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Sun, Moon, and Rising… What Do Your Astrological Placements Mean?

April 24, 2021

The Cosmos

Astrology is a mystical cosmic language that embodies zodiac signs, horoscopes, houses, and planetary placements – but what the heck does all of that mean? It is the study of celestial bodies that reveal insights to a unique cosmic signature known as your birth chart – a map of the position of the sun, moon, planets, and stars at the specific time and place of your birth. Essentially, this is what can provide an in-depth configuration of people’s individuality, relationships, and life purpose.  

In your birth chart, there are three main planetary positions that act as a framework for your everyday personality – your sun, moon, and rising. There are many other planets in your birth chart that correspond to different dimensions of who you are as a person, however your sun, moon, and rising are considered to be the “big three” identity indicators. 

You may be the most familiar with your zodiac sign as your “sun” – also referred to as your star sign, as the sun is a star. There are twelve zodiac signs, each associated with an elemental property (earth, water, air, and fire), a fundamental quality (cardinal, mutable, fixed), and a planetary ruler. You may have heard people attributing personality factors to zodiac placements, such as “oh, she’s so up in the clouds because she’s a Pisces,” or “of course he’s good with words, he’s such a Gemini,” or “never have I met a Virgo who wasn’t a perfectionist…” (of course, there are many more attributes associated with these star signs). While your sun may be the most recognizable sign in your birth chart, your moon and rising also contribute greatly to who you are as a person. The combination of these various factors provide a basis for the exploration of how these planetary placements express themselves in your life. 


The sun represents the essence of your soul. This is who you are at your innermost core. Your sun sign is your ego and identity. This is the sign that is most associated with your horoscope, reflecting your most dominant personality type and identity. It symbolizes the internal force that inspires you to search for the highest expression of your most true self. Your sun sign also signifies the kind of energy you need to feel uplifted and rejuvenated – it helps you understand how you recharge your internal batteries, and the energy you give off and need to receive. 


The moon rules your emotional side and governs your moods and feelings. Your moon sign is a reflection of your inner personality and who you really are deep down – a side that not everyone gets to see on the surface. It is the subconscious side of yourself that you keep hidden and guarded, and it is likely the sign you most think of yourself as. Your moon sign is how you understand your inner world and how you react in emotional situations. It is how you subjectively view your life and who you are emotionally. 


Your rising, also referred to as your ascendant, is the “mask” that you display to others. It represents the way that others see you, and the general impression that you leave on people. What you project to others may not be how you see yourself, which may be why you might not agree with how people describe you! It’s sometimes hard to see what others see about ourselves. Your rising is how you dawn on people, reflecting the zodiac sign that was ascending the Eastern horizon the moment you were born (it changes every two hours, so make sure you know the time of your birth). This sign represents your physical body and personal outward style – influencing physical characteristics and mannerisms. 

Astrology is a symbolic language that translates changes in the sublunar world determined by the placement of stars, planets, and the moon. The main significance of these signs is that they represent unique features of your personality and individuality. If you’ve ever met someone who has the same sun sign as you, but you are completely opposites, chances are they have different moon and rising signs than you. Understanding these placements gives us a more complex and in-depth view into our astrological profiles.

Many are attracted to the ancient study of astrology to better understand ourselves and the people in our lives. The archetypes expressed by the signs of the zodiac serve as a fantastic vehicle for doing exactly that. Now that you have developed a deeper awareness about what your sun, moon, and rising mean, happy exploring! 

Megan Binder (B.A. Psychology)


Garis, M. G. (2020, March 31). How to read a natal chart-planets, symbols, and all. Well+Good. 

Josef , N., & Harris, C. (2020). What Does Your Moon Sign and Rising Sign Mean? More. 

Tracey, A. (2019, April 19). What Does Your Sun, Moon, and Rising Sign Really Mean? Mindbody.

  1. LeeAnna says:

    Just fascinating!! I had my chart done years ago but she didn’t explain it very well and it makes sense about the sun, the sun, the moon and the rising! Excellent article! Makes me want to go get another reading now that it makes more sense!

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