When chatting with your wise witchy friends, your hula-hooping hippie cousins, or New-Agey elders, you’re likely to feel overwhelmed by the amount of astrology talk getting thrown your way. “The Sun is where? Who’s a Capricorn? What the hell is an ascendant?” Figuring out how to read your birth chart can be daunting, to say the very least.
Since having helpful astrological peers and elders was essential for my growth as a baby witch, I thought I’d return some of that love and teach you guys how to interpret three of the most important placements in your astrological chart. I’ll give you some context on how to get this information, what it means and how to put it all together. Get excited!
The first step to accessing your birth chart is to enter your birthdate, birth location and birth time into a chart generator like Cafe Astrology. This groovy site spits out your birth chart with the click of a couple buttons (because astrology really boils down to some complicated math that most of us witches just don’t want to bother with). Note: To learn your rising sign, you’ll need to know the exact time of your birth. Call your mama!
Don’t be stunned by all the planet names and symbols—just look for your sun sign, moon sign, and rising (or ascendant) sign. These are the placements that are most important to learn when you’re just starting out with astrology.
Your sun, moon, and rising sign (to be explained further below) will all fall into one of the twelve signs of the zodiac. Each of the signs has a specific energy or vibe, and when a planet and sign combine, they help form our character. For example, if someone has their natal moon in Aries, it means that their moon qualities (see below) are particularly enhanced in a fiery, passionate way.
With these three natal chart aspects, you can unlock a whole new level of self-understanding. Below, find out exactly what each of these placements indicate and how they affect your life and inner self.
The Sun embodies your whole self and who you are in general. If someone were to broadly sum up your personality, they would capture the essence of your Sun sign. This is why, when you read your horoscope in the newspaper or your favorite online style site (wink wink), you’re reading about this bright, bold, illuminating planet and how it shines on you.
The Moon is a representation of your emotional self, and is a good indicator of how we act when we’re feeling emotionally stimulated in any capacity (good or bad). Your moon sign also plays a role in your “shadow” side, which presents itself when you’re feeling disempowered. Think of the Sun as “action” and the moon as “reaction” in your chart.
Your rising sign is the zodiac sign that was ascending on the horizon at the time of your birth—it’s not a planet, but rather a broad cosmic movement. Your rising sign is your projected self; the one you send out into the world. In essence, it’s your first impression! Your rising sign is often totally unrelated to your sun sign, which is the reason why many people’s first impressions of others are incorrect.
By comparing all three of these placements, you can access a more well-rounded understanding of who you are and how the world sees you—more than you could by fixating on your sun sign alone.
The way all three of your signs interact and balance one another out says a lot about your personality. If you’re a Gemini sun, Pisces moon and Capricorn rising, you might present as cold and calculating, when you’re actually the mercurial kind with a dreamy, tender personality.
If you’ve got a Cancer sun, Aries moon and Taurus rising, you might come off as materialistic and sleepy when you’re secretly a groovy combination of intuitive and fiery. There are hundreds of possible combinations for sun-moon-rising signs (and that doesn’t even include the other astrologically-significant planets!).
Ready to find out more about yourself than you ever really needed to know? Your birth chart awaits you.