These days, discussing your star sign is such a big part of life that we find ourselves asking potential friends, lovers and even co-workers what their sign is. Far more than just your birthday month, they’re now believed to be an indicator of greater things from deep-rooted personality traits to figuring out sexual compatibility.

If you’re already here, you’re likely familiar with your star sign and everything that comes with it. Something you might not be familiar with, however, is your ‘rising sign.’ Also known as ‘ascendant’ signs, they actually form a pretty major part of who we are, so it’s worth finding out what yours is.

Below, everything you need to know about rising signs.

What is a rising sign?

Your rising sign is one of the components of your birth chart, along with your moon sign and star sign. Essentially, it’s the sign that was rising on the Eastern horizon the moment you were born.

While your moon sign is said to indicate the inner you, your rising sign is said to indicate the outer you and how other people perceive you. If you’ve ever been told ‘you don’t seem like a Leo’ or ‘I don’t get Pisces energy off you,’ it’s probably because people are perceiving your rising sign, rather than your star sign. In some ways, your rising sign is a mask that you wear, hiding your true inner self until you get to know someone on a deeper level.

So, if you’re interested to know how you come across to others and what their first impressions might be, you’ll want to calculate your rising sign pronto.

How do I calculate my rising sign?

The one thing you’ll need to calculate your rising sign is your exact birth time. It’s really important to get this part right, as rising signs can differ minute to minute, and you don’t want to end up with the wrong one in your birth chart.

The easiest way to calculate your rising sign is to plug your details into an online calculator, like this one. It’ll do all the hard work for you, and can even tell you a little bit about what your rising sign means.

What does my rising sign mean?

Once you’ve figured out your rising sign, you can head here to figure out exactly what it means for you. This website has a detailed analysis of each rising sign, so it’s a great way to dig a little deeper and learn more about how you’re being perceived by others.

If you just want a quick snapshot, here’s a brief analysis of what the rising signs mean for each element.

Earth Risings (Taurus, Vigro and Capricorn)

You’ll typically present as no-fuss and pragmatic. You have an appreciation for the finer things in life, and may come off as a little materialistic at first, but that’s just because you love the world around you. You’ll also be someone who enjoys their creature comforts.

Fire Risings (Aries, Leo and Sagittarius)

These signs can appear a little confrontational and blunt at first. They’ll be confident, self-assured and the life of the party. They’re great at ensuring everyone around them is having fun and comes across as very extroverted, even if they feel introverted at heart.

Water Risings (Pisces, Scorpio and Cancer)

Empathetic and sensitive are two words which come to mind with these signs. They’re usually seen as the carer of the group, and the nurturing one. People will instantly see your compassionate side upon meeting you, and may even find you a little mysterious at first.

Air Risings (Gemini, Libra and Aquarius)

These signs are perceived as warm and friendly upon first meeting. You’re talkative (but in a good way), and really great at communicating. People will naturally gravitate towards you in social settings and will feel at ease in your company.

This story originally appeared on ELLE AUSTRALIA

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