by Robert Wilkinson
They're both important, but in different ways. That's why even if you don't know your time of birth, you can still find out a lot about your character and your destiny using only your Sun and Solar chart.
I last gave this to you a year ago, and the subject matter bears re-visiting from time to time so that we remember who we are, who we appear to be, and how we truly view our world. If you’ve even wondered why some people’s self-image is wildly different from who they really are, this article may help to clarify how this can be.
The Sun is who we ARE, our Light, Life, and Heart we radiate as we stay steady on our course throughout our lives. The Sun is "that's what you are, a superstar," that Eternal Radiance where "we all shine on and on and on." The sign our Sun is in in the "filter" through which our Light/Life radiates, what is integral to our lives, our integrity, and how we integrate various parts of our reality within an ever greater Light field.
The Rising sign, or sign on the Eastern horizon when we were born, shows the particular lens of how we view various life areas. The Rising sign, or Ascendant, is determined by what time and where you were born, as is the Midheaven.
The Rising sign is part of our mystery of how we view our self and our particular purpose we're here to demonstrate. It offers us our view of “self-non-self,” as well as how our “roots” affect our “flowers.” How we divide the area between the Ascendant and Midheaven determines what sign is on which house in our chart, which is our orientation toward outer life affairs.
Anyone can learn a tremendous amount about themselves even if they don't know their time of birth, since a Solar chart (done for sunrise on the birthday) reveals everything there is to know about a Being, even if they're not living that to the fullest. Looking at the Solar chart often reveals much that cannot be seen in the Rising sign chart, and works simultaneously with the Rising sign chart. And I've also known techniques that can help yield an accurate estimate of the Rising sign even when the exact time is in doubt.
Since the question of the different meanings of the Sun sign, rising sign, planets and houses comes up frequently, today we’re going to revisit the differences between the planets and the houses, and how they fit together in the harmony of our Being. Ultimately it seems the primary question that comes my way is, when reading about our signs, should we place more importance on our Sun sign, our Rising sign, our Moon sign, or what? Which is more powerful, the Sun or Ascendant?
As noted in the first paragraph, the Sun, Moon, Ascendant, and all the planets are important, but in different ways. By way of example, a while back I was asked how a Scorpio Sun is different than a Scorpio rising. Here’s a piece of my answer:
A Scorpio Sun is illuminated by Scorpio people and experiences, and illuminates their world using shining Scorpio energy. On the other hand, Scorpio rising has a Scorpionic self-image and physical instinct, and sees their world through a Scorpio lens.
The former is the engine that pulls the train, while the latter is the view of self and therefore one's world. And definitely read BOTH your Sun sign and rising sign in posted material. Other important factors would be the sign of the Moon, as well as the sign of the ruler of the Ascendant.
So primarily, the Sun is how we are illuminated and derive power and vitality. The rising sign is the lens of how we see ourselves and our bodies relative to our external world. It is said that the Sun is who we ARE as a self-generating, self-perpetuated Light in the World, and the Ascendant is the mystery of who we are among all those with the same Sun, Moon, Mercury, etc.
In other words, of all those with our same planetary "vintage" (those born at or near the same time and day we were wherever we were born), our special way of being in the world is shown by our Rising Sign, with its special take on the various departments of life shown by the other signs and houses. However, this principle can also be applied to our Sun sign, and the Solar chart we can generate by putting the Sun as its own Ascendant (beginning of the first house).
So both a Sun in Scorpio and a Scorpio rising take a Sagittarian view of resources and values (Sagittarius being the 2nd house/sign from Scorpio), a Capricorn view of information, the environment, and sibling relationships (Cap being the 3rd house/sign from Scorpio), an Aquarian view of the early home life (Aquarius is the 4th house/sign from Scorpio), a Pisces view of creativity, children, and spontaneity, and so forth around the wheel. The difference is that the Solar chart shows our Sun's approach to those life affairs; the Ascendant shows our self image's approach to those life affairs.
To offer a few more examples, Libra Sun and Libra rising have a Scorpio approach to resources and values, a Sag lens on their siblings, a Capricorn view of the early home life, an Aquarian view of children, etc. However, Leo Sun and Leo rising approach money and values through the Virgo lens, the local environment and their siblings through a Libra lens, and the early life through the Scorpio lens.
Extending this further, the Light of my Sun in Aries is grounded in Cancer, but my Leo self-image is grounded in Scorpio. So my light grounds in intimacy and security, while my self-image grounds in intensely shared experiences.
You can apply this formula to all the signs, regardless of which is on the Ascendant. Learn the order of the signs, and you'll immediately see the connectedness of all the departments of our outer affairs symbolized by the houses.
Both our Sun and our rising sign, which besides being our self-image is also our "window to the world," are influenced by many things. Among the influences in play are the sign, the decan (third) of the sign they fall in, the “face” of the sign, the Sabian Symbol of the Sun and Ascendant and where it falls in its specific sequences of degrees, and of course, the sign and decan of the planet ruling the Sun and Ascendant, as well as the aspects to the Sun and Ascendant and their rulers.
Each planet rules two signs in worldly affairs. Mars is of primary importance to anyone with Aries or Scorpio rising, Venus of primary importance to those with Taurus or Libra rising, Mercury important for those with Gemini or Virgo rising, Saturn for those with Capricorn or Aquarius rising, Jupiter for those with Sagittarius or Pisces rising, and the Sun and Moon both of importance for those with Cancer or Leo rising. By studying the signs of the various rulers of our houses, we come to see our inner response to the outer affairs of those houses.
In a somewhat related vein, the sign of two or more planets clustered at the top of the chart shows how others see us since it's what we project to the public, but our inner view of ourselves is seen through the lens of the rising sign. Planets at the bottom of our chart shows how we are around the home and our families, but we still see ourselves and our world through the rising sign.
Beyond how we view ourselves and our world, and how the world views us and our affairs, we ARE the integrity and shining Light of our Sun sign, focused, filtered, and given flavor through the Moon sign. The Sun is the power plant, the Moon is the personality package.
But regardless of our Light and how we give it form, the way we view ourselves and outer worldly things is shown by the rising sign. So I always recommend that a person read about both the Sun sign and rising sign, and reflect on how they are similar and different.
As for which is "stronger," each of our energies is strong or weak depending on our momentary focus. The crucial thing to keep in mind is that the signs on whatever house are dependent on where their rulers are, whether natally, progressed, or transiting. These form the complex of energies that infuse our approach to the affairs of the houses. I'll write more about this in the near future.
It's all part of the enormously complex systems theory that we call Astrology.
© Copyright 2007, 2013 Robert Wilkinson