When someone asks you for your zodiac sign, I bet you answer with the one you know best: your sun sign. This part of your natal chart—which is a screenshot of the sky at the time of your birth—is probably the first thing you learned about when your interest in astrology began to take shape. It’s the sign you likely identify with the most and the sign you know to look for whenever you check your horoscope. And although there’s SO much more to your cosmic profile than your sun sign, the hype surrounding it exists for a reason!
Each of the twelve zodiac signs (starting with Aries and ending with Pisces) has its own brand of energy and archetype. These characteristics are projected onto all the astral bodies that pass through the signs, which in turn influence us. Imagine the zodiac wheel like a big pie in the sky that encompasses our solar system, with each sign being one of twelve delicious little slices that begin at 0 degrees and end at 30 degrees.
This makes sense, considering how the sun changes signs around every 30 days, giving us month-long periods of time ruled by each zodiac sign known as a “season.” Aries season is late March through late April, Taurus season is late April through late May, and so on… If you were born in early June, for example, you’d call yourself a Gemini, and when you’re looking at your horoscope on Twitter (or, you know, in a newspaper), you’d check the horoscope for Gemini.
This umbrella term for this type of modern astrology is called “sun-sign astrology”; when an astrologer makes predictions or assumptions based only on your sun sign. While this method isn’t nearly as accurate as full-chart readings, sun sign astrology can offer you a good look into your goals, wishes, instincts and perspective of life as a whole. It’s also great for at-a-glance predictions and deciphering what the planetary weather may have in store for you.
In astrology, the sun rules over your ego and your overall sense of self. It reveals the standards you use to measure yourself and the mark you’d like to leave on the world. It encompasses the major strokes of your life, showing you the type of person you’ll spend your whole life working towards becoming. The sun sign is the core of your character, and other aspects (like your moon sign and rising sign) flesh out your personality in more vivid details. Think of your natal chart as a series of potentials, with each placement making you likely to tend towards different behaviors in multiple aspects of your life, including love, communication and spirituality.
Even if you only know your sun sign and don’t have access to your birth time (which tells you your rising sign and house placements), you can learn a great deal about yourself, making astrology an awesome tool for self-exploration and discovering some hidden strengths.
If you’re a Pisces who’s always carrying an ocean feelings, consider your intuition to be your superpower. If you’re a cautious Virgo, think of your detail-oriented nature as a way of making the world a safe place. And remember—your sun sign is just one piece of the puzzle, and if you don’t identify with it, you always have the rest of your birth chart to explore!