Introduction: What is the Rising Sign?
The Ascendant or "Rising Sign" is the sign located on the eastern horizon - the part of the sky where the sun rises each morning - at the exact time of your birth. For example, if you were born at sunrise, your Ascendant or Rising Sign would be the same as your Sun sign, whereas if you were born at sunset, your Ascendant would be placed in the opposite sign to your Sun. For a better explanation of the astronomy behind how this works, see here.
In astrology, the Ascendant or "Rising Sign" represents the self, in both body and mind. It is the most important part of the natal chart, determining an individual's character and personality, as well as their appearance, state of health and the overarching themes of their life. It is the place where earth meets the sky, the place where soul meets body. It must be stated, however, that while the sign alone does have some importance, not everyone will necessarily "relate" to the qualities and characteristics of their rising sign on paper because it is always mitigated by: 1. any planets in the first house, particularly those making a conjunction to the degree of the Ascendant itself & 2. the placement or condition of the Rising Sign's planetary ruler, which is considered to be "ruler" or "lord" of the chart. For example, an individual with a Libra Mars in the 1st house will be much more aggressive, assertive and martial than the typical Libra Rising native and likewise, an Aries Rising with Mars in Libra will be a lot different than an Aries Rising with Mars in Scorpio.
If you're a beginner or follower of modern pop astrology, this idea may be confusing to you, since you may have been taught that the Ascendant is only the "mask you wear in public" (whatever that means). I am not sure where this concept originated exactly, but I believe it is a modern idea. The ancients actually considered the Ascendant to be representative of "the self" whereas everything else in the chart (including the Sun, more or less, unless you were a Leo Rising) was indicative of outside forces in a native's life; things that "surround" or "happen to" the self. Sun Sign astrology, as we know it today, was essentially invented to be make astrology more marketable to a mass audience (of newspaper readers, etc.) since many, if not most, people do not have (immediate) access to their actual time of birth, but (almost) everyone knows their birthday.
The most important function of the Ascendant, however, (and the reason why I say it is unquestionably the most important part of the chart) is its role in determining the set-up of the whole chart i.e. the placement of the houses. The "houses" in astrology are divisions of the sky that represent different areas of life. For example, while the first house represents the self, the second house represents the things we own, while the twelfth house represents that which is hidden from the self (including the subconscious, and the gestation period prior to birth) and the seventh house represents others (including close friends, opponents, and romantic partners). This function is the central idea that this article is concerned with.
1st House: Cancer (ruled by the Moon)
If you're a Cancer Rising, it means you have Cancer in the 1st house. As a cardinal water sign ruled by the Moon, the sign of the crab is characterized by its sensitive yet strong nature. At their core, Cancer Risings are driven by instinct and feeling. They perceive life through an intensely emotional lens and seek out emotional security. In terms of appearance, Cancer Risings are often round, soft and "fleshy" in appearance. Many of them are "baby-faced." Cancer Risings can be plump or curvy. They may have large breasts or a pronounced chest. They can be skinny too but their faces tend to have very full features, such as deep eyes and big lips. Margot Robbie. Angelina Jolie and Jayne Mansfield are all Cancer Risings and serve as three great examples of the typical "Cancer Rising" look. Some male examples of celebrities with Cancer Rising include Jack Black and Emile Hirsch.
Of course, much would depend on the placement of the Moon. A Cancer Rising with Moon in a fire sign would be more extroverted and enthusiastic in the expression of these traits, while a Cancer Rising with Moon in a water sign is more likely display the classic expression of a person who is sensitive, brooding etc. A Cancer Rising with Moon in an air sign might be more talkative and sociable and perhaps lighthearted at first glance, while a Cancer Rising with Moon in an earth sign will appear more stoic or secure. The sign and house of the Moon will say a lot about the Cancer Rising's character, as will any planet(s) in the 1st house, and the house(s) that planet(s) rules. It may also help to look at which decan of Cancer the Ascendant falls in, based on degree.
2nd House: Leo (ruled by the Sun)
The 2nd house rules over money and assets, the things we own. It's not only about wealth but the foods we eat, the things we need to survive. A Cancer Rising will have Leo in the 2nd house. Leo is ruled by the Sun, making this house particularly prominent for Cancer, a sign known to be clingy, protective and security-seeking. Their comfort and safety is of prime importance. With Leo in the 2nd house, Cancer Risings tend to be rather proud of their possessions and most confident when they are financially secure. If not careful, it's possible that they may rely on their possessions for validation and self-worth, or rely on things like food or material items for their emotional security. Leo is all about the big, the grand, the larger-than-life, which could give Cancer Risings a taste or hunger for flashy and lavish things. On the up-side, however, Cancer Risings are very generous and giving. For example, I've noticed that Cancer Risings with Moon in Leo (and thus the 2nd house) often express their love for people through the gifting of grand possessions. On another note, the 2nd house can tell you a little bit about how a person makes money and with Leo here, Cancer Risings could generate an income through posing or performing (i.e. as an actress or model) or engaging in creative pursuits.
