Time Twins

Time Twins by Jodie Forrest

Time Twins

Most astrologers are familiar with the term “time twins.” For any newbies reading this article, time twins are two people born on the same day of the same year. We can make a distinction between “date twins” born simply on the same day and year, and “time twins” who were born at roughly the same time on the same day and year. The following quotations are all drawn from a book by G. J. Toonder and J. A. West, The Case for Astrology

(1). Two unrelated women, both named Edna, met for the first time in a hospital in Hackensack, NJ. Both had been born on the same day, and were now in the hospital for their first confinements. Their babies were born within an hour of each other, and both had been named Patricia Edna in advance.

Both women were married to men named Harold, who had both been born on the same day. Both men were in the same profession, owned the same make, model and color automobile. Both couples had been married on the same day. Both women had the same number of brothers and sisters, and practiced the same religion. Both families had a mongrel named Spot.
Do the similarities in the lives of these women seem like a once-in-a-millenium set of coincidences, as skeptics might claim? Read on.

King Umberto I of Italy was introduced to a restaurant proprietor and remarked upon the remarkable similarity of their appearances. Upon inquiring it was remarked that the king and the restaurateur
    had been born on the same day, at the same time, married wives with the same name, and both had a son called Vittorio. The restaurateur had gone into business on the same day that the king ascended the throne.

The king then learned that the restaurateur was to take part in a shooting match the next day in which he was delegated to present the prizes, and the king expressed the wish to meet his double again.
But when the time came the king learned that his time twin had been killed accidentally while cleaning his gun. And before he could be taken to the scene of the accident, the king himself was shot and killed by an anarchist assassin.

The most famous 'time twin' was Samuel Hemming who was born at the same time on the same day as George III of England (4 June 1738).

Hemming and George III looked very similar and their lives ran in close parallel, though on their respective levels. Hemming set up his ironmonger's business on the day George succeeded to the throne. Both were married on 8 September, 1761, both begot the same number of children of the same sex, both became ill and had accidents at the same time, and both died on 29 January 1820 of similar causes.

If your mind’s boggling, go Google “astrological time twins.” You’ll find some very interesting information. Want to find a twin of your own? Search for your birthday. Type it between quotation marks (“February 13, 1964”), so the search engine will look for the date as a whole unit.

I suspect that the examples from West and Toonder are from time twins whose Ascendants are at or close to the same degree of the same sign. The following odd couples, not all of whose birth data is verified, are probably date twins rather than time twins:

George W. Bush and Sylvester Stallone; Laura Bush and the “sex, drugs and rock-and- roll” artist Robert Mapplethorpe; racetrack whodunit writer Dick Francis and fashion photographer Helmut Newton; and Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin.
(2) Yet, think about it... Sylvester Stallone (Rodden birth data rating A), with Sagittarius rising, played “Rocky” and “Rambo” characters who were probably not unlike a thread of the Leo- rising George W. Bush’s inner life (Rodden rating AA). This thread emerged in such famous remarks as “Bring it on,” in a reference to Al Quaida made shortly after the 9-11 terrorist attack, and in the “Mission Accomplished” braggadocio only a few months into a war that hasn’t ended years later.

Laura Bush (Rodden rating B), with Taurus rising, and Robert Mapplethorpe (Rodden rating AA), with Scorpio rising, both considered themselves art patrons. Dick Francis (Rodden rating DD, “dirty data”) wrote about high-priced, fast-paced worlds with plenty of glitterati, and Helmut Newton (Rodden rating B) photographed them.

Darwin and Lincoln might have been time twins as well as date twins. We don’t know, because Lincoln's data carries a Rodden rating B, and Darwin’s a DD. Both men lost their mothers at ages 9 and 8 respectively, and met their strong-minded wives in the same year. Each was extremely intelligent. Both lost young children, aged 3 and 2. Lincoln had depression and migraines, while Darwin fell ill after overwork and had stomach problems, palpitations and fainting spells for the rest of his life. Both men had extremely difficult co-workers.

