Ascendant and Other Things
"Hey Dr Z... my Zodiac Sign is located in the sign of Cancer.
So why don't the typical descriptions of my Zodiac Sun Sign totally
To take a stab at attempting to answer this million dollar question,
let's take a trip back in time and space...
that you're a top secret government agent. And as a top secret
government agent, you've just received an assignment to travel
back in time and space via a top secret government time machine...
and upon entering this top secret government time machine, you're
whisked back to ancient Athens, Greece...
your arrival in ancient Athens, imagine that you then find yourself
wearing a toga and sandals – and you realize you must have
landed at one of those wild Greek Dionysian toga parties.
a top secret undercover agent, you then manage to engage yourself
in conversation with a group of the locals discussing politics,
while trying your very best not to blow your cover.
getting more than an earful of the latest Parthenon gossip, you
notice a handsome guy (or gorgeous gal) who appears to be nonchalantly
strolling over to the darkened corner of the room where you're
standing. The handsome Greek guy (or gorgeous gal) walks up to
you and asks the age old "Greek Toga Party Pick Up"
line: "Hey baby! What's your sign?"
now! Watch out! Chances are you're just about to totally blow
your secret agent cover by giving him/her the wrong answer!
These days, when someone asks the question: "What's your
sign?..." that person is asking you (whether they know it
or not) for the Tropical Zodiac sign the Sun was passing through
on the day you were born. But you see… it's only been during
the last 100 years (or so) that folks started primarily identifying
their Zodiac sign with the birth position of the Sun.
on the Ascendant
More than likely, that handsome Greek guy (or gorgeous gal) at
the wild Greek Dionysian toga party was asking you for the Zodiac
sign that is located on your "Ascendant." He/she was
asking for the Zodiac sign that was rising on the horizon at the
exact moment (and dawn) of your birth.
see... in ancient Greek astrology, the term "horoskopos"
literally meant "look to the hour [of birth]." The zodiacal
sign of the Ascendant was considered to be of the greatest import.
Zodiac Sun Sign and Sun Sign Astrology only gained popularity
during the last 100 years, due (much in part) to one's Zodiac
Sun Sign being much easier to determine than the Zodiac Sign located
on your Ascendant.
accurately calculate the position of the birth Sun, one usually
only needs to know the day and month of birth. Whereas... when
accurately calculating the Ascendant, one must also know the exact
hour and minute of birth... and not everyone knows their hour
and minute of birth.
The top three most important points on the birth chart are:
The Sun (Fast): travels through all 12 Zodiac signs during
the course of a year (approximately).
Moon (Faster): travels through all 12 Zodiac signs during
the course of a month (approximately).
The Ascendant (Fastest): travels through all 12 Zodiac signs
during the course of a 24 hour day.
what does the Ascendant Zodiac Sign represent?
Ascendant and Back To The Greeks
In a nutshell, the Zodiac sign on the Ascendant represents the
"outer package" or "image" that you regularly
display to the people around you. The Zodiac sign located on the
Ascendant has historically been thought of as a much more personal
point than the Zodiac sign the Sun is located in.
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...
part... the Ascendant acts as a protective mask... yet it's much
more than simply a mask in the "modern" sense of the
than being a disguise... the Ascendant instead reflects how we
allow (albeit unconsciously) the world at large to "see"
us... it reflects our outward behaviors and personality that people
first see when getting to know us.
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
the actors were a long distance away from the nose bleed sections
of their expectant audience.
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 so they could easily been seen by the spectators.
Thus... the various characters in each play were easily identifiable
and distinguishable via their unique theatrical masks (even
up in the nose bleed section).
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 and enhance the actor's voice, making the dialogue much
easier for the massive audience to hear.
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
Ascendant (like the ancient Greek drama mask) helps to identify
and amplify to our at large audience who we are and what we're
Ascendant (the speediest major point on the birth chart) changes
its Zodiac positioning every two hours (or so) - whereas, the
Sun changes Zodiacal signs only once a month. Your birth Sun may
be located in the Zodiac sign of Cancer, but your birth Ascendant
might well be in Gemini. And to further complicate things, your
birth Moon might be in yet another sign such as Leo. So far, we've
barely skimmed the surface of a typical birth chart – and
we've already got major energy emphases going on in three different
Our birth charts are special "sky maps" that reflect
(mirror back) the quality of the exact moment we drew our first
breath. And with that first breath, we each began our own incredible
hero's journey through life on planet Earth...
birth positions of the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter,
Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto all play their own unique symbolic
roles as messengers and ambassadors of the universe... In fact
- there are two luminaries (the Sun and the Moon), eight planets,
twelve signs, twelve houses (and much more) which go into making
up our unique birth charts...
Ownership of the Sun
And the deal is that a great many folks do seemingly end up choosing
to primarily identify with and take ownership of their Sun's energies.
However, other folks end up primarily identifying with and taking
ownership of their Moon's energies... and then other folks end
up identifying more with their Ascendant's energies.
now, knowing just this much... how could anyone expect a simple
Sun Sign description of Cancer to totally fit them?
by the way, when giving birth chart readings, I encourage folks
to "give voice" and expression to all the many differing
(often conflicting) Zodiacal energies contained within their birth
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