4. The Ascendant or Rising Sign and Decans

astrology guide
astrology guide

IN THIS CHAPTER, I will be discussing the 12 rising signs of the zodiac, also called the ascendants. Your rising sign is the sign that was on the eastern horizon at the moment of your birth and is the angle of nine o’clock on the astrological chart. More precisely, it’s where the horizon line or plane intersects the ecliptic plane, the apparent plane of the Sun throughout the year from our perspective.

The ascendant is how people see you when they first meet you and what you present to others, often called the “persona” or “mask”—I prefer the term “receptionist,” but any will work. It’s the most visible aspect of a person when they show up in the world, the first impression others have of you. It also represents the conditioning brought by your birth and early childhood. All that you are is filtered through your ascendant. The exact time of birth is needed to accurately calculate your rising sign, as the ascendant is based on that date, time, and place.

Every chart has a ruling planet, and it’s the planet that rules the sign on the ascendant that is the person’s ruling planet. For example, if a chart has Sagittarius rising, the ruling planet is Jupiter. The ruling planet is one of the most important planets in any chart. The placement of that planet, and any planets that are conjunct or close to the ascendant, will modify the energy of the ascendant. Looking at all of this together is how we begin to create a picture of an individual, because although all people with the same rising sign will be similar, we are each unique once we begin to blend the whole chart.

We’ll also be looking at the decans of each sign. Every sign spans 30°, and then each sign can be further broken down into 10° sections called decans. There are two systems of decans. I will be using the triplicity system, which assigns one of the same element of the sign to each decan. The first 10° belong to the sign itself, that is, Aries/Aries. The next 10° belong to the next sign in the same triplicity or element, that is, Aries/Leo, and the third 10° belong to the remaining sign in the triplicity, that is, Aries/Sagittarius. The other system of decans is the Chaldean system, which assigns one of the seven visible planets as ruler to each 10° decan. This system is less commonly used in modern astrology.

 

The Ascendant

Let’s look further into the ascendants for each sign of the zodiac. Any physical or characteristic descriptions are mostly based on observation by astrologers over time. Physical and other characteristics I describe throughout this book are based on generalities and should not be considered defining characteristics.

Aries Rising

Aries rising is a day sign and these people are very active and straightforward. Usually they are quick of movement and oriented toward sports and competitive activities—though their competitiveness is often self-directed. They often dive straight into things and go after what they want without always having thought things through. Aries rising does everything at full speed and likes to be on the move.

They are usually seen as pioneers and leaders, though they have difficulty finishing what they start. There will be no doubt when an Aries rising wants to be in relationship with you, whether as a friend or more. Their directness is a positive but can be overwhelming for some.

Mars is the ruling planet of those born with this ascendant and the placement of that ruling planet will give even more information about how this person operates in the world. Additionally, any planets close to the ascendant will temper the energy. For example, Saturn will really put the brakes on the fast energy of the rising sign.

Rihanna, John Lennon, and Samantha Fox were all born with Aries rising.

Taurus Rising

I always think of Taurus rising as a strongly rooted tree with a big thick trunk, because they are steady and solid, immovable if others try to push them. In appearance, they often have a sturdy and solid look and usually like to be dressed in quality clothing, but nothing over the top. They have a very soothing presence, which makes them comfortable to be around unless you try to push them. They are, however, extremely loyal, to the point where they see others almost as belonging to them.

Taurus rising, a night sign, will usually move at a steady pace and doesn’t like being pushed or rushed. Everything about them is sensual, in that they are attracted to nice smells, tastes, sounds, and touches. They may also have a pleasant voice.

Their ruling planet is Venus, and the placement of Venus will tell more about a specific individual. For example, if Venus is in Gemini, this may make an individual more flexible than the Taurus ascendant alone implies. Venus in Gemini may add to their sociability and the likelihood that they will use their pleasant voice in some way, such as for singing. Planets that conjunct the ascendant will also modify the energy.

Martin Luther King, Boy George, and Miley Cyrus were all born with Taurus rising.

Gemini Rising

Gemini-rising individuals are highly social but also the most chaotic of rising signs. The sign of the twins can argue from both sides of any subject, making them great debaters, but this makes them seem duplicitous, which can be difficult for some more sensitive signs.

