I think a big question in astrology is how you tell the difference between the expression of the Sun, Moon, and Rising in a certain sign. It is an important distinction because even though you will have three people with the same influence, it will get expressed in (at least) three rather different ways. After all, astrology is really complex and you cannot lump everyone with the same sign influence into one category. So, this is how I see it:
Aries Risings are usually more offensive and aggressive. They are most likely to come on strong and not know when they’re doing it. Aries Suns are more about initiative and are always starting some new project or making a new resolution. It becomes clear how enterprising they are and how much they want to “win” at life. Aries Moons are the most self-involved and can be surprisingly childish. They are so wrapped up in their moment-to-moment emotions and desires that they easily forget about yours or push yours aside, even though they aren’t trying to be mean when they do so.
There is something about Taurus Risings that is really slow and measured. They seem to be always striving to take it easy and it’s obvious how much they enjoy the simple, sensual things in life. Taurus Suns have the strongest values and are the most stable. It’s much less about materialism for them and more about feeling okay in their own skin with a good head on their shoulders. Taurus Moons are the most obstinate and cautious because they react from a place of practicality and routine. They’re also the most patient and have the longest fuses, unbothered by most little things.
Out of the three, Gemini Risings are usually the best at making conversation and connecting intellectually with others. These folks can find common ground with virtually anyone and excel at easygoing small talk. Gemini Suns are the most dualistic, always switching from one personality to the next. It’s easy for them to get confused or confuse other people in terms of who they really are. Those with the Moon in Gemini get bored easiest, needing stimulation and excitement at every given second. Also, they can either be the most talkative or the quietest, as they will process their feelings by either not being able to shut up or thinking so hard they shut others out.
Cancer Risings can either have the hardest shell of the three or no shell at all. They wear their emotions so much on their sleeves that they either are gigantic softies or highly guarded. People with their Sun in Cancer are the most defined by family. Letting go of resentments toward loved ones or finally creating their own happy family has a massive impact on their sense of self, as they can identify too much with being wounded. The Moon in Cancer people are the moodiest and the most irrational of the three. They feel all of their feelings all of the time and if they become too needy or defensive, it can make them quite emotionally exhausting for others to deal with.
Those with Leo Rising have the most visible, noticeable pride. On a regular occasion, they will make decisions solely to maintain their dignity or because they cannot let go of their pride, which either invokes a lot of respect or exasperation in other people. Leo Sun individuals have very active leadership skills and can naturally expect to be at the helm or at the center. Their egos are also the largest of the three because they figure out who they are by assuming the throne. Leo Moons need the most attention and flattery, as it’s their way of feeling supported. Also, their flair for drama can be the most powerful because it’s coming from a purely emotional and sometimes irrational place.
People with Virgo Rising tend to be the neatest and most punctual of the group. Being organized, healthy, and efficient is their way of presenting themselves and putting themselves out there, so they are usually very intent on not appearing to be a mess. The Virgo Suns, however, constantly see themselves as a work in progress and can be the most self-critical. They are the ones who are most humbled by life because they are always becoming aware of the ways in which they can improve and learn. Virgo Moons are usually the most anxious or high-strung, as they have a deep need for things to go right or as planned. Since they process their emotions through problem solving, they are usually the most helpful, pulling you out of a jam without even thinking about it.
The Libra Risings have the most powerful charm and the best people-skills of the trio. They possess an automatic way of putting you at ease and making you feel liked and understood, which gives them a highly attractive aura and energy. Sun in Libra individuals are the most fixated on an equal give and take between people and can be most argumentative when they feel as if you aren’t playing fairly. At the same time, they put a lot of energy into offering up what they expect in partnerships. Libra Moons are the most averse to conflict, as it upsets on a deeply emotional level, which can also make them the most passive-aggressive. They really need to make you happy; something that can be co-dependent but also genuinely sweet and thoughtful.
Scorpio Rising people often have the most powerful and magnetic presence, as their intensity is put right out there for you to see. The famous love-hate response of this sign is most evident with them, as their extreme vibe as well as their obvious secrecy provoke really powerful reactions in others. Scorpio Suns transform themselves the most throughout life, as they develop a deeper sense of self through catharsis and empowerment. They gravitate toward intimacy the most and while they still have trust issues, they can be the most open about how they feel. Scorpio Moons are usually the most psychologically scarred and emotionally complicated. Because of this, they are actually the darkest and scariest of the three, especially since it’s so well-hidden, and have to spend a lot of conscious energy figuring out how to heal and work with that intensity without being destructive.
Sagittarius Risings usually have the strongest sense of adventure since life is an amazing journey and exploration for them. Their positive energy, buoyant humor, and good cheer are right there on the surface for everyone to see. Sagittarius Suns, however, tend to be the most honest about who they are and what they stand for. Building a strong identity, for them, relies on this process of self-discovery and living out their truth. Those with the Moon in Sagittarius can be the most self-righteous and dogmatic, as they are so irrationally and emotionally tied to their opinions. But, because of this, they usually have the deepest and most meaningful sense of faith and it keeps them feeling protected and comforted in bad times.
Capricorn Risings are the most image-conscious of this bunch, putting a lot of effort into presenting themselves in a way that will impress people or make people take them seriously. Their presence is also particularly intimidating or, at the least, dignified and strong. Those with their Sun in Capricorn have to work through the most self-doubt in order to figure out who they are, as their confidence is dependent on how well they overcome obstacles. This eventually allows them to develop the patience and sure-footed grace to handle whatever comes their way. Capricorn Moons are very sensitive to perceived disrespect, easily feeling like they are so reliable and work so hard and get little in return. It’s also the hardest for them to deal with their vulnerability or lean on other people yet this also probably gives them the most inner fortitude and strength.
People with Aquarius Rising are usually the most free-spirited and nonconforming. Their weirdness is rather obvious, in some way or another, due to the fact that they see it as their place in life to be the one who is different and misunderstood. Aquarius Suns are more so like body-snatching aliens, seemingly “normal” on the outside but hiding something unusual on the inside, which you sooner or later discover. They are also the savviest in group settings, as they find their confidence in understanding how many different people interact with one another. Aquarius Moon folks are the most emotionally distant of the three, being very detached or cerebral about their emotions to the point where they may seem more like a robot. But, they’re also highly accepting and support you by allowing you to totally be yourself.
The Pisces Risings have a wonderfully mysterious and magnetic quality to them. Whether male or female, they are like sirens and can project one kind of energy and then, once they’ve reeled you in, reveal something else entirely, throwing you for a loop. Pisces Sun individuals feel the strongest urge to redeem themselves in some fashion, going through phases of being the saint and the sinner and everything in between. They get very confused about why they’re here on earth and usually have to live many different lives to find out. Pisces Moons are the most empathic and, therefore, the most overwhelmed. It’s easiest for them to isolate themselves in order to escape harsh realities and if they don’t have enough reality checks, they can become highly deluded about what’s going on.