Appearance And The Ascendant

Leo rising with Aries“First appearance deceives many.”

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?

102 thoughts on “Appearance And The Ascendant”

  1. LOL – I never thought about the decan of the ASC. I have Cancer rising – Pisces decan. Yep… loving, kind, huggable space cadet. (Plus, I’m an Aquarius… apparently, I am totally off-world most of the time!)

    But, I have Pluto tightly sextile my ASC. I may appear to be “lost in space,” but if you look closely, you’ll see the yawning abyss of the river Styx and the Power of the Underworld. Mwahhahaha!

    With the sextile, I seem to be able to turn that off and on whenever I choose. And I that must be why sometimes, I make people uncomfortable.

  2. Sagittarius on the Ascendant in the 3rd Decanate. I think I actually do look like a centaur. Petite on top with but with defined shoulders, big hips, butt and thighs…even short legs. Oddly enough my 3rd Decanate would be ruled by Leo…I used to want to be an actress and have even dabbled with burlesque. Interesting…

    1. Lol so funny I’m a sag rising third decan and you described me!! I’m petite but short legs and wide hips but also have those broad shoulders for being “little”

  3. This is a fun one. I rise at 20 degrees Capricorn. It definitely gives my body a earth sign quality. I already have this huge sexy Scorpio hair and Capricorn makes it coarse and curly as hell. Also I’m painfully shy from strangers. I have a very tangible air of judgement around me although I’m the least judgmental person alive, it’s something about the Capricorn rising that makes people want to secure my good opinions. I don’t understand that.
    Although I don’t always like the Capricorn tendency to be whiny, I love the Capricorn pout, which I have more or less mastered.
    I think rising Capricorn gives me a really wild sexy appeal, when you add it to the Scorpio/Aquarius thing it turns out very James Dean down at the local soup kitchen affect. I’m not complaining.
    The decan should be late Saturn or early Venus. Saturn is my trouble planet and with Venus I’m exalted. Either way.

  4. Just went and looked at my chart and realize I have Leo Venus conjunct my (Venus flavored already) Virgo Asc. Thanks for this lesson Satori — it has helped me put the pieces together!

  5. Let’s see: 7 degrees Libra ASC would put me in the 1st decan. My true node is 8 degrees 53′, which is still 1st decan. (Just checkin’) The aspects are as follows:

    Sun square Ascendant orb -0°09′
    Saturn square Ascendant orb -3°40′
    Venus semi-square Ascendant orb -0°22′
    Jupiter semi-square Ascendant orb +0°35′
    Mercury sextile Ascendant orb +5°34′

    Which makes me so much fun. o_O

    The Sun square ASC means I don’t always come across as I actually am or intend. The Saturn (in Cap in the 3rd house) square my ASC is just a sad thing because my family of origin was unusually dysfunctional. So for all the bluster / attitude some people might see because of the Sun square ASC, I’m actually rather cautious, serious and responsible. (I have improved with age. I don’t really have much of an attitude anymore. 🙂 Life has a tendency to knock that out of a person.) With Venus and Jupiter each semi-square my ASC, I’m never sure how to act anyway.

    My Venus in the 22nd degree of Leo (in the 11th house) saves the day, however. I am very lucky to have devoted friends, who, once they get to know me, respect me for my mind and not my appearance, which is rather “exotic.”

    Interpretation of the 22° Leo symbolic degree: “A star rises above a two-headed man standing by the shore of a lake.

    “Benevolent, discreet, and fair character endowed with powerful intellectual capacities. One has broad knowledge covering a wide range of disciplines, particularly in human sciences…. “

  6. My rising is Cancer 25 degrees, third Decan, neptune influenced. Look a lot like a cancer, big breast, big eyes, broad face.

  7. This is so interesting. I’m 28 degrees Aquarius rising and 28 degrees saturn in Aquarius. Is that some kind of karma- I don’t know. I think I come across as being friendly to all and capable.

  8. I am really bad at guessing ascendants. For instance, hearing that Justin Timberlake is a Leo ASC just shocks me. Or imagining a taurus ascendant who is skinny. Or a capricorn ascendant pretty/not overly serious. Yes, I am bad at understanding the link between ascendants and appearances!

  9. Cancer rising, 17*, Scorpio decan. Inconjunct Neptune/Sag.
    I have a moon face, but maybe the scorpio influence gives me that mischievous/crazy look in my eyes!