Gemini rising are endlessly curious and witty and a joy to have around in a social environment. Their attention spans are short, however, so expect them to flit to the next thing very quickly. This restlessness gives them a nervous outer appearance at times, as they are constantly fidgeting. They are usually quite slender in appearance and will often have long artistic fingers, which you will usually see fiddling with something while they are talking. They are very good at multitasking, so although it may seem they are distracted and not listening, this isn’t always the case.

Mercury is the ruling planet for Gemini and that planet’s placement will say more about the person than the rising sign alone. A planet that conjuncts the ascendant will also temper this sign’s energy. For example, Pluto conjuncting the Gemini ascendant will bring an intensity and depth not seen in all Gemini-rising people.

Bruce Springsteen, Ricky Martin, and Gene Wilder were all born with this rising sign.

Cancer Rising

Individuals born with Cancer rising, a night sign, are highly sensitive and loving souls, the gentlest and most nurturing of people. Like the crab, which is the symbol of Cancer, they are shy and protective, preferring to slide sideways and quietly into any space. They also have a tendency toward moodiness and can either retreat into their shell or get needy when their mood is down. They are often described as “moon faced” and are often thought of as attractive. As Cancer rules the stomach, they may also have a tendency to gain weight and have digestive issues when feeling overwhelmed.

Their empathic “sponge-like” nature adds to this. Cancer rising feels everyone and everything around them and they are best served learning ways to protect their energy when they meet others, so they don’t go into their moody hermit mode.

The Moon is the ruling planet of Cancer, and that represents mothering or nurturing energy, which explains why others are drawn to Cancer-rising people for care when it’s needed. The placement of the Moon in the chart of the Cancer-rising person, however, provides a deeper level of understanding of the person. For example, the Moon in Aries will be more likely to want people to express their emotions directly and to also do this themselves.

Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, Tyra Banks, and John Travolta all have Cancer rising.

Leo Rising

Leo-rising people are ruled by the Sun and it shows in their appearance, as they often have a lion’s mane head of hair and a sunny round face. They are magnetic and light up any room when they enter, making an immediate impression. They are dramatic and demonstrative and love attention. They are sometimes loud, sometimes regal, but always commanding. They often dress for attention, as well.

Where this is less positive is if they don’t get the attention and adulation they seek; their inner child can get bossy and have tantrums. Leo-rising people are big kids at heart and really just want to be loved and to survey their kingdom or queendom with benevolence. They make better leaders than workers, though they tend toward rashness at times.

The Sun is the center of our solar system and all the planets and the Earth revolve around it; this also suggests the character of the Leo-rising individual. They tend to think that the world revolves around them, and it often does. As the ruling planet, the placement of the Sun and any planets close to the ascendant modify the energy of the ascendant. A Virgo sun, for example, will be much less exuberant than some other placements.

Muhammad Ali, Tina Turner, Meryl Streep, and George W. Bush were born with Leo rising.

Virgo Rising

Virgo-rising people are the analysts and worriers of the zodiac. Their childhood may have had a parent obsessing over their health, weight, and appearance, which leaves them with a certain fastidiousness about these matters. Because they are standing back and analyzing situations and are quite shy, they can come across as reserved and standoffish, but they warm up as you get to know them. Once you do get to know them, you will find that their natural desire to help others makes them a loyal friend.

The tendency to overanalyze and seek perfection makes them anxiety-prone, especially if they aren’t busy with projects and if they can’t have everything in an order that suits them. They are usually neatly dressed and seem a little uptight.

As a mutable sign, they are not fixed in their ideas, but they have to review the evidence before they shift. “Modest” is a great word for Virgo-rising souls, and they usually have a graceful demeanor.

Mercury is the ruler of Virgo and the placement of Mercury and any planets close to the ascendant will modify the energy of the sign. For example, if Mercury is in the fixed sign Scorpio, their investigative quality will be much more piercing, as will their critical tendency.

Woody Allen, Hugh Hefner, Oscar Wilde, and Betty Ford were all born with Virgo rising.

