The Real Difference Between Your Moon, Sun, And Rising Sign

There's more to astrology than simply your star sign. There are actually three different, main signs to consider; sun, moon, and rising, all of which mean different things and which, together, give a basic idea of who someone is as a whole. 

There's plenty of research to suggest that horoscopes are actually good for your mental health so, if you're interested in astrology, or even just a bit curious about why everybody else is, then knowing the difference between these main three is a good place to start. If nothing else, it might make you more of a believer than a skeptic.  

The sun sign is all about who you are

The sun is the center of our solar system, the moon is the closest celestial object to us, and the rising sign represents the beginning of our birth chart (while also subsequently determining everything else about it). Astrologers Lisa Stardust, Renee Watt, and Ashley Otero explained to Bustle the sun sign is likely the "main" sign people know, with many horoscopes based on it alone. 

You can calculate your sun sign simply using your month and date of birth, and it represents the core of who you are as a person. "Astrologically speaking, the sun in a natal chart is the luminary that symbolizes one's vital life force, spirit, intellect, and identity," Otero explained. Your sun sign is a constant too, as Stardust advised, "The Sun is our ego and will. It shows what motivates and drives us — what pushes us to success. Our Sun sign determines our passions."

The moon and rising signs provide a deeper look inwards

The moon sign, on the other hand, relates to the private parts of your personality. To calculate it, you'll need your birth date, year, and exact time. It's hugely important too as, according to Stardust, "The Moon represents the mother/maternal energy in our charts. It represents our desires and emotions, our memories — all that we keep internalized and do not show to others." As Watt confirmed, "Moon signs tell us a lot about how one processes emotions and can give a lot of insight on how someone functions intuitively."

In direct contrast, your rising sign, or ascendant, is the mask you wear out in the world. Astrologer Narayana Montúfar told Pop Sugar it determines, "How others see us and the first impression we give," along with "our physical body (including features) as well as the energy that drives it." It's the version of ourselves we present. Determined entirely on birth time, your rising sign changes every two hours as it's based on where the Earth's eastern horizon is currently facing. It's important to consider all three together to figure out exactly what aspects of your personality mean.