What Is A Horoscope?
When most people think of the word Horoscope, the first thing that comes to mind is a newspaper column. Nowadays, in the digital age, some might even think of a Youtube video or blog post where an Astrologer gives a broad description of what will unfold that week, month, or even year for a 12th of the world's population.
This is usually what critics of Astrology will point to. I've seen the argument countless times: "How can a horoscope predict the future of a demographic that big?"
Some might even say that with around eight billion people currently living on earth, that would oversimplify the future of approximately six thousand million people and any rational person would agree that it's almost impossible for this colossal amount of human beings to have identical or even relatively similar futures.
People are very complex, and while we might be able to predict the course of action of an ant colony of the same size, humans... they're not the same. Their big brains take them far into diverse and unpredictable spaces.
But is that really true?
Or is it possible that our material science has gotten a bit too egotistical to admit that we're a lot more similar to that colony of ants than it's comfortable to admit?
Let me illustrate this difference.
Imagine a big city beaming with tourists and natives enjoying a fine summer afternoon. Everyone plans to go out with friends to enjoy the nice weather, parks are crammed with picnickers, the fields are full of athletes, and children are being as rambunctious and careless as ever.
The wind is also strong, you see leaves fluttering and even a baseball cap flying by but to most people, that's actually a big blessing as the wind makes the scorching summer heat much more tolerable.
Yet, unbeknownst to most of them, this wind actually carries a heavy dark cloud coming from the neighboring city. As soon as the cloud arrives, it brings deafening thunders and hot summer rain, so hot that it's almost as though God spilled his celestial teapot. Now everyone is soggy and very uncomfortable.
In that scenario, it's fair to predict that a lot of outdoor plans would be canceled, much like the ant colony would retreat to their nest to avoid drowning. The rain's consequence to a human is not as dire, but I think you get the picture.
Still, in that same scenario, it wouldn't be fair to predict that all plans would be canceled. Some people simply don't care about the rain, others might've had a handy umbrella, and a few might have been indoors the whole time. The rain couldn't have less of an impact on their plans.
But another group of individuals also saw this coming a few days ago and planned their week accordingly. These are your meteorologist nerds who won't go a day without looking at the weather forecast. A Horoscope is much like that forecast; it lets you know the overall chances of something happening.
This is also why Horoscopes aren't universal. So, in a way, the Astrology skeptic is correct: a Horoscope cannot predict the future of millions of people. Because, like the weather forecast, it can tell you what's going on with the environment, but it can't tell you who has an umbrella or who wasn't planning on going out that day—or can it?
Now, this is not an original metaphor. Many other Astrologers have used weather analogies to explain astrological forecasting. Even Astrology Hub has a weekly horoscope called "The Weekly Weather." But here's where I'll throw you a curve ball because as much as this analogy is an easy gateway into understanding what a Horoscope can do, it doesn't even scratch the surface of what it actually is.
This is because half the job of an accurate Horoscope column is actually done by the reader, not the Astrologer. It's a bit of a sneaky secret that could almost render Astrologers unemployed. Still, it's a secret I'm willing to share with you, so you can take that weather forecast and know who has an umbrella and who doesn't.
If you ever asked yourself why Horoscopes don't work, I'm about to show you why they do and why you might just be reading it the wrong way.
The Weather App On Steriods!
When I said that comparing Horoscopes to the Weather Forecast doesn't do Astrology justice, it wasn't just a sales pitch. The only way the Weather Forecast would be able to compare to a Horoscope is if it were also able to predict not only the weather, but also what traffic would be like if there would be shade nearby, and most importantly, what your reaction to the rain would most likely be. Maybe if you're an uninformed Horoscope reader, you'd feel like they're comparable. Still, by the end of this article, you won't fit in that category anymore.
Why? Because most people are only taught to read Horoscopes for their Sun Sign. The Sun sign is probably the zodiac sign you already identify with because it's the easiest to calculate. Most people born in the same month have the same Sun Sign, so as long as you know the day and month you were born, you probably have the right sign down. I mean, it makes sense. Most people think Astrology isn't authentic or that it's just a way to create viral memes and advertisements online, so why put so much effort into teaching people how to calculate something "fictional?"
Reading Horoscopes for your Sun sign alone is like going to the doctor for a check-up and only asking them to look at your head, even though your feet are really what's bothering you. While much can be gleaned from that place alone, it's far from a complete picture of the actual situation.
If you want to get the best out of your Horoscope experience, you should really read it from three distinct angles. Your Sun (the one you already know), your Moon, and your Rising sign.
