Your Birth Chart 101: Sun, Moon, and Rising Signs

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Astrology is a powerful Spiritual modality: it is the study of Universal energies and how these energies apply to our selves, our lives, and our world. Since the dawn of human civilisation, people have consulted astrologers for advice regarding practically every aspect of life.

Kings used astrology to decide whether to go to war. Priests consulted the stars to determine when to offer the appropriate sacrifices. Sailors, farmers, and businessmen looked to the skies to navigate their next course of action. Everyday folk like you and me researched almanacs to choose auspicious dates to move house, pray to ancestors, get married, or start a new job.

And of course – who could forget? The three Magi (“wise men”) who discovered Jesus relied on astrology to find this highly evolved soul, when He was still a newborn in a stable.

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking,

“Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”

– The Gospel of Matthew 2:1

So the next time someone tries to convince you that astrology is evil, let them know that the three wise men identified Jesus by his ascendant, or Rising Sign. Ha!

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Yet, astrology sceptics still exist.

“astrology doesn’t work. My zodiac sign doesn’t sound like me.”

You may have heard this criticism of astrology before – or you yourself may have said this. And that’s totally okay.

Remember what I said: astrology is a study of Universal energies as applied on your self, your life, your world.

There are two reasons why some people think astrology “doesn’t work”:

Reason 1: Some people assume that astrology decides your destiny. When it doesn’t, they assume astrology doesn’t work.

It’s a common – and false – assumption that anything can determine the course of your destiny other than freewill choice. I’m afraid there’s no such thing, darlings.  There are no shortcuts in life. Astrology can be an extremely useful guide as to how best you can live your life and make awesome decisions for your highest good. But nope – destiny is shaped by your decisions. Not the modality you choose to guide you. So astrology, numerology, the Tarot, feng shui, tea leaves and crystal balls… they don’t have the final answers. Only you do.

Reason 2: Lots of people look only at the sun sign when they should look at the birth chart.

Here’s another common misunderstanding about astrology: most people think it’s only your Sun sign that matters. They don’t even know that other signs exist!

So what’s a birth chart, you may ask? Here’s a simple definition:

A birth chart (or natal chart) marks the positions where all the planets were when you were born. Their positions indicate your personality, strengths and weaknesses, opportunities for learning, and important seasons of Spiritual evolution.

To calculate your birth chart, you’ll need:

  • Place of birth
  • Date of birth
  • Time of birth

Without a time of birth, you won’t be able to find your ascendant, or rising. Nor will you know which houses the planets in your chart fall in. But no worries – you can still benefit from the wealth of knowledge and insight that your location and date of birth can provide.

In this article, I’ll briefly discuss the Big Three of the birth chart: your Sun Sign, Moon Sign, and Rising Sign.

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YOUR SUN SIGN

The energies of the sun represent centrality, the core, the truth of ourselves. As such, your Sun Sign represents your real personality. It’s the part of yourself that you cannot help but show the world (the Sun can’t be hidden, after all).
The energies of your Sun Sign will influence your natural talents, your instinctive responses to situations, as well as the issues that truly move your heart and drive your life decisions.
For instance, I’m a Libra Sun. As such, issues of justice and fair play are very important to me, and this concern for social justice shows up a lot in my focus on charitable causes.
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YOUR MOON SIGN

Just as the Sun represents that which illuminates and reveals the truth, the Moon’s energies are very different. The Moon represents our subconscious, our deepest needs, our emotional make-up. The Moon also goes through cycles of waxing and waning, which represents our private, personal selves – the side of ourselves that we only show a trusted few.
However, it’s usually that which is hidden that holds incredible power! When it comes to major life decisions, we are often influenced by our Moon signs a LOT more than we realise. 
This becomes clear especially when your Sun and Moon sign are very different from each other, and not traditionally seen as compatible (meaning they don’t share the same element or quality). For instance, I know someone who’s an Aries (cardinal Fire) Sun and a Virgo (mutable Earth) Moon. As an Aries Sun, he’s usually very friendly, outgoing, and slightly impulsive. But when it comes to important decisions, I’ve noticed that his Aries Sun withdraws, and is tempered by the more cautious, Earthy practicality of his Virgo Moon.
It’s interesting to watch!
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YOUR RISING SIGN (ASCENDANT)

Your Rising Sign is slightly different from Sun or Moon Signs in that the Rising Sign is not tied to a planet. It is calculated as such: your Rising Sign is the zodiac sign that was rising over the horizon  at the exact moment you were born. Rising Signs change every two hours or so, which is why you might not be able to determine your Rising Sign accurately unless you have your time of birth.
The Rising Sign influences attitudes, perspectives of the world, superficial behaviour, and physical appearance. It’s often the first impression people have of you. Knowing your Rising Sign is also useful if you follow planetary transits, because the ruling planet of your Rising Sign is also the ruling planet of your entire birth chart. What this means is that the transits of that planet will affect your life to a great extent, so it’s good to keep an eye out for it!
For instance, I’m a Sagittarius Rising – the Celestial Archer was riding over the horizon to greet me at the moment I was born. As such, the ruling planet of Sagittarius, Jupiter, plays a huge role in how my life turns out. I have the well-built physical appearance, lively charm, and daredevil spunk associated with this sign (despite being a Libra Sun, a sign which is usually not as energetic as Sagittarius). People are sometimes surprised to know I’m a Libra Sun, and occasionally remark that they didn’t know Libras could be so feisty and blunt (ha!). What they were observing was my Rising Sign at work. And there’s that.
Want to know how birth charts can give us insights into how we think, communicate, love, work, and fight? Stay tuned for my next article on your Mercury, Venus, and Mars Signs – coming right at ya in a couple of weeks!
Love and Light,
Kelly