This isn’t the end-all of the astrology of looks, but just a taste to get you started, or perhaps more of a shove in the right direction. I’m not going to offer any sort of cookie-cutter formulas because 1) they don’t work, and 2) you can find them anywhere else. I have some books I can recommend if you’re interested, however. I’m pretty sure most of them are still in print. See at the end for some recommendations. However, those of you who do know something about astrology and looks may find some of my ideas to be a departure from the usual formulas. I have my reasons.
I just got my car back from the shop after an expensive repair that wasn’t as expensive as it could have been, but cars make me feel vulnerable. I don’t really know how they work, and because I move them around, they’re like appendages that I don’t have complete control over but are expensive to repair, and I’m at the mercy of someone else to tell me what’s wrong. Cars force you to trust people in ways that few other of your possessions do. I mean, your dog can growl at the vet and your cat can scratch her, and you can see what needs to be done to polish a piece of jewelry, you can easily replace a television, and you’re living in the house and can tell what’s wrong with it, but a car is a different thing. It’s a mystery to me, one that shouldn’t be a mystery because I’ve had plenty of time to learn about cars.
And maybe I could learn with this car.
The thing is that this car doesn’t feel like my car.
Why I Have My Car: a rising Sign Story
Rick died shortly after we had acquired and taken out the loan for this vehicle. He just had to have it. He was a Taurus Moon, and stuff was important to him. Interestingly, I have discovered that Taurus Moons aren’t nearly as afraid of debt as Taurus Suns are. Taurus Moon, Libra Sun, Capricorn rising: looking good was very important to him, and he had to make a great first impression like that. And he usually made a good first impression. He was always handsome, always distinguished, even when he didn’t think he was. He seemed trustworthy and responsible, wise and dependable. I mean, in the background were tons of people fixing his mistakes, cleaning up his messes, replacing what he broke, doing his due diligence, proofreading, and clerical work, but he looked good.
Me? Sagittarius Sun, Aries Moon, Pisces rising: I generally don’t make the best first impression; in fact, I tend to confuse people and raise more questions than I answer when I meet people. How old are you? Where did you come from? What are you smiling about? What is that accent? Why do you look lost? Are you really my lawyer? Are you really any sort of lawyer? Why don’t you think before you speak? Are you even listening to me? How did you manage to get each of your eyelashes separated but not even notice the grass stains on your jeans? What planet are you from?
So, when I got out of law school and got my first job, we decided to get a new car. The one I had was then sixteen years old and would cost more to fix than replace, but it was in good shape. Granted, it was in better shape before I moved to Chicago, and when I was the primary driver, I was pretty good at keeping it in good shape, but now it was getting to be costly to keep it.
I wanted a hybrid. That seemed sensible. I don’t need a big car, and I hate using fossil fuels. I don’t drive if I can walk somewhere, and having been conditioned by years in New York, “walking distance” is two miles or less, and if the place I need to be is close to the train, I take the L, especially in bad weather. Why be on the road at all when I can simply rise above it and leave the driving to someone else?
He specifically wanted a Jaguar XJ. He’s had them before, and while we both love the models, I just didn’t think living in Rogers Park was compatible with having a luxury vehicle, but to him, impressions mattered, and to see himself as a sensible man would be to see himself as an unsuccessful man, and frankly, with all the testosterone he was apparently taking at the time, I think the absolute need for this car was just one symptom of the way his brain changed.
And he looked like a Jaguar guy. I mean, he looked like an extra from Mad Men. And he wanted to continue to look like that when he met clients and lawyers from other firms, so they could see that he was who he put himself out to be, because a man arriving in a custom tailored Armani pin-striped suit, French cuffs, Rolex, and Gucci shoes doesn’t drive a used Prius.
And when we are at the dealership signing away for this vehicle that cost more than I wanted to pay and was more vehicle than we needed, I thought to myself “I will definitely regret this, probably sooner rather than later.” And then he died shortly after, and now it’s my car.
And I do not look like a Jaguar owner.
And even though later on, I ended up having to throw the shoes out, sell the suit for pennies on the dollar, sell the cufflinks, and throw out the watch because it turned out to be fake, I still owe money on the car.
