The Problem of Twins in Natal Astrology

Twins in Astrology

Episode 167 of the podcast features a discussion between Chris Brennan and Adam Elenbaas about the problem of twins in natal astrology, and how astrologers deal with the birth charts or horoscopes of two people who were born at the same time.

The premise of natal astrology is that the alignment of the planets at the moment a person is born have something significant to say about a person’s character and future, but this premise then naturally raises the question of what about people who were born around the same time?

This comes up most commonly in the horoscopes of twins who are born to the same parents within a few minutes of each other, although the question is also applicable to time twins, who are people that were born around the same time to different parents.

During the course of this episode we discuss this issue and try to explore some possible solutions, both from a technical and a philosophical perspective.

Below you will find the show notes, followed by links to download or stream the recording of this episode of the podcast.

Twins Show Notes and Episode Outline

Here are the show notes, which provides an outline of most of the major points we touched on during the course of the episode:

  • One of the most common and longstanding critiques against natal astrology.
    • Variations of the criticism have been in circulation for over 2000 years.
  • We will address philosophical, conceptual, and technical points related to this issue.
  • Defining the basic parameters of the twins criticism:
  • Natal astrology was developed in Mesopotamia by the 5th century BCE.
    • Premise is that alignment of planets at birth indicates future of native.
    • Naturally raises the question of what about people born at the same time?
      • Twins who are born close together from the same mother.
        • Twins look the same, but have different lives.
      • Time twins, who are born to separate parents but around the same time.
  • This has been a longstanding critique of natal astrology for the past 2000 years.
    • Earliest surviving criticism is Cicero (1st century BCE).
      • “the fact that men who were born at the very same instant, are unlike in character, career, and in destiny, makes it very clear that the time of birth has nothing to do in determining man’s course in life”.
    • Saint Augustine had a similar criticism but went into more detail.
  • Ptolemy may have tried to respond to some of the earlier critiques.
    • Ptolemy says that astrology is not the only factor, but you also have to take other factors into account in order to understand the context of the chart.
      • Gender, race, geography, whether the chart of a turtle, etc.
  • Nigidius Figulus was said to have responded with the potters wheel analogy.
    • Point is that sometimes even what seem like small changes make difference
    • Ascendant and Midheaven move relatively rapidly.
  • Important to discern whether the chart really is exactly the same or not first.
    • Even two people born close together in time may not have exactly the same chart
  • Technical answers to this issue based on chart changes:
    • Sometimes a few minute time difference leads to major changes.
    • What are some of these major changes?
      • Ascendant can change signs
        • Changes ruler of the Ascendant
        • Changes all of the houses in whole sign & equal houses
      • Midheaven and other angles can change signs
      • Planets becoming more or less angular.
      • Sect
      • Moon can change signs
      • Aspects can perfect, move from applying to separating.
        • Enclosures can begin or end
    • Sometimes only small changes happen in a few minutes.
      • Ascendant, Midheaven, other angles change degrees quickly
      • Lots/Aratic Parts change degrees and signs rapidly
      • Midpoints change degrees rapidly
      • Subdivisions of zodiacal signs become relevant here.
        • Subdivision charts and harmonics.
        • Twelfth parts, bounds/terms, decans, etc.
          • Indians use navamshas and other subdivisions
    • Vedic answer based on 3rd and 11th houses
      • Younger siblings assigned to 3rd house, older siblings 11th house
      • Therefore the order of the birth could matter, and change the chart.
      • This then affects the derived houses potentially as well.
    • Timing techniques
      • Earlier or later degrees can change activation of timing techniques
        • Progressions, transits, time-lords change.
    • Division of the chart
      • Some astrologers report that twins will divide the chart.
      • Each appropriating certain features
      • As part of defining themselves as distinct individuals from each other.
      • Liz Greene and Steven Forrest both mention this.
      • CB: I wonder if this is a conscious/subconscious choice, or if it is just a matter of small changes in time shifting subdivisions.
        • Modern astrologers could be mistaking it as a choice.
  • Philosophical and conceptual answers to the question:
    • The context of the chart matters.
      • Is it the chart of a human, a business, a turtle, etc.?
      • The situation the person is born into matters.
        • Relevant in terms of time twins.
          • Male versus female, ethnicity, etc.
          • Gets into something deeper about nature of astrology.
    • Astrology is archetypally predictive
      • Each placement has a range of possible meanings
      • Placement may manifest in ways that are different but archetypally similar.
        • Mars in 10th: athlete versus military.
    • Synastry
      • Each person we come into contact with is like a transit
      • Two people can’t be in the same place at same time.
      • Therefore they will interact w/ different people, have different experiences
      • These synastry relationships will unlock different parts of the chart
      • In some instances this will be positive, in some negative.
      • True of romantic relationships, but also family members.
      • Previous episode on synastry
    • Relocational astrology
      • Premise is that different locations shift emphasis of the chart.
      • Different parts may be emphasized more or less
      • If the two people live in different places.
      • Previous episode on relocational astrology
    • Free will and choices
      • Two people with similar predispositions may make different choices
      • To what extent is the chart representative of the soul versus a mask of predispositions that the soul has adopted in a given lifetime?
      • In Hermeticism ascent/descent of the soul gives it certain properties that are then given back after death.
    • Variables: In reality there are so many operative variables that the astrologer can’t take all of them into account.
    • Triangulation process that acts like a cheat sheet.

Watch the Video Version of This Episode of the Podcast

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Listen to the Audio Version of This Episode

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Comments

  1. I have a twin, and the recent lunar eclipse activated our chart by conjunction at our MC/Moon conjunction. It looks like the influence is playing out in my career and in the context of her house/home. The lunar eclipse at the same degree 19 years ago played out quite similarly in my career, but it was a reversal of fortune for my sister but still to do with her home. I thought you’d like that little anecdote 🙂

  2. There are studies of twins and their order of birth. According to childbirth educator Robin Elise Weiss, PhD:
    “The average time between the birth of the first and second baby is generally about 17 minutes. However, as long as the monitor shows the second baby is doing well there’s no great need to speed things along. Sometimes during this phase of waiting, you will have an ultrasound to confirm the position of the second twin and your practitioner will decide how it is best to deliver him or her.”
    If the average time between twin births is 17 minutes, there would be about a 4 degree change on the MC and a corresponding change on the Ascendant, depending on location and time of year. Predictive techniques like primary directions assign one year to each degree on the MC, so that predicted events for the twins, even if similar, would on average be spaced 4 years apart and occur in different developmental periods of the person’s life.

  3. You touched on it briefly when you mentioned Dwadashamas (12th parts) and Vedic dwad charts. I have found that western dwad charts clearly show the differences in twins, even if they are born under a minute apart.
    I have written an article about it here: http://aliceportman.com/duads-duad-charts-show-the-differences-between-twins/

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