Understanding your zodiac big 6

Illustration of the 12 zodiac signs
Lucy Yang/File

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Chances are that you know your zodiac sign. But it seems like everyone has more than one sign and you’re probably confused about what that means. After all, astrology enthusiasts are talking about the different signs in their birth charts — from their moon to Mercury signs. Using apps such as Co-Star or websites such as Cafe Astrology give you a peek at your other zodiac placements. The birth chart might seem like nonsense, but this guide will help you understand your big six: the sun, moon, rising, Mercury, Venus and Mars signs. 

Key

Air Signs: Aquarius, Gemini and Libra

Earth Signs: Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn

Fire Signs: Aries, Leo and Sagittarius

Water Signs: Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio

Sun Sign

This is the sign you’re probably most familiar with because it’s the main one. The sun sign is calculated by the sun’s position to the constellation at the time of your birth, hence the name. This sign determines the core of your identity and can influence other aspects of your birth chart. The sign of your sun will more than likely be the same as your Mercury and others. If you have an Air sun, you’re a very social and friendly person, but can switch at a moment’s notice. Earth suns are hardworking and productive, but love to relax and stay at home. Fire suns are goal-oriented and ambitious, but they can appear to be narcissistic. Water suns are the most emotional out of the 12 and love becoming intimate with people.

Moon Sign

You find out about your moon sign by the constellation the moon faces when you’re born. The moon sign is the side of yourself that you don’t show the world and can also dictate how you handle your emotions. Air moons will vividly communicate their emotions to you through body language rather than directly stating it. Someone with an Earth moon relies on their brain rather than their heart. For Fire moons, they’ll hide their emotions behind a wall of confidence and strength. Water moons are sensitive and their emotions can get the best of them. 

Rising Sign

The rising sign (aka the ascendant) determines your outward style and how other people see you. This can actually be the most important sign out of the six because it influences everyone’s perception of you. It’s decided by the zodiac sign that the eastern horizon was at your birth. Air risings are social butterflies and will be the friendliest people you’ll meet. Rising earth signs are focused on practicality and productivity. If you have a Fire rising, you’re driven by your actions and want to change the world. A Water rising adapts to whatever environment they enter, from the grocery store to a nightclub.

Mercury Sign

As with the previous signs, Mercury signs are calculated by the planet’s position to a specific constellation. Named after the Roman god, Mercury signs determine how you interact and communicate with other people. It’s common to have the same sun and Mercury signs since the distance between the two is close. If you possess the same sign for both placements, you’ll find yourself communicating with others better than those with two different signs. A person with an Air Mercury is calm and collected and will be your shoulder to cry on. Earth Mercuries are fun and vibrant people, but aren’t afraid to tell you the truth. Fire Mercury signs tend to be judgmental, but they are also ambitious and optimistic when they become comfortable. Water Mercuries struggle with effective communication because their emotions can take over.

Venus Sign

This sign rules your love life and language. If your relationships aren’t working, blame this sign. Venus signs are calculated by the planet’s position to a zodiac at the time of your birth. Your ideal partner will have the same Venus sign because both of you will communicate better and have the same way of loving. An Air Venus will be open with their partner about anything, and they want someone to listen to them. If you’re an Earth Venus, you seek long-term lovers and will do anything to make a relationship work. Fire Venuses want to live in a Nicholas Sparks novel and adore huge gestures of love. A Water Venus nurtures their loved ones and may be cautious getting into new relationships.

Mars Sign

Mars rules strong emotions such as desire and anger, and the way we handle conflict. Although the moon handles emotions and Venus controls love, Mars is all about how we control ourselves in situations: Do we go to war or make peace? The sign is dictated by the constellation the planet faces when you were born. Air Mars signs are clever and will do anything to get what they want. For Earth Mars, they are more practical in finding solutions and will remain extremely determined. People with a Fire Mars are very passionate and will make their emotions known to every person in their vicinity. If your sign is Water Mars, you will internalize these strong emotions and can erupt if someone upsets you.

Through this guide, you’ll finally understand your zodiac big six! You can now analyze anyone’s birth chart and become the next Walter Mercado. This is only a stepping stone into fully understanding the world of astrology — once you’re comfortable with the big six, you can immerse yourself in houses, stelliums and other celestial objects.

Contact Nicholas Clark at [email protected].