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.
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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