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Some thoughts on the astrology of twins

… and an interesting experiment

In a TMA blog post earlier this year, I wrote about some of the most common questions I’ve been asked over many years as an astrologer and astrology teacher. Continuing with that theme, this week’s topic is twins, a perennial favorite for generating tricky questions for astrologers to answer. A classic question from students is: If twins are born so close together that they have almost the same chart, and the same angles, how can astrology account for the very marked differences which one can often notice between them?

It is important at this point to emphasize to readers who are familiar only with Sun signs that to get “beyond the Sun signs” requires an individual’s horoscope to be drawn up for the date, place, and time of birth. Human beings are complex and contradictory. It’s not possible to approach any satisfying symbolic exploration of that complexity through the Sun sign alone.

A number of years ago, I decided to address the above twins question via a tutorial class I ran for my more advanced students, all of whom had a good grasp of the basics of astrology, and some of whom were already practitioners in their own right.

Introducing the twins experiment

One student — let’s call her Anna — was the devoted aunt to a set of twins in their mid teens, a boy and a girl — let’s call them Angus and Miriam. These two had been born less than fifteen minutes apart and had almost identical horoscopes.

I obtained permission via Anna from Angus and Miriam’s parents, as well as the twins themselves, to calculate their horoscopes and discuss them anonymously in class. This was a great opportunity to test out an impression I had formed regarding how individual differences in twins come about, and how they manifest.

My method was to put up on the board only one horoscope, since there was so little difference between the twins’ birth charts. I then asked the students to take an hour to prepare along with me a basic outline of the core characteristics revealed by this one horoscope. We did the preparation as though we were preparing a birth chart for just one person.

Neither I nor the class knew anything about either of the twins. I asked Anna to observe us, but not to make any comments at all. Once we had written up the outline, we spent the next hour discussing our findings with Anna, who knew her nephew and niece well.

What was the outcome?

I am writing this after a gap of about 20 years and no longer have the notes for detailed reference, so can only summarize the essence of what emerged from our discussion.

Anna found our summary from the one horoscope of the basic characteristics of both her nephew and niece to be very accurate. It was clear that certain traits were held in common, but that the rest were, as it were, divided up between the twins. To put it very simply, looking at a range of traits: 1, 2, 3, and 4 were recognizable in both; Miriam manifested traits 5, 6, and 10 whilst Angus lived out traits 7, 8, and 9.

This very interesting and enlightening experiment does not, of course, constitute any kind of scientific proof. However, it bore out my impression from a range of sources: reading and watching television programs about the similarities and differences in the lives of twins; observations of twins I had come across; and the few horoscope readings I had done for individuals who were twins.

My impression

What was this impression? Using the analogy of the horoscope revealing the characters poised on life’s stage, waiting for the moment of birth to kick start the action of the play, it seemed to me that twins unconsciously chose which characters on their joint stage they were going to live out jointly and which they were going to live out separately. The mechanism by which these choices were made is unknowable. However, time and time again, one sees in the lives of twins the same broad pattern as was revealed in our class experiment.

After writing this piece, I Googled “astrology and twins” and was pleased to find on one of my favorite astrology sites, Astrodienst, that other astrologers, including Dr. Liz Greene, had come to much the same conclusion.

To read much more detail on this fascinating and complex topic, do go over to master astrologer Donna Cunningham’s blog, Sky Writer, where she has an excellent piece on the astrology of twins.

Then come back and let me know what you think! I’d be especially interested in hearing from you if you are a twin, or have twin siblings, or have a life partner who is a twin, or indeed any direct experience of observing twins in whatever context. In a short article like this, I can only explore one facet of a fascinating topic, so feedback which might extend and deepen our understanding as astrologers — and members of the public— would be most welcome.

 

Bio: Anne Whitaker is a writer and astrologer based in Glasgow, Scotland. She holds the Diploma from the Centre for Psychological Astrology in London,UK. Anne blogs at Writing from the Twelfth House and astrologyquestionsandanswers.com. She returned to her astrological practice in May 2012 after a very long sabbatical.

 

 

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17 Responses to "Some thoughts on the astrology of twins"

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  • This is an important topic for me! I was born 10/6/64 12:29am and my twin sister was born at 12:22am in Cedar Rapids IA. Two people could not be more different. The best method I’ve found to explain our differences is harmonic charts. The natal chart shifts very little. The one similarity we share is that our college interest was similar–she religious studies, me ancient languages. Our political, religious, family, romantic, physical, artistic, and career pursuits are very different.

    • Hello Teresa

      thanks so much for being an obliging twin and responding so promptly to our request for feedback! Raising the point that harmonic charts might offer some clues regarding the differences between you and your twin is an interesting angle to take. Can you say what information provided by harmonic charts has led you to this speculation?

