A few years ago, quite likely under some or other Uranus Trine by Transit, I realized that a simple rule in Jyotish whereby one can differentiate between younger and older siblings could be used to create “derived charts” for twins that would be quite distinct and different from each other. It’s not a very complex or sophisticated method; at best it’s just an elegantly simple solution applied to a complex problem that has perplexed many an astrologer. It may have been a little naïve of me to think that I had originated an entirely new astrological concept, but frankly, I hadn’t encountered the idea anywhere else, and thus I basked for a time in the pleasant illusion of thinking I’d discovered something new and exciting. I have recently learned from the The Mountain Astrologer magazine’s editorial staff that this method has been taught in Jyotish classes in America, and albeit that this is humbling, I find it reassuring also, and I am gratefully content to merely bring the technique to the attention of my fellow students of astrology.
Although what follows is a method that makes logical sense within the astrological paradigm of Jyotish (Vedic Astrology), as I currently understand it, and it has thus far been to me a more or less experimental idea, so please take it as such. I can only claim that, so far, it has produced very good results every time I’ve tested it.
“I have not ever cast a chart that was wrong that worked better than the one that was right…” -Robert Hand
Twins can represent a unique challenge to astrologers since, in most cases, very little time elapses between the two births. It normally happens that the two individuals have, for all practical purposes, the same chart; unless perhaps you go into ascending-degree symbolism, or some other relatively uncommon approach to chart analysis.
Of course here and there there may be exceptions, and perhaps in rare cases a complication in the birth process may cause an unusually long delay between the first birth and the second, so that the Ascendant may change signs, and/or some planets end up in different Houses, and/or the Ascendant and Moon may move an appreciable fraction of a degree closer to or away from an aspect, etc.. Of course such conventional factors can and should be noted, but more often than not an astrologer would be hard pressed to account for the differences between twins on the basis of the changes that occurred in the celestial configurations between the two birth moments.
Before explaining “my” simple method let me add that the near identical similarity between the charts of twins is not, of course, all misleading. There are many recorded instances of twins who have, despite being separated at birth, lived remarkably similar lives; getting married on the same day to someone with the same name, and so on. I’m sure you’ve heard of these cases. There will be important and fundamental similarities between twins, and their life-cycles will in most cases be closely synchronized; but it’s those observable and even striking differences between twins that tend to elude us astrologically.
Conventional modern western astrology has only one House associated with siblings: the 3rd House, and generally an analysis of the 3rd House gives only very general information about siblings, and there is not typically any clear differentiation between older and younger siblings. There may be some exceptions to this shortcoming in the more ancient or traditional techniques used in the west, but I’m talking about the more conventional principles of modern astrology here, with which your average astrology student is likely to be familiar.
Jyotish, or Vedic Astrology, seems to make it easier to deal with these questions. Although Jyotish also very generally sees the 3rd House as representing siblings, it more specifically considers the 3rd House the domain of younger siblings, and even more specifically the next born sibling, whereas the 11th House is associated with older siblings. My theory rests largely on the idea that the 3rd House represents the next born sibling (though it works well enough even if we more generally view the 3rd House as all younger siblings). The 1st House (yourself) is the 3rd from the 11th House, making you your older siblings’ “next born sibling”, so, although I accept that the 11th House may be older siblings in general, I’m inclined to view it as the next older sibling; the one just older than yourself, assuming you have more than one older sibling.
Now, Jyotish may seem rather naively simple to many western astrologers steeped in the lore of sophisticated house systems (etc.), since Jyotish employs Whole Houses (the whole Ascending sign, using a Sidereal Zodiac, constitutes the 1st House, the whole of the following sign is in the 2nd House, and so on) and generally excludes the modern outer planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto (not to speak of asteroids and the like!); but this simplicity, in which you have only one sign in each house and are never in doubt about which planet will act as house-ruler (since there are no “co-rulers” of signs as in modern western astrology) actually makes it easier to analyze a house. This ultimately enables you to perform feats of interpretation that would be more complicated if you had to handle questions about the location of house-cusps and co-rulers of signs, and so on, as is often the case with modern western astrology. Simplicity can enable one to proceed with greater confidence, clarity and incisiveness.