    My moon is in Aries/10th, and inconjunct Merc/Uranus in Scorpio/5th. I also have a tight Moon/Pluto opposition. I’m somewhat familiar with Hades Moon stuff, having read about it some years ago.

  10. 22 deg Aquarius ASC, with Saturn Venus conjunct.

    So far, I have not seen evidence that I am popular or attractive, per the Venus.

    I am conservative in public, yet people have sought me out to be friends with me, so they see someone they want to know for some reason.

    Uranus is in Virgo. I am always sought out for psychic readings. I prefer to write them down through meditation in the privacy of my home, then mail the readings so I don’t have to deal with people face-to-face.

  11. cancer ascendant here with Saturn conjunct it @ 0 degrees Leo, 1st house – people often mistake me for being in a bad mood when I’m not – I have a stern “neutral face” I guess. Strong nose, dark eyes, serious demeanor. sigh. I feel Saturn very heavily in my life. My Saturn return was… a wake up call to say the least. 😛

  12. Ascendants really do describe our outward appearance and i think this is valuable to explore. I’ve always been fed up when people have said how intense and powerful I look. (2nd decan Scorpio ascendant (Pluto ruled), rising planet Neptune/Mars) I’ve also got long red hair, steely grey eyes and stand proud which makes me seem more formidable. But deep down, I’m much more a pussycat with a heavily aspected pisces moon, and late Sadge sun. My eyes though steely, are large, soft and watery and knowing how people have judged me on appearance, I deliberately go out of my way to seem softer than I am to re-balance this effect. It probably doesn’t help that I dress like a scorpio though, and being a hypnotherapist probably adds more power to the suspicions! oh well…..hope this is useful x

  13. Hello I am Libra, Aries Rising in the third Decan (Jupiter’s decan) Mars in Gemini in the 2nd house. Saturn square ascendant and Venus Quincunx ascendant. I also have moon in Sag in the 8th house. What does this mean all together??? Please and thank-you!!

  14. Rising at 26°59 Cancer, Third Decanate of Neptune. The only major aspect I have to my ASC is a loose early Aries Mars trine. Minor aspects is an inconjunction to my Saturn and Uranus. I have the signature Cancer look – round facial features, big eyes, slightly chubby body – and I do look approachable and “sweet” I guess, but at the same time very physical (Mars).

  15. Avatar
    Jennifer Carslake

    Love it! I am a 29 degree Pisces sun, Scorpio moon and third decan (26 degrees)Leo rising.Thanks for the deeper understanding!

  16. I’m an Aries Ascendant (11 degrees) and have short red hair and an athletic body and people usually think I’m much more aggressive than I really am.

  17. Libra rising in the first decan. Like the other Libra ASCs, I am often described as a girly girl by others but I would say I’m more of a tomboy in a great dress. My body is proportional and I have one dimple when smiling.

  18. I have Leo rising, 2nd decan ruled by Jupiter. To boot, I have Jupiter in the 12th conjunct my rising sign. Hair is always an obsession. It’s big and puffy and needs constant maintenance. Jupiter in the 12th has kept me fairly lean as I’ve aged. I wear flowy, colorful clothing that is meant to make me stand out. And true to 2nd decan, I live thousands of miles across the sea from where I was born.

  19. I found the decan aspect to greatly help in rectifying my chart
    A couple of things I learned along the way if others don’t know their ascendant:
    An astrologer I studied with once said the ascendant is instinctual – you don’t think or cultivate it, also that can make it difficult for the native to see because it’s largely unconscious. (And the descendant is how we consciously try to act or be seen as, more a persona)
    Also I was told & in my case it’s true: the rising sign frequently is the sun sign of one of the parents
    I’ve a retro Jupiter/Chiron conjunct the ascendant – I had tumors & cysts that had to be removed when I was a few months old.
    There’s lots of aspects to the ascendant including moon & Venus in Leo trining it: think that’s why I appear much younger than my age. And why people think I’m a queenly stuck up bitch on first impression, lol. Well that & my Virgo sun 😉

    1. Neither my brother’s rising sign nor my rising sign is the Sun sign of any of our parents. So I wouldn’t rely on this method!

  20. Equal parts protective space ship and mad eyed space cadet with a buzzy unplaceable energy that gives the uncanny feeling of being capable of intergalatic travel in the blink of an eye. quietly unhinged and yet competent?

