So, you want to be able to easily figure out your Rising Sign (also called the Ascendant). Or, maybe you want to be able to impress your friends and be able to not only figure out their Ascendant, but pretty much all their House cusps, too, in a matter of moments without a computer or app.
You’re in the right place.
(By the way, if you don’t know what the f*ck I’m even talking about, read more on your Rising Sign and Houses right here at Astrovibe first!)
Now, keep in mind that this process is not infallible. It is an estimation.
House systems vary a bit… sometimes a LOT. For example, the further north you live or how close to the solstices the birthday is, the higher the chance you can possibly have what are called Sign interceptions in some House systems like Placidus and Koch that use temporal time (we will get more into that in another article about Houses).
Plus, of course, as you get closer to the time windows we discuss below, the Rising can be on either side of the estimated House cusps we will be creating.
It Isn’t Perfect, But It Is Very Cool
Back in the days before every first world person had a device that would go on the internet, people had to buy charts from an astrologer or buy chart software once we got into the 1980s and 90s… or we had to do this stuff by hand.
This was (and still is) a handy way for an astrologer to quickly construct an approximate chart without doing all the math — and while it is pretty retro today, it is a great way for a beginner (or any astrologer who has never had to cast a chart by hand in their life) to better understand and visualize the Rising Sign and Houses in your mind.
Not to mention, knowing this will make you just a little cooler.
Calculate An Estimated Natal Chart by Hand
First, in order to even begin, you will need to know the time and time zone where the person you want to cast the for was born. Then, you will need to know whether or not they lived in a place and time zone that practices Daylight Savings Time. If born during Daylight Savings Time, subtract an hour from their time of birth.
You will also need to know the person’s Sun Sign.
Now, draw a circle like in the image below. Segment your circle into 12 sections. These sections will represent the Houses. On the left hand side, where it would be 9 o’clock on a clock, write 6 AM.
Next, write every other hour on each of the lines (cusps) all the way around. So, on what would be 10 o’clock on a clock, write 8 AM. On what would be 11 o’clock, write 10 AM. At the very top, write 12 PM, and so on, all the way around.
Each section in between the lines represents two hours of time.
Pretend you’re standing at the very center of that circle, and if you looked up at 12 PM, that is where the Sun would be at noon, and that would also be what is called your Midheaven or MC, also known as the 10th House cusp.
If you look to the west horizon, you see the 6 PM cusp, your 7th House — and below you is midnight, which would be your 4th House.
Now, if you looked to the east, you would see the horizon, where the Sun would be at 6 AM, and this is also your 1st House.
So, when we are all done, your Rising Sign will be the Sign that ends up in your 1st House.
Calculate Your Rising Sign
Place the person’s Sun Sign in the House that represents the time that they were born. So, in the example below, the person is a Virgo who was born at a little after 10 AM. I placed Virgo, the person’s Sun Sign, in the House between 10 and 12 AM. This area is also considered the 11th House if we were looking at a real natal chart.
If the Sun is in Virgo on the date the person was born, and they were born at a little after 10 AM, the Sun wouldn’t yet have reached noon. So, when you look up, that Sun is in the area of the 11th House in the sky, which means the Sign Virgo must be in that area at the moment, too.
So, if this places Virgo in the 11th house, then we can estimate that the 12th House will have Libra on the cusp, and the 1st house will be ruled by Scorpio. As the 1st House cusp is generally also the Ascendant, this means that a Virgo born around 10:15 AM is very likely a Scorpio Rising.
Now, if you have access to an ephemeris, a document that tells you were the planets are at any given time (there are free ones online all over the place), you can even figure out the approximate house each of the planets are in.
Again, depending on the House system you like to use and variations due to latitude and time of year, this process is not perfect. Still — you’ll likely find it more accurate than not most times. This process will, if nothing else, help you better understand how the Houses work. This can take your astrological understanding more deeply when you can see a chart in your mind! Then, you can use a free chart builder online to check your work in whatever House system you like.