This is the initial installment in a series that appeared previously in ECLIPSE (editing and additions have been made), where we inspect some of the characteristics, assumptions, and impulses with each sign as it captures the Ascendant. This is the symbolic place where we enter the world; the nature of the sign on it suggests both how we meet our environment, and what we believe is necessary to survive in it, and so forms the personality. I try to give a little of both the view from outside (the way others perceive those with the Ascendant in a particular sign) and from the inside (with the individual looking out at the world, and how that Ascendant response may have been shaped). First, Aries on the Ascendant:
Aries is a Warrior spirit, even when the undertaking is domestic, economic, meditative, or pleasurable in nature. Life brings out the ‘Me First!’ competitive spirit of Aries, and he should never be blamed for that. At the same time, one of the things Aries needs to learn is cooperation (a reflection of the opposing sign, Libra). What we see with Aries on the ascending horizon is someone who likely needed to put themselves first in order to survive, or who needed to lead others for the survival of all. Though we may see those circumstances as unlikely in early life, especially the leading of others, all we need think of is a child either left to their own devices to survive day-to-day or one who finds him- or herself in a position to help others survive (I think of a man I knew who, born during the Depression, cooked and cleaned for his three brothers from the age of 5, when his mother was at work in the fields and the two older brothers were doing whatever odd jobs they could find—he spoke of hardly being able to reach the stove top, which made my hair stand on end—a 5-year-old cooking!) Of course, not everyone with Aries on the Ascendant is literally dealing with life or death—but remember, the horoscope is the world as seen from the individual point of view—when we recall that, we can understand how putting Oneself first can become a real need in response to an environment that disregarded the individual or that left him or her feeling adrift on their own. Interesting that this doesn’t foster abandonment issues in most Aries Ascendants, but we may note that abandonment is a problem for the preceding sign, Pisces, reinforcing the idea that each sign is a response to the perception of the sign preceding it; Self-focused survival is the direct result of a fiery, Mars-fueled attitude, a response that says ‘I’m an army of one, you can’t ignore my impact!’—so if there are issues with unsupportive others or being left behind, they are likely hidden behind a flurry of competency, action, and ‘getting’ and ‘doing’.
The Aries Ascendant gives others the impression that she’s chomping at the bit to lead, and to get her own way; this may spring from early experiences that thwarted the Will, that made Aries feel unsafe unless she was in charge, and that may have left Aries in the dust unless she thrust herself to the front of the pack—so you can hardly blame her for wanting to establish her place, for wanting to avoid being lost in the shuffle. The conscious focus is on the ego and the ‘I Am’ statement of what or who Aries asserts as the identity at any one time; this can change with the needs and/ or focus of the ego. Aries is also prone to defend others or to fight whenever there seems to be a reason (which may not, to an observer, justify aggression at all—but Aries can and often does frame aggression in the context of being justified, in the same way that a surgeon often sees the need for surgery—it’s their job); eventually, both a defensive attitude and a willingness to fight can be tamed to suit and support the identity statement, though the latter may never truly be subsumed.
When Aries is the rising sign, the individual meets the world assertively and aggressively, meaning that they both impress the Self on the surroundings and automatically meet others in a competitive spirit. Typically Aries starts out all ‘Me First!’ and, depending on experiences encountered, will evolve to continue to put the Self first in socially acceptable (Libran) ways. Once they become sensitive to others’ (mostly negative) reactions to excessive Self-assertion and interest, they move more and more toward expressions that carry that Libran style. In spite of such evolution, Aries will still always hold a strong competitive spirit in abeyance, and will still assess situations initially on what she or he can get, what can be done, and what kind of impact he or she may be able to make. A competitive or aggressive stance may continue to be presented—they’re always wearing their ‘War Face’, even when that is a smile! Action is a consistent, even eternal, part of the Aries expression, and it’s Aries’ job to learn how to make that action both acceptable to others and meaningful to the Self. Diplomacy, fairness, partnership, cooperation, good manners all become part of the arsenal that allows Aries to get what she or he wants—and that’s good, creating balance and fairness in the best sense, where others aren’t disregarded and yet Aries gets the needs met and makes an impression, which is so vital to Aries feeling their approach to the world is a successful one.
Watch for the Zodiapedia for each sign on the Ascendant, one at a time over the coming days.