The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 167, titled:
The Problem of Twins in Natal Astrology
With Chris Brennan and Adam Elenbaas
Episode originally released on August 10, 2018
Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Transcribed by Mary Sharon
Transcription released June 16, 2021
Copyright © 2021 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi, my name is Chris Brennan, and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. This episode was recorded on Tuesday, August 7th, 2018, starting at 1:42 PM in Denver, Colorado. And this is the 167th episode of the show. For more information about how to subscribe to the podcast and help support the production of future episodes by becoming a patron, please visit the astrologypodcast.com/subscribe. In this episode, I’m going to be talking with Adam Elenbaas about the issue of twins in astrology. Hey Adam, thanks for joining me for this.
ADAM ELENBAAS: Hey, Chris. Good to be here.
CB: All right. So this is a big topic. I’ve been meaning to do this topic for quite a while now for years actually, but I keep putting it off and putting it off. And so I’m glad we’re actually finally doing it today. So thanks for getting together with me for this.
AE: Yeah, yeah, definitely.
CB: So this is something I actually asked you a few days ago if you’d done anything on this, and this was something that you’d done some work on recently and in the past.
AE: Yeah, I mean, it’s something that I get asked all the time, and it was refreshed in my memory recently because I had a new client come in, who at the very beginning said, “I’m skeptical of astrology because I’m a twin, and my twin is very different from me.” And then not long after that, actually on my birthday, I went to see, last month I went to see a film about triplets that were reunited, sort of a popular film that’s out right now. So the topic was actually really fresh on my mind recently.
CB: Okay, cool. So in order to sort of frame it, I mean, this is the issue of twins is one of the most common and long-standing critiques of astrology. And there’s been variations of this criticism. It’s partially a criticism that skeptics have used to attack astrology, but it’s also kind of like a natural question that arises from the concept of natal astrology. And there’s been different variations of both the question and the criticism for about 2,000 years now. So in this episode, I wanted to address some philosophical sort of answers to the question, some conceptual answers and some technical points that are important to take into account when astrologers are discussing and trying to, you know, respond to questions or criticisms surrounding this basic issue. So first, why don’t we start by defining the basic parameters of the twins’ criticism? So the starting point is that natal astrology hasn’t always been around, but it was actually introduced at some specific point. And the first evidence of it that we find shows up in Mesopotamia somewhere around the 5th century BCE. So about 2,500 years ago or so, natal astrology starts being practiced. And the basic premise of natal astrology of course, is that the alignment of the planets at the moment that a person is born indicates or has something to say about their future, about their character, about the course of their life and to some extent perhaps their destiny. So that basic premise of natal astrology naturally raises the question of what about people born at the same time? So there’s two categories, there’s twins who are born close together from the same parents or the same mother, and then there’s another category that’s sometimes referred to as time twins, which are people who were born to separate parents but around the same time, so that they have roughly the same birth chart. So those are the two sort of issues that we’re going to look into today. And that’s the basic framing of the problem. Is that more or less accurate?
AE: Yeah, I think it’s one of those gotchas that people try to, you know, pull out of the hat, you know, to criticize or attack astrology with. It’s one of a number of them, but I think it’s definitely one of the… It’s something that I think you run into as a student of astrology very early on, you wonder it yourself. And then you are used to hearing that retort from, you know, maybe relatives or friends who are skeptical or whatever. At some point someone says, “What about twins?”
CB: Right. Well, and also in its most extreme form, it’s usually presented by skeptics as the more blanket rejection of like Sun sign astrology, where they formulate the critique and say, you know, “What’s the likelihood that, you know, different people that are born under the same Sun sign are all having the same day based on their horoscope column or what have you?” And sometimes it gets sort of filtered down in that way or simplified in that way, that’s another variation of the same criticism.
AE: Yeah, right. Yeah, you definitely see it. You see the twins’ argument as one of the, you know, one of the leading weapons in the criticism of astrology in general for sure, yeah.
CB: Sure. So part of it then comes down to like a fundamental misunderstanding or lack of understanding of astrology and what it’s about and what its assumptions are. And that’s certainly a big part of it, and that’s, you know, obviously with something like the Sun sign criticism is even more evident there, although it’s still evident when they’re criticizing natal astrology that they don’t quite fully understand how astrologers are approaching the subject. But then there’s a separate side to this, which is that there’s something about this issue that’s actually useful for astrologers in terms of forcing them to think more deeply about and come to a better understanding of what astrology is and how it operates by really focusing in on this question and coming to grips with the issue, and then sort of wrestling with it in a way that produces something that’s productive.
AE: Yeah. I mean, in preparation for our discussion today, I decided to reach out to one of my clients who is a twin and asked her if she could take some time to speak with me. And we took like an hour and a half and talked about major transits in her chart and everything. And so I think you’re… And I learned a lot, and it illuminated for… Even though I had ready-made sort of intellectual responses that I’ve learned over time and that I think my practice has demonstrated, just refreshing on the chart of a twin prior to doing this today was really helpful. And I think you’re… So I think you’re right that it helps us… Considering this issue helps us dig in a little deeper as astrologers for sure.
CB: Definitely. All right. So I wanted to… So I wanted to first set a little bit more historical context because I said that this has been one of the, it’s been a long-standing critique of natal astrology for the past 2,000 years. And that’s actually true because we can trace back the earliest surviving criticism where the twins’ argument was brought up was actually by Cicero in the 1st century BCE, who was one of the earliest, he wrote one of the earliest sort of skeptical attacks on astrology around the 1st century, right about the time that Hellenistic astrology was really starting to become popular. So I have a quote from Cicero where he says, “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.” So it’s a pretty clear sort of statement that even though twin, let’s say twins born to the same mother might look alike, they end up having very different lives or different characters or different careers or destinies or what have you. There were other skeptical sort of critiques of astrology after that point like by Saint Augustine, who went into the twins’ criticism with a little bit more detail. But it’s usually basically just different variations of the same fundamental argument or objection. So that’s one part of historical context. And then of course, astrologers have occasionally tried to respond to this. So Ptolemy is, he may have sort of adjusted or may have crafted part of the Tetrabiblos in the 2nd century in response to some of those early criticisms, either in order to counter them or in order to better articulate what astrologers were actually doing in a way that partially responded to or nullified some of those criticisms. And part of his response already in the 2nd century, is that astrology is not the only determining factor in terms of things like a person’s career or destiny or what have you, but that you also had to take into account other factors in order to understand the actual context of the chart before making any predictions. So things like gender, the geographical area, the cultural norms of the place where person is living or is born into, whether it’s, you know, the chart of a human versus the birth chart of, you know, a turtle or something like that and other things that are supposed to be giving actual context to the birth chart itself. So it basically tries to counter the criticism by saying that part of the answer is that astrologers are not supposed to make their statements without any context whatsoever. But in fact, the context needs to be taken into account as part of doing astrology.
AE: Yeah. I think of the fact that astrology has its roots in different forms of astral omen divination and that there are there’s within many different divinity practices, even though it’s debatable as to obviously whether or not astrology is a form of divination, but it has enough in common with a history of divination that I don’t think it’s a leap to point out that divination requires context. So if you go to an Oracle, you have a question that the same dice or runes or bones or liver entrails or stars or whatever you’re reading, whatever maybe offering some prognostication is offering it within the context, the symbols make sense within the context or shape of a unique situation or inquiry. And so there’s an interaction between the objective and the subjective, I think that’s a part of astrology in a similar way that, you know, you can’t just throw a spread of tarot cards without a person or a question in front of you and think that well it’ll just objectively describe reality. It’s a little bit more interactive than that. I guess that’s the way that I would think about it.
CB: Yeah. Well, and even in a causal context, because Ptolemy was writing his treaties from the perspective of astrology and planets and stars causing things to happen through some sort of celestial influence, he said that the planets and the stars are not the only causes, but there’s other causes and other factors in a person’s life, other causal factors that have to be taken into account. So, you know, even from that perspective.
AE: Yeah, I think also it feeds into the debate that was in existence in the ancient world about fate and free will to a certain extent too, because you’re assuming that the chart tells you something about perhaps about the person’s destiny. But I think, you know, many astrologers, even in the, you know, early Hellenistic period of astrology assume that there was some element of free will interacting. And not only our free will, but the free will of, you know, other agents in our environment or our lives or parents. So I think if you’re someone who, unless you take a really hardcore deterministic standpoint as an astrologer, then I would imagine that some, you know, some interaction of free will, there are other influences, there other causal influences in our life other than just the, even if you take astrology as a causal sort of science, then even the cause of the celestial causes aren’t the only ones. I think that’s really important. Yeah.
CB: Sure. And evidently, even really early on in the first few centuries, they’re already astrologers responding to these criticisms. And Saint Augustine actually cites, very dismissively and very briefly, an earlier astrologer named Nigidius Figulus, who’s said to have responded with something called the potter’s wheel analogy. And the point that he basically ends up making is that sometimes even what seems like a small change in time like a few minutes or, yeah, let’s say a few minutes, can be a major difference in terms of the astrological charts or in terms of a birth chart. So I actually want to read the passage. So this is from Saint Augustine’s City of God. And who’s the translator? I’m not sure who the translator is, but it’s the Penguin Classics version. So just quick paragraphs, let me read it really quickly. So Augustine, and this is like in the middle of his disputation, his attack on astrology. He says, and he’s a little bit sarcastic, so it’s actually kind of funny. He says nothing is to be gained by bringing in the well-known parable of the potter’s wheel given by Nigidius in reply to this problem, which greatly troubled him, a parable that gave him his nickname Figulus, which means the potter. So his name is actually Nigidius, but his nickname became the potter because of this sort of analogy that he used in order to counter the twins’ criticism. So Augustine he says, “Nigidius revolved the potter’s wheel with all of the vigor he could command. And while it was spinning, he made two very rapid strokes on the wheel with ink, apparently on the same spot. But when the wheel stopped, those marks were found to be a considerable distance apart on the edge of it. In the same way, said Nigidius, the sky whirls around so swiftly that although twins may be born in as quick succession as my two strokes of the wheel, that corresponds to very large tract of the sky, this would account for all the great divergences alleged in the character of twins and in the events in their lives.” And then Augustine, he says like really sarcastically, he says, “This parable is even more fragile than the pottery made on that wheel.” And he goes on, he starts criticizing, his criticism ends up being the inability of like astrologers in that time to observe the sky so carefully that they could even make such minute distinctions, which at this 200 years later is a completely moot point because we can actually calculate astrological charts with great precision at this point in time. So that was some of the early banter. This was like 2,000 years ago in the early, during the course of the Roman empire and Cicero and I think Nigidius Figulus were around the 1st century BCE. Augustine was a few centuries later, so this is going back and forth. But this just shows you that this is one of the early things that was being debated very early on. And sometimes there were attacks from skeptics and sometimes the astrologers would respond.
AE: Poor astrologers were getting picked on, you know, for thousands of years, getting made fun of and…
CB: Well, and I want to do an episode one of these days on different skeptical attacks on astrology. Because one of the things that’s funny about that, is Cicero of course, was attacking it from more of the philosophical standpoint, and Augustine was attacking it from more of a Christian standpoint. And the actual tract that Augustine ends up taking against astrology as he ends up saying that it works, but it’s the work of evil spirits, so versus Cicero, who just says it doesn’t work at all and it doesn’t make any sense at all. So it’s always interesting seeing the angle that skeptics take when they are attacking astrology, depending on their own sort of philosophical and religious inclinations.
AE: Right. Yeah. And it’s funny how many, throughout the history of Christianity in particular, how many closet and even not so closet astrologers there have been. I think one of the reasons you see so much resistance from the Catholic Church for example, throughout the history of western astrology is because their own clergy or are practicing it. And they’re in some ways trying to weed it out from the institution.
CB: Right. That’s a point that Nick Campion always made or makes in his writings, which is that you can see when astrology is actually the most popular when you see the most frequent bans being issued by either religious or political authorities against it. Because bans against astrology that are trying to get rid of it wouldn’t be happening unless people were actually trying to practice it. So anyway, so that brings us to getting into the technical part of this discussion. So first it’s important to discern whether the chart really is exactly the same or not as the very first thing. So sometimes, you know, you can have twins, but the twins can be born, you know, 10 minutes apart or 15 or 20 or 30 minutes apart or more. And that does make a major difference. So that even two people born close together in time may not have exactly the same chart. And first, establishing that scenario where you have two people with very similar charts, but where there are some notable differences. And then the other scenario of two people with actually the exact same chart and then how to deal with that.