Darwin’s colleagues disputed evolution vigorously, while Lincoln’s Cabinet members and Union Generals were so contentious that he fired some of them. Both men were instrumental in shaping the zeitgeist of their time, and ours too.

More accounts of date and time twins, with some thought-provoking statistics and analyses, can be found in Peter Roberts’s and Helen Greengrass’s book, The Astrology of Time Twins (3). Roberts and Greengrass studied the late Michel Gauquelin’s astrological data, conducted their own study and concluded that time twins were most statistically likely to have significant parallels in profession, interests and psychological traits. Those are factors for which Gauquelin found statistically sound correlations to planets placed in the cadent houses and near the angles.

After pointing out that the stories I quoted early on may not all be verifiable, the authors agree that there are numbers of cases of time twins whose resemblances don’t stop at their professions, interests and psychological traits, but also include physical similarity, names, and life events ranging in importance from major landmarks down to small but startling coincidences. Roberts and Greengrass propose that there is a ranking of the frequency of the occurrence of time twins’ shared characteristics, with similar professions, interests and psychological traits occurring most frequently and being most easily spotted in the data, and with other resemblances occurring less often, although in what order hasn’t yet been determined.

Time twins could be a fruitful field of research for someone with enough reliable birth data and interview subjects to delve into those additional similarities. If such a study is happening, I’m currently unaware of it and would like to hear about it.
Astrologer Lynn Koiner’s website has a page devoted to time twins: http:// www.lynnkoiner.com/astrology-articles/twins-biological-astrological-and-astro-similarity. At the invaluable AstroDataBank.com wiki, formerly a software program, some data collection on time twins can be done by searches on particular birthdates.

The Time-Twins.com URL no longer works; perhaps it will come online again at some point. If this German site, http://astrologix.de/twindata.htm, finds a match for your birth data, you can email that person. The following site has a file of famous people born on a particular month and day, but you’ll have do the sorting by year: http://ibirthdayworld.blogspot.com.

Finally, these flesh-and-blood identical twin sisters found practical uses for their twinhood and started The_AstroTwins astrological consulting business and website: http://www.astrostyle.com/ The_AstroTwins/index.htm
The “gee-wow” factor of the parallels between date twins, and the often astonishing similarities between time twins, is far less interesting for me than the deeper question of why not only these time-twin similarities, but also their differences, might exist. I have front row seats on this question because I have several time twins all born on February 8, 1956. Please humor me through this more personal material; later in the article, I’ll draw on some of it to address that “why.”

I’ve met three of my “twins,” communicated at length with three more, and know of six others.

Three of us are professional astrologers. Another is a former professional astrologer, still an astrological lecturer, who’s an attorney, teacher and writer. One is a graphic artist, another a designer. One’s a professional rock and roll bass player. (I play bass and am consumed with envy.) Two are professional actors, one Norwegian woman and an American man who’s also a pro basketball player.

A woman I’ve lost touch with was a fellow French major at the same time and at the same university that I was. One man died of AIDS at his first Saturn return. Another is in prison for vehicular manslaughter during a DUI. As for my parallels with this tribe, I practice astrology, write, paint and play bass as hobbies, and have done some acting. I earned an M.A. in French and continue to study and use the language. I teach astrology and creative writing, and have taught French, ESL and beginning Spanish.

Similarities are the most marked with my “identical” time twin, the former astrologer (4) I’ll call N. We say “identical” because we have the same degree of Cancer rising. We have different Midheavens, Pisces (mine) and Aquarius (his). Our Venuses are in the tenth house (mine) and the eleventh (his). Our Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions are in my third house and his fourth. Our Moons are less than three degrees apart. Otherwise, the charts are remarkably similar.
We’ve been comparing notes about our lives on a pretty regular basis for years now, and I’ve visited N. and his wife in the UK. Most time twin accounts cover major life events, but N. and I have been fortunate enough to be able to record many significant if less important events and lots of trivial ones.

We’re close to another time sibling, an astrologer I’ll call F., who has Scorpio rising (4). I’ll describe some parallels among the three of us first. N., F. and I all have very long-lived mothers with firm convictions, without what a Jungian analyst would call a highly refined feeling function, and with a certain commanding manner. Mine was openly referred to as “The Queen” by her daughters and herself. F. and N. have the same degree natal Moon, and their mothers are more problematic, both colder, one controlling the household through force of personality and the other indirectly, through illness.

