The Rising Planet: Your “First Responder”

by April Elliott Kent

Confession: “No” is my first response to most new, unfamiliar, or spontaneous situations or suggestions. If the suggestion is, “April, please have some more Cheetos” – a snack I’ve enjoyed with regularity and satisfaction since birth – my reaction would be an enthusiastic “Sure!” But if the suggestion is something like, “Hey, let’s go to lunch and hit the zoo together tomorrow,” my knee-jerk reaction, even if (and this is key) I like both you and going to the zoo, not to mention lunch, will probably be “No, thanks.”

Why is this? Well, I like my little routines. I feel safe in them. The more I can contain and control my surroundings and schedule, the happier I feel. And I had planned to work too hard and have soup for lunch tomorrow. There is no room in those sad little plans for socializing, sandwiches, or gazelles.

The planet closest to your Ascendant, usually in the first, second, or third houses, is called the rising planet. I also call it the “first responder” planet, because it’s the planet that is first on deck to handle anything new that comes your way. (This should not be confused with the “chart ruler.” That’s the planet that rules the sign on the Ascendant. In this chart, since Aries is the sign rising on the Ascendant, its ruling planet, Mars, is the chart ruler.)

In my chart, the first responder is Saturn. I react to anything new or unexpected with an upturned palm and the facial expression of someone who detects a nasty smell.  This is complicated by the fact that friendly, spontaneous Sagittarius is my rising sign (the sign on my Ascendant) – so I seem like exactly the kind of gal who’d be up for a last minute drink, cup of coffee, or shark-hunting expedition. And I’d like to be. That’s why I cultivated that persona. But underneath it all, I’m just not. Signs may indicate personal style, but planets set the agenda.

What’s your first responder planet, and how does it describe your initial response to the new and/or unexpected? If you don’t have a planet in the first, second, or third houses, play with the first planet counterclockwise from the Ascendant, regardless of its house placement. And if you have nothing in the first, second, or third houses but do have a planets in the 12th house within, say, a few degrees of the Ascendant, that probably works like a first responder.

Planets as First Responders

Sun:  You look for a way to stand out and be noticed, and you’re good at formulating creative responses to new situations. You always seek ways to make situations more fun, and usually succeed – hence, you’re probably pretty popular. And your charisma makes you a natural leader.

Moon:  You monitor the emotional temperature of each situation and of the people around you. How’s everyone feeling? Does anyone need help? You’re naturally empathetic, but can also become worn out easily if you don’t devise some strong boundaries.

Mercury:   Easily bored, you enjoy new situations. You ask questions, try to find out what’s interesting or novel, and you tell good stories. You never enter a new situation without quickly formulating a getaway strategy in case things get boring.

Venus: You’re generally courteous, charming, and probably a bit flirtatious. I have known some surprisingly aggressive people with Venus rising, though. That’s because you’re a strategist; you figure out the mood of the situation and strike a tone that will even things out.  Sometimes that calls for a sweet approach, sometimes for something more forceful.

Mars: You make things happen! Things need to be moving, and moving quickly, to keep you happy, and while you don’t naturally want to lead, you are not a follower. You probably have a quick temper, or at least people perceive you as angry, sometimes even when you aren’t. You likely have good reflexes and instincts in emergency situations.

Jupiter:  Like Mercury rising, you generally like new situations, seeing them as an adventure. You make people laugh, often at your own expense. You take a philosophical approach, and where Saturn says, “No!”, you’re inclined to say instead, “Sure, why not?” If you’re in an insecure mood, though, you may switch into “know it all” mode in new situations.

Saturn: Your inclination is to put on the brakes and erect a barrier until you feel safe. You’re very cautious in new situations, and reluctant to get into them in the first place.  You are better in unfamiliar situation when you’re in charge.

Uranus:  You tend to put people a bit off balance, which you secretly (or not-so-secretly) enjoy.  You rarely feel that you really fit in – and usually, you’re okay with that. You’re unpredictable rather than spontaneous; what seems to others like a sudden, spontaneous decision has usually been building for awhile.

Neptune:  You’re open, receptive, taking in everything around you. Like Moon rising people, you tend to have weak boundaries, so you have to make an effort to take good care of yourself emotionally and energetically. Weirdly, you have the ability to become invisible in public. In fact, sometimes you have to fight to be noticed.

Pluto:  One person on Facebook with this placement said, “First I have to figure out if I love it or hate it.” If you love it, you’ll go with it 100%; if you hate it, you’ll make the person/situation wish they’d never crossed your path. You project a very powerful, often sexual vibe that is alluring to some and off-putting to others. You’re very good at handling emergency situations, and are happiest when you feel you have control over a situation.

# # #

Since lunar nodes are not planets, I don’t count them as first responders. And I don’t work with the asteroids (including Chiron), so while I’m sure you could make an argument for them as your first responder (feel free to do so in the comments section), I don’t really have an opinion about them.

What about you? What’s your first responder planet, and how does it operate in your life?

© 2012 April Elliott Kent

106 Responses
  • CD
    January 11, 2012

    not only is the Moon my first responder planet (in the 2nd house), but it is also my chart ruler as I am Cancer Ascendant. makes alot of sense for me geeeze

  • Jo Tracey
    January 11, 2012

    Great post April. Love the angle. My first responder is the Sun (from a Pisces Ascendant)…and this is very true :). Despite being completely & totally Piscean, so many people comment that I don’t seem it in the big bad world…& that is that Sun, just a couple of degrees away from the ASC.

