Us and Them – A Study of the Ascendant / Descendant

East versus West, its always been an issue. For much of the 20th century it was an ideological confrontation, the socialism or communism of Soviet Russia and China along with a number of other smaller states set against the individualist and capitalist Western societies. It has shaped a lot of assumptions, even Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings was based on the idea of West = Good ( elves and hobbits ), East = Bad ( orcs and dark lords ).

But its complicated too by other notions around spirituality and overall conceptions of life. In some ways we have begun to perceive the traditional Eastern view of life as being holistic and circular with the examples of Chinese medicine and Indian / Tibetan views of reincarnation, as opposed to the Western more analytical and linear, right / wrong, good / bad thinking.

Of course these concepts are complex and deserve a much more profound analysis than they are going to get here. The East / West thing is only mentioned because Astrology has a similar polarity.

An astrological chart has an eastern half and a western half which simply reflects the sunrise / sunset scenario. The Ascendant or rising degree is the point on the eastern horizon at the moment of the individual’s birth. The Descendant is the corresponding opposite point on the western horizon.

In astrology we associate people who have many planets on the eastern side as being self motivated and directed with a powerful drive to assert themselves as separate individual entities. People with a western dominance are more concerned with joint enterprises and the need to cooperate with others, a kind of denial of the self as being separate.

The Capricorn Research Project  has shown clear statistical proof of this as over 20000 prominent public figures are significantly more likely to have the Sun in the Eastern half of the chart than in the Western half. The focus is also much stronger on the houses closest to the Ascendant and Descendant ( ie the 12th and 1st / 6th and 7th ).

The Research project also separates these charts into particular groupings, mainly based on choice of career but also on specific lifestyle types. There are 72 different groupings and its interesting to look at these to see where they fall in the east / west equation.

Would those groups who score highest on the Eastern side be more assertive and individualistic and would those who score highest on the western side have their lives more affected and even dominated by others ?

Well let’s have a look and see. Capricorn Research’s groups are of all different sample sizes so the way to compare them would be to look at how often a feature occurs and give it a percentage figure compared with the expected average for that sample.

The only problem with this is it tends to work against the larger sample groups because the bigger they are the more likely the result will move towards the average figure.

So the chances are that the following findings are not likely to include the largest groupings which would be things like sport, actors, writers, artists, scientists, musicians, politicians and gay men. But they might include smaller sub groupings of people that appear in these samples.

Capricorn Research is trying to find some way of presenting the data that rectifies this problem, but despite this the findings are extremely interesting.

At this point its important to point out that we should expect higher scores for the groups with the Sun on the Eastern side to those on the West, because the whole sample is for public figures and the larger research project has proved that they are all more likely to be on the East.

The simplest division to make is between those that have the Sun in the 1st house and 7th house.

Sun in 1st house

1.   Explorers            175 %

2.   Religion              150

3.   Engineers           145

4.   Poets                   143


Sun in 7th house

1.    Prostitutes          159 %

2.   Jazz Musicians   154

3.   Psychologists      140

4.   Philosophers      132

5.   Sex Symbols       125


This is immediately quite interesting particularly the run away winners, the Explorers. If there was any group of people whose raison d’être is to assert themselves strongly, outwardly in the world it must be explorers. There is also often a highly individualistic streak and a tendency to act on their own or to lead a small group of support staff in their own endeavours.

On the other side of the chart, if ever there was a group of people who are dependant on the other person for their career, it must be Prostitutes. It is essentially a 7th and 8th house activity. It must be said that this group of people have extraordinarily powerful astrological pointers which can be found in this article Research into Prostitution.

Sex Symbols also have a kind of 7th house, Libran type energy so its perhaps not surprising to find them here.

Psychologists and Philosophers might raise a few eyebrows, but psychology is connected with Libra and it is largely about the study of relationships. Anyone interested in this might like to read The 7th House – A Philosophical Position.

Religion and Poets are not quite what you’d expect of the 1st house, but Engineers make sense, particularly when we see that most of this group were pioneers in their field.

If we narrow the focus a bit more and actually look at those groups with the Sun conjunct ( within 10 degrees of ) the Ascendant and Decscendant this might tell us more.

