I keep reading that the Ascendant sign is a mask that a person wears, as if there was the natal chart representing our personality, and the rising sign representing some sort of superficial layer of our personality. This presentation of the Ascendant or rising sign is not doing it much justice.
As you know, a natal chart is composed by 10 planets, 12 signs and 12 Houses. There are many other important points to study a natal chart fully but, for the sake of simplicity, let's just keep our 10 planets, 12 signs and 12 Houses.
Each planet is the ruler of a sign and a house and each house describes an area of your life.
The axis Ascendant and Descendant / 1st House and 7th House, represents our physical body, our appearance, our self - among other things. Why such an important axis would be only a projection, a mask, a superficial layer of the natal chart? I think this is a misunderstanding of how rulers work and of what the Ascendant represents.
The fact that the Ascendant represents the first thing people may see in you does not mean that it is less true, less representative of who you are, more superficial than any other part of your chart. Surely, your Ascendant is not your entire personality, and there are many variations and additional information to pile up, synthesize, articulate. Yet, the fact that the rising sign is not an information which suffice on its own to describe the full picture (no information in the natal chart suffice on its own - they all need to be connected) does not mean it is less true or more superficial than any other planet, house, sign in the natal chart.
The rising sign is the sign representing the energy of your 1st House, the self. This rising sign has a ruling planet, which position by sign and house along with its aspects will show a great deal about how you experience the world and where your main potential of realization is.
When you want to know how a house (=area of life) is being handled, you look at the sign of this house, you look at the planets inside this house, and you look at where the ruler of this house is and what it's doing.
Imagine that your natal chart is a mansion. Each astrological house represents a room. In some rooms there are people doing things, in other rooms there are no people, but the rooms still exist and contain information about the mansion owner. Each room has a theme, a special energy, and a bouncer which ultimately decides who gets in and stays out and how the affairs of this room are being handled. The first House, or in other words your rising sign / your Ascendant, is the main door to enter the mansion. Would you still call the Ascendant superficial?
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