Understanding Ascendants

A great way to understand the Ascendant or Rising sign is by looking at a blank chart. Yes! For example, take a blank chart with Aries Rising (which is also referred to as an Aries Ascendant or Aries on the First House) and consider the planetary rulership of each house and which houses the planets become exalted and debilitated in. Through this basic process, you will get to know more about the underlying possibilities, potentials, and pitfalls of each ascendant.

Start with the Aries chart. Which planet becomes exalted in each house for Aries Rising?

Sun is exalted in Aries so the Sun is exalted in the first house of an Aries chart. This makes Aries self-focused, self-aware, and explains why Aries are so often referred to as self-initiators or leaders.

Moon is exalted in Taurus so the Moon is exalted in the second house of an Aries chart. This gives Aries a tendency to talk with great emotion and to have steady feelings about their morals and ethics which aren’t easily changed or influenced by others. Rahu is also exalted in Taurus, so Rahu is exalted in the Aries’ second house. This could create even greater emotional discussions and conformity to their values, or cause confusion around them.

No planet is exalted in Gemini, which is Aries third house.

Jupiter is exalted in Cancer so Jupiter is exalted in the fourth house of an Aries chart, giving them wonderful opportunties to connect with the public and enjoy an active homelife built around strong connections to family or a large home in general.

No planet is exalted in Leo, which is Aries fifth house.

Mercury is exalted in Virgo so Mercury is exalted in the sixth house of an Aries chart. This gives them the potential for problems around health, specifically related to the nervous system or nerves, including anxiety. They probably don’t like disciplining themselves around household chores and would prefer to find short, quick-fixes for all their daily issues when they arise but can do very well at talking their way out of most difficulties.

Saturn is exalted in Libra so Saturn is exalted in the seventh house of an Aries chart. This gives the Aries person difficulties around relationships, at least at first when there tends to be obstacles or delays with committment. But once a partner is chosen, the committment can be for a lifetime. This is a person who, with the right partner, will enjoy growing old together and standing the test of time.

Ketu is exalted in Scorpio so Ketu is exalted in the eighth house of an Aries chart. This gives Aries the desire to seek answers and investigate deeply into things or people but it may bring limited support or resources from the partner. Partnerships will do better if spiritually like-minded.

No planet is exalted in Sagittarius, which is Aries’ ninth house.

Mars is exalted in Capricorn so Mars is exalted in the tenth house of an Aries chart. This gives Aries tremendous strength in public affairs, especially debates, sports, and competition of any kind. But this can also put Aries in hot water and aggressive incidents with others if too impulsive or impatient.

No planet is exalted in Aquarius, which is the eleventh house in an Aries chart.

Venus is exalted in Pisces so Venus is exalted in the twelfth house of an Aries chart. This gives Aries a strong inclination towards daydreaming but also the ability to help others. They have a love for cultural travel and luxuries. Problems may arise from excesses (spending beyond their means and overindulging).

Apply this same method of observation to the remaining eleven Ascendants, Taurus through Pisces – especially your own Ascendant. Did you become aware of any new insights? Now repeat the process but substitute the exalted planets with planets in debility to find out where each Ascendant is naturally most vulnerable or challenged. (Hint: Sun is debilitated in Libra. Moon is debilitated in Scorpio. Mars is debilitated in Cancer, Mercury is debilitated in Pisces. Jupiter is debilitated in Capricorn. Venus is debilitated in Virgo. Saturn is debilitated in Aries. Rahu and Ketu are debilitated in Scorpio/Taurus, respectively.)

This method may seem fruitless at first but when these basic principles are understood and applied to your own chart or charts of others, you’ll be able to glean deeper meaning during specific transits (planets in their current positions) and the dasha timeline. For more information about the Vimshottari Dasha timeline, read the article The Gift of Our Astrological Timeline here.

Renate Maria Bell is a certified Vedic Astrologer, Jyotish Visharada, and approved teacher with the Council of Vedic Astrology. She can be reached at renatembell@aol.com

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