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Understanding Your Sun, Moon, and Ascendant Signs

When exploring Astrology, your Sun, Moon, and Ascendant signs are typically the first things you discover about yourself. Learn the function of each of these significant signs and the starlit wisdom they offer to understanding and navigating your human experience.

I recommend you read this blog along with How Your Natal Chart is Calculated and What is True Sidereal Astrology to get the most comprehensive understanding of this cosmic information!

Learn hose your natal chart is calculated

I remember learning my Sun, Moon, and Ascendant signs over 10 years ago. I was both intrigued and confused by what I read online about them and what each represented in me. These three signs were said to hold significant information about who I am. Yet, despite how many interpretations I read about them, I couldn’t tangibly connect to their expressions in my daily life.

What does having an Aquarius/Pisces 6th House Sun really mean, anyway? That I’m a compassionate planner who’s also a little weird and imaginative? And what about my Leo 12th House Moon? And why are there so many different descriptions for the Ascendant?

Reading superficial interpretations about my Sun, Moon, and Ascendant signs left me feeling like I was only scratching the surface of the cosmic wisdom contained in their meaning. I struggled to find any content that explained the trio in a cohesive way that had meaningful depth. Many list their Sun, Moon, and Ascendant signs with a sense of self-knowingness, yet rarely do I come across anyone who knows explicitly the role each takes in their energy and life.

What do your Sun, Moon, and Ascendant signs really reflect about you? Keep reading, and you'll discover the fundamental dynamics of each of these significant chart components in your life and their interwoven nature, allowing you to hone in on where these energies operate in your human experience. I will also make a case for the importance of your Descendant sign in this blog, as it’s the balancing energy for your Ascendant sign.

Calculating your Sun, Moon, and Ascendant Signs

First, how do you calculate your Sun, Moon, and Ascendant signs? Let’s take a quick look at your natal chart! If you don’t have a natal chart, you can use my free online chart calculator here. Please note that this online chart calculator uses what is called the True Sidereal Zodiac. It’s a bit different than the Tropical Zodiac, which mainstream Astrology uses, and could change what Zodiac signs are associated with your Sun, Moon, and Ascendant. I highly recommend you read my blogs on How Your Natal Chart is Calculated and True Sidereal Astrology along with this blog for the most comprehensive understanding of all of this information.

Once you have your natal chart, look for the placements and symbols shown in this diagram. Your Sun and Moon sign will have two parts to calculate—the Zodiac sign and the House position. Your Ascendant will only include a Zodiac sign, always found at the mid-left part of the chart, shown here by the AS. It always kicks off the 1st House. Here's a nifty resource of Astrological symbols to reference as you need.

Using my chart as an example, you can see the Sun was located on the Aquarius/Pisces cusp in my 6th House, and the Moon was located in Leo in my 12th House. Virgo was the Zodiac on my Ascendant. There are also many free online tools that will tell you your Sun, Moon, and Ascendant signs, like this one!

A Journey to Self-Actualization

Before we dive into what the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant (and Descendant) reveal together, it’s important you understand them in the larger context of the natal chart and to understand the natal chart in the context of your Soul. What is your natal chart communicating about you? What is your Soul? Well, no one knows for sure! No human knows with verifiable proof what the Soul is or what happens spiritually when we enter and leave this Earthly world.

Because no one knows for sure what the Soul is or the purpose of any and all of our human lives, we only have beliefs to guide us through these vast existential waters. I state this because I will share with you my beliefs and workings with the Soul. It doesn't have to be what you believe.

I entertain the idea that our Soul is our consciousness, our higher awareness of life happening at all, and an eternal life force energy that emanates from our heart centers. The first law of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be destroyed or created only transformed. So, the life force energy that animates your body this very moment didn’t suddenly appear out of thin air when you were born; it was transformed from something else. Whether that was from the food your mother consumed when you were developing in her womb or from a previous incarnation as a human or both, who knows? What I do know with a level of confidence is that your “Soul” or life force energy was around before this life in some form, and it will continue to exist in some form after this life. This natal chart of yours in this life is not all there is to you. It’s sharing information regarding this specific incarnation you’re living.

I believe that we are all here experiencing this human life for the purpose of what psychologist Abraham Maslow termed self-actualization—to heal, grow, and evolve into our highest expression of Self. Another way to say this is we are here clearing Karma to reach our Dharma. This path of actualization and clearing Karma looks so different for everyone! Your natal chart shows me what this path looks like for you. It shows the unique, energetic dynamic that your Soul came here to experience in this human life for the purpose of self-actualizing.

From my perspective and belief, and the lens I invite my clients to try on when looking at their charts, everything in your chart was intentionally selected for your evolution and growth. Your incarnation as a human being happened at a precise and purposeful moment in spacetime. Your Sun, Moon, and Ascendant (and Descendant) signs are like the backbone of this human experience for you, which all other chart aspects further define and characterize. I like to say that your natal chart is a map of the specific and unique frequency of your energy field. You aren’t here to be like anyone else. You are here discovering and embodying a more authentic and individualized version of yourself, and your natal chart is a starlit map to knowing this version of yourself. Your Sun, Moon, and Ascendant (and Descendant) signs in the chart reveal the fundamental basis of your human experience.