AE: Right, yeah. I spoke yesterday to my wife’s cousin who is a twin. And just, you know, asked him just curiosity, how far apart were you? And I was asking a bunch of questions, but asked him how far apart they were born, and he said half an hour. And I was really surprised because I’m used to like, you know, 2 minutes or something, you know, it’s always, I’m used to hearing that. But actually in their case, it was 30 minutes apart. So now he didn’t have his exact birth time available to me, I was just reaching out to him on Facebook. But I’m assuming that, you know, there are enough twins out there that are also farther distances apart that it could… Very easily 30 minutes could affect your proximity of planets, near proximity of planets to the ascending degree or to other critical degrees in the chart, the bound lord, like all sorts of stuff could change very easily in 30 minutes. What to speak of, even 5 to 10 minutes things can change.
CB: Yeah, I even… And I was talking to Leisa Schaim about this last night, and she found a really interesting instance where there were twins but something happened and one of them was born prematurely, but then the other one wasn’t born until two months later. So there’s actually like really funny, bizarre stories which obviously are not common, but sometimes, you know, we can’t always make the assumption that it’s always like a fixed interval in which the twins will be born.
AE: Yeah, that’s right. I’ll save some of my stories to get a little bit farther into talking about the different kinds of technical things that can shift. But there was a very basic example in the woman’s chart that I spoke with yesterday, where her and her twin sister were born like 9, 10 minutes apart. And it changes the bound ruler or the term ruler of the Ascendant from Venus to Mars. And that seemed to make a very significant difference in terms of their personalities. So that was something that I was shocked to find when I spoke to her yesterday. And it kind of was like instantly fit in with some of the basic personality differences between them.
CB: Sure. Yeah. Well, let’s get into some of those technical things now. Okay. So this is going to begin a section on technical answers to this issue based on chart changes. So this is kind of sort of outline that I’ve crafted about how astrologers respond to this or how I would respond to this or trying to articulate what some of the actual technical differences are that can change between charts in a relatively short span of time. So the first section to deal with is that sometimes a few minute time difference can lead to major differences in chart placements. So I wanted to review some instances or some possible scenarios where even just a few minute difference, let’s say 5-minute difference, 10 minute difference or what have you, anywhere give or take within that range, can lead to like a major shift in the chart that would lead astrologers to interpret the chart in a way that could be significantly different. So one of those things, one of the most common things of course, and probably one of the things that somebody like Nigidius Figulus had in mind with the potter analogy, is that the Ascendant moves relatively rapidly through the degrees of the zodiacal signs. And sometimes over a few minutes time span, the Ascendant can actually change signs. So the Ascendant could be in, I’ve seen charts where there were twins, and one of the twins was born with like 29 Scorpio rising and the other twin was born with like 2 degrees of Sagittarius rising, for example. So you have the Ascendant actually changing signs, and then this of course changes the overall ruler of the Ascendant, the planet that rules the rising sign, which is a very important planet in most traditions of astrology. And in modern astrology, it’s often treated as the overall ruler of the chart, but this can also, in some systems it can change all of the houses. So for example, in whole sign house or in equal houses that changes all of the houses and changes all of the rulers of the cusps of each of those houses so that the Ascendant changing signs can actually be a really radically different or interpreted as a radically different chart from just one difference of like a few minutes. So that’s a pretty common or major one where I think most astrologers would immediately think about that maybe as the biggest potential change or most dramatic change that you could see hypothetically, even if you otherwise wouldn’t expect it to be that common, right?
AE: Right. Yeah. If you have a totally different distribution of whole sign houses or equal houses, for sure then your rulers of the places and hence rulers of the topics are distributed differently. Their accidental dignity all shifts dramatically potentially. And that alone would be probably the simplest explanation of how a chart can be [unintelligible 23.34] I mean, just totally different from one spot to another. So yeah, that would be a big one. And even if you’re using a quadrant-based system, you know, quadrant-based cusps could also change the rulers of houses pretty, you know, dramatically, depending on a couple of minutes, depending on where certain house cusps are falling and things like that.
CB: Right. So like that would take us to another example where for example, the degree of the Midheaven, which in quadrant houses like Placidus is the starting point or the cusp of the 10th house, also moves rapidly through the degrees of the zodiacal signs. So the Midheaven could actually change signs as well over the course of a few minute time span. And that would shift it so that the ruler of that house would move from being like one planet, like let’s say Mars, to another planet like Jupiter if it moved from, let’s say late Scorpio to early Sagittarius which then would cause a completely different interpretation of how you would deal with or how astrologers would interpret that house and the corresponding things like the person’s career and reputation and other things associated with that sector of the chart.
AE: Yeah, yeah. That’s obviously, and I’ve also noticed that your, you know, if you have a planet that’s in proximity to a, I mean, I’ll talk more about this. Well, this is a good moment. Like in the example that I did with this young woman, her sister’s Ascendant bumps to a degree, it becomes, it was, if I remember correctly, let me just look at the chart real quick, I have it right here. So her Ascendant switched so that… So she was 9 Cancer rising. And when you switch for the time change for her sister, Jupiter’s at 29 Gemini. And the Ascendant becomes much, much closer to Jupiter and Gemini, which actually also plays a role in the formation of character when a planet is more closely conjoined with the ascending degree, even if it’s out of sign. So in that case, like her sister had more of those Jupiter in Gemini traits which some astrologers may interpret as significant because it came to within a much closer degree-based range with the other sister’s Ascendant. So again, even though it was out of sign, the Ascendant moving came in close proximity with the planet in the 12th. So, you know, that was a really great example of also how their characteristics of personality were just very different from one another.
CB: Sure. So I’ll add that one to the outline just below this. So it’s like Ascendant changing, Midheaven changing, planets becoming more or less angular, so moving over like a, you know, 5 or 10 or 15, or especially like 30-minute time span. Some planets could move more towards the Ascendant degree or more towards the Midheaven degree or the Descendant or IC, and therefore become more prominent in the chart and prominent in the person’s life or in the person’s character or whatever that part of the chart is associated with versus those other planets that could move away from the degrees of the angles and therefore become less prominent or less active in a life.
AE: Yeah, that’s exactly right. Once we go over a few more, I’ll tell a more full anecdote about this chart. But yeah, that’s what I observed, yep.
CB: Okay. Another major thing that I just added that you reminded me of when you used some phrase just a few minutes ago, but is a sect, and that the sect of the chart can actually change if the Sun either rises and it becomes daytime in between the time that two people are born or if the Sun sets and it becomes nighttime. The difference between a day and night chart is a major principle, interpretive principle in ancient astrology. And it changes how, especially how the benefic and malefics are interpreted in the chart, and can be used sometimes to identify the most positive or the most challenging areas of the chart. So that can be another major change that can occur in a relatively small span of time that can completely alter the interpretation of the chart.
AE: Yeah, I think about it like… So I practice yoga every morning, so I get up and it’s dark out, right? It’s like clearly dark at, let’s say like 5:30. But within 30 minutes, and as like I said, my wife’s cousins were born 30 minutes apart as twins, within 30 minutes, it’s clearly light out, you know what I mean? There’s a shift that happens pretty rapidly. And so I think you could easily say that the sect status of a chart changes, even though, you know, the Sun might be barely peeking into the first house or might be, you know, not quite the Ascendant yet in one chart. And then on the other twin’s chart, maybe even the same rising sign is there, but the Sun is clearly with the Ascendant and it’s light out. My experience with getting up early in the morning for a long time now has been that the way that I look at sect is to really, I’m pretty careful about it now. Like if it’s within a certain number of degrees to the Ascendant, I kind of calculate that in terms of how many minutes et cetera. And if I ever get into the situation where I’m really trying to, you know, split hairs about it, I’ll actually look and figure out when did the Sun rise that day, how many minutes away from it was it? Because I have a really good sense from getting up all the time early in the morning as to whether it was dark or not. And that’s kind of how I make the distinction myself when I… It doesn’t come up that often in my practice, but when it does, that’s how I think about it.
CB: Yeah, and there definitely is some ambiguity surrounding that, but there’s certainly, you know, especially between like one hour and the next, let’s say, if you’re just standing outside, you can tell the difference between, you know, it’s daylight out and the Sun is still above the horizon versus the Sun has set and it’s completely dark out at this point.
AE: Right. Yeah. I mean, it’s definitely when you’re getting into a range of like 30 minutes, yeah, it’s a little bit more ambiguous. But I mean, for me, like stark difference between 5:30 and 6:00 in terms of what it looks like outside. Like there’ll be light everywhere at 6:00, whereas right now for me anyway, whereas when I’m meditating at 5:15 or 5:30, it’s still dark out, so.
CB: Sure. Yeah. All right. So that’s a major thing that can change. Another major thing that can change is that the Moon can change signs. So the Moon moves, of all of the celestial, actual celestial bodies that astrologers work with or “planets” since astrologers use the term planets to refer to a lot of things including satellites like the Earth’s Moon, the Moon, because it moves so rapidly can actually change signs. So if you have one person born with the Moon at like 29 degrees of Taurus, the other person might have it, if they’re born a little bit later, could have it at like 0 degrees of Gemini. So that would be a major interpretive difference as well.
AE: Right, yeah. In the case of the two that I looked at yesterday, their Moons were like squarely in the middle of the signs, both the 30 minutes apart. And the about 10 minutes apart difference, it didn’t make a huge impact on the Moon. But I did think of that. I was like, you know, if you have the Moon’s late, you could certainly have a change.
CB: Yeah. And I’ve definitely seen charts like that. I remember Obama’s chart actually was like that. Because before his birth time was released, there was a lot of speculation. And I remember back around like early 2008 when the primaries for the 2008 election were still going on, a lot of people were talking about it and having debates. And I remember one astrologer trying to argue that he had a Taurus Moon. And I was like, “No, that doesn’t sound right. Like I’m pretty sure it’s in Gemini.” Because one of the things he was most noted for was just his oratory and his way with words and ability to give speeches and stuff. And then a few months later, the official birth certificate was released. And the time was later in the day, he was born around sunset. And so the Moon did end up being at Gemini. So that’s an example of somebody where there could have been somebody else who was born the same day, who has the same chart as Barack Obama, but if they were born earlier in the day, their moon would be in Taurus rather than in Gemini, which would shift some major parts or major interpretive pieces of the chart.
AE: Just to clarify, I think the most important criticism would not be so much on the same day. Because for astrologers anyway, someone might level that criticism, but for astrologers, that’s an easy fix. Because if you’re born in one part of the world versus another, the charts are totally different. It’s more if they’re in the exact same location and the same, you know, date and year and so forth. And then even from there, it would have to be, this criticism only really works when it’s within maybe an hour, a couple of hours at most. Those charts have to look… For this criticism to work, they have to look very, very similar.
CB: Yeah. And we’ll definitely get there. But I just want, I think it’s still worth actually articulating because some people, some skeptics or some people are just getting into astrology, might not understand. If you don’t know astrology very well you only know Sun sign astrology, you might think even the criticism of two people born on the same day according to astrology should have the same character, the same lives. So one of the things we’re doing is just sort of painstakingly going through all of the reasons why that would not necessarily be the case or for somebody who’s completely unfamiliar with birth charts, you know, what does change over the course of even a day or–
AE: Yeah, right. So yeah, if you’re coming at this from just the sort of perspective of Sun sign astrology, there’s just a huge abundance of these things that change, right.
CB: Sure. So one last thing that, one last major change that I came up with that does happen that would be a major change interpretively or could be a major interpretive change, is that some aspects between planets could perfect and thus move from applying aspects to separating aspects, which would be a major difference. Applying and separating tends to be used more commonly or more frequently in horary astrology and electional astrology, but it’s also still relevant in natal astrology.
