Horoscopes: Why does everyone want to know my big three?

Ms. Constellation Prize

Do you feel like everyone at Grinnell is obsessed with astrology? Are you struggling to believe it?  Or maybe you don’t even know what’s happening? If so, you’re not alone. In hopes of equipping you with the tools of understanding astrology and offering you a new understanding of the world, this new column is going to unpack the basics of astrology and horoscopes and will also include a regular horoscope. Let’s start with your “Big Three.” 

You probably know your sun sign best: this sign is based on the month you were born. Right now, it’s “Virgo Season.” Anyone born between Aug. 23 and Sept. 22 has a Virgo sun.  

This is about where the sun was located on your birthday. Astrologists divided up the sky into 12–30 degree sections based on 12 constellations in the sky. 

The traits of your sun sign apply to your core personality. It determines your internal motivators, your general desires and who you see yourself as. The sun sign is a significant part of your personality, but it is important to look at your whole birth chart to be able to understand your whole self.

Each sign has its own distinct traits. For example, Sagittarius is characterized as adventurous, travel-oriented and independent. But these traits mean something different in different contexts. 

The signs are also divided into the elements: Air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius); Fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius); Earth (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn); and Water (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces). The four elements have their own distinct traits too, which I’ll address next week.

Like the sun, each planet (and the moon) rules a different aspect of your personality. The planets also fall into one of the 12 signs based on when you were born, but they all rotate/shift on their own patterns. 

Your big three is your sun sign, moon sign, and Rising sign. Your moon rules your emotions: how do you respond when someone confronts you? How do you express love?

Your Rising (also called Ascendent) sign is traditionally attributed with ruling your exterior personality. How do you carry yourself? What is someone’s first impression of you?

These are broad generalizations for what each placement rules, but it’s still a good starting place. Someone can make more sense of each placement if they can see all your placements and how they operate and build off one another. 

Generally, your Big Three (sun, moon, Rising) signs are the most influential on your whole personality, which is typically why they are asked first (also, it’s easier to rattle off three signs rather than 12). But if you ask me, I’m going to dig deep and ask you for your Venus, Mars, and probably your chart.

If you are new to the astrology scene and want to explore, Co—Star is an Android and iOS app that uses the porphyry (which is a system that determines how your houses are divided; another way to read a chart). It’s a standard software that provides you with your birth chart and gives you some baseline insight into what your placements mean. 

Astrology is not a hard science, but it is a comfort and reprieve from daily life. Maybe it can give you some understanding or reason for why something in your life is happening if you are struggling to make sense of it. Even if it is totally placebo, sometimes it’s easier to swallow something if you can attribute it to the stars. Astrology should be all in good fun, and let it be a reprieve for those who need. Take what resonates, leave what doesn’t.