What are Sun, Moon, and Rising Signs?
At the exact time of your birth, the positions of all the objects in the solar system created your unique cosmic fingerprint. In the calculation of your birth chart, the Sun and Moon are key shapers of your personality. The zodiac sign rising on the Eastern horizon—aptly called the rising sign—also plays a part.
What else can you learn from the sky on your birthday? Astrological guidance also provides information about your compatibility with other people, environments, and situations. Because certain zodiac signs are more compatible than others, for instance, your partners’ birth chart may reveal supportive or challenging aspects in your relationship.
However, remember that compatibility depends on many factors, not just your Sun sign and date of birth! And in fact, astrology often helps people understand one another better, creating opportunities for unlikely connection. Prince famously sang, “Ain’t no particular sign I’m more compatible with,” and the same might feel true for you.
Sun signs, or star signs, are the most well-known in popular astrology. Because it takes the Earth exactly one year to orbit around the Sun, the Sun also appears to move through all twelve zodiac signs within the same time span. And since there are twelve months in a year, each zodiac sign’s season lasts for about one month.
Your Sun sign governs how you see yourself. In other words, it’s a sign of identity, ego, and core values. Within your birth or natal chart, you could think of your Sun sign as a superpower. It provides your “main character” energy, or the qualities that you understand and prize. What makes you essentially you?
Find your Sun sign by looking at the following dates, which represent the timeframes for each sign of the zodiac:
March 21 – April 19: Bold Aries
April 20 – May 20: Dependable Taurus
May 21 – June 20: Playful Gemini
June 21 – July 22: Caring Cancer
July 23 – August 22: Confident Leo
August 23 – September 22: Responsible Virgo
September 23 – October 22: Diplomatic Libra
October 23 – November 21: Intense Scorpio
November 22 – December 21: Adventurous Sagittarius
December 22 – January 19: Resourceful Capricorn
January 20 – February 18: Visionary Aquarius
February 19 – March 20: Imaginative Pisces
In many cultures and contexts, the Moon is a symbol of mystery and cyclical transitions. In astrology, the placement of the Moon relates to these concepts because it represents your hidden inner life and how you process shifting emotions. Moon signs change roughly every couple of days, as the Moon completes a revolution around the Earth in just one month.
If you could know only one sign for each person you’re intimate with, the Moon sign is arguably the most helpful. When you understand a loved one’s Moon sign, you know when they feel most connected to others and how they comfort themselves. Then, you can give them what they need and communicate with them effectively during conflict.
Rising Sign or Ascendant
Your rising sign, sometimes called your ascendant, is a fascinating placement that sets the scene for the patterns, themes, and situations you’ll encounter throughout your life. The 24-hour rotation of the Earth around its axis determines how frequently rising signs change: every two hours. This is why birth chart calculators need your exact time of birth to calculate your ascendant. If in doubt, take a look at your birth certificate.
The rising sign also dictates the signs of your twelve houses. In your birth chart horoscope, these houses govern different aspects of your life, such as how you learn, work, and build friendships. Different houses will be associated with different planets, for example Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, and Pluto. Your rising sign is the sign of your first house, which rules not just your inner identity but also how you express yourself and seem to other people.
Only the rotation of the Earth determines your rising sign, so you could think of it as your “Earth sign.” It tells you what you’re here to learn in this lifetime. For instance, it might affect what your parents expected of you or your coping patterns. You repeatedly face the themes of your rising sign to integrate its lessons.
Interpreting the Signs: What Do They Mean?
If celestial objects are the actors in your life, their zodiac signs are a bit like the roles that they play. The enthusiastic energy of Sagittarius, for example, shows up differently through the Sun and Moon. For all placements, however, a helpful way to remember the signs’ energy is to group them by their elements:
Fire signs Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius are passionate and spirited.
Earth signs Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn are practical and grounded.
Air signs Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius are intellectual and experimental.
Water signs Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces are sensitive and intuitive.
Learn more about the Sun, Moon, and rising placements for each zodiac sign below.
Aries Sun: These people are initiators who feel at their best when starting something new. Leadership is important to Aries Sun individuals, though they’ll each strive to lead in their own way. They want to show their authentic selves through their worldly achievements.
Aries Moon: A person with an Aries Moon experiences intense emotional reactions that quickly pass, like tempests in teacups. These individuals are impulsive, often because they want to address issues as quickly as possible. They also tend to solve problems by making changes, which is perhaps why an Aries Moon stereotypically changes their hair after a breakup.
Aries Rising: A recurring theme for Aries rising people is self-reliance. In family and friend dynamics, they’re considered highly independent. They also have a tendency to act without thinking. But at the same time, they have extremely good instincts that allow them to get a job done simply, quickly, and effectively.
