JUNG's Definition of the Ego:
(The ego is) the organization of the conscious mind; it is composed of conscious perceptions, memories, thoughts, and feelings. … it plays the vitally important function of (being the) gatekeeper to consciousness. Unless the ego acknowledges the presence of an idea, a feeling, a memory, or a perception, it can not be brought into awareness. The ego is highly selective. … much psychic material is fed into it but little of this reaches the level of full awareness. … the ego provides identity and continuity for a personality because by the selection and elimination of psychic material the ego can maintain a continuous quality of coherence in the individual personality. It is because of the ego that we feel ourselves to be the same person today that we were yesterday. … the person can become individuated only to the extent that the ego permits incoming experiences to become conscious."
Taken from A Primer of Jungian Psychology, p. 34
Since the ASC and the mind (which is a very general term) are so closely related, I include this thoughtful quote on the subject of brain and mind:
"WILDER PENFIELD, MD, who pioneered in new techniques for the treatment of epilepsy, reviewed his career in his Princeton University Press book "The Mystery of the Mind". In it he said that he had started out (in his career) to prove that the brain is responsible for the mind. As he studied thousands of patients, experimenting with electrical stimulation of the brain, he finally concluded that the mind was totally independent of the brain. " … The mind stands above the content of consciousness at any one moment. It is an independent entity. The mind directs and the brain executes. The brain is the messenger to consciousness."
Taken from the book The Ghost of Flight 401, John G. Fuller, P. 126
The ASC includes your projective mechanism, or the impressions you wish to project or put out to others. The ASC is the face you wear as you do your ordinary business. It is the door through which you express and activate your inner emotions and psychological needs. It is the way you relate to your world, the energies that you put out to others, and the impressions that you leave with them.
The ASC is your projected image, the projection of your personal self. The ASC is your personal face to the world. When you find that there is a need to create a front or a projection that is something you want to have represent you, then this is done through your ASC.
The ASC also connects to the body postures you adopt when you want to show others your mental or emotional state. The ASC is the mechanism through which you begin to form your inner opinions and attitudes. It is through the ASC that you first begin to become aware of what is going on around you, and it is in the ASC that you begin to form your opinions of how you will react to this. The ASC is the mechanism through which you project your attitudes and opinions, and set forth your general approach to life and your attitudes towards the world. It is through your ASC that you project how you want to react to life.
The ASC represents the Anima/Animus psychological factors of your personality. This has to do with how you react to and integrate with that part of your nature that is opposite to the sexual identification from your natural body sex. If you were born female, then the ASC has to do with your sense of warmth and intuitive understanding about the needs of others. If you were born male then the ASC has to do with that part of you which has the ability to reason and use logic in the solving of problems. The ASC also has to do with the inspirations you receive from the sexually opposite side of your nature and how you work with and/or handle these energies.
The manner in which you meet others and how these meetings affect your life are also measured through your ASC. Your ability or the lack of your ability to relate to people is shown by this axis. How you react to the meeting of others, how you let others affect you, the role of self in these meetings, etc., is all a part of the ASC and its related functioning. The ASC shows how you will react to others who are close in your environment. It also shows how you may go about meeting your environment, and the role of acquaintanceship in general. The ASC shows face-to-face encounters with others and the effect these have on you and you on them.
The ASC is representative of your immediate environment, or where you are at any moment. The ASC is the sense of reality you create for yourself, and the personal sensitivity and awareness you have in your environment. The ASC shows the conscious adjustment you have to make in your environment and the effect that the environment has on your consciousness. The ASC represents your locality and your surroundings. This is how you may approach your surroundings, or how you may interact with the world around you.
More than just taking in what is happening, and representing your sense of "self" to the world, there is a part of the ASC your can use to repress or conceal your true inner motives and intentions. The sign on the ASC, how the ASC rulers are aspected, aspects to the ASC, etc. all have a bearing on this. How you deal with the tensions that are created when there are things occurring in your environment you do not want to face is shown by your ASC. In this sense the ASC can be the place where your psychoses start, for the ASC is the pose or posture between your real nature and the world that you encounter.
The ASC is your foremost mental defensive mechanism and you design and use it to keep unpleasant experiences from entering your consciousness. The ASC shows the form the tensions of meeting with and in your environment may take and how you can deal with these tensions or motivations. Remember, the ASC is a tool for a part of your mentality; it does not do anything unless it is willed to do this.
The descendant (DSC) is the point on the horizon that is opposite to the ascendant. Whereas the ASC is the point where you interacted personally with the inputs that came in from the world around you, the DSC represents the point where you reach out to others, or where you experience your social tensions. It is through the DSC that you become aware of other people in your life.
The DSC allows you to view others as your perceive them to be. It is through the DSC that you receive your impressions of how others are going to affect your life, as opposed to how you view others or what your perceptions of them are. The DSC represents your approach, in general, to interpersonal relationships. Here are your procedures for social acceptance. It is through the DSC that you really get to know what others want.
In the world of daily living one of the things you do is meet other people and through meeting others have some sort of mark or change affect our life. This process is also a function of the DSC. Through the DSC you learn to play the "games" of life that others play. It is also through the DSC that you learn to penetrate or not penetrate the "masks" that others present. This point shows how you really go about trying to get to know others.
Whereas the ASC is your sense of "I", the DSC is your sense of "You". The DSC is how you see yourself interacting with others, and getting the attention of others. The DSC represents your attention getting techniques, the psychological demands that others place on you, or that you place on others. The DSC in a sense also relates to the physical coordination that you have, and how you are able, or unable to integrate these with the rest of your bodily functions.
There are certain procedures of life that you go through to try and equalize what it is that you give or get, vs. what others give or get. There is a sense of "impartiality" which comes in here, or a sense of thinking that if what others get is what you should also be getting, then you must somehow equalize life's procedures and obtain equality for ourselves. This is a function of the DSC. It is through the DSC that you try to make life's functions equitable.
The ASC and the DSC work as a continuous pair. It is important to realize that any planet that is aspecting one of them also aspects the other with the exactly opposite angle. That is, if a planet is aspecting the ASC with a Trine (or 120 degree aspect) then it must be aspecting the DSC with a Sextile (or a 60 degree aspect). If a planet is conjunct one of them, then it is in opposition to the other point pair.
Nothing astrologically happens to one of these points without the other point receiving some counter effect. There is a balancing effect that goes on with each of these sensitive points that is related to these phenomena. This is an important concept to remember, and one that is often overlooked when a chart interpretation is being done. In the case of the ASC and DSC, "I" cannot be affected by different events in life without your sense of "You" also being affected. According to astrological theory these are related points that function as a conjoined pair.
The ASC is computed from any valid standard Table of Houses using the Sidereal Time associated with the MC and the geographic latitude for the chart. The procedures for doing this are quite straightforward. They are tedious and require careful attention to detail, but are not difficult.