Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth yoga, fitness, & nutrition courses, when you
sign up for Outside+.

Ever been asked for “your sign”? If you knew the answer, then you know your Sun sign.

Your Sun sign is what’s used in the horoscopes that you have have flipped through fashion magazines to read or, more recently, consulted the Co-Star app for cringy and uncannily accurate insights into your personality and your quirks.

But what exactly is the meaning of your Sun sign? And is there anything that it can’t reveal about you?

What your Sun sign can tell you

Your Sun sign is the primary astrological sign that was influencing the Sun at the moment of your birth. As such, it’s the sign of the zodiac that most prominently influences you. It explains you. It reveals your most pronounced personality traits. It even defines, to some degree, who you are, how you perceive the world, and where you allow your thoughts to take you.

You’ve heard stereotypes about various signs—say, Capricorns are grounded but judgmental and Pisces are compassionate yet a touch overly emotional. These assumptions refer to Sun sign qualities, which tend to shape your sense of self, your values, your strengths, and your weaknesses. They even hint at who you will become throughout your life.

What your Sun sign can’t tell you

If the broad brushstrokes of characteristics ascribed to your Sun sign make you feel misunderstood at times, that’s to be expected. Think of your Sun sign as a starting place. It can offer insights—and stereotypes—but is far from indicative of the fullness of your unique personality.

A more nuanced understanding of astrology’s interpretation of you can be found in your birth or natal chart, which is an in-depth analysis of all the planetary and lunar placements happening at the time of your birth. Think of your birth chart as your cosmic fingerprint–no two people’s planets align in exactly the same way. These placements are what makes one Capricorn or Pisces different from all the other Capricorns and Pisces.

To learn more about your birth chart, type “how do I find my birth chart?” in your search bar. You’ll be presented with countless astrological calculators that will request the date, time, and location of your birth. Interpreting your birth chart can seem to require a PhD in astrology, although even a basic understanding of your rising sign and Moon sign will bring another dimension to your understanding of yourself. It will also explain some of the inconsistencies you may have noticed when reading about your Sun sign.

The meaning of your Sun sign

Take whatever you read about your Sun sign as information—not gospel or an absolute or a life sentence. Allow it to inform your self-awareness so that you become a little more cognizant of the lens through which you view yourself, others, situations, and the world. It is not an excuse for behavior but rather a potential explanation of it. Astrology could be regarded as quite similar to yoga. Both are intended as tools to enhance your capacity for self-awareness. Same intention, different approach.

Aries | March 21-April 19

Powerful | Strong | Unique

The first sign of the zodiac, Aries is ruled by Mars, the planet of action. Those with Aries as their Sun sign tend to be adventuresome leaders who revel in life and are constantly learning and exploring. This enthusiasm leads them to be much better at starting projects than finishing them. Most of the lessons Aries tend to receive are related to commitment and confidence. Aries tends to be regarded as the “baby” of the zodiac due to being the youngest sign but also because of their impulsiveness, fearlessness, and friendliness.

Taurus | April 20-May 20

Determined | Sensual | Loyal

Slow and steady is always the way to go for this grounded Earth sign. Deliberate actions, solid and stable energy, and patience are all hallmarks of Taurus. Those with Taurus as their Sun sign make excellent friends and partners because of their easily contented nature and desire to create an environment that is comfortable with an an energy that feels balanced.

Ruled by Venus, Taurus also has a sensual side that loves the finer things in life.

Gemini | May 21-June 20

Communicative | Inquisitive | Variable

Gemini is symbolized by twins, likely because this air sign tends to be insatiable in terms of mental stimulation and becomes bored easily, which can make them move quickly from one thing to the next. Incredibly charismatic and quick-witted, they often have a multitude of interests and hobbies in order to satisfy their frenetic energy. Super flirty and very social, Geminis sometimes take a while to settle down in partnership because they don’t care for the restrictions that a relationship can bring.

Cancer | June 21-July 22

Loyal | Emotional | Imaginative

Ruled by the Moon, the Cancer personality has an ever-changing mood and cyclical personality that, like its lunar counterpart, is influenced by a different zodiac sign every two-and-a-half days. However much they may seem to change like the tides, their core values run deep. Like the crab that is their symbol, they have a tough outer shell to crack and pinching devices as defense mechanisms. But this hides a sweet and devoted soul with strong intuition and unexpected tenderness and nurturance. Well-spoken and often ambitious, Cancers desire security and safety, both in the space they call home and the people they decide to trust, and tend to heap love on others so that they can feel that.