Taurus Sun: A Taurus Sun’s superpower is creating beautiful, comforting spaces. Taurus Sun people want to relax and enjoy life as much as they stay dedicated to their practical plans. More than most signs, they value security, and they work to attain what they need to thrive.
Taurus Moon: Taurus Moon individuals are self-protective, and they double down on what they have in times of crisis. As such, they can be stubborn and possessive, but they’re also capable of some of the most enduring relationships. Sensuality and romance feel great to a Taurus Moon, who might need to watch for overindulgence.
Taurus Rising: Throughout their lives, people with a Taurus rising encounter themes around the material world. What do they need, and how much is enough? A rising Taurus balances safety with risk, and they trust their bodily response above all when making decisions. These types attract abundance and depend on creature comforts, but they’re also highly dependable figures for others.
Gemini Sun: Witty Gemini Suns are the sociable friends and neighbors of the zodiac, exploring how they relate to others through the mutual expression of ideas. These individuals value playfulness and experimentation, and they’re most proud of their ability to cater their communication style to add perspective to any situation.
Gemini Moon: A Gemini Moon responds to their emotions by analyzing them from multiple angles. As such, these individuals tend to intellectualize, and others may see them as emotionally detached upon first impression. They also have the instinct to avoid conflict through charm, which leads them to use humor as a deflection mechanism.
Gemini Rising: For a Gemini rising, finding just the right way to communicate ideas is one of the most satisfying human experiences. These observant individuals freely share their thoughts and explain concepts because these forms of expression help them connect with the world. For this reason, they’re dominant in social settings, and they may benefit from practicing emotional responsiveness.
Cancer Sun: A Cancer Sun intuitively senses how others feel. Receptive to their environment, Cancer Suns are also highly protective of their loved ones. Their focus on the home is related to this protectiveness, as they want to build a sanctuary where family and friends feel safe. Cancer might be the most nostalgic Sun sign, and these sentimental natives often collect keepsakes.
Cancer Moon: In their intimate relationships, people with a Cancer Moon want mutual gentleness. Devotion is highly important to them, both giving and receiving. This placement is known for high sensitivity and moodiness, which leads them to retreat when they’re hurt. If they continually feel unappreciated, resentment may build.
Cancer Rising: Cancer rising individuals understand the value of compromising—they have a real need to meet the needs of others. Although they’re extremely caring, they’re often introverted and possibly shy. They seek emotional safety in their homes, and their life lessons involve setting healthy boundaries so that they don’t take on too much responsibility for others.
Leo Sun: A Leo Sun’s proud bearing is unmistakable. They move through the world with a strong belief in themselves, which is contagious and inspiring. Their need to be seen is more than an ego trip; it genuinely comes from a desire to improve the world with their unique gifts.
Leo Moon: While Leo Suns are more outwardly theatric, Leo Moons bring passion to their relationships, but they don’t prefer to share this with the public. Their concern with image makes them more private around their emotions, but they feel at ease when they’re taking charge, being deliberate about when and how to draw attention.
Leo Rising: A Leo rising is the friendliest of the big three Leo placements. These individuals are very demonstrative toward others, with a tendency toward grand gestures. This comes from their comfort in the limelight, though this quality is balanced by their self-awareness—they know when it’s time for someone else to take the stage.
Virgo Sun: Virgo Suns need to respect themselves, and they do this by fulfilling their duties consistently and completely. They have deep fonts of energy to dedicate to details, so they set about refining their habits, tools, and systems. A Virgo Sun serves their communities through the force of small, regular improvements.
Virgo Moon: This Moon placement finds comfort in routines. When their environment is chaotic, they seek order; and if they lose their own discipline, their well-being may suffer. When they’re stressed, they might become critical of others. Though Virgo Moons may not shower you with verbal affirmations, they’re full of acts of service and want to co-create a beautiful, simple life.
Virgo Rising: Throughout their lives, Virgo risings have been cast in the role of the “helper,” and they feel comfortable taking it on. However, they frequently have anxiety about performing well enough for others. Of all the Virgo placements, the rising Virgo appears the most organized, attracting people who value structure and reliability.
Libra Sun: Someone with a Sun in Libra is gifted in peacekeeping. These types have a tremendous ability to hold multiple perspectives in mind, drawing points of connection and smoothing over conflicting attitudes. Because they value fairness and believe in objectivity, you might find that they don’t always take a clear stance. But their diplomacy and sense of moderation generally please everybody.
Libra Moon: A Libra Moon is a relationship person, though this can show up in a variety of ways. However they choose to relate to others, they’re driven toward harmony, no matter what it takes. In their quest to correct perceived inequities, they may mask aspects of themselves or constantly compare their present circumstances with their ideals.
