Effect of Ascendant I: General Principles & Aries Lagna

The ascendant is the sign which rises in the eastern horizon at the time of birth of a person. This is one of the most influential houses in the horoscope along with the 10th house, the house of karma, which defines the purpose of our birth. While Lagna signify all the resources with which we are sent in this world, the 10th house signify the way we utilize them. Hence the ascendant or the Lagna Bhava defines our personality, may it be the physical feature, or the intelligence or our attitude.

However, while studying the influence on the Lagna, one needs to consider the influence on two more lagans, the Surya Lagna (the sun sign) and the Chandra Lagna (the Moon sign). This is because; Sun represents our soul, whereas Moon represents our Mind. Since we are the product of Soul, Mind and Intelligence, we need to consider all the three, while enumerating various influences on our personality. For this reason, these three form the tripod of our life. Adding to its importance, various classics recommend seeing both Lagna and Moon for the physical features, the heart and mind; and Lagna and Sun for the personality/ nature of the person.

Here we shall study the influence of various Ascendants on the physical features as well as personality of the person. Though various authors have given the effect of various ascendants on the native, this article strives to take a approach of deriving the same using broad principles. Although the principles can not be exhaustive, they can serve as broad guidelines, which shall help us delineating the effects.

Principle I: The Tattva of the sign shall influence the physical features. The effect of various Tattva on the physical features is as follows:
Fire: Robust physique and strong spine.
Earth: Stout and muscular
Air: Thin and Emaciated
Water: Plump and soft muscles with accumulated fat

Principle II: The Lord of the sign shall also influence. The physical characteristics of the planets are given in the BPHS (Ch. 3), which is as follows:

raktashyaamo divaadhIsho gauragaatro nishaakarah
naatyuchchaangaH kujo rakto duurvaashyaamo budhastathaa 16

gauragaatro gururgnyeyah shukrah shyaavastathaiva cha
krishhNadeho raveH putro gneyate dvijasattama 17

The slokas mentioned above gives the complexion ruled by different planets. Persons born with different Lagna/ Moon sign shall have different complexion based on the following:

§ Sun- Dark red complexion
§ Moon- Fair complexion
§ Mars- Reddish complexion, short stature
§ Mercury- Excellent skin and brownish complexion (like dry grass)
§ Jupiter- Fair complexion with golden yellow tinge
§ Venus- Dark complexion
§ Saturn- Black complexion (very dark)

The color or complexion is a very relative concept and varies based on race, geographical area etc. So one must take ample caution in judging the complexion of a person belonging to a certain a certain race and geographical area.

Further Maharishi Parashara, describes the nature of the planets in the following stanzas:

jiivasuuryendravah sattvam budhashukrau rajastathaa
suuryaputrabharaaputrau tamahprakrtikau dvija 22

madhupingaladrksuuryashchaturasrah shuchirdvija
pittaprakrtiko dhiimaanh pumaanalpakacho dvija 23

bahuvaatakaphah praagyashchandro brttatanurdvija
shubhadrnhmadhuvaakyashcha chanchalo madanaaurah 24

krooro raktexano bhaumashchapalodaaramoortikah
pittaprakrtikah krodhi krshamadhyatanurdvija 25

vapuhshreshhthah shlishhtavaakcha hyatihaasyaruchirbudhah
pittavaanh kaphavaanh vipra maarutaprakrtistathaa 26

brhadgaatro gurushchaiva pingalo moorddhajexane
kaphaprakrtiko dhimaan sarvashaastravishaaradah 27

sukhi kaantavapu shreshhthah sulochano bhrgoh sutah
kaavyakartaa kaphaadhikyo anilaatmaa vakramoordhajah 28

krshdiirghatanuh shaurih pingadrshhtyanilaatmakah
sthooladanto alasah panguh khararomakacho dvija 29

dhumrakaro niilatanurvanastho api bhayankarah
vaataprakrtiko dhiimaan svarbhaanustatsamah shikhii 30

§ The Guna of the planets:
o Sattvik: The Sun, the Moon and Jupiter. This represents knowledge, wisdom, philanthropy etc.
o Rajasik: Venus and Mercury. This represents passion and drive.
o Tamasik: Mars and Saturn: This represent ignorance.

