Whether or not you read your horoscope every day, you’re probably familiar with your Sun sign, a.k.a the zodiac sign you were born under—based on your birth month and day—and which represents your ego. But what about other aspects of your birth chart that also shape your personality, like your Moon sign or rising sign?
In astrology, your rising sign, also called your ascendant, is the zodiac sign that is present in the first house, known as the House of Self. Your rising sign represents your outside persona or the first impression people have of you. Think of it as the wrapping paper on a gift—it’s how the world sees you when meeting you for the first time. The ascendant denotes what others notice about you on a surface level, before getting to know the deeper parts of your personality, a.k.a your Sun and Moon signs as well as other aspects of your birth chart. Some even say that your rising sign is the mask you wear to protect your true self (which would equate to your Sun sign in astrology).
If you’re a Cancer ascendant, for example, your tender heart and need for a cozy home aesthetic may give you away before anyone even takes a peek at your birth chart.
FYI, Cancer risings tend to have heightened emotional responses to situations and have a strong intuitive side, as all water signs do, that helps guide them when making decisions. Additionally, they have a deep sense of loyalty to those they love and share a connection to their ancestors that transcends time and space.
Ahead, learn what exactly it means to be a Cancer rising sign:
How do I know if I’m a Cancer rising?
First and foremost, you’ll need to calculate your birth chart to find out. To do so, you’ll need your birth date, birthplace, and exact birth time. (So yeah, you might want to dial up your parents or dig up a copy of your birth certificate for this one.) Once you determine when and where you were born exactly, you can then calculate your birth chart using one of these free sites: Astro.com, astro-charts.com, or cafeastrology.com.
What does it mean to be a Cancer rising, exactly?
ICYDK, the sign of Cancer is ruled by the moon. So it’s no surprise that Cancer ascendants experience many mood swings due to the moon’s changeable nature. One minute they’re laughing; the next, they are yelling or crying.
Also, as a water sign, Cancer risings crave movement and motion. As a result, they tend to move around and travel often. Don’t be surprised if you see your Cancer ascendant friend in Paris one week, and Cabo the next—there’s no tying down these jet-setters.
When a Cancer rising enters a room, they may appear shy at first. They weave their way into spaces casually and often go unnoticed. They don’t want the public attention—and, quite honestly, it makes them uncomfortable. Yet, they can talk to anyone who approaches them for hours. It doesn’t hurt that they give off the kind of energy that makes people want to come up to them for a chat. Plus, a Cancer rising will never turn anyone away as they never want to make someone feel unimportant.
There are some deeper personality traits that come into play with Cancer ascendants, too. This sign is extremely loyal and takes things to heart. They are one of the best people to have in your life because they’ll always be there for important events and will show up when no one else does. Cancer risings are incredibly selfless, always making sacrifices and compromises for their loved ones.
But while they’re total sweethearts, this sign can also be stubborn if they feel that others are trying to take from them.
They will fight for what they consider theirs, especially if they feel threatened by an outside influence in a romantic partnership or believe that the ‘ship is on the rocks. For example, they won’t let a S.O. leave without first trying to fix the relationship. More than any other sign, they’re more apt to try anything and everything to maintain a romantic partnership, whether that means exploring couple’s therapy, spending extra alone time together, or using alternative methods of understanding each other. They won’t leave any rock unturned if it’ll potentially help them get the relationship back on track.
Cancer risings will go out of their way to make a relationship work, sometimes even getting a bit clingy or jealous if they’re really into someone.
How do Cancer risings act at work?
Due to Cancer rising’s ability and inclination to express their emotions through art, which they find to be a form of healing, these crabs tend to lean towards more creative fields. They’re your graphic designers, actors, writers, and content creators.
Because Cancer risings also have protective and nurturing instincts, they tend to be great with kids, making them excellent teachers, childcare professionals, and social workers. They especially thrive in positions where they can be of service to others or the greater good.
In the workplace, Cancer risings tend to be the ones who bring cake for their coworkers’ birthdays and offer sage advice, whether professional or personal, to their colleagues. But while they’re usually everyone’s office bestie, they can also be competitive at times—depending on their mood—leading them to act out. If they do feel slighted by a colleague, they may stir up some office drama by repeating gossip and scandalous information about a coworker. Crabs have claws for a reason, so tread lightly around a scorned Cancer rising.
How do Cancer risings act in relationships?
When it comes to matters of the heart, Cancer risings are very emotional and sensitive. It takes them a while to open up to another person, but once they break out of their hard shell, you’ll find that Cancer ascendants make great friends and lovers, too.
You can expect a Cancer rising to stand by your side through thick and thin. They’ll defend you till the end and may even fight your battles for you. In other words, they’re loyal to the core.
The only time Cancer ascendants will ever exit a relationship is if they feel emotionally or physically unsafe. That is when they’ll take their pincers out and start fighting back by standing up for themselves and saying, “Thank u, next.” Once a Cancer rising recognizes their worth, the breakup will be long, painful, and laborious for both partners since they rarely let things go easily or without an argument. Their pincers are so strong because they hold onto others tightly, so expect the process to be, uh, intense.
What placements are most compatible with Cancer risings?
Compatibility with a Cancer ascendant really depends on what the moon is doing in both people’s charts. Harmonious and tense aspects like squares and oppositions, which are fraught aspects, or sextiles and trines, which tend to be friendlier aspects, can both yield long-term relationships for a Cancer rising since they stay put in a commitment until the bitter end.
Nevertheless, Cancer risings are most compatible with other water signs. Two Cancer risings in a partnership, for example, often brings success, as does a Cancer rising with a Scorpio rising, a fixed water sign, or Pisces ascendant, a mutable water sign. Why? Two Cancer risings can weather each other’s moods, while Scorpio rising possesses the emotional strength and depth to deal with a Cancer ascendant’s many mood swings. Meanwhile, a Pisces rising can intuitively connect with Cancer rising.
In general, Cancer ascendants tend not to reveal their love interest too quickly or openly, since they fear rejection, so they’ll want a partner that is reassuring and can accept that they probably won’t be the one saying that oh-so important four letter word first. They also tend to gravitate towards those who can handle their mood swings and need to be a homebody—uh, which is most of the time.
A chill evening at home with a few loved ones supersedes any club or party for this rising sign. After all, for the crab, less is more.
Lisa Stardust is a NYC-based astrologer, tarot card reader, energy healer, and manifestation guide known for her pop culture horoscopes. She is the author of Saturn Return Survival Guide: Navigating This Cosmic Rite of Passage, The Astrology Deck: Your Guide to the Meanings and Myths of the Cosmos, and Love Deck: 70 Cards to Ignite Attraction, Passion, and Romance. In addition to Women’s Health, her work and writing has been featured in The Today Show, Oprah Daily, Vogue, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29, and InStyle. Hailing from a long line of spiritual healers, Lisa has been practicing astrology professionally for over 15 years but has been studying the stars all of her life.