    • April
      January 11, 2012

      I’d love to have the Sun as my first responder planet, Jo! Lucky you. 🙂

  • flip
    January 11, 2012

    I love this blog. Based on my personal experience, you are dead on.

  • Lindsay | The Daily Awe
    January 11, 2012

    What if I have Jupiter AND Saturn in House 1? Saturns is in the end of my House 1, but I tend to lean more to the “no” side when asked to do something (at first, anyway).

    • April
      January 11, 2012

      Lindsay, technically it would be whichever one comes first after the Ascendant, Jupiter or Saturn. But as a person with a Jupiter/Saturn conjunction, I can say that I never have any experience of Jupiter without some Saturn in there… but on the plus side, I never have to face Saturn without a little Jupiter!

      • kD
        January 17, 2012

        Thanks for having the same conj as mine 🙂 I had, for so long, wondered about my own chart meanings with Jupiter and Saturn being only 20 deg apart. (With Mars right up Jupiter’s er um bum between the two!)

        Lindsay: I, too, have the tendency to say no at first even though Jupiter is my first responding planet (00 degree third house Virgo), but then Mars is two degrees behind it, and Saturn comes tumbling after at 20 degrees.

        Perhaps we can rest a little easier knowing that when we get knocked down by Saturn, Jupiter is right behind to pick us up..moreso than people who don’t have Jup/Sat conj?

        • April
          January 19, 2012

          kD, I’ve always said that while I never get to have an experience of Jupiter that isn’t tinged with Saturn, I also never have to face a Saturn experience that doesn’t have some Jupiter in there. 🙂

          • kD
            January 19, 2012

            April, when I did the FB share (which I found via Maria DeSimone), I did some paraphrasing and likened my “Firefighting men” as the Three Stooges.. Jupiter and Mars being Larry and Curly (or would it be Curly, Larry?) with Saturn being Moe.

            That being said, it’s nice to see others’ take on the same events.. and you’re right.. now I wonder what it’d feel like to not have Saturn without Jupiter/vice versa. Would our Saturn Returns have turned out worse?

            Anyhow, great piece and thank you again for this write-up! It helped put things into perspective for me (just went through my 2nd Saturn return) 😀

  • Bel
    January 11, 2012

    Great post and makes so much sense. My first planet is Pluto – right on 2nd house cusp – Ascendant is 29 degrees Cancer. My first reaction is to be suspicious and wonder what the real motivations are. Then after I have run thru the possibilities I can be somewhat comfortable with whomever or whatever is going on but always on the lookout to be tripped up.

    • April
      January 11, 2012

      That wariness sounds exactly right, Bel. And usually Pluto rising people have been given good cause to be suspicious!

  • mynde
    January 11, 2012

    Loved this April! I have Saturn in the first too and I just laughed out loud when I read your description. And I’ve got Venus rising, so empathize with the contrast of having Sag rising with this combo.

    I’m gonna encourage my Cap-rising daughter to read this article. She has Uranus and Neptune conjunct in the first and I think it will help her see herself so clearly (& then hopefully connect some of the dots about how “OK” that makes her.)

    Really beautiful clarification here on first responder planets vs ascendant’s ruling planet and the style vs agenda thing is right on the money too!

    • April
      January 11, 2012

      Uranus rising is kind of tricky, I think. It’s sort of … “I would sort of like to fit in somewhere, but part of me is kind of proud of the fact that I don’t fit in.” 😀

      • sandra
        January 12, 2012

        Oh my goodness! I was already going to reply and you just described my husband who has Virgo Ascendant with Uranus and PLuto [1966) rising. He is intensely different and that statement is him! It doesn’t help that he has alot of Aquarius in his chart. Now me- I have a Lbra Ascendant with Neptune rising. YOur statement about appearances does apply; but with me- I Try and suceed to blend in. I dress well and forget about it. I don’t need attention. But I have Saturn in my Second house-I do not care for spur of the moment plans; like you, I like my routine and want to be in charge. So I resemble or respond to both. I do have a Capricorn Moon and Mars to reinforce the Saturnian responce. I really enjoy your blog. Thank you.

        • April
          January 19, 2012

          That’s very kind of you, thanks sandra. 🙂

      • Mary
        January 23, 2012

        Yup.

  • Maria Alexander
    January 11, 2012

    As you know, Mars is my first responder. And what you say here about that makes sense. Whenever I’m reacting to something, I might be putting out the hatchet vibe when I don’t even mean to.

    Okay, I’m an idiot. Did you ever put out the Mars and Women study? I can’t remember.

    • April
      January 11, 2012

      No, Maria, I’m the idiot – I haven’t finished the Mars and Women project yet. I keep hoping I’ll get to it while my pr. Moon is in Aries – I’ve got another year and a half or so. 🙂 I love Mars. Even though right now I’m having the slooooooowwwwwweeeeest Mars return in history, as Mars is slowing down to turn retrograde. On my natal Mars. Hmmm.. maybe it’s time to get going on that Mars project after all!

      • Maria
        January 11, 2012

        Yes! 😀 Incidentally, it’s turning Rx on my Uranus. This should be Surprising! Unorthodox! Unpredictable!