§ Characteristics of Planets
§ Sun
o Has honey-coloured, golden Brown or Tawny eyes (madhu pingala drk)
o Has Sqarish Face (Chaturasrah)
o Has bilious temeperament (pitta prakrti)
o Is intelligent (Dhiman)
o Has limited hair (Puman alpaka)

§ Moon
o Is extremely windy and phlegmatic (bahu vata kapha)
o Is Learned (Pragnya)
o Has round face (Brtta)
o Has good looking eyes (Subha Drk)
o Has sweet speech (Madhu vakya)
o Fickle-minded (Chanchal)
o Is Lascivious/ eager to associate with opposite sex (Madana Aturah)

§ Mars
o Has fierce and blood-red eyes (krura/ raktetasana)
o Unsteady or wavering (chapala)
o Has bilious temperament (pitta prakrti)
o Is angry (Krodhi)
o Has thin waist and physique (Krsah Madhya Tanu)

§ Mercury
o Is admirable (vapush)
o Is splendid and beautiful (Strestha)
o Has beautiful skin/ skin without blemishes (shlishtvak)
o Is fond of humor (hasya ruchi)
o He has a mix of all the three humours, i.e., bilious, phlegmatic and windy

§ Jupiter
o Has a big body (Brhat Gatra)
o Has Tawny hair and eyes (Pingala murdhajeksane)
o Is phlegmatic (kapha prakrti)
o Is Intelligent (Dhiman)
o Is expert in all Shastras (Sarva shastra visharada)

§ Venus
o Is charming (sukhi kanta)
o Splendorous physique (vapusshreshta)
o Has beautiful eyes (sulochana)
o Is poetic (kavya karta)
o Is Exceedingly phlegmatic (Kapha adhikya)
o Is also windy (Anilaatma)
o Has curly hair (vakra murdhaja)

§ Saturn
o Has an emaciated and long physique (Krsha Dirgha Tanu)
o Has tawny eyes (Pingala Drsti)
o Is of windy in temperament (anilaatmakah)
o Has protruding teeth (sthula danta)
o Is lazy (alasa)
o Is Lame (Pangu)
o Has coarse hair over the body (khara roma)

§ Nodes
o Rahu has smoky appearance (Dhumra akara)
o Has bluish body (Nila tanu)
o He resides in forests (Vanastha)
o He is horrifying (Bhayankarah)
o He is of windy temperament (vata prakrti)
o He is intelligent (Dhiman)
o Ketu is akin to Rahu

Principle III: Along with the Lagna and Moon sign, the Navamsa needs to checked for better understanding of the physical attributes of person. Various texts like Nasta Jataka, Saravali etc. has given the characteristics of people born with different Navamsa and need to be studied.

In my opinion, the Lagna has more say over the facial features; Moon has its say on the physique (body) and the Navamsa Lagna over the complexion of the native. However, this is not conclusive; the readers might check different combinations and form their own conclusion.

It is cumbersome to remember the effect all the 108 Navamsas on the physical features and we must find a common thread among the Navamsas for understanding. Prithuyasha in his monumental classic Horasara has given few dictums, which make this easier.

Principle IV: For Further Finer analysis, one must find the effect of birth in different Hora and Drekkana. This can be studied from classics like Saravali and is not included in the scope of this article.

Though the persons in this world cannot be classified under 12 categories, there is however some pronounced similarities between persons born with a particular Lagna. For one, who is a keen observer, these underline similarities in the way people born under a particular ascendant would tend to surprise him. This effort to classify humans into categories based on the underline similarities is not unique to Jyotish and is a common phenomenon in Human Psychology. Though the placements of planets in the horoscope shall modify the horoscope quite considerably, this however, does not diminish the importance of studying the nature of people born under different ascendant as this forms the basis for the further analysis of a horoscope. Although many authors both classical and modern, have given the results of ascendants, my effort is more towards finding some consistent principles which would eradicate the necessity of mugging up the same.

Principle I: The Nature of a person shall predominantly defined by the planet lording the ascendant and also the trines.

Principle II: The lordship of the Ascendant shall get modified based on the nature of the trinal signs and the relationship of different planets with these trines.

For illustration, if Pisces falls in trine, the native becomes platonic in love affairs as Venus attains exaltation there. They also abhor formal learning and believing in attaining wisdom, since Mercury gets debilitated there. These are some of the significations of Scorpio/ Pisces or Cancer Lagna. We shall see these in more details in subsequent section.

Principle III: The attitude of the native towards various aspects of life can be judged from the lordship of the houses, governing the said aspect and the relationship between the sign and the karaka governing the said house.

