For many people, horoscopes serve as their introduction to astrology. The ancient mystical practice goes far deeper than horoscopes, of course, but these personalized daily, weekly, and monthly insights are a popular way to bring astrological advice to the masses. In fact, a recent survey commissioned by Bustle and conducted by OnePoll found that 38% of women between the ages of 18-35 read their horoscope daily. A good horoscope takes the cosmic wisdom of astrology, applies it to the current position of the planets, and interprets how those influences might play out in a person's life, based on the 12 zodiac sign archetypes. While most people read horoscopes for their sun sign (which is the sign you likely refer to as your zodiac sign or star sign), there are actually more accurate ways of reading your horoscope. Spoiler alert: You may be reading yours for the wrong sign entirely.
Reading a horoscope is a way to connect the mundane aspects of your day to the mysticism and magic of astrology. As an astrologer, I can look at the current planetary happenings on my own and get a pretty good idea of how the cosmos might affect me personally — but that doesn't stop me from reading my horoscope as written by other astrologers, just like everyone else does. Every astrologer interprets the planetary alignments differently, so it's nice to get perspective.
Most people read horoscopes for their sun signs, and that’s by design — horoscopes typically list date ranges for each sign’s birthday season, and that automatically corresponds with people’s sun signs (and you probably know your birth date off the top of your head). However, if you’re familiar with your “big three” in astrology — aka your sun sign, moon sign, and rising sign — then you can potentially get a lot more out of your standard horoscope. For example, reading for your rising sign can actually provide you with a more accurate horoscope overall, since your rising sign dictates the position of the zodiac in your birth chart, while reading for your moon sign can offer insight on a more emotional level, since the moon rules over your moods and feelings. Only 27% of respondents to Bustle’s survey read their horoscopes for all three.
In times as wild and unpredictable as ours, it's nice to have a little cosmic insight into what energies to expect from your day and how to best manage them. If you want to make the most of your favorite astrologer’s horoscopes, then knowing how to correctly read your horoscope is an infinitely helpful skill. Even better? It's super easy to do.
How Do Horoscopes Work?
Before we dive into the different ways to read a horoscope, let’s break down the basics of how astrologers make these projections in the first place. The most important thing to start with is a general understanding of your astrological birth chart. Your birth chart depicts the planets' placement in the zodiac at the moment you were born, and you'll need an exact birth date, location, and time in order to whip this up accurately. There are lots of helpful astrology apps and online birth chart calculators that can help you get started on this exploration.
Your birth chart contains 12 astrological houses, each of which represents a different part of your life, like love or career. When planets orbit through these houses, different areas of your life get activated by those planets’ energies. The sign that rules the first house of your birth chart is known as your “rising sign,” and this particular sign affects the layout of the rest of your chart. While someone’s birthday alone can reveal their sun sign, an exact birth date, time, and location is needed in order to calculate someone’s rising sign.
When astrologers write horoscopes, they visualize the sign they’re writing for as the ruler of the first house, then place the planets in the chart from there. This means that technically, horoscopes are more accurately written for people’s rising signs. However, sun sign horoscopes became the standard because they’re easy to use — all you need in order to know someone’s sun sign is a birthday, making it quick and easy to categorize. As newspaper astrology columns rose in popularity in the 20th century, sun signs proved to be much easier to cover than rising signs, as they don’t require people to know their birth time or have access to a chart calculation system.
Reading Your Horoscope For Your Sun Sign
While horoscopes can usually be more accurately applied to people’s rising signs, this certainly doesn’t render sun sign horoscopes useless. Reading your horoscope for your sun sign is a standard practice for a reason, and it can still offer valuable astrological insight. In fact, a chart that intentionally places the sun in the first house is called a “solar chart,” and some astrologers use them for matters beyond horoscope writing, especially if someone’s birth time is unknown.
The sun is the heart and center of our solar system, and similarly, the sun in astrology is one of the most important and influential of the planets in the zodiac game. This celestial force represents your will, your vitality, and your identity. It symbolizes the essence of who you are at your core and what drives you throughout your life. So while reading a horoscope for your sun sign may not be the most technically accurate, it can still resonate in a significant way. The exact details of your sun sign’s horoscope may not be as spot-on as they would when reading your rising sign’s — for example, the new opportunities your horoscope says to watch out for in your love life may actually be materialize at work — but the overall essence of the astrological advice will probably still ring true.
Reading Your Horoscope For Your Rising Sign
Sun signs symbolize the core of who we are, but because most astrologers assume the sun is in the first house when they write horoscopes, it may be more accurate to read for your rising sign in addition to your sun sign. "It’s important to read horoscopes for your ascendant sign as well as your sun sign, because they will make more sense and resonate on a deeper level that way," astrologer Lisa Stardust tells Bustle.
Reading a horoscope for your rising sign will probably feel more accurate on a literal level, as the chart the astrologer based it on will likely look most similar to yours. So if your daily horoscope for your rising sign puts an emphasis on career happenings, it’s likely that there will be a lot going on at work, rather than in another area of your life. It might feel odd to read the horoscope for a sign you don't immediately identify with, but give it a try and see whether or not the energies and events align more precisely with your life. You’ll probably find that the advice and predictions make more sense for your current situation.
Reading Your Horoscope For Your Moon Sign
The moon in astrology is the other celestial body that makes up our “big three,” and in many ways, it’s just as important as our sun signs and rising signs. The moon rules over our emotions, moods, and inner selves. Looking at a horoscope through the lens of your moon sign can offer you an alternate perspective on the astrological energies at play in your life.
"You can read a horoscope for your moon sign to get in touch with your emotions," Stardust says. Think of this as a more introspective and heart-centered horoscope interpretation: Instead of applying your moon sign's horoscope to your life on the whole, as you would with your sun or rising sign, use it to find insight into the landscape of your inner world and your current emotional state. For example, if the horoscope for your moon sign says it’s a good day for socializing, take it as a sign to have a heart-to-heart or connect with friends who you can share your feelings with.
When it comes to astrology and horoscopes, interpretation is everything — that's why you can read different astrologers' horoscopes and get totally different vibes from each one. They're all looking at the same planets, but those planets can speak different versions of the truth to every person who analyzes them, and that's all part of astrology’s magic. That's why learning ways to read your horoscope more effectively can help you get more out of the practice and make more sense of the astrological advice that comes your way.
This article was originally published on