The ascendant has a distinct impact on the appearance, both physically and in the intangible. Mars-ruled, the ascendant sign shows itself in both appearance and physical attitude. A planet conjunct or closely aspecting the ascendant also has an impact on this forward face. Mars rising brings a martial aspect, also an increased physicality of nature. Pluto rising, a depth and power that can disturb. Neptune rising can be changeable, or dreamy. With Venus conjunct or in close aspect there’s heightened popularity and an attractive quality. A person with the Moon rising will often show their emotions physically, a “heart on their sleeve” or in their face aspect.
The degree of the rising sign by decan, the sign divided into three, ten degree parts, is another interesting point to decipher. Each decanate within the sign is of the same element as the sign itself, in ascending order. For example, Aries: The first ten degrees correspond with Aries, Mars ruled: the second ten degrees correspond with Leo, Sun ruled; the third ten degrees correspond with Sagittarius, Jupiter ruled. It goes in the order of the zodiac with the sign itself taking the first decan. Staying with the fire signs the next example is Leo, with a Leo first decan, a Sagittarius second and an Aries third.
I am a Leo rising at 21 degrees which puts my ascendant in the third decan, associated with Aries, ruled by Mars. I have a dramatic presence (Leo) and part of that drama is a propensity to appear somewhat martial (Aries decan) or physically simple. Even though I am a mushy Pisces, I have been known to offer to “kick somebody’s ass” in situations where I’m acting on appearance alone (hello, confrontations in a bar!). I look like I can handle myself, even if that is not actually true in all cases. I can back people off with a look. Also I tend to look somewhat masculine, even though in other ways I am rather feminine… think “dramatic hair and army pants.”
How does your ascendant describe your appearance and general presence?