star school an intro to astrology for total beginnersToday we’re talking about your Ascendant or Rising Sign. In technical terms, the Ascendant is the time the Sun was rising in the sky at the time you were born.  In astrology terms, this symbolizes the face you present to the world.

“But Theresa,” you might ask, “what does that mean about my Sun sign? Isn’t that who I am?”

Glad you asked! The Sun is your core personality – you.  But the Rising is how others see you.  For example, if you are a Scorpio Sun with a Scorpio Rising, you’re going to be as Scorpy as it gets!  That energy will bleed through your pores.  (True story: I once knew a guy who was a triple Scorpio – Sun, Moon and Rising all in Scorpio.  He was totally badass, super violent, hyper-sexed, dark, and witty. He slept with every woman I know.  My badge of honor was being the only woman who resisted his charms!  Ha ha!)

But if you’re a Scorpio with a Leo Rising, you may have a theatrical flair, which means you don’t walk into a room – you sashay with a flip of your gorgeous mane, which might make people mistake you for an extrovert.  It certainly would be a good combo for an entertainer because it has the right combo of flash and secrecy (Drake is a Scorpio Sun with a Leo Ascendant).

Anyhoo, think of your Ascendant as this: how you look, present yourself, your physical attributes, and style.

Let’s get some info on how these Risings signs look ‘n act ‘n dress in public.  This is just a general guideline so don’t get all twisted, yo.

Aries:  This Ascendant produces a fiery nature and energetic personality.  These people are like the Ever-Ready rabbit – hyper and ready to go. They rarely sit still and can usually be spotted as the person casing the room, looking for some other adventure.  They’re not known for patience – they are known for taking action! Aggressive and alert, they move with purpose: big strides, intense look, total game face.   Extroverts every one of ‘em, even the quiet ones. They’re friendly but can be combative (I find especially when they drink!). Just push ‘em around or try to pin ‘em down – you’ll quickly see the flash of the ram’s horns!

Some have ruddy complexions that blush easily.  Others tend to have super-sensitive skin that burns or breaks out into rashes. People with this Ascendant often have athletic bodies that are constantly in motion. They may have nice manes (remember, they rule the head) but the dudes often lose that hair, especially if they tend to be a typical hot-headed Aries rising.

An individual with this Rising is a fashion risk taker.  They’ll be up on those new trends before anyone else. In fact, they’re probably the person who started the whole trend in the first place. They look great in hats and are often fond of any sort of decoration for the head (even a tattoo!).  Celebrity Rising Sign: Rihanna, John Lennon, James Dean, Kendall Jenner

Taurus: A gentle, plodding gait and a strongly built body give it away every time.  When I see that, along with big round eyes, I think: Taurus rising.  It’s usually spot on.  A Taurus Ascendant produces a physically powerful body + presence.  It’s strong but calm. You feel at ease in their presence. It’s because they are Reliable Rogers, the type of friend you can call at 2 AM when you’ve gotten a flat in the middle of nowhere.  A Taurus rising will show up – and they’ll bring snacks and a blankie.

But they can also be extremely possessive – and if they don’t curb that jealousy, it can become a major character flaw.  Although they tend to be easy-going by nature, when push comes to shove, they become obstinate. Get in a grudge match with a Taurus rising and you’re going to lose (unless you share the same sign!).

Ruled by Venus, Taurus risings tend to be attractive, with a physique that can become quite muscular.  They are neat in appearance and they prefer clothing that is comfortable versus trendy.  You’re more likely to find these types lounging in sweat suits – but expensive ones, mind you.  Remember – they like material things. Even their lounge wear needs a little bling. Taurus rules the neck so they often have distinctive necks – either the graceful swan neck or a thick bull-like one. They also possess lovely singing voices. Celebrity Rising Sign: Lana Del Rey, Mariah Carey, Miley Cyrus, David Beckham

Gemini: My mother, sister and younger brother all have this Ascendant so I know it well.  The Gemini Rising individual tends to be a nervous, high strung creature with an expressive face, gorgeous shoulders and hands, and a friendly exterior. They can be quite extroverted and love to talk. In fact, they can talk to anyone about anything.  Charming, effervescent, and witty, people love to be around them.  This is the life of the party and the conversationalist who always has something interesting to say. Invite this guy or gal over – they’ll entertain you for hours!  (They also talk with their hands a lot – they make great mimes! Ha ha!)

