involving eating and drinking foods which have been causally dedicated in the Akasha. The body will absorb these foods and so in turn absorb the Elements of the intention as well, distributing them to the physical, astral and mental bodies. The primary way of doing this in the mental body, however is through the practice of magical breathing both in terms of conscious intake of breath while focused in meditation upon specific qualities you wish to draw into the self, or through whole-body pore breathing through the skin in the same way. However, there are many other ways for a magician to attain equilibrium in the three bodies, not just through a magical practice of eating, drinking and breathing. In fact, it is always necessary to employ other methods if you wish to succeed at this task more rapidly. The transformation of your character is often required to remove energy blockages in the astral which if chronic accumulate as physical conditions in the physical areas analogous to them.

Just as our material bodies interact with various physical manifestations of the four Elements (plasmas and light, liquid, gases and solids) and ingests into itself specific combinations of those Elements in the form of food and breathing, so too the astral body interacts with various astral manifestations of the four Elements and feeds upon them. However in the astral realm there is no need to eat in the way that there is here, however there are still hungers – many of them in fact! The hunger of the astral realm is for specific types of significance which we in our earthly incarnation experience emotionally through the feelings we have about things. What we feed upon in the astral realm then are things which are akin to qualities in our character. For example, a person filled with rage and anger is in that moment both feeding from and being fed upon by astral entities which resonate with the significance of anger. Therefore, by mastering the character and the astral nature of the personality so that our negative qualities are no longer able to hijack our behaviour, we not only relocate ourselves astrally to a new environment, we start making new friends there too.

Additionally, just as the physical world is always turning on its axis and turning around the Sun which is in turn spinning around the galactic centre and so on, everything in astral space is also in motion. The astral sea continually shifts around us, presenting us with fresh inhabitants and situations, and this is what astrology tries to communicate to us here on earth. The physical body has senses and apparatus capable of interacting with the material of the physical world – eyes for vision, ears for the hearing of things, etc. – but the astral body also has its sensory array, none of which depend upon a physical brain. They require an astral ‘brain’ instead, which is located in the astral body at the solar plexus.

When the three bodies are integrated together and we are alive (i.e. as soon as we are born and the umbilical cord is cut) the astral senses are “cloaked” by the input of our physical senses.Similarly, the raw input of the equivalent senses of our mental body are also cloaked by both the astral and the physical senses. In infancy and childhood this cloaking of our more subtle senses by the physical experience is minimal and we can often still perceive the beings of these realms. However, as time goes by we inevitably lose sight of the reality of these realms and instead begin to perceive them as feelings and ideas that we have. In other words, the astral apparatus that we have which we use to have transactions on the astral plane is communicated to us as feelings. The same happens with the mental realm, only we end up interpreting this contact as thinking.

A magician is able to move the awareness from the physical body to either of the other bodies after separating them so that they are independent of the physical body. When this is accomplished it becomes clear that human feelings and emotions are simply the way we encounter astral reality when we are in a physical body. In fact this will be one of the first things we have to learn following our physical death. Some methods of astral travel, such as the astral method of separating the astral body and moving our awareness into it described by Bardon, are actually dangerous to attempt without the proper training because the shock of succeeding causes the awareness to snap violently back into the physical body which can damage or even break the astral matrix resulting in death. Even with the proper training there are dangers that this will occur when your body is touched while your astral body is separated so you have to practice this alone and be sure that you will not be disturbed. However there are other methods of exploring the nonphysical worlds, primarily the method of mental wandering which also leaves your astral body resting ‘behind’ and allows you to voyage beyond the Saturn sphere, while remaining connected to your resting astral body via the mental matrix. During such activities the heartbeat and respiration do not stop, but they do reduce to an almost imperceptible rate. 

The spheres named after the planets (for those who don’t know these are magical realms of awareness which evocation magic can interact with) are not the same thing as the actual physical planet in space. However all of the spheres up to the Saturn sphere have astral dimensions to them which somewhat correspond to the astrological matters of the planet named after them. Just as we have a physical body in the physical universe composed of many cells, so too each of the spheres in the astral realm has a physical body composed of many cells. These are the worlds and stellar objects of our solar system and other solar systems. The movements of these planets relative to the Earth describe through synchronous activity the shifting of the astral sea relative to Earth and its individuals. They do not however in any way cause anything in the astral. This is an important argument astrologers have been having for millennia now – whether or not the planets cause things or merely describe them. The answer really is that they only describe them, but I do not think that the astrology of today is equipped to settle the question. Only magic can reveal this truth.

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The Emerald Hummingbird: On Taurus

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! This month we return to examining the signs of the zodiac with a look at Taurus. Before we get started, you may want to know that as of the time of writing I have a post on Chiron in Taurus and one on Uranus in Taurus to study alongside this one. 

journey deeper…