Appearance and Ascendant – is there something to it?

The verifiability of astrology in practice has proved difficult, perhaps ultimately impossible task. If we leave aside the research level and concentrate in this article on a practical fact that concerns us all: our own bodies. What does astrology tell us about the human body and its relationship to our own chart? Here again, we have to retreat drastically from the framework created by traditional descriptions and assumptions. It turns out to be a very complex issue. Usually, on the Internet and in books, you see simplifications pulled out of the hat of some astrologer that do not go very far.

According to the well-known guidebook by Laurie Efrain (How to Rectify a Birth Chart), the basic blocks of appearance are in the functions and elements. The most typical is the square face of fixed signs although it can be hidden in the profusing hair etc. People dominated by cardinal and mutable characters have no clear starting point but the scope for play is great. I would not trust Efrain's definitions for long - too simplistic.

Elementally thinking, fire faces are oval, pointed, the chin is essentially the apex of the triangle; earth faces contain ridges, moles, lines and (if racial and family genetics allow) often abundant hair. There are no typical water-element faces. Scorpio deviates from the line being on average darkly toned, concentric, expressionless, tearful, with a square base shape (fixed sign) and often accompanied by a rather firm chin or abundant hair. In Pisces, obesity, difficulty in 'keeping it all together', expressive, sometimes exotic, faces, and thick, rich lips, especially in women, dark abundant hair like someone of a South Sea islander. There might be something little bit of exotic flair in it. Cancer faces can be ordinary, plain-looking, "worn out face", eyes close together and weak eyebrows (note the older generation 1914-1939 Pluto can rise in Cancer, it changes the facial look to a more rigid and square-faced). Most Cancers have narrow faces despite tradition's claim to the contrary. The old saying that the full Moon makes Cancer people faces full and new Moon and waning Moon thin, is not working in real life. Just one or two case is not enough. Cancer faces have huge variations. Typical “air face” has a bright, lively look in it. Without any other point to grasp, air people's face shapes are an intermediate form between square and oval, often the most difficult to define. Then it is better to turn to other pointers to find traces of rising sign.

Learn to combine astrological factors together. That’s the only way to progress. On the subject of elemental emphasis, the air signs are smooth, straight, bright, light, (don't take it literally, though). A Gemini can rise, but darkness comes from other signs (for example Kristen Stewart and Gregory Peck, Sun Aries). The formal language of fire is about triangular, curved, arching shapes. Earth and water are also visible in the abundant lines, lines, broad arches, wrinkles and general unevenness of facial skin (of course, especially as we get older - heredity and age affect all people). Earth people can be really attracted to the earth, so they slouch down, their posture and gait as they get older slouches too down, the face goes down too - the earth beckons so to say. Fire- and air-people rise upwards, bounce and also use the body as a tool for play and for amusement. Water-people are sometimes characterized by their inconspicuousness, a kind of blending into the surroundings; they appear, dive out and disappear - the current brings them forth, and the current takes them away. But of course among the watery people are those who cling to you.

For fire people, eyebrows bend, living with expressions. Some have demonic eyebrows (Joan Crawford – Aries Sun and probably Scorpio rising) and if they are thicker, all the more impressive. Water-people have deep-set eyes - Pisces being the exception, even the opposite. Piscean eyes may be protruding or slightly bulging. The faces of air people can be "harmless", even cheerful looking, harmonious, but lacking any particular personality traits, but observant and alert.

It can be treacherous to make generalizations of rising planets, but everyone does it.

Sun rising near Ascendant is often extremely difficult to identify. Odd enough, there was neither psychological or professional traces of Sun rising or being near MC in Michel Gauquelin’s statistical studies. Some, of course, are creative (John Ruskin, Arthur Rimbaud, Miles Davis, Neil Young, Peter Sellers) or somehow dignified and in control of themselves. They can create a authoritarian impression (Romano Brodi, Edgar Hoover, Jimmy Hoffa). Many of these Sun-rising people have other planets rising as well (mostly Mercury and Venus) – and therefore it is even more difficult to pin down.

