1st house, representing “identity,” is the focal point of the 4 Angular (1st, 4th, 7th, 10th) houses. Poorly defined identity makes one feel awkward in social settings, and can limit career achievement because ambition cannot form on a weak ego. If you do not have a secure identity, it may feel as if you aren’t quite sure where your place is in society.
Identity Needs to Be Defined Through Tension
The process of identity formation is similar to developing a sculpture: Knocking off chunks of stones from a block of marble to approach a clearly defined shape. The further the sculptor gets in his work, the more refined his tools become in order to smooth out rough edges. The process involves a lot of force (or tension) being applied to the block of marble.
This tension, essential for identity formation, is often defined by challenges. Your natal chart can reveal what challenges you faced (and perhaps still do) in the process of developing and refining your identity.
How to Assess Tension in the 1st House & Ascendant
The patterns suggesting identity development concerns include the following:
1) The ruler of Ascendant is under high developmental tension (i.e. receives a hard aspect from Mars, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune or Pluto)
2) Hard aspect (conjunction, square, opposition or quindecile) to the Ascendant by the planets mentioned above, or their presence within the 1st house
Interpreting Planets on the Ascendant
If one or more of the above mentioned planets are on your Ascendant, or form a tense aspect to it, you may face following challenges in the process of identity formation:
Mars on the Ascendant suggests that your ego is challenged to grow in assertive, action oriented ways. Often, physical activities are important to discharge energy. Courage to display leadership, as well as a certain degree of cooperative attitude, will be necessary in order to avoid the lone-wolf tendency.
Saturn on the Ascendant suggests the need for heavy-lifting in terms of mental attitude, especially when you’re young. Your identity is strengthened through assuming & meeting responsibility, as well as creating and accomplishing goals. As you get accustomed to completing challenging projects and making things happen, the heaviness turns into solid self-confidence.
Uranus on the Ascendant suggests intensified ego needs, as well as the desire to somehow make a statement of one’s individuality. There is something special and intense about you. Channeled effectively, this energy could help you excel in your field of work. Otherwise much of the energy might be spent on ego-aggrandizement.
Neptune on the Ascendant suggests ego suppression and bewilderment. Identity formation might have been especially challenging for you, if your special sensitivity was not recognized by your parents. The self is challenged to grow through the integration of creative vision and aesthetic ideals. Working with the formless, unseen dimensions of life might be pivotal in your identity development.
Pluto on the Ascendant suggests the ego’s need for assimilating depth and death concerns. It is said that this position suggests a difficult birth, which might impact the child’s overall attitude toward life and survival. Identity is empowered through dealing with or uncovering secrets and hidden truths.
Transits and Solar Arc to the Ascendant: Refinement of Identity through Time
As we go through different periods of life, we are continually challenged to develop and refine our identity. During heavy transit or solar arc to the Ascendant by the planets mentioned in this article, you may want to consider whether you’ve become stagnant in your self image, and explore new activities and directions for growth suggested here.
photo: Peter Allen