      Anne

  • I’ve come to the same conclusion after three decades plus of observation. It seems that most twins have a need to differentiate between each other, to develop distinct personalities in other words, and “dividing up the chart” is a good way to achieve that. Of course it gets most interesting when the twins are separated later on in life (if they indeed are), because then they have to deal with whatever parts of the birth chart that the other twin has been “carrying”.

  • Thanks Gavin – and greetings from a surprisingly mild Scotland. I gather from Mary that it is anything but mild where she is! Your former student, astrologer and writer Joyce Mason of “The Radical Virgo” blog has mentioned you to me in very complimentary terms, so it is good to ‘meet’ you here.

    I was hoping that other astrologers with similar – or different! – views would get in touch on the subject of twin differentiation and I appreciate the fact that your view tallies with mine.

    There is also the fascinating subject of twins who are separated at birth and only find out about each other’s existence many years later. I can’t recall in detail TV programmes which I have watched about this – but the impression left is that these programmes tend to emphasise the remarkable nature of twin similarities, even down to life events eg marriage, accidents and illnesses, births of children, etc where the dates of these events can be astonishingly parallel despite there having been no contact between the twins for many years.

  • I have worked with the astrology of twins for years, researched it extensively and presented my findings to the Sydney Astrological Research Society as well as written an article on it for the Federation of Australia Astrologers magazine; perhaps I should submit an article to Mountain Astrologer.

    The differences in twins – even those born a minute or two apart – are very clearly shown in their duad charts. These can be easily calculated on Solar Fire v6 upward.

    You can read more about it here: http://aliceportman.com/duads-duad-charts-show-the-differences-between-twins/

    • Hello Alice!

      it’s really great to hear from you and to know that you have done so much work on the topic of twins. One of the reasons I decided on this topic is because questions on twins came up so frequently in my classes over the years – and because I have myself gone no further in my researches than the impressionistic work presented in this post. So I hoped for feedback which would be enlightening both for me and for other astrologers, students and members of the public interested in twins. And thus far, I’ve certainly not been disappointed!

      Perhaps the varied responses which have already come in will be of help to you in your researches. And I’ll be dropping by your site to find out more! Thanks for leaving the link.

  • Amanda Adams says:

    Hi Anne: I’m Teresa and her twin sister’s mother and you and I have corresponded in the past. Having twins was a challenge and I sought information everywhere to help me in rearing my daughters. I began the study of astrology when they were 12 years old. In learning astrology I became very intrigued by the Harmonics and am still trying to interpret them. There was so little difference in the twins’ charts that it was only when I did the harmonics that I found any difference at all. The 5th Harmonic, for instance, gives Teresa a 0 Scorpio Asc and her twin a 23 Libra Asc. The “floating” MC for Teresa is on the Desc of the H chart at 0 Taurus conjunct H Venus at 2 TA 41. Her twin’s MC is on the 7th cusp of her H chart at 20 Aries. They each have a Yod in their 5th Harmonic charts with Uranus at 2+ Cancer Quincunx Sun Sextile Mars. We would love to hear from others as to how they see these differences operating in the twins’ lives. Thank you.

  • I have been doing charts for twins since the early 1970s, and am grateful to see something written about them here, as well as the very helpful information from the commenters.
    I also found that certain traits were taken up by one or the other twin. Some twins born 4 years ago to family friends began early on to display the differences. The girl displayed the nature of their Cancerian Ascendant, and the boy displayed the nature of their Sagittarian Sunsign. These are signs sufficiently different to be clearly demarkated. Also the lines drawn are according to the natural gender differences which might be expected.
    My problem is generally how to determine, when describing the characters in an analysis, which twin will take on what characteristics. Has anyone else noticed whether gender plays a part in the characteristics selected, or whether this was a random effect?

    • Hello Lana

      thanks for taking the time to join our discussion with your affirmation of what most of us in general terms have found, ie that there is a traits division between the twins. Your feedback re gender differentiation and the question you raise about gender and traits allocation, is quite a fundamental one and it would be tempting to think, along the lines of the one example you give, that girls choose the more “feminine” traits and boys the opposite. However, life is rarely as simple as that and I personally don’t have enough experience to have come to a conclusion about this. Maybe someone else can enlighten us?

  • Good morning Amanda – good to hear from you again. It’s a real bonus to have a reply from a mother of twins – and also one who is herself an astrologer!

    What you say about the 5th Harmonic is fascinating – it certainly reveals significant differences in your daughters’ charts. Perhaps these differences help at a symbolic level to explain the pre-natal processes about which I speculated, which incline each twin out of the ‘pool’ of possible traits and ways of being shown by their horoscopes, more towards manifesting one set of traits or behaviours than others available to them? The different ways in which they pursue creative pursuits and connections, especially in their direction in life, might be shown through those 5th Harmonic charts?