Moon-rising people are living moment-to-moment and changing a little bit every moment. Living for them is always a spontaneous pull, not a pushing performance; come what may, control is minimal and emotions, emotional currents and inner impulses change behavior. There is little regularity in the appearance of the Moon-rising - rather, there is no regularity. You hardly ever see round moon faces, but very narrow, bird-like, slightly anemic, non-physical faces with something odd about them (philosopher Henri Bergson (bird type), Penelope Cruz (some would say bird of prey type...) and Charles Chaplin, a funny man even though the Moon rises in Scorpio. A miserable childhood at least and highly sexed man. Paul Gauguin's face doesn't show much Moon influence, but the Moon rises, same goes with Gustav Mahler (both Leo rising). They look like anyone of us.

Abdution victim Natasha Kampuschi has both the Moon and Sun both rising in Aquarius and it's hard to say anything specific about her features - a very Aquarian woman. Often Aquarian rising -people are not fat but little bit plump in both body and face. Moon rising can indicate a very ordinary appearance, where you don't immediately notice anything special. Richard Widmark, an actor back 1950’s, whose best roles were as oversensitive, explosive psychotic criminals although in private life he was the opposite of this role. Aries rises and the Moon in the Taurus rises too. Farrah Fawcett has a distinct square facial structure though Cancer rises and Moon rises too. But her chart has three planets in Aquarius and in fixed signs (square structure) a total of six planets. They clearly punch through in appearance. When you repeatedly come across examples like this, you can't help but think that the Ascendant=appearance equation is completely invalid. So keep in mind the whole chart. The secret is there.

Mercury near the Ascendant are curious and inquisitive, but also erratic and unreliable. The ability to quickly throe comments or make a review of a matter may be present (newspaperman-syndrome). Many public figures have Mercury rising, but often have other planets (Sun and Venus most often) rising too. Male virility can show in facial expressions, gestures, speech patterns. Mercury and its home signs, Gemini and Virgo, are classic signs of youthful energy, not mistreated by age, but the maturity of the psyche can be a bit of a challenge. Arnold Schwarzenegger has Mercury rising in Cancer, Grace Kelly in Scorpio, but Venus is also rising. In Mercury's home sign, Gemini, the rising often produces an elongated chin. Jaws are needed for speaking, cracking jokes, or nuts requires its own instrument Matt Dillon's boyish charm is partly due to Mercury rising in Aquarius - a nice neighbor's son? Madonna also has Mercury rising, but along with Pluto and the Moon in Virgo. Mercury information filtered by Pluto is controversial and opaque. Even two planets rising together are enough to mix up the palette. Ex-royal Sarah Ferguson has Mercury and Neptune rising in Scorpio and Mars is not far away either, but on Libra. The Sun/Mars conjunction often brings freckles - or does it - where are the stats? Sarah had. But the very freckled and petite Isabelle Hubbert has a Sagittarius rising and only an Ascendant and Mars trine. Size, by the way, is precisely the thing that has nothing to do with the archetypal truth of astrology.

Venus rising does not usually guarantee beauty - far from it. There are as many modest-looking wallflowers as there are beautifully curcing bodies or swan-necked hotties among the women. Venus males can be just nice guys or skillful players of amorous games (Cameron Diaz, Angelina Jolie, Paul Newman, Bill Clinton, Jean-Pierre Leud). Among them, Serge Gainsbourg is ugly - some of his looks are due to his Jewish heritage. And what explains Kiefer Sutherland's stacked face? The fact is, some Venus/Taurus or Venus/Libras have, for example, a beautiful Cupid's Arch, a pleasant and approachable demeanor, good manners or a very low-key approach that gives way to others. Women are often feminine in shape although not necessarily incredibly sexy. Grace Kelly has Venus rising from Libra into Scorpio - a classically blonde beauty. For men, Gregory Peck was classically handsome - virility came from Aries-Sun. Bill Clinton has Venus, Mars and Neptune rising - so it was hard to keep his hands off the ladies' honey pots.