Don’t get me wrong. Once I can finally inch my way out of the parking spot and out of the alley, it’s a nice ride. It really is. I don’t drive it much, so I don’t have to plop down $60 to fill the tank more than say, every six weeks, but provided that there’s no snow or mud, this would be a great car to say, drive down to New Orleans for a vacation, or over to the Ozarks, because there’s plenty of room to sleep in the back. Of course, I’m also the one stuck taking care of the maintenance and repairs that he ignored when he was the primary driver.
Looking back, I know now that he knew he was going to die, and he wanted one last toy. I mean, he never planned to tell me what he knew, and I don’t think he actually thought he was going to catch coronavirus and die as soon as he did, but he didn’t think he was going to keep going, either.
And while I could get rid of everything else, I’m stuck with his car, which is so not a Pisces Rising car.
And yes, I am planning to trade it in as soon as that’s possible.
But that’s the thing with Pisces Rising: you look like a rube AND a damsel in distress, and you know what? When that car got stuck in the snow, that rising sign worked for me, because even if I was capable of getting my car unstuck, people swooped in to help me anyway, and having been largely isolated for ten months, it was wonderful, and I allowed most of the help, even though the Aries Moon in me spent hours trying to dig the car out myself and the Sagittarius Sun in me was kind of like “eh, fuck it. I hope someone else hits the same patch of ice, hits my cars, totals it, and I can figure it out from there.”
On the Side: The Social Problem and Hereditary Bias of the Astrology of Looks
Most astrology of appearance is completely Eurocentric and based on the idea that a typical person is of European descent and would have a variety of genetic material that would create features that we, as a culture would consider distinct. There are people who can’t even or won’t even bother to distinguish between the endless shades of skin color: black skin comes in endless shades and tones. Pale skin also comes in many shades and tones. If say, you’re a Capricorn or Pisces rising, you could be darker skinned in comparison to the genes you have, but still pale in comparison to the world around you. And when we talk about genes, I mean all the genes your body has but might not manifest physically right away. For example, I would be more likely olive-skinned had I not been born with the gene set for red hair, because that’s what most of my family looks like.
There is the issue of hereditary material available and how we view it because as people, we tend to only see nuance where we must look for nuance. There is actually a reason that people of one race may look others in another race and say “I dunno, they all look alike to me,” when quantitatively, they do not all look alike. Same thing with redheads, same thing with albinos. People with features distinct from someone else’s race or ethnic group don’t all look alike. This is actually one of the reasons that police lineups are very problematic, especially when the alleged victim is picking out an alleged perpetrator of another race. If you’re interested in learning more, watch Murder on a Sunday Morning.
That’s just how our brains are wired, but it’s not insurmountable. We can adapt, and we do adapt. Cultural bias and stereotypes, emotions, and an individual’s own eye for detail are also factors. The more we look for differences, the more we will see. For example, I think I look pretty distinct from the other redheads in my life, but there’s a lot of folks who don’t look beyond facial features because the things that make us different from others (red hair, light skin, light eyes) are so much more salient.
You Don’t Look Like Your Sun Sign for A Reason.
Most people don’t look much like their Sun signs unless the Sun is strongly placed or they have Leo rising, although it will have some influence regardless either by the sign or by the ruling planet, depending on which one has stronger influence over the body. However, that doesn’t mean that you’ll have the typical face or body of your Sun sign, even if you have some traits.
I hate it when people find out that I’m an astrologer and ask me to look at them and figure out what their sun sign is. It doesn’t work like that, and frankly, I don’t want to have to stare at some asshole and feed their ego. I could probably guess their rising sign, but usually a person who asks me a question like that doesn’t even know their rising sign.
I also hate it when people say “really? But you don’t look like a Sagittarius.” Oh shit, you’re right. I must have made my birthday up.
But I get it. I do not look like the “typical” Sagittarius, even though I actually do look Jupiterian.
There is a typical Sagittarius: the coltish type, the kind of Sagittarius “look” that people attribute to Sagittarius women: tomboyish, plucky, tall and long with strong legs, lined face in adulthood (either from partying, being in the sun a lot, or just laughing all the time), gregarious with humans and animals alike, doesn’t fuss with her appearance, big smile, laughs without hesitating, and despite any aging due to too much sun and partying too hard, still appears ageless. That’s what you see in the textbooks when describing the sign.
I don’t look like that. I’m more of the Jupiterian type of Sagittarius, the pixie type: jovial, can gain and lose weight easily, twinkly eyes, silly voice, perpetual youthful appearance, almost court-jester like without trying. That’s more of the textbook description of the Jupiterian type.