      • Maria
        January 11, 2012

        I mean, “Yes,” you should do the study. Because “No,” you’re not an idiot! No way!

      • Linea
        January 11, 2012

        Women and Mars project? Where do I sign up?

        • April
          January 19, 2012

          Ha! Linea, I’ll make sure you get a questionnaire. 🙂

        • Kat
          January 26, 2012

          What she said!

  • Elizabeth
    January 11, 2012

    wow, I have exactly the same – a Saggie Ascendant and a first responder as Saturn. This is so true!

  • Leslee
    January 11, 2012

    I have Moon a degree after my Ascendant, in Leo. I do feel very responsive to situations and people, though my first response is definitely not “how can I help.” I’ll blame Uranus conjunct from the 12th house for that! Plus maybe the trine from Saturn. I suppose that’s how I’ve set boundaries. I’ve always been uncomfortable having my emotions right out there, which made me particularly self-conscious when I was younger.

    On a lighter note, I just had my Lunar Return and I was noticing today that everyone I encountered was smiling at me! Guess that’s the Leo Moon. 🙂 My progressed Moon is coming back into Leo end of January – so happy about that!

    • April
      January 19, 2012

      Leslee… I think you’re very luck to have Uranus there to add a little objectivity. I haven’t looked at the first responder planet all that much, but I have noticed that eclipses aspecting the natal Moon often bring about a crisis about privacy. So self-consciousness about wearing your heart on your sleeve makes a lot of sense.

      Oh, good for you with the pr. Moon returning to Leo! I think for natal air/fire sign people, the progressions through water signs can be pretty darned uncomfortable.

  • Jen
    January 11, 2012

    Great post, I love it!
    I’m a Sadge with a Pisces Rising, to locate the first “planet” I had to go into the 12th, and it was Jupiter 11* in Pisces.
    Pretty dead on! And here I thought that was just my Sage stellium in my 9th. Lol!!! 😀
    I do know I have Chiron in the first in Aries, yet he’s an asteroid. I could see him as a first responder of sorts, first instinct… always wanting to help people “heal” and being kinda pushy and matter of fact about it. Lol

  • Kathleen
    January 11, 2012

    Hi April,

    So, technically, as I have empty houses 1 through 4, would my Venus (toward the end of the 5th house) or Jupiter (halfway through the 11th) be my “First Responder”?

    • April
      January 19, 2012

      Kathleen, I’d go with Venus. I haven’t read anything about considering a planet clockwise from the Ascendant, except in the 12th house within a few degrees.

  • Alana
    January 11, 2012

    April, This was fun to read. Pluto is my first responder planet. I neither love it or hate it … I like Pluto. I have noticed that there is the odd person(2 maybe 3) that is attracted to me, ( I would never think it was sexual) and the majority of people are put-off. It is oh so true that I’m very good in an emergency situation plus control is a very good thing. 🙂

    • April
      January 19, 2012

      Alana, I think what my FB commenter meant (or at least the way I interpreted it) is that with Pluto as her first responder, her first response was to decide whether she loved or hated the situation – not whether she loved or hated Pluto itself. I’m glad you’re friends with Mr. Intense, though. 🙂

      There’s a passage in a book I like that describes a party with a lot of emergency room nurses standing around, looking ill at ease with their little plastic cups of wine. A character observed that they looked like the nurses would really blossom if someone would just keel over and require emergency aid! I’m reminded of that whenever I see Pluto rising. 😀

  • Linea
    January 11, 2012

    Love this concept! I have a very strong First Responder in Mars and boy does he love being 5 degrees from the Ascendant. This is what they called “accidental dignity” in traditional astrology…an accident of birth (time)…and I am not sorry! I may come on very strong at times, but I DO initiate and get things going, and that Mars really helps energize my huge water grand trine. So I am very grateful for my first responder!

    What would you say about a chart that doesn’t have any planets in the first quadrant? Seems that those folks would lack a First Responder altogether. Or, it would develop later in life. What have you seen?

    • April
      January 19, 2012

      Linea, I believe my teacher used the first planet counterclockwise from the Ascendant, regardless of which house it was in. I assume the idea was that it’s the first planet that receives transits after they’ve crossed the Ascendant – how far away from the Ascendant it might be – and so carries some of that “go get ’em” energy. But I can’t say I’ve worked with the concept enough to have formed any hard or fast conclusions about it. It’s something I’ll be paying more attention to from now on, though!

  • Kat
    January 12, 2012

    Hi, Great Article. I have Mars at 5 degrees Leo, Uranus at 21 degrees Leo. My rising (ascendent) is at 8 degrees Leo. Would Mars be my first responder or Uranus? Mars is closer but Uranus is in the 1st house – thanks so much….Kathryn

    • April
      January 19, 2012

      Kat, I’d lean toward Mars. But perhaps you could share your experience – which do you feel describes you better?

  • Jess
    January 12, 2012

    I have pluto in my first house and mars conjunct my Leo ascendant in the 12th. I’d love to ready more about mars and women!

    • Jess
      January 16, 2012

      Wow! Pluto and Mars like me [also — just to complicate matters further — my natal mars is also in a stellium that includes Uranus and Venus all in the 12th — but mars is the only planet that actually would be considered conjunct my asc. Lets read more on Mars and pluto on the ascendant!