    Capricorn Asc 1degree (saturn decan) conjunct o degree cap Sat/uran, conjunct 25 Sag mars (aries decan)
    neptune 9 degrees cap (saturn decan), moon 23 degrees cap (virgo decan)

  21. so that would make me a double leo rising, as it is 3 degrees, also it is square mars in scopio in the fourth house and pluto is in my first house in leo

  22. I didn’t know about the decans in ASC – pretty interessting!
    So, I’m Libra rising in 3rd decan. If I understand correctly that means I’d be seen as Gemini-like?
    This is a sign I don’t know well, but I think they are young-at-heart, or supposed to look young? That was indeed the case for me for a long time but after a while, time catches up one way or another…
    I’ve got Mars 2° before the ASC. Sometimes I can be pretty emphatic, makes me look energetic. I’m not really, But I can get quite enthusiastic about things, speak with my hands, wave my arms, etc.
    I’m Leo, but don’t think I look like one, so maybe that is the explanation. (Big animal in Tinkerbell suit?)

  23. Taurus rising, 2nd Decan. I have Virgo Sun conjunct Pluto and 2nd Decan. People thinks, I’m a stupid person. Don’t know the reason.

  24. I have 14 Degrees Virgo asc. 2 decan, ruled by Saturn. Saturn is in my 4th house aspecting all my angles and Mars, moon, chiron, venus, mercury… yeah its all over the place! I think my nose is very Capricorn alike. Downward turned and looks like a a capricorns nose if you squint if you know how I mean :p

    I have a bit defined cheak bones as well, not super high though. I think thats too capricorn/satiurn effect

  25. Avatar
    Marilyn Haynes Smith

    Hhhmmmmm 11 Leo Asc with Scorpio Sun Moon Merc…. I have scared GROWN MEN off with “THE LOOK”…stay on the good side of my MOUTH too…slow to anger but I am be MEAN and CUSS like a sailor too…
    Always had BIG HAIR…

  26. Pisces Asc: Large hooded eye lids with full eyebrows and long lashes and a far away look. Hair on the fair side curling away from the face and pale but clear complexion. Very full lips but not a wide mouth. Tall and lean but a bit curvy in the right spots. Nicely formed feet and not much body hair. Slow reactions to sudden events and quiet voice. How’s that?

  27. Oh, That’s Pisces at 2.35″ (first decan) and no planets anywhere near the Asc except for a close conjunction from Chiron. All but Saturn are on the western side of the chart.

  28. hah, my only cap is the second decan of virgo asc. so i sorta’ have cap…
    er, it aspects a bunch of my planets- my venus/pluto opposition through inconjunct venus. square neptune. trine mercury. sextile uranus. most of those orbs are pretty close.

    all i know is i have crazy hair with its own sense of humor.
    and people always think i’m younger than i am.
    and annoying chronic illnesses that i’ve found ways to work around.
    i used to be androgenous, but four pregnancies changed that and i’m still getting back in shape.
    i like my venus/pluto but i play up my mercury/uranus for work.
    neptune just messes with me

  29. 3rd Decan Aquarius, with Chiron in the first house. I present with humor most often. It generally comes from left field. As a kid, I was shy, big eyed, and terrified to be seen.

  30. This IS a fun post! I had forgotten about the decans in the ASC! Libra Rising, 2nd decan. Yep, makes sense. Present very feminine, but with Aquarius decan I come across as very Uranian, but with Saturn rising and Uranus on the MC I’m constantly at war with myself as to which energy I want to embrace and express. Bouncing back and forth has been no fun a lot of the time. Still, it is who I am so I relate to it and don’t know any other way. With a loaded 11th house I identify with being Aquarian even though a double Libra.

  31. My appearance shows my Pisces rising. I’m not sure about the second decan. The planets in aspect (Saturn square rising, Mars sesquiquadrate rising; Pluto johndro rising, if this is a relevant aspect) seem to have more to do with the intangible part. There are asteroids (Persephone; Agamemnon) conjunct my rising, perhaps I look like them, but I don’t know how they look.

    1. And I have natal Juno trine my rising and natal Pallas and natal Uranus qincunx my rising. There are also some more minor aspects. So there could because of the many influences never be anything told if they would be all of the same importance.

