Opening comments and discussion questions:

Understanding the Rising Sign.  Each of us has a Natal Mask, or persona, based upon the date, time, and place of birth. But this persona also progresses, or evolves, over time. As we grow older, each new progressed Mask affects us for several decades. Each new Mask will bring out different qualities and talents latent in the Natal chart, as it slowly moves into contact with Natal planets and points, such as the Midheaven (10th House cusp), the Natal Rising Sign, and the Nodes. Others may notice a difference in our persona.

Example:The Natal Mask. The outside world quickly picks up on the Natal Rising Sign. People respond to it when they first meet us.  Air and Fire are the extraverted Elements, Earth and Water introverted.  If we have Air Rising-- Gemini, Libra, or Aquarius—for instance, we usually seem quite sociable at first meeting. But suppose our Natal Sun and Moon are in introverted Elements. Then, the person we just met at the party will discover the rest of our personality, the more introverted planets, later. He may be surprised that hidden depths lie that beneath the fun-loving Air Mask!  Or, if we have a high percentage of Water planets, he‘ll discover we’re moodier than he expected.

The Instinctual and Spiritual Rulers:

                        The instinctual (aka mundane) ruler of the Rising Sign is easier to identify than    the spiritual.  It's called instinctual because it often includes 1) physical attributes: Mars/   Aries: energy,   passion, adrenalin, coordination, reflexes, survival instincts/ fight or flight response, competitive drive,  anger, aggressive/ assertive responses.

                         Or 2) emotional attributes. For instance, Moon/Cancer: nurturing,  family bonds, receptivity, memories, the stomach, (including the ability to "stomach life," ) imagination; Venus/ Libra:  romance, beauty, aesthetics, lofty ideals, distinguishing the "I" from the "We," strong  sense of justice/fairness.)            


                        The esoteric (aka spiritual) ruler's influence is less concrete, less easy to recognize.  It involves qualities like generosity (Jupiter), lovingkindness (Venus),  Saturn/Capricorn: our dharma or duty to the larger community. People who have a positive connection with the spiritual ruler of their Rising Sign seem happier.


      Growing into the Rising Sign: Joe integrates Natal Mars


Joe was born with his Rising Sign in early Aries. But Mars, his only Aries planet and his instinctual ruler, was in the very last degree of Aries, at the bottom of his Identity House (First House.)


It took the Progressed Ascendant 29 years to align with Joe’s Mars. When the conjunction occurred, Joe was attending his brother’s wedding in his home town.  Beth, a girl he’d really liked years ago, was there.  She watched him in an animated discussion with several older men. Not only were they interested in Joe’s opinions, he’d actually won them over to his viewpoint.


 “I thought Joe was a wimp in high school, but now he’s so confidant and enthusiastic, maybe I should have gone to the prom with him.”   Beth was impressed. Joe got her phone number. Two years later, as his Progressed Ascendant entered Taurus and contacted Venus- in- Taurus in his Second House (finances) Joe received a promotion. He also decided to ask Beth to marry him.


(There are other factors involved in the timing, like transiting Saturn, but our focus here is on Joe’s enhanced magnetism, which Beth felt.)

Discussion:  Question One:  has anyone ever had, or known someone who had, an experience of “growing into” the planets in their Identity House?  Or of progressing from Fire to Earth, like Joe, and feeling grounded, ready to “settle down” and marry?


 Question Two:  How do the instinctual ruler and the spiritual ruler of Aries work together? Suggested reading:  pp 11-17, including  footnote 13, on Annie Besant’s greatest regret.   


Aries Rising John Lennon saw his songs as “postcards to the universe.” As a young woman, Annie Besant practiced making speeches in her husband’s church while pretending she went there to practice the organ as it was considered unseemly for women to speak in church. 


For some Aries Rising people, Mars’ passion for an activity or cause and Mercury’s communication skills blend early. Fire Rising is in a hurry to get on with life and share their gifts with others.


