The next Rising sign we’ll be tackling in the chart ruler series is Aquarius Rising. Astrologers will often get asked what their favorite sign is. Well, I’ll go ahead and say it: my favorite nowadays is probably Aquarius. I especially love those with an Aquarius Sun, Midheaven, or Rising. So, if you have an Aquarius Rising, just know that I think you’re super-cool. (And it also happens to be my Rising sign, as well as my North Node) That might help your lifetime of feeling like such a weirdo. To have this placement is to live a significant portion of your life feeling misunderstood or out-of-step with others. Aquarius is probably one of the most misunderstood signs. It’s on another wavelength; one that most aren’t able to access.
So, with an Aquarius Rising, you’ve got a unique situation when it comes to the chart rulers. But, then again, your whole life is a unique situation. You technically have two chart rulers: Uranus and Saturn. Saturn served as the traditional chart ruler of Aquarius until Uranus was discovered, which then made Uranus the ruler of Aquarius. In my opinion, when it comes to Scorpio, Aquarius, and Pisces, all of which have a traditional and a modern ruler, the modern ruler is the true ruler. When I think of Aquarius, Uranus comes to mind, not Saturn. However, our chart ruler also defines us through its return. And with Scorpio, Aquarius, and Pisces, the modern ruler moves so slowly that it either won’t return in your lifetime or will take until you’re very, very old. So, the traditional ruler, in that case, also has to be considered, when it comes to figuring out how your life will pan out.
Therefore, we’re going to primarily look at Uranus here and then Saturn. First off, as an Aquarius Ascendant, Uranus is generally going to dominate your life. What is Uranus? It’s either the nuttiest planet or the sanest one. Often times, it’s both, even crazier than the Moon and even more logical than Mercury; both of which are no small feats. Uranus is about embracing the unusual. Everyone has a Uranus placement and the sign, house, and aspects indicate where things get weird in our lives and also where abrupt changes and progressions happen. Uranus is progressive, on multiple levels. On a personal level, Uranus gets us to break the mold; that is, if we are willing to go against conformity or popular opinion. On a larger level, Uranus brings advancement to society, getting us out of old ways of thinking and living and ushering in the new.
As a result, dear Aquarius Ascendant, your life is never in a static state. It’s always changing. Aquarius Rising people can never really live the same day more than once or twice. There is always something that’s going to occur to turn things upside down. At times, it will feel like an outside force is doing this. Uranus is, after all, a very transpersonal planet. It’s bigger than us. So, Aquarius Rising people can live their lives feeling like the Universe is so wild and crazy and that the weirdest things just end up happening to them. But, the chart ruler describes our life story. That means that when this weird shit hits the fan, it’s just an average day for the Aquarius Ascendant. And it doesn’t really impress or faze them, either. Unless they have some Leo planets, they’re not that person who says, “You’ll never believe what happened to me!” You’ll often hear them telling these crazy stories in the most casual, unfazed tone, which then leads other people to think that they’re crazy.
And in a way, you are. That is, this is the role that you’ve learned to play. The Rising sign is behavioral conditioning. It gets instilled in us basically from birth. This is your place in your environment; the way you deal with situations. And Aquarius Rising people were conditioned to believe that they just were supposed to be off-kilter and off-color. Since the Ascendant is how we come into the world, if you ask your parents or older relatives, the story of your birth is most likely a wild or odd one. You probably came really unexpectedly or suddenly. The Aquarius Ascendant baby always has an electrifying effect, jolting everyone like an abrupt shock. So, this is the way you’ve been dealt with since the beginning: like an uncontrolled or unexpected force.
With Uranus serving as your chart ruler, this is the role you’ve learned to play. I also like to call the Ascendant “the character that you build.” To go back to one of my actor metaphors, the Rising sign is like the character being created and inhabited by the actor. So, on the stage of life, you are inhabiting a true anything-goes character. The house placement that Uranus is in will say just exactly how you’re unpredictable. This is especially true since Uranus is an outer planet, meaning that the house placement is felt way more personally than the sign. An Aquarius Rising with Uranus in the 9th will behave unpredictably in ways that constantly send them off on various adventures and journeys, seeking truth and inspiration with an independent mind. Meanwhile, if you’re an Aquarius Rising with Uranus in the 12th, your unpredictability is deeply internal, manifesting through dreams, psychic insights, artistic expression, and spiritual awareness.