AE: Right. So I’m thinking of….If people who are listening to this know Nina Griffin, she has these wonderful illustrations that she does of different astrological texts and sort of doctrines or teachings from ancient astrologers and so forth. And there’s something from Bonatti that she did an illustration of recently that I thought was really clever. And anyway, it was the basic idea of the rule from Bonatti was, you know, if the planets have separated by even 1 minute, some harm that you are, let’s say with a malefic, a difficult planet, some planet has separated from malefic by even one minute, the feared result won’t occur. But, you know, sort of by the skin of your teeth, you’ll come out okay, whereas if it’s applying and hasn’t perfected even, you know, to 1 minute, it still has to perfect. You can be sure that the challenging thing will occur. And she had some really cute drawing that she did with it. But anyway, I just saw that recently, and that’s certainly true in horary, where and applying if someone’s asking about will we get back together. Most horary astrologers if they saw the planets that represented two lovers coming together but yet to perfect their aspect, it would be an indication that, you know, there’s an opportunity for reuniting or getting back together or coming together. Whereas if they’re separating, even by a couple of minutes, you know, most horary astrologers will say, no, the opportunity has passed by. And I think in natal astrology, even though those are, you know, like Bonatti is also writing about horary in a lot of cases, but you can apply… Many astrologers over time have applied the same basic ideas to interpreting natal aspects.
CB: Yeah, definitely. Just through the premise that applying aspects indicate the future and separating aspects indicate the past, which is much more easy to articulate in horary or in electional, but in a natal context, it just means that applying aspects largely are going to be something that develops in the life eventually at some point, whereas separating aspects might indicate something that you already have or you’ve already come into the life with in some instances. So I actually interviewed Nina about her illustrations and her work on Bonatti’s considerations in episode 108. So people can go back into the episode archives to listen to that if they want.
AE: They’re wonderful, they’re really cool.
CB: Yeah, I love her, the Patreon that she does for that. So, all right. So let’s see, moving on, one last thing that’s like a sub-note to that that’s connected with application and separation is that sometimes this can make a major difference… Well, it can obviously make a major difference. Something just as simple as like one person could be born with the Moon, for example, which moves relatively rapidly applying to a easy aspect like a trine with a benefic, but like 10 or 15 minutes later, that aspect could be completed, and it could be separating. And now the Moon could be applying to, let’s say, a difficult aspect like an opposition with a malefic like Mars or Saturn, and that’s going to make a major difference, a major interpretive difference between those two charts. In a more complex fashion or more complex version of that, is that sometimes because applications and separations can begin or end, you can have an enclosure of a planet that either begins or ends from one 5 or 10-minute time span to another. So the Moon could in one person’s chart, it could be sandwiched in between, let’s say, a conjunction between Mars and Saturn who are in the same sign and the Moon could be separating from a conjunction with one and applying to a conjunction with another so that it’s sort of stuck between them, which is viewed as a very difficult combination to have, whereas 10 or 15 minutes later, that person could be born with the Moon having moved outside of that conjunction with those two planets and therefore separating from and not necessarily in an enclosure or in as bad of a state. I think it’s called the [siegement 2.06] in Medieval astrology.
AE: Yeah. I actually have a good story about that from my horary practice. So a year or two ago, it was a couple of years ago, a woman that I met with my wife while we were on honeymoon, she was there with her husband, and so we were hanging out with other newlyweds, and we became friends with them. And then later on, she sent me a horary question because a relative of hers went missing, and they were sort of suicidal when they went missing. And the question was, you know, “Will she be okay? Has she taken her life? Will she come back?” And the Moon represented this family member in this horary, and it had literally within minutes just been free of a malefic enclosure degree-based and was then applying to like a trine with the Sun or something like that. And that offered testimony to what had actually happened, which was that she had just had a really close encounter with trying to take her own life, but was averted by the intervention of a friend. And then the authorities came in and what have you, so. But I mean, it’s just that in that case, the separating aspect within minutes literally painted the picture of like a life or death situation that was very close to going in a totally different direction, and the astrology reflected that by the separation of the aspect within such a very short amount of minutes.
CB: And that’s becomes relevant in natal astrology as well for not just one event, but sometimes it’s like a recurring theme in the person’s life. So a major change like that can be a huge deal.
AE: Right, right.
CB: All right. So that’s sort of my checklist for, you know, a few minute time difference leading to a major interpretive difference in a person’s chart. But now I have a separate section I wanted to talk about, which is sometimes only small changes in the chart, things that are, let’s say, from an interpretive standpoint, you might paint as potentially being less important or less major in terms of the hierarchy of interpretive principles that Western astrologers apply to charts. What are some small changes that happen in a few minute time span? So one of those that we already touched upon is that the Ascendent, the Midheaven and the other angles change relatively quickly. But another… And in some instances those are not going to change signs. So if the Ascendant and Midheaven, and other angles are not close to sign boundaries, they’re not necessarily going to change signs, but they might change and move a few degrees over the course of a few minutes, which may or may not indicate some slight difference based on some of the things we were talking about earlier like planets getting closer to angles or further away from angles and therefore becoming more or less prominent. Another thing that can change sometimes is the lots or the Arabic parts, which in modern astrology are typically relegated to somewhat reduced status as like sort of minor factors, but in ancient astrology were treated were a little bit higher in terms of their priority, their interpretive priority. And the lots or the Arabic parts do change degrees relatively rapidly, just about as quick as the Ascendant and Midheaven do, and can change signs over the course of a few minutes. So that’s not as important as like a planet changing signs, but certainly having like the lot of fortune or the lot of spirit changing signs can make a significant difference in terms of interpretations, right?
AE: Well, yeah. And the thing that I’m thinking of and I think I might be anticipating where you’re going to, is that if fortune or spirit change signs, some of the major timing techniques in Hellenistic astrology like zodiacal releasing could instantly be changed. And obviously that could be quite dramatic if a lot is changing signs, so that the timing of really critical moments of career accomplishment or busy periods in your life or times that are difficult for health or times where you’re totally taking a 180 somehow in your career, all of those different kinds of periods would change really dramatically if a lot or a part change signs.
CB: Yeah, yeah. And we’ll get to timing techniques in just a minute here.
AE: I’m sorry, I thought I was probably anticipating you there.
CB: Right. But I mean, even just in terms of interpretive principles like doing… Ancient astrologers like Vettius Valens talks a lot about doing derived houses from the lot of fortune, so that you find what sign a lot of fortune is in, and then that sign, the entire sign becomes the first house, the sign after that becomes the second house and so on and so forth. And sometimes within the context of certain techniques, you treat those houses as more important than the natal houses. So he did that, for example, when he was studying like the manner in which a native would die. If they had a violent death, he would always look at the eighth house relative to fortune rather than the eighth house from the Ascendant as being more relevant within the context of that specific study. So sometimes the lot of fortune or other lots changing signs can make a major interpretive difference, even though it happens relatively frequently. This is also the point where subdivisions of zodiacal signs become really relevant. And this is where we have to start talking a little bit about things like subdivision charts and harmonics. Because there’s lots of different… In Western astrology, there’s a few standard subdivisions that have been used. And then in other traditions like in Indian astrology, they use subdivisions and subdivision charts much more regularly, and it’s a much more crucial sort of interpretive tool. But even in the Western tradition, traditionally there’s certain subdivisions that have been used, where you divide up each of those zodiacal signs into portions that are supposed to have different qualities, so that it’s not just that astrologers assume that an entire zodiacal sign from the very beginning of that sign to the very end of that sign has the same qualities. But instead, sometimes they’re thought to be interpretive differences between certain parts of the sign compared to others. So one of the standard divisions is the decans, where you divide the signs into three portions and each third, each 10-degree section has a different qualities associated with it.
AE: Right. And I’m thinking one of the reasons that’s so prevalent in Vedic astrology or Indian astrology is because Vedic cosmology, actually not totally different from Western cosmology, is more of a closed and hierarchical system. So it’s sort of you have the idea of like nesting dolls with the structure of the universe. And so the idea of parts within parts within parts, that’s so common in like Sankhya philosophy that comes from India and yeah, Vedic cosmology. I think it was… There was a lot of… I think there was a lot of exchange of similar ideas in philosophy and cosmology at the time, where the subdivisions being seen as sort of minor parts of a whole, but also given real significance. So it’s not just… Well, we might think of them as minor, but I think there’s something more of, a bit more of a holographic way of thinking about it that’s present at least, I know for sure, in Vedic cosmology and philosophy. So certainly the relevance of the minor portions that aren’t really minor as far as I’ve understood it in the way that Vedic astrologers think about or Indian astrologers think about those things.
CB: Well, and even in Western astrology, I mean, when you read Firmicus Maternus and he starts talking about the twelfth-parts, he really goes over the top in talking about like this is the secret hidden part of the chart, this is one of the most crucial things that you must pay attention to, and that your predictions will fail if you’re not paying attention to the differences between the twelfth-parts. I mean, I should almost pull that out and read a passage because he’s like really over the top about how important and how crucial this is as an interpretive factor, where the twelfth-parts, which in modern times are often referred to with the Vedic name, the Dwadashamsha or the Dwads, divides each of the zodiacal signs into 12 smaller portions which are then each assigned to one of the zodiacal signs for like two and a half degrees each.
AE: Right. And of course the subperiods within zodiacal releasing, which I know we’re going to talk about in a minute, but it’s a similar idea, which is that, you can say something very specific in many cases by going into subperiods. It’s not necessarily that you may get a lot of information from major periods, but any subperiods may also give you very specific timed information that’s also very relevant.
CB: Yeah, and I mean, that’s probably an important point we should get to eventually when we get into the philosophical and conceptual section, which is there are literally like innumerable or just like millions of variables that astrologers could take into account. And oftentimes the astrologers don’t take those into account and just physically can’t. Like we lack the ability to take into account all of the major variables that could be taken into account. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not necessarily there or they’re not necessarily operative on some level, and they become relevant in instances like this where we’re talking about minute differences and whether two charts really are identically the same or whether there are significant differences that are actually there if you really wanted to push the point. So twelfth-parts is a major one because if with the twelfth-parts, you have different… Within a zodical sign there’s other zodiacal signs. So like, let’s say the first two and a half degrees of the sign Aries are assigned to Aries and the next two and a half degrees are assigned to Taurus and the next two and a half degrees after that are assigned to Gemini. The Ascendant changes every few minutes and the degree of the quadrant Midheaven or the Meridian changes every few minutes. So it’s going to move from one twelfth-part to another twelfth-part every few minutes, basically. So that’s a change, a somewhat minor change depending on how important the twelfth-parts are, but it is a change that’s occurring in the chart that’s happening every few minutes that should be changing the interpretation of the Ascendant and the other angles.
AE: Right, right. And there’s also, similar to the potter’s wheel analogy, there’s also something to be said about small variations. Like if you plant two seeds in a garden, same soil, right next to one another and for all intents and purposes, they get the same attention, whatever, very slight changes in the environment or in the growth of the plants can by the time that the plants are full grown, make the plants look quite different, even though they also share some similarities, some consistencies between the two of them. And that’s something that I was talking to my wife about this who’s a gardener and a herbalist, and that was something that she brought up.
CB: Yeah, that’s a really good, that’s a great analogy. I love that. And connected with this, this is finally the point where one of the things you were saying earlier is relevant. Another subdivision that has been used traditionally in ancient astrology is the bounds or the terms, which are where you divide each of those zodiacal signs into five usually unequal portions which are each assigned to one of the five traditional or visible planets. So it’s like Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn.
AE: Right. Yeah, this is probably a good moment to share just the small anecdote. So with the twin I was speaking to, she said… One of the first things she said is I’m very different from my sibling. Generally I’ve gotten… She’s had more like temperamental, aggressive, assertive qualities, and some interpersonal maybe relationship struggles. And I’ve been a little bit more introverted, but generally also I get along with people easier. I’m more sort of socially harmonious. And I just looked at the difference in their charts, and the bound ruler of the Ascendant, it was right on the cusp of the first, and I have to look back at which particular bounds they were. But it was the cusp of the bound in early Cancer which was between Mars and Venus. And so it was a sibling number one who had the more aggressive fiery Mars tendencies was Ascendant ruler or Ascendant bound lord was Mars, whereas the second sibling, same Ascendant in Cancer 10 minutes later or whatever is bound lord Venus. And then when you compared, what I did was I looked at transits to natal Mars in their chart. So I said okay, natal Mars in their second house and with the south node in Leo. I did some transit work. I said, “What was happening for both of you at this time?” Well, the similar theme of hard work in their career. So some challenges like Mars kind of being challenging, but related to trying to produce money and make things in the world in the second house was common for both of them during times when Mars was being aspected. But the difference was that basically for the girl, the sibling with Mars as the bound lord, those times also featured more interpersonal conflicts in her life than the other one. So that added element of Mars being more associated with her personality than the other sibling created totally different Mars transits in their lives, even though they still had some things in common which were similar to Mars being in the second house. So it was a really beautiful example of the point that we’re making here.
