Thursday, October 20, 2011

Seeing Ourselves As Others See Us

C.E.O. Carter, well-respected 20th century British astrologer, writing about the ascendant or rising sign ~~
On the Ascendant as a Mask:
Recently we have heard a good deal to the effect that the rising sign, and in particular the ascending degree, is a mask which the native wears before the world but which conceals his true self.
As I have stated in the Lodge, this proposition does not seem self-evidently true. It seems to derive from the practice, in Alan Leo times, of correlating the Sun with the 'individuality' and the Moon with the 'personality', using these words in their well-known theosophical senses. 'Personality' is further derived from the Latin persona = something one makes a noise through, hence a mask such as actors were wont to wear, with a wide-open mouth. Then, apparently, this idea of a mask was transferred to the ascending sign...

I suggest that it is not the rising, but the setting degree, that is more truly a mask, for it is through this that we contact other people, and unless we have very strong personalities (in the usual, not the theosophical, sense) we do modify our demeanour according to the man or woman who confronts us..."
[From an Editorial in The Astrologer's Quarterly, September 1951]

Mr.Carter's theory makes a lot of sense to me. Some other astrologers have said that the descendant indicates "what we need", in a partner, or in life. I like Carter's idea much better, and it seems to work in all the charts I've been able to check so far. Admitedly this is not a large number, because times of birth have been elusive in many of my close connections throughout life.

My own descendant is in Capricorn. I've been told more than once that I come over as too serious, solid, reliable = Capricorn. This makes my revolutionary Aquarian Sun bristle! As Mercury lies in Capricorn in my chart I've usually blamed the impression I seem to give on that placement. Capricorn is not the real me, but it could easily be what others see first, when they don't know me. I seriously doubt that anyone sees my rising sign (Cancer). I'm anything but motherly. I've never been a mother, not domesticated (I am house-trained, but barely!) I am ultra sensitive and sentimental/emotional but few would perceive that - unless they knew me very well.

I tried Mr Carter's theory on the husband's chart. He has Leo ascending, Aquarius on the descendant. He has told me, many times, that when he was young he always tried to be original and different, not to conform with the fads of his contemporaries - in the way he dressed, his hair, his taste in music, the way he spoke. That says Aquarius to me, not Leo. Matured now, less avant garde in most things, but still his Leo remains well hidden, just a part of the mix of his real self, his Moon is there too. When I first stumbled across him on the internet, the impression I had was of a school teacher or some such academically inclined mortal. It turned out that he wasn't, but his demeanor was definitely more Aquarius than Leo. His eldest daughter has a similar ascendant, these remarks could apply equally to her.

I believe that Charles Carter nailed this. His theory is something worth keeping in mind.

To calculate an accurate rising sign it's necessary to know the time of birth - as nearly exact as possible. It's a stumbling block for people in Britain where times of birth have not always been routinely recorded. Parents and grandparents can often help with, at least, information on an approximate time of birth - knowing whether born during day or night for example, then narrowing it down. Astrologers find any such rough guide helpful, when they use a calculation process known as "rectification" for a client. They need dates of important events in the life of the person in question, these help establish a rising sign and likely degree.

Below is a list of the zodiac signs with their opposites, as rising and setting signs:
When Aries is rising, Libra is setting
Taurus rising - Scorpio setting
Gemini rising - Sagittarius setting
Cancer rising - Capricorn setting
Leo rising - Aquarius setting
Virgo rising - Pisces setting
Libra rising - Aries setting
Scorpio rising - Taurus setting
Sagittarius rising - Gemini setting
Capricorn rising - Cancer setting
Aquarius rising - Leo setting
Pisces rising - Virgo setting.


Anonymous said...

GP: 1) Nice to know you had a good trip (reporting excellent as usual - surprising how much you saw in flatland...)

2) Agree with you T. and Carter (the astrologer, not the peanut's man): Even add my own insight on our respective masks: The AS is what we feel being our vulnerable side and therefore wish to hide/protect. Being AS Sag. and tall I always wished (at least when younger) to be one head less in size.

James Higham said...

Yes, it does seem the trip suited you. Now:

I'm anything but motherly. I've never been a mother, not domesticated (I am house-trained, but barely!) I am ultra sensitive and sentimental/emotional but few would perceive that - unless they knew me very well.

Do you cook or only on special occasions, Twilight?

Twilight said...

Anonymous/Gian Paul ~~
Thanks - yes, we enjoyed the trip, and found plenty to entertain us, discovered that a few wooded hills do exist, even in "flatland"

Yes, vulnerability is a factor - we all feel it, even the strongest and wisest.

So you have Gemini on the descendant - from the little I know you do give off quite a Geminian flavour .... you like to write/communicate, are interested in many topics etc.

Sagittarius ascendant + size exaggeration (in any way) is a good visual fit though.

How tall, GP ?

Twilight said...

James Higham ~~ I have been known to cook. My first husband and I (back in the 1960s) ran a small cafe for a while and I cooked - surprise surprise! But it's not a favourite occupation of mine, I'll do it only if absolutely necessary.

Now, the present husband loves to cook - so he does. ;-)

Anonymous said...

GP: Was 1.90 cm now shrinking, must have reached 187-188. "closing the gap towards ideal"...

Twilight said...

Anon/Gian Paul ~~

Thanks. :-)
I translated that with Google's help to be 6 foot 3 inches, reducing by around an inch or so.

Nice. Not tall enough to be abnormal or cause people to turn around and gaze in amazement - but tall enough to see over the majority of heads in a crowd.

Anna Van Z said...

What an interesting idea! I have also heard much about the rising sign, but nothing about the descending sign.

I have Libra rising, so I guess Aries would be the setting sign. My sun sign is also a fire sign, Leo.
In a partner, I definitely favor those willing to battle on behalf of their beliefs - or on my behalf!

Twilight said...

Anna Van Z ~~~ You definitely come over, online at least, as a fighter for a cause, Anna, so Mr. Carter's theory continues to work. :-)