Rising Sign vs Sun Sign: Are they both important?

When trying to learn astrology, one of the hardest parts is simply trying to keep all of the terms and symbols straight! Plus, some parts and pieces seem like they mean the same thing. The difference between your rising sign and Sun sign, for instance, can be confusing at first. So what’s the difference?

The difference between the rising sign and Sun sign is, your Sun sign describes the parts of your psyche and soul that the rest of you revolves around. It’s your power and goal to reach for. Your rising sign is how you express what’s inside. It’s both your outward persona and how you view the world.

man standing in a field watching the sunrise, symbolizing rising sign vs sun sign

Both your Sun sign and rising sign are vital pieces of your astrological puzzle. Understanding them is paramount in decoding your natal chart and your soul’s journey. Read on to learn more about the rising and Sun signs, and what they may mean for you!

Where to find your rising sign and Sun sign

If you want to learn more about your rising and Sun signs, you need to be able to find them first!

How to find your Sun sign

There are probably a few people who don’t know their Sun sign, but they may just not know that is what it’s called! When you look up “your sign” in a horoscope, this is your Sun sign.

Sun SignBirth Dates
AriesMarch 21-April 19
TaurusApril 20-May 20
GeminiMay 21-June 20
CancerJune 21-July 22
LeoJuly 23-August 22
VirgoAugust 23-September 22
LibraSeptember 23-October 22
ScorpioOctober 23-November 21
SagittariusNovember 22-December 21
CapricornDecember 21-January 20
AquariusJanuary 21-February 18
PiscesFebruary 19-March 20

You can also figure out what sign your Sun is in on your birth chart. You can get a free copy of your natal chart from Astrodienst. Pop in your exact birth date and where you were born and it will create one for you. What is fantastic is that they will store it for you, and also any other charts you want to plot, on their site for free.

Once you pull up your chart, find the glyph that looks like this: ☉. This is your Sun.

natal chart showing sun in Gemini, helping to illustrate rising sign vs sun sign

In the example chart above, you can see that their Sun sits in the sign of Gemini, so their Sun sign is Gemini.

Depending on the time of birth, in some charts the Sun sits really close to the border between two signs and it can be really hard to tell which sign it is sitting in. Fortunately, there is a table on the left side of the chart that shows which sign each of the planets is in.

table next to natal chart underlining the sun in Gemini

You can see how the table for our example chart also lists the Sun as being in the sign of Gemini.

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How to find your rising sign

Your rising sign is closely related to another important term in astrology, your Ascendant. Your Ascendant is the line where your 1st house begins in your natal chart. Whatever this Ascendant line is pointing at is referred to as your rising sign.

You will look for the line on the left-hand side of your chart that has a “1” right below it. Look on the outside ring of the chart to see what sign the 1st house Ascendant line is pointing to.

natal chart showing that the Ascendant is in Cancer, helping show rising sign vs sun sign

Using the same example chart, you can see that this person’s rising sign is Cancer. They could also be referred to as “Cancer rising.” Those mean the same thing.

Why your Sun sign is important

At the center of your psyche and soul is your Sun. This is your power and the energy that all other parts and pieces of who you are revolve around. The sign, placement, and condition of your Sun define what you are on this planet to do. When you are on the right path and in sync with your Sun, things will feel “right,” and you will feel energized and alive.

Every planet exists in the chart of every person. The energy from every planet is present and influencing you. However, these energies will always have to reflect off of your Sun first. Your Sun sign will help shape how these other planetary energies are expressed.

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If your Sun sign is Sagittarius, for instance, you will be seeking insight into the meaning of life through life experiences. You may have Saturn in Capricorn, which would make for a high concentration of serious, focused, disciplined energy. However, with your Sun in Sagittarius you would probably still never be someone who is content to buckle down, choose one big life goal, and then patiently and persistently chip away at it, sacrificing other experiences to reach it. Yes, there will be some areas of life where working diligently toward a goal will be necessary and beneficial for you. But, on the inside, you are still a free-spirited, spontaneous, adventure-seeking Sagittarius Sun who wants to cram as much into this existence as possible.

The sign of your Sun is important because it shows you where you need to go in life. This sign helps define your goal that will further your soul’s evolution. And, it also offers a set of tools, needs, and motivations that will help you get where you need to go. Wherever your Sun sits shows your where you have a great potential for growth.

Why your rising sign is important

So if the Sun sign helps describe your personal power and core, what role does your rising sign play?

Your rising sign describes the style in which you take what is inside and express it to the outside world. This could be called your social persona, social mask, the person you show to the world. You hear it described in many different ways, but the point is that your rising sign is how you perceive or see the world, which also influences how you behave accordingly.

Everyone is born with a lens that they see the world through. There are some people born who view the world as a place to prove themselves and where they need to test their limits. Others come to the world seeing a place that needs to be explored and investigated. And, some come here to see a society that is flawed. These examples are the rising sign at work. The rising sign influences how we see things, which also influences what we find in return. If we see a world full of flaws, we will find them (which isn’t meant as a negative because this also means we can identify what needs to be improved). But, if we instead see a world that is screaming to be explored, we will find adventure and possibilities instead.

Some describe your rising sign as the way the people in your life would describe you. I also think of it as your “default” state of being when we are going about our normal, day-to-day life. But, your rising sign is also important because it describes for us our most natural path for growing as a person and soul.

How your Sun sign and rising sign work together

Even after you read all of that, understanding the difference between your Sun sign and rising sign can still be a bit confusing. It may help to learn about how these two signs work together in the journey of your life.

