Flip open any newspaper or women’s magazine and you’re bound to find a page or two filled with horoscopes and other astrological predictions. Many of us look to astrology for a glimpse of what’s to come, or at least how we should respond to it. In fact, Pew Research found that one in four American adults believes in astrology. It can be a fun way to learn about who you are and imagine what the future holds. But there’s more to astrology than just reading your daily horoscope. Moon signs are one of the most powerful factors when it comes to understanding astrology, but chances are you’ve never taken a deep dive into them. So, why should you care about moon signs, specifically? Well, while you probably think more about your own zodiac sign than any other astrological entity, the moon is actually the anchor of astrology. It is believed to represent the more internal parts of who we are as humans including our personal desires and emotional lives. As with zodiac signs, there are 12 possible moon signs. This breakdown will help you keep it all straight. [sul title=”What determines your moon sign?” subheader=”Finding your moon sign goes beyond googling your birthday.”] At one point or another, you may have looked up your zodiac sign and determined what it is based on your date of birth. The signs are broken up into the following categories, which are associated with the four elements:
- Fire: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius. These signs are active and a little emotionally impulsive.
- Earth: Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. These signs strive for emotional stability and security.
- Air: Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius. These signs are curious and communicative and tend to intellectualize their feelings.
- Water: Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces. These signs feel deeply and tend to have intense, though potentially hidden, emotional lives.
Why 12 signs? According to a University of Wisconsin resource on stars and constellations, “The Zodiac is the ring of constellations that the Sun seems to pass through each year as the Earth orbits around it.” Given that we watch the sun and moon up in the same sky, the moon “passes through” these constellations, too, meaning your moon sign will be one of the 12 zodiac signs, but it might not be the same as your sun sign. Claire Comstock-Gay, a Sagittarius and the weekly astrologist for The Cut, says that our sun sign shapes our personality and helps define who we are in a broad sense. But sun signs don’t explain everything about us. That’s where our moon signs come into play. Unlike your sun sign, which is determined by the day of the year on which you were born, your moon sign is determined by the exact time—down to the minute—and location of your birth. This means determining your moon sign can be a little trickier. Amanda Renee, founder of Astrological Alignment, says the moon changes zodiac signs much faster than the sun (because, well, the moon has a much smaller orbit around the earth, right?)—visiting all 12 signs in approximately 28 days. “The easiest way to determine your moon sign is to receive a personalized natal birth chart,” she tells HealthyWay. “To obtain this information, simply use a birth chart calculator. I personally use CafeAstrology.com. It is very user-friendly. Start by entering your date, time, and location of birth, click submit, and your entire natal chart will generate before your eyes!”
But what if you don’t know exactly when you were born?
“Not everyone knows what time they were born. What happens if this is you?” Amanda Renee acknowledges a question she’s heard before. “Not to fret—I may have a few solutions that could help you in determining your moon sign…”
1. Reach out.
“Always start by asking close friends and relatives,” says Amanda Renee. “They can help you pinpoint the time of your birth and perhaps, at minimum, figure out the general time frame. If friends or family can identify that you were born, say, in the wee hours of the morning versus in the afternoon, you can figure out your moon sign.” She goes on to give this example: “Because we know that the moon enters a new sign approximately every two and a half days, you can contact an astrologer or use astrological software to look up the moon’s positioning on and around your birthday. If you were born in the morning and the moon changed positions in the afternoon, you would know to choose the zodiac sign the moon was stationed in during the morning time.”
2. Make it official.
Unable to get the details from family or family friends? “Contact the hospital where you were born to ask for a copy of your birth certificate,” Amanda Renee advises. “Not all hospitals keep record of your time of birth, but most do.” This information may be available via the hospital or the bureau of vital statistics in the state where you were born. When you make the request, be clear that you want a copy that shows your time of birth, which is sometimes called a vault copy.