For more information on a Cancer Rising's money or possessions, it is important to look at the sign and house that the Sun is placed. A Cancer Rising with a dignified Sun is more likely to be well-off, or at least more secure in what they do have, than a Cancer Rising with a Sun that's debilitated. The house and sign placement of the Sun can also give more information as to how the Cancer Rising makes money.
3rd House: Virgo (ruled by Mercury)
The 3rd house rules over many things, from domestic travel and elementary education, to siblings and neighbors. Traditionally said to be the house of the Moon's joy, I'd say it rules over the ebbs and flows of daily life, the people and things in our immediate surroundings. The 3rd house is also about communication. With Virgo in the 3rd house, a Cancer Rising is discriminating about what they say and express. Virgo is known for its choosiness, and with Virgo in the 3rd house, Cancer Risings are often on the shy side. They think before they speak and their social circle is likely to be rather small. They have a keen awareness of conversational details that other people may overlook. They remember every word that you say. Their sibling(s) (if they have any) may have exhibit Virgo traits. For example, they may have been critical, growing up or they may have an organized, intelligent, humble and/or helpful character. Cancer Risings may have excelled in their primary education, possibly exhibiting perfectionist traits early in life. In childhood, they might have quietly observed everything that went on and even as adults, they often know more than they let on. Short travels may be taken on a practical basis. Cancer Risings with their Moon here may be down-to-earth, communicative, and academically talented.
That said, the placement of Mercury, Virgo's ruler and the planet of communication itself, will tell you more about a Cancer Rising's communication style. The sign and house where Mercury placed will also give more information on the Cancer Rising's siblings, primary education etc.
4th House: Libra (ruled by Venus)
The 4th house rules over the home and family, particularly the father. It is an angular house, making it one of the more important houses. It is the sign found at the nadir, or bottom-most part of the chart. A Cancer Rising has Libra in the 4th house. With Libra in the 4th house, Cancer Risings have a great need for harmony in the home. They need to get along with their family and the people they live with. This doesn't mean that Cancer Risings always have easy and happy home lives, but it means they are deeply affected by it when they don't. The relationships their parents had with each other likely have a strong influence on them and they may be prone to idealizing the past. Libra is ruled by Venus, so most Cancer Risings prefer to live in beautiful and/or aesthetically pleasing environments, preferably with their partners and/or the people they love. On another note, the Cancer Rising's father may have expressed Libra or Venusian traits, such as tact, diplomacy or artistic talent. If Venus is well-placed and the rest of the chart supports it, a Cancer Rising's upbringing may have involved the cultivation of culture and good manners. If the Moon is placed here, the Cancer Rising is likely to have a deep need for relationship and to settle down with someone they love.
To learn more about the home life or familial/ancestral background of a Cancer Rising, you'll need to look at the sign and house of the planet Venus. Two Cancer Risings may have extremely different backgrounds depending on the condition of Venus and where it is placed.
5th house: Scorpio (ruled by Mars)
The 5th house rules over children, as well as matters of creativity and recreation. With Scorpio here, Cancer Risings are quite passionate, even obsessive, about their hobbies and interests (and they tend be passionate in the bedroom, as well: the 5th house also rules sex). They put their all into whatever they create and as artists, they like to make things with meaning and depth. As far as sports and other games are concerned, they can actually be quite competitive. Overall, Cancer Risings seem to be consumed by the activities they enjoy. As for the topic of children, Scorpio is a fertile sign, and with Scorpio in the 5th house, Cancer Risings tend to be very fruitful. They are usually quite devoted mothers and fathers, who put their all into parenting. Cancer Risings are very protective and caring towards their little ones, although there could be a danger of jealousy or control if afflicted. Their children, particularly the first child, might have Scorpio traits, such as an intense, deep and/or competitive personality or these traits may show up in their appearance, as well. A Cancer Rising with the Moon here is likely to be creative and passionate.
For more information on the 5th house, you'd want to look at the planet Mars. The sign and house it is in will tell you more about a Cancer Rising's hobbies and interests. The condition of Mars will also tell you more about matters of children and pregnancy.