In any case, you cannot be put in a box. This is the kind of thing that makes you feel misunderstood, for a certain portion of your life. Uranus’ energy is advanced and brilliant. There is a certain brilliance to every Aquarius Ascendant. You live out some area of your life like a genius (possibly even a prodigy) yet geniuses are routinely mislabeled or misunderstood. Sometimes, their giftedness doesn’t shine through until much later. If you have this placement, you should find comfort in the fact that Albert Einstein grew up failing at academics and being told that he just wasn’t all that smart. The problem was that his unique intelligence just wasn’t truly understood and given the right outlet. That’s an issue for many Aquarius Rising people.
For someone with such an intelligent (Aquarius) view of life (Ascendant), you may have suffered your way through school while growing up. It doesn’t help that you regularly clashed with those teachers of yours, in some fashion. Aquarius wants to think for itself and, therefore, even though many Aquarius Rising people are so smart, they tend to rebel against the school system and hate it. You resist anything that feels like programming or conformist thinking, which might have also made grade school difficult because of the cliques and the popularity contests. Life is not a popularity contest, when Uranus rules your chart. Life is about figuring out what makes everyone special and important. In doing so, you will be able to break free of the judgmental thinking that chains so many other people down, which, in turn, allows your genius to shine through.
There is often a “breakthrough” moment in an Aquarius Rising’s life where they realize that they felt like such a freak or a problem child all along because their mind just works differently than others.’ Uranus is often called the higher octave of Mercury because it takes that Mercurial intellect and raises it to another plane. With Uranus as your chart ruler, you have a perspective that is highly unique. When you take the time to understand that, and then understand why you’ve felt like such an outcast or misfit because of it, then you will truly figure out what to do with your place in life. You will be able to go from the Einstein who fails his classes to the Einstein who discovers the Theory of Relativity. You’ll be able to maximize your role as the ahead-of-their-time individual.
And in some way, you will stand out, even though you don’t try to. It’s not the Leo way of standing out that screams, “Look how special I am!” Instead, you will stand out for just going against the grain. Aquarius Ascendant people are meant to live their lives by defying norms, breaking stereotypes, and liberating themselves by not really giving a damn what others think. Sure, you are still aware of what people think and it might bother you, at times, that you have felt so weird from day one. But, I should say that Aquarius is very comfortable with disapproval because you’ve always been on the receiving end of it. You’ve always been told you’re different or disruptive or strange or hard to pin down. So, you just go with it, mostly shrugging it off when you don’t meet other people’s expectations. After all, you’ve got better things to focus on than everyone approving of you.
Yet, it’s this very attitude that can lead to your popularity because you don’t subject other people to your approval, either. Uranus is really egalitarian and nonjudgmental. It’s a planet that accepts and tolerates all, no matter their sex, race, sexual preference, class, clothing, job, etc. So, you are the type of person who can collect buddies wherever you go, as I often say about Aquarius. You are really used to being that person in your environment who makes a difference by not caring about any of those labels. Therefore, Aquarius Rising people rarely have a “comfort zone” in regards to their friendships. You don’t care about sticking to people who are like you in superficial terms. In your mind, everyone’s like you because everyone’s a person.
This is why Aquarius can become so popular because, no matter who they’re faced with, they can figure out a way to say, “I’m just like you.” The house that Uranus is in will show just how this egalitarian message influences people. With Uranus in the 9th, it inspires them. With Uranus in the 12th, it will be compassionate and healing while a 10th House Uranus can make a person a role model and a success through this message. There is a peculiar kind of empathy to Uranus and it’s something I feel the need to defend. Aquarius Rising can regularly be described as cold and aloof, on the negative end. In a way, there is a certain coolness and detachment to your demeanor. You’re not very sentimental. But, Uranus is still an empathetic energy. It’s highly intuitive but in rational ways. It’s why it’s such a strange planet because it’s really blending left and right brain functions. With Uranus as your chart ruler, you can empathize with people in logical ways, immediately and mysteriously figuring out the rational source of their issue and the way to solve it.