But that’s okay. Not all of us look like our Sun signs, and the kind of folks who are going around looking for faces by Sun sign are going to be sorely disappointed to find out that what they’re actually looking for is an ascendant, not a Sun sign.
Think Anna Nicole Smith. There is nothing about her physically that is “typically” Sagittarian even though her personality is quite Sagittarian.
But Anna Nicole Smith simply has the Sun in Sagittarius. I like using her as an example of a surprise Sagittarius, because she looks like what most people think a Taurus woman would look like. But no: she’s got nothing in Taurus at all, even though she’s Venusian for days.
She’s a Libra Rising with both Venus AND the Moon conjunct the Ascendant in the first house, Saturn retrograde (doesn’t restrict as it should) in the 6th house (health, eating, and hygiene) in the 6th in Aries, the ruler of her Sun square it in the 11th house, and Mercury conjunct Neptune (which would account for the way she talked and expressed her thoughts) in her second house (where you value your body as a possession). I mean, this is what she actually looked like. She was objectively conventionally beautiful and feminine with Libra rising, which gives soft features, but not as soft as Libra rising can be because Saturn was in the house of physical constitution, giving her some more structure, even though it was retrograde and failed to curb her give-it-to-me-now Aries appetite. Libra rising gives an ample butt, and the Moon in the first house tends to a larger bust, whether real or not. Venus in the first house makes a person look harmonious, often attractive, and the Moon makes a person look welcoming and inviting. The Moon in Libra would look alluring and know how to give others what they want so they compliment her and make her life easier. Mercury in the 2nd means that someone might be fastidious about their body but Neptune there means prone to delusion but also prone to making a carefully detailed (Mercury) fantasy image (Neptune) of that body like a work of art.
Contrast this with someone who looks more “typically” Sagittarian, Sarah Silverman, who has Sagittarius Rising and the Sun in the first house. She looks much more prototypical “Sagittarius”:
Notice that Sarah, on the other hand, is less prone to the Sagittarius “spread,” the way we tend to gain weight as we age due to enjoying food and drink and our general aversion to being cooped up in gyms every day, as Saturn retrograde is in the 6th but in Taurus and opposing Jupiter in the 12th. Jupiter in the 12th can sneak up on her, but Saturn retrograde in Taurus tends to lift some of the stubbornness of the 6th house and actually tends to give some inertia to the metabolism because instead of fortifying the stillness of Taurus, it fails to do so because it’s retrograde. With the Taurus ruling the 6th house, a person can typical take advantage of Sagittarius rising and eat like shit and then pay the price later, but Saturn here gives some discipline. While the failure to slow down Taurus can also lead to excesses, it still gives a good, strong bone structure and good posture.
Sarah, like Nicole, is pretty much an ageless. Even if she’s physically getting older, she’s probably never going to become an old lady in spirit, and will always seem to be much younger than she is. But, interestingly, with Saturn retrograde in the 6th house, I would imagine that they’re both prone to depression and insecurity about themselves in their daily life when they’re not at the center of attention and in control of their image and how others will perceive them.
[Taylor Swift is a Sagittarius who doesn’t look like either one of these women, but even though her Sagittarius Sun is in the first house, it’s peregrine.]
But if you also compare the two, you can see how the Moon sign influences their looks, too, because the Moon, when placed in a “body” house often tells you more about how a person may look (for both men and women) than the Sun.
The Moon Sign and Placement Influences Looks In It’s Own Way, Too.
If you believe that the Moon sign is predictable based on the epoch, that the Moon at birth is the Ascendant or Descendant at epoch, you get a clue about which sperm is probably going to be the winner based on an epoch chart. The Moon, especially if it’s in the first house, but also if it’s in the 2nd, 6th, or 10th house, gives you an indication of what you might look like that can actually override what the ascendant or sun sign would tell you a person should look like because you’d inherited that trait.
This trait is not usually a blend of things, like a blend of your parent’s noses or smile, but rather, something that is distinct and hereditary in the family that is one thing or another.
