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What your sun, moon and rising signs say about you

Read on for a breakdown of your astrological "big three."
TODAY Illustration / Getty Images

Chances are, someone has asked you about your "big three." That's astrological shorthand for your sun, moon, and rising signs, also known as an ascendant.

The sun sign represents our ego and motivations; the moon governs our emotional natures, and the ascendant or rising sign speaks to the energy that we put into the world.

Put together, these signs offer up a brief blueprint of your personality, according to astrology.

In short? There's way more to you than your sun sign. Natal charts are a map of the planets’ placements at a person's exact moment of birth. They're like thumb prints, nearly completely unique. Even identical twins have different charts, as they are born at different times.

Understanding where the sun, moon, and ascendant falls in your birth chart is important in understanding your personality. 

Sites like make it easy to access your birth chart. Plug in your birth information, including the exact time and location of your birth, to find your "big three."

What are the sun, moon, and rising signs?

Before going in to what the placements mean in each sign, let’s break down the terms.

Sun sign

Frequency: The sun changes signs every 30 days.  

Astrologically, the sun represents our drive, ego and pride. Sun signs describes our overall attitude and spirit — our cores. The sun sign is the key factor in assessing personality. 

Moon sign

Frequency: The moon moves through signs every 2.5 days.

Within astrology, moon signs represent the part of ourselves we can’t express literally, but feel on a deep and soulful level. The moon speak to our memories or our conception of the past, as well as our idea of comfort. Moon signs also capture our maternal instincts and the relationship we may have our the main maternal influences.

Rising sign or ascendant

Frequency: Rising signs change every two hours.

The rising sign gets its name from the zodiac sign that is “rising” on the eastern horizon at the moment of birth.

The ascendent is the energy that we put out into the world, or the vibe that people pick up and notice about us off the bat. Rising signs also represent the way we carry ourselves, process information and connect with others.

What do sun, moon, and risings mean in each sign?

Read on for a brief overview of the signs in each placement.


Katty Huertas / TODAY

Sun: The first sign of the zodiac, Aries is ruled by action planet Mars. When placed as the sun sign, the ram can motivate themselves to face on fears and blow past hesitation.

Moon: Lunar Aries are known to be emotionally responsive and impulsive at times, as they lead with fiery passions over than logic or reason.

Rising/Ascendant: Aries ascendants are known as the go-getters of the zodiac. They don’t let anything stand in their way of achieving their personal goals.

More about Aries


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Sun: The Bull tends to be drawn to a creative, indulgent lifestyle — and we wouldn’t expect anything less from a Venus ruled sign. They're also thought to have a stubborn, loyal and grounded personality.

Moon: The Moon loves to be in the zodiac sign Taurus. Those with Moon in Taurus delight in the earthly pleasures and seek out emotional security.

Rising/Ascendant: Those with Taurus risings exude grace and sophistication, and handle business with a sweet disposition.

More about Taurus


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Sun: Geminis are chatty and talkative, priding themselves on being in-the-know when it comes to news and gossip. Their dualistic nature allows them to see situations from a number of perspectives.

Moon: Ruled by winged messenger, Mercury, Gemini Moons enjoy discussing their complex feelings with others in order to gain a mindful and clear emotional perspective.

Rising/Ascendant: Gemini risings are quick-witted, fast communicators, always looking for unique ways to express themselves. 

More about Gemini


Katty Huertas / TODAY
Katty Huertas / TODAY

Sun: Ruled by the Moon, Cancers are emotionally mature, intuitive, sensitive, and artistic. They are guided by their tender, loving, and protective hearts.

Moon: The emotions of Cancer Moons have no limits, restraints, or depths. This is a cosmic placement that often leads to sweetness, kindness, emotional awareness and responsibility. 

Rising/Ascendant: Cancer ascendants tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves and take care of those they love.

More about Cancer


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Sun: The Sun rules the sign Leo, which is why Leo Suns all about ego, will, and character. They’re known to be creative, playful, and bold.

Moon: Possessing a wellspring of inner warmth, Leo Moons are beyond generous. As an act of love, they’ll shine their light onto those they care about. 

Rising/Ascendant: Leo ascendants bask in the glow of sunlight, radiating positivity and charm. Performers through and through, those with this friendly, radiant, and outgoing placement exude confidence and strength.

More about Leo


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Sun: Governed by communication planet Mercury, Virgos are the thinkers of the zodiac. Virgos process information with diligence and use facts to solve problems. 

Moon: Virgo Moons use their calm nature to gain deep clarity on matters, filtering questions through their kind, but reasonable, lens.

Rising/Ascendant: Virgo ascendants are the fact-finders and checkers of the zodiac. They are fair-minded and slow to anger.

More about Virgo


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Sun: Libra is ruled by the airy part of Venus, making them bon vivants, critical, and artistic — as well as forever stylish.

Moon: Moon in Libra is makes for a relationship-oriented individual. They may base their decisions upon how they are viewed by others. 

Rising/Ascendant: Finding balance in life is essential for Libra risings, who prefer things to be even-keeled and civil.

More about Libra


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Sun: Ruled by Mars and Pluto, the Scorpio Sun is known to be intense, mysterious, and ever-evolving. 

Moon: Scorpio Moons are known for their brooding nature that exudes passion. Once you win them over, they are loyal and unconditional in matters of love.

Rising/Ascendant: Prone to turning heads, Scorpio ascendents ooze with magnetism and dynamism. They're not known to back away from a challenge. 

More about Scorpio


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Sun: Sagittarius is governed by the expansive planet Jupiter, and is known for a free-spirited, globe-trotting, philosophical mindset — and wild streak.

Moon: The Moon is considered to be lucky in Sagittarius, as it brings excitement, adventure, and abundance. However, those with Sagittarius Moons can be defensive at times.

Rising/Ascendant: Sagittarius risings are jovial, optimistic, and full of energy. They sparkle with confidence, and you can't help but sparkle back when you're around them.

More about Sagittarius


Katty Huertas / TODAY
Katty Huertas / TODAY

Sun: Capricorn is ruled by authoritative Saturn, which is why they tend to work hard toward advancing themselves in earthly matters. 

Moon: The Capricorn Moon is reflective and contemplative, working to build a better foundation with those they care about.

Rising/Ascendant: Capricorn ascendants are known for their efforts and diligence when it comes to attaining success and prosperity. 

More about Capricorn


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Sun: Aquarius is ruled by Saturn and Uranus, which makes them seek out unique ways to problem-solve and to approach life. They're known to be intellectual and innovative.

Moon: Logic or emotion? Why not both. The Aquarius Moon integrates logic with sentimentality in order to attain a deep understanding of their inner lives.

Rising/Ascendant: This rising sign can speak lucidly on a number of topics, using their lofty knowledge to charm crowds and solve problems alike.

More about Aquarius


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Sun: The planetary ruler for Pisces is Jupiter and Neptune, which gives Pisces Suns a sentimental, intuitive, imaginative, and dreamy nature. 

Moon: Pisces Moons are hyper-attuned to the needs and emotions of others. They're likely to predict what's on your mind before you even say it.

Rising/Ascendant: The Pisces ascendant commits fully to their beliefs, and has an active imagination.

More about Pisces

Disclaimer: Astrology is not based in science. These posts are not intended to act as a directive.