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The Ascendant (aka; Rising Sign) and the First House cusp are all one and the same. It describes your outward appearance and the image you like to project. This is your survival personna. The first face you show the world. It tells what you project as a social being trying to make your place in the human hierarchy. Note that the first house is a major indicator of physical image. This is also the house of first impressions.
Everything is filtered through the rising sign, so besides personality and image, the principle that the sign represents will affect nearly every area of life in some manner. This will be modified by any planets in the first house, and/or the placement of the Rising Sign's ruler in the chart. In fact, all chart factors must be blended together to create the whole person.
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