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The Difference Between Rising, Sun, and Moon Signs

Your big three in astrology

By Jocelyn Joy ThomasPublished 12 months ago 4 min read
Photo by Xan Griffin on Unsplash

For the casual astrology enthusiast, the Sun sign is about as far as it goes. This is the basic go-to sign that everyone knows about. Once you scratch the surface of astrology you will hear about Moon signs and Rising signs. What’s the difference? As it turns out a lot!

It’s easy to feel in over your head with astrology so it’s important to go slow. You don't need to know about birth charts, houses, trines, and squares yet. Especially in the beginning. Even if someone else looks at your signs, it can be hard to follow what they are saying, astrology-speak is a language all of its own.

A good place to start is to learn the significance of the big three, your Rising, Sun, and Moon signs.

Rising Sign: Your External Self

Also known as your ascendant. This is the sign that you meet the world with. Your Rising sign is the sign that is on the rise (or ascension)at the time of your birth. To determine it, you must know what time you were born and the location since times change depending on location.

Your Rising sign is the initial read people get on you. This is why someone might be an outgoing Leo but if they have a quieter Cancer Rising, they won’t seem, well super Leo-like at first glance. They need to warm up a bit before they can show off their lion essence.

If your top three signs were a cake, your Rising sign is the frosting on that cake. It’s what people see initially, but they don’t yet know what type of cake or filling is inside yet.

Your Rising sign represents how you communicate. It’s how you interact with the world in general. Facial expressions, how you carry yourself, even your features. For example, the big smile of a Leo Rising, the great hair of a Virgo Rising, the youthful energy of a Gemini Rising, or the arched eyebrows of a Scorpio Rising.

Sun Sign: Your Core Self

This is what you answer when someone asks, “What sign are you?”. It is determined by your birthday, and pretty much everyone who has even a passing interest in astrology is aware of their Sun sign. It can be called Star sign as well.

A Sun sign is your core personality, it is who you are. The Sun is what we bring to the table, for the most part, the largest and most important sign of all three. It is influenced by your Moon and Rising signs but your Sun sign is the leader of the pack.

Your Sun sign is your identity, it makes you uniquely you. Continuing with our cake analogy, your Sun sign is the cake, the main flavor, and substance of the cake itself.

Your Sun sign represents the way you think, it is your conscious mind. It is the action you take and the way you go about making decisions.

Moon Sign: Your Inner Self

The moon represents a more private side of you. It is the inner, the unseen. It is the part of you that delves deep. Moon signs are linked to emotions, just as the moon and tides are connected.

Your Moon sign is mainly seen by your closest family and friends who know you well, they can see your lunar qualities. Finishing our cake analogy, your Moon sign is the inner filling between the layers.

To determine your Moon sign you only need to know your birthday. So, even if you only have that information you can find out two of your big three (Sun & Moon). Your Moon sign reveals a lot about where your heart is and how you express it.

The moon not only represents your inner, deeper identity, due to its emotional nature it also connects to how you feel, your wants, needs, desires. Your interior landscape is shaped by your lunar qualities.

How they work together

No matter what your Sun, Moon, and Rising signs are they work together. Your Rising sign will take care of communication, connecting with others, and appearances. Your Sun sign is your main personality. Your Moon sign is your emotional or deeper side, the part that only your closest connections will know well.

If you have a Water Sun sign (Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio) it can be nice to have an Earth sign (Taurus, Capricorn, Virgo) as your Moon or Rising signs to bring about stability. Water signs can have a lot of emotions, earth signs are good at being practical, the two elements are balanced.

Or, you might have an Air Sun sign (Aquarius, Gemini, Libra) and a Fire Rising sign (Aries, Sagittarius, Leo). Air signs can run a little cool and intellectual. While Fire signs are passionate and action-oriented. The fire will warm up the coolness of the Air Sun sign while bringing a more expanded view to the Fire Rising sign.


About the Creator

Jocelyn Joy Thomas

Writer, spiritual teacher, and travel enthusiast. Enjoying the journey! Join my mailing list and receive a free guide on How to Meet Your Guides in Three Steps!


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