Ascendant in Medical Astrology
The most important planetary factor in Medical Astrology isn’t really a planet but a point: the Ascendant, or Rising Sign. The ancient Greeks called it horoskopo, which means, “Marker of the Hour”. It is the sign and degree of the zodiac that was rising on the eastern horizon at the moment and place of your birth.
The Ascendant is the cusp of the First House, which sets or connects the signs with the circle of houses. Therefore, the Ascendant represents your basic outlook and orientation on life, and your basic coping strategy for getting your needs met. As your personal interface with the outer world, the Ascendant also represents your social mask, persona or outer image.
Medically, the Ascendant represents the body or physical vehicle that you came into at birth – its constitutional nature and temperament, structure and appearance, and weak spots or vulnerabilities. It also represents the nature and circumstances of your birth, incarnation or physical embodiment.
Modern astrology gives the Ascendant an essential affinity or resonance with the sign Aries and its ruler Mars, since it’s the cusp of the First House. And so, the Ascendant rules the body and its physical expression in general, and the head in particular.
Although there is a lot of validity in these correspondences, the ancient Greeks considered the Ascendant, which is inherently neutral in temperament, to have an affinity with hermaphroditic Mercury. The nature and temperament of the Ascendant is totally colored or conditioned by its sign and degree of the zodiac, as well as planets conjunct to it or aspecting it.
For example, Moon conjunct the Ascendant would impart a Phlegmatic nature and temperament, whereas Mars would exert a Choleric influence. Otherwise, the primary factor in determining the Ascendant’s nature and temperament is its sign.
After the Sun and Moon, the most important planet in the natal horoscope is the ruler of the sign on the Ascendant, which is called the Ascendant Ruler or Chart Ruler. Its sign, house and aspects are important in determining the constitutional nature and temperament, strengths and weaknesses of the individual and his/her body, or physical vehicle.