    Any other views on this out there?

  • There are two wonderful books about twins… not astrological… but still I learned a lot from both. And each has complete birth-data and stories. The first is Entwined Lives, Twins and what they Tell Us about Human Behavior… by Nancy L Segal, Ph.D (who is a twin and studies twins). The other, is a novel… This Much I Know is True by Wally Lamb (About twin bothers… one who is mentally ill). I believe any astrologer who is interested in the twins would benefit by reading both… but especially Entwined Lives…

  • Charlotte deRenne says:

    I am an identical, mirror twin. I think it is important to distinguish between identical and fraternal. Identical
    twins have the same Genetic makeup,DNA. Mirror twins are a reflection of one another. I am right handed and my sister is left handed, My hair parts on way hers the other. She had a child early in life and I had my kids in my thirties. She is artistic, I am good with numbers (R/L brain strengths). However we have been in the same profession for many years, live in the same town and have many of the same interests, astrology being one of them.Over the years when we had our charts done most planets were in the same houses except when we had an evolutionary astrologer do our chart in porphyry it showed my Pluto in the first house and my sister’s Pluto in the second house. My mars in the fifth and her mars in the sixth house. My soul signature (Pluto) being Aries and her Taurus.To us that explained the differences we have lived and felt as a twin.

    • Thanks, Charlotte. I was hoping someone would raise the issue of identical / fraternal. It is really excellent to have feedback from you as an identical twin since it shows, once again, the same similarity plus allocation of traits between twins that we have generally seen – and your astrological feedback provides good symbolic reasons for the differences.

  • Many thanks to everyone for contributing such a varied and informative range of illuminating personal stories, professional experience and observation, book suggestions and web links. I feel much better informed now about the astrology of twins and hope readers of this post do too! And thanks of course to Mary, for inviting me to contribute again to TMA blog.

    To round off the discussion, there is an intriguing personal story which I’d like to share. It is about twins: but also about those intriguing connections between people which on the surface may seem random, but when one has access to the interlinking – “twinning” if you like – via astrological symbolism something deeper, more mysterious emerges.

    Some weeks ago, I was contacted by the BBC’s Culture Show to see if I would calculate and provide the charts for a set of twins with an unusual and tragic life story as part of a programme which was being made. It has now been broadcast, so I can tell the story which concerns P.L. Travers, the author of the ‘Mary Poppins’ books, and her decision as a single woman at the age of 40 to adopt a child. The year was 1939.Through her connections in Ireland she heard about twins who had been born to an overstretched family who could not afford to rear both children.

    In making her decision re which twin to adopt, P.L. Travis took the unusual step of consulting the astrologer Edward Johndro, well known at that time. He cast her chart, and the twins’ charts since there was an exact birth time available. On the basis of what he saw Johndro recommended that she adopt Camillus Hone rather than his twin, Anthony.

    When I did the charts, there was very little difference between them: however, for the twin who was recommended for adoption, Camillus, Pluto was in the 9th House exactly on his MC at 2 Leo, his twin Anthony having a 21 Cancer MC with Pluto 11 degrees away in the 10th House. Travers had Venus at 5 Leo, the Sun at 16 Leo, with Mercury at 3 Virgo and the Moon at 11 Virgo. The children had stelliums of five planets in Leo, and were born on the 15th August. Travers was born on the 9th August.

    The producer of the programme chose an astrologer to cast the charts at random, by googling “Astrologers in Glasgow” whereupon my name came up and I agreed to do the work. My solar return birthday is the 15th August, actual birthday the 16th. Like Travis, I am a Leo/Virgo mix, with a stellium of six planets in Leo and my Ascendant at 8 Virgo – the midpoint of Travis’ Mercury/Moon conjunction.

    How random is random, do you think? I will leave you with that thought! And all you have to do to find out more about the sad outcomes of that fateful choice is to google “ PL Travers, author of ‘Mary Poppins’.”

  • Ien van Houten says:

    Fascinating article! I had twin siblings when I was 8, born 5 minutes apart. Whenever astrology is discussed they are hauled out to illustrate how the free will factor can manifest the same horoscope in different ways. The fact they were a boy and a girl also counts. Their Capricorn Moon has definitely manifested itself clearly in my sister’s own frugal character, while her brother tended to choose capable, practical women. Both are double Scorpios with Sun in house 12, the area where we deal with the hidden, the things society likes to sweep under the rug. Sister spent a life time working in institutions for people who were handicapped both physically and mentally. Brother became a successful professional later in life, but spent some time on the fringes in his youth, including a stint in jail for dealing soft drugs.

    • Many thanks len for this useful feedback which clearly shows how the ‘same’ energies can and do manifest at different levels, demonstrated so clearly in your excellent examples. I do hope the article and the whole context of information created by commentators, has helped you to deepen and broaden your own perspective.