What Does Your Moon Sign and Rising Sign Mean?

by Natalie Josef and Caroline Harris

What Does Your Moon Sign and Rising Sign Mean?
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Your moon sign and rising sign give an in-depth look into what makes you tick. They are determined by not just your birthday, but also the place you were born and the exact time of your birth. Simply, your sun sign rules your personality — It’s your soul. Your moon sign rules your emotional core — It’s your heart. Your rising sign rules your outer appearance — It’s your book cover.


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“Hey, baby, what’s your sign?” When someone in a bar asks you that question, the standard answer you give is called your “sun” sign. It denotes the position of the sun in the zodiac the exact moment you were born. Your sun sign determines your basic approach to life and your general nature. Are you extroverted and grandiose? You might be a Leo. Are you idealistic and altruistic? You could be an Aquarius. Home-oriented and sensitive? You’re probably a Cancer. But your astrological makeup is more complex than just your sun sign. Two other signs that contribute greatly to your character, dreams, relationships and temperament are your moon sign and your rising sign.


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Your Moon Sign


Your moon sign reveals your inner self. It can give insight into the way you handle your emotions and fears; it can also give insight into the way you love and feel. The moon also governs your moods.


Have you ever met someone with your same sun sign and found that person to be nothing like you? You probably have different moon signs.


When you go home after a long day, get into your PJs and crash on the couch, this is when your moon sign comes out. It is the unguarded you, the version of yourself only those closest to you know. It is your subconscious.


In times of significant stress, your moon sign can really reveal itself. During trying times, your actions are influenced by emotion and instinct, so the side of you that you normally keep hidden can suddenly come to the surface and conflict with your usual outward personality. This can make you feel like you aren’t acting like yourself, but it’s in these times that you might be more “yourself” than ever.


Your moon sign also makes itself known in your intimate relationships. It can determine how you love and whether or not love is important to you. It can even play a role in the type of people you are attracted to. Scorpio — an intense and passionate sign — may be attracted to fiery, sensual types. Taurus — a steady and balanced sign — needs stability and may be attracted to the “strong, silent” type. Sagittarians need freedom; Aquarians can be unemotional and detached.


To calculate your moon sign, visit a Web site calculator or consult a book (I highly recommend The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need). There are a lot of internet calculators, but this one is accurate and easy to use. Once you calculate your moon sign, you can do a search for “Moon in Leo” (or whatever your sign is). Most astrology sites will also give moon sign explanations; you can even search for moon sign compatibility in romantic relationships.


Curious about how you can incorporate more astrology into your life? Once you know your moon sign, celebrate by trying some astrology journaling. Astrology journaling is the healing practice of journaling about the current astrological climate, and how it makes you feel. Astrology journaling can be in response to the moon and lunar cycles. For example, you can try using a moon phase calendar ($13.99, Amazon) and lunar phase calendar ($12, Amazon) to track the progression of each cycle. Then journal about your feelings at each point in the month to see how astrology is shaping your emotional responses and headspace.


Your Rising Sign


Your rising sign — also known as your ascendant — represents the way others see you, your general impression on people and your spontaneous reactions. It reflects the zodiacal sign that was ascending on the eastern horizon the moment you were born. Until the early 20th century, the ascendant, rather than the sun sign, was the dominant indicator of one’s nature.


Upon meeting you, people will interact with your rising sign. Does the way people describe you puzzle you? That’s because it’s hard for us to see what others see. What you project may not be how you see yourself at all. If you feel nervous and anxious inside, yet everyone sees you as calm and laid-back, your rising sign may be dramatically different from your moon or sun sign.


Your rising sign is so outward, it can even influence your physical characteristics and mannerisms. Those with an Aries ascendant most likely walk quickly, have broad shoulders and are prone to headaches and sinus problems. Those with a Gemini rising are often tall and slender with dark hair. Virgo ascendants may have weak chins, but they have big brains. Librans are often good looking, and Scorpios often have piercing eyes.


Since the ascendant is specific to a certain time and place and represents the environment you were born into, it often reflects your childhood and upbringing. It’s during this time that we learn how to navigate society and how to present ourselves to the world. If you were conditioned to present yourself as something contrary to who you actually are, your ascendant can function as a shield that obfuscates your real nature. In fact, many astrologers view the ascendant as a mask.