Libra Rising: People with a Libra rising are extremely attractive and charming. They feel pressure to be the “nice” ones, which they achieve with ease. Instead of engaging in direct conflict, they try to get what they want in a roundabout way. As a result, they sometimes come off as calculating, and others may wonder what their true feelings are.
Scorpio Sun: With Scorpio Suns, still waters run deep. These private people engage the world with emotional intensity. They’re also highly aware of power dynamics and strive to have meaningful power within the systems around them. A Scorpio Sun might not always broadcast their plans, but a lot of strategy is going on under the surface.
Scorpio Moon: Scorpio Moons can sometimes feel at the mercy of their own turbulent emotional lives. It’s almost as though they’re channeling all of the energies of the world around them. They require relationships where everyone involved unmasks, reveals themselves, and remains loyal.
Scorpio Rising: A Scorpio rising is one of the most charismatic people you can meet in this mortal realm. Their depth is alluring and engages many people, though a Scorpio rising typically has a close, intimate circle of friends. These individuals are determined to receive respect by mastering their crafts, and they want to control many aspects of their environments.
Sagittarius Sun: Comfort zone? What comfort zone? A Sagittarius loves to expand their mind and sense of possibility by exploring far and wide. Sometimes this means physical adventure, but intellectual study and risk are also important to a Sagittarius. Ever optimistic, these types want to be around new people, ideas, and experiences that thrill them.
Sagittarius Moon: People with a Sagittarius Moon often want to teach their loved ones about the world or facilitate mutual exploration. Engaging in various activities keeps these individuals feeling content, and they may also enjoy frequent getaways. Although their lives are quite exciting, their escapist tendencies might make them conflict-avoidant.
Sagittarius Rising: This zodiac placement is the funny bone of the zodiac, as Sagittarius rising folks can make anyone laugh. Their ability to connect with many different people is hopeful and inspiring, making them effective leaders. They’re free thinkers, but they may feel a little unmoored in their lives, as though they’re always seeking but never finding.
Capricorn Sun: Perhaps of all the zodiac Sun signs, Capricorns are driven to get things done. And they don’t often need public recognition—a job well done is often enough satisfaction. They’re realistic planners who try traditional methods first. But they jump to methodically try new approaches if they can understand their use.
Capricorn Moon: For a person with this placement, strong personal boundaries and clear goals are going to bring the most ease. They’re not comfortable freely expressing their emotions, so they must build trust before they’re willing to be vulnerable. Capricorn Moons have a need to achieve and are prone to feeling that their work is inadequate.
Capricorn Rising: From a young age, a Capricorn rising experiences pressure to succeed and provide. Their identity is wrapped up in a sense of responsibility and self-sufficiency. At their core, rising Capricorns are family people and some of the hardest workers you’ll find in the zodiac.
Aquarius Sun: Aquarius people are compelled to challenge norms. Their inquisitive minds easily perceive oppression and hypocrisy, and they can also clearly envision alternative realities. To them, individual freedoms are central to a strong community. Their visionary leadership is sure to shake up expectations and inspire people to build a better world for everybody.
Aquarius Moon: Aquarius Moons are a lot like the actual Moon: they’re comfortable as observers of society and can seem cold and detached. However, their social critique makes them strong advocates for marginalized people and ideas. When under stress, these Moons are likely to focus on the big picture and may benefit from intimacy with those who help them accomplish small tasks.
Aquarius Rising: People with a rising Aquarius identify with being outsiders. Throughout their lives, they’ve been cast as quirky creative types, and they often lean into this public perception by becoming rebels or artists. Highly original (or even downright strange), these individuals are quite committed to their particular ideals, which can make them more stubborn than you’d expect for such open-minded people.
Pisces Sun: A Pisces Sun is a walking vibe check—they realize quickly and intuitively what’s aligned with their dreamy, imaginative nature. In touch with the mystical, they don’t worry too much about being able to explain what they know. They just know. As part of their unique magic, they’re worldly and wise, but material gain alone doesn’t do it for them.
Pisces Moon: No matter what they’re doing, Pisces Moons must feel free to be themselves in order to keep doing it. Their litmus test for decisions is the intangible sense that something “feels right,” which might be inscrutable to others. However, because a Pisces Moon’s sense of self is also quite fluid, they can overgive within relationships.
Pisces Rising: Gentle and adaptable almost to a fault, people with rising Pisces love riding the wave but not rocking the boat. At the same time, their physical and emotional sensitivity leads them to seek anchors through their work and relationship choices. These intriguing and deep individuals readily say “yes, and,” but initiating action (or saying no) comes less naturally.