Intermediate and advanced students may want to review the two horoscopes at, Astrodata.  Do you think life is any   easier with a contact between the two rulers, however difficult, (Besant’s chart) or with no major contact at all? (Lennon’s.)  


Or, you may prefer to discuss Pearl Buck or Henry Miller. What was their Aries/Mars journey like? Risk-taking?  Pioneering? Adventure? Heroism/Warrior Archetype?  Their Aries/Mercury journey?  The messages they brought the world?


Example Two: The Progressed Mask in the Second Half of Life, for participants over 50. 


Question 1: Have you ever encountered an old friend, someone you hadn’t seen in a very long time and watched the person’s face light up with joy? Perhaps they greeted you with,” you’ve changed a lot, but I knew right away it was you!”  Have you ever received validation from the outer world that you’ve grown not just older, but that somehow the new, mature, you is an improvement on the “old you?”    For Aries Rising, they could be picking up on the Wisdom of Athena, guide to courageous heroes.  Spirit, forever young, is still there to connect with the old friend.


 Discussion Question 2:

If you have Aries Rising, or know someone over 59  who does, you/he/she have already progressed through one or more Signs, Elements and Modes, you may want to consider the various Masks  worn while moving though life. Which ones did you enjoy the most?


The professional image?  The ambitious Warrior?  The Lover (polar opposite of the Warrior)? The Mask of responsible, caring parent or loving grandparent?


 By hindsight, which Mask cycles seemed more difficult?  Easier? The peaceful warrior Mask, perhaps? (Annie Besant wrote at the end of her life, “Theosophy brought me peace.”)


For  Advanced Students of Astrology:

Which of your Natal planets, if any, did the Progressed Rising Sign contact from each new Ascendant Sign?

Did the progression bring out interests latent in the Natal Chart?

What type of person seems attracted to your progressed Seventh House Cusp? (The polarity of the progressed Ascendant Sign is the progressed Seventh House cusp Sign.  Aries/Libra will shift to Taurus/Scorpio then, in the next cycle, Gemini/Sagittarius.)  

Does the same type of person (Element, Mode) who appealed to you in your twenties still appeal as much? 

The Second Progressed Sign usually feels more comfortable (familiar) than the first as the Elements are more compatible. Introverted Rising Signs remark, “I feel like my old self again, I’m craving more alone time,” while extraverted Natal Ascendants feel more sociable.


Question 3: In the second half of life, did you return to an activity that you loved as a child?  Carl G. Jung, for instance, spent hours sorting stones as a boy, then, in adulthood, he spent years building Bollingen Tower. Is there a process, an equivalent of Jung’s “stone play,” that brings you joy?

Perhaps it's an activity you share with your grandchildren?

Examples:  Some people who wrote for their high school newspaper or college magazine in youth returned to writing after midlife as bloggers, short story writers, poets, novelists, memoirists. Others, who were high school athletes, returned to their favorite sport as coaches in retirement. Many who loved drama in high school developed an interest in community theater, as patrons or as volunteers.

For Mars-ruled Aries’, joie de vivre and continued good health is related to staying active. It’s important not to lose touch with one’s instincts! After midlife, Aries Rising needs safe, age-appropriate exercise hobby to keep their instinctual rule, engaged in life.


However, if there are many Water and/or Earth planets in the horoscope, a prolonged sedentary period, a time of grieving or healing from surgery, can affect the state of mind, as well as muscle tone, coordination and reflexes. As soon as possible, Aries should return to the golf course or other favored physical activity!


The Aries Treasure story, the Golden Fleece, has many important nuances for both the First and Second Half of Life. It will be discussed in the teleseminar February 29, in the context of Uranus’ ingress into Aries for the new 7-year cycle. What new beginnings lay ahead for Aries Rising?  For the rest of us in our “Aries House?”

 If you’re participating in the teleseminar, please read the story, “Jason and the Dragons-Teeth Warriors,” (pp. 17-21)  by the end of February.

