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La Planète Sauvage (1973)

What is my rising sign? The Dazed guide to your ascendant

Arguably the most important element of an astrological chart, the rising sign is sometimes categorised as ‘the car you pull up in’ – but it is so much more than just our external persona

Grace McGrade is an intuitive astrologer and priestess based in Los Angeles. She is the host of the podcast, “Bitchcraft: Spirituality for Bad People.” Her sessions include birth chart readings, tarot, energetic clearings and psychic consultations.

Astrology’s booming renaissance was anticipated by astrology itself. As we move through the unsettling early echelons of an informational age, it has become commonplace to hear sweeping generalisations about respective sun signs. Our sun signs are categories of character that we exude naturally, our core being, and what we are generally proud of. The astrology we know today is for the most part, watered down and dare I say it, meme-based. At its worst, astrology can be used to make vague, blanket generalisations, as repetitive as the diagnoses of empaths’ or narcissists. For example, cliches like “All Scorpios are vengeful” or “Geminis are horrific gossips'' have become routine trade-ins for personal resentments. These rigid assumptions of character veer on self-fulfilling prophecies without proper interpretation. 

At its best, astrology is refreshingly neutral. Its only demand is that we understand ourselves better, from a place of non-judgement. It assists us in seeing ourselves more honestly. The planets don’t cause anything, but they mirror us, with eerie accuracy. As best, astrology is a map and guide to the inner workings of a soul. A rich, complex overview of the matrix we are born into. If you have attended a social gathering in the year 2022, chances are, you’ve been asked your zodiac sign. Perhaps a girl with a mullet asked for your big three. Even I, a professional astrologer, feel my soul groan, when I am out with the intention of relaxation, and I hear the phrase: “What’s your sign?”

Like some hyper-powered, mythical reflex, I involuntarily hear myself say again and again: “No one is just one zodiac sign.” We are a complex symphony of every sign. It would be nice, as an astrologer, to occasionally hear a more interesting question. Like, “What do you think earth is, and what do you think you are here to do?”

A less forward way of going about this is asking for someone’s rising sign. Our rising sign is determined the moment we take our first breath here, and can be found using one’s birth time (you can find out yours here).  The second we draw breath, we take in information about our surroundings. This is an infinite prayer that begins when we are born, and doesn’t really finish until the day we die. The rising sign, or ascendant, is usually referred to as “the mask you wear to the world”, and some astrologers would categorise it as “your Instagram profile” or “the car you pull up in.”

While all of this is true, I have always believed that the rising sign is more than our external persona. Not only is it how we are perceived, but it is what we are perceiving. Arguably, it is the most important element of a chart. It reveals our perceptive goggles, and what we are truly seeking in this lifetime. It is revered as our soul’s mission, the way we traverse the varying cycles, peaks and valleys of life. The ascendant shows us how we intake information about our respective realities, and what we seek to accomplish.


Exuding pure willpower, the Aries Rising native is here to follow gut impulse. The first sign of the zodiac represents the drive of consciousness to experience itself. The driving force behind all of creation. If you are an Aries Rising, you are challenged to develop a sense of identity, to stick to your guns and commit to your own boundless appetite for freedom. You are tuned into what motivates others, whether they are in fight or flight, or operating from a god-given divinely appointed mission. You can see a million potentials, and your perspective is one of boundless possibilities. 

You are learning to follow dreams with exertion and movement, to only observe the probabilities that you will succeed. You are here to test and exercise your will, to revel in the intensity of your primal instincts. You are here to be selfish in your resolve for adventure. To pair your innate desire with decisive action. Take charge of your own unique call to destiny. Ruled by Mars, you are a warrior of sorts, here to express yourself as a separate entity, free of the shackles of codependency and observations of others. You are here to learn how your will can shape a life.


The Taurus Rising is here to learn self-worth. If you are a Taurus Rising, you are called to develop self-esteem and self-love. As you traverse reality through the medium of your finely-tuned senses, as the world communicates to you through how you sit in your body, remember you are here to reclaim worthiness, to adopt the secret belief that you are deserving of deep comfort. 

You must tend to your garden before anyone else’s, and follow what feels good. Your reality is filtered through the microscopic clues your body sends you. Use your instrument as a guiding force, leading you towards beauty, artistry and stability. You find that what you put into your body, on your body, impacts your vantage point of the world around you. Ruled by Venus, you are here to perfect the art of keeping on the rose-tinted glasses, through the simplicity of touch, smell, music, fabric, and intimacy. To conserve energy and keep a healthy suspicion of complexity.


