I admit it: I’ve never bought into astrology. I used to laugh when people would ask about my astrological sign or tell me that their horoscope was on point because honestly, I was a little jealous — mine just didn't describe me. Capricorn horoscopes are usually about being a girl boss in the office, being super serious, and being a little bit of a loner. Even though I'd like to imagine myself killing the game at work, you can catch me giggling at literally anything any time of the day. There had to be something I was missing.
Turns out, I was. The horoscope that you're reading only focuses on something called your sun sign (mine is Capricorn because my birthday falls between Dec. 22- Jan. 20). While it’s important, it’s not the only thing you should be taking into consideration. There’s also something called the rising sign, also known as the Ascendant, that’s just as important as your sun sign. If you want a more accurate horoscope reading, you should read both when you read your daily, weekly, or monthly horoscopes.
“I usually tell people to read for both their sun sign and their rising sign because it can give them an extra layer in terms of what is going on that particular day or month or week," Bustle's resident astrologer Mecca Woods tells Bustle. Of course, there’s so much more to astrology than just those two signs, but for the sake of your horoscope, knowing these two will be the most useful.
What Your Sun Sign Really Means
This is what you generally look to when you read your horoscope — so for me, it's Capricorn. It’s based off your birthdate, and it literally refers to where the sun was in the sky when you were born. When you read your horoscope, you read your sun sign first because astrology is based off stars, and the sun is the brightest star.
"The sun sign is important because it essentially represents your core self, your identity."
“The sun sign is important because it essentially represents your core self, your identity,” Woods says. “It’s sort of like your life force, your life being, what drives you at the end of the day.” I love to be busy, so having a Cap sun always made sense because Capricorns are all about getting sh*t done. Beyond that, however, Capricorn's traits didn't really click with me.
According to astrologer Chani Nicholas, Capricorns have a loner reputation and are not known for their sensitivity or positive take on life, but I love hanging out with friends and am a little more free-spirited than Capricorns are often made out to be. Woods also adds that the sun also deals with the center of personality, and while I feel like more of an introvert, people often tell me I'm outgoing. Whatever they're seeing doesn't have much to do with my Capricorn sun — but that’s where my rising sign came into play.
What Your Rising Sign (aka The Ascendant) Really Means
To find your rising sign, you'll need three things: your birth date, the time of day you were born, and the name of the city you were born in.
The rising sign is almost as important as our sun sign because it deals with how we present ourselves to the world. “When we say rising, we literally mean looking to the eastern horizon to see what [sign] is rising there,” Nicholas says.
"The rising sign is how we approach the world and how we want to be seen."
In literal terms, the rising is the constellation that's rising in the sky when we're born. While the sun sign reflects your inner self, the rising sign deals with what's on the outside. “The rising sign is how we approach the world and how we want to be seen,” Woods says.
More importantly, the Ascendant sets up the rest of your birth chart. Everything about our birth chart is funneled through the Ascendant sign, Woods says.
Think of it like the first impression you give off to other people. For me, most people don't feel the seriousness of my Capricorn sun, which is because of my bubbly Sagittarius rising. Since everything about our sun sign needs to be placed in the context of our rising sign, my Sag rising explains why I like adventure and finding the bright side (even if Capricorn isn't really about those things). Basically, this explained almost everything I didn’t understand from my horoscope. Freaky, right?
Even though astrology isn’t for everyone, there’s a lot out there that most people (read: me) haven’t even heard about. If you want to know more about your horoscope or want to understand astrology a little more, try reading for both your sun sign and your rising when you look at your horoscopes. It will probably blow your mind.
Where You Can Learn More About Your Chart
Want to learn more? Woods has her own website and Nicholas offers astrology classes for people who are especially curious. Woods also recommends people look to astro.com for birth charts in order to find out their rising sign.
Want to read the whole thing? “Find an astrologer that you resonate with and study with them,” Nicholas says. Maybe everything’s not written in the stars, but there’s definitely a lot more up there than I expected.