If you don’t already have a copy of your Natal horoscope, you may wish to order one and locate your Aries House cusp beforehand.


Taurus Rising:  Inner and Outer Resourcefulness


The words “resources” and “resourcefulness” usually bring to mind financial wherewithal, the most common association for Taurus/Venus/Second House Archetype. At the instinctual level, it’s about financial survival. More than any other Ascendant, Taurus Rising is concerned with setting aside funds to “fall back on” in a crisis.


When astrologers think of Taurus talents, toften their first association is business intuition, like that of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. His Ascendant was enhanced by 50% of his planets in the Earth Element.  Hearst took over his father’s newspaper business in his teens. Though many Taurus Rising people work in the “family business,” few take on full responsibility for it at such a young age.  When Taurus invests too much energy gaining financial security and neglects other areas of life, the persona comes across as materialistic, like eaHearstHearst’s. He was the Archetypal Tycoon.

Novelist Herman Melville is another example of Taurus Rising born into a wealthy family that fell into poverty after the death of relative. (Both charts are available on, astrodata.) A sudden plunge into poverty will bring out the survival instinct early in life.  When his wealthy grandfather died, leaving them almost nothing, Melville’s family lost social status as well as wealth. Talented young Herman was unable to enroll in an Ivy League school with his friends. He surrendered his social connections the day he signed on as a cabin boy, but his whaling ship experience would become the material for Moby Dick.

The Venus Rulership: Aphrodite and her retinue, the Muses foster creative imagination, musical, artistic and storytelling abilities. Taurus is about much more than hard work and professional success. We’ll return to this theme later. 

First, the Taurus Rising Treasure Story.  

Treasure Discussion 1: Please read the Magic Beans story, pp. 36-40.

Question 1:

What is the Treasure in this story? Is the meaning of treasure dreams or fairy tales always literal, or is it sometimes symbolic?

What might the older couple in this story have learned had they progressed consciously through Gemini and Cancer? (pp. 41-42.)  (Elements, Modes, Ruling planets.)

Or,  question 2 : Personal reflection: If you’ve ever had a treasure dream, or a series of them, you might want to comment on what the dream or series meant to you, either at the time or later, by hindsight. Especially if you have Taurus or another Earth Sign Rising! If this doesn’t fit, please move on to the next question.

Anna Freud had Taurus Rising Ascendant and was extremely practical. She grew up while her father was discussing and formalizing his theories. Then she entered the “family business” as a child psychologist. Her first innovative book before was published in her twenties.  By her 70’s, others in her field considered her an international treasure. She had a wealth of knowledge drawn from her unique experience working with traumatized children who were uprooted in the Second World War.

 During a speaking tour in the United States, a member of the audience challenged her, “what you just said, Miss Freud, is only common sense.” 

Astonished, Anna replied, “But there’s nothing common about common sense!”

At my in-person workshops, two Taurus Rising participants,( both coincidentally, social workers,) had the same “take” on Anna’s remark: “that’s it exactly!” and, “she’s absolutely right! It’s that simple! People really overcomplicate decision-making by wasting time and rationalizing, then they finally do what they wanted to do in the first place.”

Question 3, The Collective. What do you think? What might Miss Freud’s insight mean to us now, as Jupiter is about to leave Taurus. Might her Taurus Rising insight have special meaning (larger implications) for at this moment in time, while we’re recovering from the Boom and the Bust?

Question 4, Creativity.  Aphrodite ( Venus) is associated with the Muses, the patrons of music , the arts, and different forms of storytelling such as poetry and plays.  It may come as no surprise to find close, positive contacts from Venus to the Rising Sign degree in Bonnie Raitt and Herman Melville’s charts. (His is a sextile from Venus –in-Cancer, hers a trine from Venus- in-Capricorn.) However, not all successful or creative Taurus Rising people will have an easy contact, or any contact at all from Venus to the Ascendant or First House planets.