Your Inner & Outer Worlds and the Veil Between

Now, I want to connect you to the specific areas of your experience where the Sun, Moon, Asendant, and Descendant operate. At any given moment, you are experiencing two parallel worlds—your external world and your internal world. We can be aware of both if we tune into them. What’s going on outside of you? What’s going on inside of you? Your conscious awareness, your Soul, as I define it, witnesses and processes both your internal and external experiences, a world you and others can see and a world only you can feel. There is a constant feedback loop of information occurring between your inner and outer world, between the sensations in your body and the physical environment around you.

Think about it: every word you say is an example of information being shared by your inner world with the external world. When someone says something back to you, your internal world receives information from the external world. This is a biofeedback loop that takes place every moment of the day for each of us and ends up co-creating our entire physical reality. Our external experience influences our internal state (example: this restaurant is really loud, and I can’t hear my friend speaking to me). Our new internal state caused by an external experience influences our behavior (example continued: feeling disturbed by the sound, you decide to ask the waiter for a quieter table and move). Then, our external world responds again, which continues this never-ending loop taking place between our internal and external experiences every moment.

When you build awareness of this constant process of stimulus and response between your external and internal worlds, you quickly realize that you have power orchestrating it. Your Sun sign is correlated with the qualities and traits that inform your external experience, while your Moon sign is correlated with the qualities and traits that inform your internal experience. Your Ascendant and Descendant signs are correlated with the flow of information between your inner and outer worlds. Knowing the dynamic of these signs in your life allows you to have more control over your experience and impact through your actions. It's like a user manual for your energy field.

We all have certain sensitivities to our external environment, coloring the way we perceive information coming into our system (Descendant sign). Likewise, we all place a certain filter on our self-expression, which colors the way we share our internal worlds with the external environment (Ascendant sign). This veil between our internal and external world that harmonizes our experience of both is marked in your natal chart by the horizon line. The moment you were born, the horizon line of the Earth divided the sky into two sections: a 180º section you could see above the horizon line and a 180º section you couldn’t see below the horizon line. This is a beautiful reflection of the external/internal experiences I just described.

Your natal chart illustrates through the orientation of the planets and Zodiac in these top and bottom sections what your external experience is like and your internal experience are like in this life. Those with many planets and components in the bottom half of their chart are called to have an evolutionary journey in this life that requires more of a pull toward an internal experience. Those with many planets and components in the top half of the chart are called to have an evolutionary journey that takes place more in the external world. Most of us have a mixed dynamic between our internal and external worlds. Your Sun & Moon signs give more detail and information as to the characteristics of your external/internal worlds, while your Ascendant/Descendant give more detail as to how information moves between your two worlds. Super cool.

The Functional Differences of the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant/Descendant

The Sun, Moon, and Ascendant are all very different components of the natal chart and solar system. Each functions differently in your energy field and reveals its own set of helpful information about you. You work with these energies differently. The Sun is an energy source, a bright star made of plasma, the powerhouse for our entire solar system, and likewise, it is the fueling life force energy in you. Everything revolves around the Sun, and photons (light particles) from the Sun are why we can see anything in the physical world right now, including ourselves. Not an energy source, the Moon is a rocky satellite that reflects the energy from the Sun (photons) back to us. It is the closest and only material object that orbits Earth, making it uniquely connected to our human lives. Its gravitational relationship with the Earth impacts our natural world. The Ascendant/Descendant aren't celestial bodies at all. As discussed above, they are part of what are called directional axis planes in Astrology, marking the Zodiac sign located on the Eastern/Western horizon the moment you were born. Each of these energies in the chart is different and unique, and this is reflected in the role each of these components plays in the Solar System. Let’s dive into each of them specifically.

The Sun: Your Life Force & Heart

The Sun is the fiery star of quantum energy at the center of our Solar System. The electromagnetic field of the Sun is the sole reason we have celestial bodies, including the Earth, orbiting in the Solar System. The Sun is why we are here. This is metaphorically and literally reflected by the significance of your heart. As the strongest organ/muscle, the heart keeps the body alive by pumping blood throughout every limb and tissue, just as the light of the Sun touches the farthest outskirts of the Solar System. Your heart is why you are here living this life.

The location of the Sun the moment you were born reveals where your life force energy is concentrated. It tells me where your heart operates and what you're driven to physically experience in the external world. By truly understanding your Sun sign, you are gaining insight into your passion, purpose, and source of motivation for living. Your Sun sign is your inner fire that’s here to fuel your creative ambitions in this life. Creating change in the external world of physical matter takes a lot of energy and willpower, and your heart, as reflected by the Sun’s function in our Solar System, is the energy source that can enact that kind of change. Your Sun sign is reflective of your will to live.

