The Ascendant As A Mask

Indian princess“What each must seek in his life never was on land or sea. It is something out of his own unique potentiality for experience, something that never has been and never could have been experienced by anyone else.”
–Joseph Campbell

In a birth chart the placements that move most quickly are the most personal. The Sun moves about a degree every day, through a sign in a month. The moon, moves much more quickly than that, through one sign in a few days. The slowest moving planets, the outer planets, take years to move through a sign and have a more generational effect in the chart. The placements that move most quickly, and are therefore most singular to a given chart, are the angles, changing signs in mere hours. It is the house system, led by the Ascendant, that determines the personal arenas of the outer planet placements.

The Ascendant, the sign on the first house cusp is most markedly an indicator of appearance, both physically and in how the person “seems” to be. It can be the major feature of our active persona, our social role, and when under stress it can be the mask behind which we hide.

Leo is rising in my chart and when I am out and about I am often seen as playful, dramatic and strong, whether or not that is how I am actually feeling. It is often how I am perceived. Due to my Pisces Sun I am actually a bit shy. My Capricorn Moon is reflected in my personal propensity to worry a lot. However, this is not what people see at first glance.

When I was young and faced with a daunting situation I used to consciously pretend I was someone else, a captured Princess (Leo= drama, royalty). I gave speeches, sang at public events, waited on hundreds of people at a banquet, all as kidnapped royalty. It got me through.

The Ascendant, being the first house, Aries’ house, is a placement for active participation. I am seen this way in part because that is how I act. Under stress, when I am particularly shy or worried, I put on my Leo mask and act like a Leo. Because it is my Ascendant it comes naturally. Over time it has become ingrained. I’d have a hard time pulling off the appearance of shy and retiring, though those traits are in my chart too. I am many different things but Leo is my first handshake. It may be a mask, but it is also part of me.

Where is your Ascendant? Do you wear that mask? Is it active, passive, both?

62 thoughts on “The Ascendant As A Mask”

  1. I have Libra rising, but I have Mars/Neptune conjunct in the 1st house square Uranus and trine Jupiter. I think people see the Libra and Neptune first, but after they talk to me they know I’m no pushover.

  2. Aquarius Rising here and my Uranus is planted in my 8th house, so, I scare the crap out of people sometimes. Haha! I love wearing all black even in the hottest part of summer. Just recently, I have come to realize that if I wear colors I feel odd and just out of my comfort zone. But when I put my black clothes on, I feel much more comfortable. And I loathe white clothes!

    I come across as strange to others. One day many years ago, on a Sunday afternoon, my husband and I went into a Dairy Queen and a family that had came from church eyeballed me warily. It was in the hot summer and I was in black as usual. Well the mother grabbed her kids and pulled them close to her and when we walked by to our table, the boy turned and did a vampire hiss at me and then the family left. I laughed so hard! [No, I am not into evil, but I live for the unknown-paranormal.]

    And don’t get me started on Halloween, my favorite time of year, when I can really feel NORMAL. LOLOL!!

  3. My Sun is Cancer, my ASC is Leo with Mercury in 12th conjunct.
    I have a very enthusiastic, dramatic, sincere, warm & strong mask.
    Pluto is square my ASC so that mask it literal, i can hide my entire self to anyone without ever leaving a trace, but not always to my benefit, which is not really an issue no more since ridding the bad energy from within me.

    My Cancerian nature really goes well with my ASC, dig deeper you find such a softy, but a softy that won’t ever break under hard times.

    At times i am unapproachable, people will look at me but not say anything, i have caused people to have a very unsteady manner, even outright want to fight me because i am intimidating sometimes without meaning to be.

    So that’s me.

  4. Libra ASC for a Leo Sun.
    I don’t feel that I wear a mask, as if hiding something. It’s more like I’m basically not super-Leo (Sun conjunct Saturn dims Leo spotlights!).
    Perhaps I like to show of in a discreet way? I admire people with lots of flair but do not feel comfortable to attract attention.
    As for interaction with others, I try to be “nice”, though sometimes I feel like a hypocrite because I feel like I’m just being polite. Well, I guess that’s a mask! Not hiding unpoliteness, b/c I’m generally polite, but perhaps hiding a lack of deep interest for some things. But I’ve got Moon in Aqua, so that’s sort of detached.

  5. Avatar
    the laughing goat

    Aquarius ASC and as I get older I feel more like this than my Cap Sun. Not so much concerned anymore with what others think of me, do what I want to enjoy/experience life, don’t put so much emphasis on titles and accomplishments anymore – been there done that and in the end I am much more happier to travel, be with people who are genuine and of like mind, and soak up all that life has to offer. I was much more serious, concerned with my image, and goal oriented when I was younger and it served me well. But now I want to play. 🙂

  6. I love my Aries ASC but my Cancer sun and moon loves when the mask is allowed to fall off without repercussion!

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