The ascendant is the point in the chart where zodiacal sign and degree was ascending on the eastern horizon at the specific place and time of your birth. In astrology it is what gives you your original personality nature. for the ascendant is different for everyone, and distinguishes us, from someone who was born at the same time in China, or India, or Brazil, at the same moment we were born. Thus, the ascendant, more than any planet defines what it is in the astrology chart that makes us a unique being in a vast sea of interdependent incarnating souls. The ascendant defines our time and place. As the ascendant defines our time, from it the archetypal zodiac which is 12 signs in number are split into twelve houses. The 7 traditional planets then are placed into these twelve, and from this our fortune and destiny is foretold.
This point falls at a degree in the circle. That degree marks our personality, our individuality, our body type, and becomes a marker for our quest and our power in the world. Traditional astrology measures this degree in relation to its place in the circle. Which sign rules this degree. What planets aspect this degree. Is this in a feminine sign or masculine. Is it in a feminine degree or masculine. What element rules the sign that the degree is in. Also, consider that if the ascendant degree is early in a sign it is considered stronger. Thus the personality will be stronger and less likely to bend from its shape and intentions. The planet that rules the sign of the ascendant speaks a great deal about personality purpose of a person. The triplicity rulers of the ascendant speaks about the life experience of the persons chart in a way that is broken down into large thirty year swaths.
A key to living a healthy life psychologically is to integrate your personality with your soul, thoughts, emotions, and life conditions. Coming to know your ascendant, and its meaning then is a tool for integrating yourself with your circumstances. An interesting exercise is to sit down, breath in and out a few times to quiet the mind, and then think of the archetype that rules your ascendant. Meditate on it for a few moments and then write down four qualities of this archetype that are beneficial to you and others, then four that are harmful to you and others. No need to worry about whether these are true to your personality or not. By the mere fact that they come to mind then they are part of your own matrix. Contemplate these eight modes of personality action. Do not judge them, just let it be, with acceptance for a few moments. Then rest the mind in simple meditation for a few moments. After that, vow to work to make yourself and others happy through all of your interactions.
You will find this rich, rewarding and deepening.
Here are 12 Key Polarities for the Ascendant in each sign to help with the meditation.
Aries: Initiative/ Impulsive
Taurus: Enjoyment/ Slow
Gemini: Intelligent/ Ungrounded
Cancer: Nurturing/ Self Pity
Leo: Bright/ Self Centered
Virgo: Methodic/ Critical
Libra: Balanced/ Passive Aggresive
Scorpio: Daring/ Vindictive
Sagittarius: Jovial/ extreme
Pisces: Compassionate/ Careless