    • April
      January 19, 2012

      I’ll get there eventually, Jess. I was all set to start working on that project when the offer came along to write my newest book… ever since then I’ve been playing catch-up on regular work! Am hoping to get to it, though, while my pr. Moon is in Aries.

  • Joanne
    January 12, 2012

    April, I knew I liked you right off! We both have Sag rising and Saturn first responders. It can really be a buzz kill for that lively, fly-by-the-seat-of our-pants Sag energy and we probably don’t have too many episodes of going the “oh crap!” response. People around me don’t understand and it really get to my Gemini rising, Moon first responder husband. Thanks for the great insight!

    • April
      January 19, 2012

      And we both have Gemini rising husbands. 🙂

  • Becky
    January 13, 2012

    Ah, I have my Cancer Moon as the first responder. I sit back and do gauge the emotional currents coming up. I act intuitively and pick to how up on stuff and then I adapt to how things are in my environment. Venus in Pisces is a chameleon. I will have a wall up and won’t readily let people in to see who I am. Even though I have Sun in Aries – at times I feel strongly Cancerian.

  • cjwright
    January 15, 2012

    This has really got me thinking, April. I have a very tight Jupiter Moon conjunction with Jupiter leading by an “nth” of a degree. My first response is usually “that’ll be fun” but then my mood changes and I find I’d really rather just stay at home. (Both planets on the IC in Taurus.)

    Not to complicate this, but have you found that planets aspecting our first responder also contribute to the ultimate outcome of our decisions?

    • April
      January 19, 2012

      Honestly, cjwright, this is not a topic I’ve studied in any detail. I remembered it one day as an interesting idea my teacher once shared; folks on Facebook got sort of enthused about it, so I wrote this post. I’d love to hear anyone else’s ideas or observations, including about impacts on the outcome of our decisions. 🙂

  • Brian
    January 19, 2012

    You don’t work with Chiron at all? I am speechless …

    • April
      January 19, 2012

      No, I don’t. And apparently not.

      • Leslee
        January 20, 2012

        Heh. My local astrologer, who runs a well-established astrology school in the area, doesn’t use Chiron either. 🙂

  • Brian
    January 20, 2012

    Who is your local astrologer and their well established astrology school? Maybe I feel my Chiron so acutely because it’s conjunct my south node in Pisces in the 7th and opposite my 1st house Pluto-Uranus-NN.

    • April
      January 20, 2012

      Brian, each astrologer decides for him or herself which tools work for us. It’s not that I am unaware of Chiron, its mythology, and why many astrologers choose to work with it. It’s that I simply don’t care to use it. That is no commentary on Chiron, its significance, or anyone who chooses to work with it. May I suggest that a more effective way to make your case for Chiron would be to write eloquently and persuasively about it on a blog of your own, instead of complaining because I’m not doing it for you. You’re really being unspeakably rude, and doing nothing whatsoever to further a cause that seems quite important to you.

  • Rosemary
    January 21, 2012

    Just discovered this site and really enjoyed this piece. Thank you! You sketched my Jupiter rising perfectly. “Sure, why not”–exactly! Have something to eat? Sure, why not. Chair this dysfunctional committee? Sure, why not. Read another blog? etc. You’re lucky you have Saturn there, too. I also have Mars sitting for the year in the natal area. It has been an incredible experience so far.

  • Eleni
    January 22, 2012

    What happens if you have a south or north node in the first house.

  • Lynne
    January 22, 2012

    I respond through my mars-jup (12th) conjunct asc(all in cap) but that response is either mediated by all trine sat in vir or every once in awhile by a Uranian opposition-wacko!!!

  • Terri
    January 22, 2012

    Thank you for another great post April! I’ve been reading but not commenting.
    I have Scropio AC and Saturn first responder. You nailed it! Now I understand why the conversation goes south with daughter especially (and others) when she brings up something new. I can maybe alter my Saturn response, maybe a little, I hope?? Sure would help that relationship!

  • helen
    January 23, 2012

    Pisces ascendant – fishy foo, and first responder Sun in Aries – leap in and out of the emergency before anyone has even blinked. Yyyyeeeeeehaaaaaa!
    p.s. now at work when people come to me with questions.. i do my instant p-sychic yes or no or depends response before they ask their question.
    p.p.s. the women and their mars thing… sign me up… hanging out with you is always self discovery (so Happy Bunny.. i’m sure HB is an Aries)..

  • PrintessLeah
    January 23, 2012

    Ai! What boundaries?? Neptune in the 2nd (square my Leo sun) …works to reinforce my mutable water chart, which includes Saturn in Pisces, square my moon (and conjunct Chiron 😉 Thank you for the eloquent example of not taking the bait, April!

  • Susan
    January 23, 2012

    I have Saturn closest to Asc — but Jupiter next closest. If the direction is counterclockwise, Jupiter is my first responder. Am I getting this right?

    • April
      January 23, 2012

      Susan, are Saturn and Jupiter in your first house?

