What You See versus What You Get The Rising Sign And More

In This Chapter

^ Determining your rising sign ^ Analyzing your Ascendant ^ Considering your Descendant ^ Discovering your Midheaven and I.C.

■ used to work at a bookstore with a woman who was so well-organized and in control that everyone relied on her. She knew what was on the shelves, what was on order, what was out of print, what was in the back room, and what was behind the counter. On top of that, she had read everything, including the classics that most people don't even know are classics, and she could advise the most hard-to-please customer. When she wasn't around, things fell to pieces. So I wasn't surprised when I completed her chart and discovered that she had Virgo rising. She was as intelligent, organized, and meticulous as any Virgo I knew.

But rising signs can be deceptive. Sure, on the surface she was detail-oriented and in control, just like a Virgo. But her Sun was not in Virgo. It was in sensitive, charitable Pisces, the dreamiest, most impressionable sign in the zodiac. And indeed, that sign described her more fully. She was kind, compassionate, and imaginative (that's why she was such an avid reader — she lost herself in books). She had many devoted friends, a husband she adored, a city loft filled with original artwork, and a second home — a tiny cottage — on a windswept island in a distant sea. Her life was suffused with romance, creativity, and water. But if she had experienced the poetry of Pisces, she also knew the pain of it. In one form or another, she had coped with everything from a relative in jail to alcoholism. She was a Pisces down to her toes.

Nonetheless, she looked like a Virgo. That's because Virgo was her rising sign, or Ascendant. The Ascendant describes the surface level of your personality. It is who you appear to be — the surface you present to the world. In the past,

gj many astrologers considered the Ascendant the most essential part of the birth chart — even more central than the Sun sign. Today, most astrologers rank the rising sign, the Sun sign, and the Moon sign as the three most important parts of a chart.

The zodiac revolves around the Earth like a gigantic ring. At any given moment, one sign of the zodiac is rising over the eastern horizon and another sign is setting in the west; one sign is riding high above you and another sign is on the opposite side of the planet. Each of these points represents one of the four main angles of your chart.

The sign on the eastern horizon is your rising sign; the exact degree of that sign is your Ascendant. The point opposite your rising sign on the western horizon is the Descendant or setting sign, which is always a full 180° away from the Ascendant. The degree at the top of your horoscope is the Midheaven, or M.C., and the degree at the lowest part of your chart, 180° away from the Midheaven, is the imum coeli, or I.C. Those four points determine the angles of your horoscope, as shown in Figure 11-1.

M.C. Medium Coeli

Figure 11-1:

The four angles of the chart: the Ascendant, Midheaven, Descendant, and I.C.

Figure 11-1:

The four angles of the chart: the Ascendant, Midheaven, Descendant, and I.C.

Imum Coeli I.C.

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