If you are a Gemini Rising, you traverse reality like a voyeur. You are driven by experiences that are interesting rather than provide you with a sense of safety. Your appetite for stimulation knows no bounds. The Gemini Rising is here to follow innate curiosity like a child, to observe without judgement; to remain limber and flexible before adopting a perspective; to see two sides of a coin. 

You want to learn, to experiment, to play with your perception. You are fascinated by people, their quirks, duplicates, and nuances. Drawn to those who provide entertaining narratives rather than stability.  You are not here to remain one fixed character. You are eager to evade boredom like the plague, to take on life as if it is a series of boundless extracurricular activities. To become a library of varied, lived wisdom. To learn a little about everything. The Gemini Rising must live life as a never-ending story, free of the restraints of rights and wrongs. It’s about character development, perpetual adolescence, and hunger for learning.


Beneath the hard exterior of a crab, is a soft, delicate interior, requiring protection. To survive, the Crab must keep its shell and become its own home. The Cancer Rising is attuned to the sensitivities of others, so much so that you may find yourself reparenting those around you. You possess the gift of being able to anticipate others’ emotional needs. As a result, you have the proclivity to become everyone’s mother. But your job here is to mother yourself – you need to provide yourself with nurturing before you dish it out. 

You are here to learn how to house your sensitivity with the utmost care, and to have love for your emotional interior. Ruled by the Moon, the Cancer Rising is constantly fluctuating through octaves of emotions, and your job is to learn how to love every moment of it. Do not make any emotional climate good or bad, do not punish your inner condition. Learn how to respond to it, to give it safety.  Be it through boundaries or time away from the hustle and bustle of the world at large, your mission is to become deeply receptive to your own needs.


The Leo Rising comes into this lifetime with the desire to remember its own divinity. Much to the dismay of others, you are here to express your divinity proudly, with the soul of a performer and the freshness of a child. Ruled by the generous warmth of the Sun, your disposition is a sunny one, and you are eager to retain the outlook of a child. Governed by the heart, your core desire is love and to celebrate life as a series of creative challenges. Your mind is secondary to your innate need for praise and self-expression. 

You are here to play with creativity and attention, as a gaudy performer, revelling in the wondrous theatrics of life. As you experiment with the art of attention, you discover that where attention flows, reality grows. You are here to learn how to keep it, and what happens when you give it to something. Personality is paramount. Your creativity is not confined to the physical. It is the identity you wear. Remember, the thoughts, words, and energy you exert focusing on imagined dramas can actualise them. You are here to live life like a child-god, to perpetually look for evidence that reality is conspiring to play with you.


In Virgo, we learn that the best way to keep self-esteem is through esteemable acts. Virgo is the sign of goodness, the deliberate and focused micro-actions that form a routine. You are carefully attuned to what needs to be healed in yourself and others, striving for perfection. Your mission here is to turn self-love into action, through the craft and care of yourself and others; to ground big dreams in small steps; to take meticulous care of yourself. 

If you are a Virgo Rising, you possess the gift of a sharp mind, quick to pick up on patterns, moving through the world in a state of analysis and hyper-awareness. You are oriented by growth, and eager to improve in all areas of life. In the same vein, you are quick to fall into the healer or rescuer role for others. Some would call this self-sacrifice, but in these moments you appear to become the service you give out, a clear and direct channel for healing. The advice you give is a God-given gift. Your job is to learn how to have love for the parts of you that will always be a work in progress. Do not hold back reserves of love, do not wait until you reach perfection. Master the delicate art of self-esteem by taking baby steps. Ground your enthusiasm and focus by crafting loving routines. Embrace the cringe of self-care. Look after your body, and become your own healer.


Attuned to social subtleties and eager for balance, the Libra Rising Native experiences themselves through the medium of relationships. Not just their relationships with others, but the dynamics between the self and environment, the inner and the outer. Courteous, codependent, and careful, the Libra Rising comes into this lifetime with a desire to experience symbiosis. The Libra Rising is here to discover that our deep inner world works in symbiosis with our external. If you can maintain a state of internal balance, it will bleed into your outer hemisphere and lead to a rich, opulent life. 

Your outer world is a mirror, and if you don’t like your surroundings, change them. If you anticipate disharmony, change your outfit, rearrange your room, curate beauty as if it is your job. These actions are not superficial, they are brushstrokes that can keep your sense of peace contained. Of course, you are also here for the rich learnings and exposure of self that arises through the journey of relationships. You possess a romantic outlook, and it is in your best interest to commit to relationships as a series of learnings, remaining ambidextrous in outlook in order to form deep bonds.