Libra Rising

Libra-rising individuals are very pleasant and charming to be around. They dislike conflict, so they are always seeking to mediate and play nice. They are generally attractive to look at and have a lovely round and sweet-looking appearance that adds to their charm. They are often slender. People are just attracted to Libra-rising individuals, who like to have relationships with others because they tend to see themselves through others’ eyes and find it hard to be alone.

They can also have a tendency to have a passive-aggressive streak in relationships, as they may expect others to fulfill unrealistic expectations. This is a product of their well-known indecisiveness, as they are constantly trying to balance those Libra scales by looking at all sides.

The ruling planet of Libra rising is Venus in her less manifest energy of loving beauty, relationship, and harmony. The placement of Venus and any planets close to the ascendant will modify the rising sign. If Mars is conjuncting the ascendant, for example, the tendency toward passive aggression will be heightened.

Jennifer Aniston, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sally Field (her famous “you really like me” Oscar acceptance speech is classic Libra rising), and Venus Williams are all Libra rising.

Scorpio Rising

Magnetic, intimidating, and intense are all words that describe those with Scorpio rising, a night sign. They are very private and even secretive about their inner life, which creates a mystique around them. They often have a slightly brooding appearance with penetrating eyes. Scorpio rising approaches everything with intensity, often to the point of obsession. They dig deeply into everything and have penetrative investigative traits, including seeming to see into others’ souls.

Because of their very private nature, they often have problems expressing the deep swirl of emotions that their intense nature brings—sometimes even to themselves. They do, however, emanate a deep power and are usually passionate and creative about everything they do.

Pluto is the ruling planet of Scorpio-rising people and the placement of Pluto will modify the rising sign. For example, someone with Pluto in the third house will be more likely to be chatty and less focused. Planets that conjunct the ascendant also modify the impact of the rising sign.

Aretha Franklin, David Lynch, Robin Williams, and Prince were all born with Scorpio rising.

Sagittarius Rising

Sagittarius-rising people are fun and freedom loving. They have an air of enthusiasm and optimism about life that few other rising signs have. They are adventurers and are always seeking experiences that will enhance their lives, sometimes traveling extensively and living in places other than where they were born. They also travel in their minds and often have a big library of books or many books next to their bed.

Those born under this rising sign are often so full of excitement and opinions gained from their explorations that they tend to lack tact and may suffer from foot-in-mouth syndrome. Their likeability and sense of humor generally stop them from getting into too much trouble, however. They are also seen as a little naive.

In appearance, they are often quite tall and rangy and are on the move much of the time, as if they are in a hurry to get to the next experience—which they probably are.

Sagittarius rising’s ruling planet is Jupiter and the placement of that or planets near the ascendant will modify the sign. Saturn on the ascendant, for example, will make this person less outgoing and more inclined to appear serious.

Jamie Lee Curtis, Arsenio Hall, Princess Diana, and Hans Christian Andersen were all born with Sagittarius rising.

Capricorn Rising

Capricorn-rising people are the most ambitious of the zodiac and are very serious and work-oriented. They are definitely not the party animals of the zodiac. They do often have a dry sense of humor with impeccable timing, however. Their appearance is usually lean and quite angular with bright eyes and they are often dressed for success, preferring an earthy palette of clothing colors.

Because of their serious demeanor, Capricorn-rising people can come across as quite cold emotionally, though they really aren’t—they just don’t show emotion easily. Capricorn-rising individuals may have had a difficult childhood or been given a lot of responsibility early in life. They usually loosen up with age. These individuals tend to like security and to be the provider for their family and partners, but there’s also an undercurrent of fear of not being or doing enough.

Saturn is the ruling planet for Capricorn and both Saturn’s placement and any other planets near the ascendant will modify the rising sign energy. For example, if Saturn is in Pisces, they will be more intuitive and connected to their creative side.

Queen Elizabeth II, Jane Fonda, Taylor Swift, and Joseph Stalin were all born with Capricorn rising.

Aquarius Rising

Those born with Aquarius rising, a day sign, are quirky, curious, and more than a little rebellious. They are friendly and love a good intellectual meeting of the minds, especially if it involves the subject of how to save the world, or at least a part of the world. They also love a good debate and play devil’s advocate well. They are humanitarians, often idealistic and future-oriented, and can paint their vision of what a more egalitarian world would look like from a progressive viewpoint, as they often truly want a real “humanhood” for people of all persuasions. They seem quite emotionally detached while also caring about the world as activists.

