Here's What Your Rising Sign Reveals About Your Personality, According to Astrologers

If you've ever wandered into the mystical universe of astrology, you may be familiar with your sun and moon signs and how they relate to your overall personality or essence. Your sun sign captures your outward personality, or the traits others can pick up from the outside (i.e. are you a wallflower or more sociable?). Your moon sign in your chart represents your inner self, which includes your emotional responses (i.e. do you struggle with detachment or have a short temper?). But this is just the tip of the iceberg: Your birth chart is layered with different planets, and every placement influences your character in a different way. Along with your moon and sun signs, the next important one to know is your rising (or ascendant) sign. Together, your sun, moon, and rising signs are often referred to as your "big three."

Curious about your rising sign and what it reveals about you? We spoke to a few expert astrologists to get the scoop on what your rising sign means in astrology and how to figure out your rising sign.

What Is an Ascendant/Rising Sign?

Your rising sign, or ascendant, is the zodiac sign that was rising (or ascending) on the eastern horizon at the moment you were born. The ascendant changes about every two hours, so depending on what time you were born, you'll have a different rising sign from someone else who was born on the same day.

It's been said in the astrology community that your ascendant is like the social "mask" you wear around others, but there's much more to it. As part of your "big three," your rising sign is a huge influence on your personality. "It's also a cosmic compass that directs your attention," Tali Edut, one half of The AstroTwins, tells POPSUGAR. "What attracts and excites you spontaneously, when you're not even thinking about it, shows up in the rising sign."

Tali and her twin sister, Ophira, have been studying astrology for over 20 years, and their intuition is so highly revered that they've been interviewed on talk shows like "Good Morning America" and have done readings for celebrities like Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder, and Sting. "We have a Capricorn rising, which definitely helps explain why we've been turning every hobby we've had into careers since we were in elementary school," says Tali, adding that Capricorn risings tend to be go-getters and are excited about turning hobbies into professions.

How Can I Find My Rising Sign?

Because the ascendant sign changes every few hours, you first need to know your birth time to calculate your rising sign. Once you have that info, The AstroTwins offers a free tool on its website you can use to create a free birth chart; using that, you can find your rising sign. If you don't want to create a whole birth chart, you can use a simple rising sign calculator like the one on Cafe Astrology.

"If you don't know your birth time, you can order a birth certificate from the Department of Vital Records in the US and hope that the doctors and nurses recorded it," Tali explains to POPSUGAR. "Or you can have an astrologer create a rectified chart, where they walk you through a series of questions to intuitively determine the time you were born. We don't do those, but we highly recommend astrologer Suzanne Gerber."

What Does Our Rising Sign Really Reveal About Us?

Once you know your rising sign, it can be helpful to read more about how each zodiac sign shows up in the ascendant. Head to Cafe Astrology to read more about what it means to have a rising sign in fiery Aries, for example, or Libra.

Overall, "it's true that your rising is often how you present yourself to others, but it goes deeper than that," explains writer and astrologer Abigail Nora Brennan, who began studying astrology nearly a decade ago. "I like to think of the rising sign as the window through which the rest of your chart can be interpreted. It informs both how others perceive you and how you perceive the world."

In other words, the ascendant is sort of like a mask, but it's also the lens you wear to see the world and how others see you in return. "Often, if people don't identify with the characteristics of their sun sign, the rising sign can be a good place to look," Abigail says.

Abigail shares the same Capricorn ascendant with the AstroTwins. "My rising sign is Capricorn, so even though I feel that Libra influence really strongly, it's not always readily apparent to others," Abigail says. To further explain, she looked to David Bowie as an example. "Bowie was a Capricorn, a sign traditionally associated with tradition and convention. But he's an Aquarius rising — so suddenly, all his musical innovations, creativity, and constant evolutions and changes make a lot more sense," she continues, since Aquarius is known for being free-spirited, imaginative, and progressive.

Why Is Our Rising Sign Important in Our Birth Chart?

Astrology duo and writers Ellen Bowles and Imani Quinn, authors of the book "Astrology SOS," offer even more insight into why our rising sign matters. "Your ascendant is important because it determines how you present yourself publicly and as time goes on, it becomes the energy you fully embrace," they tell POPSUGAR. "The 'social mask' begins to fade as you get older, and the rising becomes your natural way of being."

Think of your rising sign this way: "You will notice attributes of your ascendant the most when you are in a new, unfamiliar setting or group. It protects you until you are comfortable in your surroundings and with others to let out other deeper layers of your personality," they say. "That's when your sun sign really begins to shine!"