They can be cruel gossips. Character assassins even.  Remember: Gemini is dual natured, so as a Rising Sign, they can be two-faced.  This Ascendant can also be remarkably cold – able to carry out the kill with a frightening detachment.  Until they need you. Suddenly, they’re back, cajoling you in with their damn charm. It’s kind of like that poem about the kid who when they’re good, they are very, very good but when they’re bad, they’re horrid.

The tend to be slender and well proportioned but their weight also fluctuates.  They adore fashion and tend to have a varied wardrobe. One day, they’re boho chic with long, flowing locks – the next time you run into them, they’re rocking a flannel shirt, elbow length gloves, and combat boots with a pixie cut.  Generally, they age well unless they smoke. I’ve met more chain smokers under this Rising than any other and it tends to ruin their sparkly, youthful appearance. Celebrity Rising Sign: Lady Gaga, Mick Jagger, Ashton Kutcher, Sandra Bullock.

Cancer:  Big moon shaped heads and eyes like watery, liquid pools.  Yep, that’s Cancer Risings.  Not only do they have round heads and eyes – but also their bodies may have a tendency to go that route later in life. The men and women both have ample chests, which tends to get them lots of attention. They can be timid souls – you need to coax them out of their shells. And when you do, you won’t find a more sensitive, sentimental type.  Their emotions gush out of them.  That means they can moody buggers too.  In fact, you can see the tide changing from good to ominous with a flick of those give-it-away eyes.  They simply cannot hide those feelings.

They are creatures of comfort and love to surround themselves with the things and people that make them feel at home. Family is everything – and they are often found in the role of the matriarch or caretaker.  Even the males tend to have a knack with kids and kin.

Fashion-wise, they can be a bit old fashioned.  That doesn’t necessarily mean frumpy – it may mean a love of all things vintage.  A retro Bibi frock tossed with some Bakelite bangles – no one rocks it better.  Like Taurus Risings, comfort is queen.  If the pants fit so tight that they breathe, it ain’t happening no matter how good that deal may be.  Psst…they are sentimental – give ‘em some jewelry with meaning attached to it and they melt. Celebrity Rising Sign: Angelina Jolie, Liv Tyler, Bill Gates, Kanye West

Leo: Big shoulders, slim hips, flashy clothes and a mane that says: look at me.  That’s Leo Rising in a nutshell. This is the rock star Ascendant and boy, do they ever know it! Leo Ascendants reek of confidence and excitement. These are not quiet folks – they live out loud!  I once knew a Leo Rising woman with huge hair who was all about gaudy prints and strong perfume. When she walked into the room, you knew it.  She made sure you did. ( could hear and smell her coming a mile away.)

Sometimes they can be tacky but even then, there is a certain nobleness to it.  They’ve got pride after all.  They never want to be made fun of! Which means they don’t dig public humiliation.  These proud folks will get hot under the color if you wound their pride – and they’ll be sure to act out their hurt in a dramatic fashion.

They tend to extroversion and adore flattery.  And hey, they are sexy enough to attract many admirers, no matter how old they are.  As they age, they need to watch out that their indulgences don’t catch up with them.  But even if they put on a little extra, they have a way of pulling it off that says “I’m large and in charge and don’t you forget it…or me.”  Most Leo risings adore dressing up.  Any excuse to don a bright dress or well cut suit, they’re in!  These guys invented swagger. Celebrity Rising Sign:  Heidi Klum, Johnny Depp, Freddie Mercury

Virgo: How to spot a Virgo rising: it’s that anxious, worried look on their face and nails bitten down to the quick.  These nervous Nellys tend to be so restless that they rarely keep any meat on their bones. Unless they are the type that go the nervous, emotional eating route – that can lead to big, round bellies. But generally, they are slender folk. Virgo risings are analytical and critical. They are very good at seeing where the problems lie – and pointing them out to you. They’re timid souls, shy and introverted. It takes them a bit to warm up to new peeps. Give ‘em a few drinks to loosen ‘em up and they are bitingly funny.

It’s always said that Virgo anything usually means pickiness and perfectionism. That’s true here too BUT I’ve met plenty of Virgo risings who are complete and utter slobs.  Some have been hoarders.  I’m not sure why that is because generally this sign likes to be clean ‘n neat.  Well, in their physical appearances at least – just don’t do a room inspection because you might find old candy bar wrappers under the bed and dustbunnies in every corner.