Sun conjunct Ascendant

1.    Explorers                       319 %

2.    Finance Crime             200

3.    Classical Conductors  190

4.    Athletics                        168


Sun conjunct Descendant

1.    Philosophers                159 %

2.   Prostitutes                    141

3.    Infant Mortality  Victims      134

4.    Jazz Musicians           128


This narrowing of focus has created an exceptional score for the Explorers. They are the very essence of the Sun conjunct the Ascendant.

On the other hand the Descendant group is beginning to have a slight victim like flavour. This could be because of course this group has the Sun is opposite the Ascendant.

Now one issue that might come up with these figures is that some groups could score highly in both 1st and 7th houses, so how would we know whether one is really a 1st house dominance ?

The simple answer to that is to take away the 7th house percentage score from the 1st house one. The groups that score highest would be 1st house focused and the highest minus score would be 7th house.

Sun in 1st house minus Sun in 7th

1.     Poets                     93  %

2.    Explorers             75

3.    Engineers            73

4.    Political Rebels   68


At the other end of the same scale we have

1.   Prostitutes           – 72 %

2.   Jazz Musicians   – 46

3.   Psychologists      – 36

4.   Philosophers       – 28


This certainly makes sense for the Prostitutes although the Poets placing is still rather baffling.

Thirty five years spent doing research into astrology has been an extraordinarily confirming experience. Its fair to say that none of the findings made have caused me to seriously question the subject. There are however certain astrological assumptions that I have had to question as a result of my research. The most significant of these concerns the role of the 12th house.

The traditional view of the 12th house is that it is a place of retirement, it concerns itself with activities that are generally hidden from view beneath the consciousness of the individual concerned. It is supposed to rule places that are isolated, like prisons, hospitals, spiritual retreats etc.

My own view is that this interpretation of the 12th house has come from a desire to equate it with aspects of the 12th sign Pisces. I am not sure whether this is an appropriate view of the 12th.

I first started to question this tradition when I read the results of the Gauquelins Research. They concluded that there were two definite peaks in the diurnal circle in a chart. One was in the middle of the 9th house and the stronger one was in the middle of the 12th.

The Gauquelins found that the Mars distribution in the charts of Sports champions had a strong peak in the 12th house. This finding was further reinforced by similar peaks for the appropriate planets in other career areas.

If planets in the 12th are removed from view operating in isolation how can we explain Mars being strong in that house for the sports stars. It makes no sense. Some people have suggested that the birth times were generally a bit unreliable and what it was showing is Mars was close to the Ascendant, but this is just nonsense. Why would people on mass give birth times about an hour later than the true ones ?

Much of the criticism of Gauquelins findings came because there was no commonly accepted astrological precedence or reason for these positions of Mars.

The Gauquelins research was what attracted me into this field in the first place, and my own findings particularly with political leaders showed me that there was a strong 12th house showing. The Capricorn Research Project was undertaken because of these initial findings and the results show that in the charts of 20000 + public figures, the Sun scores significantly higher in the 12th than any other house.

This has made me question the commonly accepted view of the 12th. After all it is the place where the Sun first appears in the morning, so symbolically it has the feeling of emergence rather than retreat.

I have a number of ideas about the reform of the house system but these are not yet fully formed so I will leave them for some future date. The one thing that you can be sure of with Capricorn Research is that everything that appears on this website has been extensively examined, tried and tested. A triple Capricorn would not be interested unless it works.

For now it makes sense to have a look at these same groups to see if there’s a 12th house emphasis similar to that of the 1st house.

Sun in 12th house

1.     Classical Conductors     185 %

2.    Royal Families                168

3.    Explorers                          162


Its interesting that Classical Conductors come out on top here. These people are very much leaders in their own field and standing in front of an orchestra is not the kind of place you would expect to have a shy, retiring type of person.

The same generally applies to members of Royal Families but if we had any doubts that there is common ground between the 1st and the 12th house these should be dispersed by the fact that Explorers are in 3rd place.

If we joined the 1st house and 12th house scores for all of the 72 groups we get

Combined Sun in 1st and 12th house score

1.    Explorers                        337

2.    Classical Conductors   302

3.    Royal Families              283

4.    Engineers                      282


This is quite an argument for the 1st / 12th combination. But to take this to its logical conclusion we should construct a table for 1st and 12th minus 6th and 7th houses.

