Your Ultimate Guide to Understanding “The Big 3” in Astrology

Posted on November 09, 2021

Three women stand in a circle, walking in a ritualistic circle. The background is intense shades of yellow and orange.

​While astrology is an ancient practice that has been gaining popularity for quite some time, it seems to be going through an even more powerful resurgence right now – and more people than ever are interested in getting to know the language of the stars and what it means for them.

And one of the first things someone might ask you about your chart when trying to understand your own astrological map is, “what are your Big Three?” Also known as the primal triad, the big three are considered to be the most crucial and telling placements of your birth chart.

Let’s take a look at the big three in astrology and what you can learn from them!

Not sure what zodiac signs make up your birth chart? Use our free birth chart calculator to find out!

What Are the Big 3?

You may know that your birth chart contains 12 houses and many placements within them. Yet, there are three signs that can tell you more about a person than you might expect:

These signs combine to form the primal triad—or the big three—and they can give you quite a bit of information about a person’s personality, style, and even emotions. Many even consider these three signs to be the skeleton, or the bones, of one’s chart – the foundation of an individual.

This is the perfect place to start for the astrological beginner: these signs are relatively easy to understand and decode, and they can tell you a lot about a person.

Let’s dive further to explore each component of the big three to learn what each sign represents.

1. The Sun Sign

Every time someone asks what your sign is, you’re responding with your Sun sign.

In fact, many people who don’t follow astrology believe that the Sun sign is the only sign there is. That’s how influential this sign is. This doesn’t take away from the other signs in your chart, which are just as crucial in their own ways, but the Sun signs get straight to the core of your personality.

This sign represents the exact position of the Sun at the time of your birth – or to be more precise, which constellation, or sign, the Sun was traveling through.

The Sun moves through 12 constellations once per month throughout the year, giving us the 12 zodiac signs. And your Sun sign describes the inherent nature of your personality and the traits that might be displayed on a regular basis throughout your lifetime.

This sign also highlights certain talents, skills, or strengths – as well as weaknesses – that you may experience. For instance, Libras are known for their balanced nature and ability to negotiate, while Pisces placements have a strong intuition and are deeply creative.

The Sun sign can also give more insight into the ego and how you feel about attention. Leos love the spotlight, while Capricorns prefer achievements over attention.

Read this next: The Ultimate Guide to Sun Signs

2. The Moon Sign

The Moon sign represents a very important part of who you are: your emotional self. The Moon sign references the sign the Moon was in on the day you were born. The Moon moves much more quickly than the Sun, changing signs about once every two and a half days.

The Moon is known for its ability to move the ocean tides and affect the growth of crops, so it’s no wonder that this sign is heavily tied to your emotions and how you respond to them and share them with others.

This sign also represents the subconscious and the parts of yourself that may remain hidden.

Learning about your Moon sign can help you understand why you feel the way you do about certain things and why you might have certain emotional reactions. It can also help you understand how others choose to express their emotions or why they might not be as vulnerable with you as you’d like.

Your Moon sign can also influence your Sun sign. For instance, while Libra is a laid-back and understanding sign, a Moon in fiery Aries might result in spicier emotional reactions than a Libra Sun with a chilled-out Taurus Moon placement.

Learn more: The Ultimate Guide to Your Moon Sign

3. The Rising Sign

The third portion of the big three is the Rising sign, also known as your Ascendant.

This sign represents the planet that was rising on the Eastern horizon at the time you were born. This sign is associated with your external being, or how you present yourself to the world. It can also represent any masks you might wear in this life in an attempt to try to hide certain aspects of yourself.

If people have ever guessed your sign and been way off base, they may have actually been picking up on your Rising sign, as this is how you display yourself to those around you!

In fact, some astrologers believe that the Rising sign provides a more accurate astrological reading than the Sun sign.

You may also identify more readily with your Rising sign from time to time, so it’s never a bad idea to check out this portion of your favorite horoscopes as well. This sign does reflect how you present yourself to others, but it may also more accurately represent how you feel or identify on a given day.

For instance, a Sagittarius is known for their fiery, optimistic, and goal-oriented personalities – but a Sagittarius with a Gemini Rising might more prominently display traits like a quick wit, heightened intellect, or social nature.

What Are Double & Triple Placements?

Sometimes an individual might have their Sun and Moon placed in the same sign – even more rarely, some might have all three of their primal triad in only one sign! When this happens, it’s important to look at those signs in the context of their placements.

Aries placed as a Sun sign, for example, may lead to a headstrong, fiery individual who’s always looking for new, exciting experiences. But an Aries Moon sign may indicate impulsive reactions, an independent nature, and an ability to forgive easily.

Yet, taking the position into context, it is more than likely that a double or triple placement will amplify the qualities of that sign. Think of a sign on performance-enhancing drugs: like that sign, but extra.

How to Interpret the Big 3

If you aren’t sure exactly what your three big signs are, you can use our free birth chart calculator to find out. Once you’ve learned your Sun, Moon, and Rising sign, it’s time to do some research.

Learn more about each sign and its corresponding elements and ruling planets. Cancer, for example, is a sign ruled by the sensitive and intuitive element, Water. It is also a Cardinal sign, a quality that leads to an energetic, determined, and intentional personality. And finally, Cancer is ruled by the Moon, the planet of emotions, indicating even more intuitive prowess and emotional depth.

Given this information, it would be much easier to interpret a Cancer Moon placement!

Your Birth Chart Has The Answers to Your Questions

The stars do have a message that they’re trying to share with each and every one of us, and astrology is the language through which they communicate. Learning about your big three in astrology will help you understand more about your spirit, your personality, and how you relate to the world around you.

There is so much more to your chart than your big three, but this is an excellent starting point for those wanting to learn more about astrology and how it relates to them.

Plus, knowing more about the big three and how to interpret them will help you understand those around you more than ever before!

What will you do with your newfound information and astrological wisdom?

Related article: Why Don’t I Relate to My Sun Sign?

Take this Astrology Answers quiz - can we guess your zodiac sign based on your favorite foods?

Did you enjoy this article? Please share it with your friends!

Rhiannon Liselle is a nomadic Sagittarius with a passion for writing and trying to help others grow. She’s studied astrology for about 10 years, and has been writing about… Learn More About The Author »

Next Article

You might also be interested in


Beneficial Thought: All or Nothing When Venus Enters Scorpio

On September 9th, Venus transitions from social, peace-loving Libra into secretive and intense Scorpio and will remain there until October 31st. During its transit in Scorpio,… Read Full Article »

Emotional Wisdom - Featured from Debra Silverman

photo credit: debrasilverman.com Has anyone ever said to you, “You’re so emotional?” This phrase is often loaded with judgment and is used to encourage someone to get… Read Full Article »