Starting in Astrology – The Big Three

Beginner’s Corner with Sheridan

New to astrology? Wondering where to start? Start with the Big Three! One – what’s your Moon sign? Two – what’s your Sun sign? Three – what’s your Rising sign? As you progress, you’ll want to lean more into your Venus or Mars sign and less your Sun sign. 

Learning astrology can feel overwhelming to begin, so let’s start with the basics and build from there.

What are your Big Three?

In Shamanic Astrology, we don’t put an overemphasis on your Sun sign, but it’s the one planet on your chart that you know, so it is a part of the beginner big three. If you’re just starting out, at least you know you’re Sun sign! 

Shamanic Astrology looks at the chart as the journey of your soul. Since your soul came here to evolve, the chart gives clues to that journey. What did you come already knowing? What are you learning? Where are you going? These three questions sum up the journey of the big three. There is a ton more to it, but we need to start somewhere. The beginner big three are a great foundation. They will give you three important aspects of your chart to begin feeling into and understanding your unique evolutionary journey. We’ll look at the more advanced version of the big three at the end.

What are your Moon, Sun (for beginners) and Rising signs?

The Moon is where you’re coming from. The Sun is the light you’re learning to shine. The Ascendant (aka rising) is where you’re headed. The Moon is your lineage, what you already know coming into this life. The Sun is the fuel you’re learning to burn within everything you do. The Ascendant is your new direction and life purpose. You can easily find this information online, for free. You do need a birth time to find out your Ascendant. If you don’t have that, look for your Jupiter sign and use that as a replacement instead. 

Moon sign – your lineage

Look at your Moon sign, be it Gemini, Sagittarius, or Libra, as what you’ve been learning and potentially mastering before you were born. You could look at it through the lens that this is the archetypal energy you’ve been studying in previous lives. You’re good at it now. As Daniel Giamario, the founder of the Shamanic Astrology paradigm says, this is what you’ve got a PhD in. Your Moon is your foundation, what you inherently know and understand. You aren’t born a blank slate. Your Moon sign is what you carry into this lifetime already having an expertise around. There are some caveats to this, such as having certain planets in a dynamic relationship with your Moon, but that’s more advanced information, so stick with your Moon sign only for now. 

If your Moon is in Gemini, you come in with an inherent understanding of mischievousness and fun, all in service to getting yourself and the rest of us out of our tightly held boxes. If you have a Sagittarius Moon, you come in with an adventurous foundation, naturally seeking new frontiers to understand the deeper philosophical truths of life. If it’s Libra, you come into this life knowing and understanding yourself through the reflections relationships provide for you. You have a natural expertise in relationships.

Sun sign – your light , energy and aliveness

Think of the Sun as the closest proximation we have in our solar system to universal energy or as Daniel calls it, “Great Mystery”. What aspect of prana are you learning about in this life? It’s the slice of the pie that is your sign, be it Aries, Aquarius or Scorpio. I think of this second aspect of the big three as a lesson plan, your teacher. What type of light, energy and aliveness are you learning about and learning to shine throughout your life? Another way Shamanic Astrology teaches about the Sun, is what type of fuel are you learning to burn in your daily and life activities. What type of food fuels your energy and efforts? It’s your Sun sign. 

Your Moon sign is something you already know, but your Sun sign is something new you are learning. If it’s Aries, you’re learning about individuating and personal strength. You are discovering themes of protecting others with that power, being the warrior for your personal beliefs. If it’s Aquarius, you’re learning about the widest aspects of consciousness and awareness of everything. Your discovering seeing the bigger picture and looking at life from the eagle’s high-flying view. If it’s Scorpio, you’re diving into the depths of feeling as your teacher. You’re exploring feeling everything, the depths and heights, and the intensity that comes from going into the extremes. 

I’ll take a moment here to say that in Shamanic Astrology, all signs are equally valid. All have an important place in the wheel of life. Some signs are in current fashion and others can be misunderstood by our present society. That doesn’t mean your journey is any less valuable because it isn’t something society idealizes right now.  I encourage you to find your own way and never shame yourself for feeling or being different from others. That’s one of my favorite things about doing Shamanic Astrology readings for clients, validating their experience of themselves, and contributing to them giving themselves permission to truly be who they are here to be. Ok, PSA over. ☺

Ascendant sign – your life’s purpose

Your ascendant is what sign was rising in the east, like a sunrise, when you were born. Think of this as what is rising within you. It’s the archetypal energy you are moving towards throughout this lifetime. Another way to look at it is the Moon was your last school and your ascendant is your new school. The purpose of your life, all the teachings and learnings, are to drive you towards a deeper understanding and expression of this archetype in your life. If the Sun is your new light, then you are learning to shine it into your rising sign.

If Pisces was rising at your birth, then your ultimate teacher is learning compassion, healing, and empathy. You are also learning to commune with and merge into Spirit itself. If Taurus was ascending when you were born, then you’re learning to find pleasure in your senses, enjoyment in the sensations of your body, even discovering embodying itself. If Virgo was coming up over the eastern horizon when you took your first breath, then moving towards the sacredness of the earth is your trajectory. Finding your path as a priestess or druid in a modern way is the new school you are attending.

Advanced Big Three – your Venus or Mars signs

As you deepen your studies of Shamanic Astrology, you’ll want to include your Venus or Mars signs as part of your big three, in replacement of the Sun. Venus represents the Sacred Feminine and Mars the Sacred Masculine, for both men and women – equally super important personal planets on your Soul’s evolutionary journey. Depending upon how you identify, you’ll lean into one of these more as your emerging Yin or Yang expressions. 

I’m a woman with my Venus in Cancer, so I’m learning about stepping into the archetypal Mother and discovering what nurturing is all about. If you’re one of the 2 out of 5 women who has their Venus and Sun in the same sign, then this will express more as the stereotypical perspective on your Sun sign – who you are and what you came here to be. 

In Shamanic Astrology, we relegate those teachings more to Venus for women and Mars for men, rather than the Sun. If you happen to be in the much smaller number of men (1 out of 12) who have the same Mars and Sun sign, then this will be your path as well. Otherwise, for men, your Mars sign represents your Sacred Masculine expression. If that is Capricorn, you are here exploring stepping into the wise, elder, knowledge keeper energy as a man. 

This all explains why when you read about your Sun sign, it may not feel exactly aligned to you. You probably fall into the category of differing Venus and Sun signs or Mars and Sun signs. That’s because your Moon and Venus or Mars signs are more indicative of what you already know and the archetypal feminine or masculine that are emerging within you throughout this lifetime.

Discovering your big three is an excellent way to not only start learning more about astrology, but more importantly about yourself and your life’s path. Why did you come here? The big three guides you in understanding your spiritual journey and the evolutionary journey of your soul. They’ll take you deeper into understanding your unique journey on why you came here and how you can more consciously support the evolution of your soul. 


Sheridan Semple

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