The Moon is the planet that represents all that is hereditary, and when it’s in the first house, it’s a strong indicator of who a person will look like, and it doesn’t always mean that the individual will look like their mother, but rather the individual looks more like one parent or the other, but not a blend of both. [This is more true if the Moon is in a cardinal or fixed sign, however, and usually true if the parents aren’t closely related. I have never had the opportunity to analyze a birth chart for any inbred people, but I am curious, if you guys know any.] This is just what I’ve seen in 1st house Moon people, including myself. I look nothing like my mother, except the almond shaped hooded eyes which run in her father’s side of the family. I look like my father’s side of the family, to the point where I bear a resemblance to his cousins and their children: we all have the same smile and chin, though I think mine is more feminine and subtle. I have a (slight) cleft chin, the same dimples, the same rosebud lips. I have a smile that I share with many with others with the same surname in the Eastern half of the United States.
Unless the Moon in the first house is well-dignified, the individual will not display “typical” lunar features, such as watery eyes, flat nose, a thin tiny mouth or a wide, large-lipped mouth (usually nothing in between), a big round face, and thin, fine hair OR puffy, out of control hair, or a round body. Moon in Cancer in the first house? Yes. Moon in Capricorn in the first house? No. Moon in the first house trine the Sun? Yes? But square Saturn? Then not so much.
However: I’ve noticed that first house Moon people tend to have “protected” eyes, deepset and/or hooded.
However, all Moon signs tend to show what familial/tribal traits we manifest. For example, my oldest-youngest sister with the Moon in Aquarius the tallest female in our family, even though she’s also a Pisces rising. It’s more common to be tall than short in my family, and my sister’s Aquarius Moon makes her long and lean, and she was very thin and very tall for her age as a child; she’s three years younger, and there were times she was mistaken as the older sister because she was taller. My younger brother’s Moon is in Capricorn, and so far, he’s the only one who has inherited both the baldness AND the hairiness from my mother’s side. My Aries Moon? I have that very typical Smith/Kowalsky face, such that when I met some distant cousins online, all we had to do was see each other and we knew we were family. My maternal grandfather with the Pisces Moon? He got the handsome, gentle features of his mother with pixie-like, mischievous eyes.
The First House and Ascendant: Your Book Cover
Most people tend to resemble their ascendant physically, but not always biologically. The problem with ascendant “looks” is that they’re heavily based on what the archetype is supposed to look like, then what the ruling planet tends to look like, but not necessarily the nature of the ascendant. For example, I can’t name an ascendant that automatically makes the native attractive, because they all have their good and bad points.
For example, I read blanket statements that Libra rising people are all beautiful, but that’s entirely subjective, and I believe wishful thinking. Venusian looks tend to be harmonious, which translates to beauty, but Libra rising tends to soft features (as does Libra Sun and Libra Moon) which can be beautiful, but not always, depending on the culture and the degree of softness. For example, Libra rising people tend to softer jawlines and chins, which can lead to weak jaws and weak chins. I have also read that Leo risings tend to be attractive. I think Leo risings tend to be striking, but their features can sometimes be so salient that they’re striking but not attractive. I’ve also read that Aquarius rising is the most attractive, but as far as conventional looks go, Aquarius rising can be very conventionally attractive or very not conventionally attractive, the latter tending to be more jolie lade.
There is no attractive ascendant. The ascendant doesn’t make you attractive.
Planets, on the other hand, make you attractive, because unlike rising signs, planets are material.
What the ascendant seems to do is to give the body a general container in which to pour all the genetic and circumstantial material existing at birth.
Your genes will not always express the way they should or the way they could, because they need to be triggered or to be given room to do their thing. For example, the Turpin kids might have been tall had their parents not systematically starved them out of going through puberty. In fact, we may never know what they were supposed to look like as adults. They have most of the same genes as siblings, but mostly grew up in the same horrific circumstances. We can’t look at all these diminutive adults and say “well, surely they all have Gemini or Pisces rising to be so child-like.”
This is why siblings with the same ascendant can look different. The planets are going to give you a better idea of what a person is going to look like. And if you really want to get into the weeds, look at the progressed planets through childhood to determine what could affect their looks, i.e. precocious puberty, illness, trauma, etc.
This could explain why Libra rising people may be considered to be beautiful across the board: they had the physical potential, but the physical traits they have adults would have made them very beautiful children, and usually, adults take better care of more attractive children, who in turn learn that by pleasing adults, they can get what they need.
