Sometimes I read a Birth Chart with emphases on ascendant. The ascendant determines which planets govern the twelve houses and rules the first house of Self. It’s the first of the four angles in a chart that you look at in any interpretation.
The horoscope circle is divided into twelve equal parts, numbered counterclockwise. These are the houses that represent certain types of activities and areas of life. The lines that divide the houses are called cusps. The horizontal line that cuts through the middle of the chart is the ascendant. When evaluating a birth chart, notice how planets fall in relation to the horizon or ascendant. A balanced chart has an equal number of planets above and below the horizon.
With a predominance of planets above the horizon, most experiences for this person are expressed openly. Not much is hidden. This hemisphere is concerned with conscious thought. As astrologer Steven Forrest notes in The Inner Sky, “A visible event marks every important developmental milestone on her path. The event may be a move to another city. A marriage. A journey to the East. … For such a person there is a perceptible life ritual signaling every major evolutionary step.”
Some astrologers say that people who have most of the planets above the horizon tend to be more outgoing, affable, and generally sociable than those who don’t. In other words: the first is active, the other is intellectually passive. But this isn’t necessarily true! The horizon placement of planets has more to do with how you approach and assimilate experience.
The imaginary line that divides a chart vertically is called the MC–IC or vertical axis. The space to the left of this axis is called the eastern hemisphere; this is where planets are rising. This includes houses one, two, three, ten, eleven, and twelve. The space to the right of the vertical axis is called the western hemisphere; this is the twilight where planets are setting. It includes houses four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine.
People with the majority of their planets to the left of the axis tend to be self-determined; they act on their own choices. Astrologer Robert Hand, however, notes: “The planets in the east should not be ones that, like Saturn, tend to frustrate action, or, like Neptune, weaken the basis on which one should act.”
When a majority of the planets lie in the western hemisphere, an individual considers her choices before acting. Opportunities may be somewhat restricted by the society in which the person lives.
Source, with illustrations:
Your birth-sign is the sign in which the Sun was placed on your birthday. Astrologers call it your Sun Sign. This marks your deep character, the stamp of your most fundamental energies and potential for spiritual growth. However, there are other very important signs, including your Ascendant or rising sign, Moon sign, Ruling Planet, and the signs of the other planets and sensitive points in the chart, such as the Part of Fortune and the Moon’s nodes.
When reading a chart, a person can start with any planet or placement they wish, regardless of the sign it occupies. The order that the zodiac follows is irrelevant to the analysis of a chart. Naturally certain signs are said to rule certain houses; indicating the affairs these houses govern in the natives life. The sign on a house cusp indicates how a native goes about those affairs. But the signs on the house cusps do not have to follow this order. The calculation of the Ascendant indicates the sign that was rising in the west in the exact time, date and place of the native’s birth. This can be any of the 12 accepted zodiac signs.
I usually use a very simple formula for reading a chart. 1. Start with the basics. Look at the overall pattern of the chart? Where are most of the planets etc. 2. Look at the signs on the house cusps and their rulers. 3. Starting with the Sun, interpret the placements of all the planets by sign and house, following their orbital sequence more or less (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, etc.). Usually I take each planet and look at all the aspects it makes as well in this phase.
Example: Sun(Cancer) in the 10th house suggests a native that is very ambitious. Status and recognition are very important to them, as well as establishing a stable home life. Sun conjunct Venus: The native is cheerful, easy-going and gets along well with superiors, especially female ones. etc…
Writing out your own interpretations is very helpful and enlightening.