I’ve held a fascination for astrology for as long as I can remember. My best friend (also a Gemini) had this tiny Gemini book, a very 1970’s gift shop kind of Hallmark book, that we used to read through from time to time. I suspect that very book was what sent me off on a life-long astrological journey.
Anyway, most people don’t understand how astrology “works.” I myself, am so not an astrologer. I can’t look at your natal chart or your daily chart and tell you the influences of the current astronomical arrangement, but I can lead you to sources who can, as well as (with the help of others) giving you a rundown of the basics.
Rebecca Brents has provided good descriptions for the sun, moon and rising (ascendant) signs.
Your Sun sign describes your basic ego, your Moon sign describes your emotional inner self, and your Ascendant describes the facade you show the rest of the world.
Your Sun Sign
From these three components, an astrologer can develop a thumbnail sketch of your personality — a recognizable line drawing as opposed to a full-color portrait, but still, clearly, a picture of you. The fact that we have three reference points instead of only one helps explain why not everyone born under the same Zodiac sign is “just alike.”
The Sun symbolizes your basic personality. The Zodiac sign it occupies describes your character’s essential qualities.. This sign is also usually the easiest to find. It’s what you mean when you tell someone “I’m an Aries,” or “I’m a Capricorn.”
The Sun, by sign and house position, describes your ego’s central traits. To an astrologer, your Sun sign describes your core personality. Many say it’s the most important sign you have, but that’s not entirely true. The Moon and Ascendant signs are just as important — but they can’t be accurately determined without an accurate birthday, place, and time. (The Sun changes signs approximately once a month. The Moon changes signs every 2 1/2 days. And the Ascendant sign changes every 2 hours … day after day after day.)
Sun sign information alone is “better than nothing,” but it’s also seriously incomplete. Sun sign forecasts can define what’s happening for you on a conscious level and to your self-image, but that’s not all you are … not by a long shot.
Your Moon Sign
In astrology, the Moon symbolizes your inner self, the part of you that responds from habit, feelings, and instinct. If you are a sensitive or emotional person, you may recognize your Moon sign qualities more readily than your Sun sign. These traits are “who you are inside” … an intimate side of your character only you and those close to you really know. In fact, your Moon sign may be very different from — or even in conflict with your Sun sign traits. (And there’s another reason why people are so complicated!)
Forecasts based on your Moon sign reveal what’s happening in your private life, your inner world, with your family situation and living conditions … and how life’s shifting tides could affect your security, foundations, and feelings. Because they target your experiences literally “where you live” you are apt to relate to readings that involve your Moon sign much more directly than those based on your Sun sign alone.
Your Ascendant Sign
Your Ascendant sign is also called your “Rising Sign.” The two terms are interchangeable. It is literally the sign that was rising on the Eastern horizon of the sky in the place and at the moment of your birth. Because the Ascendant sign changes every two hours all day long, yours obviously depends on the exact time you were born.
Only if you were born near sunrise will your Ascendant sign (possibly!) be the same as your Sun sign … and it is completely independent of your Moon sign. Yet this third component in your horoscope gives the move valid information about how you appear to other people … and how you take on the world.
Your Ascendant describes your temperament, the lens through with you view the world, the personality you put “on public display.” It’s the side of your character you willingly show the outside world. Changes here explain why even people born on the same day can have very different personalities, different strengths and interests, and different life experiences.
Forecasts based on your Ascendant will be the most descriptive and accurate regarding your life circumstances and immediate future. You will relate to such information very readily … which makes your Ascendant sign information even more crucial than that based on just your Sun sign.
The three components of your character will provide three different views of you and your life … all of them valid. And here’s another tip: If you know your Moon sign and Ascendant … and read astrology information for all three (real astrology — not the “daily horoscope” silliness in the newspaper!), you’ll see a much more dimensional picture of your life unfold!