And Integration of the Horoscope
By Glenn Perry
Student: In the case of a boy and a girl who are fraternal twins, they have the same birth chart and only a small difference in their Ascendant and Moon position. They were raised together with their parents; yet, they behave very differently. Are differences between astrological twins due to their relative integration of the horoscope?
Glenn: It’s very common to observe personality differences between twins, both fraternal and identical. Of course gender is an obvious factor, but I suspect it’s not the prime source of differences. There are a number of opinions about this. An astro-reductionist position is that even minute differences in the Ascendant and Moon sign position will account for differences of personality. This kind of deterministic thinking is characteristic of traditional and Vedic astrology. However, I don’t believe it’s the correct answer.
First, there’s an innate impulse to differentiate and polarize that would compel each twin to try and establish a separate sense of self vis-à-vis the other. Thus, each twin will tend to express the chart differently, with one identifying more with some parts and projecting others, and the other doing just the opposite. So, you have the phenomenon of a single chart being divided up and expressed in two different ways.
Second, I believe the chart does not make the person; rather, the person (soul) makes the chart. If you believe in reincarnation, it follows that incarnating souls inhabit charts (moments in time) in the same way that a class of incoming freshmen may all have the same curriculum. Different students will do better or worse depending upon their effort, native abilities, and so forth. Likewise, different souls can be born at the same time and have the same chart, but because they are distinct souls with unique karmic histories, they can express the same chart at varying levels of realization. Bottom line: the chart does not determine the expression of the person; the person determines the expression of the chart.
This, of course, does not mean that different expressions of the same chart prevent us from being able to use charts to understand the person, but it does remind us that there are many ways of expressing the same chart; thus, astrology is not a fixed, determinate system. Different ways of expressing the chart will be equally consistent with the range of potentials symbolized by it. How a 54-year old woman behaves in comparison to when she was 24 is going to be different, not because she has a different natal chart, but because she’s learned, grown, and evolved. Likewise, we can surmise that twins born with more-or-less the same chart will not necessarily express that chart at the same level of integration.
Student: So, regardless of whether people are twins, different people born at the same time and place can be radically different?
Glenn: Perhaps not radically different, but significantly. One of the most important and underappreciated truths in astrology is that a birthchart is not a fixed, objective statement about the character of a person, even though it can describe character structure. There’s a subtle difference between character and character structure. Character structure is implicit in the birthchart and shows how the psyche is organized, but not its degree of integration. Character itself emerges from the degree of integration of the psyche, which tends to evolve over time. This is why character is closely associated with integrity; the greater the degree of integrity, the more sound the character.
To the extent one has integrity, he or she is relatively undivided, an indivisible whole, or what Jung described as being individuated. This is an important Jungian concept. If a person is whole; that is, not divided against himself as a consequence of unresolved intrapsychic conflict, then he’s more able to ‘keep his word’ and be consistent in his adherence to personal standards; in other words, a person of good character and therefore trustworthy.
At higher degrees of integration, chart components tend to produce behavioral and event outcomes that are more fulfilling. Any variable in the chart can be expressed in a lower or higher manner. For example, Mars can be bravery but it can also be selfish aggression. How Mars is expressed is contingent upon its degree of integration with other chart components. If it is split off and operates unconsciously, it is not likely to be expressed in a balanced, functional manner because it cannot benefit from other planetary functions that enable it to be effectively utilized in the service of the whole person.
Returning to the question about why different people born with the same chart can be so different, I often use the metaphor of a sheet of music that has to be interpreted and played by a musician. In this metaphor, the sheet of music represents the birthchart. The musician’s talent in interpreting the music is not inherent in the musical score itself. Different musicians required to play the same score are likely to play it with varying degrees of talent. Some will botch the job completely; others will produce a sound somewhere on a continuum between moderately bad and moderately good; and still others will produce a sound that is beautiful and uplifting.
We might also imagine that the very purpose of having that sheet of music is to challenge the performer to stretch and grow in ways that are specifically required by the nature of the score. Over time with continued repetition and practice, he or she is able to perform that music with greater proficiency.
Likewise, an astrological chart has to be interpreted and played by the soul, but it is not itself the soul. Soul is to the chart as a musician is to a musical score. The level of ‘talent’ (integration) that the soul brings to the chart is not inherent in the chart itself. Accordingly, different people with the same chart are apt to express it quite differently and will realize the full potential of the chart to varying degrees. From this perspective, astrology is an indeterminate system that must allow for a certain degree of uncertainty as to outcome, while also recognizing that outcomes can change as the person matures, integrates, and evolves.
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