3. Use your powers of deduction.
If you’re not in a position to get information about your time of birth from relatives or a hospital, you can put in some legwork and let your heart be your guide. “I must note that this will take a little work on your part, but I promise it is possible!” says Amanda Renee. “Start by contacting an expert astrologer or utilize free astrology software online. Your goal is to see what sign the moon could have possibly entered in the 24-hour period that is your birthday.” [pullquote align=”center”]“In the early days of my astrological journey, I realized when comparing my sun sign to others, I would often feel that the compatibility or lack of compatibility was incorrect. This uncertainty is what prompted my exploration into moon signs and other natal chart comparisons.” —Amanda Renee, Astrological Alignment[/pullquote] If you’re using software, Amanda Renee says you should begin by entering whatever information you know about your birth and checking the moon sign at 12:01 a.m. “Continue entering different times of day, increasing in six-hour increments until you’ve gone through the full 24-hour cycle. Watch to see if the moon sign changes. If you are lucky, the moon didn’t change signs and you have automatically and successfully deduced your moon sign!” What happens if the moon sign did change during your date of birth? “Well, we know that because the moon enters a new sign every two and a half days, you will only have the possibility of two signs to choose from,” says Amanda Renee. “Yay! Not as daunting as you may have thought, right?” “The next part is completely reliant on you,” she says. “Read the description of each moon sign and choose which sign relates to you best. I am confident you will not choose incorrectly because we all possess the power of our moon’s natural feminine intuition. So use that moon intuition! You can’t fail!” [sul title=”“I see the moon and the moon sees me…”” subheader=”More on Moon Signs, Astrology, and Relationships”] “Astrology is a language of movement and relationships,” says Comstock-Gay. She emphasizes that the application of astrology is not just about each planet’s placement in your birth chart, but also the continued movement of the planets over time and the relationships between the planets as they move. “It’s helpful to know your moon sign, but more helpful to think about how your moon and sun and other planets interact because each one is informed by the other,” she says. Once you know your moon sign, it empowers you to do a few things. According to Susan Miller, New York astrologist and owner of the popular website AstrologyZone, your moon sign can help predict your emotional state and how you’ll see the world around you. “The moon is the repository of your dreams, of your greatest desires, because you kind of have it locked in your heart. You may not share it with anyone—or you might. It depends on the person,” says Miller. “The moon teaches you to look back, so it has all of your memories and your fondest memories are in there. The moon also makes us sentimental. When we lose someone, all the memories come flooding back.” Comstock-Gay also touches on the importance of the emotional world that’s represented by moon signs. “Your moon sign shapes your deepest emotional self. It can highlight not just how you feel your emotions, but how you express them and work through them,” she says. “Are you comfortable expressing your feelings or do you prefer to bury them? Is your inner life steady or is it chaotic? Which experiences are most emotionally painful for you and which allow you to open up, trust, and be vulnerable? These are the kinds of questions your moon sign might point to the answer to.” If you’ve ever thought that your sun sign doesn’t quite match your understanding of yourself, that’s because the sun sign alone isn’t the entire story according to Comstock-Gay. “When your emotions surprise you by feeling more intense than you think they should, or when they clash with the way you understand yourself, it can be useful to look toward the moon sign for answers,” says Comstock-Gay. Amanda Renee can relate to this. “In the early days of my astrological journey, I realized when comparing my sun sign to others, I would often feel that the compatibility or lack of compatibility was incorrect. This uncertainty is what prompted my exploration into moon signs and other natal chart comparisons.” [pullquote align=”center”]“Given that my son’s moon is in Pisces, he will always have a strong propensity towards inner reflection, being overly emotional at times and letting other people’s moods affect his, but with the help of my Capricorn moon, Pisces moon feels a strong sense of security, safety, and structure.” —Amanda Renee, Astrological Alignment[/pullquote] “For example, my son and I, on the surface, do not seem very compatible,” she shares. “I am a Gemini sun and he is a Taurus sun. Anyone who admires astrology would tell you these two signs completely do not go together, but if you were to compare our moon signs it would read something quite different. Once I was able to understand moon signs, I found that we are, in fact, very compatible!” “My moon is in the sign of Capricorn: a very goal-oriented, regimented, and grounded earth sign, which is vastly different from that of the carefree, whimsical, knowledge-seeking woman my sun sign exudes to the rest of the world. My son has a similar dichotomy in his own chart. He presents with a moon in the sign of Pisces. Represented by the symbol of two fish, his sign is a water element that embraces spirituality, mysticism, selflessness, and has pure motives but can be overly emotional. Outwardly, however, he may be interpreted as someone who is stubborn, possessive, and romantic because of