Most of us are familiar with Sun sign Astrology, which is determined by what sign the Sun was transiting on the day you were born. We identify as a Capricorn or an Aries and we read up on what that supposedly means about our lives, our work, our relationships, our money, our habits, and so forth.
However, there is far more to your Astrological birth chart than merely your Sun sign, and, in fact, your Sun sign does not describe all of the aspects listed above. Your Sun represents something deeply essential about your basic psychology, and your basic ambitions. But there are nine other planetary bodies in the birth chart (at least!) which can give you a much fuller picture of your personality from a cosmic perspective.
A professional astrologer can look into all of the aspects in a birth chart and synthesize together the complex web of themes to give you a truly in depth report— and these can be immensely helpful!
However, if you want to understand more about your own chart without getting too complicated, you can start out with the basic reading of Sun + Moon + Rising. These are the three basic elements of the birth chart that make up the fundamental personality.
There are plenty of free options online for getting a copy of your birth chart. You will need your accurate birth time and place. Look up what signs your Sun, Moon and Rising fall in, and read the descriptions below to understand the meaning of the symbol. Once you grasp these concepts, you can read descriptions of the zodiac sign to understand the flavor of your Sun, Moon and Rising.
The Sun indicates your vitality, sense of individuality, creative energy and your essential values. It shows the fundamental quality of your consciousness and what is most important or “real” to you.
Water Sun signs (Pisces, Cancer or Scorpio) live largely in the realm of emotions, and emotions and instincts are the most “real”.
Air Sun signs (Gemini, Aquarius and Libra) live in their minds, and they are oriented to deal with the world through thoughts, abstract concepts and verbal or visual communication.
Fire Sun signs (Leo, Aries and Sagittarius) are oriented to approach life as an exercise in spirit, faith and will. Earth Sun signs (Capricorn, Taurus and Virgo) are oriented to the material world, practicality and hard work.
The Sun sign reveals your urge to be recognized, express yourself and create. It shows the way that your spirit radiates when you are freely giving the best of yourself. It shows how you shine when you are really “in the flow state”.
The Sun reveals the basic inner force motivating everything we do. How do you see life itself and what expectations do you have of life experience? The Sun also represents a type of energy charge that needs to be fed or refueled often so that your energy is not depleted. We all have a spiritual fuel that we need to feel alive; there are certain kinds of activities that we dearly love which energize us when we engage. The quality of the Sun sign shows what these might be.
The Sign that your Moon lies in shows the nature of your subconscious predisposition— that is, how you instinctively, automatically react. With what energy do you spontaneously adjust yourself to the flow of life? In a new situation or when you are “acting on instinct”, are you combative? Are you secretive? Are you contemplative? Do you take the lead? The energy is determined by the sign of the Moon.
The Moon also reveals how we feel toward self. It can reveal a lot about the childhood, especially the relationship or perception of the mother, and both of these factors of course have a large effect upon how you view yourself. The Moon can point out our conditioned responses, and may reveal emotional habits that stem from how you were treated as a child.
The sign of the Moon shows the quality that we associate with home and security— and that includes what makes you feel safe and comfortable in the outside world, as well as what gives you a sense of inner support or comfort. The Moon represents what you need in order to feel “right” about yourself.
The Rising (aka the Ascendant) is not actually a planet. It is the sign of the zodiac that was “rising” up on the horizon at the moment you took your first breath.
The rising shows your general demeanor, deportment, behavior, and how you acts in the world. In some people the rising shows the “mask” or persona that is projected to the world— that is, the image of the personality that others see.
The Rising can be somewhat superficial in some people, but in general, it is spontaneous energy and attitude toward life that pervades the entire being and indicates something essential about the persona that is at once deeply inner and also outer.
If the Sun indicates the essential flavor of our consciousness, the Rising indicates the vehicle that we have to project the solar energy through. The Rising is like the gate through which we confront the outer world. The Rising symbolizes our approach to life. It shows the way you actively merge with life in the outer world when your energy is flowing spontaneously. Ultimately your rising sign must serve your Sun sign. Whatever energy your rising sign adds to the personality must be used to cultivate and develop the interests and goals of the Sun sign.
The rising also reveals the quality of energy flow which vitalizes the physical body and the general quality of your physical energy. Water and Earth sign risings tend to conserve, contract and withdraw their energy, whereas Fire and Air sign risings tend to want to expand, radiate and expend their energy.
Now that you have a sense of what each aspect represents in the birth chart, you can look up descriptions of the zodiacal signs shown in your birth chart, and develop your own interpretation of your cosmic personality!