If we consider the ascendant as the container of the genetic material and the circumstances that will exist at birth, we have a better understanding of what the ascendant does and why people with the same ascendant can appear different as they age and interact with the world. The world reacts to your ascendant, the container, and assumes what’s inside based on the container. In turn, you give people from the container what they’re looking for to get what you need, and that’s how you start to shape your personality and shape your face and body. For example, if you’re a Sagittarius rising and people assume that you’re good at sports, you get invited to play sports and enjoy the benefits of playing sports, which then shapes the way you interact with other people, so you just expect the world to let you participate and to understand that it’s all only a game (or it may appear that way). If you’re a Taurus rising, people may look at your large, sturdy container and assume that when you say no, you mean it and won’t be budged, so any stubbornness you may have is encouraged and enforced (or it may appear that way). If you’re a Capricorn rising, you tend to appear as a responsible, trustworthy person, so you learn to be responsible and trustworthy to get what you need from others (or to simply appear that way). If you’re a Virgo rising, people may react to any sensitivity to the environment you have as fussiness and an eye for detail that’s enforced to give you what you want — you may end up appearing to be the smart one, and thus treated like the smart one, and thus, you act like the smart one, so people give you room to be finicky and sit in your bedroom all day reading and trimming your eyebrows to perfection. If you’re a Pisces rising, people tend to think you’re sensitive and gentle, or weak, and treat you as such, so they tend to let you be the weirdo in the corner drawing pictures of elves.
But that’s not necessarily how your face or body looks in great detail: it’s a container, not a mold. General bone and body structure, as well as the way a person may dress and groom that general structure, tends to show in the ascendant. For example, head shapes. Virgo tends toward an inverted triangle, while Libra tends toward an oval or egg. Taurus tends toward a square while Sagittarius tends toward a rectangle. Pisces tends toward a diamond while Capricorn tends toward a round or heart-shaped face. However, these don’t always need to be the case, and a planet or planets in the first house can override the general tendency, creating a mold where there was only a container otherwise.
General body shapes as well, but you have to be careful, because again: genetics and circumstances here. I know mostly tall Sagittarius risings, but I know a couple short ones, too. I know some very curvy Taurus risings, but I know some wispy ones, too. I know some round and large Cancer risings, but I know ones that still shop in the kid’s section well into their adulthood because they’re so childlike.
The way a person will dress their body is also shown by the ascendant, and it’s not just style, but the manner. For example, Gemini rising tends toward business casual because then they don’t have to think about it, and they can still move about freely, physically and socially. You can hear Leo risings coming because their accessories, clothes, and sometimes hair, makes noise. Virgo rising tends settle into a look that is like a personal uniform. Taurus rising likes nice things and takes good care of their clothes. Capricorn rising wears clothes to let the world know their worldly status, whether it’s high or low, and these people can often be seen wearing suits at young ages and also wearing offensive t-shirts at old ages.
The Second House: The Body as a Possession
The Second House is very important to looks because it shows how a person values their body as a possession, and the possessions they put on the body. For example, a person might “dress” their ascendant, but they buy and take care of clothes according to their 2nd house. Most people don’t really dress their ascendant because clothes, jewelry, and cosmetics are possessions before they become a part of our bodies temporarily. In order to get these things, you have to go through the 2nd house.
A Pisces rising may not actually be finding clothes in a dumpster, but rather ruining their clothes through activity (2nd house Aries) or even just refusing to part with old things (2nd house Taurus, me). They probably don’t swish around in peasant skirts and crushed velvet all the time if to do so, they have to take care of it (2nd house Aries) or it looks too cheap (2nd house Taurus). Virgo risings tend to be very well groomed because of Libra on the cusp of the 2nd house, because that’s the house through which they acquire clothes, accessories, their favorite hair supplies, etc. Libra risings tend to dress in an alluring or sexy way because of Scorpio on the cusp of the 2nd house. Capricorn rising treats their outfits like social experiments to get people to figure out what group they belong to (2nd house Aquarius). Sagittarius rising tends toward useful clothes that don’t go out of style but don’t necessarily come into style, either (2nd house Capricorn).