Here’s an easy rising sign calculator.


Understanding our sun, moon and rising signs — and how they interact with each other — gives us a more complex astrological profile. If you want to get even deeper, you can have your chart done and figure out what houses all your planets are in, which will give you a more revealing — and probably more truthful — answer to the “What’s your sign?” question.


Now to have some fun with all this deep introspection and celebrate your newfound self discoveries. We gathered some zodiac-inspired apparel and accessories to channel your celestial energy, as well as items that will encourage you in your journey of self-growth.


1 of 10 Image Credits: Anthropologie

The Astrology Of You and Me


This book is all about how to use astrology to improve your life and relationships with family, friends, and casual acquaintances. The chapters are organized by sun signs and offer helpful advice for problems you're working through. The book is written by Gary Goldschneider, one of the world's foremost experts on astrology who studied the subject for over 40 years.

2 of 10 Image Credits: Sweaty Betty

Sweaty Betty Reversible High-Waisted Leggings


Get leggings that are as fun as you are! The galaxy print is sure to set you apart as you flow through moon salutations. These leggings are reversible, meaning you can either rock a star-studded look or keep it classic in black. An adjustable drawstring ensures a flattering fit.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
These leggings are a great investment. They transition well from day to night, especially with the reversible black mesh option. They’re really comfortable, and the pattern is amazing.

3 of 10 Image Credits: Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters Lunar Lettuce-Edge Cropped Tee


Stargaze in style with this lunar-inspired cropped tee. This shirt would go great with a high-waisted skirt and combat boots. Or you could pair the look with mom jeans and white sneakers for your next aura reading.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
I love this shirt so much, and I wear it almost every day. It’s definitely one of my best purchases.

4 of 10 Image Credits: Amazon

BeeZoom 2020 Moon Phase Calendar


This moon phase calendar is perfect for discovering how to use astrology for self-improvement. Track the phases of the lunar cycle, then observe the moon's impact on your mood and interactions with others. You can journal throughout the process to keep track of how you're feeling each day and to set goals for yourself.

5 of 10 Image Credits: Amazon

Astrology of the Moon: An Illuminating Journey Through the Signs and Houses


Curious to discover even more about your moon sign? This book is jam-packed with helpful information about how to understand and fulfill your emotional needs. The writer discusses how you can leverage your understanding of your moon sign to guide you toward important realizations about yourself. Reviewers rave that "upon reading this book, I understand myself better" and "this book is fascinating."

6 of 10 Image Credits: Amazon

Choice by Choi Zodiac Constellation Ring


Trendsetters like Meghan Markle swear by zodiac jewelry. Snag the celeb-approved style with this zodiac ring, which you can customize to match your star sign. Get it in silver or gold...or just spring for both.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
I love this little constellation ring! It’s small, delicate and understated in the best way. It’s pretty from far away and close up. It’s also comfortable and true to size. I bought this ring for everyday wear. I have definitely received compliments on it.

7 of 10 Image Credits: Urban Outfitters

UO Keepsake Sun and Moon Tee


Get casually spiritual in your wardrobe with a graphic tee. Team this shirt with ripped black jeans and a faux leather jacket. Look cute while expressing your affinity for astrology.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
The fabric is very soft, and the shirt is cute and comfortable.

8 of 10 Image Credits: Free People

CAM Jewelry Ascending Medallion Necklace


Our astrological signs say a lot about us. Represent your star sign with a medallion necklace. You could also go big and stack several of these necklaces — one for you and one for each member of your squad.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
I’ve been wanting a gold Gemini necklace for some time and came across this one. It’s the perfect length. It can be layered with other necklaces or worn alone and still be super cute. I’ve gotten a ton of compliments!

9 of 10 Image Credits: Nordstrom

Snerd Montreal Journal


Get into the practice of astrology journaling with this adorable notebook, which has a moon-inspired design, a tiny dot grid, and a totally retro feel.

10 of 10 Image Credits: Amazon

MeloPrints 2020 Lunar Phase Calendar on a Circular Layout


We're starry-eyed for this calendar. It would be so elegant to frame and put on your wall—plus practical, too! The lunar calendar displays the entire year, breaking down each month into moon phases. Each time you look at this lunar calendar, you can easily track the current moon phase to help explain why you feel the way you do.