According to Strickland, the ascendant and the rising planet are different. The ascendant still represents the persona--the mask individuals present to the world. However, the author described the Ascendant as a window:
"It is like a window between you and the world. It symbolizes the way you view the world as well as the way the world views you. As with a window, the image perceived by the viewer depends to a large extent upon the condition of the glass. the sign on the ascendant is the "glass," affecting the vision." (pp.20, Strickland)
A badly aspected or otherwise weak chart ruler causes the window pane to appear foggy or dirty. This distorts the self image to some degree.
The rising planet is the next factor encountered after we encounter the ascendant. The rising planet does largely the same thing to some extent as the ascendant like project a certain image to the outside world and colors personality and physical characteristics. But, whereas the ascendant proclaims, "I am," the rising planet completes the statement by adding, "I am intelligent (Jupiter rising) or "I am assertive" (Mars rising).
To determine the rising planet, it is the planet in closest proximity to the ascendant. Look first to any planets conjunct the ascendant. Then, note the planets occupying the first house. If the first house is empty, look to the second house or even the twelfth house.
Having the rising planet or planets in the same sign as the ascendant makes it is easier for natives to express than having the two energies in dissimilar signs. It also adds to the complexity of character. Moreover, more than one planet rising further complicates character.
Strickland wrote that both the ascendant and the rising planet or planets function as a team:
"...they must be trained to pull the load together in harmony. If a rising planet happens to be in a sign in which it is ill at ease because of conflicting energies or impulses, you have to work out the kinks if you want to make a favorable first impression. An example is Saturn in Aries. The planet stands for caution, but the sign is eager for action. It's like trying to drive eighty miles an hour with your brakes pressed to the floorboard. Some compromise must be effected." (pp. 25, Strickland)
It is reputed as a position of power within the chart that plays a large part in both vocation and energies that comprise personality and first impressions. It is a pioneering planet that shows the Sun the way. It is a beacon. According to astrologer and author Pat Donald Strickland writes in her book, Person to Person Astrology: Insight Into Compatibility:
"the scout planet.... acts much like a guide on a safari through a jungle. It goes ahead of you, preparing the way and directing your path. To a large extent what the Sun (the self) experiences is seen through the eyes of the scout....making a powerful impression upon everyone you meet. It influences every close relationship." (pp.30, Strickland)
The scout filters actions and how we experience our Sun. To find the scout planet, look to the first planet before the Sun in a clockwise direction. It is an earlier degree in the Sun sign or and earlier sign.
Astrologer Michael R. Meyer writes:
"...it represents both your inner guiding principle and your innate skills and special faculties, and how both may be best realized, enhanced and applied. Your Skill Symbol shows you how to best handle and cope with the demands and opportunities of daily life in a skillful, productive and fulfilling manner, and where your inherent skills and practical abilities lie. As your Guiding Planet, the planet rising immediately before the Sun symbolizes the faculties and inner senses scouting your path ahead, or your ability to navigate the best course to self-realization and fulfillment." (Meyer)
The guiding planet determines skill set. Listed below is the guiding planet through the signs:
Moon is overly sensitive and easily offended. Moods are a direct
reflection of immediate environment. Upon first impression, they strike
others as sensitive and inwardly reflective. Natives use intuition in
their day-to-day mundane tasks. They busily keep up with constant
change and interruptions in daily lives. Intuition helps pinpoint the
root of arising problems. Skills include organizational skills,
customer service, dealing with the general public, housekeeper,
laundress, innkeeper, homemaker, nurturer, caregiver, working with
women, children and infants, food service and hospitality industries and
is the most common planetary scout because of its relative position to
the Sun. Oriental Mercury is talkative and interesting. Upon first
impression, they strike others as thinkers and/or witty. Natives should
think before taking action. They always appear busy,
constantly dealing with distractions and noise. They function on a
mental plane, and they approach problems logically. They would rather
be aware of all their options. They easily develop good ideas to tackle
mundane problems. Skills include both written and oral communication,
technological communication, processing data, couriers, messengers,
authors, comedians, transportation workers and ambassadors.
scouts are in search of harmony, love and happiness. Upon first
impression, Oriental Venus appears kind, affectionate and fair. They
value relationships, compromise and harmonious interpersonal
communication, and they have a way of smoothing over any
unpleasantness. They also value people, and they find worth in everyone
and everything. Although they act to fulfill the needs of others, they
can be self-serving narcissists. Natives approach arising problems
with both diplomacy and creativity. They make excellent artists,
musicians, couturiers, cosmetologists, diplomats, peacemakers, lawmakers
and all those working within the judiciary system.