One of the other creative examples has no close Venus contact, but does have a Pisces Moon and three other Water planets. Could you guess which one?  Can you guess which one has 3 Taurus planets, 2 Virgo planets, and Venus- in- Gemini in the First House? (Clue: as teenager, his progressed Ascendant aligned with his Natal Gemini Ruler, influencing his choice of profession.)

Questions 5-6, For Astrologers and Astrology Students:  The Transit Cycle:  Jupiter, the planet of generosity, “thinking big,” expanding and improving our lives through higher education, relocating and/or travel is now moving through Taurus (the First or Second Houses for people with this Ascendant.)

Do you think Taurus Rising people will invest as much in gilding the Mask (House 1) or in their business (House 2) as they did in past Jupiter cycles, which didn’t coincide with an economic Bust and a prolonged recovery? 

For those who don’t have Taurus Rising, is there a practical, common sense approach to the issues of the House that Jupiter is now transiting in your Natal chart?  (The House with Taurus on the cusp.)

Example: if Jupiter is passing through Taurus in your 4th. House, you may feel an impulse to expand, to sell your home and purchase a larger, more expensive house in a better neighborhood.  But is this really practical right now?  Older people may feel an impulse to sell their home and re-locate, retiring out-of-state. Regardless of our ages, if we cannot follow through on these Jupiter impulses now, can we think of alternative Jupiter/Fourth House options to pursue?


 Please read, “The Esoteric Ruler,” “The Second Half of Life” and “Progressions for Taurus Rising,” pp. 34-43.

      The Esoteric Ruler and  progressed cycle for Taurus Rising

The spiritual ruler of Taurus is Vulcan-Haephestus. Taurus Rising is usually content to “stay in the same place.” Maintaining the status quo is usually viewed as important to the Tauran sense of security.

Though Fixed Earth is the most Fixed of the 12 Rising Signs, a powerfully-placed Mars, several Fire Sun planets, or a Fire Sun Sign will contribute a sense of adventure. Air planets will provide a sense of wonder and curiosity; an impulse to keep learning as they grow older.

With Scorpio on the Seventh House Cusp, relationships put Taurus through many changes. Mars is one of the rulers of the marriage house cusp; an energetic Aries or Scorpio Sun Sign Spouse (Mars-Ruled person) will prod, stimulate, and challenge Taurus.

The biggest changes, though, seem to come from Haephestes’ alchemical forge, where Taurus Rising, the Irresistible Force, meets the Immovable Object. I understood this process much better after visiting Pompeii and observing the effects of the volcano.  I felt a greater sympathy for my Taurus Rising friends and clients.

After the Vulcan meltdown, awareness, growth, and openness to change come more easily. However, the Vulcan process may take years to assimilate.

Question 7: Contentment in the Second Half of Life.

Which of our examples said to D.H. Lawrence, “I’m content here at home in my job as a customs inspector; I have no desire to travel? (In spite of 3 Sagittarian planets in the 8th House.) In this person’s mid 70s, the progressed Ascendant  made two harmonious contacts: it aligned with Venus-in-Cancer and sextiled the Ascendant degree.  We can understand Taurus Rising’s contentment at home.

Question 8: Would we have Moby Dick, Anna Freud’s unique insights into child psychology, or Toni Morrison’s marvelous novels, had circumstances in the outer world not suddenly and dramatically changed around the authors? Suppose life had continued going along for them as they’d hoped and expected?

Questions 9-10, “The Times, They are a-Changin’.” At the end of the 20th Century, former president Clinton remarked that in the near future, Americans can expect to change careers at least once during the course of their lifetime, given globalization and rapid changes in the world economy.  For some professions, this prediction seems to be coming true already. This challenge was not welcomed as good news by Taurus Rising or other Fixed Sun and Rising Signs, who’d spent years acquiring, or “investing in” their credentials. (The Mutable reaction inclined towards, “oh, good. I’m already bored with what I’m doing.)  