For illustration, Aquarians are the bravest of all others, since, the 3rd from Aquarius is lorded by Mars (karaka of war) and Sun gets exalted there and the sign itself is a fiery sign, showing the strong influence of Agni (fire) on the third house and the resultant courage.

Principle IV: The progression of the zodiac represents the progression of human life through different stages from childhood to old age. Like different age groups can be identified by peculiar characteristics peculiar to that group; people ruled by different zodiacal signs can be identified with such characteristics, which gain prominence in a particular age group.

For example, Arians are more headstrong and determined like a small child, whereas Pisceans are like old wise men.

Principle V: The symbols assigned to different signs of the zodiac have their own meaning. They represent the characteristics that are found the persons ruled by that signs. Hence it is important to study the symbols seriously, to know the nature of the persons ruled by it.

For example, a Scorpion looks very calm and quite from outside, however truly it is not, it might be scheming from inside and find the opportune moment to attack its prey with its sting and paralyze it completely. Hence these characteristics would be predominant in Scorpio ascendants i.e., they might calmer from outside, however, never dare to mess up with these persons.

The following section describes the physical features as well as the nature of person born in a particular ascendant. Though one cannot literally apply this, this however, forms the basis for interpretation of the nature of persons born in an ascendant. With practice, one can find out the ascendant of a person by interacting with him/ her. One must not over-emphasize the effect as mentioned here under on the nature and physical characteristics of a person, since it gets blended with the effect of other planets on the nature as well as the Navamsa, Hora and Drekkana Lagna and planets placed there in. This is an effort to present the effect of ascendant based on sound principles, which alleviate the need to remembering them without understanding.

Middle stature
Dry and lean body
Powerful and muscular limbs
Triangular face
Dark and bushy eyebrows
Long neck
Dark or reddish complexion (the second half is darker)
Rough, wiry and curly hair
Broad shoulders

Energetic, Impulsive and Enthusiastic: Aries is the first signs of the zodiac and thus full of creative energy. It is a fiery sign and hence the qualities of fire namely energy, initiative, independence and dominance shall be predominant in their nature. Since this the first sign of the zodiac, the energy they have is that of a newly born and they shall be they go by impulse rather than reason in doing things. Their impulsive nature makes them prone to accidents of various kinds from physical, psychological to other aspects of life such as career etc. They are enthusiastic and their enthusiasm is expressed in form of knowing things around them and get involved in their surroundings.

Courageous: Since Mars is the god of war or in the royal family, he is the commander in chief, the predominant quality of Mars namely courage is in abundance in the natives ruled by this sign. However, since the natural age of this sign is that of infant, they shall lack tact and diplomacy in using their courage. Hence, sometimes, their nature to display courage can take them to situations, they might find difficult to escape and they would seek external help for rescue.

Outspoken: The abundance of energy and lack of control on their behavior, make them prone to poke their nose each and everything around them. Similarly they do not exercise any restraints on their speech, which amounts their being over spoken. Many times they regret later of speaking something, which they should not have.

Enterprising: The influence of the planets Mars and Sun who gets exalted in this sign, gives them lots of enterprise. They would get involve in each and everything around them and take initiative in almost everything. However, since lack of maturity, many times those initiatives can be detrimental to their self.

Prompt to react: They reflexes are pretty strong and they reach very fast to the happening around them. However, sometimes they lack the ability of judgment, before they react to certain things. They must learn to restrain them self in taking quick action in certain circumstances. Though it might be their one of the strong point, not to waste much time dilly- dallying and take prompt action; they must use their rational ability to judge the matter before getting involved, if the activity involve some risks.

Rational decision-mak­ing: Since Mars governs our rational faculty; the nativities of this signs shall have this in abundance. However, what would be lacking is the ability to synthesize things based on past learning and wisdom, merited by Jupiter. Since Sagittarius is placed in the trine to this sign, they have the potential to learn from their past mistakes and incorporate those learning in their decision making.

Aggressive and hot-tempered: The quality of Mars is Tamasik (preponderance of negative qualities of nature). Even though both Sun and Mars are fiery, the former is Sattvik (preponderance of positive qualities of nature) and rules magnanimity and generosity; the latter rules aggression and violence. The hot-temper is a natural attribute of fire, however it would be more predominant in Mars, it being a Tamasik planet.

Self-reliant and independent: Self reliance and Independence are the natural gift to all the fiery sign. However there is a difference between the signs governed by the Mars (Aries), Sun (Leo) and Jupiter (Sagittarius). Since the latter signs are more matured than the former ones, the wisdom progressively increases from Mars to Sagittarius. This makes the Arians to be independent out of intolerance towards others restriction and intervention in their activities. However Leos display independence out of their nature to wield authority whereas Sagittarians shows independence out of their quality of being wise (and not require support of others).