If you feel unfulfilled, uninspired, and unsatisfied with your life, I would say you are disconnected from your Sun sign energy. When we tap into and tune into our Sun sign energy, we find a natural source of purpose and passion that supports us in approaching this human life with greater desire, fervor, and resiliency. When you're tuned into your Sun sign, your days have meaning, motivation, and there's a "fire inside you". The themes, qualities, and traits of my Sun sign are what "light me up." They are the values I care most about at my core, keeping me living a life in alignment with my truth.

The Moon: Your Subjective Experience

The Moon has a unique role in our Solar System that reflects the internal world dynamics. The relationship the Earth has with the Sun is different than the relationship it has with the Moon. The Earth isn’t the only material object orbiting the Sun, yet the Moon is the only material object orbiting the Earth. To the Moon, the Earth is the Sun. I'll say again, we are here experiencing life on Earth through both a physical world where we engage with other forces and a sensational world that can only be felt by ourselves experiencing it. Do you see the parallel of energy between our experience and the relationships of the Sun, Earth, and Moon? As the Moon is the closest and only celestial body orbiting the Earth, influencing life on Earth in tangible ways with its gravitational effect, the Moon’s function in your life is your subjective experience of yourself, the nature of your inner emotional landscape, what’s happening beneath the surface of your external presentation. What are you actually feeling and thinking at this moment? No one can know that but you. Just as the Moon is solely tuned into the Earth, your Moon sign is solely tuned into your sensational, internal experience of self, something no other force is tuned into.

The Zodiac sign, House placement, phase of the Moon, as well as aspects with other natal planets when you were born would give me some idea of what this inward experience of yourself is like. The information revealed by the Moon’s position in your natal chart communicates what kind of role your inner world takes in your human experience. Some of us require more anchoring into our internal experience in this life to grow & evolve. Some of us don't. It's worth to note that the Moon represents the subconscious realm altogether and your connection to it. The Moon is energy concerned and reflective of "what's beneath the surface".

The Ascendant/Descendant: Your Filter Between Worlds

So the Sun represents your driving force for life, your heart’s passion, fueling you forward and outward to co-create in the material world. The Moon represents your inward subjective experience of life and your internal feeling nature that only you can know. Together, they reflect the nature of your external and internal worlds that you’re constantly experiencing, as repeatedly discussed throughout this blog. Then, there is the veil between worlds that colors information coming and going from external to internal and then to external again, as illustrated by the horizon line of the Earth.

As the Sun rises in the East, the Zodiac sign that the Eastern horizon points to carries the energy of the rising Sun in your energy field. How does your life force energy, as represented by the Sun’s significance at this East position, move from the unseen world of feeling into the seen world of physical expression? Even if you weren’t born when the Sun was literally rising, the Zodiac sign/constellation on the Eastern horizon holds the energy of the rising Sun for you. This is your Ascendant or Rising sign, and it always marks the start of the 1st House (House of Self) and House system, which then moves counterclockwise around the chart (the direction of the Earth’s rotation on its axis).

Likewise, the Sun sets in the West, and the Zodiac sign on the Western horizon point in your chart is known as your Descendant sign. It holds the energy of the setting Sun for you. How and what are you sensitive to in your environment? How do you color information coming into your system, whether that be through conversations with other people or your general reaction to forces outside of yourself?

I’m talking about both the Ascendant and Descendant signs here when typically only the Ascendant is highlighted because once you understand the energy dynamics of the natal chart, it is imbalanced to only look at the energy of the Ascendant sign! To have a functional flow of information in and out of your field and to harmonize the filter you have between your internal and external experience, both the Ascendant and Descendant energies are essential to understand. Your Ascendant and Descendant signs will inherently oppose each other, allowing them to harmonize with each other.

Understanding the Dynamics of Your Sun, Moon, and Ascendant/Descendant

So I hope this blog has explained the role of your Sun, Moon, and Ascendant/Descendant signs to much greater definition and clarity. That's my goal. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think of this information!

It has taken me years of study and pratice to tune into and orchestrate these energies in me for more harmony and alignment with my Soul. I truly use all of these chart placements regularly when making decisions in my life. They help guide me into a more authentic and honest expression, as well as give greater context to my human experience and why I'm here.

If you desire professional help in understanding this cosmic information, I would be honored to dive into the Stars and Soul with you.

I have two options for diving deeper into this topic with me as your cosmic guide. For $40, I offer 20-minute personal recordings analyzing the dynamics of your Sun, Moon, and Ascendant/Descendant signs.

For more profound work and insight, you can book a private 60-minute session with me for $110. I provide you with professional charts in the different systems to keep and use in the future. All sessions include a full transcript, video recording, and resources to apply the information we explore to your life for growth, healing, and Soul alignment.

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