The Problem of Twins in Natal Astrology
Episode 167 of the podcast features a discussion between Chris Brennan and Adam Elenbaas about the problem of twins in natal astrology, and how astrologers deal with the birth charts or horoscopes of two people who were born at the same time.
The premise of natal astrology is that the alignment of the planets at the moment a person is born have something significant to say about a person’s character and future, but this premise then naturally raises the question of what about people who were born around the same time?
This comes up most commonly in the horoscopes of twins who are born to the same parents within a few minutes of each other, although the question is also applicable to time twins, who are people that were born around the same time to different parents.
During the course of this episode we discuss this issue and try to explore some possible solutions, both from a technical and a philosophical perspective.
Below you will find the show notes, followed by links to download or stream the recording of this episode of the podcast.
Twins Show Notes and Episode Outline
Here are the show notes, which provides an outline of most of the major points we touched on during the course of the episode:
One of the most common and longstanding critiques against natal astrology.
We will address philosophical, conceptual, and technical points related to this issue.
Defining the basic parameters of the twins criticism:
Natal astrology was developed in Mesopotamia by the 5th century BCE.
This has been a longstanding critique of natal astrology for the past 2000 years.
Ptolemy may have tried to respond to some of the earlier critiques.
Nigidius Figulus was said to have responded with the potters wheel analogy.
Important to discern whether the chart really is exactly the same or not first.
Technical answers to this issue based on chart changes:
Philosophical and conceptual answers to the question:
Variations of the criticism have been in circulation for over 2000 years.
Premise is that alignment of planets at birth indicates future of native.
Naturally raises the question of what about people born at the same time?
Twins who are born close together from the same mother.
Time twins, who are born to separate parents but around the same time.
Twins look the same, but have different lives.
Earliest surviving criticism is Cicero (1st century BCE).
Saint Augustine had a similar criticism but went into more detail.
“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”.
Ptolemy says that astrology is not the only factor, but you also have to take other factors into account in order to understand the context of the chart.
Gender, race, geography, whether the chart of a turtle, etc.
Point is that sometimes even what seem like small changes make difference
Ascendant and Midheaven move relatively rapidly.
Even two people born close together in time may not have exactly the same chart
Sometimes a few minute time difference leads to major changes.
What are some of these major changes?
Sometimes only small changes happen in a few minutes.
Vedic answer based on 3rd and 11th houses
Division of the chart
Ascendant can change signs
Midheaven and other angles can change signs
Planets becoming more or less angular.
Moon can change signs
Aspects can perfect, move from applying to separating.
Changes ruler of the Ascendant
Changes all of the houses in whole sign & equal houses
Enclosures can begin or end
Ascendant, Midheaven, other angles change degrees quickly
Lots/Aratic Parts change degrees and signs rapidly
Midpoints change degrees rapidly
Subdivisions of zodiacal signs become relevant here.
Subdivision charts and harmonics.
Twelfth parts, bounds/terms, decans, etc.
Indians use navamshas and other subdivisions
Younger siblings assigned to 3rd house, older siblings 11th house
Therefore the order of the birth could matter, and change the chart.
This then affects the derived houses potentially as well.
Earlier or later degrees can change activation of timing techniques
Progressions, transits, time-lords change.
Some astrologers report that twins will divide the chart.
Each appropriating certain features
As part of defining themselves as distinct individuals from each other.
Liz Greene and Steven Forrest both mention this.
CB: I wonder if this is a conscious/subconscious choice, or if it is just a matter of small changes in time shifting subdivisions.
Modern astrologers could be mistaking it as a choice.
The context of the chart matters.
Astrology is archetypally predictive
Free will and choices
Variables: In reality there are so many operative variables that the astrologer can’t take all of them into account.
Triangulation process that acts like a cheat sheet.
Is it the chart of a human, a business, a turtle, etc.?
The situation the person is born into matters.
Relevant in terms of time twins.
Male versus female, ethnicity, etc.
Gets into something deeper about nature of astrology.
Each placement has a range of possible meanings
Placement may manifest in ways that are different but archetypally similar.
Mars in 10th: athlete versus military.
Each person we come into contact with is like a transit
Two people can’t be in the same place at same time.
Therefore they will interact w/ different people, have different experiences
These synastry relationships will unlock different parts of the chart
In some instances this will be positive, in some negative.
True of romantic relationships, but also family members.
Previous episode on synastry
Premise is that different locations shift emphasis of the chart.
Different parts may be emphasized more or less
If the two people live in different places.
Previous episode on relocational astrology
Two people with similar predispositions may make different choices
To what extent is the chart representative of the soul versus a mask of predispositions that the soul has adopted in a given lifetime?
In Hermeticism ascent/descent of the soul gives it certain properties that are then given back after death.
Watch the Video Version of This Episode of the Podcast
Here is the video version of this episode on the astrology of twins: