Your Ascendent is a mask and your Descendent is a mirror.
I know the terms mask and mirror have been used many times before to describe this but people usually interpret them wrongly, especially the mask!
You see, when saying your ascendent sign is a mask or your persona it sounds like an act you deliberately put on to deceive others or like you're consciously being fake about something.
But let's say you were born with this mask (because you actually were) and it fits perfectly on your face so you never even realize you're wearing one.
We actually aren't aware of our ascendent sign and its qualities, it's probably the part of our chart that most immediately and naturally expresses itself through us, we can't even help it.
So you have these wholes in your mask (your ascendent) to look through, speak through, perceive the world through. It acts as a sort of filter of what you put out and what comes in.
It's the thin layer between you and the world.
So you have to imagine this mask as literally being skin-tight but at the same time being super-duper comfortable, you literally aren't aware of it but it heavily influences how you see the world and how the world sees you!
I also really like the stained glass window analogy for the Ascendent.
The ascendent is our little window into the world, it is our unique perspective.
So if everyone looks thorugh their little window they look at the world differently depending on what their ascendent sign is.
If your ascendent is the window, the sign on the ascendent is what stains the window.
Pisces ascendents for example and to a lesser extent sagittarius ascendents tend to look through rose-tinted glasses. They tend to be very idealistic or even naive, seeing whatever they want to see, romanticising reality and so on.
Okay so getting back to your skin-tight yet super-duper comfortable Ascendent mask - you cannot be aware of who you are, what your identity is, unless you introduce a contrast.
I only know that I am short because, standing next to someone else, I can see that they are all way taller. I know that I am a happy person because other people aorund me tend to be a lot more pessimistic and down than me.
You can only know black if you know white. Without a contrast, you can't know or define something.
And before you introduce the opposite of your ascendent - your descendent - you have no real sense of identity, of what makes you you and how you have an individual perspective on life.
So if your ascendent sign is the mask that you were born with yet unaware of, your descendent sign is the mirror!
Its like walking around all day and then coming home, looking into the mirror and seeing that you have smudged your makeup or that you have a piece of your breakfast stuck between your teeth and you think "thats been there the whole time?"
We need other people to mirror back to us who and what we are to get a sense of identity and self-awareness.
If you look into the mirror, you get an exact image of yourself, but at the same time its flipped, its mirrored.
Thats why the descendent sign shows projection - what parts of others annoy and irritate us because they're parts of us that we don't like and therefore suppress and deny.
So the descendent shows the contrast to ourselves, how we believe "others" differ from us, what makes us special, unique and "not like everyone else".
When the reality actually is that we're all essentially the same, there's just certain parts of ourselves that we're less attuned to or less aware of etc.
The descendent (or 7th house) is ruled by venus and the venus symbol is also said to represent the mirror.
So if you meet someone and, say, you have an aries descendent, and you tend to perceive other people as super aggressive and egoistic you have to realize that other people are just mirrors for parts of yourself that you are not aware of. Because aries is literally in your chart, on your descendent, its a part of you but a highly projected one.
If we aren't able to say that others are aggressive, therefore we are peaceful and that others are egoistic therefore we are diplomatic than we don't have a sense of identity.
We have to define ourselves somehow.
So the ascendent, the mask, is how we define ourselves and see the world, and the descendent, the mirror, is the contrast of how we see others and what we project onto them.
Obviously the descendent is also known as what we are attracted to or our marriage partner which is simply because opposites attract, basically.
The ascendent rules your physical incarnation, your body, what you look like, how you carry yourself, its the first impression others get of you, both physically but also the type of aura that surrounds you, how you appear on a more non-physical level, how you generally come across.
I hope this helped, check out my ascendent link at the top to read about yours!
A blogpost about descendent signs and about what we project onto others will follow :-))
Have a nice day, everyone!