So, what about twins – or people who are born at the same time in the same place? I often hear this question, where their charts are clearly the same or effectively, exactly the same, and yet, their personalities are very different. It's a serious question, and I have to say, I think a lot of astrologers get a bit squirmy about it. And it's understandable why, because if our premise is in the logic of conventional astrology, where we're feeling that we ought to be able to describe a person's personality from the chart, that the personality is revealed in the chart, if we have the same chart and two different personalities, clearly, the basic premise of our work is in trouble.
I would approach this from the evolutionary point of view and say that that premise is incorrect – that the chart represents a karmic predicament. You might say, a set of evolutionary intentions, a set of evolutionary or karmic impediments. And in other words, it's the soul's predicament, and how we respond to that is what creates our personality.
And so, we could find two different people, two different souls, clearly born with exactly the same chart and making a very different response to it. This is not surprising at all in the context of the evolutionary paradigm. But if we're doing the conventional descriptive astrology, the whole system seems to get very nervous in the face of that fact.
So there's probably the single most fundamental response I could make to this question of twins or time twins. I have to add to that an important technical note. I remember receiving literally this question. I had clients when I was a young astrologer in North Carolina, and there are these two guys who are twins and very much part of our circle. The idea is, these two are as different as night and day, but they're twins. They're born like 10 minutes apart. How could this possibly be true? The question came to me. I set up their charts, and I found that even though their birth times are very close, just 10 minutes apart, one of them was born with the Sun about to rise.
And for the other one, the Sun had risen. Obviously, the younger of the two. One had the Sun in the first house, one had the Sun in the 12th house. Those are entirely different situations, and that 10 minutes made a huge difference. And that's just an important footnote to add to this. Sometimes, two people have exactly the same chart or effectively the same chart, and then I'd go back to the first point that I made. But then, at the technical level, we really do have to be careful to discern differences that can be created even by a few minutes of difference in the birth time.
I would extend that a little bit further, and this would apply strictly to twins, rather than people who just happen to be born in the same hospital around the same time. But the psychological reality of being a twin is that there's a strong desire in us to individuate, typically, to not be seen as the same person. “I am different from you.” And so, I've noticed in working with twins a tendency for there to be an unconscious deal created between them, often from very early in life, where, “Okay, you do the Mercury and I'll do the Mars,” or, “I'll do this one badly, and you can do it well. I'll be the good one. You can be the bad one,” or vice versa; a sense of dividing up the energies and dividing up the possible responses to the energies in service of individuation. And this will tend to exaggerate the differences between twins.
Now, with all that said, I want to add one more point, and it's a fascinating one and a fun one and kind of a dangerous one, where we have time twins. They're not physical twins. They're from the same mother, but their charts are the same. They don't know each other, and they live incredibly parallel lives. There is a literature with this. Getting married on the same day, for example, and they both married somebody named John, of Italian extraction, and there are stories like this. You could Google “time twins,” and I suspect you would find a number of them. It's fascinating, and clearly, there's astrology operating in a rather mechanical way.
Everybody loves these stories. They vindicate astrology. But I do find them dangerous, because they also support this, to me, archaic and fading idea that we are somehow ... our natures and choices are determined by the planets. There's useful truth in that. There's a mechanical way that astrology does work, but I never want that to eclipse the sacred heart of astrology, which is this idea of individuality, freedom, personal responsibility, creativity and imagination. Those are powerful forces, and I don't want any time twin story to eclipse that holy truth.