If you’re a man who has dated women in the past five years or so, chances are one of them has asked for your time and place of birth. While this may seem like a weirdly personal question and also a potential red flag for identity theft, fear not. A woman who asks for the details from your birth certificate isn’t trying to set-up a credit card in your name: she’s trying to figure out your birth chart. More specifically, she’s probably trying to figure out your moon sign.
For the astrologically uninitiated (or averse), your birth chart is basically a map of the sky at the moment you were born. It’s the key to understanding your various astrological placements — AKA your signs — which includes your sun sign (probably the one you are already familiar with) as well as a host of other placements that reflect where other heavenly bodies were in their trip around the sun when you were born (e.g. your Venus sign, Mars sign, etc.)
You only need to know your birthday to figure out your sun sign, which is why it’s the one many people are most familiar with. But to get the full picture of your personality as told by the stars, you also need to know your exact time and place of birth. As astrology has increasingly invaded mainstream culture in recent years, moon and rising signs, in particular, have gained popularity among even more casual astrology enthusiasts. Like your sun sign, each astrological placement is thought to influence your personality, and each rules specific aspects of your relationship to yourself and the world. Your rising, or “ascendent,” sign is typically thought to reflect how you come off to others, especially when you first meet them, while your moon sign represents who you are deep down. According to Co-Star, one of the first astro apps to pop up amid astrology’s mid-2010s rise to mainstream popularity, “The moon rules your emotions, moods and feelings” and “reflects your personality when you’re alone or deeply comfortable.”
The moon sign’s association with your deepest, innermost self obviously means it plays an important role in determining astrological compatibility, and it also makes it highly coveted information for a prospective romantic partner trying to get to know the “real you.”
“Your Moon sign describes your inner world, so it’s very important when it comes to understanding how you experience emotions and how you emotionally connect with others,” says Erika W. Smith, author of Astrosex: How to Have the Best Sex According to Your Star Sign. Obviously, experiencing emotions and connecting with others tend to be pretty key aspects of any relationship, which is why women interested in hooking up with you and/or having your children are trying to get your mom’s phone number so they can ask her what time you were born.
Before we go any further, I am well aware that many men are still not particularly interested in astrology, and that some even make a point of openly disparaging it and anyone who doesn’t share their presumably evolved, rational mindset. If you fall into the latter category, I’ve detailed why that is mostly a bunch of patriarchal nonsense that’s probably hurting your chances with most women elsewhere, but I have also devoted the latter portion of this article to explaining why it’s still worth learning your moon sign even if you’re a relentlessly rational empiricist who thinks astrology is an offense to your refined scientific sensibilities or whatever. So if that’s you, feel free to skip ahead. As for those of you who are at least astro-curious, here’s everything you need to know about your moon sign, and how it can help your sex and dating life.
For the astro-curious:
How to figure out your moon sign
First things first, to find your moon sign, you’ll have to know the date, time and place of your birth. You probably know your birthday and where you were born, but nailing down the exact moment you entered the world will probably involve a confusing phone call to your mom or digging up your birth certificate. Once you’ve got the required information, however, plugging it into a birth chart calculator is as easy as, well, plugging it into a birth chart calculator. Cafe Astrology’s bare bones site is a fan favorite if you just want a quick breakdown so you can tell an inquiring date you’re a Scorpio moon without having to bother learning what that means, while apps like Co-Star will provide a more in-depth analysis of your astrological placements.
What your moon sign can tell you about romantic compatibility
The rules of moon sign compatibility roughly align with compatibility as determined by sun signs. For example, if a Pisces sun is compatible with a Scorpio sun (which they are), then a Pisces moon would probably also be considered compatible with a Scorpio moon. Adding moon signs into the mix just adds another level on which compatibility can be determined.
“In terms of compatibility, people often feel drawn to others with the same or compatible Moon signs — for example, if you have a Scorpio Moon, you might feel drawn to another Scorpio Moon, or someone with another water Moon like Cancer or Pisces,” says Smith. “You might also feel drawn to someone whose Sun sign matches your Moon sign — like if you’re a Scorpio Sun with a Gemini Moon, you might feel drawn to Gemini Suns.”
But astrological compatibility is as astrological compatibility does. It’s unlikely that a prospective romantic partner asking for your moon sign is going to write you off solely because an astrology app says your moon signs are in conflict. In reality, comparing moon signs only provides more opportunity to connect with a partner, whether or not the stars say you’re compatible.
“My point of view on astrological compatibility is more, ‘This is what you have in common astrologically, and this is where you’re different astrologically,’ not, ‘If you’re not compatible, you’re doomed!’” says Smith. “Any Moon sign pairing can succeed as long as the couple can communicate and appreciate each other’s differences.”
What your moon sign can tell you about yourself
Much more important than what your moon sign says about any given astrological pairing is what your moon sign can tell you (and your partner) about yourself, and how that insight might translate to the way you relate to others and behave in relationships.
“Generally, your Moon sign traits aren’t as immediately apparent as your Sun and Rising sign traits,” says Smith. “Your Moon sign represents your ‘inner self,’ the self that comes out with the people you know well and trust — a romantic partner, as well as close friends and family.”
Thus, knowing your moon sign can give you, or your partner, insight into your “feelings, needs and instincts,” says Smith. “Your Moon sign is so important when it comes to understanding emotions — it can help you understand why you react the way you do, and how to show your partner love and support.”
A word to the astro-averse:
Even if you absolutely hate astrology and only clicked on this article so you can send me mean emails about it, I still have an answer as to why it’s worth giving me and your moon sign the time of day. There’s a little thing called “playing along,” perhaps you’ve heard of it?
The vast majority of astrology fans aren’t planning their lives around their horoscopes, and they’re not going to kick you out of bed just because you’re a Capricorn. (I called it, didn’t I?) For most people, astrology is all in good fun, and it can also be a harmless, low-stakes way of engaging with the unknown and exploring belief systems that don’t require you to bow down to a higher power that thinks you shouldn’t masturbate or have gay sex. Pooh-poohing all over that because you think you’re intellectually superior is, frankly, not a turn on.
As Carina Hsieh wrote for Cosmopolitan in 2018, “Someone who can’t even entertain the idea of doing your birth chart together isn’t someone you really want to be with. If he’s gonna shit all over some harmless personality test circle jerk, he’s not the one.”
Figuring out your moon sign with a date doesn’t mean you’ve surrendered your pure, rational mind to the dark forces of pagan frivolity. It’s just a fun thing you can do together that will give you something to talk about, as well as provide an invitation to reflect on your own identity and innermost sense of self. Also, figuring out when you were born is probably a good opportunity to call your mom, who I’m sure would love to hear from you.