Mars rising typically affects the body with rhythmic movements, forward motion, rapid and direct in speech and manners. The US is really a Mars culture: "Cut the crap, let's get straight to the point." A straightforward, American-style man can be a Martian. There can be darkness, masculinity and straight lines in the face and strength in the body or a little abrupt in the demeanour. Another traditional symbol of Mars is the nose, which is strong, protruding, curved or pointed. William Holden is a Hollywood classic with his Mars rising, Walter Matthau as well, though a softer version (also a very tall man, 190 cm) Henry Kissinger, the ever-popular Mars rising in Gemini (short Jewish). Roman Polanski, a short man with a large nose that sticks out, popularly known as a "dicknose". Peter Sellers was also an evergreen, a reckless bumper as inspector Clouseau, but he too had a nose, as did the handsome Cat Stevens (Mars rising in Libra). But where did the nose go for Christina Ricci, who has a very small snubnose. Lessons can be learned about Mars rising people how the grasp the things, the tools, the door handle, how they shake hands.

Jupiter rising can show up in the fullness of body shape. There is also a lot of flesh on the face, to see. Fullness of the lips and a wide expanse of cheeks are common. The head is usually relatively large compared to the body (especially with Pisces rising). But this depends very much on the other accents of the chart. Racial factors can also surprise: where is the rising Jupiter of Jewish-born Ben Stiller? A thick, chubby tycoon? Sometimes there's a buldogg-like accumulation of warts on the face (early comedian Sykes Roosevelt). The Sagittarius-Gemini quality in the body is often seen in the detachment of limbs, wide movements. One gets the impression that this person needs to get moving. In Jane Fonda, Capricorn is rising and Jupiter is rising in Aquarius. There is an Aquarian quality to her appearance. Dustin Hoffmann has Jupiter rising in Capricorn, but there's nothing big about him, instead there's a Jewish bloodline and Virgo rising cutting the Jupiter features down. Oliver Stone has a very jovial (Jupiterian) face, Scorpio rising, but Jupiter in Libra but nearby the Ascendant. Erica Jong has Jupiter rising, she is blonde, with lots of curly hair and a wide, lush figure and a broad, Americanized smile. But the short Sagittarius buns, with their cheerful talk and sense of humour, are pretty ordinary too. But in general, Jupiter on the rise seems to be devoid of one or two sharply defining characteristics.

Saturn rising people can have stern face, bony features, mephistofelian expressions, a devilishness in the face or a wavy eyebrow or a mouth with a dry grin. Saturn and Pluto rising together (generation 1914-15 in Gemini/Cancer or 1947-48, both in Leo) in any sign can be observed by how expressionless the face is, not living by emotions and inner movements. Hard and not so approachable expression is typical. But even saturnian people have to adopt to social demands to blend in, so they have to learn to be polite and nice. Saturn rising is the archetype of the "old, wise man" and often includes a goatee or full beard. Finnish president, Sauli Niinistö is an exception to this, but he has rather deep wrinkles on his forehead as a sign of responsibilities and worries (Sun/Saturn rising). But of course, everybody gets wrinkles when getting old.

When dividing faces into long and short, Saturnian rising faces tend to be elongated, contrary to tradition, having sometimes “horse faces”, previously thought to be typical Sagittarius faces. This is why Eartha Kitt's face in the Saturnus gallery I have compiled (48 Saturnian celebrities and photos can be seen at seems totally incongruous. Likewise Jon Voight, whose face has bulging cheeks (apple cheeks), but he also has the Moon rising with Saturn in Aries too. In the traditional Sagittarius horseface, the eyes are far apart, in Saturn rising the eyes are close together - the equivalent of having a more focused, narrower view of life. Saturnian ascension doesn't necessarily shorten anyone’s body, external dimensions are always very much a matter of genetic inheritance (Sean Connery - 188 cm), though the odd leap does happen. Saturnian men often like beards, but they are greying early, not at the age of nine but a little later. Saturn often brings out loss of illusions more than severity. Not all Saturnian rising people live to reach the old age, some do - and greatly regret it. The same is true of all the other signs of ascendant.

