Rising Signs, Explained: What Ascendant Signs Reveal About Personality

As astrology has entered mainstream conversations, more people are going beyond their sun signs for knowledge about their birth charts. That means folks are taking an interest in their moon signs, rising signs, and more natal chart information beyond those, what many call “the big three.”

But even some who are aware of their rising signs may not know exactly what it means for them, so that’s what we’re here to explain: what exactly a rising sign is, how to find it, and a basic breakdown of how your rising sign may be expressed in your life.

What to Know About Rising Signs

The sun spends about 30 days in each sign, and the moon spends roughly two and half days in each sign. The elusive rising sign is so-called because it denotes which sign is on the horizon at the time of birth. This is why astrology requires a precise birth time rather than an estimate to create a proper natal chart. (For the longest time, we had the wrong birth time for my sister and thought she was a Sagittarius rising, when she’s actually a Pisces rising. Now it makes so much more sense.)

The sun is your deepest self, the moon is your inner emotional landscape, the rising sign (or ascendant) is both your outlook on the world and the first impression you give to others. At a first meeting, job interview, or party, people will perceive you as your rising sign. As they get to know you better, they come to see the rest of your chart. This can happen at different paces depending on the relationship.

This type of sign is also often called “the public mask” or “front door.” The rising also denotes your ruling planet, which carries the energy of that sign. This planet carries extra meaning in your chart. When we’re looking at signs, houses, and planets, we are also always looking for the ruler of that sign, house, or planet. So there’s a lot more to a birth chart than your sun, moon, and rising signs. If you find you don’t identify with those, just remember there are other factors at play.

How to Find Your Rising Sign

To find your rising sign, it’s crucial to know your exact time of birth. Don’t just rely on your parents’ memories. Every state in the U.S. formats birth certificates differently, but requesting your “long-form birth certificate” will ensure you get your birth time.

Once you have your birth time, most astrologers swear by to create a proper chart. Not only will its tried-and-true system calculate your sun, moon, and rising signs, it will provide snippets of a free personal portrait with some horoscopes too. There are also apps available, including Costar and TimePassages, that calculate birth charts using the same information, but you can’t go wrong with

A Deep Dive Into Every Rising Sign

Astrology is a nuanced topic. If you find that descriptions of your rising sign don’t resonate with you, please keep in mind that it’s just a tiny piece of the puzzle. A full rundown of your rising sign includes not just the sign but also the house your ruling planet is in, and other nuances in your personal chart, such as where the planets are in relation to one another. There are infinite possibilities and combinations, but the following breaks down rising signs in their basic forms, without any of this additional information.


If you’re an Aries rising, chances are you come off as brave, opinionated, and independent. You have a very strong and commanding presence, and may even be seen as intimidating. You are the fierce warrior of the zodiac. Being the first sign, you lead the cavalry. As the first fire sign of the zodiac, you are intensely competitive and view the world as a series of competitions. Aries, you are a trailblazer who leaps before you look and asks for forgiveness, not permission. You also act on your instincts, which are usually spot-on.

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