What is the "Big 3"?

a graphic showing the Sun, Moon and the eastern horizon depicting the Big 3

"The Big 3": Meanings and Synastry

Sun, Moon & Rising

The “Big 3” are the 3 major pillars of one’s personality and denote the Sign placements of the Sun, Moon, and Rising/Ascendant, (in that order).

For example, if you were born with Libra Sun, Scorpio Moon, and Sagittarius Rising, then your "Big 3" would be “Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius”. 

In the 1900’s, it was common to ask someone for their Sign – “Hey man, what’s your Sign?” 

They were simply asking for the Sign placement or position of one’s Sun.  Knowing someone’s Sun Sign does indeed provide many clues about a person's Ego, lifepath, and the way they shine during this lifetime, but it is only one layer of the Astrological makeup. 

Thanks to software and the Internet, everyone can look up their full natal charts now and have graduated to asking for the “Big 3”.

There are dozens of other things to consider in one’s chart, but the Big 3 provides a quick sense of the Astrological DNA that one has.  (Only 1 in 1728 other people have the same Big 3 as you.)


a photo of the Sun with the astrological Sun glyph superimposed upon it

 Your Sun Sign

As mentioned above, the Sun Sign is the Sign that most everyone knows about.  The Sun represents your fundamental lifeforce, your Ego (identity), your awareness style, and the type of fuel that fuels your creative force (Moon).  It is your core, your structure, and the bones of your soul in this lifetime.

The position of your Sun Sign reflects the primary way in which your lifeforce interacts with the environment.  It represents the personality or traits that you're expected to develop and mature into throughout your life.  Ex: If your Sun is in Virgo, (and you’re 20+ years old), you're undoubtedly more detail-oriented than most other individuals older than you; and this ‘skill’ will become ever more refined as you age.

While your Sun represents the basic shape and structure and willpower of your soul, there are hundreds of other Astrological factors that can color the Astrological calculus of your being.  Ultimately, the Sun is the adult in the room and unless your Moon sign is Water (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces), it makes the final decisions.


a photo of the Moon with the astrological Moon glyph superimposed upon it

 Your Moon Sign

The Moon represents your Id (subconscious), your most primal instincts, and the initial emotional gut-reaction you have to something. 

Your Moon Sign is your style and capacity for emotions and what you feel you need for a sense of security.  It’s your source of hunches, creativity and for things you know without thinking.  Your immediate family and close friends see your Moon side the most because you're less tense around them and don't hide your emotional process.

If your Moon Sign is Fire (Aries, Leo, Sag), then you have “a fire in your belly” (you react passionately when unexpectantly confronted); if your Moon Sign is Air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) then you’ll react in a colder and more calculated manner when unexpectantly confronted. 


a photo of Earth from space depicting the Eastern Horizon via the Sun rising in the east

 Your Rising Sign

The Superego is represented by the Ascendant (Asc) Sign also known as the Rising Sign, and is determined from the degree which was exactly on the eastern horizon at the moment and location of one’s birth. 

It represents how we perceive our ideal self to be, as well as how we want to be perceived by others. It is both a mask we wear as well as the lens through which we perceive the world.  Even if you have a poorly aspected, dark and brooding Scorpio Moon, you may still perceive yourself to be an optimist if your Rising Sign is Sagittarius (the eternal optimist).

In Astrology, the planet that rules the Ascendant is the “chart ruler” and the lens through which all other aspects of the chart are focused and considered.   The Rising degree determines the layout of the entire House system in a chart and marks the beginning of the First House, which signifies one’s physical body and style choices - how you present yourself to the world.

"The Big 3"

 & Synastry 

Understanding your own astrological chart can offer profound insights into your personality, but did you know that comparing your chart to someone else's (known as synastry) can provide a deeper understanding of your relationships? This concept can be especially fascinating when you look at how the "Big 3" interact in two people's charts.

When these "Big 3" elements from two different people align or interact, it can create a unique dynamic in the relationship. Because the Sun, Moon and Rising tend to be especially powerful in our charts, it is more clearly seen how the alignments tend to shape the character of the relationship.


Below are some ways these interactions might play out:

(Conjunct means joined together)

Sun conjunct Sun: Imagine two people who see life through the same lens and tend to want the same things. That's what it's like when both people have their Sun in the same sign. It's like talking to a mirror!

Sun conjunct Moon: It's like you're reading their mind, and they're reading your heart. The Sun person lights up the Moon person's emotional world, while the Moon person provides emotional support to the Sun person.

Sun conjunct Ascendant: Think of it like the Sun person being the spotlight and the Ascendant person is the star on stage. The Sun person can help the Ascendant person shine and feel more confident, while the Ascendant person reflects the Sun person's personality and life goals.

Moon conjunct Sun: It's as if the Moon person brings a comforting night to the Sun person's bright day. The Moon person's emotions are soothed by the Sun person, and the Sun person finds a safe haven in the Moon person.

Moon conjunct Moon: Both people understand each other on a deep emotional level. It's like having a heart-to-heart chat every time you're together!

Moon conjunct Ascendant: Imagine the Moon person being the comforting presence that the Ascendant person projects to the world. They're like two peas in a pod, understanding each other's feelings and emotions perfectly.

Ascendant conjunct Sun: It's like the Ascendant person is a mirror reflecting the Sun person's bright personality. The Sun person invigorates the Ascendant person, while the Ascendant person helps the Sun person feel understood and accepted.

Ascendant conjunct Moon: It's as if the Ascendant person is the comforting hug that the Moon person needs. The Moon person provides emotional support and the Ascendant person makes them feel safe and seen.

Ascendant conjunct Ascendant: When two people's Ascendant signs align, they get each other on a surface level right away. It's like meeting someone for the first time but feeling like you've known them for years.

Just keep in mind that these interpretations are not set in stone. They give a sense of what it can be like when these aspects are present, but individual experiences may vary. Always consider the whole synastry chart for a full picture of the relationship dynamics.

Remember, while the Big 3 gives a robust overview of one's astrological DNA, they are but part of the intricate, celestial tapestry shaping us, highlighting the multifaceted marvel of human personality as influenced by the cosmos.


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a photo of author and CEO Ben Baker

Ben Baker, CEO

About the Author

Ben has practiced Astrology for over 35 years and is a certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (CBT) Practitioner.  Ben holds 11 patents for the core functions that all dating sites now use today.  See Ben's Bio for more info.