Uranus rising most often straightens the profile of the face, giving it a "streamlined", straightforward, sometimes slightly birdlike look or very clean and sober looking. The best hints are behavioural: slightly aloof, ironic, very on alert, but not pushy. Karen Blixen's birdlike profile fits Uranus well, as does Arthur Koestler's straight face (Capricorn-AS). But there are exceptions, e.g. Axel Millberg in the German classic tv police series Tatort, where Uranus rises in Cancer, and the man's face is a bit insect-like. F.D. Roosevelt's appearance is a pretty good average of Uranus/First Man influences, but Kurt Russell and John Travolta's appearance is clearly influenced by the Pisces Sun in addition to the Uranus rising. Travolta is tall and Russell is of average height. Tradition describes Cancers as short and round-headed men, but Uranus tend to growth. Cancer rising have been portrayed by Renny Harlin (190 cm), David Morse (192 cm) and Jeff Goldblum (192 cm). They all have Uranus rising or in the 12th house, which often does increase height. And the Jewish heritage is reflected in Jeff Goldblum's appearance, but even more so in the Libra rising. The German actor Axel Millberg, also mentioned, is 185 cm tall due to Uranus rising. The tallest fin we know, was Väinö Myllyrinne (1909-1963), he was 248 cm tall. No birth time is available, but Uranus in the first house is quite possible. The 7th American president was Andrew Jackson, a short-tempered soldier and a man prone to violence. Uranus rises in Aries. William Henry Harrison was also a Uranus-rising president. His term in office was the shortest in the US, lasting a month until he died suddenly of illness. He had a temper even though Taurus was rising. In the eyes of white settlers, he was a hero , albeit harsh and ruthless hero of many Indian wars. He was one of those military commanders who made it possible to move the Indians forcibly to reservations and grab their lands which were given to white settlers.

Neptune's rise is not always visible anywhere (Harrison Ford, Francois Mitterand, Michael Moriarty). No expressive, moist eyes, no fragility, no dreamy expression (one exception: Francoise Sagan, the French writer) or childishness waiting for a miracle, but the rising sign or Sun sign often punches through better. But if Neptune rising is seen, it expresses being at loss, helplessness, the ability to surrender, to be kind, harmless and helpful to people, but this too is sign-specific and depends on other factors. A sense of humour often rises to the surface as an indication of being able to see through life’s follies. The same can be said of the Ascendant in Pisces. They can change their appearances when needed or when it amuses them (Jim Carrey). The ability to identify with another person is there, which is why acting is so successful for many Neptune-rising people. And, of course, negatively, deceiving oneself and others. There are, of course, some pretty and beautiful Neptune risers: e.g. Geena Davis, an intelligent (high IQ) and very tall actress, rising in Libra; Paris Hilton, who, stripped of her make-up, is probable quite plain-looking - rising in Sagittarius. There is a kindness in the face of the child abduction victim, Jaycee Dugard, who has the Moon and Neptune rising together in Sagittarius. When two planetary energies foreign to each other are close to rising, it usually brings the impossibility of guessing (or "knowing") the rising sign. Francois Mitterrand, ex-president of France, has Neptune and Saturn rising in Leo, but his appearance does not give a clue in that direction. The same planets were rising in Leo Indira Gandhi’s chart. Neptune's sign placement must also be taken into account: different shades in Libra than in Scorpio or Sagittarius. Boisterous comedienne Tracey Ullman was born with Neptune rising in Scorpio - a dark brunette who sometimes expressed herself in a manner that bordered on bad taste. On the other side of good taste was Andy Warhol, who, despite his Leo rising and Neptune, seemed a little absent and half-dead. Prince William is his mother's son, Sagittarius and Neptune rising and, to the disappointment of many, the bald head appeared quickly. Women sighed. Enimem has Neptune rising in Sagittarius, Christian Ronaldo in Capricorn. Neptune is the planet of mass identification (well, among other things). You want a 15 million followers in your Facebook? Get Neptune rising. French people crumbled against their lascivious and wasteful king Louis XIV, who had Neptune rising in Scorpio. People did not rebel against his absolute sovereignity - but later on it was Louis XVI who became the unhappy target of revolution.