Calculating the Moon and the Rising sign is trickier than the Sun. It relies on your exact time of birth, so you'll have some homework to do. Luckily Astrology Hub provides a free report that can calculate that for you, so you don't have to know any astronomy or advanced trigonometry.
With this in mind, the argument that Horoscopes target a 12th of the population becomes much less robust as the likelihood of someone having the same Sun, Moon, and Rising sign as you are much slimmer.
But with that out of the way, what is the difference between the Sun, Moon, and Rising sign?
Remember a little back when I said that reading your Horoscope for the Sun is like going to the doctor and only asking them to look at your head? If we continue with this model, we can actually split the body into thirds and correspond them to each of these three astrological angles.
If the Sun is the head (your intellect and the driving force that makes your body do what it does), the Moon would be your Torso. The Rising Sign also called the Ascendant, would be your legs and feet.
Moon Sign Horoscopes
Despite our analogy, in traditional Astrology, the Moon has always been related to one's entire body. But since we're trying to compare and contrast these three different types of readings, the Torso is also a good comparison as it hosts most of your vital organs. Therefore it's the most vulnerable part of your body.
When you read a Horoscope for your Moon Sign, this is the keyword you want to keep in mind "vulnerability."
It gives you insight into what you are subject to at a given time. If we continue to explore the rain allegory, the Moon Sign Horoscope is the one that most closely resembles a weather forecast. It lets you know that you're "vulnerable to rain" and that you can't necessarily control it. The Moon is also related to emotions. And while we'd like to think that we have a lot of control over our feelings, those are much more subconscious than it's comfortable to accept.
For example, if you read a Horoscope for your Moon sign and the Astrologer says there will be "new love opportunities" or "the potential for disputes," you can assume that those are more likely to be things that happen to you. You don't initiate it; you simply experience it.
How you react to it is actually a different horoscope, and the one you're most acquainted with: the Sun Sign Horoscope.
Sun Sign Horoscope
If the Moon Sign Horoscope tells you whether there will be rain or not, the Sun Sign would tell you whether you're a person who enjoys this rain or not.
As I mentioned earlier, the Sun can be compared to your head. It's your intellect, likes and dislikes, and personality. So usually, when you read a Horoscope for your Sun Sign, it tells you the things you're more in control of.
Following the same example of an Astrologer forecasting the "potential for disputes," when reading for your Sun Sign, this means you’re more likely the trigger of these events. This is because the Sun Sign Horoscope can let you know what urges you might have at a given moment. The Sun represents energy, so it's a good indicator of where your energy will most likely be spent at a given time. Because your urges are more conscious, they're easier to control than the subconscious lunar feels of your Moon Sign.
Rising Sign Horoscopes
Now, this is your holy grail of Horoscopes and what distinguishes a Horoscope from a Weather Forecast.
I compared this angle to your legs and feet because its symbolism is largely local, and your legs are most likely what takes you from one place to the next. For those of you who don't already know, the Rising Sign represents what sign was literally Rising on the horizon as you were born. Your birth location and time determine it, and it's the most personalized point in your chart.
Because it derives from location, reading Horoscopes for your Rising Sign can tell you the environment you're likely to be in at a given time. If the Moon tells you whether it will rain or not and the Sun tells you whether you like the rain or not, the Rising sign can show you whether you'll be indoors, outdoors, or somewhere in between.
So again, if an Astrologer were to predict the "chance for disputes," these would not necessarily happen to you or be triggered by you, but it could simply mean that you're in an environment where tension is in the air. To know what comes out of it, you can combine what you've read about your Moon Sign and Sun Sign to get an entirely personalized Horoscope.
It's also important to note that sometimes these three perspectives may overlap. For example, if your Sun Sign is Cancer, that doesn't mean that your Moon or Rising sign can't be Cancer. It can even be that all three perspectives point to the same sign. This explains why some people seem to always relate to their Horoscopes, regardless of what angle they're looking at it from, and others don't.
A Horoscope is not just a tool to predict your future. It's better compared to a road map. And if you know how to read it, you can get powerful insights about your body, mind, and environment, and how the combination of these factors pushes and pull you towards specific directions in life. An informed Horoscope reader would know what is within their control and what isn't and, therefore, would be able to plan their life according to the "celestial weather."
Looking for Horoscopes specifically for your Zodiac Sign?
Visit our Weekly Horoscope page written by Christopher Renstrom himself every week!