Would it help career counselors and/or life coaches to know that every Fixed Ascendant progresses first through a Mutable Sign, then, later in life, through a Cardinal Sign? And more specifically, might this knowledge be useful if their client’s progressed Ascendant was about to change Signs/Elements/Modes, or contact a Natal planet?

Are the Fixed Rising Signs, especially Fixed Earth, likely to become “resources” in their community during the Cardinal Cycle?( Fixity has staying power; Taurus Rising tends to stay in the same community and/or remain in the same or a related field. Anna Freud was content in Vienna, and might have spent her entire life there, had the War not intervened.)


When you finish, please begin reading Gemini Rising, pp. 48-60.


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  • Hi, Sorry you didn't find us Jo, we missed you!

    We're on Cancer as of yesterday. Please go to the home page for Depth Psychology Alliance, then click "online study groups," you'll see "Beyond the Mask," and once you click on that, you'll see Gemini and Cancer questions posted.

    Once again, I'm really sorry about this.

  • No, I cannot find them, have been through all three pages and nothing new appears here.  Nor did I get any notice of a new posting.....HELP!

  • yes thank you - they look interesting :D

  • I am wondering what is happening...not a word since Monday, three days ago.....

    • Ah, "Zeus" took out our signal here and also our garage door opener. Been busy getting back to normal in the Everglades. I did post new questions for Gemini Rising, and look forward to participants' responses.

    • Hi Kathleen

      Am working on getting time to look at it - this week has seen lots and lots of work for me, and also an urge to clear it so I am free for half term next week - should have a lot more time then some of which I will put into this - though probably will go with this weeks topic rather than staying with Taurus and Aries... 

    • Good idea to begin with the Gemini persona, we should be moving on.  Busy days for me, too, but I do check in to the discussion regularly to see what's going on.


      Wondering if everyone has located the quesitons for Gemini?

  • Hi everyone: Just a quick note--Kathleen is experiencing some technical difficulties at the moment and is unable to get onto the site. We are working through it--but she asked me to let you all know so you understand why she's not responding as readily as usual. Thanks for your patience and we hope to have her back in no time.

    • I'm back, hello everyone, and thanks for your help, Bonnie!

  •  Question Two:  How do the instinctual ruler and the spiritual ruler of Aries work together? Suggested reading:  pp 11-17, including  footnote 13, on Annie Besant’s greatest regret.   

    So the instinctual ruler – Mars, works in motivating the person to strive for their own goals and ideas, they are impatient and get things done, often alone, or as leader of others – when the spiritual ruler – Mercury - starts to act then this energy is directed into communicating what they have learned and gained to others, working in community with their mars energy of getting things done and their leadership ability. Their charismatic energy, and way of communicating well to people from all backgrounds being from mercury's influence.

    What type of person seems attracted to your progressed Seventh House Cusp? (The polarity of the progressed Ascendant Sign is the progressed Seventh House cusp Sign.  Aries/Libra will shift to Taurus/Scorpio then, in the next cycle, Gemini/Sagittarius.)  

    I am 46, so not over 59 – however moved through a couple of signs.

    Are you saying the progressed 7th house cusp represents the energy of the people attracted to you at that time? Not what sun sign they will be as such though?

    So when my asc had moved from taurus to Gemini then the 7th house cusp would have moved from Scorpio to sagittarius. So the people I would attract would be people who like to travel, who are interesting in studying, spiritually involved and possibly athletic. At the time, I would say some were definitely spontaneous and travellers, but less on the sports, quite hedonistic though. I would say that it was rare that I was friends with a sun sign Sagittarius. Usually friends were sun sign aquarius or pisces

    Then when my progressed asc moved to cancer then the 7th house cusp moved to capricorn – and as this event conincided with my marriage to a capricorn sun man, and also moving away from a lot of my friends, and making new friends with my husbands connections – which almost always were capricorn sun men! My women friends tend to be sagitarrian sun. In energy though – yes fits with the capricornian quietness, wisdom, and practicality, and also a lot of the people I draw to me are into sport – mostly outdoor sport.

    Not sure I have understood this correctly though.

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