This post is the first in the series of posts about Ascendant and Identity Strength.
I’ll start with Pisces Ascendant since I have it. A few basics for Pisces are:
Ruler: Neptune (classic ruler being Jupiter)
Element: Water – Sensitivity, vulnerability, deep emotions.
Mode: Mutable – Mental orientation, adaptability.
Pisces ASC seems to create almost invariably a sensitive, gentle exterior. The identity formation will be strengthened through Neptunian experience such as artistic endeavors or a spiritual practice.
In developing our identity, the general process is to achieve complexity and strength over time – this is accomplished through practice and mastery of challenging skills (such as learning how to run a business or talk in front of people); as we pursue our own interests and deepen the chosen skill sets, this makes us unique as we keep growing.
Learning of arts – music, dance, acting, painting etc., seems to be helpful in the formation of Piscean identity: in high school I felt uniquely strengthened through my ability to play piano and guitar – that was my “thing”, and everyone knew and respected it – that’s identity strength. As an adult the music is still an important part of me, but now I’ve incorporated spiritual practice and astrology into my identity, thus increasing in complexity.
Creative imagination is a Neptunian (and therefore Piscean) word. The successful utilization of this energy also seems to be strengthening to the identity – inspired visions, dreams, etc. The misuse of imagination through worry or escapism would hurt the identify formation.
The dark side of Pisces ASC is that identity formation may become difficult because of too much sensitivity and vulnerability – making it a potential target of victimization by others. Frustration in this regard may lead to escapism and even addictions, which further dilutes the self image.
One interesting note from Noel Tyl is that Pisces ASC with Aries intercepted within the 1st house is like “hot poker plunged into cool water”: there will be steam that obstructs the view – the heat is there, but not readily apparent. This may suggest passive aggressive behavior, but also a courage hiding beneath the sensitive exterior.
I have Pisces ASC with Aries intercepted – as I was growing through adolescence, it felt as if I had all the needs of Aries rising to be number one, but was too darn sensitive to keep competing with others. I practiced aikido (Japanese martial art) for a while, and this helped enormously for me to get in touch with the inner warrior*.
I like the phrase “Aries in Pisces’ clothing” to describe this combination, even though it is a bit misleading – the sensitive, empathetic personality seems to be very real, as well as the independent, self assertive drive within. Somebody said it is like having two personalities, and you can use whichever one that is more appropriate for the situation.
*aikido, despite its intensity, is much gentler in spirit compared to many other martial arts, as skilled practitioner can subdue an opponent without hurting him; it is about blending with the opponent’s energy, rather than clashing head on in Aries-karate fashion.