If you want to read the tendencies of your next born sibling you simply “rotate the chart” so that your 3rd House becomes, or rather represents, the 1st House of the next born sibling. Everybody’s natal 4th House is the 2nd House from the 3rd House, and so it will represent the next born siblings finances, education, family life, face, mouth etc. (some of these are purely Vedic astrology associations with the 2nd House). Everybody’s 5th House will be the 3rd from the 3rd, so this house will represent your next born sibling’s day-to-day communications, courage, changes of residence, etc..
Likewise everybody’s 11th House represents the 1st House of their elder sibling, and your 12th will be that sibling’s 2nd House, and so on.
So, if you are confronted with twins you read the older sibling from the 11th House (taking the 11th House of the chart they have in common as the 1st House of the older sibling, as if you are analyzing the older sibling from the younger sibling’s chart), and conversely you take the 3rd House as the 1st House of the younger sibling, and read the chart from there (as if you are reading analyzing the younger sibling from the older sibling’s chart).
Here are a few examples of actual cases I’ve observed:
(the above chart and those that follow are western style representations of the Jyotish chart for the benefit of those who can’t read the rectangular charts used in Jyotish- note that the Sidereal Zodiac and Whole Houses are used)
In one memorable instance of twins (both female) who shared for all practical purposes the same chart, Mercury and Saturn were located in the 11th House, with a “stellium” of planets in the 9th House. Now, the 11th House represents the 1st House of the older sibling, and in this case the older sibling was far more cautious, conservative and reserved (Saturn in her 1st) than the younger one. They both worked for the same company when I looked at the chart/s, but the older one, represented by Mercury and Saturn in the 1st House, was an office-bound admin (Mercury/Saturn) person in the company, whereas her younger sister was a sales rep and always out and about, making more money, meeting more people, and having more fun. The stellium of planets in the 9th of House (of the shared chart) represents a stellium in the 7th House of the younger sibling (the 9th is the 7th from the 3rd), and this younger sibling had a new boyfriend every other week, whereas her more Saturnine older sibling has been with the same guy for ages and was in every respect far more stable and domesticated (Cancer in the 11th). Note that if we take the 3rd House of the above chart as the 1st of the younger sibling Mars becomes the 1st Houses ruler and is located in the 7th, further affirming the younger sister’s romantically adventurous (almost reckless!) streak. This may have been the first case of twins I tried this technique on (after seeing elsewhere how well rotating the chart works with Jyotish). I didn’t study these twins in any great detail, and what I’ve presented here are just some of my first impressions of that pair. What was striking to me in this case was how clearly these “rotated charts” revealed who would be the more cautious and who the more daring and dynamic, and these were the outstanding differences in their personalities that even a casual observer such as myself was able to identify easily.
Take a look at the chart below. Here the Ascendant/1st House is Taurus, with Venus, Mars and Jupiter in Scorpio in the 7th House, Sun is in the 9th, Moon in the 6th, Rahu (the Moon’s North Node) is in the 10th, which inevitably places Ketu (the South Node) in the 4th. I found this quite a striking case.
The older sibling’s 1st House is represented by the 11th House, which here contains the sign Pisces, which is ruled by Jupiter. We find that, taken from the 11th House, Jupiter is in the 9th House (with Venus and Mars). This strong emphasis on Jupiter and the 9th fits well with this individual’s pronounced interest in “higher learning”, philosophy, religion and spirituality. This older sibling also has a deep interest in astrology (she studied some Jyotish with me), which is consistent with both this 9th House emphasis and Moon in the 8th House (the 6th is the 8th from the 11th). The Sun would be in the 11th House of the older sibling’s chart, and this aptly expresses the far greater importance she places on her social life, and also the prominent role group activity plays in her career. She has a far wider social circle than her younger sibling and enjoys a vibrant career as a partner in a modern and progressive company that involves constant teamwork.
