Ascendant and Identity Strength

What does our Ascendant signify? In a word, it is our unique identity. We need to know that we exist, and that we matter. If we are the same as everybody else, we lose our identity. If we feel insignificant among others around us, or nobody appreciates our unique strengths, our identity is threatened.

As we grow, we keep forming and shaping our identity – parents influence their children’s identity formation a great deal through what traits they model for their children. Being a teenager is universally challenging because a whole new dimension of life – namely, sexuality – comes into consciousness, and the young person’s identity has to evolve in order to assimilate that dimension: how sexually attractive am I? Or, what do I find attractive in opposite sex?

Throughout childhood and adolescence, outer environment may help strengthen or threaten the formation of identity. If a child grows up in a chaotic household where fighting between parents threaten the core of family stability, a lot of psychic energy gets wasted on worrying about others, and hence little gets left to form our own identity. Even worse is when the child is actually the target of emotional, physical or sexual abuse.

If the parents are able to provide the child with a stable home where positive values are honored, modeled and reinforced, that frees everyone’s psychic energy to find what he or she likes, and pursue it. From this, we can expect that identity formation will be that much more advanced in children who grow up in a stable family environment.

Astrologically, we look at the aspect to the Ascendant and its ruler to determine the level of outward tension one had to experience when growing up. Pluto on ASC frequently suggests difficult birth for the mother, which may also suggest element of abuse or control imposed onto the child. Uranus may suggest the threat of family breakup, or valuing the intellect over feelings. Neptune may suggest aloneness, abandonment. Saturn may suggest discipline, responsibility and coldness encountered early on.

The hard aspect (conjunction, square, opposition) from these “heavy” planets would be interpreted as “tension imposed on the identity formation process by outer environment.” The soft aspect may suggest more element of stability: Pluto may suggest a certain type of emotional intelligence modeled by the parents, Neptune may be appreciation of arts, Uranus – intellectual exercise may have been modeled or encouraged as fun, Saturn – discipline was taught early.

As all aspects imply connection, the distinction between hard and soft aspect may blur as one matures and assimilate the challenges of identity formation – most of the time blessings and curses are both present within a family unit, regardless of the type of aspect found in the Ascendant or its ruler. The key is to recognize and bring out the positive quality of the planetary archetype as a part of identity.

This is going to be a series of posts exploring the Ascendant signs and aspects.

About Hiroki Niizato

Hiroki Niizato is a professional consulting astrologer in Florida, serving clients in US and abroad. He has been practicing astrology professionally since 2001. Hiroki is a highest honor graduate of the demanding Master’s Degree Certification Course in Astrology by Noel Tyl.

You can contact Hiroki via email at: or schedule a consultation.


  1. I have uranus opposite ascendant and saturn trining it. I was brought up in a very straight almost puritane family but has always had a hippie flair for life. Could that be due to them? Has just realized this last aspect of my personality and my natal saturn didnt like it. I actually have the majority of planets sitting on the same degree as ascendant making all kinds of aspects to it from different houses!! (Venus , mercury, north node, mars, saturn, pluto with a bigger orb but still, uranus and neptune!) It is both interesing and difficult. What would be the right approach to looking at it? Thank you

  2. I’d be very much interested to read more about Saturn opposing the Ascendant. I haven’t found much about it that I can actually relate to and it seems to be an important part of my psychological makeup. I’ll be looking forward to reading your thought on that.

    • Think in terms of growing through relationships with serious, older, or mature people. One core value would be a need for sincerity and responsibility in dealing with others.

  3. Sharon Stakofsky-Davis says

    I also have Pluto at 0 degrees on the ascendant. My mother had a terrible birth and was sick for weeks after the birth.

    I also have had many medical issues throughout life. A kidney transplant at age 14, first set of bi-lateral hip replacements at age 16 (due to side effects of the anti rejection drugs), and eight subsequent revisions of those initial hip replacements about every ten years. I have also just had, within the the last three years major shoulder surgery on both shoulders due to the lasting effects of the anti rejection medications.

    With all that, I still managed to lead a normal life, two healthy children, and a full time job.

  4. Hiroki Niizato says

    Dear Anonymous,

    Thank you for the corroboration!


  5. I have Pluto on the ascendant and was not expected to survive the pregnancy and birth by my mother’s ob-gyn.He expressed shock to the operating room when I emerged alive.

  6. Hiroki Niizato says

    Thank you Elsa!

    Much appreciated…


  7. Hi there, I have added you to the Top 10 Sources of Astrology News here:

    Hope you get some hits! :)

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