6th house: Sagittarius (ruled by Jupiter)
The 6th house rules over matters of health and disease. Additionally, it rules over the topics of work and service, as well as pets and small animals. With the 6th house in Sagittarius, a sign ruled by the great benefic, Cancer Risings generally tend to be quite healthy. However, health issues could arise if afflicted. As Sagittarius is ruled by the planet of expansion, Cancer Risings are especially prone to weight-related problems and diseases involving uncontrolled growths. In the body, Sagittarius rules the buttocks, hips and thighs, so it is possible that a Cancer Rising might experience ailments in these areas. They may be drawn to spiritual healing methods. As far as work and routine is concerned, Cancer Risings often have trouble focusing on the mundane. Their work needs to fulfill a higher calling or purpose for them to be fully involved. If the Cancer Rising has pets, they might be large in size or allowed to roam around free. A Cancer Rising with the Moon here is likely to be philosophical and health-conscious.
To learn more about a Cancer Rising's health and daily routine, as well as their employees or pets, you want to look at the position and condition of the planet Jupiter.
7th house: Capricorn (ruled by Saturn)
If the 1st house is the house of the self, the 7th house is the house of the other. It is located on the Descendant, the place where the Sun sets. As with the 4th house, it is angular, making it one of the most important. It represents marriage and partnership, love and relationships. With Capricorn here, Cancer Risings are attracted to those who exhibit mature and responsible behavior, people with an aura of discipline and self-control. They are drawn to hard-working, practical and ambitious types. Depending on the rest of their chart, most Cancer Risings prefer the security of a more traditional relationship as opposed to a casual fling. Their partner may be successful, wealthy or high in status. They might also be attracted to older partners or age-gap relationships. On the down-side, the 7th house is also said to be the house of "open enemies" or opponents. On that note, a Cancer Rising may negatively attract cold, calculated or controlling people. That said, so long as other placements support it, a Cancer Rising's synastry with Capricorn placements will generally be positive. Those with the Moon here are serious and relationship-driven. They may care a lot about what others think of them.
Of course, some Cancer Risings might read this and find it hard to recognize their partner in my words. The house and sign of Saturn will give you more information about a Cancer Rising's partner(s) that may not be found in the general description of a "Capricorn Descendant" alone. Venus/Mars are also helpful to look at as general relationship significators.
8th house: Aquarius (ruled by Saturn)
Traditionally, the 8th house was generally associated with death and debt. It rules over the topics of fear and anxiety, as well as "other people's money" (i.e. loans, taxes, inheritances, merged bank accounts etc.). Some astrologers associate it with the occult or "hidden matters" and many modern astrologers associate it with sex. Aquarius in the 8th house gives Cancer Risings a fear of change, a fear of the "shocking" and "different" and a resistance towards the political or group-focused. As family-orientated creatures, they fear being alone but they also fear being lost amongst the crowd. Detachment is the scariest thing to them. It is not wise to use the sign of the 8th house to predict a person's death but sometimes, you find this placement corresponds with shocking deaths, deaths that affect whole groups and communities, and deaths that involve the circulatory system, the nervous system, or the ankles, calves and shins. While obviously this does not apply to everyone, the shared rulership of Saturn between the 7th & 8th house supports the idea of a well-off partner. A Cancer Rising with the Moon placed here may be very anxious or conversely, they may be drawn to the unique or "taboo".
Look to the planet Saturn for more information on the topics of anxiety, loss and other people's money.
9th house: Pisces (ruled by Jupiter)
The 9th house represents religion or ideology, long-distance travel and higher education. Of course, much depends upon the placement of Jupiter but with Pisces here, Cancer Risings tend to be quite religious or at least very spiritual, although not necessarily in a traditional way. They tend to be drawn to the idea of God, the Universe, all that is mystical, magical and mysterious but they're just as, maybe even more, likely to find God within nature than within the confines of a church building. Whatever a Cancer Rising's beliefs are, even if an atheist who worships at the altar of science, they tend to be emotionally resonant and strongly felt. Generally, however, they want to believe in something. Their political ideologies are often based on principles of compassion and empathy. As far as international travel is concerned, a Cancer Rising may be drawn to pilgrimages or trips to places that hold an emotional importance for them. Likewise, they're drawn to studying subjects that speak to them emotionally. So long as they find such a subject, they're likely to excel in school but Pisces are daydreamers, so Cancer Risings might have a hard time paying attention to subjects that don't hold any emotional importance for them. The shared rulership of Jupiter between the 6th & 9th house often means that spirituality, or even travel/higher education, is made a part of a Cancer Rising's daily routine. Those with the Moon here are especially spiritual and curious creatures that long for adventure and an escape from the drudgery of everyday life.
For more information on a Cancer Rising's religion, philosophy, or belief system, you'll want to look to the planet Jupiter, which also happens to be the general significator for these topics. Jupiter's sign and house placement will also give you more information on education and travel.