Aquarius rising usually has a youthful appearance with a medium stature and they tend to be drawn to wearing clothes seen as quirky or individualistic in some way.

Uranus is the ruling planet of Aquarius and the placement of that planet will modify the rising sign, as will any planets close to the ascendant. For example, if the Moon is close to the ascendant, they may be a little warmer and more emotionally engaged.

Barack Obama, David Bowie, Nicki Minaj, and Carl Jung were all born with Aquarius rising.

Pisces Rising

Pisces-rising people are the dreamers of the zodiac, as they seem to float in the realms of fantasy, and they are very soft hearted and compassionate. As a mutable water sign, they are very reflective of those around them and are empathic sponges, often having a shape-shifting quality that mirrors those around them. They are imaginative and creative and one of the least grounded rising signs, so they operate best with relationships that steady them—they are susceptible to manipulative people.

Because of their extreme sensitivity, they are often vulnerable to drugs of all kinds, including prescribed drugs. They may also be prone to depression because the world doesn’t live up to their dreams and ideals. They are often beautiful and have a shimmery, ethereal appearance that is charming to most people. Kind people want to protect them.

Pisces rising’s ruling planet is Neptune and the placement of Neptune will modify how the rising sign works. For example, Neptune in Taurus will mean the person is more grounded and connected to earthly things. Planets near the ascendant will also modify how the rising sign works.

Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Robert Redford (setting up Sundance, a leading independent film festival, is a classic example), and Bruno Mars all have Pisces rising.

The Decans

A decan is a subdivision of 10° of an astrological sign. Decans are complex and have been developed from Egyptian times, when they were first based on 36 fixed stars, dividing 360° into 36 sections. These decans were merged with the 12 signs of the zodiac in the first century CE, when the Egyptian and Mesopotamian traditions converged.

From that point, two systems emerged, and we are going to explore the triplicity system to give more information about each person. Each person will have their sun in a decan, which deepens the understanding of that placement. The dates in each decan refer to your birth date.

The Decans of Aries

The first decan, ruled by Mars, is the Aries decan. People born under this decan are the true pioneers of the zodiac and are very action-oriented, driven, and courageous. They approach life with the zeal of a child and have a lovely innocence in their enthusiasm. You are in this decan if your sun is from 0° to 9° Aries, and approximate dates for this decan are March 21 through March 31.

The second decan of Aries is ruled by the Sun and is the Leo decan. The Sun and Leo bring a regal quality to these people, who like to shine in the world and receive a lot of attention. The fixed quality of Leo brings a certain immovable quality to the leadership energy of this decan, meaning that they stick to their aims no matter what others want. This can be the energy of the pompous leader. You are in this decan if your sun is from 10° to 19° Aries, and approximate dates for this decan are April 1 through April 11.

The third decan of Aries is ruled by Jupiter and is the Sagittarius decan. Jupiter brings an expansiveness and seeking quality to the sign of Aries. Aries energy is usually focused, but this decan likes to explore and search for their personal truth. They are very much individuals who go their own way. You are in this decan if your sun is from 20° to 29° Aries, and approximate dates for this decan are April 12 through April 21.

The Decans of Taurus

The first decan, ruled by Venus, is the Taurus decan. This person is stable and very connected to the Earth and the material world. This decan has a very instinctive body knowledge, which means that they love to nourish their body with good food, things that are tactile, and things that generally make them feel good. Overindulgence and inflexibility can be the downside of this energy, but they do have a very peaceful and loving presence and are usually very sensual and sexual. You are in this decan if your sun is from 0° to 9° Taurus, and approximate dates for this decan are April 22 to May 1.

The second decan is ruled by Mercury and is the Virgo decan. The influence of Mercury and Virgo brings more flexibility to the usually stubborn Taurus energy. These people are pragmatic and realistic but in a very quiet and unassuming way. The sensitivity of Virgo and Mercury can make them come across as dull to others of a more visionary and idealistic nature, as they are the people who will always tell others they aren’t living in reality. You are in this decan if your sun is from 10° to 19° Taurus, and approximate dates for this decan are May 2 to May 11.