Leo| July 23-August 22

Passionate | Confident | Optimistic

Magnetic and regal, Leo is the sign of the zodiac that is literally ruled by the Sun. Those born under this fire sign have an unmistakable aura that reflects their confidence, courage, and charm. Often quite extroverted, Leos are drawn to education and places where they can share their knowledge and wisdom with unmistakable style. They do love to be in the spotlight and the adoration of their partners is one of their biggest desires in life.

Virgo | August 23-September 22

Intelligent | Graceful | Disciplined

This sincere earth sign is incredibly practical, industrious, and efficient. Virgos are always hoping for the best while secretly preparing for the worst. A disciplined and demanding pursuit of perfectionism is common among Virgos. The resulting anxiety from the pressure they place on themselves can cause them to procrastinate or seek out calming organizational structures and routines in their lives. Virgos strongly believe in doing things right the first time but they often come across as hesitant or uninterested because they’re considering the best way to approach or communicate things. Ironically, they can usually handle anything they set their mind to do.

Libra | September 23-October 22

Charming | Fair | Harmonious
Fair, balanced, and honest, Libras are natural mediators. They have a well-rounded personality and tend to be calming and gentle in their demeanor, making it easy for them to persuade others to see things their way. They seek truth and knowledge, but they shy away from making decisions lest they make the wrong one. This hesitancy, despite repeated assurances to the contrary, tend to drive those around them crazy. Intellectual but emotional, Libras have a weakness for anyone who offers an occasion to flirt.

Scorpio | October 23-November 21

Passionate | Instinctive | Mysterious

Scorpios have an excitable and passionate nature that can sometimes get in the way of trusting intuition. A sign that’s full of energy, Scorpios are curious, intelligent, even eloquent. They are also entirely devoted to the idea of who they think they are and tend to get caught up in fiercely protecting themselves and their way of perceiving a situation. That energy belies the deep emotional currents that run far beneath the surface, making them intense to be in relationship with unless they communicate well.

Sagittarius | November 22-December 21

Loving | Philosophical | Restless
Adventurous and energetic, Sagittarius are inspired by everything the world has to offer, even though can sometimes come across as blunt or tactless. This is less about being inconsiderate and more to do with not taking the time to think before they speak, as they always have something to say before moving on to the next thing that catches their attention. They also have a tendency to repeat themselves and stubbornly insist on the validity of their perspective. Still, with their openness and likability, they’re easily forgiven.

Capricorn | December 22-January 19

Ambitious | Patient | Humorous

Taking initiative comes easily to Capricorns. They are almost unfailingly realistic, disciplined, and wise. Incredibly motivated, they possess a strong work ethic and make determined leaders who willingly take responsibility for themselves and their loved ones. Capricorns experience a tenderness toward family but prefer a romantic partner who is as ambitious as they are. Note: Judgment comes as easily to Capricorns as breathing.

Aquarius | January 20-February 18

Humanitarian | Individualistic | Eclectic

The lighthearted, friendly energy of Aquarians shows how they genuinely revel in helping others. Their broadmindedness, kindness, and compassion helps them be terrific listeners and often the first to step forward to help others. They are seen as visionaries who are interested in making the world a better place, usually through their infinite inventiveness and humanitarian bent. The Aquarius personality does like alone time to ponder whatever piques their relentless curiosity and intellectual pursuits.

Pisces | February 19-March 20

Imaginative | Emotional | Intuitive

Selfless and deeply intuitive, Pisces are the last sign of the zodiac, which makes them the “old soul” of the astrological signs. Where Aries has the most lessons to learn, Pisces has seen and done it all. This makes them compassionate, peaceful, and somewhat eclectic-seeming in their interests. The vivid imagination of this water sign means that they tend to be highly creative, have a deep appreciation for the arts, and a curiosity for exploring other cultures. They have a loving and loyal nature, with a passionate and very emotional nature that typically hides a sarcastic streak, something that appears when they’re drawn into conflict.

About our contributor

Jenny Latreille lives in Northern Ontario, where the Moon often seems much closer than it is. Preoccupied with food, culture, the stars, and art, she spends a lot of time in nature as well as in her kitchen, where she looks for ways to combine everything–and sometimes it works. She lives in an urban jungle with a pack of cats known as “The Adorables.”