Some describe your rising sign as the tools and approach you need to use to best achieve the goal of your Sun sign. Your Sun is where you want to get and your rising sign helps you get there. We, humans, are complex! Characteristics and needs from both your Sun sign and rising sign, along with sprinkles of energy from the other planets and their signs, all work in combination to make this great mixture that is you!

The rising and Sun signs and the Big 3

I feel as though I would be leaving out some important information for you in an article about your Sun and rising signs if I didn’t mention the “Big 3” in astrology. Yes, your rising sign and Sun sign are a crucial part of your birth chart, but there is another piece of this puzzle that needs to be mentioned, your Moon sign.

Your rising sign is your default way of interacting with the world and your Sun sign is your life’s goal and center of power, but we are still missing something important, your unconscious, which in astrology is described by your Moon. The sign, placement, and condition of your Moon detail what is going on in that soul of yours under the surface. Others may not be aware of it, and you may not even be able to see what’s going on in there, but your unconscious is there, nonetheless, and helping to call the shots. These are your emotions, drives, and urges that motivate you to react or feel a certain way without you thinking about it or understanding why.

Some describe your Moon sign as your temperament or overall mood. Understand your Moon and you will be enlightened as to where and how you can feel the most comfortable and happy. It can also help you bring those unconscious and hidden needs into the light so that you can understand how they motivate your behavior. Your Moon shows you the watery depths of your soul, and along with your rising and Sun signs, your Moon defines another important piece of your birth chart and your life journey.

Your houses in astrology: where the work needs done

Houses in astrology describe 12 pieces the birth chart is divided into. Each piece outlines a specific part of life. The signs and planets in a house indicate the best way to handle those experiences. Houses show what you can expect in that part of life, but also the best way to work through them.

One other tidbit to explore when it comes to your rising sign and Sun sign are their houses. I think of houses like the verbs in astrology. The signs and planets describe how and why we may do something, but the houses tell us what we will actually do. It is through these particular actions, specific relationships, or areas of life that we can work our magic and reach our potential.

Let’s look at our example chart one more time.

a natal chart showing the Ascendant and that their Sun is in the 11th house

To find the house of our rising sign is easy because it is always the 1st house! The cusp, or boundary line, of the 1st house, is also called the Ascendant. You can see that the Ascendant is abbreviated to “AC.” The Ascendant is the House of Personality and this defines who you show the world. Your rising sign, as you have already learned, describes the style in which you do this. That one is easy!

You also already learned that your Sun indicates the center of who you are and the goal you are striving for in this lifetime. The house it sits in, then, shows you what areas of life will be vital for this work to play out in. These are the parts of life that you must do this work in to reach your fullest potential.

You can see in the example chart above that this person’s Gemini Sun is in the 11th house. The 11th house covers the territory of life goals and plans and also the social circles you are in. Of course, nothing is this clear-cut, but as a general example, for this person, their purpose is to amass as much information as possible (Gemini Sun). Setting goals and creating an effective plan for their life will be an important way for them to fulfill their purpose (11th house). Talking with others in their social circles and learning from those around them could also play a vital role in this (both the 11th house and Gemini).

Below are very broad and general descriptions of the areas of life each house represents. You can use this table to reference your Sun’s house.

1st HouseHouse of Self, Ascendant or rising sign, identity, personality, our social mask, how we come at life, how we perceive the world
2nd HouseHouse of Money, finances, investments, earnings, possessions, spending, how we view money, our sense of self-worth
3rd HouseHouse of Communication, interaction with familiar people and environments, thinking, talking, listening, learning, common sense
4th HouseHouse of Home, IC or Imum Coeli, the soul, our home, self-knowledge, the unconscious, the environment we make for ourselves
5th HouseHouse of Children, self-expression, play, our children, how we parent, pleasure, how we find joy, need for attention
6th HouseHouse of Servants, work, tasks done to help others, those who do work for us, our health, how we do our jobs
7th HouseHouse of Marriage, Descendant or DC, ability to see from another’s perspective, marriage, business partnership
8th HouseHouse of Death, our feelings about death, transformation, instinctive feelings and behaviors, sexuality
9th HouseHouse of Long Journeys, faith, values, world view, higher education, long-distance travel, new routines, finding meaning in life
10th HouseHouse of Career, Midheaven, Medium Coeli or MC, our reputation, social status, career, achievements, our destiny
11th HouseHouse of Friends, social groups, future plans, goals, aspirations, direction in life, teams
12th HouseHouse of Troubles, transcendental experiences, seclusion, mysticism, letting go to a higher power, addiction

Learn more about the houses in our article on what the houses mean here and the meaning of signs in houses here.

The house your Sun sits in adds another dimension to the core of who you are and also gives you more clues, along with your rising sign and Moon sign, as to what is your most natural path to find true joy and the most growth over the course of your life.

What do you want to learn about next?

2nd House 3rd House 4th House 5th House 6th House 7th House 8th House 9th House 10th House 11th House 12th House Aquarius Aries Ascendant Aspects Bonus Cancer Capricorn Cardinal Chart Ruler Fixed Gemini Houses Learning Astrology Leo Libra Modes Moon Mutable North Node Opposite Signs Pisces Planet Personalities Rising Sign Sagittarius Saturn Scorpio Sign Vs Sign Stellium Strengths and Weaknesses Sun Taurus top Venus Virgo

Where Does Your Soul Want to Lead You?

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Discover your personal road map. Take our FREE mini-course and learn how Evolutionary Astrology can help you find more purpose and enhance your life!