10th house: Aries (ruled by Mars)
The 10th house is our last angular house, highlighting its importance. It's the house found on the Midheaven or IC, the upper-most part of the chart. If the 4th house rules the home and family, the 10th rules career. It represents our work but also our public image, what we are known for. With the 10th house in Aries, Cancer Risings are, perhaps surprisingly, ambitious and decisive. They go after what they want, often becoming innovators and pioneers in their fields. In the eye of the public, Cancer Risings often appear quite tough, maybe even aggressive, due to the crab's protective shell. They can also be quite competitive in the workplace. The 10th house in Aries can sometimes indicate a career in athletics, the military, the fire department or entrepreneurship, although obviously, this will not apply to everyone. Whatever they decide to do, Cancer Risings are often leaders in their field. It is common for them to end up as bosses or managers. The shared rulership of Mars between the 5th & 10th houses may also suggest a career related to childcare, the arts or one's hobbies and passions. In other words, they need a career they can enjoy. Traditionally, the 10th house also represented the mother, so it is possible that a Cancer Rising's mother might have Aries traits, such as independence, courage and leadership skills. Those with the Moon here tend to be very strong, ambitious and able to fight for the things they care about.
Of course, this information is general and might not necessarily apply to everyone. Look to the house and sign placement of Mars for more information on what a Cancer Rising might do for a living.
11th house: Taurus (ruled by Venus)
The 11th house is the house of friendship and community, but also our hopes and dreams. With Taurus in the 11th house, Cancer Risings seek solid, lasting and long-term friendships. While generally kind and generous people, they're not necessarily friends with just everyone. Trust and reliability are essential for them. Cancer Risings seek out company with people who make them feel secure and they may appreciate loyal and down-to-earth qualities. As for hopes and wishes, security is very important to them. The shared relationship of Venus between the 4th & 11th house highlights Cancer Rising's dream of a stable and harmonious home life. Similarly, they tend to choose friends who they feel "at home" with, friends who can turn into "family". A Cancer Rising with the Moon here tends to be very sociable, politically-minded and loyal to the people they value.
For more information on a Cancer Rising's friendships, as well as their hopes, dreams and attitude toward the community, you'll want to look at the sign and house placement of the planet, Venus.
12th house: Gemini (ruled by Mercury)
The 12th house is commonly known as "the house of self-undoing". Traditionally, it was associated with imprisonment, hospitalization, exile and hidden enemies. However, it was also associated with monasteries and most modern astrologers view it as a very spiritual place. Overall, the 12th house is where we look for all things hidden and unknown, all things secret and subconscious. For a Cancer Rising, Gemini represents the traits within themselves that they may not recognize or that they may find inaccessible. For example, Gemini is a sign associated with communication and the ability to multitask. So, with Gemini in the 12th house, Cancer Risings might find it difficult to speak their mind or concentrate on multiple things. It is possible that communication (or the lack of it) could lead to their self-undoing, which the shared rulership of Mercury between the 3rd & 12th house also seems to support. Since the 12th house does represent "hidden enemies" it is possible that in some cases, this shared rulership might symbolize betrayal at the hands of a sibling or neighbor. More often, however, it indicates the presence of gossip and slander. Cancer Risings often need to be wary of two-faced or fair-weathered friends. That said, a Cancer Rising with their Moon here is likely to be intuitive and good with words. They may not necessarily talk a lot but they might be good writers, expressing themselves privately through the use of language.
For more information on the topics of spirituality, self-undoing, hospitalization/incarceration/isolation, hidden enemies or hidden-anything, really, you'll want to look at the sign and house placement of the planet, Mercury.
To sum it all up, Cancer Risings are emotionally-driven creatures. They are soft and vulnerable yet they possess the ability to hide it under a shield of strength. Security is of the upmost importance to them, both financially and emotionally. They are discerning in what they say to people and discerning about who they let in. Family is important to a Cancer Rising and it is essential they have a harmonious home life. The relationships of their parents have a great effect on their own relationships later on. They are good with children and have a tendency to get obsessive about their hobbies and interests. They are generally healthy, but prefer meaningful work to mundane tasks. Cancer Risings are attracted to successful and responsible people. Their relationships tend to be serious and traditional. They are afraid of unexpected changes, detachment and getting lost amongst the crowd. They are usually very spiritual, even religious in their own way, and in school, they prefer to study subjects that hold an emotional relevance to them. Cancer Risings often have a tough exterior which they use to their advantage in the workplace, often becoming leaders, pioneers and entrepreneurs in their field. They prefer to have stable and long-lasting friendships with people they can trust. They may have difficulty saying what's on their mind or they might struggle to multitask. They try to steer clear of gossip and two-faced people.
Of course, every Cancer Rising individual will be different, depending on the position of the Moon and other planets, etc. This is just the general gist of what a Cancer Rising chart might look like. If you're a Cancer Rising and you'd like to know more about your specific chart, please feel free to book a reading with me here.
About the Creator
My name’s Kait. I would define myself mainly as a truth seeker. I write about a lot of things, primarily astrology, religion & spirituality, relationships and social issues.