Mars are eager to challenge others, and they love a good competition.
Natives prove assertive, quick to action and energetic, giving that
needed push to others. These people have insight into the motivation of
others. They also know how to motivate others to action, rallying the
troops, so to speak. Upon first impression, they strike others as
aggressive, demanding and just plain rude. Actions invite plenty of
enmity. But, they get things done. This position approaches problems
head on. Mars scouts often rise to the top in their professional sphere
because of their ambition combined with their stamina to keep on going
the distance. Natives should stop and think before they act. Guiding
Mars skills include: sales, athletics, military, police, firefighters,
auto mechanics and corporate officers.
Jupiter is honest and jovial. Natives uplift and inspire others
through action. They easily tolerate others' idiosyncrasies. Upon
first impression, these people appear intelligent, genuine and sincere.
However, they can also appear snobbish and judgmental as their moral
compasses may be tightly wound. These people approach arising problems
intellectually. The dislike mundane tasks, delegating work to those
best suited for the job. Jupiter scouts often enjoy great professional
success in which they hold much social responsibility. Natives excel in
any position of social power. They make great politicians,
dignitaries, ambassadors, corporate officers, clergy, professors,
counselors, educators, lawyers and all those within the judiciary
Saturn scouts project themselves as structured, goal-oriented and serious-minded. These people test others and their actions do not deviate or change from day to day. Upon first impression, others perceive them as conservative and reliable leaders albeit boring. They may appear unassuming and quiet. Natives overcome by adopting a pragmatic approach to arising problems. Mundane tasks are their specialty. These people prefer to work with clearly defined long-range goals. Oriental Saturn often reaches the heights of success through hard work and determination. Skills include positions of social power and social responsibility. They make excellent politicians, corporate officers, financiers, mentors and educators.
Uranus is original and progressive--the face of change. Upon first
impression, Oriental Uranus appears unique and unconventional and even
ahead of their time. Natives appear a bit untamed and rebellious.
Those with this position abhor rules, regulations and mundane tasks.
They approach arising problems in unique ways, developing new and
ingenius solutions to everyday tasks. Uranus scout enters the scene to
revolutionize. Guiding Uranus skills include: technological skills,
electrician, scientific fields, solar power, astrologer and
Neptune is enigmatic, hypnotic and a true visionary. Upon first
impression, others consider them compassionate, altruistic and perhaps a
bit perplexing. Many perceive them as shifty and dishonest. They deal
poorly with the mundane. However, they solve problems using creativity
and imagination. They solve problems using their hunches as intuition
is strong. Problems may just seem to dissolve for the natives.
Neptune scout enters the scene to raze, making room for the expansion
Jupiter promises. Skills include psychic, gypsy, philanthropist,
socialist, dancer, journalist, broadcaster, photographer and fields
related to media and the film industry.
scouts are mysterious and sexy. Upon first impression, they strike
others as forceful, imposing and dictatorial. People sense their
formidable inner strength. Natives possess an unbreakable will.
However, they are adept at breaking others and giving ultimatums. They
make enemies. Foes must never underestimate Pluto's power or the extent
to which they will stoop to win. Crises is their specialty. Others
rely on them to control stressful situations. Deep insight pinpoints
the source of problems. Natives excel in positions of power. They make
great stalkers, crime bosses, spies, private investigators, magicians,
psychologists, psychiatrists, plumbers and all fields related to
recyclables, nuclear and renewable energy.
Donald-Strickland, Pat. Person to Person Astrology: Insight Into Compatibility. American Federation of Astrologers. 1986.