CB: Yeah, and that’s really interesting to me, and I think that’s what comes up. And frequently, this is the main thing that astrologers end up focusing on and looking to when it comes to the issue of twins, which is whether the Ascendant changes and moves into a different zodiacal subdivision and what sort of interpretive differences that makes in the chart. In your case with the balance, that’s really fascinating. One of the things I find fascinating about that is in ancient astrology, like going back to Antiochus and Porphyry, in some of the earliest rules for calculating the overall ruler of the entire chart or what’s called the master of the nativity, one of the approaches, one of the two major approaches for doing that said that the master of the nativity is the bound lord or the planet that rules the terms that the Ascendant is located in. So in your case, that would be why there would be such a major distinction there between Venus being so much more dominant in the chart versus Mars being more dominant in the chart because the Ascendant is moving from the bounds of one planet to another.
AE: Right. Yeah, I mean, it was fascinating. I mean, I went through a lot of conversation with her, but the one thing that was very consistent, that one consistent difference that she called on frequently, were the difference in their personality and temperament types and the way that their destinies had major similarities but were also very, very different. For example, with Mars in the second house as the bound lord of the more aggressive siblings chart, it was co-present with the Sun in Leo. And she followed in the footsteps of her father who was a sort of self-made entrepreneur with his own business. So Mars, Sun in the second house, she followed more in his footsteps, whereas she with Venus in Virgo in the third followed more in the footsteps of her Virgo and mother who was interested in different kinds of spiritual topics and kind of more of a studious type of person with Venus in Virgo in the third. So it’s just very interesting that sometimes the entire trajectory of the life could actually be there. Well, then I said to the sibling trying to account for the presence of Mars and the Sun in the second house, I said, “Well, do you have any aspirations to have your own business?” And she said, “Yes.” In fact, she’s working on her own business right now as well. But what she’s doing is working with people in a more caring, therapeutic environment, very Venetian as her sibling is in a much more Mars-related industry where she’s much more aggressive, cutthroat, and it’s actually much more closely related to what her father does for a living. That just is really fascinating to see that.
CB: Sure, I love that. Yeah, and that’s going to become really important. That’s going to be tied in, especially with another section I want to get to in two more subsections about the division of the chart and this notion that’s actually pretty common in modern astrology amongst the psychological astrologers that sometimes twins will divide up the chart and appropriate certain feature of the chart, which is a sort of thing. But I think that may be tied back in with something that we’re sort of getting to hear about depending on what subdivisions are activated, like each twin taking on or having certain parts of the chart emphasized as a result of that sort of technical for technical reasons.
AE: Right. Even in the womb, twins often fight over resources that are coming from the mother. There’s definitely something about that that is there in the formation of their… Porphyry talks about the… I’m trying to look at… Ensoulment, he talks about the formation of the soul in the womb and the formation of the ship of life and all of those things. And you just think while the children are forming, they’re also often competing for resources. One twin can actually almost kill another twin in the womb sometimes too.
CB: Wow, okay. Well, maybe that’s worth… I was going to save that as the last thing, but well actually now because we’ve got to talk about one more thing subdivisions. So before we stop on subdivisions, one of the things I wanted to say is that, so we’ve mentioned and we sort of dwelled on a bit here the three historical subdivisions that Western astrologers have used which are twelfth-parts, bounds/terms and decans. But the Indians also use other subdivisions. The most important subdivision in the Indian tradition is the navamshas which divide the signs into nine portions. But they also use a number of other subdivisions. They also use twelfth-parts and a bunch of others. And one of the things that’s really unique and really cool about the Indian tradition that makes these subdivisions even more important is that they cast entirely separate charts for them. So they’ll do, for example, like the twelfth-parts, they’ll calculate the twelfth-parts and what twelfth-part each of the planets is located in and it’s individual zodiacal sign. And then they’ll figure out for example, what zodiacal sign, what subdivision, what twelfth-part the Ascendant is located in. And whatever zodiacal sign that is, that will become the rising sign for a new chart, for a subdivision chart that’s just dedicated to the twelfth-parts. And then they’ll put all of the planets in their respective signs based on which twelfth-part they’re in the original chart, and then they’ll interpret that new chart as a thing unto itself that has its own specific context and meaning depending on which twelfth-part is being used. And there’s some interesting things with that about different interpretive principles that like David Frawley talks about in his book, the Astrology of The Seers, where some… If I have this right, I’m not sure if I have this right, where some Indian astrologers interpret like the ninth part charts as indicating about the person’s future and where they’re going in the future, whereas they interpret the twelfth-part chart as being about where the person is coming from in their past, which of course in an Indian or in a Hindu context ends up being about like past life versus future life versus the current chart, the birth chart itself, the base chart is about the present life. But that has a lot of like very interesting implications and interesting meanings in terms of how they apply the subdivisional charts.
AE: Yeah. A lot of people are… My wife just gave birth last week, and by the way, this is a fun side note.
CB: Congratulations by the way.
AE: Oh, thank you. So, by the way, funny side note–
CB: Side note, were you there with like a stopwatch or how did you…
AE: Yeah, I had the doula tell me because I was obviously, I was holding my wife’s hand, so to speak and really rooting her on through it. So, yeah.
CB: I was just wondering what astrologers are like when they’re doing that.
AE: Yeah, the doula in both cases, our doula who we had for the first birth too, she was my clock person. In the hospital, by the way, I’m convinced that the birth times are… If it’s any version of what I had, the nurses were looking at the clock. I asked them too, and I said, “How do you usually calculate it?” And they said, “Oh, we’ll look at the clock within a few minutes afterward and just mark the time.” And that’s good. The midwives at this practice though, I mean, I didn’t see anyone mark down the time for at least 10 minutes.
CB: The nurses or the midwives?
AE: The midwives. We went to a midwifery practice for the birth. So I’m sure it’s a little different in a formal hospital setting. But this is a midwife center within a hospital setting, and I’m just saying that they weren’t like click, okay, write it down.
CB: Yeah, that wasn’t like their primary concern.
AE: No, it wasn’t their primary concern, just for whatever that’s worth.
CB: No, I mean, that’s actually really important because that raises an issue where some astrologers… There’s a separate episode I want to do at some point in rectification that I’ve been putting off just like I was putting off this one because it’s such a major topic. I wanted to do a good job of it. But I’ve met some like old school astrologers, modern astrologers that hold the belief, like Axel Harvey, for example, who passed away a few years ago, was an astrologer from Canada, believed that all birth times that an astrologer is given should be rectified because he sort of goes in with the assumption that whatever the recorded time is is not necessarily correct, and the astrologers should make some attempt to determine if it’s correct. And if it does not look like it’s responding in the way that he deemed appropriate, whatever that means, then he should adjust the time. And I always had some major philosophical issues with that because of the scenario where maybe the astrologer just isn’t using the right techniques or just doesn’t understand how that is the correct birth time, even though it is. And they could be altering the birth time and be wrong about it. But instances like what you’re talking about are the other end of that side of that coin, which make the argument in favor of actually astrologers perhaps needed to do minor rectification.
AE: Yeah. I mean, I was left with that thought for sure. But I was going to say, as we were being discharged, they made a mistake on our paperwork and wrote down that my wife had had twins. That was kind of funny. But and anyway, my wife when she saw that, for a second got really paranoid. I was like, “I was there.” So but anyway, no. But during birth, our doula asked my wife if she wanted rescue remedy for stress during some of the earlier stages of contractions. And rescue remedies like a homeopathic remedy, at the hospital, they were like, “Oh, that’s fine.” And they don’t care about homeopathics because in some ways people don’t view homeopathics as it’s not really a substance, they don’t think of it like that. So they don’t think there can be any effect or whatever. A lot of modern medical minds sort of have that view. And they think it’s… Well, good, try whatever works, like hey. But the thing is… One of the claims that homeopathy makes, it’s not entirely different from what we’re saying about these subdivisions, is that further and further subdivisions also may get down to a kind of essential potency, even if it appears to lose some kind of objective credence that there’s something substantial and maybe even more powerfully essential when you go down to a more minor level. So that’s actually common part of homeopathic medicine, too.
CB: Yeah, that’s actually a really great point. I feel both, I don’t know what to think about homeopathy and haven’t looked into the issues, I feel both like that’s a really important point and good point, and also conflicted about the issue. But it’s kind of funny. You could say it’s like #subdivisionsarethehomeopathyofastrology or something like that. It’s a little bit too long for a hashtag, let’s work on that. No, but that’s a really good point about… Because that is the entire premise of what we’re saying here. Is that the Ascendent moving like one degree, literally just one degree forward in zodiacal order, could move into a completely different subdivision, like a different twelfth-part or different navamsha, and then that would have like this ripple effect across the entire chart for various reasons. I like that, that’s good. All right. So Indians navamshas, other subdivision charts, there’s a lot there. That’s probably the most fruitful area if some astrologers wanted to get more into this. I would look into the Indian tradition because it has such a rich background or a little bit more rich. I think in Hellenistic astrology, like in Hephaistio of Thebes, there’s some evidence that Hellenistic astrologers may have cast separate subdivisional charts originally. But for some reason, we stopped that practice at some point. And I’m not sure why, but it might be worth looking into again. Because if you could contextualize what like a twelfth-part chart was supposed to mean or what some other subdivisional chart was supposed to mean, that would give a great access point for understanding what some of those minute distinctions are all about. All right. So that’s…
AE: Put it on the list.
CB: Put it on the list, on list of things to research, and that’s partially what this is. I mean, this is partially… I wanted to… We’re trying to do a few different things with this episode, but one of them is just outline the issue, outline some of the solutions or some of the potential solutions. Not necessarily say that we have all the answers, but these are some of the important sort of avenues of research or these are some of the ways that astrologers have attempted to answer the question if somebody would like to pursue this and like make this your private research project or what have you. All right. So those are… That’s like the section I had here in this discussion for small changes in the astrological chart that happened in just a few minute timeframe. Other possible technical answers to the issue of twins though, one of them that I find really intriguing that also comes from Indian astrology is based on the distinction they make between the third and the eleventh houses. And this is that in some Indian traditions, they assign the younger siblings to the third house, which is… Traditionally in Western astrology, typically when you say siblings, usually the third house is the primary house that’s mentioned. So in Indian astrology, they say younger siblings are assigned to the third house and older siblings are assigned to the 11th house. So that actually becomes really important to them when you’re talking about twins, because that could mean that the order of birth could actually matter, where it’s often mentioned as a joke or something among twins that like the older sibling versus the younger sibling. But symbolically from an astrological standpoint, especially from a Vedic standpoint, they would interpret that very differently as one sibling being assigned to, depending on the order, where you would look for the other sibling in that person’s chart. And that then affects the role that that other sibling plays in that person’s life and how it affects the native, it affects things about the predictions of what will happen to the other sibling based on like if you have, let’s say, Saturn in the 11th house as reflecting something about your older sibling and your relationship with them versus if you have Jupiter in the third house as reflecting something positive, let’s say, about your relationship with your younger sibling or their success in life or what have you. It introduces some major… If that distinction between older siblings in the 11th and younger siblings in the third was true, then it would introduce some major interpretive distinctions based on the order of the birth basically is what I’m saying. So that’s an Interesting one where I’ve seen some really interesting things actually, and that’s a potential avenue of research. This also affects things like derived houses potentially, which could become an issue. Let’s see, another major issue of technical things is we can finally get timing techniques. So earlier or later degrees for things like the Ascendant or the Moon or other things can change the activation of certain timing techniques and thus when certain progressions or transits or time lords or other things will change and be activated in the person’s life. So timing techniques generally in astrology are used in order to determine when the things that are indicated in the birth chart will actually happen in the person’s life. And sometimes when you have different degrees that can change when the timing will occur.
