Where to start decoding your Natal Chart

Knowing our Sun Sign is common knowledge now, right? And we all follow memes when Mercury is retrograde. So what should we look at after learning about our Sun Sign? Beginning with understanding your Moon Sign and Rising Sign (also called Ascendant Sign) is a great place to start.


On the day we are born, if we could take a snapshot of the universe's placement - the planets, stars, galaxies - that photo would act as the map to each of our astrological charts. What position was the sun in when you were born? What position was the moon in? 

Our natal charts can sometimes be shockingly informative. A big misconception is that we each fall under one of 12 signs. But we're not each just one sign. We are a collection of signs that represent different aspects of our personality.

Sun Sign: the lens you’re wearing to perceive and experience the world
Moon Sign: the unique flavour to your personal feelings and emotions
Rising Sign: the way you present to the world/how the world sees you

Interpreting your Sun, Moon and Rising

Sun Sign
Your sun sign is determined by which day of the month you were born on. There are twelve zodiac signs, two signs falling into one month. A lot of babies born in December are the sign of Sagittarius, just like a lot of August babies are the sign of Leo the lion. The signs change around mid-month, so just because you’re born in May doesn’t automatically mean you’re a Taurus; you could be a Gemini!

Birthdays that fall within a couple days of when the Sun Sign changes are called cusp signs. Despite being born on a cusp, you will still have one specific Sun Sign, but you may also have qualities of the two signs on the cusp. For example, April 20 to May 21 is the sign of Taurus; if you were born on May 20, 21, or 22, you may have both Taurus and Gemini traits (and I would offer even May 19 and May 23 would have some mixed traits).

All the zodiac signs have specific traits, but our natal charts are comprised of multiple signs. Thats why not every Gemini you know is just like the other. Our varying signs shape who we are, and though we may have a lot of Taurus in our chart, we will undoubtedly have other signs mixed in there as well. Your sun sign is who you are as a person when you're just not thinking about it - when you're mindlessly being you. The sun sign is what you're here to learn; it’s the "driver" of the car. You aren’t just your Sun Sign; in fact, you’re learning HOW TO BE your Sun Sign!

Moon Sign
This one might be new to you. It's a personal favourite of mine - I love learning a person's moon sign. Your moon sign is that secret part of yourself that only a couple people get to know. Instead of being the driver of the car, your moon sign is the ENGINE. You don't necessarily show this part of you to everyone. It is your undertone, your morals - that undercurrent of who you are and why you do things. Learning a person's moon sign is a huge advantage to understanding how they operate. I'm a Libra Sun Sign - I am always striving for peace, balance, and connection with others (Libra's are learning how to be in relation to others), but my Moon Sign is Aries, an incredibly motivated and driven fire sign that can often come off harsher or more intense than they seem. Aries Moon Signs can come off harsher if they're letting that moon sign drive the car. A harsh Libra? There's no such thing! But there is when you read a person's whole chart. These two signs are practically opposites, and learning that hugely helped me in my understanding of myself. 

Reading your Sun Sign and Moon Sign together is a great way to really discover how a person ticks and you might just have an epiphany about yourself. You never want to let your Moon Sign drive the car, because that's how you can get into trouble. You always want to let your Sun Sign be the driver, but use your Moon Sign energy as the secret super power; your secret skill in helping you learn the lesson of your sign sun.

So what's your Moon Sign super power? Fire Moons usually have passion or drive/motivation on their side; Water Moons usually have emotions and intuitive abilities on their side; Air Moons are usually inquisitive, thoughtful and intelligent, and Earth Moons are usually nurturing, stable, and hardworking.

Rising Sign (Ascendant Sign)
This is sometimes called your Rising Sign, and it's another important one to know because of what it doesn't show. Your Ascendant Sign is the mask you wear when you first meet someone. It is the impression you give and how you carry yourself - though it might not be who you really are. Do people ever misread you or say you come off differently? I have a friend who always leaves others with the impression that she is this mysterious creature who keeps to herself - with a wildly attractive sexual undertone to her nature. She has a Scorpio Ascendant, but she's really just a bubbly Gemini!

However, in new situations and experiences, she is unsure, so she defaults to her ascendant sign, Scorpio. The Ascendant/Rising Sign is the colour or make of the car; but it doesn't really tell you the personality of the driver or how the engine operates. I'm a Leo (Lion!) Ascendant, which means I charge into a room, ready to shake everyone's hand and introduce myself (fire sign). I come off confident even if I'm feeling a little insecure, busy wondering if everyone in the room is having a good time (Libra Sun). Finding out your Ascendant can help you understand the first impression you give off, and how people respond to you. It can help you become more aware of how those around you are continuously reacting to you.

Since we are so affected by our external world, sometimes the way the world sees us, is also the way we see ourselves. This is a great sign to explore; you do need to know your exact birth time in order to have an accurate Ascendant. This sign changes every couple hours.


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AstrologyVaness Henry