  • Louise
    January 23, 2012

    well i re read all the descriptions..now i have Jupiter..i am very philosophical but the rest..does not apply that much..i read for my Mom..she has Uranus..and that definetely not her !!! far from it !! my eldest daughter also Uranus, not really her…my youngest daughter has the sun a few minutes after her ascendant she is charming but who wouldn’t be being a sag/sag..but she is not a leader, my son has the Jupiter and that sounds a bit like him but he is not a leader at all…, my ex has Saturn..not him !!..he does have Chiron in aries in first..and i would go with that one for sure !! kind of guessing what the description would be…same as a good friend he has the Pluto in 4th..and a mars in cancer at the start of his 12th, the first in his chart is Chiron and i definetely would go with that..and going back to my son his first his Chiron also…and that also would make more sense…sorry for being a stick in the mud here April…actually i’m disapointed and confused more than anything …as i participated in the facebook conversation and was so anxious to read this…

    • April
      January 23, 2012

      I’m sorry you’re disappointed. Descriptions like these are always generalized, and it’s always good to take them with a grain of salt. Taking one discrete element from a chart and considering it apart from all the other influences is always dicey. I thank you for your comment. In the interest of possibly clearing up come confusion, though, I would note that (1) actually, I know plenty of Sag people who are not charming; Sag has many fine qualities, but “charm” is not a keyword that is normally associated with it; (2) my delineation of Jupiter did not mention leadership; and (3) nothing I’ve read leads me to conclude that Mars at the *beginning* of the 12th house would count as a “rising planet.” As for Chiron, I’ve been very clear that I don’t work with it, so I’m not the person to look to for those delineations.

      • Louise
        January 24, 2012

        thanks for your answer April..my mistake for the leader thing i meant it only for my daughter who is a sag, and i mentioned the Mars at the beginning of the 12th, i know it does not count..i was mentioning this as my friend has only that planet in the beginning of his 12th , nothing close to the ascendant and the next planet is Pluto at the end of the fourth..he has Chiron in the first though..so basically (since no counting of Chiron) he has nothing in the first 3 houses..so how would you pick his first responder ? merci !

        • April
          January 25, 2012

          I would go with Pluto. But if you use Chiron, play around with it and see what you think.

  • Susan
    January 23, 2012

    April, Jupiter is in first house, Saturn in 12th. Moon in 1st house also.

  • Jamie
    January 23, 2012

    My 1st responder is Moon in Virgo. My first response is: “Here’s how I can help, by fixing you.” Haha =D
    And guess what I do for a living? I’m a financial consultant. Or is that my MC in Taurus conjunct Chiron?

  • cindy
    January 26, 2012

    i have venus and chiron in the first house. chiron is closer to my ascendant. i would say as i get older, i see the chiron more than venus.

  • Terri
    January 28, 2012

    Hi April,
    I’m back to let you know this is one of the most powerful things I have ever learned about my chart and self and to thank you for sharing it. This has helped me tremendously.

  • Bel
    January 29, 2012

    I agree with Terri in that this is one of the most powerful things I have learned about my chart. Since this blog I have been paying close attention to my first response. I had always wondered why I seemed so “on alert” and always preparing for the worse – no matter what the situation. With Pluto on my 2nd house cusp and Saturn in the 3rd conjunct SNode it all makes sense. This information has given me the power to understand and change this reaction from fear to a higher vibration of discernment. Any other ideas on positive uses of this energy?

    • Terri
      January 29, 2012

      Bel, Thanks for saying that. Reinforces what I am doing. Same as you, the awareness seems to be allowing me to alter my Saturn first responder or at least saying “wait” (laughing because that is exactly what April says having Saturn as a first responder does, WAIT!). Anyway, I am saying wait and thinking about it: is that Saturn that makes me slam on the brakes when someone brings up something new?

      I am not an astrologer and don’t know all that much, so I might be missing it a little, but I am using this knowledge when I have a new idea because it seems I respond to my own ideas by slamming on the brakes too (and this is hurting me in a big way). It feels like I throw a wrench into it, wait, and hesitate (too much hesitation to be productive).

      I’ve noticed people stop bringing up new things to me after a while or I notice they become uncomfortable as they are about to share something with me. I’ve wondered what that is for a long time. Now I think I know. I’m now feeling the hesitation, but not speaking it verbally as much and things are rocking along better!

      Just knowing this first responder thing allows me to (you’ll laugh) say whoa, wait, is this Saturn 1st responder slamming on the brakes AND the key is to ask if this is REALLY something I need to be slamming on the brakes about or is it OK to proceed.

      Just like April says, I do well in unfamiliar situations where I’m in charge, so true and SO helpful to know that!

  • cate
    February 7, 2012

    I just spent some time to try to re-find this posting. I knew it would be very helpful when skimming it on an email pass-by…but I had let it get buried with time passing and other emails piling up. Tonight I found it and I think it is an incredible tool. It helps to explain one of the layers of texture in a chart. I am a Jupiter 1st house person and in spite of lots of earth, I am actually quite game for anything if the timing seems right (Saturn not in my 1st but on the 4th house cusp conjunct the moon—so I can also seem hesitant in a decision too). And,yes, I can be the joking “know it all” when insecure! My son has Saturn right on his ASC and with so much going for him (astrologically and otherwise), I could never understand his reluctance with new situations. Now I have some compassion/understanding and I think I can see where being more “in charge” of the situation really helps him. I love having you as a teacher! Thank you for so generously sharing your gifts, insight and experience!

  • Messy Leo
    February 8, 2012

    I love it! I have Neptune right on my Sag Asc, and a Leo Sun. Deep down I want to think everyone sees me and that I’ve made an impression on them, even in cases where I’ve met them one time (because I definitely feel like everyone leaves an impression on me). And in most instances where I feel that I have to compete for attention, I will back down and retreat into my own world where I can lick my wounds. Then I’ll lash out at some irrelevant later date (Mars in Scorpio?), which only serves to confuse.