Our fathers all had excellent verbal skills, but were often seen as rather ineffectual. N.’s father and mine had little or no political skills in the workplace. Mine had few social skills either. F.’s and N.’s fathers, however, could be very charming. F.’s father was a non-conformist who was at peace about not fitting in. Mine was an intellectual who was far more uneasy about it.

We are all fascinated by a “heretical” sect called the Cathars who were active in Europe, especially in southern France, until the French King declared a Crusade against them in the first half of the thirteenth century. This article isn’t the place for a long description of their faith; the point is that we share an intense interest in them. Independently of one another, N. and I have visited the same Cathar sites in France.

I’ll address just N.’s and my connections now. First, two trivial “gee-wows”: on the same day in mid-September, 2006, we each had a smoke alarm suddenly malfunction, start blaring and cause a commotion on our respective sides of the Atlantic. On another day, we both found mice in our houses.
N. sings choral music, likes classical music and plays piano and flute. I play bass and some piano, was a DJ at my college’s progressive rock station, and like all music except opera and rap. Each of us is particular about language. We both lecture on astrology, and we both teach and write. Besides astrology, I’ve written a historical fantasy with a quest motif. N. writes textbooks about a highly specialized branch of law. We have similarly organized teaching styles and enjoy that work immensely.

We both read widely, love cats and share an interest in geneology. Our favorite color is the same shade of green. We try to use good manners—N.’s are better, I think—and lament it when others don’t. We both have a deep need for time alone. In social situations we’re both reserved, especially at first.

In our astrological work, we’re interested in practical techniques that will help us do better readings for clients. We study the more theoretical material but don’t use it right away, preferring to let it stand the test of time first. Independently of one another, we decided that astrologers had probably been studying Chiron long enough to have learned something about it, so we now use it sometimes. We’ve both studied palmistry, and the lines on our palms even look similar.

N. and I often have good or bad days on the same day, usually attributable to lunar or inner planet transits. Major life events show many significant parallels. We both had a turbulent, formative and highly significant relationship that began on the same weekend in January, 1973, when we were sixteen, and that lasted intermittently until we were 22. When the age 16-22 relationship began:

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1. Our progressed Moons were conjoining our natal Jupiter-Pluto conjunction. 2. Progressed Venus trined natal Mars.
3. Progressed Mars trined natal Jupiter-Pluto.
4. Transiting Sun conjoined natal Moon.
5. Transiting Venus was separating from a conjunction to natal Mars.
6. Saturn was transiting the natal south node.
7. Transiting Pluto squared our Ascendant-Descendant axis.

At age 7, N. had an extremely serious case of the measles, and I had my tonsils removed because they met in the back of my throat. In October, 1964, my father had lung cancer surgery, while N. moved away from home to the south of England to go to school, a disorienting change.

In June, 1968, I moved to Iran, travelling through Europe with my family first, and N. went to France with his father. In the spring of 1972, both our maternal grandmothers died. In May, 1976, I began an ill- fated, off-and-on first marriage, and N. met a possible girlfriend with whom he stayed friends. In October, 1978, N. was having serious difficulties with a colleague and some depression about it, and I nearly died from an asthma attack and was hospitalized for a week.

In 1981, my marriage broke up, N. met his future wife and I met my future second husband. In October, 1987, N. was happy to have a new baby, but she was a very demanding infant, so he and his wife were exhausted and stressed. I started Jungian psychoanalysis that same month, which I was glad to do but it was harrowing.
While Pluto was squaring our Suns in the late 80s and early 90s, my father died, and my cat lost a leg and nearly died too. N. had trouble with his boss and wound up losing his job.

With  9 transiting Uranus/Neptune on our Moons in late 1991 to early 1992, N. got his current teaching job and spoke on astrology in Dublin, and I had an unexpected major business trip to Venezuela. In summer and fall 1993, N. had some lectures and writing accepted and moved into his current house.
I got a literary agent for my historical fantasy novel and restarted piano lessons.
In spring and summer 1995, N. didn’t get a key business contract but took several pleasant trips.