  32. Capricorn Rising, 2nd decan, so Venus ruled…not sure how that comes across. Natal Saturn in Pisces,so dreaminesd and tendency was to escape. But now Pluto conjncting Ascendant has produced changes and there will be more coming soon 🙂

  33. @egiyablue same here… I also have “cow eyes”, Taurus rising first decanate.

    It’s aspected by the Moon in the 12th by 4 degreed. I hate putting on fat on my face… the rest of my body I don’t care.

    Exact trine with my Sun, I read this means you look like your father which is totally true in my case.

    4 degree sextile Mars (does it count?) In mutual reception with my Aries Moon. I give the impression of being a tomboy even though I don’t want to but I still don’t put any effort in creating “feminine” mannerisms because it feels unnatural.

  34. I’m Aquarius Rising with Gemini ruling the decan and with the way the books say I am supposed to look is not how I look. But I am restless and fidgety and have kept the Post Office in business with writing old fashioned letters. I love to read and write. And the fact that my Uranus is in my 8th house inclines me to love reading and writing about the supernatural. I have journals of strange things that have happened to me and people around me.

  35. Ascendant 1°46′ Scorpio but nothing is conjunct to it. I have Uranus at 28 degrees Scorpio but that’s the closest thing to it. Does that mean I appear different right off the bat? I am however a Taurus (sun, mars, mercury, venus & chiron) right across from it in my 7th house.

  36. This is sooo interesting!!! I’m Libra Rising, 2nd Decan (Aquarian).. I never realized why I have always felt so Aquarian and now I know! I definitely have an aloof personality and hard to figure out. Also I have always enjoyed ‘beautiful’ things but I like to be different and stand out.

  37. That’s exactly right mandab07! (same here) I veer from being real girly to real tomboyish and not caring what I look like in public.

  38. I have leo rising in the second decan (Sag) but I also have a sag uranus and jupiter conjunction trining my Asc and an aries mars trining it as well. I appear super energetic and probably exciting? Uranus in my chart rules my descendant so it mostly gets projected. I can’t be sure about how I come across. (Inside, I am straight 8th house. My Sun and Moon are there. I store my energy up and use it when I need it) My Aries Venus also trines it but widely 7-8 degrees – I care about looking nice i guess. I also have an exact quintile from pluto to my asc. I have an intensity about me for sure. But that can also be attributed to ruler of my rising in the 8th.

    Anyway, in all honesty, I can’t be sure how I come across. I think I have an idea but ???

  39. Taurus rising conjunct Sun Taurus, 3rd decan (Cap)…..12th H. Think I look like a schlub! Jupiter, Ceres, & Venus are 12H Taurus as well, so maybe I really am more cow-like than schlubby. Calm & composed, I remember that look in pictures in 7th grade. Also have broad shoulders and curves, although I don’t carry additional weight. Good food doesn’t require huge amounts & I prefer not to wear it around afterwards, lol. Can be difficult to find clothing that fits my body anyway! I’m unapproachable and don’t know why. Perhaps the square to Pluto in Leo?

  40. I am a Capricorn Sun with Leo Rising, jupiter conjunct rising, pluto squares it.

    People who havent met me yet, say I have a resting bish face and look unapproachable. However, when they meet me , I am friendly and fun. After spending more time with me …my sun sign becomes more apparent hence the *you are cold, serious, introverted*

  41. Capricorn rising in taurus decan. I am on the shorter side and just a bit plump, but just my walking can be intimidating to others. The grocery lady always asks me where do I go and what happened because it seems like I am going somewhere important and have a very determined look on my face (her words), and I am like, haha no, just here, getting bread. People have all sorts of reactions, indifference, intimidation, babying me. I have four planets and two asteroids in 1st house. 🙂

  42. Avatar
    Shimmering Light

    Brilliant post! ‘Mushy Pisces…” – very funny!
    I have Cancer rising in the second decan, i.e. Scorpio. Have never quite understood and believed that some people are intimidated by my presence (“Hey, I’m a cuddly Cancer rising, folks”). Other than that I have the classic Cancer ASC potbelly (even though I’m almost underweight), and until I hit my 50s I had a classic roundish, soft face also.

  43. 5* Aquarius Rising. I have always physically appeared tall and gangly. My Libra Sun likes to dress with a touch of the unexpected (Uranus). I thoroughly enjoy astrology (Aquarius ruled).

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