But moreover, the way a person treats their body, from the way they groom it to the way they honor it is shown by the 2nd house. For example, those with Chiron in the 2nd house may struggle with feeling as if they deserve to look good or look as they should; they may have body image issues. Those with the Sun in the 2nd house may place a lot of their identity on how they dress and accessorize, letting those things tell the world who they are. Mercury in the 2nd house folks may put a lot of detail into how they groom and honor their bodies, which could be anything from always trying the latest health and beauty trend to being covered in intricate tattoos that tell a story. Moon in the 2nd house people may always seek bodily comfort and security, and not just in clothes, but in other creature comforts, like never breaking into a sweat and dressing in a way to protect the body from both the environment and the male gaze. Venus in the 2nd house people may opt for a lot of cosmetics and cosmetic procedures and rituals in order to keep the face and body beautiful. While they may engage in exercise, it’s for relaxation and aesthetics, not competition. Mars in the 2nd house people may go for what they want with gusto, like never taking a day off from the gym in order to “earn” muscles or “earn” a cheat meal.
Interestingly, you can sometimes figure out what colors, accessories, and fabrics a person likes to put on their body based on their 2nd house, and also Venus by sign and aspect. However, Venus tells you more about what colors you like regardless of whether you wear them. Your dominant planet also tells what might be your favorite color. Since I love color, I’m probably going to do another blog post specifically on astrology and colors. However, for this purpose, the second house tells you how someone decorates their body.
For example, someone with the Sun in the 2nd house could be quite the fashionista, with plenty of clothes and jewelry, and a mane they love dying different colors (or just bleaching the shit out of). If that Sun is in Virgo, however, that person is going to probably dress well but modestly, take good care of those clothes, and never wears jewelry that could get caught on something. And they probably won’t wear synthetic fabrics or fast fashion if they can help it. The colors tend to be more muted, since they don’t want to stick out like sore thumbs. However, if that Venus of theirs is in Libra, those muted colors are probably softer, like summery colors like mauve, placid blue, rose, and dove gray.
Someone with Saturn in the 2nd house may opt for timeless clothing pieces that come in stark, dark colors, like black, charcoal, and navy. Someone with the Moon in the 2nd house probably can’t make up their mind and either go for deep, “night” colors, like midnight blue, black, burgundy, and dark plum but also love illuminating, cool colors like silver and lavender. However, if Saturn is in Sagittarius, that person may prefer colors on the bluer or purple side, as well as tend toward “performance” clothes, wearing jeans as often as possible. If that 2nd house Moon is in Pisces, that person may have a penchant for the more dreamier colors, or mixing styles to confuse and blend in; wearing a chiffon summer dress with motorcycle boots isn’t even a conscious choice but a thing they just put together.
The Sixth House: How You Maintain that Shit
How you age is just as important to how you look, and many of us change a lot from childhood to adulthood. Hormones and our environment are just two things than can affect the way our faces and bodies grow and change. Since your face is part of your body, you’re face’s health falls in the realm of the 6th house. Since your body’s health affects how it looks, the sixth house has something to say about how a person looks according to what’s happening with their body. While you can blame your genes on your parents, the rest is up to you and the world.
When you get into adulthood, you now have to deal with things like a metabolism and procuring your own food and making sure your body gets opportunity to move about. Health, diet, and exercise have a profound affect on the way you look, and you can’t just ignore that. Since there is no universal optimal human diet, no universal optimal sleep routine, work out routine, BMI, or blood serum levels of anything, you have to find out what works for you based on what’s generally good for humans. Many of us do not or cannot focus all our energy on our bodily health and fitness or discovering what is good for us at a particular age or time.
However, as adults, you now have control over your diet, your sleep, your routines, and those can change your body, even when you’re already an adult. For example, when I don’t live with anyone else, I get the best sleep ever, and it shows. And while sleep falls under the 12th house, how it affects the body affects the 6th house, and that makes sense, since the body does a lot of healing while you sleep.
You can have Gemini rising and all the genes and habits for being lean, but if you allow that Scorpio on your 6th house cusp to let you go to extremes, you may find that you’re gaining weight as an adult from binges or ruining your body with orthorexia. You can also have Cancer rising but with Sagittarius on the 6th house cusp, decide to spend a lot of time outdoors, eating protein, and having a good time but not going overboard, thus preserving your youth. You could have Pisces rising but with Leo on the 6th house cusp, and could be way more vain in your daily life than people might suspect, never knowing just how much work actually goes into that all-natural, flawlessly flawed look that you’re trying to pass off as effortless. You could have Leo rising, but with Capricorn on the 6th house cusp, restricting your diet to keep your looks (you may say it’s health, but well…) even though you give the appearance that you’re a rock star who can eat anything. You can have Virgo rising and be into a healthy lifestyle, but Aquarius on the 6th house cusp may also see you treating your body in weird, contradicting ways, like insisting on a strict workout routine but drinking like a fish and not sleeping or controlling your anxiety, or more likely, experimenting with your body in order to achieve health, through alternative medicines and methods to devising your own ideas, such as eating nothing but lemons for a month to see if your skin clears up (it probably won’t, but you will have cavities, GERD, and anemia).
