Why Your Rising Sign Is The Missing Piece To Your Horoscope

This is how a recent game of guess-my-sign went down for me: "You must be a Scorpio. No, wait — Virgo? Pisces? That's it. Definitely a Pisces." My guesser was close — my sun sign may be Capricorn, but my rising sign is Pisces (the sign that was rising over the horizon at the moment I was born).

If you've never had your birth chart drawn up, you probably don't know what your rising (or ascendant) sign is. Along with your sun sign and your moon sign, it's one of the "three legs" of your chart — it's part of the foundation of your personality, so it's important to keep your rising sign in mind when you read your horoscope. (Curious about your rising sign? Give this online chart calculator a try.)

Where your moon sign indicates the inner you, your rising sign can tell you more about your "outer" self. In other words, your rising sign is what people first see when they meet you. Think of it as your "first impression" sign.

Ahead, we consult the work of astrologers Annie Heese and the Astrotwins, who you may know from R29's horoscopes, to get the details on the primary traits of each rising sign. Let us know which sign people guess is yours (and if that lines up with your rising sign) in the comments.

Aries

Strengths: direct, swift, persuasive

Weaknesses: blunt, bossy, impatient

You come off as an Olivia Pope type. No matter the issue, you can "handle" it. This may have an impact in your professional life if you find yourself often taking the lead on projects, but it can just as easily affect your role in your friend group — are you usually the deciding factor for plans? That could be Aries talking.
Taurus

Strengths: supportive, sensual, careful

Weaknesses: insecure, vain, stubborn

Your penchant for luxury items can make you appear totally polished — or a bit like a magpie. Those with Taurus rising often have a collector's instinct, leading them toward choice items and strong relationships. You like to keep your feet firmly on the ground (preferably in familiar surroundings.
Gemini

Strengths: energetic, curious, witty

Weaknesses: distracted, duplicitous, overwhelming

Your way with words helps you effortlessly move between social groups, stunning everyone with your wit and your meaningful questions. Rising Gems know how to strike the right balance between talking and listening, which makes them quite charming, but they may be tempted to use their social talents just to get what they want.
Cancer

Strengths: gentle, approachable, caring

Weaknesses: withholding, sensitive, shy

People see you as naturally sweet and trustworthy. You don't try to draw attention to yourself (and no one would say you come off as showy), yet you attract people very easily. Of course, some people with Cancer rising may withdraw so much to the point that they don't make their voices heard.
Leo

Strengths: generous, enthusiastic, warm

Weaknesses: aggressive, self-centered, cocky

You're a star and everyone (including you) knows it. You come on strong, but you often lead with genuine interest and affection. Leo risings understand the power of the first impression and never waste it. Let's put it this way: You were born to mingle.
Virgo

Strengths: organized, helpful, humble

Weaknesses: uptight, picky, cold

You've probably been called out for being a little, er, standoffish in new situations. That's because you're too busy watching everyone else. You are detail-oriented to a fault, but that doesn't mean you just observe without doing. It might not be clear right off the bat, but people with Virgo rising make seriously helpful, supportive friends.
Libra

Strengths: charming, fair, sincere

Weaknesses: indecisive, clingy, cagey

When people look at you, they see a mediator — but not necessarily an ally. You hate confrontation and only choose a side when forced. You'd much rather treat everyone gently and with fairness. You're always happy to hear someone's side of the story.
Scorpio

Strengths: unique, perceptive, courageous

Weaknesses: intimidating, controlling, secretive

You're incredibly selective about what personal info you share — and who you share it with, for that matter. Many find you intriguing for this reason, even though your air of mystery is anything but forced. You're naturally commanding. You never strive to have the loudest voice in the room, but everyone is poised to hear your voice nonetheless.
Sagittarius

Strengths: lively, outgoing, optimistic

Weaknesses: impulsive, overzealous, naive

With your can-do attitude and downright insatiable curiosity, you're like a breath of fresh air — to some. Others would probably compare you more closely to a gale force wind. You rarely hesitate to share your big ideas and dreams with the group. Your wonder for the outside world borders on childlike, but it's consistently invigorating to those around you.
Capricorn

Strengths: responsible, ambitious, competent

Weaknesses: grave, self-conscious, reserved

You were named "most likely to succeed" in high school and you're probably well on your way to living up to that superlative. You never back down from a challenge (or a couple extra hours at the office). Your colleagues may even see you as a role model of sorts. That said, you may come off as a workaholic to some.
Aquarius

Strengths: independent, inventive, observant

Weaknesses: condescending, single-minded, impersonal

You always seem to be on a different wavelength from those around you. This can make you a person of interest or it can make you feel a little isolated. You speak your mind and ask hard questions on a near-instinctive level. Stifling your unique point of view is just about impossible.
Pisces

Strengths: peaceful, adaptable, imaginative

Weaknesses: disorganized, unaware, absent-minded

You're prone to flights of fancy but they're rarely frivolous. Once you hit upon something you're passionate about, it's hard to get you to quiet down about it. Otherwise, you can be on the shyer side. People turn to you when they need help brainstorming or expanding on an outlandish idea.