You’re probably pretty familiar with your main zodiac (or Sun) sign, or even your Moon sign. You might be less familiar, however, with your rising sign, a.k.a. the sign that was approaching the Earth’s eastern horizon at the moment you were born, says Courtney O’Reilly, a New York City-based astrologer and founder of Vibrant Soul Astrology.
Also referred to as your ascendant sign, the traits associated with this sign are what you’re destined to embody in your lifetime, explains Miami-based astrologer Valerie Mesa. So, if you’ve ever felt like you don’t identify with your Sun sign, it’s likely because your rising sign is the part of your personality that really shines through: “Your rising sign is your essence that you present to the world,” says Mesa.
Meet the Experts:
Courtney O’Reilly is a New York City-based astrologer and founder of Vibrant Soul Astrology.
Valerie Mesa is an astrologer based in Miami, Florida.
Liz Simmons is a professional astrologer based in Salem, Massachusetts.
Jasmin Alejandrez-Prasad is an astrologer, Bruja, and creator of The Modern Spiritual Latina Oracle Deck.
Taanaz Chubb is an astrologer, author of My Pocket Mantras and founder of Forever Conscious.
Donna Page is a professional astrologer based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Here's everything you need to know about your rising sign and what it says about you…
How do I calculate my rising sign?
To calculate your rising sign, you’ll need your birth date, birthplace, and your exact birth time. Your birth time is crucial to calculating the exact sign your ascendant is in because the sign in the Earth’s eastern horizon changes every one to two hours, says Liz Simmons, a professional astrologer based in Salem, Massachusetts.
So yeah, call your parents, or track down that birth certificate. It’s important to avoid “guesstimating” in order to ensure accuracy, adds O’Reilly. Once you determine exactly when and where you were born, you can calculate your chart for free on a site like Astro.com, astro-charts.com, or cafeastrology.com.
What does my rising sign reveal about me?
“Consider this one of the most important aspects of your chart since it sets everything in motion,” says Simmons. The order of the zodiac signs in your houses (there are 12, each representing a key part of your life) follows whatever your rising sign is, so your ascendant basically sets up your entire chart, she adds.
Aside from this, your rising sign represents your identity, the first impression you give off, and can even allude to your physical appearance, says Simmons. Think of your ascendant as the way you show up in the world. It also refers to how you view yourself, so you might identify more with your rising sign than your sun sign.
Your ascendant sign can also determine how you might operate in new situations and how you assert yourself in an unfamiliar environment, says Jasmin Alejandrez-Prasad, an astrologer, Bruja, and creator of The Modern Spiritual Latina Oracle Deck.
How does my rising sign interact with my Sun and Moon signs?
Your ascendant sign is part of what astrologers call the “Big Three,” which, in addition to your rising sign, includes your Sun and Moon signs. If your ascendant sign is your identity, then your Sun sign, which represents your ego, expands upon that identity, explains Simmons. “Your Moon sign would then expand upon the Sun [sign] as the moon represents your superego and subconscious, emotional self,” she continues.
In other words, you can think of your rising sign as your first line of defense, says Alejandrez-Prasad. She explains that your rising sign is the first “person” new people meet, and once that person proves they can create a comfortable environment for you, then you might let them into your Sun sign energy. After that, if the other person is able to create a space for emotional safety and openness, then they get the privilege to experience your Moon sign. “All three signs play a domino effect into the gateway of your authentic self.”
TL;DR: “Your rising sign blends with your Sun and Moon signs to give you a more accurate snapshot of your personality,” says astrologer Taanaz Chubb, author of My Pocket Mantras and founder of Forever Conscious.“You could say your rising sign is the version of yourself that you present to someone before they really get to know you.”
Ruling Planet: Mars
If your rising sign is Aries, then you can bet you have a strong sense of identity and an entrepreneurial spirit, O’Reilly says, adding: “You dive right in—the world is full of opportunities meant just for you, and you’re very action-oriented.” Professional astrologer Donna Page agrees, adding that people with this sign are “bold and good leaders. [They are] quick to make decisions when something is presented that they want,” she says.
And because Aries is ruled by Mars, you’re probably passionate and (at times) a bit hot-headed, Mesa says.“Aries rising signs will literally walk with a pep in their step,” she adds.
As an Aries rising, you’re also proactive about your physique, health, and fitness. You probably love athleisure, since it’s the perfect outfit for getting sh*t done—gym, errands, lunch date—so you don’t waste time changing clothes.
Ruling Planet: Venus
You’re probably super-chill, huh? O’Reilly says having Taurus as your rising sign means “life is met in a practical and more slow-moving manner.” Taurus ascendant signs are incredibly stable individuals, so you probably come across as very level-headed, adds Simmons.
