The big three

Sun, Moon, &
Rising sign
Moon on denim background

The Sun, Moon, and Rising Sign (or Ascendant)—what are often called “the big three” in astrology—are a great way to start getting to know a chart for yourself or someone else. 

These three are a bit like an onion: the Ascendant is the outer layer, the Sun the second-most layer, and the Moon the internal layer. 

They represent a framework to begin describing that elusive, mysterious thing we call a “self”—or the multitudes each of us contain.

Read more about these fundamental elements of a chart below.

The Rising Sign

Corresponding with the cusp of the 1st house, the rising sign, also called the Ascendant, or AC, marks the Eastern horizon line of the chart. 

While some astrologers call the rising sign a “mask,” in my experience, it is indeed a genuine aspect of personality. The Ascendant marks the point at which we interface with the external world—suggesting the possibility that we create our own worlds, or that the world we experience is determined, at least to a certain degree, by how we travel through it. You may have heard this idea expressed as: we don’t see things the way they are, we see things the way we are. Yet the reality is more complex than that: in truth, as the Rising Sign hints at, we are always co-creating the realities we encounter.

See the images for more about the Ascendant.

The Sun

The Sun represents the essence of who we are, the essential self. It is the prefrontal cortex aspect of the self; the voice we use to speak to ourselves; the thinking, deciding actor. 

See the images for more about the Sun.

The Moon

The Moon is the innermost part of the self represented in the chart. It is who we are when people truly get to know us. Since our emotions and intuitions are things we physically feel, as well—in our heart and gut and otherwise—I also connect it to the body. The Moon can also represent our family, mother or primary caregiver, and home.

See the images for more about the Moon.

Explore more

Curious about your chart?

Explore your astrology with a professional

I offer several consultations:

  • A getting-to-know-your-chart session is ideal if you’re new to astrology and curious about what your chart reveals.
  • In our overview of the moment session, discover the nature of the present time using transits and other powerful predictive tools—and be prepared for what’s ahead.
  • An in-depth session may explore a relationship or advanced predictive techniques, such as progressions, solar arcs, or lunations. This session can also be aligned to any other questions you have, allowing time to delve into the wonderful insights astrology offers.