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Let's Start Out With The Three Most Important Points On A Birth Chart:

  • The Moon - in the birth chart, the Moon generally reflects where we tend to find our greatest source of emotional security and feel the safest. The Moon is often the most important point during our "growing up" years.  Paradoxically, the Moon symbolizes both our "inner mother" and our "inner child."

    Don't go into shock... but at times, the Moon might even be considered to be above the Sun in terms of significance.

    Author Liz Greene points out, in her book The Luminaries, that as adults, whenever we're scared or find ourselves "cornered in a tight spot" - the Moon contains our "bag of tricks," our inheritance, our instincts that we unconsciously tend to fall back on to save ourselves in times of trouble.

    Remember all those old stories where the young hero starting out on a quest is given something to protect him/her by their mother? The thing given is usually a magic ring, cloak, potion, etc.?

    The item Mom (Moon) gives the young hero is very often something that once belonged to the hero's father. It's a part of the hero's inheritance. And so when the hero gets caught in a really tight spot - the hero then gets out this gift that miraculously enough "saves the hero's bacon...."

  • Moving on we come to The Sun - in the birth chart - that best reflects our sense of identity, self-expression, source of creativity, and how we shine best. The Sun normally gains in importance and strength as we grow older and develop a clearer sense of who we are as an individual.
Fact is, though... some folks never effectively express their Sun Sign energies (regardless of what the Daily Horoscope versions of astrology say). Some folks get stuck in only identifying with their Ascendant and/or Moon.

The Sun is the focal point of our Hero's Journey! In order to feel totally alive... the Sun is the "inner hero," that over the course of a life-time, we must learn how to consciously give energy and expression to.

  • then we come to The Ascendant Oh no! I just slipped in another term you're unfamiliar with! The Ascendant is also sometimes known as the "Rising Sign" - and (unlike the Moon and Sun) the Ascendant is not a physical celestial body or planet.
The Ascendant (or Rising Sign) is the Zodiac sign which was rising (and racing) on the horizon at the exact moment of your birth. The Ascendant represents the exact dawning of your life on planet Earth. It's the part of the Sky that came to meet and greet you at the exact moment of your birth.

The Ascendant aids us in answering the question: "who am I in this world?" The Ascendant acts as an "I am filter" through which we process all of our life experiences...

In part... the Ascendant acts as a protective mask (yet it's much more than simply a mask). The Ascendant reflects how we allow the world at large to "see" us... it reflects our outward behaviors and personality that people first see when getting to know us.

Two-Fold Purpose of the Ascendant Mask
During the Golden Age of Greek drama (circa 400 BC), the massive theaters honoring Dionysos typically had seating for as many as 14,000 spectators.

So the actors were a long distance away from the nose bleed sections of their expectant audience.

1) So a distinctive mask and costume was constructed and designed for each individual character in a particular play. Along with a full head exaggerated mask, they also wore thick boots and gloves in order to add to their height and exaggerate their hands movements were easily seen by the spectators. The various characters in each play were easily identifiable and distinguishable via their unique masks even up in the nose bleed section.

2) Just as importantly... along with the theaters, themselves, having extraordinarily sophisticated acoustics - it's also believed that the acoustical design of the Greek mask served to greatly amplify the actor's voice, making the dialogue easier for the massive audience to hear.

On our own personal "hero's journey," the Ascendant takes on the very nature of "the quest." The Ascendant sets the "stage" of our story. And the Ascendant is "the Guide" on our personal Quest!

The Ascendant (like the ancient Greek drama mask) helps to identify and amplify to our at large audience who we are and what we're about.

The fast moving point of the Ascendant cycles through all 12 of the Zodiac Signs within the course of a single day. And because the Ascendant is such a fast moving point on the chart - it's the main reason why astrologers need to know the exact time and place of your birth.

The Ascendant also determines the house placements in the birth chart. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that some astrologers are big into the Ascendant determining physical characteristics - I'm not convinced.

(An interesting aside note: in at least one of her books, Liz Greene mentions that the Midheaven is often more important in determining physical characteristics.... Don't worry.... If you stop off at the Castle before leaving this section, then you'll be introduced to the Midheaven)

So Summing It Up:

The Moon is the Inheritance (the bag of tricks containing a magic ring or potion) which saves the hero in those times of grave danger.

And the Sun is the Hero of our quest .

So the Ascendant is the Guide on our personal quest.

In a nutshell::

* the Moon is where we're been,
* the Sun is where we're going
* and the Ascendant is how we get there.

The Rest Of The Planets Are Very Important Modifiers

Personal Planets

* Mercury - communication, intelligence
* Venus - relating abilities, pleasure, enjoyment, values
* Mars - assertiveness, getting what you want, survival

Don't forget - the Social Planets

* Jupiter - expansion, beneficent, jovial, opportunity, religious
* Saturn - restriction, limitations, structure, learning hard lessons

Generational Planets
(most important to individual personality as they form aspects to the other planets, the Ascendant, and the houses they fall in)

* Uranus - independent, electricity, shock, inventive, detachment
* Neptune - dependent, foggy, romantic, misty, mystical, magnetic, imagination
* Pluto - intensity, hidden, invisible, transformation, eros, erotic

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