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Inside Beat

What it means when you get asked for sun, moon, rising

Modern astrology sometimes gets a bad reputation, and often gets turned into a meme. For example, a lot of people associate the concept of "mercury in retrograde" with memes. – Photo by Pxhere

I’m an Aries sun, Sagittarius moon and Scorpio rising. If you’re like me, a few weeks ago, you had no idea what any of that means. (Bonus points if you scoffed, snorted or rolled your eyes.) 

If you get to know me and get to know astrology a bit more, though, and you’ll quickly realize just how accurate the Aries-Sagittarius-Scorpio combo is to my personality.

Like a lot of people, I dismissed modern astrology as a fad for a long time. The biggest reason is because I never identified with my Aries sign enough to give astrology any credence. 

It wasn’t until a friend explained my entire astrological birth chart to me that I realized there’s a lot more to astrology than just your sun sign.

If you don’t feel a strong connection to your sun sign, don’t worry. It’s totally normal. Just don’t make the same mistake as me and discount all of modern astrology due to one sign. Your personality is actually a combination of your sun, moon and rising sign, as well as the planets’ positions. 

Every celestial body in our solar system has a meaning that is unique to you. The planet’s alignments when you were born are like your very own astrological fingerprint.

The great thing about modern astrology and what makes it so popular is the convenience of it. There’s a lot of complicated astronomy and mapping that goes into astrology — things like planetary alignments and retrograde. 

Thanks to the wonders of technology, all you need to do is plug in your birth date, time and place into any one of the hundreds of astrology applications and websites out there, and they will map out the sky for you. In a fraction of a second, you’re shown the positions of every celestial body when you were born. From there, you can start analyzing.

Understanding the 12 Zodiac signs

Each of the 12 Zodiac signs has its own characteristics, such as polarity, modality and elements. Polarity, element and modality are the ways the Zodiac signs are grouped together based on their temperament. When you hear someone say “Tauruses are so stubborn!” that stubbornness is described by the Taurus polarity, element and modality: negative, earth and fixed. Depending on the positions of the 12 signs at birth, a person can predict their own temperament.

Sun sign

The sun sign is the one you probably already know. It’s the one people are asking about when they ask for your Zodiac sign. Since you only need your birthday to figure out your sun sign, it’s also the simplest astrological sign to work with. 

The sun is at the center of our solar system, and the sun sign is similarly at the center of you. It’s the core of your identity and the foundation for the rest of your personality. Your sun sign will indicate how you express yourself and where you draw your energy from. For example, the fire signs — Aries, Leo and Sagittarius — get their motivation from chasing after goals and ambitions.

Moon sign

Your moon sign represents your more private and hidden traits. The moon has always been tied to emotions and desires. While the sun represents your outward energy and motivation, the moon represents your inner instincts and subconscious. Because it depends on the position of the moon when you were born, you need to know your birth time and place to calculate this.

The influence of your moon sign can appear in many different ways that are unique to you. For example, water sign moons like Pisces or Scorpio are more empathetic, while fire sign moons like Gemini and Aquarius desire freedom. Earth-sign moons tend to be very practical and materialistic.

Rising sign

Rising signs, also known as “ascending” signs, aren’t a planet or any celestial body. It’s actually calculated by tracking where the horizon was when you were born. It changes every few hours, which is why you need to know your birth time to calculate this as well. 

Your rising sign is your personality and your persona — the parts of yourself that you present to the world. That’s why you might identify with your ascendant a lot more than your sun sign or moon sign, and others will definitely connect you to your rising sign more. The rising sign and sun sign work together to create your full outward self, while the moon governs your inner self. 

Now that you know what each of the main three signs are, quick Google searches can tell you what your signs mean. Beyond the sun, moon and rising signs, natal charts also tell you the signs of every planet when you were born. Each planet indicates a small part of your personality, and the sign it’s in indicates how that facet of you can behave. Every day, all the celestial bodies have different positions in the sky and fall into alignment with different Zodiac signs.

If all this astrology is a bit overwhelming to learn about and keep track of, don’t forget that there are countless websites and apps out there to help you. I recommend the app “Nebula: Horoscope and Astrology.” It’s a free astrology app that’s perfect for beginners. It tells you the moon’s position, your horoscope, your compatibility and it even does palm readings. The chart and its descriptions are easy to understand for anyone newly into it. 

Another app, “Co—Star,” is also popular but bear in mind that it emphasizes aesthetics over accuracy and has made mistakes with people’s charts in the past.


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