AE: Right. Like if your Midheaven shifts even three or four degrees with slow moving outer planets, those three or four degrees you’re talking about a difference in years in terms of when the, let’s say, peak moments of the perfecting of the transit may occur and hence like really pronounced events. So if two twins had their Midheaven even two, three degrees apart with a planet like Pluto, they could both have maybe some pronounced events in career, but they would be potentially several years apart.
CB: Right, because Pluto moves like what, like a degree a year or something sometimes?
AE: Right. It can be really slow.
CB: Right. So, yeah, so that can make a huge difference in terms of the transits, also the progressions. You mentioned when the lots change that the, if the lot of fortune and the lot of spirit changes signs, that can change the zodiac releasing periods. And that for me is a major thing because that’s a core timing technique for me. And you do see, I mean, this mainly comes up as an issue with clients when they’re born, when they have an exact birth time, but they’re, let’s say, they’re a lot of spirit is at 29 degrees of a sign, and if they were born a minute later, it would have fallen into zero degrees of the following sign. In zodiac releasing that leads to that… That small change of just a degree for that lot or that Arabic part, can lead to the difference of decades in terms of the timing technique. Because the timing technique, whatever sign you start with, you assign the first chapter of the person’s life between 8 years at the shortest or 30 years at the longest, depending on what sign it is. And that becomes the first chapter of the person’s life. And depending on what sign it is, it can completely change that one way or another.
AE: Yeah. If you move from Sagittarius to Capricorn, it’s a huge difference. You’ve got 12 years versus what, 27.
CB: Yeah, and you end up… Sometimes with clients, I end up having to rectify that and figure out during the course of the consultation which one is true. But oftentimes because the technique is so stark and so straightforward in the way that it works, it usually tends to be pretty straightfoward in figuring out which one is correct.
AE: That’s a great point. I find that that’s one thing that’s really helpful also about using different Hellenistic techniques like whole sign houses and other things is that, if you’re… You’ve said this before many times, but if you’re trying to rectify a chart and the Ascendant changes and you’re using whole sign houses… Well, okay. If it changes the Moon from the ninth to the 10th, and you’re thinking, “Tell me a little bit about your life,” and the person says, “Oh, I travel for a living,” or “I was born in a family that traveled all the time,” or something you get the Moon in the ninth.
CB: Or my mother is from like a foreign country from where I live.
AE: Right, something like that. It becomes that much easier to at least know the basic house and planet configuration. Maybe you can’t specifically assign the Ascendant degree with as much ease but if you’re choosing between two signs, you can more easily determine like that and I think that the same thing basically what you’re saying I understand is the same thing is the same sensitivity exists with timing techniques that the whole chart can shift, but it’s pretty easy to locate it with hindsight hear a little bit about the life story and those when you’re doing it with clients the same kinds of subtle changes do make big differences, but you can rectify it pretty easily actually.
CB: Yeah, definitely especially for a person that has had like a relatively full life already and can go back and look at their chronology and remember that they got married or they started this major 30-year relationship on this state or that they retired from a job they were working out for 40 years on this state and that chapter in real life ended it becomes very clear lining that up with the timing techniques. But yeah, so timing techniques can be a major thing that changes depending on the birth time. Some techniques are more sensitive obviously than others, but there’s ones like zodiac releasing that can be incredibly sensitive. There’s others that may be slightly less sensitive but may still have some minor changes.
All right. Final section here in terms of just technical answers to the issue of twins that I had is this concept called the division of the chart or dividing the chart. It doesn’t really have a name, but I’ve seen a few modern astrologers like Liz Greene and Steven Forrest refer to it about this notion that some astrologers report that twins will divide the chart and that each twin will appropriate certain features of the chart or will take on the qualities of certain planets more than the other. And the way that Liz Greene describes this in a aside that’s mentioned on astro.com in one of their delineation tutorials and they actually cited in an article on the issue of twins, she evidently said that this is part of the twins defining themselves as distinct individuals from each other so that one twin will take on the qualities of one planet and the other twin will take on the qualities of another part of the chart with other planets and this is often framed by the modern astrologers as like a conscious or subconscious choice that they’re using it in order to differentiate themselves from each other as part of a process that twins might go through, but I actually wonder if it could be connected to something we were talking about earlier which is just small changes in time shifting the subdivisions in a chart and moving the Ascendant from one, in your instance, you’re talking about the Ascendant moving from the bounds of one planet of like Venus to the Ascendant moving to the bounds of Mars and therefore Venus and Mars being emphasized more in each person’s character and each person’s life reflecting that shift in the subdivisions which then is interesting because then it almost makes me wonder if the modern astrologers are mistaking this as like a choice either conscious or subconscious choice that the twins are making when it actually might be more reflective of like some technical thing that’s going on in the chart itself.
AE: I also just wanted to interject. This thought came up as you were talking. I wonder if that idea is applicable as easily applied to identical twins as it is to fraternal twins. Because with identical twins, you have the same gene so they look alike and if I remember correctly, they share something then it splits off. I forget how that works. And then whereas with non-identical twins, I think they each get their own egg, two separate sperms in two separate eggs. Anyway, there’s some difference between the two of them. I can’t quite remember it. But I wonder if the same idea of the splitting of one egg and the splitting of the chart is different for an identical twin than a fraternal twin if I have that correct. But anyways, it’s just a thought that popped into my head.
CB: Yeah. And that raises a separate issue and this is one of the things we run into with astrology is that ideally, the person who should take on this issue or the person that would be most suited to taking on this issue is somebody that has some background into the research of twins and the lives of twins in general and if there’s somebody that like how to doctrine had done like a PhD dissertation on the lives of twins and also happened to be into astrology or also happened to be an astrologer, they would be very suitable for something like this because they would have that additional background like medical background or psychological background or ability to draw on other research that’s being done in different fields in order to bring that to bear on this issue. But typically, with most things like astrology, it’s just astrologers who are just like everyday people that primarily specialize in astrology who will occasionally dabble in or try to address the issue and that’s an issue with a number of areas with astrology where astrologers generally aren’t specialists in other fields that then get into astrology but they’re generally like primarily specialists in astrology and sometimes they try to pick up some of the necessary background in other fields to get by and do what they need to do with astrology. It’s a broader topic.
AE: Yeah, that’s a good point. Obviously, people like Liz Greene, she’s got a pretty academic background in therapy and psychology and things like that, but I think one thing that’s very interesting to note is that there’s this recent movie that came out I think it was called Three Identical Strangers or something like that and I saw it on my birthday and it was a documentary about these three triplets that were separated at birth as a part of a basically clinical research experiment into twins or triplets or whatever, it was done through an orphanage and they separated the triplets at birth and didn’t tell the adopting parents that they were being separated. And then as a part of their adoption paperwork, they required that they be part of an ongoing study about how these adopted children were coping with or adapting to their homes and their environments. And these were families who had already had a placement with the adoption agency in the past. They already had one adopted child and so basically, they withheld from the families though was that they were really studying how three identical triplets would turn out, what kind of lives they would live based on different nurturing environments, so nature versus nurture kind of thing. And it’s just a really interesting film that looked at how the three siblings that are raised in totally different environments demonstrated these incredible similarities, you know?
And then also, one of the triplets took his own life and that happened when they were much older, but the basic gist of the film that the film raised was it appears as though the parenting style of the one triplet environment that they were in which was pretty intense and rigid contributed significantly to his mental health problems whereas the other people who were raised in environments that weren’t as severe did not. So, that nature versus nurture issue throughout the entire film was, for me as an astrologer, it was fascinating. It goes back to what we were talking about other causal influences in the life of the individual where these… And they were born I kid you not, I could be wrong about this actually, but I think it was like they were each born like two minutes apart or something. It was a total of like 10 minutes between the three of them or something.
So, that’s a situation right there where you have same basic idea where there’s research that people are trying to do with twins that to some extent about nature and nurture and stuff like that. There’s never been a study like it since it has been deemed by many people as unethical as part of reason why the film was made was to sort of expose it because the triplets even till today the ones that are still living have not been given access to the results. Again, apparently, the film helped them get access to the results of the study so they could learn about it but even then, I think the information that they gained was very minimal. So yeah, there’s research out. I think there’s limited amount of research even in the medical world about the question of nature and nurture with things like twins.
CB: Right. Well, that’s probably then a good time to get into the other part of this which is the broader philosophical and conceptual answers to the twins question in general and one of them that you’re bringing up here is the first one that I have on my list basically which is that the context of the chart matters and one of the basic questions that astrologers have because one of the issues is that although natal astrology is the most common type of astrology and has been for a long time now, there’s also existed for over 2000 years the concept of electional or inceptional astrology which is the notion that you can also cast a birth chart for the beginning of anything that has a definite beginning and that chart will reflect something about the nature and the future of what was initiated at that time. So, then that would mean by extension that when astrologer is just like given a chart, an astrologer cannot tell just from looking at the chart if it’s the chart of a human, or a business, or a turtle, or what have you. But instead, in order to be able to interpret that chart correctly for that specific being or whatever it is, that entity, you have to actually know the context and that the context actually makes a difference.
AE: Right. I mean, for me philosophically, one of the things that I would add to that from the space of my yoga philosophy background is that every soul is different so that I believe everybody is a spirit soul so that’s part of my belief system. Then if I’m looking at two different charts, it’s two different people but it’s also two different souls. So, I tend to think of it through the lens of my own beliefs as different karmic backgrounds, different baggage that each soul brings to bear on the body that they enter and the life that they’re living and obviously, the different forms that each soul is inhabiting even though identical on some levels by time and perhaps by new certain forms of genetics and heredity and stuff like that. There’s also something totally unique about each being and that is also why every astrological moment has to have context because it’s speaking to the way that I think of a chart is very much in terms of it being descriptive of the material situation that a conscious eternal entity finds itself in. So, through the lens of my own beliefs again, that’s how I see the context situation.
CB: Sure, right. And therefore, the chart of a human is going to be different than the chart of a dog in terms of how they’re going to manifest the placements that are indicated symbolically in that chart and they’re going to have different lifespans. What’s an average dog’s lifespan, like 10 or 20 years?
AE: Sure, let’s say like 10 to 15 or something.
CB: Right. So, the context of that is much different. Or on the other hand, you can also have a chart cast for like a country, like the United States was born at a specific period in time in the 18th century. [Chris and Adam laugh] Right, in the process of it. So, it has a chart as well. So, the chart of the country with a chart and there’s different debates about what the correct chart is, but let’s just say hypothetically that there is one single specific chart for the United States as a country and that’s been around for a couple of 100 years now versus the lifetime of a human which might be at most like a century or something, right? So, you have different contexts there, context matters and additionally, the situation that the person is born into matters. And this is where the nature and nurture thing comes into play for you in terms of what you were saying, in terms of what is the family that the twins let’s say are born into? What is the cultural context that they’re born into? What timeframe are they’re born into? What socio-political status are they born into in terms of are they born into let’s say a very wealthy family? Are they born into a very poor family? What is the starting point that the people have in order to manifest the chart that they’re actually working with?
And this primarily actually becomes more relevant especially within the context of time twins and the issue of let’s say there’s two different people that are born at exactly the same moments in time. So, let’s say hypothetically, we get rid of all the previous discussion about slight differences in charts that there can be major differences in charts if people are born a few minutes apart. Let’s say two people, hypothetically, now that we’re talking about two people that have the exact same chart but they were born at the exact same moment in time and exact same location, but they were born into two different families. And that there’s going to be depending on, let’s say, like the parents and the family that the person is born into, there’s going to be a lot of different variables going into how that person is raised and therefore, how they end up growing into their chart in some sense.
AE: Right. I think of one of the ideas, there’s this great book by Ashish Dalela, I believe that’s his name. It’s called Mystic Universe. It’s about Vedic cosmology. And in that book, he talks about how individual souls or sentient beings are thought of as nodes in a great network and each node has a different perspective on the divine hole or the sacred hole or whatever you want to call it. And so, the same field he was talking about Vedic astrology in this case, the same field described by the planets and stars and so forth in one birth chart will necessarily be experienced differently and will outline a different set of parameters for a different being specifically because every being represents a different mode of perception or a different vantage point of looking at things. And so, the interaction again between like the objective and the subjective that we can have the same astrology, the same moment of time from the same location also like you said being applied to potentially a very specific horary case like someone wondering if they’ll get a job, or it could be applied to looking at a current event that’s unfolding in the city center at that time, or it could be relative to a birth. And his way of explaining it was like basically, the planets set the field of activities such as like the Kshetra like the parameters of the if you’re going into thinking about your incarnation into a body is like an artificial intelligence program like a video game or something, the parameters of your mission or your specific situation is unique not only to the planets in the greater sense that are defining the birth chart, but also to the unique position that you hold in relation to them so that that objective subjective dynamic can’t ever be taken apart. What he was saying is that, well, this may be maddening to certain kinds of scientific minded people. This is actually the heart of his mystical realization in their tradition.