The third decan of Taurus is ruled by Saturn and is the Capricorn decan. These people are a little more blocked off from the indulgent energy of Taurus, as they can be too busy building and climbing to enjoy the fruits of their labor—though they do still love to own the good things in life. They have a more austere presence and may seem boring to some. They are, however, master builders of solid and lasting structures in their life, whether it be a career, a home base, or a family. Once you get to know the person behind the urge to build, they can be quite funny and sensual under the surface. You are in this decan if your sun is from 20° to 29° Taurus, and approximate dates for this decan are May 12 to May 21.

The Decans of Gemini

The first decan of Gemini is ruled by Mercury and is the Gemini decan. Those born with the sun in this decan are extremely curious, and you will always find them taking in information from a variety of sources. They are also likely to be scattered and easily distracted as they flit from one thing to another. This is also known as shiny object, or squirrel, syndrome. Their mind is very quick, and they make sense of a lot of information in a detached way, but because of their tendency to be easily distracted, they rarely go deeply into any one subject. You are in this decan if your sun is from 0° to 9° Gemini, and approximate dates for this decan are May 22 to June 1.

The second decan of Gemini is ruled by Venus and is the Libra decan. These are social people who want to be around and converse with others as much as possible. They are, like all Geminis, curious and want to know all about you and what makes you tick. Their natural curiosity also draws them to study art or the wonders of nature, for example. They have a tendency to see themselves through the eyes of others, however, and that can lead to difficulty making any decisions without others’ input. They make really good mediators, as they see the good in people and can present that to the other side in a negotiation. You are in this decan if your sun is from 10° to 19° Gemini, and approximate dates for this decan are June 2 to June 11.

The third decan of Gemini is ruled by Uranus and is the Aquarius decan. These are the big-picture thinkers who are able to come up with innovative concepts. They are the most emotionally detached and can, for that reason, seem distant from others. However, that’s because they are taking the bird’s-eye view and seeing the connections needed to help humanity as a whole. Their breadth of knowledge is enormous and their vision is like a giant puzzle put together with seemingly disparate pieces. They are usually very friendly but will want to talk about some big ideas rather than engage in small talk. You are in this decan if your sun is from 20° to 29° Gemini, and approximate dates for this decan are June 12 to June 21.

The Decans of Cancer

The first decan of Cancer is ruled by the Moon and is the Cancer decan. This makes for an extremely emotionally sensitive and compassionate person who nurtures and cares for those they love with unending capacity for an emotional connection. This can, however, lead to identifying with this role to such a degree that they never communicate their own emotional needs. This can lead to insecurity and emotionally manipulative behavior. They are also likely to find it difficult to let go of past hurt feelings. They love with intensity, which can be comforting for some and overwhelming for others. You are in this decan if your sun is from 0° to 9° Cancer, and approximate dates for this decan are June 22 to July 1.

The second decan of Cancer is ruled by Pluto and is the Scorpio decan. These people’s emotions are as deep as the deepest ocean and, like the ocean at those depths, those emotions can be hard to access and express. Because of this, these people can seem almost emotionless and their natural reserve adds to this. Of course, this is only the surface impression because the opposite is true. They feel so very deeply that they are willing to do anything for those they love, to the point of self-sacrifice. The depth of Scorpio can also make them possessive of those they love, but they make amazing listeners and can hold space for others like no one else. You are in this decan if your sun is from 10° to 19° Cancer, and approximate dates for this decan are July 2 to July 11.

The third decan of Cancer is ruled by Neptune and is the Pisces decan. These are the most sensitive and gentle people you will ever meet. They have a very ethereal presence, as their moods shift in response to all that is around them. It’s often hard to know what they are really feeling, and they themselves are not always aware. They, like those of the first decan, are tireless when caring for those they love, but there’s the addition of a tendency to feel like a victim when they feel others take advantage of them. These people must learn to create better personal boundaries. You are in this decan if your sun is from 20° to 29° Cancer, and approximate dates for this decan are July 12 to July 21.