Ambitious: Ambition is the natural quality of the human being and it is their constant struggle to make their mark in the society in which they leave. However more and more one matures, they find the futility in having ambition to achieve something great, since it gets metamorphosised into ambition of leading a meaningful life. Since Aries represents the first stage of human maturity, it shows that persons ruled by this sign shall constantly involve in making their mark in the society and struggle constantly to achieve something extraordinary. They ambition is supported by their enterprising and independent qualities.

Self- Confident: Self confidence is given by the lord of the sign and also the planet which gets exalted in that sign, Sun. A natural question would be why Sun’s qualities would be so predominant in this sign, when we are seeing a sign ruled by Mars. However, one must understand that Mars should have all the qualities for the Sun to get the feeling of achievement when placed there. This is one of the biggest assets of the persons ruled by Aries.

Emotional: Emotional maturity also comes out of age. Since this sign is ruled by Mars, one would think twice as to how Mars rules emotion. The doubt is valid to certain extent as Arians would rarely show the signs of emotion, however, deep down inside them, they have a heart of a child, which gets quite emotional at times. Such person, if ignore their emotions might suffer sudden emotional breakdown. Hence, persons of this sign needs to be more introspective towards their feelings and emotions.

Generous and liberal: One of the greatest assets of the fiery signs is generosity and broad outlook. Since they have a fiery inside, they have a burning desire to remove the darkness in others life. If all other planets are well placed, they generously donate their possessions without many qualms. Their broad mindedness makes them liberal in their judgment of people and surroundings.

Ascrib­e to groups: Since their emotional maturity is still at an evolving stage, even though they look independent in their actions and outlook, they need external support. To achieve that they readily ascribe to groups and make friends to get the emotional support. They also need appreciation from others for their actions, for them to feel contented. However, they would always try to dominate others in a group to make their presence felt.

Determination and force of character: They have a strong will power and determination and they are committed to what they say and promised. They are strict with themselves and try achieving that what they are looking for. Coupled with the ambition that they have they can rise high in life. Because of their commitment to their words, they are liked by all. Coupled with the sparkle in their eyes and a charming nature, that of a small child, make them dearer to many. Like all fiery signs, they like socializing and they get a lot of comfort with other company.

Unconventional: Since their represent the maturity at the beginning of creation, they have the attitude to understand and discover the things which are around them on their own. They shall not be satisfied with the existing answers to the puzzles around them and it would be their constant struggle to understand everything on their own (just like a child likes to burn his fingers to understand that fire can burn). This might many times amount to re-inventing the wheel. This makes these people, naturally skeptical to the ideologies and beliefs around them and their thrust of gaining understanding the surroundings around them can only be quenched, if they get rational and scientific answers to their curiosities. Hence scientific temper is naturally born with them and they shall not blindly believe in anything. Their motive can be summarized in the line “try it and then believe it”


Nitish said…
Dear sarajit,
Can you explain the Gunas of planets in detail. How can a sattwik guna planet like sun, moon give bad results like ego, maya etc. ? Please explain.

§ The Guna of the planets:
o Sattvik: The Sun, the Moon and Jupiter. This represents knowledge, wisdom, philanthropy etc.
o Rajasik: Venus and Mercury. This represents passion and drive.
o Tamasik: Mars and Saturn: This represent ignorance.
Nitish said…
Dear sarajit,
Can you explain the Gunas of planets in detail. How can a sattwik guna planet like sun, moon give bad results like ego (due to lack of knowledge), maya (lack of wisdom) etc. ? Please explain.

§ The Guna of the planets:
o Sattvik: The Sun, the Moon and Jupiter. This represents knowledge, wisdom, philanthropy etc.
o Rajasik: Venus and Mercury. This represents passion and drive.
o Tamasik: Mars and Saturn: This represent ignorance.
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Mrutyunjay said…
Dear Sarjit,

'Angarako Ahamkarah'.
Mars is tamsic and represents 'Ahamkara' or
'egoism' as well as 'egotism'. In Western Astrology it represents our

Rational thinking is our 'Vivek' or 'conscience' ruled by planet 'Jupiter' and '5th house and 5th lord' as per 'Uttara Kalamrita' of astrologer Kalidasa.


Mrutyunjay Tripathy

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