Sun, Moon, & Rising: Understanding the Primal Triad

Posted on April 22, 2020

Three pencils lay on a notebook. They have planet erasers at the end of them.

Astrology is a celestial language that we can learn, over time, to interpret. When you begin studying astrology, however, it can feel overwhelming when faced with the many aspects and facets of the wisdom of the stars.

Sometimes it helps to digest this information in smaller bites; and today we’re going to take a bite of the primal triad, exploring the three zodiac signs that may hold the most meaning in your birth chart.

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What is the Primal Triad?

You probably know that your birth chart holds many signs and aspects between planets. There are three special signs, however, that hold some of the most important information you can learn about an individual:

  1. The Sun sign
  2. The Moon sign
  3. The Rising sign

These three signs come together to form the primal triad, and this guide will teach you everything you need to know about it. Some say that this triad is the skeleton of the astrological chart, with all other signs and aspects acting as the bones and skin.

If you’re a beginner in the world of astrology or haven’t quite been able to tackle the entire birth chart, knowing the Sun, Moon, and Rising sign of an individual can tell you a lot.

Let’s explore the components that make up the primal triad and see what each sign represents.

The Sun Sign

When someone asks you what your sign is, the answer you give is your Sun sign. The Sun sign is so influential in a birth chart that many people believe this to be the only sign in a chart. While there are many other signs in your chart, your Sun sign encompasses the core of your personality.

The Sun sign represents the position of the Sun—which constellation or planet it was resting in—at the time of your birth. The Sun moves through each sign for about a month, which is why there are 12 Sun signs. This sign depicts the basic nature of your personality, the personality traits that you display consistently throughout your life.

The Sun sign can also show you your strengths and particular skills or talents. For example, those with a Sun in Aries are typically charming, assertive, and independent. Geminis are known for their quick wit and communication skills.

This sign also connects to your ego, shedding light on certain weaknesses you may experience. For instance, Leos are known for their love of the spotlight—they sometimes put too much stock into what other people think of them.

Read This Next: The Ultimate Guide to Sun Signs

The Moon Sign

While the Moon sign isn’t as popular as the Sun sign, it holds just as much significance. This sign represents the constellation that the Moon was moving through at the time of your birth. The Moon moves through each sign for about 2 ½ days at a time, moving much more swiftly through the signs than the Sun.

The Moon itself has a strong connection to emotions, and your Moon sign shows you how you relate to the world emotionally. This sign influences your internal self, the subconscious, the soul. The Moon sign can show you how you choose to express your emotions and whether you comfortably display your vulnerable side to your loved ones.

For instance, if your Moon is in a Water sign—signs associated with depth of emotion and fierce intuition—you may experience intense emotions, deep sensitivities, and strong instincts. If your Moon falls in an Earth sign, however, you may feel less comfortable expressing yourself emotionally, choosing to work through your issues on your own.

The Moon sign can also influence the strength of the Sun sign. For example, if a feisty Leo Sun is combined with a more mellow Virgo Moon, this can result in a more laid-back expression of Leo traits.

Learn More: The Ultimate Guide to Your Moon Sign

The Rising Sign

The third member of the primal triad is the Rising sign, which represents the sign that was rising on the Eastern horizon at the time of your birth. Also known as the Ascending sign, this sign is associated with your exterior self—how you show yourself to the world around you. It can represent any metaphorical masks you might wear, the ways in which you may hide certain parts of yourself.

Have you ever told someone your Sun sign only to be met with an expression of confusion, or a phrase like, “You don’t seem like a _____!” This is because they’re picking up on your Rising sign, which can often influence how you express yourself to those around you. While it can remain hidden, your Rising sign may seem more obvious to others than your Sun sign.

For example, if you tell someone that you’re a Pisces, they’re probably expecting a sensitive, intuitive, artistic type who loves to daydream. But if you’re an Aries Rising, you may come across as more assertive, outgoing, and action-oriented than they’d expect.

You can think of your Rising sign as the initial impression that you give to others, which can vary from how you feel on the inside.

Read This Next: The Ultimate Guide to Your Rising Sign

Interpreting the Primal Triad

If you’re new to astrology or still learning, one of the easiest ways to interpret your primal triad is by looking at the elements involved. If you’re a Pisces Sun, Cancer Moon, with a Scorpio Rising, you can see that that is a lot of Water. This individual would likely be mysterious, intuitive, creative, and they probably possess a flair for drama.

If you are a Gemini Sun, Leo Moon, and Virgo Rising, you’ve got a nice blend of Air, Fire, and Earth that would indicate a well-rounded individual.

Which Zodiac Element Are You? Take the quiz!

Another way to interpret your primal triad is by researching the characteristics and personality traits of each sign and looking at those traits through the lens of the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant meanings.

For example, a Pisces Moon placement will indicate more depth of emotion and sensitivity than a Pisces Sun because the Moon sign connects to the emotions. Likewise, an Aries Sun placement leads to a feistier, more assertive individual than an Aries Moon placement because of the nature of the Sun sign.

You can also use our free birth chart calculator to determine your primal triad and come back to this guide for assistance. This guide will help you familiarize yourself with the meaning of each sign in the primal triad, while our astrology signs can show you more about each sign in the zodiac.

Understanding the Stars

One of the best things about astrology is that it can help us learn so much more about ourselves and the world around us than we ever knew.

While there is much more to your chart than your primal triad, learning about these three signs will help you understand yourself in a more profound way along your astrological journey.

Next, take this quiz to find out Which Astrology Sign You Should Actually Be!

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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 »

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