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

If you are slowly but surely learning more about astrology, it's important to note that there's more to your birth chart than simply your sun sign. Whether your sun sign is vivacious Leo, ever-balanced Libra, or sensitive Pisces, you may just be one of those people who do not identify with their sun sign very much. If you've ever found yourself wondering how on earth you can be a classic-homebody Cancer if you love being out and about, or how you are an über-social Gemini if you're all about staying in your room 24/7, then learning about the other signs in your birth chart will prove helpful. 

There are three different, major signs to consider: sunmoon, and rising. Collectively, they're often referred to as the "big three," and they can reveal a lot about your personality. There's plenty of research to suggest that horoscopes are actually good for your mental health so, if you're interested in astrology, or just 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. 

Ahead, find everything you need to know about sun, moon, and rising signs.

The sun sign is all about who you are

The sun is the center of our solar system, and therefore represents the main, most present part of your personality. In fact, several people see the sun sign as an indicator of your attitude towards life, your reaction to what happens to you, and your core being (via Today). 

As astrologers Lisa Stardust, Renée Watt, and Ashley Otero explained to Bustle, the sun sign is likely the "main" sign people know, with many horoscopes based on it alone, and it makes sense. Otero said, "Being the only star amongst the other nine spheres that our Earth mingles with in space, the sun is the symbol of centeredness, illumination, and life — because without it, we'd cease to exist!"

You probably already know your sun sign, which is calculated using your month and date of birth and is sometimes called a star sign. This is the sign you'll look up when you're checking your horoscope, whether you're a Capricorn, Gemini, Aquarius, or another sign. While Otero says the sun sign "symbolizes one's vital life force, spirit, intellect, and identity," Stardust says this sign represents our "ego and will," and determines what you're most passionate about in life. Even more, you might actually begin to identify more with your sun sign as you get older. According to Refinery29, your sun sign is actually more of an indicator of who you will be in the future.

Your moon sign represents your emotional facet

Your moon sign is an entirely different ball game and relates to the private parts of your personality. According to Cosmopolitan, your moon sign is all about the aspects of yourself that you usually hide from the rest of the world, including your deepest desires, your fears, and your inner emotional state. It also impacts how you love, and has repercussions within your relationships. In short, your moon sign is crucial. As Lisa Stardust told Bustle, "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." 

This is why you might quickly identify with your moon sign, but someone who does not know you intimately may not link you to your moon sign at all. Renée Watt confirmed this to Bustle, saying, "Moon signs tell us a lot about how one processes emotions and can give a lot of insight on how someone functions intuitively," so knowing it can be helpful within relationships. 

Rising signs are all about how you are perceived by others

Your rising sign represents yet another part of your personality: the way others see you. Your rising or ascendant sign is the mask you wear out in the world and is usually the way people view you when they first meet you. Astrologer Narayana Montúfar told PopSugar that your rising sign 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." Have you ever given off the first impression of being hyper-organized when you're actually much more chaotic than you initially let on? You might be a Virgo rising sign "masking" a super-creative Libra sun sign.

As you can see, rising signs are important to know because while sun and moon signs indicate who you know you are deep inside, your rising sign can finally explain how other people perceive you. Therefore, knowing your rising sign can help you navigate relationships with others, and know how to best move around the world for optimum success. Your rising sign is the version of yourself you present and symbolizes "the face we wear for others to see and view" (via Bustle).

Why is it so important to know your big three?

To figure out your big three, you'll need your birth date, year, the exact time you were born, and your place of birth. Thanks to modern technology, there are online calculators that can help you with this.

While there's nothing wrong with just looking up your sun sign if you're checking your horoscope casually, there's a lot to be gained from digging deeper, especially if you're looking to learn more about yourself. Of course, there's more to astrology than the big three, but determining your moon, sun, and rising signs can help paint a fuller picture of your personality through the zodiac. Even if you're pretty confident that you know your personality through and through, PopSugar points out that exploring your big three can also help you with your relationships, providing "insight into the people you gel best with, your romantic needs, and more."

Knowing your big three might help explain your personality, but it doesn't dictate it, so don't let yourself feel limited by your signs. "Give yourself permission to grow into the energy of each of these signs and archetypes," professional astrologer Sofia Adler told Her Campus. She added, "The signs are fluid, always in flow and in motion. Remember that your big three isn't the only part of who you are; it's only a piece of who we are, and a piece of our chart."