A traditional hallmark of the Pluto rising is the pan-face syndrome (Humphrey Bogart, Edgar Robinson), the expressionlessness, the removal of emotion from gesture and expression (living behind a mask). The classic is the sense of the other party that the Pluto-rising person wants something, increasing pressure so that the other gives away and does what he wants. In some way Scorpio-rising people coerce, dominate, steering discussion and behaviour in his own direction. But Pluto's influence on appearance can also get lost among other factors in the chart. George Bush Jr's Pluto is rising, but the most typical Pluto traits are not strongly highlighted. But his eagerness to name the good and bad people and (croock) countries is more telling. Pluto's face twists rather effortlessly in a demonic direction, like Jack Nicholson's. Devilishness can be charming and frightening in equal measure. The darkly sinister menace can be seen, for example, in Steven Seagal, who bruises and crumples bad guys in his violent and lousy films.

Pluto's face is usually not narrow but wide, full-bodied and tends to get wider (Orson Welles) as he gets older. But this hasn't happened to Al Pacino and the reason is the Sun/Saturn conjunction. If we know Pluto is rising in someone’s chart and the face is smooth and pleasant, there is some cause for concern (Rock Hudson - something inside is not getting through). Kurt Cobain had Pluto rising, but Uranus wasn't far behind either. The visual effect is difficult to interpret, but the psychological effect is palpable (extreme contradictions and ups and downs). In Fritz Brunhubner's classic book on Pluto from the 1930s, one sees a collection of Pluto-rising faces, with an accentuation of rigidity, darkness, a sense of a criminal mentality, pathological traits. But how did he choose the illustrations for his book? A random selection? Hardly. Very early on, the author found an archetypal evil counterpart to the Pluto faces, but most likely through some sort of selection process he had chosen those exemplary faces appearing in his book.

In addition to observing human behaviour and overall impact, here are some fairly traditional quirks. They work sometimes well, other times not so well and – let’s us be honest – occasionally not at all.

Aries risers are lively, proactive and pushy. They have an electric energy that often erupts in compulsive action, a desire to comment on everything, to intervene, suggestions, commands, belligerent comments, quick starts. The impatient "isn't anything happening?" feeling easily surfaces.

Taurus people are controlled, suffering from excessive influences and crowds. They are often quite quiet or only speak up when provoked or when answering questions. They are driven by their body and it’s sensual needs. Taurus rising does not automatically make a person fat. Feet on the ground or sometimes slightly sunk to the ground?

Gemini rising people are easily excited, get hyped, get sudden notions, go where they feel like going and talk a lot, gesticulate and pontificate profusely and let out spontaneous trendy exclamations or show they know it and it pretty well and that they been here and there.

Cancer people are at times reclusive, shy, comfortable only in their own heads, at times immediate and personal, throwing off titles and formalaties and demanding heart-to-heart contact in a very intimate way. If you sync up, it feels like a release, if you don't, it locks you up, and you leave quietly.

Leos and lionesses demand a lot of for themselves, they want to be something visible. The garner attention, they are loud, role-playing, always performing for some body, having fun or being able to relax can be reflected in behaviour. Many Lions are unintentionally a bit comical or they like to lighten the mood with exaggerated gestures, statements or comedy. They like too to exaggerate (themselves) and bluff in order to appear larger than life.

Virgo women and sometimes also men are often neat, pedantry and a desire for elegance, which can be seen in dress, speech or a habit of babbling, starting long German-like sentences e.g. "But on the other hand...or sort of…in a way..." A focus on useful things can also be seen in their lifestyle. A neat, nifty, shaggy-headed, efficient-looking woman or man - the Virgo Rising?

Libra rising people tend to like to be with you, willing to do something fun together. They adapt to other people well, thrive in groups, moving from group to group with a drink in their hand. The Libra quality likes rather lazy and comfortable lifestyle and pursue artistic things, is not entirely without truth. They discard extremes, take no absolute sides and give everyone a fair treat but can be also evasive and unable to act when needed.

Scorpio rising people are very protective, they like to probe things and people, challenge, refute, sow doubt and try to get a grip on you. As they get closer they can ask awkward questions, challenge or sow doubt in your mind. They ask, you answer, you ask, they don't answer but stare back. Stealthy and mysterious habits might give way the sign.

The Sagittarius ascendant can be generous, big things always going on, important people to meet, significant changes to be noted, journeys to be made; to mingle with cream of the society. Many Sagittarius rising people are dramatic people in one-way or another. Sagittarius love boots and handy outdoor clothes - preferring sometimes a very carefree outfit. They can be very different in their free time and on official occasions. So says tradition, but what about in practice? Sagittarius doesn’t have one clear-cut type - nor do other rising signs.