  • Marinemom
    February 20, 2012

    I have Scorpio 29 rising, Saturn 0 and Mars 6 both Sag.
    Saturn says I am cautious, Mars says I make things happen.
    Do I look at both or only Saturn?

    Great site, I have not been on the blog 🙂

    • April
      February 21, 2012

      I’d use Saturn, since it’s the first planet after the ascendant – though in your case, caution is quickly followed by action!

  • david
    March 17, 2012

    Its a nice idea – the responder planet. In my case its either mercury or neptune. If its taken as the planet going anti-clockwise from the asc its mercury. But neptune conjuncts the asc from the twelve. I do dissapear in public and seem to have the abilty to sneek up on people while in plain sight. But I dont like to be held down either. I do look for escape routes in any situation.

    Heres another for you the first planet going clockwise from the sun is what to expect in life. If you have mars like me expect life to be a fight.

  • david
    March 18, 2012

    I like the idea of a responder planet. In this sense I suppose mercury would be the planet but mercury has a close conjunction with saturn in my chart. So like you I do purse my lips and suck my breath when something happens. However I definently do not like being tied down.

    Here is another I was told years ago – the planet closest to the sun and ascendent side shouts back to the sun what to expect from life. In my case a fight as its mars.

  • david
    March 18, 2012

    I guess yournot at this site much or thread as I can now see what I had put yestreday that has not been approved/entered in thread. Oh well.

    • April
      March 18, 2012

      I appreciate your taking the time to comment. I’m on the road with limited internet access, I’m sick, and I’m about to give my third presentation in three days. I’ve had to prioritize.

  • Blackempress
    October 7, 2012

    This is nice. I’ve got a sure shot of Venus to ‘listen’ first & react later…esp in Gemini in the 3rd.

    What if there are no planets in the first 3 houses?

  • Anna
    May 22, 2013

    Hi April, I’m coming in on this discussion a bit late. My apologies for that. However, this is the best description I have found online after a search on rising planets. I have my ascendant at 14 degrees Sagittarius. After this (clockwise), there is nothing until Jupiter at 8 degrees Pisces. Should I consider this my responder planet, or go a few degrees back to (jumping over NN at 11 degrees Sag) Neptune at 7 degrees Sagg? I’m a fine art photographer so Neptune in 12th near NN seems to make sense.

    I appreciate that this is a late comment and that you are very busy, so no worries about replying completely at your leisure! 🙂 Stay well

    • April
      May 22, 2013

      I would go with Neptune, Anna. Anything in the 12th house that’s within 10 degrees or so seems worth looking at, to me!

  • Anna
    May 23, 2013

    Thank you April 🙂

  • Julia
    June 1, 2013

    Great post and topic April!! I never heard about it before but it fully hit home: my ascendant is in Virgo (sun in Gemini) and next to my ascendant are Moon and Pluto in conjunction and what your description said about both of them is 100% correct for how I witness it “form the inside out”: I am eigther fully for something (or someone) or fully against – there doesn’t seem to be a gray section for me. And many people seem to be put off by my coming on quite strong with my point of view and think I want to convince them – but I don’t! I just want to express it and doing that there are no “maybe”s…..
    I also agree with what someone said earlier about his Pluto as first responder and feeling suspicious: I always “need” to know the motivation of people, what agenda they’re after, what’s driving them in behaving the way they are (in general and in the specific situation) and if I know I can relax with the situation, even if I found out they’re motivation or agenda wasn’t a “nice” one because then I know what to be ready for and won’t be cought from behind.
    I find it really funny that I have a job that needs me to combine exactly the two different qualities of the Moon and Pluto as my first responders: I work as personal coach (life coach) and finding out about peoples agendas and motivations and bringing them to their awareness (because they mostly are not aware of them themselves), as well as being able to get a strong emotional connection to what they need in order to feel better (Moon) in combination is really the way I work with my clients!
    Thanks April – what a great insight!!

  • Siam
    October 20, 2013

    Libra Asc. 1st house Uranus in the next sign. I try to be congenial yet throw people off a bit at first. Bad combo!:-D I seem friendly without seeming like i want to fit in. This is what people tell me when they get to know me. They say I’m far more solid than my flaky first impression, lol!

  • Diana
    November 18, 2013

    My rising planet is Saturn in H2, however the planet rising before the Sun the day I was born was Mars – which makes a much more accurate description of my reactions. I am very impulsive (despite being Libra with Gemini Rising) and in crisis I always act fast, and have very quick reflexes. I am very impatient and have a temper that can explode when people least expect it 🙂 Needless to say I take decisions fast and work fast, hate slow people! I have to struggle a lot to keep calm in certain situations. So nothing about peace keeping Libra in my impulses and temperament 🙂 Ironically that is where Mars was when I was born.

    However I suppose Saturn as rising planet in the chart keeps me in control and gives me reality checks, preventing me from acting on my impulses and temper at times. Not always.

  • Daureen
    February 15, 2014

    I have pluto rising within 5 degrees, but it is from the 12th house. I am Virgo rising. My first planet otherwise would be Neptune in the 3rd house. I don’t have weak boundaries at all… people don’t usually mess with me at all. Pluto definitely is obvious in my appearance, although it is blended with Virgo and I have Piscean eyes.