Virgo Ascendants are usually modest dressers – although they can, on occasion, push the envelope.They like to be buttoned up with every crease nicely pressed. They have fine features and always look way younger than they are.  That buddy who always gets carded?  Probably a Virgo Rising! Celebrity Rising Sign: Madonna, Keanu Reeves, Kurt Cobain, Uma Thurman

Libra: Ruled by Venus, Libra is considered the most attractive Ascendant of all.  With delicate bones and a well proportioned body, these guys and gals are lookers.  Even the homely ones have a way of pulling off a certain amount of swerve that might make you think they’re hot.  The women of this sign love to dress up and enjoy all the latest styles.  But they’re never about the fads – they want to adorn themselves with the best and if it doesn’t look good on them, no matter how popular it may be, they will take a pass.  The men get that metrosexual stuff done right with good grooming habits and well cut suits.  (Psst the men always smell amazing!) Note to self: is Jidenna a Libra Rising? Must find out.

Libra Ascendants are creative and they have a great eye for design. They can size up a room or a person – and know exactly what might make it look good. Their environment is everything to them. It must be attractive and clean with zero drama.  Put these poor souls in a dirty room with a bunch of people arguing and they flip the hell out!

But here’s the interesting thing: they are very, very good at arguing. In fact, they make excellent lawyers. They manage to remain persuasive and charming, even as they are crushing you in court.  If you ever need a good attorney, seek one with this Ascendant.

Despite their charms, they can also be incredibly selfish and undependable. This is the person who makes a date then ditches you at the last minute because something “came up” (usually a more interesting date).  Celebrity Rising Sign: Beyonce, Britney Spears, Harry Styles, Jared Leto

Scorpio: That hot, brooding guy or gal standing in the corner?  Probably a Scorpio rising. This Rising Sign isn’t an easy one to have but lord have mercy – they are sexy as can be!  Both the males and females have raw sex appeal.  They are dark, mysterious, and a little bit intimidating. That song “Black Magic Woman” was probably written about a Scorpio woman.  They can be extremists in tastes and temperament. One minute they’re all about Van Gogh and civility, the next minute they’re in a peep show and raging at some real or imagined slight.  Needless to say, they are great fun but not the easiest to live with.

They are private – maddeningly so. Each and every one of them has some “secret they’ll take to the grave” and boy, will they let you know that. They drop hints and leave you scratching, searching to figure out what that mystery might be…but you’ll never find it. Because these guys can hide shit well. In fact, you can’t even read them.  They are good at hiding their feelings when they need to.  When they go into that mode, no one wins, least of them the Scorpio Rising.  That ability to detach and shut people out eventually drives people away.

Scorpio Risings usually have strong bodies, intense eyes with strong brows, and can be quite gorgeous.  They usually look best in lots of black.  Whether they are wearing layers of fabric to hide the goods or donning the sheerest, leave-nothing-to-the-imagination gown, you can be sure of one thing: they’ll always be hot-to-trot. Celebrity Rising Sign: Katy Perry, Tom Cruise, Prince, Gwen Stefani

Sagittarius: With long legs and a coltish appearance, a Sagittarius Ascendant is youthful and attractive. They tend to be athletic and those who go that route have uh-may-zing bodies.  I’m talking lithe, long, and lean.  They rarely put any weight on, but when they do, it tends to be right in the middle while the extremities stay thin. These are restless types too. A Sag Rising is active and always on the go. In fact, they love to travel and may be jet setters.  The rare ones who have a phobia about flying will still be keenly interested in the world and other cultures.  Even if they don’t travel, they will be well-read on what’s happening in every part of the world.

They are generally easy-going and fun-loving, but boy do they enjoy a good argument.  (For fun: put ‘em in a room with a Libra Rising and watch them go at it. Libra Rising might convince you that they’ve won but Sagittarius Ascendant will dominate the conversation, especially when they are in a self-righteous mood.)  A Sagittarius Ascendant is also extremely independent.  Do not try to restrict them in any way – it will make them run like a deer.  Speaking of deer, they are all animal lovers.  In fact, they are happier when they have a pet or two.

Most of ‘em are super fashion forward.  These people know how to stand out – they like the avant garde, the unusual, different cultures, boho – all of it. They’ll try out every fad they can find, both old and new.  One thing is for sure: they will never, ever look like anyone else.  They are bold originals.  Celebrity Rising Sign: Brad Pitt, Kim Kardashian, Eminem, Brigitte Bardot

Capricorn: One thing I’ve heard more than once is that this is considered the least attractive Ascendant. I beg to differ – I have met many attractive Capricorn Risings!  They usually have lovely bones and striking faces with piercing eyes.  But they are often reserved, which means they are not the ones who are going to be getting all the attention. Instead, they are happy to be off by themselves, doing whatever needs to be done. They are responsible and ambitious to the core. You can count on these guys.  (What’s not sexy about that?!)