Yes, there is an enigmatic quality to Aquarius, as well, which isn’t always discussed. It’s not only due to your brilliant, two-steps-ahead intuition, which is so observational and rational, but because of the impersonal nature of Uranus. It’s a planet that insists on not making things solely about the self, focusing on the bigger picture instead. You definitely see life in a big-picture way, as an Aquarius Rising, which is why you know how to resist your ego. Instead of living in a self-centered manner, you are meant to live your life in ways that will benefit everyone. Uranus is communal and societal. So, you have to involve yourself in things that will end up enriching other people and, to risk sounding cheesy, make the world a better place. I’ve said before that I don’t exactly think Aquarius is humanitarian, as we always hear, and I still kind of believe that. But, I do think that Aquarius is an activist, an intellectual and an innovator, willing to promote causes, stand for ideals, and engage in various projects and experiments that will affect people and change things.
Now, that brings us to Saturn, Aquarius’ traditional ruling planet. As an Aquarius Rising, you are going to be truly tested during your Saturn Return. Now, Capricorn Rising people can claim Saturn in an exclusive way, living a life of restriction and challenge, only to reap the rewards during the Saturn Return. For you, it’s much different. You are mainly supposed to live a life of liberation (Uranus). But, with Saturn as your co-ruling planet, it’s more about other people’s restriction instead of your own. That’s what I think it comes down to, when a sign has two ruling planets. The modern one is about the self while the traditional one is about others. So, during your Saturn Return, which occurs around the ages of 29 and 59, you are going to be confronted with just how restrictive others can be and how that can challenge your own liberation.
People may try to put a lot more rules and pressures on you during this time, which, with your rebellious sensibility, you will end up refusing. So, the Saturn Return can feel like a battle against oppression for Aquarius Rising folks. You can get the sense that you’re hitting even more of a wall with your attempts to change the world. The house placement that Saturn is in will show you how this happens. If you have Saturn in the 3rd House, you’ll feel like you’re communicating with nothing but close-minded people. If Saturn is in the 7th, your relationships will become more challenging because your partners or friends will start feeling like boring sticks-in-the-mud.
The irony here is that, unless you live to your mid-to-late 80’s, you won’t be able to experience the return of Uranus. If you did, you’d be able to feel more liberated than ever, as the return of our ruling planet increases our ability to express it successfully. Saturn, however, is more of your backseat ruling planet. It’s influencing your life in more subtle ways. Unlike Capricorn Rising people, it’s not going to make life itself feel difficult and challenging. Instead, the free-spirited, free-thinking life you live is going to constantly come up against the challenges of others. Other people and their judgments will challenge you, making it tougher for you to live like the unpredictable genius that you would like to live like. That’s why there is another surprising side to Aquarius Rising folks, due to Saturn being their co-ruler, that makes them suddenly try to straighten up and fly right, going from an eccentric who can’t be told what to do to a conscientious person just trying to do what’s best.
During your Saturn Return, you’ll be confronted with this side of yourself, which you might not even realize is there. It’s a part of yourself that can lead to deep-seated anxieties over somehow failing to be a respectable member of society. On a certain level, you might not feel like a part of society or like you belong in it. So, you may try to “play the game” on a certain level. It’s as if you’re some cutting-edge, alternative-rock musician who abruptly changes their sound into bland pop to get played on the radio and win a Grammy. The house that Saturn is in will tell you just how you may be unconsciously trying to get respected and be a success. It could be possibly through your intelligence (3rd House), your relationship status (7th House), or your bank account (2nd House). Whatever the case, if other people’s rules or expectations have made you “sell out”, during your Saturn Return, you will have to own up to that.
Because the truth is that not every Aquarius Rising is as wonderfully wacky and weird as they could be. If so, they are letting their co-ruling planet get the upper hand in a negative fashion. In the end, you are a child of offbeat Uranus. So, never be afraid (Saturn) to be different (Uranus). You just need to learn to use Saturn’s energy to provide a solid structure for the innovations, causes, and experiments you want to live out. In doing so, you will build a strong feeling of authority for yourself that will allow you to make up your own rules instead. If you live your life in this sense, the Saturn Return is when you will be able to benefit from being a true law unto yourself.