So You're An Aquarius Rising — Here's How To Thrive, According To Experts
You may know your sun sign in astrology, but your rising sign can clue you in to how you show up in the world—and how other people perceive you. In the case of Aquarius risings, these eccentric wayshowers are some of the quirkiest people you'll ever meet, but they're also the ones who steer society in a progressive direction.
If you or someone you know is an Aquarius rising, here's what to keep in mind.
What is a rising sign, anyway?
Your rising sign, also known as your "ascendant," is the zodiac sign that was rising over the eastern horizon the moment you were born. Where your sun sign relates to the position of the sun relative to the astrological year (i.e., you were born during Libra season or Taurus season), your rising sign relates to the position of the sun relative to the time of day. (The sun spends about two hours traveling through each sign every day.)
Your rising sign reveals how you interact with the world, from your appearance to your attitude to the first impressions you make on others. For example, a Leo sun with a Aquarius rising will likely exhibit Aquarius-like traits you wouldn't expect from typical Leo energy, or will even physically look more like a Aquarius.
Your rising sign also determines where your first house of identity falls in your chart (your ascendant is always your first house), which sets the stage for the rest of the houses in your chart.
As the AstroTwins previously wrote for mbg, "The zodiac wheel begins with the first house, which represents where the sun was rising over the eastern horizon at your moment of birth and governs the self, the identity, and your first impression. The houses then move counterclockwise around the zodiacal wheel and ripple out to broader themes of family/home life, society, and beyond."
An introduction to Aquarius.
The planet Uranus is, after all, associated with sudden change, revolution, and upheaval—which are all necessary for making progress on a large scale. And when it comes to Aquarius' priorities, humanity is the name of the game, so they tend to have a big-picture, idealistic view of how society can be improved. (Aquarius happens to be the second to last astrological sign on the zodiac wheel, which speaks to this sign's wisdom and uniqueness as well).
Looking to the Water Bearer—a figure emptying a jug of water—it makes a lot of sense that this is the image used to represent this sign. Emptying the water is symbolic of sweeping away the past, clearing away stagnant thinking that's holding us back, and making room for what's next. This says a lot about the Aquarian personality.
Aquarius also rules the 11th house, which is all about large groups, friendships, teams, ideals, and humanity.
"They need their strong adherence to what they believe in order to stand up to the naysayers—so I think it serves them in that way, but it can become problematic when they get frustrated and disappointed, or rigid, around things," Budd adds.
Aquarius rising basics.
If you're an Aquarius rising, that means your first house of identity and self-image is ruled by Aquarius. So, Aquarius qualities are likely going to be the qualities people see in you the most—even if your sun sign is something completely different.
For one thing, Aquarius is known for its eccentricity, so this rising sign may appear as such. Between their typically larger forehead and even larger eyes, Aquarius risings have an almost out-of-this-world appearance and may also gravitate toward creative style choices or multicolored hair.
Budd explains to mindbodygreen that these people will also display the general Aquarian features of being progressive and humanitarian, as well as being incredibly independent. "They don't like to be told what to do, they want to find their own way—and often, they'll even show others a potentially better way to do something," she says, adding, "They have that classic wayshower archetype, and they won't feel comfortable being hemmed in."
Whether it's creating their own schedule, curating a style that pays little regard to the current trends, or shirking commitments that make them feel restricted, this rising sign ultimately just wants to do their own thing without having to apologize for it. This can make them come off as a bit aloof or even "too cool for school," but the truth is, they kind of are.
But what they lack in interpersonal warmth, they make up for with their intense concern for humanity, with Budd noting that when it counts, they will stand up for what they believe in and work hard to make things better.
Key Aquarius rising traits:
Aquarius risings in love.
If you're looking for someone who's going to pour their heart out to you or immediately jump into a committed relationship, an Aquarius rising is probably not the best bet. However, if you want to be with someone who cares about the collective and can entertain the most stimulating intellectual conversations, you might be in luck.
As Budd explains, Aquarians' telltale emotional detachment can make dating a challenge. Again, they don't want to be boxed-in, and that includes by other people. This can also make them take an unusual approach to dating, whether they don't adhere to dating norms or avoid settling down all together.
"They can be a little emotionally detached and a little bit more conceptual, so trying to connect with them deeply and emotionally might feel a bit frustrating," Budd says, adding to understand that it's simply this sign's nature.
Further, she notes, they probably won't want to be with somebody who doesn't understand their need for freedom and/or doesn't have shared higher values. "It will bug them all the time that they can't share these key values, and for somebody that is highly emotional, they might find it challenging that Aquarius is a bit more detached," Budd explains.