The Decans of Leo

The first decan of Leo is ruled by the Sun and is the Leo decan. This is the ruler of all, or at least that is how this person sees themselves. They see themselves as special and entitled to be leaders or adored in all that they do, in the nicest possible way. They feel as if they were born to be first and, in many respects, they are right, as they radiate warmth and a regal presence. Leo is ruled by the heart and many belonging to this decan are benevolent leaders, but they often lack humility. When others don’t quite see them as they see themselves or treat them with the attention they feel they deserve, they can feel very hurt. You are in this decan if your sun is from 0° to 9° Leo, and approximate dates for this decan are July 22 to August 1.

The second decan of Leo is ruled by Jupiter and is the Sagittarius decan. These are the gamblers and risk takers of the sign, as the influence of Jupiter brings an expansive vibe and a sense of being so lucky that all they touch will turn to gold. It often does. They also tend to shower that sense of well-being onto those around them because they are generous to a fault. This tendency toward risk-taking can also lead them to overextend at times, but they usually fall on their feet. You are in this decan if your sun is from 10° to 19° Leo, and approximate dates for this decan are August 2 to August 11.

The third decan of Leo is ruled by Mars and is the Aries decan. This is the warrior lion who will go out into the world with a sense of righteousness and possibility, who truly believes they can achieve anything they desire. Their will is so strong and desire so great that they often do achieve what they set their heart on. The fixed quality of Leo makes them stick to achieving those desires but can also make them stubborn and resistant to any input from others, and they will rarely admit to making mistakes. They are very open and honest, however, no matter what others say or think. You are in this decan if your sun is from 20° to 29° Leo, and approximate dates for this decan are August 12 through August 21.

The Decans of Virgo

The first decan of Virgo is ruled by Mercury and is the Virgo decan. Those born under this decan have a very intellectual and extremely rational mind. They are productive to a fault and always seek to make their day function more productively so that they can be more useful with their time. They enjoy intellectual relationships in which they can discuss plans and ideas with those around them. They are also great worriers and their inner self-critic is probably the strongest of all people in the zodiac, as they are constantly analyzing everything. The mutable energy of the decan means they are often course-correcting, which can be both a blessing and a curse. You are in this decan if your sun is from 0° to 9° Virgo, and approximate dates for this decan are August 22 to September 1.

The second decan of Virgo is ruled by Saturn and is the Capricorn decan. The initiating energy of Saturn and Capricorn relieves some of the potential analysis paralysis of Virgo and encourages them to take action to create structures that give them material security. They tend to be overachievers, seeking to keep building and making money, and are investors more than spenders because that gives them the sense of achievement they need. They can also throw in the towel on some projects if they feel they are failing. They are very responsible and great managers but their drive to achieve can mean they miss out on the lighter and more fun side of life. You are in this decan if your sun is from 10° to 19° Virgo, and approximate dates for this decan are September 2 to September 11.

The third decan of Virgo is ruled by Venus and is the Taurus decan. The soothing presence of Venus and the steadying influence of Taurus make this decan of Virgo less highly strung than others. Virgo likes to make things with their hands, and you might find this decan being creative in any field that requires them to mold or use other earthy materials, such as sculpture or finger painting. These are slower moving people and generally quite reserved and self-contained. They also like to dress well and look good, but in a very neat manner. They are rarely flamboyant. You are in this decan if your sun is from 20° to 29° Virgo, and approximate dates for this decan are September 12 to September 21.

The Decans of Libra

The first decan of Libra is ruled by Venus and is the Libra decan. These people are lovers of beauty, pleasure, and others. They love harmony, peace, and for life to be smooth and lovely. They are happiest when in relationships, and yet the shadow of Libra is that they can become argumentative at times and will sometimes argue just for the sake of it. They also have a keen sense of what works in business, and a balanced first decan will utilize that and create a healthy work-life balance. When they are as balanced as they can be, they tend to live in a place that is peaceful and beautiful, both outwardly and inwardly. You are in this decan if your sun is from 0° to 9° Libra, and approximate dates for this decan are September 22 to October 1.

The second decan of Libra is ruled by Uranus and is the Aquarius decan. These people are more individualistic than the other decans of Libra, and they are more drawn to the intellect of others in their lives rather than how things look visually. They are also drawn to needing more personal space to find the balance that Libra needs. You are in this decan if your sun is from 10° to 19° Libra, and approximate dates for this decan are October 2 to October 11.