his sun sign in Taurus. As you can see, once we add more depth and layers to the comparisons, it’s easy to understand where our sun signs don’t match, our moon signs do!” [sul title=”Over the Moon” subheader=”What Your Moon Sign Means for Love in All Its Forms”] Comstock-Gay acknowledges that feelings can be “weird and messy,” and for that reason, many of us look to astrology to help find answers to these perceptions. “Our feelings can operate on a totally different level than the level we live in with our everyday selves,” says Comstock-Gay. “When you find yourself asking why something is bothering you so much or why you’re so hurt by something that should be fine, it can be helpful to look to our moon sign for answers.” As a new mom, Amanda Renee’s invited moon signs to serve as a guide for supportive parenting. “Given that my son’s moon is in Pisces, he will always have a strong propensity towards inner reflection, being overly emotional at times and letting other people’s moods affect his, but with the help of my Capricorn moon, Pisces moon feels a strong sense of security, safety, and structure.” “I can also help Pisces moon find a way of turning emotional intensity into financial gains or outlets of self-improvement and productivity,” she says. “Similarly, he will find it second nature to quench my task-oriented soul.” [pullquote align=”center”]Water signs Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces tend to be a little more moody as they’re said to be ruled by the tides. Even if you or a loved one aren’t a water sign, your moon sign might be.[/pullquote] “We share a special harmonious bond that makes it easy to collaborate,” she says. She also notes that a better understanding of moon signs can contribute to clarity, especially when it comes to romantic compatibility. If you’ve ever felt the mild (and hopefully fleeting!) trepidation of discovering that you and your mate or love interest aren’t a match because of your sun signs, your moon signs might tell a very different story. [sul title=”How Moon Signs Relate to Your Horoscope” subheader=”What to Read and When”] Along with the sun and rising sign, the moon is one of the most powerful forces in a person’s astrological chart according to Comstock-Gay. For that reason, she says it is one of the most important to understand. “When you’re reading your horoscope, most astrologers recommend that you read both your sun and rising sign to get a fuller sense of what to expect,” says Comstock-Gay. “Read the horoscope for your moon sign, too. It can be helpful to try to see if that’s useful for you.” Comstock-Gay finds that the moon has a more mysterious influence on her than her sun or rising signs. “The moon is so much more private, to the point of feeling hidden,” she says. “Even though it’s so close to the earth, most of the time we still can’t see its full face. The trick is just to keep paying attention to it, even if its lessons are less immediately apparent and accessible than the lessons from your sun sign.” [sul title=”What can moon signs reveal about personalities?” subheader=”Maybe Your Darker Side is Running the Show.”] Astrology isn’t a science, but astrologers believe that moon signs can reveal a lot about the emotional state of a person. Comstock-Gay is quick to point out that a person’s moon sign is not likely to reveal itself the first time you meet them. It may not even be apparent during your second or third meeting. Because of the moon’s sensitivity, whether or not that side of a person presents itself depends on where and with whom an interaction is taking place. “The moon sign is much more internal and less outwardly visible than the characteristics of someone’s sun or rising sign,” she says. “The moon’s influence is always present, but it becomes most visible at home or in private. It can either quietly reinforce or quietly subvert some of the personality traits inherent to someone’s sun sign.” Those who believe in astrology also conclude that emotions—including what we are emotionally attached to—are strongly tied to moon signs. According to Miller, the moon is connected to water signs, so it rules the tide, and it impacts each sign differently. “That’s why Cancer signs tend to be a little moody,” says Miller. “If the dark sky has come out, you know in a minute that the sun will come out soon. Cancer signs have a changing landscape, and that’s what we love about them.” The flip side of that? “When we decide to build a business or take on a goal that we are emotionally attached to, we do best with those because we really care all the way through our being,” says Miller “We are passionate, and that’s what gets you over the difficult humps as you are creating your dream into a reality.” [sul title=”How much should your moon sign influence you?” subheader=”Here’s how Comstock-Gay and Amanda Renee find balance.”] Moon signs, along with horoscopes and astrology in general, are not a step-by-step guide for living your life. Comstock-Gay says it is up to each person to decide how much stock they put into learning about moon signs, noting that astrology can expand or contract according to your needs. “Some people use astrology for fun, and some people like to go deeper,” says Comstock-Gay, noting that astrology is not a literal predictor of what’s ahead. “A person may become more or less serious about astrology depending on their needs at the time,” Comstock-Gay says. “Astrology is not a predictor of specific events or of the future, but [it’s used] to understand feelings, emotions, and energies in the world.” Amanda Renee concludes by saying astrology can be subjective. “Different astrologers will use their intuition and life experiences to convey meaning. This is what I love best about astrology: its artistic qualities.”