Why are they the Big Three?
The Sun, Moon and rising (or ascendant) signs are the most important signs in your birth chart. They represent foundational parts of your personality, your life path, and your story. Taken together, these three zodiac signs form your “Big 3”, or what I call your “astrological handshake.”
When you meet another astrologer or introduce yourself to a group of astrologers, it’s a polite gesture to offer this information. Hi, I’m Molly – Aries Sun, Leo Moon, Libra rising. In the language of astrology, it communicates some interesting information about me– without revealing everything!
You’ll need your birth chart to locate your Sun, Moon, and Rising signs.
How to get your birth chart online— free birth chart calculator
(It’s easy! Only takes a few minutes.)
The Sun is the center of the Solar system and the center of your chart. Your Sun sign shows how you express this Solar life force. How you shine and what you shine for. As you read more deeply into the Sun, you can read the complex influences on your self-expression and ego drives.
When you say, “I’m an Aries” or “I’m a Virgo,” what you’re really saying is that you were born when the Sun was in that Zodiac sign. Most people already know their Sun sign, before they even get into birth charts. That’s because the Sun sign is the easiest. Sun signs follow the same seasonal pattern every year. All you need is your birthday to look up your sign in the daily horoscope. Because of its accessibility and importance, the Sun sign is a good place to start. But the rabbit hole goes MUCH deeper.
If you were a car, the Sun would be your engine.
Your Sun sign describes the core of your personality:
The Moon is all about emotion, safety, and security. The Moon reflects the Sun’s light, but often operates in a different way to the Sun, through a different sign or even a conflicting sign. Your expression operates in a different way than your experience.
Your Moon sign in a chart reading describes:
If you were a car, the Moon would be your interior. Is it cozy, smooth, and comfortable, or is it a rough, messy ride? The planetary aspects to the Moon tell more of the story.
If you have been following along with the course, you already have your chart. Now it’s just a matter of locating the Moon’s glyph ☽ and identifying the sign the Moon is in. If you need some guidance, you can pull up my 3-step guide, How to find your Moon sign.
From our point of view here on Earth, the sky is in constant motion. The far left side of the chart represents the eastern horizon, where the Sun, Moon, and planets rise in the morning.
The rising, or Ascendant sign is that Zodiac sign that is rising over the Eastern horizon at the moment of your birth. The Ascendant divides the chart into night and day, top and bottom halves. If you were born at sunRISE, the Sun will be near the RISING degree– or Ascendant.
(The ascendant is also the cusp of the first house in many house systems.)
Take a deep dive into the meaning of your rising sign. Check out the newest mini-course by Molly Gauthier.
The zodiac sign on the ascendant, also called the rising sign, describes:
If you were a car, your rising sign would be your “make and model,” which may or may not match your “engine” (the Sun).
Or, you could say: The rising sign describes you on the job interview, and the Sun sign describes you on the job. The Moon is you on your day off.
You’ve probably heard someone described as a “double Pisces,” a “double Leo,” or a “triple Gemini.” Double means that two of the “big 3” are the same sign. When the Sun, Moon, and Rising are all the same sign, that’s a triple.
Newcomers to astrology often try to take the Sun, Moon, and Rising signs and squish them together to come up with something more specific than this: you are all three. These three pieces represent different sides of your personality. Some people’s Big Three are in Zodiac signs that are very different from one another, showing different and even conflicting sides of the personality.
Two or three could all be found in the same sign or the same element, like the fire signs Aries and Leo. Or in the same mode or quality, like the fixed signs Taurus, Aquarius, and Scorpio. The similarities and differences between these three signs are what make your Big Three interesting.
What do you know about the signs of your Sun, Moon, and Ascendant? How are they similar? What are the differences between them? How do you relate to the signs? Do you relate better to one than the others?
You can also preview the course video – Astrology of the Face – for free to see some fascinating shared features among people with the same rising sign.
Another great resource: Years ago, a researcher put together a database of headshots organized by Sun, Moon, and Rising signs. You can still access their work at www.astrofaces.com.
If you don’t know your astrology symbols yet, please refer to this easy guide to the astrology symbols.
What are your “Big Three” signs? Do you feel like they fit you?