After my agent declined to continue representing my novel, my band did its first performance of a rock opera based on it. In the same week of October 22-28, 1995, my band did a triumphant second performance, and N. gave a successful lecture on Michael Scott at a history conference. I’d almost put Michael Scott in my novels as a character but couldn’t quite work him in.
On Dec. 9, 1995, with Mars on our Descendants, N. took a trip and got an extremely bad cold in bitterly cold weather. My band did its third performance and I too got an extremely bad cold in bitterly cold weather. On June 14, 1996, N. had a very pleasant evening at a lawyers’ gathering, but his mother was taken seriously ill. On the same day, my band sold out the most popular venue in town, but there was unpleasant strife among some of the 25 people in this all- volunteer effort.
In May, 1997, N.’s father died, and I had a very severe asthma attack while travelling in Ireland with a bad cold. I should have seen a doctor but didn’t, and was extremely ill for years afterward.
In March, 2009, N. wrote a section for the third edition of a prestigious law book, and I had a solo exhibit of my paintings of galaxies and nebulae. In mid-February, 2011, N. was nominated for and won an “I heart my tutor” award, and I had a painting exhibit in another state.

Think of the birth chart as your soul’s lesson plan, or your psyche’s, if you prefer. Even if you’re one of a pair of flesh-and-blood identical twins born minutes apart, the two of you can and often do react differently to that lesson plan. You were dealt the same hand of cards, but you made different choices about playing it. Studies show that identical or fraternal twins who were separated at birth and raised by different parents actually display more similarities to each other than identical twins who were raised together. You can read more about it at the Minnesota Center for Twin and Family Research’s website, https://mctfr.psych.umn.edu.

One big difference between N. and me is how I’ve dealt with our natal T-square (stationary Mercury opposing Uranus, both squaring stationary Neptune). N. has an excellent sense of direction. I can get and have gotten lost in a town where I’d lived for 30 years. I can and did get lost in N.’s house, perpetually turning the wrong way to the guest room while he and his wife were kind enough not to laugh. I am much more absent-minded, and clumsy too, while N. is neither. We both felt insecure and were bullied as children, but he was skinny and I was fat. I had a wilder adolescence than N. did, and would say I’m more rebellious in general.

Although we both work hard and can have conflicts with authority figures, our sixth houses manifest differently. N. has much better physical health and more stamina than I do, has needed less dental work and isn’t afflicted with allergies. We both enjoy hiking, but he’s more athletic than I am. He runs every morning and I wish I still could; I use an elliptical machine, but it’s just not the same as the open air.

I love to read about psychology, keep a dream journal and am fascinated by the human psyche in all its complexity. Imagine my astonishment to learn that N. is bored by feelings and finds them tiresome, including his own!
On the other hand, cooking bores me and I eat erratically at best. N. loves to cook and conscientiously eats a good diet. I love reading fantasy, while N. can’t abide the genre. I’m more of a techie, while he’d prefer to spend just enough time in the digital world to get his work done and leave until the next day. When I’m not working, I dress much more casually than N. does, although we’re both particular about clothes.

Few topics stimulate more speculation about fate versus free will than the subject of time twins. Some astrologers would marvel at the astonishing array of coincidences—the mice in both our houses, the blaring smoke alarms—and imply that astrology is so powerful that if your birth chart isn’t your fate, it’s a pretty good facsimile thereof.

Other astrologers, more focused on the differences, will point out that even with bio- twins born very close together, there are still small variations in their charts: different degrees at the cusps, possibly varying house positions of the planets, different midpoints, etc. These astrologers assume that even tiny chart disparities could correlate with differing careers or interests. Searching intently for the smallest of chart anomalies to explain dissimilar life choices still grants astrology a lot of power: again, a power something like fate.
We needn’t scrape the bottom of the barrel for reasons why blood or time twins can turn out so differently. They’re two separate people, each with sovereignty over their own lives, and they’re free to choose how to respond to very similar life issues (symbolized in their birth charts), and to the evolving and perhaps differing circumstances in their lives.

