. . • . The Ascendant represents the striving of the Ego or Soul to grow, evolve, and transcend its own conditioning, and the limitations which present in the form of the ego, or little self. . . This self-resurrection of the Ego or Atma is achieved in seven Ways, in much the same way the seven Ray types qualify the everyday self, ego, or personality. . . The key to the work of the Soul is represented by the sign which is rising (the Ascendant), and that sign's three planetary rulers, their house placement, and aspects. . In Esoteric Astrology, each sign is ruled by three planets - the orthodox rulers governing the personality, another planet the soul, and a third planet the hierarchical level (in the sense of congeries of monadic units) of the spiritual seed itself.
. . • . For spiritual students and workers, both the Orthodox and Esoteric planetary rulers have a strong impact on the life. . For 1° aspirants, the Esoteric ruler indicates possibility; . . for 2° probationers, it indicates the strong experience of conflict in the life of the mystically oriented; . . for 3° disciples, it represents the challenges and responsibilities of spiritually-polarized work; . . for 4° initiates, it indicates the sometimes drastic apparent division between inner and outer lives and work, the necessity to take on one's own Work and bear one's cross, and the consequent phantasmagoria of living in the human world and its flow of events produced by unconsciousness (avidya, Citta) and humanity's immersion in the Great Illusion. . Somewhere between 3rd and 4th degrees, the hierarchical rulers are brought to bear on the individual life.
. . • . By contrast, the Orthodox ruler of the Ascendant, in all these cases, represents the opportune challenges and work to be done in the external world (spiritually considered) of humanity's status quo establishment or society at any given point in human evolution or history. . Orthodox astrologers usually assign outward personal appearances to the Ascendant. . This is probably accurate and sufficient for average humanity, when considered in adjunct with the Sun's sign and position. . This does not apply so well to intermediate groups, but is quite often emphasized in those polarized as souls.
. . • . For the spiritual student, the Ascendant has another meaning. . The striving of the Soul to utilize the human personality automatically creates an appearance of fully-developed traits reflected down into that personality mechanism - perceivable and interpreted in various ways by others in the environment - but which traits are not yet deeply rooted. . Since these qualities are part of a spiritual process of self-regeneration in progress, they may not always be relied upon by personalities in the outer world, and this is often misunderstood. . However, they can be relied upon by souls to indicate lines of cooperation, and for mutual help and learning among groups of spiritual students themselves. . It is important to remember that most spiritual groups are not organized as such on the physical plane. . Their essential living mutual connections are on inner planes. . Such groups are also more inwardly-oriented (and apparently isolated) at first, waiting for what has been called "occult recognition" of like-minded principles and persons in their environment.