Marilyn Campbell

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ASTRO Q & A - What is the difference between the Sun Sign and the Rising Sign?


The rising sign, also known as the ascendant, is based on the exact time of the day you were born as well as the geographic location. Although there is a rather complex calculation to figure the ascendant precisely, most astrologers “eyeball” it using a chart. Nowadays, there are a lot of computer programs that will figure it in an instant but I have found that not all of them are as accurate as the charts I use. The main problem I have found with using the horoscope programs to determine the rising sign is that they don’t all take daylight savings time into account.


Identifying the ascendant sign is necessary to begin creating the entire natal chart. It is located in the 1st House, which represents your personality and how others perceive you. From there an astrologer enters the rest of the signs into the other 11 houses on the circular natal chart, in a counter-clockwise direction, continuing in the chronological order of the zodiac. In other words, if the ascendant is Cancer, it goes into the 1st house, Leo goes into the 2nd, Virgo goes into the 3rd and so on.


Although I see some validity to the reasoning behind reading the forecasts for both your sun and rising signs, I don’t recommend it. I feel that, when reading a general forecast, the sun sign is the one to read. Nevertheless, if you decide to read the rising sign message as well, do so only to look for a confirmation or a clarifying detail regarding the sun sign message.