CB: Interesting. Yeah, I mean that really starts getting into something much deeper about the nature of astrology when we get into this because it’s telling us something about what a birth chart is when we’re looking at it and something important that astrologers probably need to pay more attention to. And it just comes back to that whole issue of there’s certain things that you don’t know when you’re looking at a chart just from the chart itself or certain pieces of information, but that can radically change the context of how a person is going to be able to live out that chart in their actual life. Even something as simple as like is the person born even if they have the exact same chart, are they a male or a female, they’re going to have different challenges and there’s going to be different things in their life that they find challenging or different experiences that they have that are going to be radically different just based on that and they’re going to have certain things that might be similar in terms of how they play certain things out, but they’re also going to have different let’s say just societal challenges that are going to be much different depending on their gender or other things like geographically let’s say you have a woman that’s born in the US or something today versus let’s say there’s a who goes and let’s say has a transit of some sort and gets her driver’s license at the age of 16 versus up until very recently like if you’re a woman that was born in let’s say Saudi Arabia or something, driving was banned in general, so there’s like a different cultural context about how a woman would live out a chart in the US versus like let’s say somewhere else depending on the cultural context.
AE: Right. I’m thinking like Nina Simone who is a famous African-American musician, right? She has Saturn in her first house in Aquarius. If the astrologer during… Whenever she was born, it was not the greatest environment for an African-American woman, right? Obviously, the time that she was born in and if you’re an astrologer back then I think what we’re saying is you better take into account that Saturn in the first house is being read in a black woman’s chart in the south during a time period where there’s prejudice or whatever like that Saturn obviously, she changed her name to hide her performing career from both her family who thought that jazz was devil’s music and also so that she would have a better performing name because she was already facing prejudice from white producers. You know what I mean? So, you read that Saturn in her first house very differently when you know those details about her. And I always say this to my students when we’re talking about reading for clients is there’s no shame in asking a few questions, getting a little bit of background information about your client. So, sometimes I think astrologers also believe that or people who are learning about astrology believe that astrologers are to know everything without any context. It’s actually really important to get some context.
CB: Right. And that’s super, super crucial and that’s the thing that actually in practice astrologers when they see clients are getting that context and that’s the importance of having a verbal exchange and there’s a real issue there because astrologers should know and understand that that’s a necessary part of the process because of this issue of the chart could apply to anything and you have to understand the context in which the chart is operating in order to be able to use it or make statements or make predictions accurately or anywhere near accurately versus one of the issues and one of the reasons why astrologers have trepidation about that sometimes or asking those types of questions is because of the other skeptical allegation that astrologers are just cold reading people and that astrology doesn’t work, but instead astrologers are just picking up on subtle hints and clues that the client is saying during the consultation in order to tell them what they want to hear or in order to tell them things about their life that were not determined through astrology, but that’s where you have like these two separate critiques that it becomes kind of self-defeating because astrologers need to be clear about articulating that this is what needs to happen for this reason and that’s okay, or understanding the context of the chart is part of the process of doing a consultation for these philosophical and conceptual reasons it becomes a necessity and not something that’s being done because astrology is not working or is not adequate or what have you.
Yeah, all right. So, that’s a really important one again that gets into something really deep about the nature of astrology that needs to be better articulated. I don’t know if I can fully articulate it now. I’m still struggling to come up with what the exact articulation is, but it’s something about the context in which the chart operates is relevant to being able to make any statements about it because the chart itself otherwise is indicating things very broadly and it’s only… This probably gets into our next point which we could probably just transition into now which is that it’s the statement that Richard Tarnas makes that astrology is archetypally predictive and that’s probably what’s lying at the core of that underlying issue that we’re talking about here in terms of the context of the chart being important is that the astrology itself is archetypally predictive. And what we mean by that is that each placement in the chart has a range of possible meanings and the placements like the same placement in two people’s charts may manifest in ways that are different in terms of the specifics, but that broadly speaking, are still archetypically similar or still fall under the same archetypal umbrella, let’s say.
AE: Right, yeah. In fact, when I was speaking with the twins or the one sibling of the twin sisters, one thing that was really interesting was I looked at transits to their Sun sign and like I looked at her Uranus opposition, her Neptune opposition, and I think it was a Saturn square or something like that, but it looked at hard aspects to the Sun sign which as a symbol in an archetypally predictive sense, you might say something like a hard transit to the Sun from any outer planet may bring up some opportunities for individuation, the Sun having something to do with your sense of destiny, or your purpose, or your actions in the world and things you’re trying to make of yourself or your authority or recognition or visibility or something like that. So, archetypically, we would expect that twins with the same Sun, same house, same sign, with transits from outer planets let’s say to that Sun would be having similar archetypal experiences even if they’re not identical. And that’s exactly what I found when I interviewed her which was at these important moments like Uranus opposite the Sun, they were individuating in very different ways and in some ways from one another. So, one was defining herself in terms of avant-garde rebellious art and music and punk scene while the other was becoming more and more introverted and interested in things like Buddhism, et cetera, et cetera. Following their parents’ interests in some ways, but their split at that moment was they started going to separate schools. One went to the art school, the other, you know? So, they were individuating, they were both having big moments of individuation, but they looked very different and in some ways, the individuation was actually defined by splitting away from one another by defining themselves in contrast to one another. And that was repeated in a number of different transits to the Sun that I kept looking into with her. It was really cool.
CB: Interesting, yeah. And I mean that becomes a really core underlying issue here in terms of astrology being archetypally predictive and the same placement manifesting in ways that are different than the specifics, but archetypally similar. So, for example, two people born at the same time that have the exact same chart but are born to different families, let’s say, they both have Mars in the 10th house of career and one of them becomes an athlete and the other one goes into the military. A skeptic or somebody would say, see, look, the astrology is not working because these two people ended up having completely different careers, whereas an astrologer would look at that and say, no, they’re both manifesting versions of the archetype of Mars within the context of their career, and that is exactly what you would expect within the context of the astrology.
AE: Right. Right, exactly and that’s what I did. I mean, I spent 90 minutes with her going over all different kinds of transits to a few different planets and every single one was like that. They were different, but archetypically, any astrologer I think sitting in would have just been getting giddy because it’s like, oh, it’s archetypically similar even though it’s specifically different every time.
CB: Sure. So that gets to something then really deep and important about the very nature of astrology and all the placements being fundamentally archetypal in some sense is that there’s a broad range of meanings in which they could manifest and there’s this open question that we don’t know the answer to which is, what’s causing them to manifest differently, or is that something that’s pre-determined still in some way the eventual outcome of the manifestation, or is it something that’s being affected by things like choice or freewill or the person let’s say if they have a soul or what have you that’s something about the person’s soul that’s causing that to go in one direction or another while still manifesting within the broad context of the same archetype? And that’s like there’s an unanswered question that’s difficult to answer there and there’s different… Historically, astrologers have had different philosophical and religious answers to that. Modern astrologers often will fill in and say it’s due to freewill and jump to that conclusion, but I know there’s many different answers that you could probably come up with.
AE: Yeah, I’m thinking right now in the Bhakti yoga tradition that I study in practice. The Bhagavad Gita is like one of the sacred scriptures and there’s a passage in it where Krishna actually says to our Juna with a contemplating the nature of life and reality and the soul and everything and they’re talking about karma and Krishna says, “Not even the wisest sages understand the workings of karma because it’s deeply mysterious.” Of course, the word karma in that context like the word praxis in Greek astrology just literally means action. And so, action and reaction, action and outcomes, that there’s a certain amount of this that we can see and have some insight into with astrology. And certainly, something about the archetypal range of possible meanings takes us somewhere in the right direction of understanding some of the mysterious elements of why we can know certain things and why we can’t know other things or how fate and free will interact or whatever. But again, with my own personal philosophical thinking comes in is that at the end of the day, it’s deeply mysterious that people have been mystics and philosophers have been contemplating I think this very topic in different ways not only inside astrology, but in other ways too. And even when I was in India last winter, I was talking with Rick Levine about this because he really has a talk that he’s done many times on the quantum uncertainty and this kind of stuff. But I think in other words, I think similar kinds of complexities and mysteries exist in a lot of different philosophical areas that are very similar to this conundrum.
CB: Yeah, definitely. And you mentioned karma and I mean, in a Hindu context or in the context of Indian astrology, they would say that is the reason is that different people come into this life having different karmas from actions that they took in past lives and so there’s something that you’re carrying forward that’s then altering the trajectory of how you’re going to manifest whatever placements you have in your birth chart in this life.
AE: Right. One of the examples that I’ve heard numerous times given by different Bhakti gurus and so forth is your karma is a bit like, let’s say, the birth chart reflecting your karma in this case, it would be like getting in an airplane from New York to London and between New York and London, you don’t have a choice, you’re going from one destination to the other and so there’s a certain sense in which the parameters of your fate are pre-determined according to your karma. But then within the airplane ride, there is you have freewill and there’s a range of things you could do. You could watch a movie or talk to your neighbor or get up or whatever. So, there’s a certain field of activities that you can perform within the parameters designated by your karma. And that’s often used to encourage people in the Bhakti path, for example, that even though karma is determining things, you should use your freewill as best you can because the journey between discrete karmically determined events which let’s say a birth chart indicates in some way, is still largely up to you. And in fact, also, depending on whether or not in the yogic tradition let’s say you engage in the practice of yoga which could be about awakening your consciousness, there may be some level at which the experience of your karma is open to change. My teachers, for example, aren’t keen on the idea that you can just change whatever you want willy-nilly, they will say your experience of your karma can change. And that’s actually how you are thought to make spiritual progress in the path of yoga is not so much by altering things physically like getting a better car or a better house or something like that, but by learning how to experience let’s say happiness or contentment throughout different kinds of fluctuations in your material life and that start to gradually improve your karma from one lifetime to the next if you focus on that instead.
Anyway, I’m going off on a tangent here, but there’s definitely I think the Indian tradition is a great example of a tradition that’s really tried to get in there and riddle with the complexities of karma and action and fate and freewill and stuff. And of course, astrology is a huge part of that tradition.
CB: Right. Yeah, I think back when I was studying Indian astrology, I think it was in a book by David Frawley called From the River of Heaven that he articulated this like Hindu idea of there being like four different types of karma and that there were different levels of negotiability of like there was some types of karma that are completely negotiable and that you don’t have to deal with whereas there’s this extreme version which are karmas that you can’t get out of and that you must do in this life. So, I mean that’s a whole other different like philosophical and religious set of things and that doesn’t even necessarily have to be the answer to this. I mean, I could imagine just hypothetically, a person doesn’t have to go in that direction because there’s other things happening. Again, just going back to the previous point about the context that the person is born into which is if you want to take it, I mean, philosophically, like a Hindu astrologer or an Indian astrologer would say that the family that a person is born into as a result of their karmas. Even if you wanted to remove the idea of karma as a philosophical or metaphysical explanation for all of that, the fact that you can have two people that are born into, let’s say, born with the same exact birth chart but born into two different families, that means each of those families is going to raise the person in a different way and their socioeconomic status and everything else is going to have an impact on how the person manifests certain placements in their chart and the archetypal range of meanings that it could manifest.
So, going back to the Mars in the 10th example, let’s imagine you were born into a family of athletes where you have a long history where your father and your grandfather were Olympic gold medal winning athletes and that’s the context of life that you’re born into and therefore perhaps you might have more of an inclination to manifest that Mars in the 10th house transit as yourself going into and becoming an athlete versus if you’re born into a military family where you’re your father and your grandfather and whatever great grandfather were all like generals or something in the military or were like navy seals or something, if you’re born in that context again, you might be more inclined to manifest that Mars in the 10th house placement as going into the military yourself. So, a combination of those two different points of the context matters and astrology is archetypally predictive.
AE: Right, yeah.