The third decan of Libra is ruled by Mercury and is the Gemini decan. These are charming people who can woo others with their words, but they are also more changeable and restless, which can upset the needed balance and harmony integral to Libra. They are highly sociable and need to converse with others on a regular basis. You are in this decan if your sun is from 20° to 29° Libra, and approximate dates for this decan are October 12 to October 21.

The Decans of Scorpio

The first decan of Scorpio is ruled by Pluto and is the Scorpio decan. These people are deep and extremely intense. They may, almost unconsciously, play power games with others as they try to fulfill their deep longings and desires. They are often possessive and can be obsessive, as they desire to merge with those with whom they are in a relationship. They are not the easiest people to be around, but they love very deeply if you can stand the heat. You are in this decan if your sun is from 0° to 9° Scorpio, and approximate dates for this decan are October 22 to November 1.

The second decan of Scorpio is ruled by Neptune and is the Pisces decan. Those born under this decan are very intuitive and seductive. They magnetize others with a glamour that sometimes doesn’t reveal what’s really going on. Their imaginations are quite magical, and their ideals are high but at times totally unrealistic. You are in this decan if your sun is from 10° to 19° Scorpio, and approximate dates for this decan are November 2 to November 11.

The third decan of Scorpio is ruled by the Moon and is the Cancer decan. The nurturing and loving qualities of the Moon and Cancer soften the intensity of Scorpio considerably, though their receptive nature still wants to connect with others at a deep emotional level. These people have great loyalty but with a higher level of trust. You are in this decan if your sun is from 20° to 29° Scorpio, and approximate dates for this decan are November 12 to November 21.

The Decans of Sagittarius

The first decan of Sagittarius is the Sagittarius decan, ruled by Jupiter. These people are adventurous and optimistic, though they may lack tact at times. They often study higher philosophies and principles, including those of various religions, and tend to be lifelong learners. They also can tend to be on the dogmatic side and preach what they know. You are in this decan if your sun is from 0° to 9° Sagittarius, and approximate dates for this decan are November 22 to December 1.

The second decan of Sagittarius is ruled by Mars and is the Aries decan. These people may be accident-prone, as Sagittarius in general tends to gallop everywhere—combined with the headfirst energy of Mars, they may not always look where they are going. They are constantly challenging themselves and are usually completely open and honest. These people need action and movement. You are in this decan if your sun is from 10° to 19° Sagittarius, and approximate dates for this decan are December 2 to December 11.

The third decan of Sagittarius is the Leo decan, which is ruled by the Sun. This is another risk-taking placement, and the combination can lead them to gamble in life as they seek adventure and experience. They are people of integrity but also can let their pride get in the way as they aim high, and that can lead to falls. You are in this decan if your sun is from 20° to 29° Sagittarius, and approximate dates for this decan are December 12 to December 21.

The Decans of Capricorn

The first decan of Capricorn is ruled by Saturn and is the Capricorn decan. These people have great determination and can move mountains. They are very serious and responsible. Because they have double the responsible energy of Capricorn, they also can have double the fear of not being enough and must be wary of working too hard because of their fear of failure. You are in this decan if your sun is from 0° to 9° Capricorn, and approximate dates for this decan are December 22 to January 1.

The second decan of Capricorn is ruled by Venus and is the Taurus decan. The middle decans are often the most balanced and the middle Capricorn decan is no different. The energy of Venus and Taurus means that these people are still responsible and determined but will also make sure they relax and enjoy the comforts their achievements bring. They are happier with a slower approach to achievement. You are in this decan if your sun is from 10° to 19° Capricorn, and approximate dates for this decan are January 2 to January 11.

The third decan of Capricorn is ruled by Mercury and is the Virgo decan. These people are more impatient than the first two decans of this sign and are always seeking to make everything they do more functional, so that they can get to the next thing faster. They have more of a nervy quality, as they can feel held back by the relentless determination of Capricorn. You are in this decan if your sun is from 20° to 29° Capricorn, and approximate dates for this decan are January 12 to January 21.

