Pop Culture has really overemphasized the use of the Sun Sign as the most important astrological indicator in your birth chart, but that could be the 2nd or even 3rd most important marker! This article lays out the differences between the three most important points in a person’s star chart and helps you find them in your own chart!
Your Sun Sign is the sign of the zodiac that the Sun was in when you were born.
Your Rising Sign is the sign of the zodiac that was on the horizon during the exact moment of your birth (only accurately determined using your time and location of birth).
Your Moon Sign is the sign of the zodiac that the Moon was in when you were born.
Which One Matters the Most?
Most astrological traditions agree that the most important part of your star chart is your Rising Sign. The horizon represents the intersection of the land and the sky, and in your chart the sign of the zodiac on the horizon represents the intersection of body and soul. Both your personality and your actual physical body and appearance are related to your Rising Sign.
There is less agreement on the significations of the Sun & Moon, but in general one represents your dominant or more prevalent characteristics or behaviors, and the other represents hidden or subconscious traits & habits. In the Hellenistic tradition, your dominant planet is determined based on whether you were born at night or during the day. If you were born at night, your Moon Sign is actually more important, and if you were born during the day, then your Sun Sign is the dominant one. But– both are still not as important as the rising sign.
Why Does the Rising Sign Matter?
While the Sun & Moon tell you parts of your star chart, many more things are based off your Rising Sign. The Ascendant (the intersection of the horizon and the zodiac) is used to divide the zodiac into houses or places, and these create different areas of meaning for you, astrologically. This helps explain why when Mercury is in retrograde, or planets align in the sky, not everyone is affected the same (there are a lot more parts to this explanation, which I’ll cover in a later post).
For example, if your Rising Sign is Gemini, then Venus going through Gemini would impact your body or personality, but someone else whose Rising Sign is one of the 11 other signs might be affected by Venus in Gemini in their relationships, their career & finances, or their beliefs. More information can be found on each of the 12 houses and how they are related to the Rising Sign by doing a Google Search.
How Do I Find My Rising Sign?
The “AC” is your Ascendant, and the sign of the zodiac that is in is your Rising Sign. So in the chart above, my “AC” is in the sign with the arrow symbol, which is the sign of Sagittarius.
My Sun (the concentric circles) is in the sign of Gemini, and my Moon (the crescent) is also in Sagittarius. Together with the “AC”, these are three of the most important points in my chart.
With this knowledge, I can now read horoscopes for more than just my Sun Sign, but also for my Rising Sign. When I come across traits of Sagittarians, I can better reflect on whether they really describe my own personality or behaviors. But beyond that, this information gives me access to understand the houses and how different planetary events will affect different parts of my life!