Sun-Moon-Ascendant Trifecta

When interpreting your horoscope, the very first thing you want to look at are the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant. The Sun is the core driving energy of the life, the Moon carries the need that establishes and maintains day-to-day existence, and the Ascendant filters and colors all interaction with others. Together, they are the SMA, the all-important trifecta that define the personality.

With 12 possible sign placements for each of the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant , there are a total of 12x12x12 = 1728 combinations. You and your friend might share the Sun sign, but that still leaves 144 possible variations in the Moon-Ascendant combination to likely make you a very different person than them.

Here is the horoscope of a physician:

The Sun is in Libra, Moon is in Pisces, and Ascendant is in Scorpio. What’s at the heart of the Libra Sun expression? It’s the energy of relating, of seeking harmony and balance, of striving to get along, of being fair. Feel the Pisces Moon: the need to empathize, to sacrifice, to help and rescue. There’s a palpable sense of softness, or gentle acceptance.

What about the Scorpio Ascendant? The guardedness, the pull-back from revealing the self, the erection of a wall to protect against the world. He might likely use these qualities of the Ascendant to protect the soft underbelly of the deeply empathetic, vulnerable Pisces Moon.

Put all three together: Moon and Ascendant in water signs, emotionally on, vulnerable by Pisces yet guarded by Scorpio. In contrast, the Sun in air introduces objectivity, and puts some distance between himself and the world so he can assess his feelings before he acts. This is a high necessity because his Libra him to maintain balance and not get carried away by emotion.

Here’s the horoscope of another person, who is a technology executive:

The Ascendant is in Scorpio again. The Sun is in Leo now, and the Moon is in Gemini. Can you feel the snap and crackle of this Sun-Moon combination? The Moon in Gemini is the need to be wired to all information, all the time. It’s about numbers, facts, figures, data, knowledge. The Sun in Leo: the king, the boss-man, the disperser of favors, the benevolent dictator. Mr. Executive loves to be leader, ruler of all he surveys!

In what manner will he lead and display authority? With the Moon in Gemini, it will likely take the form of gathering and managing information so that he is in the know, and so he can control (Scorpio Ascendant) his environment with this knowledge. Knowledge=power. (Scorpio relishes power.)

Notice the similarities and differences in this pair of horoscopes. Both have the Ascendant in Scorpio. They will both be guarded in their interactions with others, but the executive will likely be more overtly controlling and appear intimidating, fueled by the lording-it-over energy of the Leo Sun.

Both people also each have an air component, however in one case the Sun is in air, while in the other it’s the Moon, plus one is Libra and the other is Gemini – Libra is people-oriented, while Gemini is ideas-oriented. So there is already a good amount of divergence in how they approach the world, and how others see them. (Read my earlier post on the Sun-Moon blend to get insight into the interplay of the Sun and Moon signs.)

Lastly, the physician has an extra dose of water through the Moon in Pisces, and the executive gets a shot of fire through the Sun in Leo. The difference now has widened significantly.

When you put it all together, you get two people whose SMA share some signs and elements in common. However, unless you know them very well, you would be hard pressed to find similarities in personality, because of the way the SMA combine to make the whole a lot more than the sum of the parts.