The three most important elements in the fully-calculated birth-chart are the Rising-sign, Sun-sign and Moon-sign — in that order.
We all know our Sun-sign, because we know the date on which we were born. The Sun-sign is, in the opinion of many astrologers, second in importance to our Rising-sign, which relies implicitly on the precise time and geographical location of our birth. Generally speaking, it is necessary for the layman either to learn how to calculate the Rising-sign by mathematical calculation (not too difficult), or to ask a competent astrologer to calculate it.
If you were born at or near sunrise, your Sun- and Rising-sign will be the same. This will double the emphasis of the characteristics of that sign on your personality, but do not forget that those characteristics will still work on two distinct levels of your personality.
Similarly, if you were born at the time of the new Moon, your Sun- and Moon-signs will be the same, but again working on two levels. In both cases you will be known as a "double" Aries, Aquarius, or whatever.
The Sun-sign denotes our self-expression, and its characteristics relate to the way in which we present ourselves to the world. It can also have a very strong bearing on the way we look — our overall image.
The sign the Moon was in when we were born is also very individual to us, and like the Rising-sign it is not easy to discover unless one has an ephemeris (a book of tables showing the planets' positions for every day of the year). Once more, however, we have been able to surmount this difficulty.
This is a beginning. But there are some very important things to remember when building up an interpretation of these three factors. For instance, if your Sun-sign is Gemini, your Rising-sign Capricorn, and you have the Moon in Cancer, you are not just an amorphous combination of the characteristics of these three signs. Certain elements of their characteristics will be present in your personality, but it is vitally important that you learn how the three signs work for you as an individual.
The Sun-sign represents the "you" people experience when they first meet you. Your Rising-sign works at a different level, and represents the "real" you — the "you" known to your lover, or your closest friend. When he or she hears other people talking about you, the chances are they will be describing your Sun-sign characteristics, but your lover will be able to add, "Yes, that is true, but ..." and go on to describe your Rising-sign characteristics.
Put this to the test yourself: read the section on image which relates to your Sun-sign. You will probably agree with a great deal that is said there. Then read the relevant piece on your Rising-sign, and note the difference. Soon the various levels will be clear to you.
To the Sun- and Rising-signs we can now add the Moon sign, and its group of characteristics. Traditional astrology asserts that the characteristics of the Moon-sign are those we inherit from our parents, and in many ways modern astrologers agree; but equally, your Moon-sign will show the way in which you instinctively respond to situations in life — your reactions to them.
For instance, there is a possessive tendency in all Sun and Rising-sign Taureans. If you have the Moon in Taurus, you will probably respond to certain situations in a possessive way, but because of other elements in your birth-chart you may loathe that reaction, and do everything you can to fight it.
You could be very intuitive indeed if Cancer or Scorpio was a prominent sign in your birth-chart — and if one of those is your Moon-sign, your immediate response to situations will be entirely intuitive and instinctive; logic and reason may play a part later, and this will relate to the prominence of other signs.
These points are crucial as you discover more about your birth-chart and the way to interpret it. It is a subtle business to get all the planetary positions into a coherent perspective, but with care you can certainly learn a great deal about yourself and your motivations, and hopefully this article will start you on a trail which will prove to be an unendingly fascinating study.
The Astrologer's Handbook"
by Julia Parker.
About The Author
Julia Parker is internationally known and respected in the field of astrology, not only because she has been President of the British Faculty of Astrological Studies, but even more so because she is the author of the international super-seller "The Compleat Astrologer" which was on the bestseller charts in the U.S., England, Brazil, and Japan. This article is excerpted with permission from "The Astrologer's Handbook" by Julia Parker, ©1995, published by CRCS Publications, PO Box 1460, Sebastopol, CA 95473. Tel: 707-829-0735; Fax: 707-793-9434.