Ascendant/Rising Sign - The Icing on the Cake
Before we get underway, let me just preface things with this: the ascendant sign CAN be very confusing at the start but I will try to clear up the fog before it settles too far in.
Your ascendant sign (the least popularly known of the Big 3) can be considered one of the most important signs. This sign is called the sign of "your self", as in self-awareness, self-sufficiency, and self interests. It holds the reigns to your goals, objectives, and is the director of your creative influence.
Here's the confusing part. Your ascendant sign is the part of you that is most openly observable to the world. It trumps your sun sign in being first to the party. If you were a renaissance faire jouster, the ascendant sign would best be described as the javelin that you hold. It comes in contact with the others first, when used correctly.
That being said, the ascendant sign meshes with your sun sign to give us our unique qualities. The parts of your sun sign that defines your personality are directly influenced by this sign. If you are assertive, it determines you level of assertiveness. Same goes for other traits like shyness, ambition, passion, intensity, and so on. It characterizes how you deal with others and combats new situations you are interacting with.
What is it that determines the ascendant sign? Glad you asked. Your ascendant sign is based on the time you were born. Like, the EXACT time you were born. Specifically speaking, it is the time you become an independent entity from your mother, not necessarily counting the umbilical snipping. Whichever astrological sign was rising (hence why also called "rising sign") on the eastern horizon at the moment of your birth is what your ascendant sign will be.
This sign is also vital because without it, you can never fully learn what makes you, you. It is needed to develop your birth (natal) chart and that gives you almost all of the insight into yourself. Without the 3rd of the Big 3, you're like an unfinished Boston Cream Pie. Your moon sign is the custard (or cream if that's what you prefer....weirdo lol), your sun sign is the yellow cake, and the chocolate glaze is your ascendant sign. What is a Boston Cream Pie without the chocolate glaze? Just an oversized Twinkie...
The journey to knowledge traverses many hills and ravines. Houses, retrogrades, and planets are still yet further down the rabbit hole. Are we still having fun yet..? *raises hand slowly and smiles*