Here's how to interpret your moon sign, the emotional compass of your birth chart.

By Maressa Brown
September 25, 2020
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Whether you say you're an unconventional, eccentric Aquarius who was born in early February or a charismatic, go-getter Leo who came into the world in late July, the zodiac sign you identify as is likely based exclusively on the sun. The luminous celestial body spends roughly four weeks in each of the 12 signs, and wherever it was when you were born dictates how you'll respond when someone asks that age-old question: "What's your sign?"

But your sun sign is far from the whole story when it comes to your astrological profile, referred to as a natal (birth) chart. Your chart serves as a snapshot of not just the sun but also the moon and the planets' placements in the sky at the precise moment you were born. It also takes the vantage point from your birth location into consideration. And when you work with a professional astrologer, they can tell you what each of those placements — and how they interact with one another — mean for your personality and life path.

While you can get multi-layered, in-depth insight from your full chart, there's still merit to zeroing in on its building blocks, like what your moon sign means. Here, the basics on this specific piece of your personal astrological puzzle.

moon at twilight as concept for moon sign meaning in astrology
Credit: Bill Ross/Getty Images

The Moon Sign's Meaning in Your Birth Chart

Every celestial body influences a different aspect of your personality and wiring. For instance, the big, bright sun helps shape your sense of self, core identity, and how you experience self-esteem and confidence. On the other hand, the shimmery, romantic moon serves to guide how you feel and intuit. Think of it as your inner emotional compass, which also influences the experiences, people, and material items in life that offer you a sense of security. It also colors the way you connect emotionally with others, which is why understanding your moon sign and your moon sign's meaning can help you steer toward relationships in which you have similar emotional wiring and therefore a natural harmony and ability to build a lasting bond.

How to Figure Out Your Moon Sign

Given the fact that it moves about 13.5 degrees per day (while Mercury and Venus cover roughly one, and Mars just half of a degree), the moon flits from one sign to the next faster than almost any celestial body talked about in astrology. It spends about two to three days in each sign, so, you'll need to look at your chart or use an online moon sign calculator to pinpoint where it was at the time of your birth. (Of course, you can also look at your complete natal chart to find your moon sign, too.)

Your Lunar Return

Every sign encompasses 30 degrees in the sky, so when you were born, the moon was in one of 12 signs as well as a degree. For instance, the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's moon was at 12 degrees of Scorpio. Tennis icon Serena Williams is at 20 degrees of Virgo. Every month, on a varying date, the moon spends time in the exact spot it was in when you were born, which is referred to as your lunar return. If you can pinpoint this period of time and tune in to how you're feeling and what you're experiencing at the moment, it could offer clues to the emotional journey you'll experience in the month ahead.

The Moon Signs, Explained

Once you pinpoint your natal moon, here are the basic traits you might identify with, depending on which of the 12 signs it fell in at the time of your birth. And if you want to get into the weeds, consider the degrees of your moon sign, which could further influence its expression. For instance, if your moon occurs at 0 degrees, there's a sense of curiosity and desire to learn in order to grow into the characteristics of your moon sign. If it falls in the middle degrees (14 to 16), you'll feel very much in tune and entrenched with the vibe and purpose of your moon sign. And if it is in the final degree (29), you might feel like a seasoned veteran in your ability to harness the strengths and embrace the weaknesses of your moon sign.

Aries Moon

If your moon falls in go-getter fire-sign Aries, at your emotional core, you're impulsive, passionate, independent, and excitable. When you express your feelings in relationships with a significant other, potential partner, or loved ones, you're playful, almost childlike. The drawbacks of this placement: You can be argumentative, immature, and competitive. (Although, here are some perks of tapping into that competitive spirit.)

Taurus Moon

If the moon was in sensual earth sign Taurus at the time of your birth, you're slow to anger, grounded, and you prioritize fostering a sense of security and safety (be that by making your home a tranquil sanctuary or ensuring you have what you need to support yourself financially). You're a devoted friend, partner, and relative, and you take great pride in nurturing and building your emotional connections over time. At the same time, you might struggle to adapt and move forward after a relationship is no longer serving you.

Gemini Moon

Those born when the moon was in chatty air sign Gemini can't help but fuse their love of language with their emotions. You live for witty banter, intellectual debate, and expressing your feelings in a light, unrestricted, free-spirited way. You'll also often rationalize your emotions, which can bolster mental energy and connection. But a Gemini moon can makes it tough to land on how you truly feel. You have a tendency to talk in circles about your emotions but struggle to actually sit with those feelings.

