This Is The Actual Difference Between Your Sun, Moon, And Rising Signs

It might come as a surprise that you don't just have one zodiac sign. If you've been hating on Gemini your whole life, don't hold your breath. You might find that you're a Gemini, too. Given the complexity of human nature, it makes sense that we have multiple signs rather than being entirely defined by one label. In fact, you have a different sign for each planet in the solar system, each representing a major theme in the human experience and behavior. This planetary breakdown is your birth chart, or astrological soul signature, that no one else in the universe has (via the New York Post). Your sun, moon, and rising — "the big three," as they're commonly called' are what most people are interested in.

To find out your sun, moon, or rising, you first need to enter your place of birth, birthday, and time of birth into a natal chart calculator. The exact time is crucial as it can directly affect your moon and rising sign. The moon especially moves pretty quickly through the sky. So, this needs to be accurate to locate which constellation it was in at the time of your grand entrance.

So, what is actually the difference between the sun, moon, and rising signs?

The sun is your main character energy

Just like its illuminating presence in the sky, the sun represents our greatest overall attitude and driving force. Its vitalizing energy is what makes this sign so visibly prominent to others. It's what you have always known yourself as and the truest essence of your being. You likely already know your sun sign and wave that flag proudly. You also celebrate it with everyone else born within the same few weeks as you. This tends to be the sign people are most proud of as it is their biggest identifier. 

Because it determines the basic qualities of your psyche, sun signs operate as your core and personal identity (via PopSugar). It's the main character energy that your friends know you as, and it's responsible for your overall personality. Its powerful presence also acts as a sort of filter for your moon and rising sign because of its ability to generate life force.

The moon shows your inner subconscious

Whereas the sun is an illuminating ego-driven force, the moon shows our hidden subconscious desires. Therefore, finding your moon sign can be very revealing as it usually uncovers a hidden aspect of yourself. The moon moves through zodiac placements every 2.5 days, which is why making sure your birth time is accurate is of extreme importance (via Today). Just a few minutes of difference can produce a completely different moon sign.

According to Narayana Montúfar, senior astrologer at, the moon highlights our emotional needs and doesn't make a prominent appearance upon first encounters with someone (via Yahoo!). It acts on such a deep subconscious level that it takes time for loved ones to understand these hidden qualities and desires. Because it represents emotional and internal needs, some astrologers believe it's paramount to look at to gauge romantic compatibility (via Vogue). It operates on a deep soul level and can go undetected compared to the sun and rising signs. It's incredibly intimate and shows where we need nurturing and comfort.

Your rising sign is your external self

If the moon is your inner subconscious, then your rising sign is the "mask" you wear when navigating the world. It's often the first impression people have of you and the overall vibe they pick up on the quickest. Also known as the ascendant, it is the zodiac sign found on the eastern horizon when you are born and will also assign the rest of your birth chart houses (via Today). Similarly to the sun sign, the rising sign deals with your identity and is equally important. For this reason, you should check both horoscopes to have a more holistic picture of how the transiting stars affect every aspect of you.

Because the rising sign is your first house zodiac sign, many astrologers believe it's also responsible for your entire outward appearance down to your physical body (via Allure). It's essentially the soul suit we wear that presents itself first before anything else. Ultimately, knowing your sun, moon, and rising signs can be an incredible tool for self-awareness and mindfulness. Should you trust the stars to help you guide you in life, use your big three for some amazing self-discovery.