The sign and the planets in the 6th house will give an indication of how one’s bodily health, habits, and routines, affect the way they look. For example, Mars in the 6th house can be an indicator of strong health, a love of exercise and movement, and good muscle tone. That’s great! You have the potential to have a nice body, right? But it can also indicate accidents, stabbings, burns, inflammation, rashes, ruddiness and broken blood vessels. That’s bad! You have the potential for acne, rashes, scarring (that are badass or otherwise), and rosacea. Also, since you can rely on having pretty good health, you may not take care of yourself because you don’t feel that you have to, meaning that you may not be able to rely on your strong body forever, and you may burn the candle at both ends because you think you’re invincible physically, meaning you could age faster. In fact, you could end up that old rummy with the big red nose and no front teeth yelling at kids to get off your lawn, thinking you can chase them down but finding out the hard way that your body just isn’t up to it.
On the other hand, Venus in the 6th house can lend to a gentler constitution, being prone to contagious illnesses (because you need to be near people in your daily life), kidney problems, a fondness for sweets and subsequent weight gain and diabetes. If you’re a woman, you may also have issues with your reproductive system, particularly hormonally. However, since you’re more inclined to moderation in your habits and routines, you’re more likely to eat right, exercise, and get rest when you need it, meaning that you may not actually succumb to metabolic syndromes and the problems those cause the body, and you may be so particular about the way your body looks that you will work on it like it’s a sculpture. However, an unafflicted Venus in the 6th house can indicate a pretty balanced institution, especially if it’s in an Earth sign (not Virgo so much though): no major efforted needed to maintain the body unless there’s chronic overindulgence. Skin stays pretty clear, body stays pretty lean…but one day you wake up with wrinkles and gray hair, and you don’t know how it happened. If you have a blessed Saturn in your chart, however, you may be quite the silver fox if your vanity will allow you to age.
But specifically, when it comes to the face, as Abraham Lincoln said “Every man over forty is responsible for his own face,” but I tell you that it starts even younger than that, because while you can’t change your genes, your upbringing, circumstances, or accidents that may have happened to you, you do have control over how you deal with the world, and how you deal with the world every day is etched into your face. You can see this in the way that people’s faces wrinkle. We can all agree that while we can’t stop wrinkling all together, we’d rather deal with someone with laugh lines than someone with frown lines because the prior is signaling that they’re more approachable. We can see it in the way a person’s face changes as certain muscles grow or atrophy depending on their chronic, habitual facial expressions. A happier face is prettier. A loving face is prettier. A face with open eyes that welcome people is prettier. It doesn’t matter as much what else is attached to the face. Okay, actually it kind of does – I mean, if you have kind eyes but a mouth full of razor sharp teeth like a shark, that’s going to make things difficult for you if you’re trying to get a job as a kindergarten teacher, but with pandemic and all, you’ll probably be okay so long as you’re wearing a mask.
The Tenth House: How You use That Shit in Public
Think of the midheaven as the grown up ascendant in a way: this is who you are to the world, and like the ascendant, you don’t always have complete control over what you project or how you’re perceived even if you have a choice as to how and when you put yourself out in the world. But your midheaven isn’t necessarily physical as it is presence. In fact, if you look at performers, their stage personas are very much a function of their tenth houses regardless of what they look like physically, because even the most gentle looking person could be quite fierce in public when it’s their turn to perform. And this goes for all sorts of performers, from artistic performers to public performers, like lawyers. And people will see the sign and 10th house planets as a halo that surrounds the face.
Think of the 10th house like the way you would dress when you go to work. For example, I have Sagittarius on the Midheaven, and the moment I’m out of court, I’m out of my suit. Gemini Midheaven is like that too, but with the Mercury influence, I think they tend to have even less variety in their work clothing than Sagittarius, albeit probably cleaner and better-fitting. But aside from the literal, the 10th house can tell you how a person dresses to impress, how they carry themselves when dealing with other adults, and how they grow or glow up. You can be an ugly duckling with an afflicted ascendant and grow to be a swan, and you can be a very cute little kid who grows up to be a very weird-looking adult. This depends on the sign and the planets therein. For example, men with Saturn in the 10th house are more likely to be their most attractive after their first Saturn return and may age like fine wine. People with Mercury in the 10th house may return their cuteness or youthfulness (or have a face full of expressive lines).
