Dear Madame Zolonga: My Rising Sign Rubs Me Wrong

Dear Madame Zolonga,

What if I don’t feel like my Rising Sign? I’ve read about this in a few articles, and honestly don’t feel like the Sagittarius rising I’m supposed to be. For one, I’m not a bit horsey, and for another, I’d rather spend the day at home with my pottery wheel than trekking across the Himalayas. I’m not into roughing it. So what’s up?

Not Rosey with my Rising

Dear Rosey,

This may not be A Thing any longer, but back in the day brides everywhere were gifted with cookbooks as they set up their first home with Lovey. We can assume the primary reason was so that Lovey and Co. would not starve that first year from too many pots of burnt beans.

The implication, of course, was that young couples and folks just starting out need step-by-step advice for assembling food that should, at a minimum, end up palatable on the plate. Refinements like presentation could come around Year 3, after they’d mastered the basics of basting.

And this is how most basic astrology books work, as well. They’re set up so that, at a minimum, you grasp a few facts and don’t burn your beans. In astro-lingo we call them ‘cookbooks’ because dozens of ingredients (the planets and signs, etc.) are separated out for you. Some cookbooks even show you how to blend flavors. Like in real cooking, no one becomes a 5-star Michelin-rated chef from two classes on knife work. Right? Neither will anyone fully comprehend astrology from a basic cookbook. But food, like nature, is a universal experience and benefits from a little playfulness. So play with your food. Or planets.

You say you don’t feel like the descriptions of your Rising Sign. Let’s play with that idea. You are, firstly, yourself and not a description in a book. How, then, do you describe yourself? Why not look to yourself, first? Make a few simple lists. How do you like to greet others? What do you surround yourself with that you feel represents you? What colors dominate your closet and shelves? And my favorite — what’s usually your first instinct when you wake in the morning? What’s on your mind?

Some of this will correspond with the cookbook definition. What about the parts that don’t? This is where planetary rulerships help. All zodiacal signs have ‘rulers’ or ambassador planets. For Sagittarius rising, your rising sign’s ruling planet is Jupiter.

If Jupiter sits in your 4th house, which represents home, you may find that you express your rising sign at home and in the style of the sign of your Jupiter. Why? Because that’s where your Jupiter is doing business. The rising sign always wants to know where its ruling planet is working. It wants to express itself through that planet.

In your case, the sign on the cusp of your 4th house is likely Pisces — a creative sign at ease with molding and shaping materials from one form into another. Do you have Jupiter in Pisces? That sounds like pottery to me. You may feel the power of Pisces as easily as the strength of Sagittarius.

Go back and read Pisces rising and Jupiter in Pisces as well in your astrology ‘cookbook’. Play with those ideas. I find when I ask about this, clients say acquaintances often assume they are the sign where their rising sign’s ruling planet resides. Do your casual acquaintances peg you for a Pisces? Possibly!

Consider your question like this. Many of us who moved away from home and set up a life elsewhere take on the trappings and attitude of our adopted new digs. We adapt — or don’t! You may be hustling as a hotshot in NYC, loathe to admit you’re from Kenosha. Planets work like that, too. If you don’t ‘feel’ like the description of your rising sign, then go find its ruling planet and see what’s happening there! Is it comfortable where it’s working? Are the surroundings friendly or fierce?

So many questions! I could ask more. But you’ve got enough here to start your exploration. Don’t be held back by a simple formula. Get a rise outta your rising sign: crack open that astro-cookbook and play with your planets!

Yours experimentally,

— Madame Z

9 thoughts on “Dear Madame Zolonga: My Rising Sign Rubs Me Wrong

  1. Phyllis Lamken

    So Cancer rising, my moon in my third house in Virgo which is also on the cusp. So besides the round face, big eyes and big breasts, I express my rising as an analytical yet caring Virgo? But what about the fact Uranus is in my first house in Leo and my rising was in the late stages of Cancer. There is a lot of the quietly flamboyant freak in me. Your birthchart is not a blue print. It is a list of the various building materials which make up a person.

    1. Amanda Painter

      “Your birthchart is not a blue print. It is a list of the various building materials which make up a person.”

      Exactly, Phyllis — which I suspect is one of the reasons Madame Z suggests starting by making lists of what a person already knows about themselves, and working backwards from there. So instead of trying to fit the blue print of “stock descriptions” to you that might not actually fit, you instead start with *what is*, and then see how the astrology describes that in symbols. Fun stuff!

      1. Madame Zolonga

        Yes, Amanda — that’s right. Perhaps it’s because so many people grow up having to conform to someone’s standards or expectations (like Wandering Yeti, below), that they find themselves asking “who am I, anyway?” I know astrology offers help in finding at least some answers to that question. But even an beginning astrology book can be yet another standard or expectation that someone fails to meet *if* the reader doesn’t resonate with the information they find. Similarly, every counseling astrologer has met the client who simply cannot see in themselves what the chart is plainly speaking to. Self-inquiry is a tricky thing.

        Which is why I suggested starting with personal observations rather than looking at another’s definitions. I might even suggest soliciting the observations of long-time friends for reflections. That could be as helpful as unhelpful, though! Still, some old friends’ thoughts really helped in a season of my life where I needed reorienting. Sometimes we get shoe-horned into roles (mother/father, bread-winner, caretaker, etc.) and forget our true nature.

        And finally, this advice was specifically for a reader who does *not* feel comfortable or identify with the description they’ve read. Lots of people do, though. That’s great! Clearly, there’s no conflict there. As for the conflicted, I’ve only offered a couple of ideas to help their progress. But it’s a start. A chat with an astrologer, IRL, could be another path toward progress.

        Phyllis and Amanda, thanks for your thoughts!

  2. wandering_yeti

    This really hits home for me. Libra rising? Then why am I so out of sync with the normals? Isn’t Libra supposed to be able to smooth anyone’s feathers? Well, not everyone when the ruler sits in Aquarius having just stationed retrograde and close enough to Jupiter for a conjunction to be in tune. As if that’s not enough a Vesta/Pluto conjunction rides on the above horizon side of my ascendant and Uranus spins sideways on the underside. Sure I can bend some to adapt to your way of communicating, but my alien spin always shines through some. Capricorn Sun would in most cases be a strong root, but mine is in a close conjunction to Lilith the Mean with Lilith the True not far away and on my Nadir; I nearly killed myself trying to be normal enough to earn my parents’ respect. I grew up feeling like a cowbird, birds who lay their eggs in the nests of other birds. If the cowbird survives long enough to fly then it has to go on a search for its kin to learn the ways of Cowbird. No one in the adopted family knows the codes.

    1. Madame Zolonga


      There are a handful of ways you can reliably sort out your Rising sign, but all of them involve sitting down with an astrologer.

      But you can start on your own. Try sitting down on at a quiet moment and building some lists, like answering some of the questions I have above (they all relate to the Rising sign), and then compare them to some Rising sign definitions. Get 2-3 astrology “cookbooks” from the library that have Rising sign descriptions in them, and then compare notes. And compare books! Some are definitely more accurate and insightful than others. Maybe some readers will have recommendations for you.

  3. Heather

    Saw a similar comment back in 2010, and for people who have no real birth time or unable to have a reliable source there is another method that can be applied here!

    Knowing that all life is energy and having faced a similar dilemma some years ago, a Reiki practitioner was able to assist with this, however once again; it requires both the practioner and the enquirer to work in harmony.

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