What Your Rising Sign Says About Your Personality

If you're even a bit familiar with astrology, you've likely heard about your rising sign in passing –– or as part of your 'Big 3 Signs' that comprise the core of your personality. As astrologer Renée Watt tells Bustle, the placement and importance of the ascendant in your astrological chart make it the easiest energy to read about a person upon first meeting them, which is probably why it's gained such a popular cult following online. "Typically, you'll discover their rising sign first, which acts as a bit of a social guard, followed by their sun sign personality," explains Watt, going on to add that the moon sign personality is the most hidden among these placements.

Unlike the other placements in your chart, the ascendant is not a planet or luminary body in the night sky. It's a chart point that astrologers calculate using your unique cosmic print from the moment you were born to pinpoint which zodiac sign was "rising" on the eastern horizon in the sky at the time of your birth. As Vedic astrologer Camila R. Quintero tells Elite Daily, the energy of your rising sign is key to understanding your first house of self-identity: so it's the very first part of your birth chart you should dive into learning. "Not only should you learn what sign it's in, [but you should learn] where the ruler of that sign is placed — what house it's in," explains Quintero.

What is a rising sign?

Some people refer to your rising sign as the mask you wear when you face the world; however, the ascendant is more than just your energetic signature. It also allows astrologers to set up all the houses in your birth chart. "The ascendant represents the first house, which represents you. It is yourself, your body, your character, your personality, your appearance. The breath of life starts with the first house. After we know what sign is your rising sign or your ascendant, we can then count out the houses," astrologer Janelle Belgrave tells Refinery29. Without this information, it's nearly impossible to cast a chart or get the full picture of how your planets and aspects are all communicating with one another.

Along with setting up the houses in your birth chart, your ascendant sign also informs which planet acts as your chart ruler. Each zodiac sign has an associated ruling planet and your chart ruler is the planet that rules the sign that sits on your ascendant. Your chart ruler plays a key role in how the transits and progressions of your chart are felt day-to-day. "Each time there's a transit or progression to your chart ruler, you tend to feel it strongly, as you're sensitive to the overall influence of that planet — physically, mentally, and emotionally," astrologer Rachel Lang explains to Well+Good, adding that the condition of the planet as well as the house and aspects it forms add further context and depth.

What your rising sign reveals about your personality

As you begin to dig into better understanding your rising sign, you may find that there's a bit of confusion over how exactly to explain its energy and impact. In fact, in his book "The Chart Interpretation Handbook," astrologer Stephen Arroyo declares the ascendant 'one of the most elusive energies' in astrology and almost impossible to sum up in words. "It is many things at once: a symbol of how one acts in the world, the 'image of the personality' that others see, and a spontaneous energy and attitude toward life," Arroyo explains. "And yet, this 'image of the personality' that others see is not intentionally projected: it's automatic."

Despite being more evasive than other placements in astrology, the ascendant still holds the key to tying together the thread of all different sides of who you are. It acts as the anchor point by which all the other elements of your birth chart can ground themselves in. "The ascendant is of primary importance to the way the entire personality is integrated and expressed," astrologer Janes Evans writes in her book "Twelve Doors to the Soul," going on to add that the energy of the ascendant shows where an individual feels spontaneous, whole, and alive.

How to calculate and interpret your rising sign

Once you're ready to calculate your own rising sign, you'll need to know your birth time, birthday, and city of birth to generate a copy of your birth chart using your favorite online birth chart calculator or astrology app. Unlike other placements in your chart, which can spend months or years in the same zodiac sign, the ascendant doesn't stay in any sign for more than two hours; so it's important your birth time is as accurate as possible when calculating your birth chart (via Astrology). If you're unable to find your exact birth time, astrologer Chris Brennan goes into detail on his blog about how professionals are often able to retroactively calculate a chart using a practice known as birth time rectification.

Once you've located your rising sign in your birth chart, you'll want to look at the aspects it forms to the other placements in your chart. Although your rising sign isn't technically a planet –– it does influence the energy and shine a spotlight on anything it aspects. In her book, "Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark," astrologer Bernadette Brady explains that the connections that form to the ascendant sign have a major influence on how your energy is perceived by the rest of the world. Particularly, conjunction aspects to the ascendant can bring forward an energy that may have been otherwise hidden or overshadowed in the birth chart, and a deeper awareness of self is gained as a result.