*Editor’s Note: The claims made in this article are opinions that are dispproven by science.
Although asking someone the question “what’s your sign” may seem like an easy way to get to know them and understand their personality, it doesn’t provide much information on their astrological makeup and how it affects them. In actuality, there are three main components to someone’s zodiac sign that combine to create their overall personality: their sun sign, moon sign, and rising sign (also known as the ascendant).
Below I will give a brief overview of all three components and what they mean, but I highly recommend creating a profile in an app like Co-Star to receive your full birth chart and have your signs and their impact on your life more specifically explained.
The sun sign is the most basic sign of astrology. It is normally the answer to the “what’s your sign” question and can be easily calculated by asking Siri what zodiac sign corresponds to your birthday, or continuing to read below. Your sun sign signifies where the sun was positioned about the zodiac constellations on the day you were born.
The chart of astrological signs begins with Aries on March 21, the Vernal (or Spring) Equinox, and continues into the other signs as follows: Taurus (4/20 – 5/20), Gemini (5/21 – 6/20), Cancer (6/21 – 7/22), Leo (7/23 – 8/22), Virgo (8/23 – 9/22), Libra (9/23 – 10/22), Scorpio (10/23 – 11/21), Saggitarius (11/22 – 12/21), Capricorn (12/22 – 1/19), Aquarius (1/20 – 2/18), and Pisces (2/19 – 3/20). Each sun sign also has specific qualities that seem to be a common trend among members of each sign, for example, people born in Aries are supposed to be fiery and outgoing.
However since sun signs only determine your “ego” or more surface-level personality, they may not fit everybody 100%. Additionally, the 12 signs are divided into 4 different groupings that all have similar characteristics. There are Fire Signs that are bold and passionate: Aries, Leo, and Saggitarius; Water Signs that are sensitive and emotional: Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces; Earth Signs that are grounded and honest: Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn; and Air Signs that are thoughtful and intelligent: Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius.
These groupings may help you relate to people of different signs and also determine some of their baseline traits, but to understand someone (and yourself) you also need to know their moon sign.
Now that you know your sun sign, it is time to find your moon sign. Your moon sign uses the date, time, and place of your birth to determine your position around the moon, and only stays in each sign for about 2 days. Moon signs display how you tend to view your most inner self in private moments and how you truly feel. The same zodiac signs are used for moon signs as sun signs and the characteristics are similar, however specific aspects of the signs tend to be heightened or manifest in different ways in this category.
For example, someone with their Sun in Aries may be courageous, persistent, and competitive, but someone with their Moon in Aries may be more independent, enthusiastic, and afraid of failure. Although these traits overlap, they will manifest in different ways depending on the other two signs that the person carries, their sun sign and ascendant.
The last component to your astrological big 3 is your ascendant or rising sign. This last sign represents how you present yourself to the outside world and how others may perceive you, however, some people have claimed that it gets less relevant as you age and develop more of your style.
Determined by your birth time, rising signs rotate about every 2 hours, so if you don’t know what time you were born it may not be correct. The ascendant follows all of the same zodiac signs as the moon and sun signs but also may present itself differently for different people. An example of this could be seen even with myself and my sister.
My big 3 signs are an Aries sun, Gemini moon, and Leo rising, while my sister is a Scorpio sun, Scorpio moon, and Leo rising. Although we have the same rising sign, our other two signs can result in it being perceived in different ways. A Leo rising could help to balance out the deep emotion of a Scorpio moon, however, it could also enhance the outgoing nature of an Aries sun. Similarly, your three signs will work together to create an individual, complex personality that helps to make you who you are and allow others to get to know you better.