Sun in 1st and 12th minus 6th and 7th

1.    Explorers                    225

2.    Engineers                   178

3.    Classical  Conductors  156

4.   Poets                             134

5.   Aviators                        133


And at the other end of the same scale

1.   Philosophers              – 75

2.   Prostitutes                 – 64

3.   Air Crash Victims     -53

4.   Infant Mortality        -51


All of these findings are interesting in themselves but we can also see themes emerging as we blend them. The  victim theme in the 6th / 7th house is beginning to consolidate.

Finally I would like to narrow the focus and look at the results of all the groups when considering the score for the Sun conjunct the Ascendant minus its conjunction with the Descendant.

Sun 0 ASC minus Sun 0 DSC

1.    Explorers                281

2.   Finance Crime       125

3.   Classical Conductors   117

4.   Athletics                  105

5.   Engineers                  97


And the other end of the same scale

1.    Cyclists                     – 65

2.    Nazis                        – 60

3.    Prostitutes              – 54

4.    Sex Criminals        – 44

5.    Air Crash Victims  – 40

These findings are very interesting. Explorers are way out on their own and have to be seen as the classic group for Eastern emphasis.

The other four all seem to have a certain pioneering, entrepreneurial flavour with strong assertive or leadership qualities.

The Descendant table seems to point to a fair degree of suffering.

This may now be because they all have the Sun opposite the Ascendant rather than just being in the 6th / 7th houses.

Cyclists at the top of this table is an odd one, I’ll leave it to the reader to decide whether they are the victims or perpetrators of suffering.

One thing for sure from all of this is that there is a big difference between East and West in a birth chart and this is born out by the Sun’s distribution through these groups.

Do these findings have any relation to our concepts of East and West in the wider world ? Who can say. On the experience of the politics of the last century it seems odd to equate the notion of East with entrepreneurial individualism and West with cooperative notions of equality.

This may be simply a transition however. Its quite possible that in the distant past with reference to ancient Chinese and Indian civilisations, the real individualists were in the East.

Maybe with the rise of these powers at the moment we could face a future where the East and West roles will be reversed.

The Chinese will become the dominant economic world power and could take on the role of Explorers and Financial Fraudsters and we in the West will be left to choose between being Philosophers or Prostitutes !



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6 thoughts on “Us and Them – A Study of the Ascendant / Descendant

  1. I have Sun/Jupiter/Pholus cazimi conjunct descendant and have always been interested in the human nature or human psyche. I’m a philosophy major, only because current psychology education was too scientific for my taste. Both ask the same question of “what are we.” It’s by no coincidence that two fathers of psychology, Carl Jung and Sigman Freud, had their sun conjunct descendant. As people born during twilight zone (brief, yet sacred time when duality ceases and outer and inner becomes one), we aim to find ourselves in the mirror of others.

    • Thanks Jeanette, that’s fascinating. I do find that people with major planets right on the Descendant often have a powerful interest in consciousness and how to develop and expand it.

  2. Have you come across the clockwise house system by Jaques Doran? He makes the 12 house the first house, which makes a lot of sense if you think that a Planet is rising in the 12 th house but is disappearing (from a visual perspective e.g. hidden from view) as it goes into the first. I know this is the system that Robert Powell uses with sidereal astrology. I have tried it but it only seems to work for me with the first house being the twelfth??

    • Thanks Steve. I am ambivalent about the 12th house, which maybe surprising since I have the Sun and Moon there. It works in my chart as I spent the best part of 40 years doing astrology research before I told anyone about it.
      On the other hand, the standout finding of is that famous people are more likely to have the Sun in the 12th than any other house.
      So I feel the 12th house needs to be seriously reexamined. I agree with you that it is the house where the Sun rises so why it should be connected with isolation and withdrawal I’m not sure.
      However, a clockwise house system sounds like a very bizarre way to answer this problem. In order to adjust one house to a possibly more appropriate reading, you have to upset all the other 11.
      As for sidereal, it may work in India but I strongly disagree with it for the West, and think its a nonsense. I am quite prepared to debate this with anyone and defy anyone to come up with a single example of a Western chart where sidereal works better than tropical. So far noone has.

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