To that end, this rising sign can also be a bit sporadic and unpredictable, even if they do commit to someone. "You're not necessarily going to get a really consistent person," according to Budd, who notes that unless they have other prominent, more emotive placements (like a Pisces moon, for example), that emotional bond can take a lot of time.
In terms of astrological compatibility, check out our guide to relationship astrology (aka synastry) for a full explanation of how that all works. But generally speaking, Aquarius risings will likely get along well with people who have prominent air sign placements, particularly Aquarius placements.
Aquarius risings in friendships.
Much of what applies to Aquarius in romantic relationships is applicable to friendships as well, as far as prioritizing freedom and individuality, and wanting to be around people with shared humanitarian values and quirky personalities. Just don't be surprised if it takes time for them to get back to you or it's a challenge to get them to open up emotionally.
As Budd explains, these folks tend to be erratically available and a bit unpredictable. For example, she says, "This is not somebody to get into a super-emotional, intimate text chat with—they're more comfortable discussing things intellectually."
Of course, this can be a good thing when you want a friend to give you sound, rational advice. But if you want emotional support and someone to rub your back, you might be better off calling up a water sign friend.
Ultimately, Aquarius risings want friends who are outside of mainstream circles, and further, ones who share their flare for the intellectual side of life, as well as all things progressive and new.
And considering this sign's fixed quality, keep in mind that these people can have their own particular flavor of stubbornness. Again, they are idealists in the grandest sense, and if you're not on board with them, they'll have a hard time budging. As the twins previously explained to mindbodygreen, "Aquarians can be very free-spirited, but they also have a type-A side that comes from the fixity of their chart."
Aquarius risings in the workplace.
Moving on to the workplace, Budd notes that this is a placement that has a strong work ethic, as well as a fierce passion for humanitarian and scientific pursuits. Aquarius risings are constantly pushing the boundaries without fear, and they thrive when they're able to bring that energy into the workplace.
"Because of their association with technology, humanity, and science, you'll often see anybody with strong Aquarius placements gravitating toward those fields," Budd explains.
And even if they're not necessarily in those fields, they will still want a job that allows them to apply their individuality and creative, inventive spirit. Think mad scientists, astronomers, engineers, and in some cases, even politicians, Budd tells mindbodygreen, adding that like all the fixed signs, Aquarius risings are excellent at applying themselves.
Of course, it's worth noting that when it comes to career, your sixth and 10th house tend to give a better indication of what you might like to do professionally, but nevertheless, Aquarius rising traits will still definitely be at play.
How to thrive as an Aquarius rising.
According to Budd, a key thing she works on with clients that have strong Aquarius placements is cultivating more tolerance and patience. It can be hard to operate in a world where it feels like everyone is catching up to your idealistic, forward-thinking standards, but the truth is, big change takes time and small strides.
To that end, just because Aquarius doesn't necessarily vibe with Taurus' money-minded priorities or Capricorn's unrelenting need for structure, it doesn't mean those things aren't important, needed, or valuable in their own right. "Those are still valid paths, just different priority systems than what matters to Aquarians," so trying to understand that and have compassion for others' perspectives is important, she says.
And speaking of structure, you may not want it as an Aquarius rising, but Budd says there's always a need for balance. "Lean into that eccentricity and let yourself follow your erratic path—but if you find you're getting too ungrounded or feel anxious or stressed, set a routine," she suggests.
Grounding exercises can also be particularly helpful for Aquarius risings (and all the air signs for that matter) to help temper some of that erratic energy, according to Budd.
What does it mean to be an Aquarius rising?
To be an Aquarius rising means the sun was rising over the eastern horizon in the sign of Aquarius when you were born. This will give you apparent Aquarius-like qualities to others as you operate out in the world and influence the house placements for the rest of your chart.
What are Aquarius rising people like?
Aquarius risings exhibit quintessential Aquarius qualities like eccentricity, individuality, humanitarianism, and wayshowing, as well as intellectual over emotional-mindedness, and even aloofness.
Which planet rules Aquarius?
Aquarius is ruled by Uranus (the planet of innovation and sudden change) in modern astrology and Saturn (the planet of discipline and structure) in ancient astrology.
As you may have realized at this point, astrology is much more than your sun sign, with your rising sign actually being the placement that determines the rest of your birth chart. And for Aquarius risings, while they may not be the warmest or fuzziest folks in the bunch, they are some of the most innovative and quirky people you'll ever meet.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.