Humans are complicated beings and the world is a complicated place, so it makes sense that we'd try to understand ourselves better by studying astrology and reading your astrological chart. And once you dig beneath the surface of astrology, you'll quickly find out that you're made up of much more than a single zodiac sign. Most horoscopes are written for our sun signs, which are the sign that most people identify with — but we also have moon signs and rising signs (among others) — and these are just as pertinent to understanding our astrology as our regular zodiac sign is.
Let's do a quick review of your three major signs in astrology: Your sun sign represents the core of who you are, as well as your ego, drive, persona, and overarching values. Your rising sign, on the other hand, relates to your surface-level self and represents how you present to others. But understanding what your moon sign means in astrology can be one of the most eye-opening discoveries in your birth chart. "The moon [relates to] how we care, our emotions, our sensitivities, and our home," astrologer Lisa Stardust tells Bustle. In your chart, the moon sign will tell you about your most vulnerable and emotional sides, and illuminates your private inner world.
As the moon moves through the sky during its lunar month, it changes signs approximately every two and a half days. So in order to calculate your moon sign, you may need an exact birth time, depending on whether or not the moon changed signs on the day you were born. To find yours, you can consult a professional astrologer or use an online moon sign calculator to look it up yourself (remember to have your exact birth time and location handy in addition to your birthday!). Wherever the moon falls in the zodiac denotes what your moon sign is — and this placement says a lot about how you express your emotions and want to feel nurtured.
Here's what you need to know about what moon signs represent in astrology.
The Moon Is About Our Emotions
One of the most significant pieces of what the moon represents in our cosmic framework is emotions and feelings. "While our sun sign tells us how we shine, our moon sign describes our emotional nature," astrologer Catherine Urban tells Bustle. The moon sign tells us how we express our feelings, behave in emotional situations, or respond to others' emotions. And because the moon moves through the zodiac relatively quickly, it's the planet has the most sway over our day-to-day moods. That helps to explain why some people feel extra emotional under a full moon.
If your moon is in a fire sign, you likely have big emotional reactions, whereas you're probably more stable and grounded in emotional situations if you're an earth moon sign. If you're a water moon sign, you feel your emotions in a deep and meaningful way — but if your moon is in an air sign, you likely approach emotional situations from a more detached and intellectual perspective.
The Moon Represents Our Maternal Instincts
The moon in astrology is considered the most maternal planet, so it makes sense our moon signs dictate the way we seek emotional safety and provide comfort to the people we love. "The moon is our emotional and sentimental side, [but it] also represents our maternal instincts and how we nurture ourselves/others," Stardust says. The moon speaks to what makes us feel comfortable, safe, and taken care of emotionally. And on an even more literal level, your moon sign can even illustrate the relationship you have with the maternal figures in your life
"We all have emotional needs, and the moon by sign tells us our soothing style — what we’re apt to do for others and the quality of nourishment we wish to receive from others," Urban says. "It tells us what we need after a long day at work or after a fight with someone we love." Look to your moon sign to inspire some self-care practices for when you need to feel extra loved, nurtured, and emotionally secure.
Moon Signs Come Out When You're Most Vulnerable
Part of getting to know someone is seeing new sides of them, and sometimes it doesn't really feel like you know someone until you've seen them be truly vulnerable — and those moments are exactly when you'll really see someone's moon sign show. "The moon is the part of ourselves that is felt deep within, that we cannot easily express," Stardust says. Just as the moon itself only shines at night, most people will only feel comfortable showing off their vulnerable moon-ruled sides when they feel like they're safe from the prying, judging eyes of daylight. Expect your moon sign's qualities to come out when you're feeling deeply emotional, extra sentimental, or simply when you're alone and can really be your truest, most vulnerable self.
Your Moon Sign Can Affect Your Sun Sign
Moon signs can also affect the way (or degree to which) we express our sun signs, too. Ever met someone whose zodiac sign doesn't seem to match up to their personality very well? This isn't too uncommon, considering we have many signs and planets that affect astrology in our birth charts — but looking to someone's moon sign can explain a lot when it comes to a confusing sun sign situation. Next to the sun itself, it's one of the most important personal planets, so we have to consider the balance between them.
If your moon sign is in the same element as your sun sign, you may not feel this tension — but if it's in an opposing or neighboring element, then it might influence the way your sun sign qualities show up. For example, if someone with their sun in a fire sign has their moon in a water sign, they might be more passive and gentle than a typical fire sign, and not nearly as straightforward or brazen as you'd expect.
Moon Signs Influence Your Love Life, Too
Your love life is influenced by the moon in a significant way. When you're falling in love with someone, you're essentially opening up your heart to the possibility of heartbreak, and that's one of the most vulnerable feelings one can experience — so you can guarantee that your moon sign will come into play when dealing with such intimate, sentimental, and emotionally-entwined relationships.
If you're not in a relationship and are simply looking for an astrological love match, your moon sign might be an even better indicator to look to for guidance than your sun sign. "When it comes to compatibility, we really need to pay close attention to the moon, as the moon represents our most private and instinctual self," Urban says. Looking for love by examining this more intimate part of your chart can be a lot more telling that simply looking at sun sign compatibility — so calculate your crush's moon sign and plan some dates accordingly.
Your moon sign is just as important to who you are as your sun sign is, and learning about what yours means will shine a whole new light on your personal astrological makeup. Look up your moon sign and discover how it affects your personality, emotions, and inner life.