On Acendants and Images
by Rev. Alice Miller
Your Ascendant and first house describe your self-image, which means how you learned to see yourself early in life. It is based on things said to or about you early in life. What did your parents call you? The first house describes what was said or implied about who you are or should be. The seventh describes what was said or implied about who/what you are not, should not be, cannot be.
COMMON EXAMPLES: Leo Rising is almost always the little Prince or Princess–definitely the family heir. The star of the family, you are expected to maintain the family image. Capricorn Rising: is the responsible one. Often an oldest child who is expected to be a surrogate parent to siblings. Sometimes just a child left on his or her own, to figure out the rules about how life works. Taurus is the good child, and Scorpio is the bad child, who gets a lot of blame–often blamed for the dysfunctional behavior of the parent.
The Ascendant-Descendant (Horizon) describes the world view held by your birth family. It shows how they divide and classify people. Aries-Libra may equal Me against them–reversed may equal them against us. The chart below is from Principles of Astrology.
Traditionally, the Ascendant is "How I am" and the Descendant is "How I am not, with planets in the first and seventh houses adding further description. Those qualities not me are assigned to Others–hence Self-Image and Other-Image.
One of the most difficult placements is to have the ruler of the Ascendant in the seventh house and/or the ruler of the Descendant in the first house. These make statements to the effect that "I should be __________, but I am not. Or, occasionally–this may be more true of the Indigos–it will express as the native being assigned some quality or lack thereof that s/he knows not to be true. Others are seeing what they want to see, or what they think they should be seeing, rather than the real you.
In considering images, it is important to realize that there are two more. The fourth house cusp (I.C.) is our private "at home" image. The tenth house (M.C.) Is our public image–the face we wear at work, on stage, etc. Call it the Career or Reputation face.
One thing to keep in mind: If these four really do not fit, you may need to turn your chart up-side-down. Try that and see whether it fits better.