First off.... you are not just your Sun sign. You have a little bit of all the signs and all the planets within you. Think of it like your genetic makeup. All humans have a similar genetic makeup that differs us from other animals. Yet these genes can have thousands of combinations. Now consider the planets and signs similar to these genes.
The easiest gene to spot is the Sun sign since the signs follow the 12 months of the year. When you get your chart done you get to see all the signs around the circle. The circle of self. You are constantly influenced by the energies of the Universe. Your Birth chart is like a snapshot of this space at the moment of your birth. You are the center of the circle.
In order to describe the complex you we break the circle into 12 houses or areas of your life. Virgo rising means that on the morning of your 1st day of life "Sunrise" was in the sign Virgo. Peoples 1st impression of you is that of a Virgo. Probably neat, analytical, and meticulous. (very simple description).
All the planets are around the circle, falling in certain areas (houses) and picking up distinguishable roles (signs). If you were born during the night, you would find your Sun at the bottom of the chart. (the signs and houses run counter-clockwise). Your essence and a very strong conscious part of your personality is that of the Suns Sign.
Your Moon is the 3rd most discussed character trait. This simply means that unconsciously or instinctively you have a part of your personality that is like the Sign of your Moon.
People can not understand how a Pisces Moon and an Aries Sun can get along. It's not fair to say that these different signs do not get along. They are all part of the whole. Another way to describe them would be to call them facets of your being. Planes that interconnect.
We continue to look at the facets of your persona by looking at the positions of the other planets. Consider the planets the actors, the signs they fall in the roles they are playing and the houses they fall in the areas of life these actors play in.
Sometimes the Sun and Moon are the lead players but other times a group of planets take over the show. Or there is a strategically positioned planet that outweighs all the others. Sometimes one player steals the whole show.
The Birth chart is only the 1st scene (there are layers of charts to your present persona) but it sets the stage for the whole show.
Your Ascendant is the degree and sign when the Sun rose on the day you were born. Go to Astrodienst to get a free chart done at http://www.astro.com or Astrolabe at http://www.alabe.com for a free print out describing the parts (aspects,etc) involved in your chart.
When you get this chart printed you will notice the circle is broken into pieces like a pie. These are the house cusps. A cross will be highlighted. The left side of the horizontal line is your Ascendant. Think of it as Sunrise. It has to do with peoples 1st impression of you. It is the cusp of your 1st house. It represents your appearance and self image. Someone with Leo Rising has the appearance of a LEO. Others see them as a leader/teacher/creative type of person.This image is important to them. How others percieve you is important to your self-image.
The opposite side of this line is your Descendant/Sunset or how you relate to others. Leo Rising would probably relate to Aquarian type people (not necessarily Aquarian Sun Signs), independent and revolutionary.
The Vertical line cuts the circle up and down. The top of the chart is the Midheaven (MC) (Noon) and shows the way you express yourself to the public, public image/career/business. The bottom end of this vertical line is your Immun Coeli (IC) (Midnight). This sign symbolizes the foundation of your personality, your security system.
Lets go over this again.......
Consider the parts of your chart your genetic makeup. Human Beings are immensly complicated yet we seem to understand the concept of each of our cells having a singular genetic makeup. Each gene is a part of the whole.
Your Sun is symbolic of your conscious personality (will) and your Moon is your unconscious habits (instinctive).They intermingle with the other planets creating varied potential. When planets in the sky (Transits) trigger one or the other, that part of your personality is highlighted. We are not robots and one day we can be outgoing (Sun) and the next curl up on a sofa at home (Moon).
Pisces Sun would have the Essence of the Intangible and Aries Moon would Instinctively be on the Move. There are hundreds of ways to describe this interaction. Get some of the words that pertain to each of the luminaries and words that pertain to the Signs they are in. Then mix them and see how many combinations you can make. That would help you to understand how they intermingle in your personality.
Free will comes in when we take the time to understand these traights. If we see one we don't like rise in our personality we can change this negative traight into one we would rather project. Awareness is the key.
The FOLLOWING pages are a breakdown of the BASICS, that I use when DESCRIBING what Astrology and CHARTS are about. The SIMPLER you keep it the easier it will be to understand. We are describing ENERGY and the FORCES behind it.
Gratefully...ELIZA (Maddocks) Talas...(10/30/51)