Whether or not you like it, you see everything. You are finely attuned to the subconscious motivations of others, for better or worse. You cannot be lied to. Life is intense for the Scorpio Rising, driven by the desire to peak at what’s just below the surface. You face life with brash authenticity, eager to find the hidden truth. 

Scorpio represents the energy we share with others, the deep, transformational merging that occurs when we are close with another. Sexy, sultry, and terrifying. You are here to pursue intimacy. Ruled by Pluto, God of the Underworld, Scorpio Risings are here to leave no stone unturned, to inspect reality and others, like psychological detectives. To permanently change, often. Possessing powerful skills of intuition, the Scorpio Rising native must learn when they are being led by the desire for control and power, or the more honest innate need for closeness.


The Sagittarius Rising views life as a series of mythical voyages, gathering unfamiliar experiences, resistant to arriving at any steady destinations. Simply put, you are here to discover the meaning of life. What you discover, of course, is that life follows the meaning you apply to it, not vice versa. The Sagittarius Rising demands boundless horizons, and freedom from the mundane. Every season comes with a varying quest towards self-discovery. Driven by wanderlust and the desire to set soles on alien terrain. Your appetite for adventure and overindulgence is absurd, but you are on an evolutionary rocket towards the heavens, and God help anyone who tries to pin you down. 

Eager to formulate opinions and hypotheses, your innate talents lie in the field of faith. You take risks because you want to know if the heavens are conspiring to help or hinder you, and the former is usually true. Your job is to become a philosophical student of life, to experiment with your beliefs, and stretch them to absurdity. Your mission is that of a spiritual teacher, unearthing ancient secrets and formulating opinions based on the puzzles you have pieced in your never-ending journey. And of course, to demand a good time.


The pinnacle of the earth signs, Capricorn represents graduation and mastery. The resident “adult” of the zodiac, it represents the innate desire to see the fruits of one’s labour expressed to the world at large. Capricorn is the final form of earthy material that has been crafted with care and precision, becoming a work of refinement and excellence. The goal of the Capricorn Rising is complete mastery and integrity; to see one’s world play out on the world’s stage; to achieve recognition, command authority and reach success. 

The way forward is through skilful diligence and self-discipline. A Goat reaches the apex of a mountain through tireless precision, effort and drive. If you are a Capricorn Rising, you are driven to achieve, to master, to see your hard effort reflected and reverberated back to you in the world at large. The sign of celebrities and politicians, your job is to have complete integrity between your private world and outer hemisphere – to become transparent, honest, and see fantasy become real.


For the Aquarius Rising, freedom is everything. Your job is to curate your life as individualistically and artfully as you see fit, to rebel against conventionality at all costs, and guide us all into your imagined future. You possess the clarity and vision of someone sent from 100 years ahead. Your ideals make the rest of us look inept. 

In order to protect your resolve for freedom, you like a healthy buffer of space between yourself and others, room to experiment with new realms of thought and try on absurd perspectives. Future-oriented and quick to pick up new technologies, you are the elected leader of this new age. What seems like humanitarianism to others, is just basic common sense to you. Your mission here is to understand yourself through your understanding of the world. To hold a steady perspective of the universe, as it is a picture of you. To grasp that your world is the world, the entire planet is basically you, so change starts and ends with you. 

Privy to strikes of genius and bouts of unpredictability, your eagerness to give back to the community is the only thing keeping you from catapulting off of the earth. Your job is to incite small revolutions in your life. To continue to march to the beat of your own drum, and steer clear of anything that weakens your resolve to remain a beautiful misfit. In 100 years, everything you have already done will be trendy.


Few feel more than the Pisces Rising Native. The final sign of the zodiac represents the duality between human and spirit, the MOST evolved capacity for intrinsic empathy. Of course, they suffer from paralysing bouts of homesickness for the divine. If you are a Pisces Rising, a room is never a room, it is a symphony of moods, smells, colours, vibrations, and what everyone else is feeling. 

Your mission is to use your capacity for imagination to assist you, as it is your superpower. Visualise before you act. Commit to the fantasy. Daydream as a job. Trust your spiritual gifts more than your physical ones. Lean into the subtleties in energy, as they aren’t going anywhere. Escapism and addiction are your kryptonite, so try to treat that spiritual malady by exercising your musical or creative talents. You are privy to immense realisations, deep intrinsic cosmic knowings, and downright claircognizance. You must learn to guard this sensitivity by protecting your energy, remaining grounded, and cleaning out the aquarium.

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