    I believe Pluto is my chart ruler, not mercury… although I am very mercurial. I read that when you have a planet within 5 degrees (either way) of the ascendant, IT becomes your chart ruler. I think it shares the stage with mercury, but Pluto takes stage (front and center). That’s just what my experience is, but everything is blended… some things are just more powerful than others. 🙂

  • Abby
    March 30, 2014

    Very interesting article, April! I always wondered why my first reaction to everything is to break down the information and assimilate it…not very Pisces Rising/Aries Sun, but now I see it’s because Mercury is my rising planet in the first house, and I must understand and conceptualize everything! So “mental” in many ways 😛 Also, I am a creative writer, and have been writing since I could hold a crayon awkwardly in my chubby little fingers. I *do* get bored easily, look for escape routes, and I like to talk/think about personal experiences (uh, Mercury rising in Aries, anyone?)…
    There’s something I’d like to mention in response to a previous comment, asking about aspects to the rising planet and their effects on first response; I think that is likely very true, if only from my own experience! What do you make of this: my rising Mercury opposes a Saturn/Jupiter conjunction in 7th house Libra, and although my first reactions are lightening quick and intellectualize everything (Mercury), I seldom share opinions right away and instead wait until I have formulated a proper thought (Saturn), and then often temper it with a dose of humor to lighten the overall mood (Jupiter)! I mean come on, is astrology right on or what?? Thanks again for the awesome info, April!
    P.S. Way to hold your ground against all these Chiron lovers! Maybe they should go heal their wounded healer on a different website? 😛

  • C0NFUSEDGiRRL
    May 5, 2014

    Good read! I can definitely say that my rising plants plays a huge role in my appearance and personality. I notice with 1st House Saturn that many people perceive me to be very quiet, calm, reserved, and sometimes, they often look at me to lead the way or mistakenly assume I’m the boss. Plus, it gives me a serious “bitchface” which makes it difficult for people to approach me. However, thanks to the heavens, I am often told that I have a very beautiful smile which usually works against Saturn’s snobby look. And Uranus (who sits very closely to Saturn) really bewilders, not only the world, but me too; one minute, I’m obedient, practical, and stern. Then the next minute, I’m suddenly carefree, irrational, and starting a revolution, lol! Yet, Neptune (in my 1st house as well), gives the impression that I’m sensitive, worldly, dreamy, and mysterious. It also makes me invisible sometimes that I have to fight to get notice. And I can mirror anyone and act my butt off 😉 And I’m not sure which planet may contribute to this, but people tend to get really comfortable around me that they tell or show me personal things that they normally wouldn’t do with a stranger or someone they barely know. Basically, I somehow gain people’s trust, even strangers, which I find extremely weird and a bit uncomfortable.

    Libra Sun/Leo Moon/Sagittarius ASC

  • Chantel
    January 14, 2015

    This is truly amazing!! I am a pisces with a Taurus rising but I often “react” especially in work conditions like an aries— to the point that I feel like I come off as an aries.
    For a couple years now I’ve been wondering if I was a Taurus rising at all– but I am, I just have an aries mars a few degrees away from my ascendant (in my 12th house)

    I am so grateful cause I feel like this complete makes sense!
    If you have any other info could you email me?– are there other sources on this?

    Many thanks and happiest new year

  • LORRI
    February 17, 2015

    A planet is also considered “rising” if it is in the 12th house.

  • Ana
    February 21, 2015

    I appreciate this post, thank you April, however, due to my specific chart situation, I’m confused as to which planet is influencing me more.

    I have both the sun and Venus in my first house (with the sun slightly closer to my asc. than Venus). However, I have Pluto in my 12th house and it is VERY close to my ascendant in Scorpio, closer than both the sun and Venus. Would the sun be my rising planet or Pluto? Is Venus also rising since it’s in the first house as well? Can a person have more than one planet rising?

    Also my second house has Mercury, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Would these have any rising planet effects on me as well since they are also rather close to my ascendant, or would the planets in my 1st and/or 12th house cancel out any rising planet effects they may have?

    Just a bit confused and would appreciate any help.Thanks 🙂

    • April
      February 21, 2015

      Hi Ana – My best guess would be that Pluto wins the day as the planet closest to the Ascendant, especially since modern astrologers consider Pluto the ruler of Scorpio.

      • Ana
        February 22, 2015

        Thanks April 🙂

  • Lovelife
    March 1, 2015

    I have read that the planet closest to the Asc is important. But I have never heard of stretching the scope to cover the 2nd and 3rd house before( particularly in the event that no planets occupy the 1st house).

    On the other hand,planets in 12th arcing to the 1st make sense.That much I understand.The 12th and 1st overlap in some people’s charts.

    In any case. Even with all that being said,I do agree with you. Because I for instance have Venus(Asc Taurus) as chart ruler in the 7th. And I am often courteous, charming etc.

    But this is usually in professional/formal situations(Saturn conjuncts Venus). As I know how to sell myself to the public in a palatable manner(7th house has Saturn and Venus therein)

    But I do notice that my Moon in Cancer in 3rd influences very much my 1st reaction to things. I do tend to respond to situations in a very “let me feel this out” mode and have to “reign” my Moon in sometimes from being “too sensitive” and emotional with the help of my Saturn in trine aspect to it.