Capricorn-rising can be matter-of-fact, dry, ironic people with a pushy, "prove it" attitude. Sometimes also the ones you can tell don't get along smoothly with people, they can be snappy and overly worried about correctness on their behaviour. They easily appeal to regulations and official channels. Chalkboard suit, dark trouser suits for women too – these are uniforms for those seeking social approval – comme-il-faut people. Paradoxical sign too: not usually at all humorous, only ironical or witty, but at the same time the sign of great comedians.

Aquarian rising people, are businesslike, somewhat separate from the rest, sitting in the company or standing calmly and making eye contact, seeking out interesting topics to discuss about, usually big issues or current affairs in the society. They can have a rather stolid and detached attitude - sometimes characteristically distant and cold as if constantly evaluating things, putting them in perspective.

Pisceans live through the images they create. They have a sense of identification if you get close. Living through images can be problematic because there can be many of them used to define the self; the self is a kind of composite. The lifestyle is free, carefree, bohemian or detached from everyday obligations, but the dependencies on people are strong. You need a group, a flock, a herd to blend in with. Humorous sign, no doubt.

Nowadays in astrological appearance judgments, remember that it's not one factor that matters, not the ascendant sign, not the rising planet or the Sun, but the whole chart. Take example, in Catherine Deneuve's horoscope, Capricorn is rising, but she was not looking typical Capricorn, but the beauty came from the Sun sign, Libra and the Ascendant degree trining Venus, with a dash of the classic Capricorn regularity in the face mixed in. Thus was born her totality of her appearance.

You have to collect the most important factors in the chart. For example, you could start by tying together the Ascendant sign and degree, its most exact aspects, and then take the Sun and Moon and their most accurate aspects - or just one if there are no more. Make a synthesis - if you can. One sign always rises, but there may be a planet near that sign, sometimes more than one, there may be a stellium in another sign, which also needs to be taken into account, etc. A chart can have a very complex web of factors that is impossible to translate to the level of appearance. But still, the web is full of the most childish attempts to straighten out these complexities. The result is sadly wanting.

There is no typical hair style, ear shape or other detail on the face. The moon rising usually reduces the thickness of men's hair, but for instance for scandinavian men (and women) have a fairly thin hair type in general. The ideal body type in USA has a hair line beginning straight up from the eyebrows. Pluto in the ascendant is the strongest candidate for the planet of thick hair, but the results show no consistency. Like Pluto's home sign, Scorpio in rising, Plutonian hair is thick and dark, but the alternative is then the "demonic" baldness of men (Clint Eastwood versus Mussolini). After all, we tend to say Scorpio is an either-or sign. A bushy hair or a shiny skateboard? Tradition has it that the Taurus also has abundant hair growth – like the Angela Davis, African-American civil rights campaigner had in her youth almost 50 cm high decorative bush-like hairpiece.

The sign placement of the slow planets is also noteworthy: Pluto was in Cancer from 1913 to 1939 and Leo from 1939 to 1947, then Virgo from 1957 to 1971 and Libra from 1971 to 1984, etc. So if the rising degree falls in these signs and the person is born to certain generation, they can have Pluto rising. And it should affect your appearance if close enough to rising degree. Also, note the possible position of Uranus and Neptune near the rising. Virgo may be rising at those born at mid 60’s, but Uranus may also be close to rising, as well as Pluto. Neptune in Virgo (1930-1944), for example, gave birth to sweet and neat and pretty looking stars like Raquel Welch, Julie Andrews, Annie Girardot and Paul McCartney. They represented the style and trends of the 1950’s, the last "innocent decade" being born in the late 30’s or early 40’s.

When a particular sign rises, the rising degree can be close to one of these slow planets. Then the rising planet is absorbed into the person's mental and physical expression. And the slow planet brings with it the basic feelings, attitudes, trends, patterns and goals of its entire age generation. These too can transform an individual's behaviour dramatically. People have tendency to dress in the form dictated by the trends of their own generation to which they were born.