The Decans of Aquarius

The first decan of Aquarius is the Aquarius decan, ruled by Uranus, and these people are real individualists and nonconformists. They are progressive-minded, sociable humanitarians, though they often have only a small circle of friends. They are always thinking up new plans and ideas and their minds are rarely still; their overthinking can lead to anxiety if they don’t get some solitary downtime. You are in this decan if your sun is from 0° to 9° Aquarius, and approximate dates for this decan are January 22 through February 1.

The second decan of Aquarius is ruled by Mercury and is the Gemini decan. These people have a similar nature to the first decan but with a lighter feel. They are still individuals but are more social and curious about the world rather than only abstract ideas. They are often literature lovers. They are also usually great communicators with a desire to teach all that they study to others. You are in this decan if your sun is from 10° to 19° Aquarius, and approximate dates for this decan are February 2 through February 11.

The third decan of Aquarius is the Libra decan, ruled by Venus. These people are usually great politicians by nature because they are very good with people and really care about bettering the lives of others. They can usually see the best in people and want to help bring that out. They are often very graceful and willowy. You are in this decan if your sun is from 20° to 29° Aquarius, and approximate dates for this decan are February 12 through February 21.

The Decans of Pisces

The first decan of Pisces is ruled by Neptune and is the Pisces decan. These people are almost pure psychic sponges, sensitive to all that is around them. They are highly intuitive and connected to the collective unconscious. They are usually attracted to mystical experiences, since they already inhabit those realms. They are easily taken advantage of, as they have few boundaries and they often seem to be a walking nebulous cloud of dreams and creativity. You are in this decan if your sun is from 0° to 9° Pisces, and approximate dates for this decan are February 22 through March 1.

The second decan of Pisces is the Cancer decan, ruled by the Moon. These people are creative romantics but also crave security and safety the most of all the decans. They are loyal to a fault to those they love and can be very needy if they don’t feel secure. Their artistic and homemaking abilities will blossom when they are secure. Those born under this decan need the security of the home and close family bonds, but they also need a lot of alone time within that structure. You are in this decan if your Sun is from 10° to 19° Pisces, and approximate dates for this decan are March 2 through March 11.

The third decan of Pisces is ruled by Pluto and is the Scorpio decan. Those born under this decan are often drawn to the realms of the hidden and the taboo, such as the realms of magic, mediumship, and death. They are often finely connected to the other side and may even see spirits. At the very least, they are deeply intuitive and can sense what’s happening within those around them. You are in this decan if your sun is from 20° to 29° Pisces, and approximate dates for this decan are March 12 through March 21.


The Persona

“Persona” is a term used to describe the ascendant or rising sign. This was a term developed by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, who characterized it as “a kind of mask, designed on the one hand to make a definite impression upon others, and on the other to conceal the true nature of the individual.”

Jung, and most modern western astrologers, see the ascendant through this lens. We often identify more with our ascendant when young and begin the individuation process as we mature. It’s entirely possible to overidentify with the social adaptation of the ascendant and for it to mask our authentic self through overadaptation to the outer image.

As the persona, in Jungian terms, is the public image, we often find public figures overidentifying with their public image.

To quote Jung, “One could say, with a little exaggeration, that the persona is that which in reality one is not, but which oneself, as well as others, think one is.”

Astrology aims to encourage the person to individuate beyond the persona.

 

The Descendant

The polarity point to the ascendant or rising sign is the descendant, or seventh-house cusp, which is the sign that was on the western horizon from the perspective of the date, time, and place of birth.

The descendant is an important consideration when exploring what kind of person you are attracted to and whom you attract in all significant relationships. This can also indicate blind spots within you that you aspire to personally develop through partnerships. It could be said that your ascendant is day energy, or what you put out into the world, and your descendant is night energy, or what you receive from others through partnership.

The blind spots the descendant represents are called the “disowned self.” In other words, we see something in others that irritates us until we recognize that it’s actually a part of us that needs acknowledgement. For example, you may find it irritating that your partner is detached emotionally if you have Aquarius on the descendant, but once you become aware of it, you are able to realize that it’s actually something you need to work on within yourself—it can be a big awakening. In other words, what felt like aloofness can become a sense of freedom. This is also known as mirror work, where we transmute any irritating qualities into positive traits to be developed. This is an important factor to consider when looking at compatibility.