Your birth chart is the hand of cards you were dealt, but you have free will about how to play them. Sort of. Where are you playing your hand? In a ghetto in the Bronx? In a remote village in northern Afghanistan? At the centuries-old family estate in France ?

There’s free will, and there’s fate. I’m not sure any of us is wise enough to know where the border lies between them. That border differs for everyone, and it shifts daily in our lives.
Your birth chart symbolizes your fundamental nature. That raw material of your psyche, that gift of your living consciousness, was given to you. That was fate. The circumstances where you received that gift were also fate, I think. It is your nature/fate (symbolized by the birth chart) and your free will, interacting with your circumstances, that push your psyche to grow and to understand yourself better.

That time twins can and do turn out differently illustrates the reality of free will, in my opinion, even more than it illustrates the effect of the twins’ varying life conditions. That time twins can have so much in common, for me, illustrates the reality of fate.
Why did I have a wilder adolescence than N. did, while he buckled down in school, when our family lives were similarly difficult and problematic at the time?
Because I chose to, is the short answer. Why did he go into law instead of practicing astrology full time? Again, because he chose to.

Why I am so absent-minded that at age 27, for a few bad minutes one day I thought my car had been stolen? It hadn’t; I forgot I’d walked to work that morning. Why does N. exhibit none of this non-linearity?
I don’t feel as if I chose to be absent-minded, although some people might argue that I did. I can only report that it feels as inborn a trait as my nose, which I didn’t choose either.

As for the smoke alarm and the mice: Maybe there’s an as yet undiscovered asteroidlet lurking overhead that will be named Smoke Alarm, and that was affecting our charts on the day in question.

Maybe there’s an asteroid named Mouse that I don’t know about, and it was busy in our charts on the day the mice appeared. I have no idea why these events were woven into my time twin’s and my “fates” and circumstances upon those days. Perhaps many events are “fated” that are also not particularly significant.

There are, always, plenty of mysterious, impenetrable events, unanswerable conundrums, and a certain cussed unpredictability woven into the fabric of our world . . . Did you know that Margaret Thatcher and the controversial American stand-up comic, Lenny Bruce with his string of arrests for obscenity, were time twins (5)? Neither did I, until a few months ago. I decline to comment on this one!
1. J. A. Toonder and J. G. West, The Case for Astrology, London: Penguin, 1973.

2. Birth data, all from AstroDataBank. RR means Rodden Rating for birth time accuracy. George W. Bush, RR AA, July 6, 1946, 7:26 a.m., New Haven, CT
Sylvester Stallone, RR A, July 6, 1946, 7:20 p.m., New York, NY
Laura Bush, RR B, Nov. 4, 1946, 6:00 p.m., Midland, TX
Robert Mapplethorpe, RR A, Nov. 4, 1946, 5:45 a.m., New York, NY Helmut Newton, RR B, Oct.
31, 1920, 11:30 a.m., Berlin, Germany Dick Francis, RR DD, Oct. 31, 1920, time unknown, Tenby, Wales Abraham Lincoln, RR B, Feb. 12, 1809, 6:54 a.m., Hodgenville, KY
   Charles Darwin, RR DD, Feb. 12, 1809, 3:00 a.m., Shrewsbury, England

3. Peter Roberts and Helen Greengrass, The Astrology of Time Twins, Cambridge: Pentland, 1994.

4. Birth data, all from the individuals themselves, all RR A or AA.
Jodie Forrest, Feb. 8, 1956, 2:03 p.m., Arlington, Arlington County, VA N., Feb. 8, 1956, 12:53 p.m., Edinburgh, Scotland
F., Feb. 8, 1956, 11:19 p.m., Melbourne, Australia

5. Birth data, both from AstroDataBank:
Lenny Bruce, RR AA, Oct. 13, 1925, 11:24 a.m., Mineola, NY Margaret Thatcher, RR A, Oct. 13, 1925, 9:00 a.m., Grantham, England

Jodie Forrest