CB: All right. So, those are like the first two philosophical and conceptual things. I realize this is going long. Are you doing okay on time?
AE: Yeah, we should probably wrap up sooner than later, but I can go on a little bit.
CB: Okay. We’re getting there, we just got like three more major points to touch on.
AE: Yeah, that sounds good.
CB: Okay. So, one of the other major philosophical and conceptual answers to the twins issue is something I touched upon in one of my episodes last month which is the concept and the technique of synastry and it’s the notion that each person that we come into contact with in our life is a transit to our chart and as long as that person is in our life, it’s like a permanent transit to our chart because that person has their own birth chart that’s going to interact with our birth chart in certain ways and it’s going to raise certain dynamics in our life and in our relationship with them just based on what the alignment of the planets were when they were born and whatever that imports into our life.
So, one of the things or one of the routes that I’ve gone with this conceptually is that two people can’t be in the same place at the same time. Like immediately as soon as you’re born even if you’re born with like twins into the same family, you eventually going to have come into interaction with like different people and you’re going to form different relationships in your life and therefore there’s going to be different almost like transits that are imported into your life through the synastry based on your interaction with different people and some of those relationships are going to unlock different parts of the chart. And in some instances that might be positive, in other instances that might be negative depending on what the specific synastry is. And I have to imagine that that’s part of the developmental process for all people is depending on what relationships we get into and what synastry we have with those people that’s going to affect our like developmental process with certain planets in our chart but also in terms of the divergence between twins or even between, let’s say, the divergence of lives between time twins, so two people born with the exact same chart but into a different family that the different relationships that they have with people and the different synastry relationships they have in their life is going to have a major impact and is a major variable in terms of how they grow into their own chart.
AE: Right, yeah. I’m also thinking of the fact that there’s something, I’m thinking of a couple of things. One is that there’s something that we should always remember in my opinion anyway as astrologers which is that the sky doesn’t stop moving so the chart, again this is reflecting just my own disposition about astrology, but to me the chart is like a ritual oracular procedure and so I believe that one of the reasons I take that up is because I consider karma and fate and destiny to be dynamic, not static. And so, I either have to remember in my head that the static picture of the chart is somewhat artificial in the sense of the sky never really stops moving or that the way that all these different techniques are done we’re looking at often symbolic modes of continued movement or literal interactions of continual movement with the chart and I think that connects technically to what you’re saying about how people enter our lives and come in from different directions and bring their own things and that the sky isn’t static and so even though the picture of the birth chart appears static, it’s really not reflecting something that’s static or it’s not reflecting a static entity or a static reality. That’s how I look at it. So, it has to be dynamic and continuously moving and changing because as I understand it whether you’re looking at Plato and the way that he talked about this material space as a continual ebb and flow of things that coming to be in passing away or you look at Heraclitus, or Lao Tzu and different people who never stepped in the same river twice or Lao Tzu with the Dow, or Indian astrologers the theory of impermanence and change being the norm here that our astrology has to take into consideration some of that dynamism and how it understands what a birth chart is saying and how it’s saying it as well as who it’s saying it about or what it’s saying it about that they’re all dynamic ongoing fluctional states that they’re reflecting in a chart.
CB: Right. Yeah, or like another way or connected way, it’s just that there’s so many. One of the things we’re getting to here is there’s so many actual variables and operative variables that are outside of the astrologers’ field of vision or maybe you could look into some of them, like you could look into the synastry relationships where, when I say synastry relationships with the person’s birth chart, what I mean is like that’s true to both romantic relationships where you can have two people of the same chart end up having different romantic relationships and that synastry affects the person’s birth chart. But even just the family that you’re born into, you’re going to have some synastry relationship with your mother’s birth chart, you’re going to have some synastry relationship with your father’s birth chart and those are going to impact the dynamic that you have with that parent and they’re going to going back to one of our previous points about the nature and nurture thing, the way that your own predispositions indicated by the birth chart are emphasized in different ways for better or worse, that starts getting into though just so many different variables that are actually operative in any person’s life, when it comes to the astrology, you could say like millions or trillions or billions, they’re innumerable. And even though in some way, you could start to try to look into some of them like the astrologers, you realize at a certain point are really just scratching the surface of all of the innumerable variables that are operative in any person’s life from an astrological standpoint and that becomes an important to other philosophical or conceptual consideration.
AE: Right. And because at that point, well, this is connected to why it is that such small variables could be so significant because there are so many operative variables. In some ways, I have begun in my own practice to see the abundance of operative variables, not so much in terms of trying to fit in everything to arrive at the perfect and most concretely accurate description of a person or their life, but rather I have started to see all of the innumerable operating variables in astrology let’s say all the different tools and different techniques and so forth as different kinds of tools and that utilizing one or getting to know one and training yourself to one in almost shamanic sense allows for the enhancement of the tool. Any tool even a small tool can potentially say something very accurate and specific the more that you also cultivate a relationship with the tool. And to me, that idea anyway is appealing to me because it fits in with my basic beliefs about the nature of reality and so forth.
Sometimes, I think I’ve call to mind, I was raised in the Christian church, I was a preacher’s kid and I call to mind the idea that the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. So, sometimes what’s big is actually very small and insignificant and what’s small can be of great significance or something like that and that sometimes the plethora of details that is actually helping the mind to drop out of trying to make sense of everything in order to focus on one thing which then actually has the same power as what appeared to be a greater number of variables outside. I don’t know if that makes some sense. It’s like if you’re sitting on the beach and you try to count all the grains of sand and you think, well, I’ll have my insight into the nature of God or divinity or reality or something if I count every grain of sand on the beach. Different mystics have commented that basically at some point, your frustration with trying to count it all will have you focus on one grain of sand like a madman that eventually you’ll see God in it. It’s kind of like that idea that I have as more of my own mystic leanings that have me. I basically believe that there could be the innumerableness in astrology is not necessarily reflective of contradictions or the call to need to use all that make sense of all or that either.
CB: Sure, or using an analogy there about all the grains of sand in astrology are relevant, but then what the astrologers are looking at is they’re looking at the sandcastle that is the result of all of those things, but really, there is just like innumerable things going into it and that makes up the final end product.
AE: Right. Yeah, that’s a great way of looking at it too.
CB: Something like that. Okay, so there’s two other issues, [Adam laughs] two other things in the philosophical and conceptual thing.
AE: Let’s go to the beach.
CB: Right. We’re going to need that after this long two-hour episode. So, [Adam laughs] but I think we’re doing important work here. I think this is really important because I haven’t seen anyone attempt to articulate things like this when it comes to twin issues and I’ve been looking for something, wanting to put something like this out for a while so I’m glad we’re able to do it today and I’m happy with how this went. So, relocation astrology as a relatively recent innovation over the past half a century maybe last past few decades and I’ve done an episode on this with Moses Siregar a while ago and the premises that- Oh, yes. Okay, that’s a nice plug if I wish I had done that consciously.
AE: Earlier, the recording will still be available for people.
CB: Okay, what’s he speaking on?
AE: Vedic astrology for Western astrologers.
CB: All right, nice. Well, that ties in well with this also. So, we talked about relocation astrology and the basic premise is that different locations depending on where a person moves from where they’re born. So you have the birth chart which is set for the date, time and location of birth and the alignment of the planets relative to that date, time and location from the perspective of the observer, but that if a person moves to a different part of the country or a different part of the world, that the emphasis of the chart could change in some ways with different interpretations about whether that completely changes the chart or whether it just changes the small emphasis of certain parts of the chart. But let’s see if it’s just in that limited sense where a person moves and it moves it so that their Ascendant had Jupiter right on the Ascendant in the birth chart and it changes it so that they move to a part of the world where they have Mars on the Ascendant in that part of the world in the birth chart and it somehow emphasizes the planet Mars more in their chart. That means that two people that were born at the same moment in time let’s say time twins in different families, if they move to different parts of the world and have a different relocated chart, then there could be different parts of their chart that are being emphasized just based on their geographical location and that being a way that their charts then are diverging as well from a philosophical and technical standpoint.
AE: Right. And I’ve seen Jenn Zahrt came and gave a talk on relocation astrology in one of my Speaker Series programs a year or two ago and one of the things that she was saying was that sometimes a planetary line running through another country may manifest itself in terms of an interest in that country and not even necessarily moving there, but sometimes those kinds of subtle shifts with planetary lines relocated or planetary lines around the planet, what does your chart look like, or what kinds of planets are situated where if you relocate your chart in different parts of the world or something like that may also indicate that a person has different affinities for different cultures or religions or even, in the case of Jenn, she started taking an interest in German things before she ended up in Germany and had like a line running through Germany or whatever for her. She went to school there for her doctorate I believe, so there’s something like that.
CB: Yeah, definitely. I mean, it just introduces a whole other dynamic or a whole other perspective on this whole issue in terms of two charts being the same, but then what happens to the person later in the life as a result of circumstance or choices introducing other astrological variables that do become relevant. All right. And then finally, we get to the final philosophical and perhaps the big, the granddaddy of all the philosophical and conceptual issues which is the freewill versus fate and choices issue where we’ve already talked about this a little bit that at this point, but where two people with similar predispositions may make different choices. And the question of to what extent the chart is the chart just indicating predispositions or is it indicating final outcomes? And it seems due to the direction that we’re going here in terms of astrology being archetypally predictive that it may be, in some instances, indicating more like predispositions but that there might be some choice that comes into play about which direction the person goes, or if choice does make any difference in terms of how the chart plays out.
AE: I had a theology professor when I was in my undergrad, I did my undergrad in philosophy and my theology professor was explaining a view of the interaction between… He was radical at the time. His name is Greg Boyd. He had this book called God of the Possible and it was about a view of God’s basically sovereignty and preordination and stuff like that control of our lives that was concurrent with freewill and somewhat of an open future. And the way he articulated it at one point that I found really interesting was he said is so there are certain events in our life that God has ordained as the Christian school that I was at they are ordained and that are inevitable. However, on a time line, you think of the timeline as like going down through your life and there’s these big wide filters that you’re going around in circles like a penny going down one of those shoots. And as you get to the event, your choices change your trajectory with the event horizon. You’ve got an event that’s there that’s preordained, but your choices influence how exactly the shape and nature of that event. That’s how I think of it personally rather than just influences and a wide-open future, I think of it as like the archetypal predictiveness suggests that there are things that are going to happen like a Pluto transit to your midheaven or something like that. It’s going to be something related to your work that’s going to happen. But the way that you’re funneling into that event with your freewill suggests that there’s some variety in flexibility in terms of exactly what and how it will happen, so there’s some flexibility but also some determinism at the same time.
CB: Right. It might be like archetypally deterministic, but if that was true, if it’s archetypally deterministic, there would be like a range of possible manifestations where it has to manifest in this range but there’s still some variability in terms of the choice that one could make. Like, going back to the Mars in the 10th for example, athletes have the choice between right becoming athlete or military, but then we run into an issue there where we still have a philosophical issue of, did the person go that direction because they made the choice or did they go to that direction because of the predispositions of the situation they were born into in terms of let’s say their family if their family situation was true where they had like a military family or athletic family? Although I guess if they went the opposite direction, they had a military family but they decided to become an athlete or they had an athletic family and they decided to go into the military, maybe that would be more of a situation of choice rather than disposition.
AE: Yeah, I tend to take a slightly more deterministic view myself though I don’t believe everything is determined, I do believe we have freewill. But one of the reasons that I’ve been compelled to take a slightly more deterministic position about this more about fated events in our life is because of something that I learned from my participation for 10 years in like Wasco shamanism communities and then the yoga world both of which feature really rigorous spiritual disciplines where you are learning how to control your senses and control your mind, control your breathing, and control basically your conscious response to different kinds of environments that are very intense. And so, one of the things that my teachers have said over time is so many people extol the virtue of freewill and they’re in praise of co-creation and creating your own reality and doing something with the influences around you and stuff like that, but tell any of those people to give up sugar for 40 days and see if they can do it. Most human beings have a really hard time in other words recognizing and distinguishing whims and unconscious desires and forces that they have in their lives that are habitual from actual freedom which oftentimes can’t really be discovered until you push yourself to discover freedom through saying no to things that actually really have you in their power. I feel after being a regular meditator for years now and owner of yoga studio and so forth that most people have no idea how compelled they are by forces that they think that in control of everything when actually the mistake for choices are actually whims and unconscious desires. The sole reason is not even intellectual so much for me as it is a physical reason that’s based in trying to practice yoga and realizing how hard it is to really exercise any freedom and control over one’s unconscious desires. But that, whether others agree with me or not obviously is a different issue, but that’s where I stand on it.
