By now, we’re pretty sure you’ve got a good grasp on all the major personality traits that make up your zodiac sun sign — honestly, is there anyone among us who doesn’tpeek at their horoscope every week? Someone born in mid-October knows what it means to be a Libra: diplomatic and fair, generous and compassionate — but what about that mile-long stubborn streak their mom teases them about? Or the fact that they feel most zen when they’re at home watching Netflix alone rather than socializing at a party? We all have those characteristics that don’t necessarily fit with our sun signs, and we’re here to give you a little astrological insight as to why that might be so. While your sun sign is definitely super-important to your cosmic being, there are many other astrological aspects that make up your personality as a whole. Things like the 12 houses of the zodiac, your moon sign, and your rising (or ascendant) sign all play into the many facets of your personality. But before we can talk rising signs, you’ll need to figure out what yours is! If you have the exact time and place you were born, head over to Cafe Astrology to get your (free) natal chart to figure out your ascendant sign.

A woman draws constellations on a chalkboard

Ascendant (Rising) Sign — Your Outward Personality

Your ascendant sign is the constellation that was rising on the eastern horizon in the sky at the moment you were born. Think of your rising sign as your own personal dawning, meaning that its inherent qualities inform the first impression you show the world. Let’s say you’re an Aries sun sign — strong, ambitious, and independent — but you’ve got a Cancer rising. Cancers are known to be quiet, sensitive, and introspective (which is quite the opposite of your fiery Aries!). This means that while you are an ambitious, open person at heart, you may initially appear to be shy or reserved to those around you. Understanding your rising sign is a really cool way of thinking about how you interact with new people and how others perceive you.

The Meaning of Each Ascendant Zodiac Sign

A woman shyly hides behind a glass of wine

Cancer: Do people always tell you they thought you were shy when you first met, even if they realize that’s not actually the case once they get to know you? Well, now you can totally “blame” that discrepancy on your Cancer rising! Cancer rising signs can come off as reserved and quiet to others until you get to know people — which is when your sun sign traits begin to show through. Cancer rising can sometimes be a frustrating ascendant sign to have, because people can misconstrue your reserved nature as being standoffish or disengaged, so keep that in mind when you approach new situations (while staying true to you, of course!).

Leo: “Fake it ’til you make it” — it’s the confidence-building mantra of a Leo rising, and you’re so lucky for it! No matter how you may truly feel in a new situation, you’ve got an impulse to own the crowd where ever you go. It’s an especially generous astrological gift, as your Leo rising gives you the self-assuredness and strength to approach even the most stressful situations without hesitancy or doubt.

Virgo: New situations often make you nervous, and you’re no stranger to social anxiety, especially in large crowds. You’re sensitive to criticism and may take others’ off-hand comments seriously, even when they’re totally joking. On the other hand, you’re super-observant and can read a room (and a person!) better than anyone. We know you feel all your feels, Virgo ascendant, but try not to let new situations freak you out too much!

Libra: You can charm the pants off a mannequin and always know how to put people at ease in social situations, which makes you a natural hostess and party person! As a Libra rising, you exude ease and effortlessness while in the company of new people, which makes you something of a magnet — because who doesn’t want to be around such an awesome person?!

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Scorpio: An air of mystery follows you wherever you go, Scorpio rising, which is something you’re well aware of and love to celebrate (we’ve never met a better flirt!). Indeed, you’ve got a brooding, almost secretive vibe about you, which can either make others more curious or cautious about you, depending. We love your intense spirit, but just keep your high-key emotional frequency in mind when you’re getting to know new peeps.

Sagittarius: Sagittarius ascendant, people are drawn to your open, honest aura — you’re like a breath of fresh air in a sea of uncertainty. We know you have no trouble expressing your personal opinions, from politics to literature, and you can find something to debate with anyone you come in contact with. This is, of course, all in good fun, since you’re not one to take anything too seriously (at least at first).

Capricorn: When it comes to group projects, public speaking, and divvying up the happy-hour check, you’re always the one to take charge, Capricorn rising. You’ve got everything under control, and it shows to everyone around you. (It’s why you always ace job interviews!) You’re not frivolous in your finances or your emotions, which is super-healthy, but don’t forget to let loose and have some fun too!

Aquarius: TBH, people don’t quite know what to do with you at first, Aquarius rising! You’re definitely an individual with a one-of-a-kind spirit, and your open idealism may throw off some of the more cynical-minded at first. But fear not: You’re one of the friendliest, most curious ascendant signs in the zodiac, which means you’re a natural at making genuine connections with others.

A woman turns from a railing to smile in front of a city skyline

Pisces: Easygoing and a little elusive, you’re often perceived to be a major romantic with their head in the clouds (and those perceptions aren’t wrong!). You’re intensely compassionate and can pick up on others’ energies — these are amazing qualities to have, of course, but can often mean that your initial interactions with new people can be a little more intense than you’d like them to be. Just keep in mind you don’t have to take on everyone’s emotions when you meet them!

Aries: You get your energy from social situations and are often the one putting together parties and networking events to make even more connections. As a natural-born leader with impeccable people skills, you’ve got a fearlessness to you when it comes to just about every aspect of interacting with the world. Don’t ever dampen your spirit, Aries rising, but be sure not to steamroll others in the meantime.

Taurus: Cool, calm, and collected, even if you’d rather be at home cozy in bed, you’ve got an unflappable vibe that carries you through life with a grace we’re totally jealous of, Taurus ascendant. Your centeredness helps those around you feel more at peace, which is why you seem to make new friends wherever you go.

Gemini: There’s no one as curious and earnest as you, Gemini ascendant, and your natural-born interest in others makes it super-easy for you to navigate new situations and people with ease. You have the gift of gab, and we’re pretty sure you’ve never met a stranger you couldn’t talk to, which makes you the perfect travel companion. If you often find yourself in crazy-cool new situations with interesting people doing awesome things, it’s because your Gemini rising is guiding you there.

Do you identify with your rising sign traits? Tweet us @BritandCo to let us know what you think!

(Photos via Getty)