Their early life is often hard with possible health issues and bouts of emotional insecurity.  This changes as they get older.  Age suits them. The older they get, the  more resilient they become.  They age like fine wine or some sort of picture of Dorian Gray.  The unevolved ones are concerned only with appearances. This can lead to great attempts at social climbing. The evolved Capricorn Rising is the do-gooder, out to change the social order through charity or politics.  They make fine politicians when they focus on the good of the people. No one will be a better champion for the underdog!

Capricorn Ascendants tend to be a bit more on the conservative side when it comes to appearance. They like the classics. Give ‘em some khakis and a sweater over their shoulders and they’ll fit right into any Ralph Lauren ad.  Celebrity Rising Sign: Taylor Swift, Bono, Russell Brand, Naomi Campbell

Aquarius: I adore Aquarius Risings! They are truly unique souls. They march to their own drum beat and that beat is often off-beat. An Aquarius Rising is an individual. They have no interest in being like anyone else – they are perfectly happy with who they are.  They’re also quite intelligent with clever, intuitive minds and strong organizational ability.  Play chess or Tetris with these smarties and you’re bound to lose. Freedom is important to them, which means they don’t always make the best partners.  But if you give ‘em enough space, they will be loyal to the core.

They’re friendly to all and tend to have pals from every walk of life. As a friend, you won’t find anyone better. An Aquarius Rising is fun and interesting to be around.  The are keenly aware of the latest music and cool scenes so you can bet they will find a way to get something exciting happening.  It’s rarely boring with these guys around!

This is the “it” guy and gal of the Risings so they’re always hip ‘n fashionable. Avant-garde, hipster, hip hop – they’ll got a bead on what’s in and how to rock it.  They set their own fashion rules and don’t mind if you have a dissimilar aesthetic. In fact, they’ll encourage that. Copycats are not their thing. Instead, they want you to be you, boo. They tend to be physically attractive but always in a way that is somehow “different”.  That model with the flaw that somehow makes it her trademark – yep, that’s likely an Aquarius Ascendant. Celebrity Rising Sign: Barack Obama, David Bowie, Nicki Minaj, Adele.

Pisces:  You can spot a Pisces Rising by the dreamy, faraway look in their eyes. Ruled by Neptune, they are mystics, each and every one of them. Supersensitive, hyper intuitive, and creative down to their bones, this Ascendant may not be the most practical type but by golly, they sure are intriguing. Most of them are attractive with beautiful, dewy complexions and well-proportioned bodies.  They do need to watch their weight though because this Rising can become corpulent if they are given to over-indulge in food or drink.  (PS alcohol and drugs are very dangerous for these peeps. They need to keep that stuff to an absolute minimum. A better route: health nut.)

They are emotional types. The kind who bursts into tears on command. They wear their feelings on their faces – you can always tell what’s truly going on, even if they are doing their best to keep it in. I once knew a Pisces Rising woman who would turn beet red every time she was caught in some bullshit (she was a bad Pisces Rising).  After a while, it became easy to know when she was about to pull some stunt. Her face gave it away.

Kindness and benevolence come naturally to them. They’re always concerned and wanting to help.  A Pisces Rising is the person most likely to give you the shirt off their back. They are that nice.  When they go rogue, they can lean into escapism or playing the victim.  This is NOT a good look on them. They must learn to stand on their own two feet and always face reality.

They like to dress in flowy, loose things.  Nothing too tight, please.  A Pisces Ascendant needs room to breathe, dance, and flit about.  Constricting clothing isn’t their jam. Talismans, lucky charms, and funky vintage clothing – they wear that stuff well.  Put them in something romantic + frilly, plop ‘em on a beach with a bottle of wine and a ukelele, and they’re happy as a clam.  Celebrity Rising Sign: Gwyneth Paltrow, Whitney Houston, Bruno Mars, George Clooney

Homework:  Find your Ascendant in your chart.  (Hint: it’s all the way to the left right on the horizon.)  How does this impact your image?  What might this add to your personality? How might others see you vs how do you see ourself? Now check out your friends and family members – what do their Risings say about them? Does it fit or not? Have fun with this!

Next, let’s look at our good friend Kim K’s chart.  What might her Ascendant say about her image?  How might her Sagittarius Rising blend with her Libra Sun and Pisces Moon?

Kim Kardashian astrology chart

Next month, we will delve into chart patterns.  You’re gonna dig it!

But until then…

Keep gazing at the stars – and stay curious,


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