    My ideal would be to control my emotions(not rid myself of them) and be able to capitalize on Venus in 7th- as Saturn would have it.

    This is very interesting and I am glad I came upon it! 🙂

  • John2oon
    June 13, 2015

    I’ve really enjoyed this blog entry and the comments. Just discovered this blog, April, though I’ve also been looking at Asrology on the Web for two decades almost. Anyway, I have a chart similar to some described at the top what with my mid-Sag rising, with ruling planet and rising planet both being Jupiter retrograde in Capricorn 2nd house headed soon back to 1st house. I also have Sun and Saturn in 9th house, but in Virgo rather than Leo. Moon is Aires opposite Neptune/Mercury conj in Libra. One astrologer referred to my chart with all its aspects and figures as the “pinball machine.”

    Anyway, first responder rings true, but Jupiter in Capricorn is tempered. And I’d also say that when I meet a new situation, my first thoughts are often some rather vanilla version of “what’s in it for me?” (Doesn’t have to be something of conventional value, mind you.)

  • John
    June 21, 2015

    Neptune first is very accurate for me! (Neptune ~10° from Ascension in Scorpio) I’ve always felt invisible in public. And, I’m frequently the one who did not get their picture taken in a gathering.
    Thanks for the insight 🙂

  • Thaís
    July 1, 2015

    Hello! I loved your post and your blog!!! Can i ask something? I have libra rising conjuct venus, venus is 23˚ of the 12th house. And i have pluto in scorpio in 12˚ of 1st house. So i am very confused. Is my first responder venus or pluto? Sorry if i say something wrong, english is not my native language. Thank you very much =D

  • Theodora
    July 5, 2015

    Ascendant Scorpio with Pluto conjuncting my ascendant within 6 degrees in Scorpio in the 12th house. Pluto makes me really love or hate something, the same with people around me. I either love them, either hate them. I have a powerful presence and I know it. I also know how to control situations and I am good in changing other people.

  • Tarz
    July 5, 2015

    Im confused what my gf
    1st responder would be
    she has chiron in the 2nd house
    nothing in the 1st , 3rd , 4th ,5th ,
    in the 6th pluto
    ??

  • Kevin
    July 5, 2015

    Pluto in Virgo first house conjoined ascendant at 4 degrees. Pluto in Virgo handles the world as if it were wilderness or a toxic dump site. We’re either being renewed or were being screwed.

  • Samantha
    July 5, 2015

    I don’t have any planets in the first, second or third houses. Pluto is the closest being exactly conjunct my IC. However what you have written for Pluto as a first responder is somewhat accurate for me. I won’t go to extremes all the time either loving or hating something. But I think along with my Leo ascendant I project a powerful, authoritative speaking voice, that is what I have been told more times than I remember. I am very interested in uncovering human motivation and behaviour on deeper levels and using that information to transform. In fact I made a career out of it as an Astronumerologist, see http://www.astronumerologywisdom.com

  • sally harrington
    July 13, 2015

    Pluto in my first house fits like a tight tight glove… it’s sooooooo true… Cancer rising, Moon in late Libra conjunct Mars in early Scorpio… but Pluto is on Asc…My first response is Libra/Cancer… but cross me and the fangs come out big time and others do not want to tangle with me if they bring out that side.. Most never see that side.. thankfully….they see either Cancer or Libra.. but Pluto’s there hiding out and if I need it, I use it big time….. and that person will never cross me again… Terrible thing to admit but it’s true… this was a fun read….

  • sally harrington
    July 13, 2015

    ps I’ve been an astrologer for many years, earlier in life. Worked for a psychic line out of state using astrology.

  • Irena
    July 19, 2015

    You can imagine how it feels with Pluto in my 1st house. I love it or I hate it. As astrologer I have to fight with my Pluto very often. 🙂

  • Micheline
    July 20, 2015

    Great article. I read about the first rising planet in one if Celeste Teal’s book.
    I have a stellium in Virgo in the first house. I checked the closest one is my Uranus in Virgo but that’s in the same degree as my mars and Pluto comes pretty close by 2 degrees.

    What do you think? Should consider them all to be the rising planets since they are so close or almost on top of each other

    • April
      July 20, 2015

      Micheline, I’d be inclined to use Uranus, which I suppose is sort of the trigger that sets off the Uranus/Mars/Pluto stellium. Do you remember which Celeste Teal book included the first rising planet? I’d love to read about it!

  • Shane
    January 28, 2016

    I have Pluto just above the ascendant I’ve been told that it’s really in the first house but I also have jupiter in the first house, I can be pretty reluctant to try things unexpected, the research thing definitely applies to me, that doesn’t mean I don’t like adventure though… Pluto is in libra, jupiter just in scorpio…

  • Laura
    April 15, 2016

    Spot on! I have late Pisces rising with Jupiter as my “first responder”. You are so right about being invisible. I cannot walk down a sidewalk without being bumped into repeatedly. The people can be looking straight at me and run right into me! They ALWAYS say, “So sorry, I didn’t see you!” I just laugh it off and say something funny like, “Maybe I’m a ghost.”

  • nicole
    October 15, 2016

    gemini rising, mercury singleton, jupiter singleton as my first responder. as you can imagine, i’m very bubbly and energetically take on new and exciting things…..i’m also a scorpio sun with scorpio stellium and 8th house stellium. so you might, at first glance, think i’m a serious person

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