Astrology's cardinal sin has been to offer overly simplistic rules to people as truths. Comparing people and their charts easily disprove them. Sometimes you get the unfortunate feeling that even many professionals haven't actually looked at charts and compared people to them. You're just playing with tradition, someone's nutty generalizations or mere guesses.

Astrology should not compete with heredity. The appearance issue is a real stickler. If one is inclined to be critical, the connection between appearance and chart can be thrown away, it doesn't give much. But then the child can go down the drain with the washing water. Something may survive, but new approaches and models are needed that could more reliably than tradition tell us what factors on the chart are really worth paying attention to when assessing appearance. The ultimate wisdom on this issue for me has been this: every new person you see is a surprise compared to your chart. Similarly, when you hear a stranger's voice on the phone and start guessing what the person looks like, your guess is usually completely wrong. Looking at the whole chart is the essence of my astrology, the person looks like what the chart as a whole looks like. Context always overruns every details. But the problem is that no one can really put this totality into clear physical terms. Every new person with his/her appearance is a welcome addition to one's collection.

It is clear is that a chart doesn’t give you very good results in determining the appearance. In most of the cases, you are likely to be wrong. You can’t spot on looking chart is it about cat’s or mouse’s chart, is this man an invalid or four time Olympic winner. For example, take the dwarf in the Game of Thrones series - Peter Dinklage. The last degree of Pisces is rising, which is as such a rarity. There are no planets near the Ascendant but on the opposite side of the horizon (on the DS) there is Jupiter, Pluto and especially Uranus. One might think that when Uranus rises, one can be born long, the body sets out to reach for the heavens, which is Uranus’ (or Prometheus') own world. When Uranus descends, doe the opposite happen? A man’s growth hormone level is exceptionally low? No, this will not work neither.

Dinklage is 132 cm tall. But his face is very piscean. But Danny De Vito is also a short fellow and Venus is rising and opposite Saturn, which is nowhere near DS. Astrology is still full of things that someone once thought to be valid assumptions, and they have started circulating around the internet. The rising sign is only one starting point and it is not directly about the body, but about something else - the individual way of being a person, which includes appearance, clothing, typical gestures, expressions, mannerisms, way of moving, speech expression and idiosyncrasies.

Thinking about the truth astrology can convey, we have to understand the division between empirical (based on measurable evidence) truth and archetypal truth. The first belongs to domain of Logos, the latter to the domain of Myth. In the course of history, Myth (and along that, religions) dominated up to 18th century, then after the period of Enlightenment and French Revolution, Logos displaced Mythos and have ever since ruled the human mind. It is now a standard set of mind. God died, meaning that average people don’t believe in God. All mythical understanding is subjugated and trampled in the mud – myths are just old lies and based on ignorance. It would be most important to reassess mythological understanding in our time and invigorate the linkage between our human existence and Cosmos. Richard Tarnas have done great work in this direction through his books and lectures.

The point is: how the heavenly bodies affect our lives even so concrete that they shape our bodies and the way we look? Ridiculous idea. I have taken a bit the role of Devils advocate in this article because it is obvious that traditional descriptions of rising signs influence our appearance, cannot be valid. But if so, what is left to work with? Is it simply because astrologers have taken wrong point of departure trying to explain the soul (psyche) via archetypal symbolism? No, that’s ok, but trying to force our chart to final concreteness, such as our body, has taken us to wrong direction. When we are born, we carry our parents DNA, where the building blocks of our physical characteristics are. The nature takes over and shapes us. But what has happened before this is the point. Astrologers often have various esoteric traditions (such as theosophical, antroposophical) from which they have sought inspiration. One thing is the great mystery of reincarnation, which gives possibilities the soul’s existence beyond it’s bodily frame. But still, we are far from understanding these matters and their ramifications in astrology.

Astrologically collected face pictures can be found at Astrofaces . It turns out that it is not very useful. People's appearance is a very individual thing, even if the three basic signs, Moon sign, Sun sign and Rising sign are the very same. The possibilities for variations are still myriad. You can also see here a special collection of examples of Saturn ascendant faces from here, and to see that each one has its own specific appearance. You can find a particular celebrity and corresponding natal chart Astrodatabank or Astrotheme.

Raimo Nikula, 10.10.2022.


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