CB: Yeah, when also I think the discussion often on freewill and fate, fate is usually framed in a negative context because of probably going back to early attempts by like Aristotle and stuff to define freewill within a political context or a social context of slavery and having the choice to be enslaved or not. If you’re a slave, you don’t have the ability to make your own political determination or self-determination. But freewill and fate can easily also be framed in a positive context of what if there’s somebody that you’ve fallen madly in love with or that’s your fate to fall in love and get married with that person, so would you exercise your freewill just for the sake of it and leave that relationship in order to demonstrate that you can change your fate? And for most people they are like, no, they’re not going to do that. But then, by doing so, they could be then fated to do that, and therefore accepting their fate or not realizing how much sometimes even positive things could be pre-determined or fated to occur.
AE: It’s easy in yoga when yoga is bottom line is that nothing in the material world is ultimately anything you desire [Adam laughs] in the material world is ultimately fruitless. So, [Adam laughs] they would say that the argument to say, I’m not going to renounce my fated relationship because it’s positive is ultimately delusion. [Adam laughs] It’s very cut and dry in that sense, but I agree with what you’re saying. I think that it’s tricky territory when you get into talking about fate and freewill because I believe a lot of what fate and freewill boils down to also has to do with desire and with what we believe we can get with freewill and what the use of freewill should or shouldn’t be. So, a lot of the times the conversations are loaded with deeper questions about the appropriate metaphysical, spiritual or ethical use or purpose for having freewill if it is there.
CB: Right, yeah. And there’s one last thing related to this and this is one direction that I went with this or one question that I had for those that have a more like esoteric or metaphysical mindset with astrology where one of the questions I had wanted to pose is to what extent is the chart, if you take for granted the concept of a soul let’s say, to what extent is the chart represent or is it representative of the soul itself versus a mask of predispositions that the soul has adopted in a given lifetime if you’re accepting, it, like evolutionary astrology for example, is very big right now and has a lot of metaphysical assumptions about the soul and about reincarnation and karma and all sorts of things like that? And I raised this because one of the things in Hermeticism and like ancient Hermeticism from about 2000 years ago is the idea that they had the idea of the ascent and the descent of the soul where the soul when it’s descending into an incarnation, it goes through the planetary spheres and it is given or it adopts certain properties that it wears as a mask in the person’s lifetime when they’re actually born and then it plays out those properties of those planets in different ways as predispositions. But then the soul when the person dies, it ascends back through the planetary spheres and it gives back each of those properties to each of the planets and then emerges unencumbered by those planetary predispositions.
So, there’s some broader metaphysical question here that I don’t know if I can fully articulate properly, but it’s this question of does the chart actually indicate the soul and who the person is underneath everything that they are in this lifetime, or is that in some way hidden to some extent, and is what we’re looking at just a chart of predispositions for this lifetime but there’s something else behind it that’s operating it and that’s making choices about what parts of the chart or what choices are going to be made through those predispositions with that operative piece that wildcard factor that unexplained variable being the sole or being whatever is operating underneath the chart and is enlivening the chart or making it alive?
AE: Yeah, like the Ghost in the Machine, yeah. Again, in the Bhakti tradition, the basic belief as I understand it is that the chart basically represents the material AI program [Adam laughs] that the soul is running in this particular incarnation and its psychology, its constitution, and the general field of karmic parameters like a bird has a certain set of parameters that it can operate its choice and then a dog has one, a human has one, and individual humans have very much more specified ones that the chart distinguishes the field of activities possible parameters and it also loosely defines the artificial reality suit that you’re wearing as a body and a personality and a psychology and everything like that all of which is chosen for you, basically allotted for you if you will based on your karma and the deeper life of the soul which the chart really has no way of getting to in their view. The only way of really getting to know the soul is through the awakening of the soul within the experiences of the body which I actually believe is very similar point that people like Valens were making and others when they talked about Valens said, “Why did God give man this knowledge? So that he may he or she may know the future, so that they can basically write out the good and the bad with a certain equanimity.
And I think that you see that in your book, you listed those different quotes so wonderfully in one of the philosophy sections on faith and freewill and what all they have in common in my opinion is the idea that the soul emerges or the life of the soul is somehow found in the way that the soul experiences the material suit that it’s in and in some ways has to differentiate itself from the suit that’s described by the chart, whether the suit is their psychology or concrete things that are going to happen to them or what have you. I think that’s probably most prevalent view whether you were a Stoic or a Platonist or a Vedantic philosopher that was around back then just from all the reading that I’ve done, that seems to be prevalent even though there’s obviously big variations from one school to another, it still seems as though the point was for the chart to grant you some sense of distance from the very descriptions the chart was providing. I mean, that’s just speculation on my part, but it’s informed by reading all the different philosophical perspectives.
CB: Yeah, I liked what you were saying especially with the Bhakti yoga or… No, what was the specific philosophical school? Okay. Yeah, and just that notion of the predispositions and the person like animating a certain range of meanings through the archetypal nature of astrology and of the birth chart placements. I mean, I think that’s when you start adding up all of these things because we’re taking different technical and philosophical and conceptual considerations that astrologers take into account or take for granted. But eventually it starts to like narrowing down and shaping a specific philosophy eventually of what astrology is and how it operates or how astrologers practice it just naturally, or what they take for granted. And it starts narrowing it down into a specific like range of things. And I think we’re getting there. I don’t think we’re going to be able to fully articulate that [Adam laughs] in summary today, but
AE: We won’t solve the fate freewill situation.
CB: Right, we’re working on it though. Perhaps by the end of the month, we will have settled that [Adam laughs] two or 3000-year-old debate. All right. Well, I think we’ve just about covered everything. I mean, I think the final thing we already mentioned variables. Variables was going to be my final point which is just that there’s something in reality, there’s so many operative variables that the astrologer can’t take them all into account, but that doesn’t mean again that they’re not there. And even if the astrologer is focusing on the overall sand castle of the person’s life, that doesn’t mean that there’s not just like numerable grain of sand that are creating the overall structure that you’re looking at as well as other points about actually conversing with the person in order to understand how they, that’s what modern… And I often wonder because we don’t know what ancient astrological consultations were like. We assume that most of them were probably done verbally like they are today, but modern astrology has grown into this where the consultation is most commonly a dialogue where the astrologer is making statements about the chart and what predispositions and things they would expect in terms of the range of archetypal dynamics that would manifest or possibilities. And then they’re getting feedback from the client so that it becomes like this loop where it gets stronger and stronger and more specific and you’re able to do more and more and say more and more and go deeper based on the feedback you’re getting from the client and like statement feedback that helps you to specify things once you understand the context more. And it seems like somehow that’s what’s coming through the most when it comes to the twins’ issue is the importance of context in providing this crucial missing factor that the astrological chart does not give you.
AE: Yeah, it goes back to what you were saying earlier which is that these kinds of problems actually help us dig in deeper. One of my teachers says, “Your doubts are really important because they help you. They’re like a triangulation program that helps you zero in on the truth.” And I think that a lot of astrology, as you were just describing the process of reading and honing the descriptive powers in the chart and in the session creating a unique astrological experience in a reading, it’s a triangulation process and often it’s the details of the conversation that spring into the air somehow and then everything starts lighting up and becoming seen whereas five minutes before you yourself as the astrologer, you’re not even dealing with a twin issue just a normal nail chart client and you’re looking at it going, everything feels a little generic. And so, the issue of something feeling or being generic in astrology is actually present, I understand what you were saying, it’s actually present in every reading in a sense. You have to triangulate in and look for some specific details that may spring the larger picture to life and make very unique sense of what you’re looking at.
CB: Yeah, I love that. That’s a great phrase, triangulation process. Because that’s exactly what’s happening and astrologers are using it like a cheat sheet in order to skip the fact that they can’t take into account all the variables but instead, sometimes they’re getting the outcome and then they’re looking back at the chart to figure out where that’s showing up in the chart and then they’re using that in order to process and help enhance knowing the interpretive route that they should go down in terms of understanding how that person has manifested certain placements in their chart so far. And that puts them in a better position for them doing things like making predictions or making other statements about the life because something like, for example, like the Saturn return or if you’re interpreting a Saturn cycle which is like a 30-year cycle, if you can see every seven years what major turning points have occurred in the person’s life during different phases of the Saturn cycle, then you can make a pretty good statement about what will happen the next time Saturn hits a crucial phase in that cycle by having knowing the trajectory that the person is on. So, knowing the trajectory that the person is on and having that context is a crucial factor in astrology and there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s actually a very important part of practice that must be taken into account and is not necessarily a shortcoming, but instead is a feature or a facet of the entire subject as a whole.
AE: Yeah, yeah, that’s really well said.
CB: All right. Well, I think then that’s a good stopping point for this episode. So, thanks a lot for doing this with me today. This has been awesome.
AE: Yeah, this was really fun. Thanks for having me.
CB: All right. Well, where can people find out more information about your work? What are you working on right now? Anything we should know about?
AE: Thanks. Yeah, nightlightastrology.com. You can find my… I write daily horoscopes. I’ve got a YouTube video blog and so I do some written and video content. I write monthly Sun sign horoscopes at astrograff.com and I teach classes and see clients and stuff like that. So, you can find me on Facebook at Adam Elenbaas or nightlightastrology.com. I think probably what I have going on right now is I’m in the process of really trying to develop my YouTube channel because I really want to reach out to, I’ve been mostly written content for a long time and I’ve been really trying to reach out because I think the YouTube audiences really reach with people whose first they might be more interested in hearing or watching something and when I look at, [Adam laughs] dude, I know you feel the same way because you’ve got a YouTube channel, when I look at some of the YouTube astrologers who have like zillions of followers, I’m sometimes very encouraged [Adam laughs] because I feel like I may know more than some of the 15-year-old girls out there with 500,000 people following them. Not all of them, some of them are really good.
CB: Yeah, I don’t know. I wouldn’t be too quick to jump into that because some of them could take you down with some of the zodiacal descriptions. I’ve seen they’ve been pretty good.
AE: Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, there are some good astrologers out there. It’s just kind of an untapped audience that I realized and I was like and I think there needs to be better quality. I won’t be shy and say that I think there needs to be better quality astrology in more popular places where like lots of people are flocking to. And honestly, I feel like a lot of my favorite some of the most world’s most renowned astrologers you don’t really see them making public content a lot on YouTube, so not that I’m one of those, but certainly as I grow in my work, I’m trying to appeal more to bring and especially Hellenistic astrology and traditional astrology and trying to bring some of that up to date a little bit or something in a popular context. So, that’s what I’ve been working on.
CB: Awesome. Yeah, so people can find you on YouTube by searching for your name for your channel, right? So, doing a search for Adam Elenbaas?
AE: Yeah, that’s right, yep.
CB: Okay, awesome. Well, yeah, I love some of the videos you’ve been putting out. You’ve been doing a lot of live stream stuff so people should definitely check that out as it’s a great place for new content on astrology on YouTube and I’m excited about the way you’re growing your channel.
AE: Thanks, yeah. And I should say just so I don’t sound like too much of a jerk, I have two daughters now and if they’re 15 and doing YouTube channels about astrology, I’ll be thrilled and especially if they get a lot of followers so regardless of where they’re at. [Adam laughs]
CB: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know you were just joking earlier. Yeah, all right. And also, people should check out my YouTube channel at I think it’s youtube.com/theastrologyschool and I also teach an online course on ancient Hellenistic astrology which you can find at theastrologyschool.com. All right. Well, thanks a lot for joining me today, Adam, and thanks everyone for listening to this entire episode. If you made it all the way through, congratulations. Let us know what you think in the comments. This is probably a research project somebody should take up. If anybody has any interesting observations or anecdotes about twins of charts you’ve seen or other things like that, please let us know in the comment section below and maybe we can start building some larger database or research project for addressing this issue as a community. I think that would be really cool.
AE: Yeah, definitely. Thanks for having me, Chris.
CB: Cool, all right. Well, thanks everyone for listening and we’ll see you next time.