Explained: The ‘big three’ of astrology

Mercury in retrograde, ascendant signs, horoscopes – if you haven’t yet caught on to astrology, these terms probably sound like a foreign language to you.

Astrology has grown in popularity in recent years, and it’s become just as common to be asked, ‘What’s your sign?’ as it is to see someone’s star sign listed on their social media.

Even if you’re a total sceptic, it’s interesting to learn about some of the basics, and it could help you out on your next trivia night. We asked astrology expert Amelia Quint to explain.

1. Astrology uses the stars to tell us more about life
If you asked 10 different astrologers to explain what astrology actually is, they’ll likely all give you a different answer. At its essence though, astrology is a system that uses the position of the stars to explain personalities and events, says Ms Quint.

“It’s a symbolic language that connects myths from around the world to express deep truths about ourselves and the world around us,” she says. “That’s why when someone says, ‘They’re such a Scorpio!’ you know what they mean.”

2. You need to know your ‘big three’
If you’re just dipping a toe into astrology waters, Ms Quint says to learn your ‘big three’. “That’s your sun sign, moon sign and rising sign,” she outlines. “These three are parts of your astrology chart, which is essentially a snapshot of the cosmos at the time you were born. Each planet and point in the chart reveal unique things about your personality, and it goes much deeper than just your sun sign.”

Your sun sign is what’s commonly referred to as your classic star sign (“The heart of the personality and what you are deep in your core.”).

Your moon sign, meanwhile, is the sign the moon was in at the time you were born. “It shows your emotional side, including what you need in order to feel safe, loved, and nurtured,” says Ms Quint. “Look to your moon sign to find out whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, and what kind of activities can help you recharge.”

Your rising sign is a bit different and takes into account the moment you were born. There are rising sign calculators online that can help you track yours down – same goes for your astrology chart. “This sign is the first impression you make on other people. If they were to guess your sign, they’ll often choose this one instead of your sun sign,” says Ms Quint.

3. Your star sign tells other people about your personality
Your star sign is another name for your sun sign. “It shows the traits that remain constant throughout your life, like how you tend to approach situations, your likes and dislikes, and your unique strengths,” says Ms Quint. “It’s your true self, and when you’re expressing it, you can’t help but be radiant.”

4. Your ruler planet can tell you about big life changes
In astrology, each sign is associated with a planet, and that planet is called the sign’s ‘ruler’.

“Your ruling planet is the planet that rules your rising sign. It makes that planet’s placement in your chart stand out, and you embody more of those qualities,” Ms Quint explains. “You’ll also experience the transits of your ruling planet more strongly and have bigger events and inner shifts happen in alignment with that planet’s movements.”


5. Mercury in retrograde can seriously switch up your life
Ms Quint says mercury retrograde is a three-week period where the planet Mercury appears to be moving backwards through the sky. But that’s the trick – it’s not actually moving in reverse. It’s an optical illusion.

“It happens three times a year, so it’s actually quite routine,” she says. “Mercury is the planet of communication, so this period can result in tech snafus and tough conversations, but it can also help you find new, more effective ways to express yourself.

“It’s surprisingly good for creatives seeking fresh inspiration. Essentially, if you’re trying to do everything the way you were before the retrograde, you’ll find it frustrating, but if you’re willing to shift your perspective, it’ll go much more smoothly.”


6. Astrology might help you find ‘the one’
Astrology can be a really useful tool for self-awareness, and by learning more about what you want using the stars, you can better understand what you’re looking for in a partner.

“It’s an exciting way to delve deeper into someone else’s personality and share yours,” says Ms Quint. “Knowing your partner’s sun sign is a great starting point, but the secret really lies in knowing their Venus sign. It represents the communication style they bring to the relationship, and how they define romance.”


Do you know your three signs? Do you believe in astrology or think it’s a waste of time?

– With PA

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