And because you’re so grounded in reality, you’re not prone to exaggeration. As a Taurus rising, you might also be sensitive to sensory stimulation, O’Reilly says. Think: Is your TikTok feed all ASMR videos? Or maybe you're drawn to nature videos, as people with this rising sign have a deep appreciation for nature and “find happiness from simple creature comforts and the physical world,” says Page.
And because Taurus is ruled by Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, “usually, Taurus rising signs are physically gorgeous,” says Mesa. Taurus also loves comfort and stability, so you probably dress in a fashionable, yet practical way, says Simmons. Bonus: You also live for hugs, Mesa adds.
Ruling Planet: Mercury
For forever-curious rising Geminis, there will always be something new to learn, explore, and share, O’Reilly says. Meaning, if you’re a Gemini ascendant sign, then you’re probably versatile and adaptable. You can also be quite restless since your mind needs to keep up with your body, Simmons adds: “Do not be surprised if Gemini rising is always physically on the go and has a hard time sitting still.”
You also most likely possess strong communication skills, especially through teaching and writing. Page shares that the ability to communicate might also make Gemini a social butterfly. “[They are] able to interact with a variety of different people in a friendly and charming way,” she says. When Gemini rising signs are around others, they feel most energized, adds Mesa.
Additionally, because Gemini rules the hands and arms, you can spot a Gemini rising a mile away by their grand hand gestures while talking, says Simmons.
Ruling Planet: The Moon
“Cancer ascendants are sensitive to the emotional atmosphere and the subtle undercurrents around them,” Page says. “Instinctive and intuitive, they know when something feels right or not—and it comes from the gut and not the intellect.”
You also have a tendency to be soft-hearted and gentle, O’Reilly says. Don’t be surprised if you like to ride solo, too. Cancers need plenty of alone time in order to “be true to and honor their own unique rhythm to thrive,” she adds.
Ruled by the moon, Cancer ascendants are elusive and can be hard to read. “Their mood is constantly changing and mysterious,” Mesa says. Cancer risings might even have a doe-eyed, rosy cheeked, angelic look about them, Mesa says, which matches their intuitive, parent-like energy.
Ruling Planet: The Sun
“Like the sun itself, Leo rising cannot help but attract attention,” says Simmons. You are outgoing, super-creative, and know how to get the party started. Not to mention, “you thrive when you have an outlet to share and be recognized for your creativity,” O’Reilly says.
Page agrees, adding that, for Leo rising signs, “they walk into a room and people sense it... because Leos are known for making others feel warm and welcome.”
Leos “glow like the sun, and they usually have a dramatic flair to them,” explains Mesa, which is why many Leos are known for being artists. You probably have a loud, fashionable presence, adds Simmons. Think: Bold prints, big hair, and glam makeup. Leos are also fiercely loyal friends, so when you happen to just click with someone, you’ll want to keep them in your corner.
Ruling Planet: Mercury
You’re a problem solver and love to volunteer your help, O’Reilly says, adding “there is gratification when you can be part of what makes the world run more smoothly and efficiently.” You may initially come off as critical since you notice every detail, and often point out when something is wrong or inefficient, adds Simmons, but you're quick to offer a solution to any problem.
And while you like to be there for others, you’re also pretty self-sufficient, Page says. Whether toward themselves or others, Virgo risings are very devoted and responsible, Mesa says. “They often have such a long to-do list and so much going on in their head that they can almost seem unresponsive or not paying attention to you—but they are,” Mesa says. They’re just busy.
Responsible and detail-oriented, you tend to have a clean, simple, and put-together appearance, says Simmons. You might opt for neutral colors and sensible fashion choices. You are also good at staying objective and maintaining a non-emotional attitude, which is probably why you are known for getting sh*t done.
Ruling Planet: Venus
You’re a born diplomat and tend to be tolerant and fair while listening to various viewpoints, Page says. That’s why it’s no surprise that you also constantly strive for balance in your own life.
That said, your ability to see everyone’s side can also make you indecisive, since you want to account for all feelings when making a choice, says Mesa. Harmony, peace, and love are totally your M.O.
Libra rising also "has a keen eye for making surroundings more beautiful and enjoyable, and a deep appreciation of the arts,” says O’Reilly. Ruled by Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, Libra ascendant signs have lots of social charm and light, Mesa adds: “They’re sweet and pretty, and they seek companionship and relatability.”
Because Libras love love so much, being seen as a companion is probably something you strive for. “You rarely see a Libra rising alone,” says Simmons.