The younger sibling would be represented by the 3rd House which here contains the sign Cancer. The Moon thus becomes the “derived” 1st House ruler, and is located in the 4th (from the 3rd). This younger sibling is far more domesticated than the older one and has four children, whereas the older sibling has none. Note that there are three planets, Venus, Mars and Jupiter, in the 5th (from the 3rd), which may quite literally represent several children and/or generally a conspicuous emphasis on that area of life. Ketu, the Moon’s South Node, is in the 2nd House of the younger sibling, and in this regard it is interesting to note that the younger sibling at one stage suffered from a compulsive eating disorder, which would be quite consistent with the Jyotish view of Ketu in the 2nd, since the 2nd is often associated with eating habits, and Ketu with illness, confusion and emotional torment. Note that a severely debilitated Saturn (being in Aries) occupies the 10th House from the younger sibling’s perspective, and this perfectly describes her relative lack of enterprise (or confidence?) in the career realm. Her lack of professional achievement is a sensitive issue for her. The Moon/Saturn Opposition that exists in both charts is located in Angular Houses (the 4th and 10th respectively) from the younger sibling’s perspective, and she feels quite socially isolated, despite the fact that she loves being a mom. Once again, these are very simple interpretations, but they clearly describe the key differences between these twins.
The last chart I’ll share with you here belongs to someone who attended a Jyotish course I presented. She is a healer and teacher, and when I mentioned during the course that I had devised a method for discerning the differences between twins with Jyotish she mentioned that she was a twin, so we made it an impromptu exercise in the class to once again test this theory. I was not initially aware though that these twins were born an hour and a half apart, which can of course easily result in a sign change on the Ascendant, which has dramatic implications in a Whole Houses approach, which Jyotish typically employs. Here the two did not share the same Ascending Sign (and therefor the house positions of the planets are different), and although it wasn’t therefor necessary to rotate the chart to come up with a unique picture for each of twin, it proved a notable case non-the-less.
What I found most intriguing in this case was the fact that the younger sibling, the healer, has “Ashvini Nakshatra” on the Ascendant, which spans the first 13 degrees and 20 minutes of Sidereal Aries. Light on Life (a wonderful introductory book on Jyotish by Hart de Fouw and Robert Svoboda) gives us the following on Ashvini- “…it’s presiding deity are the Ashvini Kumaras, the heroic, golden-armored, horse-headed twins of ancient Vedic lore who as physicians to the celestial gods performed many medical miracles”, and, “when the indicator of a relative in the horoscope occupies Ashvini, it may indicate that he or she is a twin...”. Having one’s Ascendant in Ashvini, and being a healer, and a twin, is all beautifully consistent, and this Nakshatra placement identifies a key attribute (being a healer) of the younger sibling, not shared by the older one.
I also incidentally noticed that Mars in the 12th House of the younger siblings’ chart would represent Mars in the 2nd House for her older sibling, and on this basis, during our impromptu exploration of this technique in the astrology class, I asked her whether her sister has a scar on her face, since this is one possible meaning of Mars in the 2nd House. She said no, but declared that her sister does however have a large red birthmark on her face!
In this last example the basic chart structure is not as identical (in terms of sign and house positions) as is often the case with twins, due to the hour and a half that elapsed between the two births, but it confirms the general utility of “rotating the chart” and also demonstrates that the Ascending Nakshatra can be worth keeping an eye on.
I have no doubt that what I’ve presented here is far from the last word on this issue, and while I haven’t made this a special focus of my exploration of astrology, I look forward to further discoveries and insights regarding this often thorny topic of the differences between twins. A closer consideration of this question is perhaps timely though, in light of the fact that modern fertility treatments have made the conception of twins more common.
p.s.– Please note that I have on the whole stuck strictly to the rules of Jyotish for the purposes discussed in this article, and I am not suggesting to western astrologers that they should apply these same rules to conventional western charts using the Tropical Zodiac and western house systems.