Astrology and Twins
A special series on Twins and Astrology by Astrologist Ruth Orvis. Twins run in Ruth’s family and she has always had more than a passing interest in the subject. In an exclusive essay for Twinstuff, she discusses how twins who are basically born at the same time can have different astrological signs and personalities.
By the way, do you know why the astrological sign Gemini is known as the sign of the twins? It’s for the two brightest stars in its star pattern, Castor and Pollux, the mythlogical twin brothers of Helen of Troy. Pollux is the brighter of the two star clusters; it’s an orange-giant star that is about 35 light years from Earth. Castor is actually a cluster of about six stars and is approximately 50 light years from Earth.
According to myth, Castor was a horseman and Pollux a boxer. They were inseparable on their journeys and usually accompanied by the Argonauts on their journeys. They are different from most twins in that they share the same mother (Leda) but had different fathers, Castor was the offspring of a King of Sparta, Tyndareus, while Pollux was the son of Zeus. Pollux was the only one of the twins who was a full brother to Helen of Troy.
Castor and Pollus were rambunctuous fellows, mostly spending their time raiding cattle and abducting young women, as Greek Gods tended to do. On one such raid, a cousin, Idas, became enraged at Castor and killed him. Zeus immediately threw a thunderbolt at Idas, killing the cousin.
Pollux, the son of Zeus, was immortal, but was so distraught over the death of his twin brother that he wanted to follow Castor to Hades. In later mythology, it is said that Zeus decided to place both twins in the heavens side-by-side, where they can still be seen on most clear nights.
An Introduction to Astrology
For those of you interested in Astrology it must be a burning question – how come my twins are so different? In over twenty years of casting horoscopes for children I have found the answers, some are fairly obvious and some more subtle, and I will explore them here. But before I do, I would like to explain a little bit about Astrology and how it works.
A horoscope is a map of the sky detailing exactly where certain planets were at a specific point in time, from a specific place on Earth, much like taking a photograph. We know that the planets travel around the Sun, but from our vantage point it looks as if the planets travel around the Earth in a fairly narrow band, which is called the ecliptic. Ancient astrologers divided the belt of the ecliptic into twelve sections, naming each section after the constellation of fixed stars that stood ‘behind’ it. They found that when a planet passed through a section, babies born at that time shared common characteristics.
Castor and Pollux
The most important points for an astrologer to consider are the three ‘lights’ – the Ascendant, the Sun and the Moon. The Ascendant is the degree of the zodiac sign rising over the eastern horizon at the time of birth. It is the Ascendant that details where the first astrological house starts and also shows how we appear to others. The horoscope is made up of twelve ‘houses’ and each house details a specific area of life. For instance the 3rd house covers communication, short journeys and siblings, whilst the 6th house covers work, daily routine and health. The Sun gives the basic drives and motivations, while the Moon gives the emotional tone and instinctual responses. These three points give the basic personality, with the positions of the other planets adding more nuances.
Each planet takes on the tone of the zodiac sign within which it finds itself, and acts in harmony with, or is stressed by, the other planets dependant upon the angles formed between them. In addition, the planet’s influence is exerted upon the house in which it is placed. For instance, Mars in the 5th house might describe a child with a passion for sports, especially contact sports such as football, wrestling or boxing. Whereas Mars in the 12th house might describe a child who prefers to play out of the spotlight, perhaps reading fantasy stories and dreaming of becoming a magician! An astrologer will examine the horoscope in full and, in addition to the above, will also examine house rulerships to tease out how the various factors in the chart correlate with one another. Only then can an interpretation and personality analysis begin.
Why are my Twins so Different?
So why do biological twins often differ so much? Firstly, the timing between the births can make a crucial difference. Even if the twins were born ten minutes apart the Ascendant could have changed zodiac signs, so that outwardly the twins will appear completely different. For instance, one twin may have a Virgo Ascendant and appear quite reserved and a bit of a perfectionist, whilst the other twin with a Libra Ascendant will be outgoing and love parties! The Moon may also have changed signs so that the twins will have different emotional temperaments. A twin with Moon in Pisces will be emotionally sensitive and easily hurt with a tendency to hide in the background, whereas the twin with Moon in Aries will be feisty, quick tempered and oblivious to how their tendency to ‘tell it like it is’ can sometimes upset others! Also, the angles between the planets in the chart of one twin may be closer, or further away, than that of the other twin, and this will impact on how strongly they influence the child’s personality.
Gemini–the Sign of the Twins
But some twins are born so close together that the differences cannot be due to changes of Ascendant, Moon sign or angles. In fact the horoscopes may be virtually identical and yet the twins will still seem different from each other – why? What I have found is that twins often seem to take on, and play out, different parts of the horoscope. One twin may ‘take on’ the manner of the Ascendant, whereas the other twin will take on the manner of the Moon sign. Suppose you had twins who were born with Pisces Ascendant, Scorpio Sun and Capricorn Moon. What I have found so fascinating is that invariably one twin will appear a mix of Pisces and Scorpio, intense, brooding but also mystic and other-worldly. Yet the other twin will seem a mix of Capricorn and Scorpio, intense, brooding but also deeply ambitious and responsible. It’s as if they are playing out different characters within the same play. Perhaps when they argue with each other they are really arguing with a part of themselves!
What it Means to a Parent
The reason, I believe, why twins often appear so diametrically opposite in personality is the basic instinct we all have to discover who we are, and to define who we are to others. We learn by being able to differentiate one thing from another, usually it’s opposite, such as good/bad, hard/soft or bitter/sweet. How can a twin learn about himself or herself if there is nothing to differentiate between them and another? So if their Ascendant, Sun and Moon signs are exactly the same, the only thing left is to follow one part of the horoscope more than another – and vice versa!
No matter how hard twins try to convince us they are completely opposite – they never are! Even if they appear different on the outside they will share the same thinking and communication patterns, and also they will have similar tastes and aspirations. What a horoscope can show you is whether your twins are different because of changes in Ascendant sign, Moon sign or angles between the planets at the time of their birth, or whether they have decided to ‘act out’ different aspects of the birth chart.
In either case, a horoscope gives you, as a parent, a vital tool in understanding your children’s personality make-up, showing not only similarities and differences, but also helping your twins to define their sense of ‘self’. It is in childhood that innate talents and abilities can be discovered and supported, helping children to make the best use of their abilities and to gain the confidence to express themselves. By gaining insight into their characters and why they act in the way they do, you can encourage them to make the most of themselves, whilst at the same time teaching them to have a strong sense of who they, as individuals, are.