Ruling Planet: Pluto (Classical Ruler: Mars)
If Scorpio is your rising sign, consider yourself a superhuman. That’s because not only are you a truth seeker, but your sharpened emotional intelligence and gut instinct act as a sixth sense, according to O’Reilly. So basically you can read people like a book, and you’re super resilient.
You can also be pretty private, Page adds, which means there’s a bit of a wall to break down when it comes to getting to know you. But once someone does, you’re their ride or die no matter what. When trying to pinpoint Scorpio ascendants, look for people with strong gazes and stares. “They give off that secretive, sexy, sultry energy, as if they can see right through you without even realizing it,” says Mesa. Expect to be drawn by their siren-like personality and presence, adds Simmons.
Ruling Planet: Jupiter
Life is one big adventure when you fall under this rising sign. “They’re down for anything, and they want to make the most of everything,” Mesa explains. Basically, you just like to enjoy life, and you’re generous with your availability to others because you like making time for activities that breed joy and insight, she adds.
O’Reilly notes that, for you, “there is always more to learn and integrate into your own life and, in doing so, you become an inspiration, example, and teacher to others.” Sagittarius ascendant has a larger-than-life personality and presence that just draws people in like a magnet, says Simmons. “They can sweep you up with their enthusiasm of what they believe,” adds Page.
This optimistic attitude leads Sagittarius rising to go to great lengths to fulfill the vision of the life they dream of, Page says. With Jupiter, the planet of good fortune, as your planetary ruler, no dream is too big as you’re blessed with good luck!
Ruling Planet: Saturn
For this sign, O’Reilly says discipline, achievement, and validation for hard work are important. You are also bound to have a deep respect for history and what has come before you.
Even if you’re the sweetest person on the planet, you’re still going to come across as having an I’m-not-here-to-play-games attitude, says Mesa. Capricorn ascendants have a sophisticated, leadership-driven, boss energy, she adds. You’re never going to fall for that “leap and the net will appear” stuff.
Capricorn rising is pragmatic and will only accomplish specific goals after strategizing and slowly building toward their ultimate destination, according to O’Reilly. And Page says you’ll only give your stamp of approval on a certain situation once you are sure you can make the commitment to see it through to completion.
Ruling Planet: Uranus (Classical Ruler: Saturn)
This ascendant sign is future-oriented, focusing on where they are going rather than where they’ve been, O’Reilly says. In other words, you have no time to mull over what happened in the past and often have no regrets. You’re also a rebel with a cause: O’Reilly says Aquarius rising has a desire to break through the status quo with the ultimate goal of seeing humanity improve as a whole. As a friend to humanity, you’re usually well-liked and well-connected, even during your more independent streaks, says Simmons.
Aquarius rising is also strong-minded, loyal, and willing to help friends untangle their problems from a rational point of view, according to Page. With Uranus as your planetary ruler, when you walk into a room, you shake things up. “The way that they express themselves is so unique and different,” Mesa says. “Part of this rising sign’s journey is that they are meant to stand out."
Basically, if you’re an Aquarius rising and you’ve never quite felt like you “fit in” it just means you’re embodying your rising sign to the fullest. Translation: You’re unique!
Ruling Planet: Neptune (Classical Ruler: Jupiter)
“Dreamy and mystical, Pisces rising tends to be the most fantastical rising sign,” says Simmons. This is because Pisces rising is a gentle, sensitive person with a deep understanding of people and a nonjudgmental approach towards others, Page says. “Not wanting to see [anyone] suffer, they offer their help when a friend is in need of a shoulder to cry on," she adds.
This ascendant sign also has a deep “understanding that all things are connected” and consistently strives for unity, says O’Reilly. Pisces risings are also multi-faceted, and they often have many different sides to them. “They love the arts, music, TV, and the like,” Mesa says. “They’ll go through phases where they portray different characters and styles because they are deeply artistic.” You can spot a Pisces rising easily through their artistic flair and mutable, yet creatively-inclined wardrobe, says Simmons.
Caroline Shannon-Karasik is a writer and mental health advocate based in Pittsburgh, PA. In addition to Women's Health, her work has appeared in several print and online publications, including The Cut, Tonic, Narratively, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, and DAME. She is currently writing a collection of essays.
Naydeline Mejia is an assistant editor at Women’s Health, where she covers sex, relationships, and lifestyle for WomensHealthMag.com and the print magazine. She is a proud graduate of Baruch College and has more than two years of experience writing and editing lifestyle content. When she’s not writing, you can find her thrift-shopping, binge-watching whatever reality dating show is trending at the moment, and spending countless hours scrolling through Pinterest.
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