Is there any other weird stuff you want to pepper this post with, Miriam?
Yes. Pisces tends to increase the expression of recessive or “hidden” genes. Scorpio risings tend to be hairy and may have prominent brows. Aquarius eyes tend to appear buggy at times even if structurally, they’re not. Some Cancer risings tend to be very skinny and almost brittle. Since Taurus is a slow sign, they may slowly increase in size and girth, usually after puberty. Leo tends to have nice cheekbones. Sagittarius for some reason tends toward longer or bigger front teeth. Capricorns can be cute as a button. Libra tends to have a nice, inviting smile. Virgo tends toward inverted triangle heads. Aries tends to premature balding but also not giving a fuck. Gemini tends to retain youthful thinness that can mask health problems, so watch out.
Jupiter tends to increase, and when it’s in one of these houses, watch your diet and booze intake or you’ll be fighting the battle of the bulge. Venus tends to soften features for both men and women, and especially as they age — men with Venus in the first house, for example, may find that growing beards tend to give them that definition they’re losing. The Moon can actually be deceptive, and will likely reflect the sign it’s in rather than the Moon qualities itself (unless it’s in Cancer, a true expression of the Moon) in youth. The Sun is vitality, and it can give you a clue as to the fat and muscle ratios the person can healthily have in their top condition. Mercury tends to make things small. Uranus, instead of making something totally weird, has a way of making something simply unexpected, as in, possibly unexpectedly pleasing, conventional or not. Mars can show you which muscles groups tend to be the strongest naturally. Saturn can show where you’re stunted or where you’re actually pretty strong despite everything else.
The generational planets only seem to apply when they’re prominent.
Yes, the eight house does probably rule the size of the genitals. The 12th house can be disfigurement or secret or rare illnesses that can alter your ability to interact with people (flows into 1st house). The eight house can also indicate genetic (inherited, nature) disorders, but the 2nd house can indicate nurtured or circumstantial and/or environmental disorders, i.e. the physical changes of early onset puberty due to the stress of the environment.
Is there any definitive way to figure out what someone will look like using astrology?
In short, no. You can’t even do that with their DNA. You may be able to predict when someone’s red hair genes may be activated based on astrology (see below). You could, if you want to look at the transits and then progressions of an entire life, guess how a person’s life will change their bodies, but even though you can’t be entirely sure. I mean, wealthier people tend to look healthier, but people who did a lot of hard drugs and then became sober tend to not escape the ravages of aging even if they’re clean on the inside now.
But it’s still fun to try, and if you’re not have fun when you take a swim in the sea of a natal chart, you’re not really getting into it, and at the very least, the astrology of looks helps you do chart synthesis, which is a must for any astrologer, because hey – no body is just a rising sign, you know?
David Anrias, Man and the Zodiac: Probably the best book on looks based on the ascendant that you can find. Anrias focuses on decans and really gets into the metaphysics of astrology and looks. His illustrations are great, too.
Judith A. Hill, The Astrological Body Types: Judith A. Hill has been an astrologer for what, 40 years now? This books has both great illustrations by the author and something lacking in both body astrology and in new (Instagram) astrology in general: a way of synthesizing the information to get an idea of what a person looks like. Hill did a pretty comprehensive study of red hair and Mars a while back, and I believe it’s still on her website. Definitely take a look.
John, Willner, The Rising Sign Problem: This book primarily focuses on head shapes and faces, but I still what I learned from this book quite a lot when trying to rectify charts. Yes! You don’t have to agree with me, but you can use body shapes, and particularly head and face shapes, to help determine an accurate birth time to the sign of ascendant (and then sometimes more, depending on the decan). ]
Astrofaces.com: This website has been around for (I believe) twenty years or so. I found it early on in my studies (and I contributed some pictures!) It’s not only an interesting study on what people could look like based on their ascendant, Sun, and Moon sign, but I have used it to help rectify charts down to the rising sign because it’s a great source of visual examples of shared tendencies, but also how diverse certain signs can be.