Making sense of the zodiac: an explanation of the mumbo jumbo

What the heck is a ‘moon sign’? What on earth is a 'rising sign'? Izzy Stackpool breaks down all the astrology fun... and it's out of this world.

Source: The Daily Dot

Source: The Daily Dot

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that depending on what time of year you’re born you have a particular zodiac sign. There’s 12 of them. Aries, Taurus, Gemini etc etc. They’re said to influence your personality. When you get into the nitty-gritty of astrology, this is known as your ‘sun sign’. 

Hold up, sun sign? What am I talking about, where is this coming from? Let me introduce you to the joy that is astrology birth charts.

Also known as a natal chart, it’s a zodiac thing that analyses where the planets and constellations were in the sky at the exact moment when you were born. So you grab one of the many free birth charts available online, like here or here (no one expects you to have some universal cosmic knowledge or anything), and plug in specifically where and when you were born. This will tell you a bunch of information, like your moon and rising sign, as well as an in-depth look into where each planet was in regards to the constellations. All of these components analyse different influences on your personality and life.  

Here’s my birth chart:

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But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Today we’re focusing specifically on the extra ones that people tend to analyse the most – moon signs and rising signs.


Moon signs

In astrology they say that your sun sign represents your zodiac personality. So seems pretty logical that your moon sign (where the moon was when you were born) reflects your emotions and inner mood. The ‘inner you’, if you will, looking at what shapes your deepest needs and wants. The moon shifts to a different sign every 2-3 days, meaning that people born a few days apart in the same zodiac could be very different.

Aries moons need a challenge and want action, Taurus moons need stability and want material comforts, Gemini moons need communication and to be stimulated by new ideas, Cancer moons need nurturing and stability. Leo moons want attention, affection and excitement. Virgo moons need order and mental stimulation but want to feel helpful (it’s me, guys). Libra moons need harmony and want companionship, while Scorpio moons need privacy and strong bonds. A Sagittarius moon wants adventure and variety. A Capricorn moon craves ambition and meaningful creations. An Aquarius moon wants individuality and friendship and a Pisces moon needs compassion and creative outlets.


Rising signs

Also known as your ascendant sign, this symbolises the sign that was rising on the eastern horizon at the place and time where you were born. Your rising sign is said to portray the way that others perceive you, the impression you give people, as well as explain your spontaneous or immediate reaction to things.  It’s the ‘first impression’ sign.

Aries will seem bold, Taurus is a strong presence, Gemini is a natural communicator, Cancers are caring and empathetic, Leo will be dynamic and warm, Virgo ascendants are observant and analytical, Libra rising is charming, Scorpio ascendants will seem powerful, Sagittarius will give a blunt and wise impression, Capricorns come across as hard-working and polished, while Aquarius march to the beat of their own drum. Pisces ascendants are sensitive and enigmatic.


So what are you waiting for? Go forth and explore your newfound self, in all its planetary glory!

Isabelle ‘Izzy’ Stackpool is an astrology enthusiast in her second year at UTS, double-majoring in Journalism and Public Relations. Her passions include travel, sushi and kittens.