The basics
The Symbols
Modifiers of Meaning

Nice to Meet you! The Sun, Moon, & Ascendant

Why are the Sun Moon & Ascendant signs so important?

The Sun, Moon, and Ascendant show foundational facets of your personality. They reveal the lens through which you view life and what’s most important to you.

The Zodiac signs of your “big 3” form 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. It tells other astrologers who you are without revealing too much!

How to find your Sun, Moon, and ascendant signs

You’ll need your birth chart to locate your Sun, Moon, and Ascendant signs. Don’t worry; you can get your birth chart online for free in 5 minutes.

If you don’t know your astrology symbols yet, you can use my easy guide to the astrology symbols.

The Sun sun glyph - a circle with a dot in the middle

Your Sun sign describes your essence, your character. What drives and motivates you, and the kind and amount of energy you express. If you were a car, the Sun would be your engine.

The Moon moon glyph - a crescent

The Moon is all about emotion. Your Moon sign in a chart reading describes your feelings, your subjective life experience. Your habit patterns, what makes you feel secure or insecure, how you react.

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.

The Ascendant (a.k.a. rising sign)

You must have a fairly accurate time of birth to calculate your ascendant. This is because the ascendant sign changes every 2 hours or so.

The chart is a snapshot in time. In reality, the chart 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 Ascendant is the exact degree of the Zodiac that is rising at the moment of your birth. The Ascendant divides the chart into night and day, top and bottom halves.

(The Asc is also the cusp of the first house in many house systems.)


The Ascendant sign describes your “style,” your identity, how you show up in the world. If you were a car, the Ascendant would be your chassis, which may or may not match your “engine” (the Sun).

Or, you could say: The sign on the Ascendant describes you on the job interview, and the Sun sign describes you on the job. The Moon is you on your day off.

What does it mean to be a double or a triple Zodiac sign?

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 Ascendant are all the same sign, that’s a triple.

  • Being a double makes you VERY characteristic of that sign. Double Cancer is very nurturing, very sentimental. Double Virgo is very precise, very detail-oriented.
  • Being a triple makes you EXTREMELY characteristic of that sign. Triple Taurus, for example, is extremely sensual, extremely stubborn. Triple Capricorn is extremely hardworking, extremely responsible.

What does my Sun, Moon, Ascendant combination mean?

Newcomers to astrology often try to take the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant 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. It really is that simple.

What do you know already 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?

Get Birth Charts for Beginners. Astrology flashcards and help you really start connecting the symbols of the chart with their meanings so you can understand yourself and your loved ones a little better.