Cancer Moon

If you were born with the moon in sentimental water sign Cancer, you're extremely maternal and giving emotionally, finding that it bolsters your sense of security to care for others. Feeling like you have a safe, supportive home life is also crucial to your emotional centeredness. And because Cancer is ruled by the moon, you might be especially sensitive to its phases. (Consider how the lunar cycle might affect your sex life.) With this placement, there's a tendency to get resentful and cranky when you feel like you've been giving far more than you've been receiving.

Leo Moon

If the moon occupied charismatic fire sign, Leo, at the time of your birth, you might often fantasize that you're the star of your very own romantic comedy. And your emotional wiring tends to be sunny and optimistic. You have a flair for the dramatic and entertaining when expressing your feelings, and you rarely shy away from fully embracing and owning your emotional state. You might struggle with self-focus, which can, at its worst, translate to egocentricity.

Virgo Moon

If the moon was in the cerebral earth sign Virgo when you were born, your emotions go hand-in-hand with wanting to be of service to others, often doing so by applying your advanced communication skills in a thoughtful way. It's also tough for you to reconcile what's going on in your head versus your heart, as you are so intellectually-oriented. You can't help but focus on minute details, which fuels innate thoughtfulness. The negative side of this is that you might be extra sensitive and overthinking when it comes to matters of the heart.

Libra Moon

If the moon was in the beauty-loving air sign Libra at the time of your birth, your emotional compass has you on a perpetual mission to achieve balance and harmony. Your emotional fulfillment often hinges on social interactions with loved ones and friends or any activity that plays into your love of all things beautiful and luxurious. The airy nature of your moon makes it possible for you to think rationally when things get heated, but as someone who avoids conflict at all costs, you're also at risk of steering into passive-aggressive territory.

Scorpio Moon

Those born when the moon was moving through the magnetic water sign Scorpio experience their emotions intensely and come off as mysterious, secretive, and powerful. You find security in attachments that are brimming with passion, trust, and absolute loyalty. You would prefer to involve yourself in relationships that create space for transformation. Once you know how you feel about anything or anyone, it's hard for you to switch gears, and because that innate secretiveness causes you to be tight-lipped about your deepest feelings, it can be challenging to connect with those you love at times.

Sagittarius Moon

If you were born when the moon was in the adventurous fire sign Sagittarius, you find a sense of security in soaking up knowledge and pursuing eye-opening experiences. You're a daring free spirit who takes great pride in your individuality. That said, you need space to breathe and grow on your own terms, ideally through traveling, learning, or exploring philosophy, religion, and spirituality. You also prefer to express how you feel in a direct, unfiltered way and might be especially blunt and even harsh when aggravated by what you perceive as unnecessary complications or mind games.

Capricorn Moon

If you were born when the moon was in industrious earth sign Capricorn, your emotional well-being thrives when you feel like you're putting in the work to be successful and achieve your goals. You're down-to-earth and serious when sharing how you feel and believe in the power of putting your nose to the grindstone in all matters, including within your nearest and dearest relationships. You need to feel like your personal and professional lives work in tandem, and if they're not, you might grow irritable.

Aquarius Moon

If you were born with the moon in the futuristic air sign Aquarius, your emotional core is best described as individualistic, humanitarian, forward-thinking, and quirky. You're happiest if you're pouring your time and energy into high-minded ideals and improving life for others in your community. You like to focus on facts, logic, and rational thought rather than the deep waters of emotion, but you excel at connecting with a wide, diverse range of people in a platonic way. This could cause you to come off as cool, aloof, or stubborn.

Pisces Moon

If the moon was in romantic water sign Pisces when you were born, you're a deeply spiritual, idealistic dreamer — and perhaps even a bit psychic. You put your closest relationships on a pedestal and see the world through rose-colored glasses. While you're a natural at wading into the depths of emotion and are extremely empathic, it can be tough for you to ground yourself, and you might struggle with gloomy moods and escapism. Making room in your life to channel all those intense feelings into acts of self-care and your favorite creative outlets is key to feeling centered and secure.

Maressa Brown is a writer and astrologer with more than 15 years of experience. In addition to being Shape's resident astrologer, she contributes to InStyle, Parents, Astrology.com, and more. Follow her Instagram and Twitter at @MaressaSylvie.