Thursday, August 07, 2014

Astrological Hand-me-downs

I first posted on this topic in 2007. Time for another look:

I've always felt fairly confident, from personal experience, observation and a little bit of Aquarian logic, that astrological traits flow through families, but it seems that when subjected to rigorous testing the theory doesn't hold up. Michel Gauquelin carried out exhaustive research in the 1960s and 70s without finding anything as conclusive as astrologers might have expected.

I have a copy of Gauquelin's book "Planetary Heredity". It's not easy reading! Here's what he had concluded by
Chapter 9:
"For the convenience of the reader, let me summarize the main findings. My investigations of over 25,000 deliveries have found that children tend to be born when the same significant celestial body (the Moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter or Saturn) is in the same diurnal zone (rise culmination, or outside) as it was at the birth of their parents. There is no effect for the Sun or other planets, or for astrological signs, aspects and houses. The effect is not influenced by sex, duration of labor or birth order. It is increased if both parents share the same diurnal positions. It tends to disappear if the birth is artificially induced. The effect is not large, but is reproducible and statistically highly significant."

So "something is going on", but not exactly as previously surmised. I just wonder though, if going up close with a powerful microscope, as Monsieur Gauquelin did so efficiently, doesn't blind us to the bigger picture. If you examine an oil painting up close with a magnifying glass, you do not see what the painting portrays, you see only random, meaningless brush strokes.

Astrologer C.E.O. Carter points out in his Encyclopedia of Psychological Astrology :
"However, it cannot be doubted that any part of the nativity may represent an inherited trait, and the examination of the nativities of members of the same family confirms this. In a case known to the writer, the father and his three sons, and six out of ten grandchildren, had Saturn in either Aries or Cancer! It is also frequently found that the same sign is prominent in the great majority of the horoscopes of a family, containing, as a rule, one of the Lights, or the ascendant."

I can't help thinking that there's something else - something important that we just don't know yet, which needs to be included in the equation, before scientists like M. Gauquelin can get a clear view of the big picture.

Some comments from 2007:

I am right there with you with the astrology / genetics connection, which I see as incredibly strong. Even though astrology is part of the holographic universe that has a foot in other dimensions as well as this one, I still think that this could be a “theory” that has weight which could be demonstrated using the scientific method. Perhaps we need to look at different variables.

I'm also interested in analyzing the astrological family patterns.
I've written an article about an interesting case found on my activity:

Though by no means proven, I've tended to see that elements tend to run in families, through the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant. My family are all Water signs and I am the lone Earth Sign; this explains a lot about why I always felt like the odd one out of the bunch. My mother's family is full of Water, too, especially Cancer (my Dad is a Cancer); the exceptions are the two "rebels" of the family: My aunt will Earth Sun and Moon and my uncle with Air Sun and Moon.
My Dad's family (his planets are all clustered in Cancer and Libra with only Mercury in Leo) also has this strong focus on Water and Air, though both my Aunts have Earth Ascendants (I seem to get along better with members of my family that have a strong earth placement).
In my immediate family, we all have Water or Earth Suns and Fire or Air Moons. I also share a Leo Moon with my mother. The Ascendants are all Water or Air too (the most prominent signs), except for my Capricorn Rising.
My cousin's daughter was born Saturday, and is a Virgo Sun, Taurus Moon with Scorpio Rising. Her father is Sun in Taurus, Moon in Pisces and her mother is Sun in Capricorn Moon in Cancer (unkown ascendants). I find it rare in family charts to see kids who are elementally different to their parents.
Also, I have seen many charts where the Mother shares the moon sign with one of her children or it is in the same element (also, kids with moon signs that share the same planetary ruler). In my immediate family, the exception is my brother, but his Aquarius Moon opposes (by sign, not degree) both mine and my Mom's! So it's not completely unrelated. My other brother has a Sag Moon.

Original post & comments here.

My own credentials for thinking that there are astrological hand-me-downs in family circles :
My mother had three planets in Cancer, I had Cancer rising natally. She also had Jupiter in Pisces, as do I. My father had Sun in Aquarius as do I, he had Saturn in Aries, as do I, and Mercury in Capricorn, as do I. Degrees are different in each case, but zodiac signs are the same. I don't have birth times for my parents, so can't compare rising signs. Mother had Sun in Libra, making us an Airy trio. My Dad's family has quite a strong Aquarius influence among my uncles and cousins. I can only assume it was inherited from my paternal grandfather's unknown father. My mother's father had Sun in Gemini, more Airiness. She inherited the Cancer emphasis from her Taurus Sun mother who also had emphasis on Cancer.

Some links to other material on this topic:
Astrology and Heredity: a Personal Detective Story by Dorian Gieseler Greenbaum.

The Australian Parent-Child Astrological Research Project by Bernadette Brady.

Astrology and Heredity: The Thread of Life a book by Rosemary Peel

The Astrology of Family Dynamics by Erin Sullivan (I like the look of this one - read pages from it at Google Books

All in the Family: Cloning, Genetics & Astrology by Valerie Vaughan.

Another post of mine: Family Astrology ~ Family Portraits


mike said...

The statistics favor similarities between all charts, particularly with faster transiting planets. The Sun can only be in one of twelve sign positions, same for the Moon and ascendant...there is an 8% chance (1 in 12) of sharing one of those positions with ANYONE. Mercury and Venus can only be so far from the Sun...if the parent has the same Sun sign or plus-minus one sign, the likelihood of sharing Mercury-Venus positions increases.

"Child bearing years" contributes to an increased chance of sign sharing between parent and child. Most women bear children when Saturn is within 45* plus or minus their natal Saturn position (or twenty-eight years plus-minus seven years), so their child has an increased likelihood of sharing the same Saturn sign. The child of a 24 year old parent will probably share both Mars' and Jupiter's sign position. The lunar nodes are the same sign when the parent bears at age 18.5 or 37, plus-minus 1.5 years...opposite nodes at 28 years plus-minus.

Friends will have the same 8% chance with the Sun, Moon, and ascendant signs. Friends typically are close in age, so the likelihood of sharing similar planetary sign positions increases, particularly the trans-personal (generational) planets.

I've always had a tendency toward a diverse group of friends, when considering their ages vs mine...I've never socialized within one age grouping. From this age-diverse pool, I've had a much higher than normal grouping of Taurus, Leo, and Virgo Sun signs...Virgo Moons highly represented.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Interesting thoughts. Am just about to go out, hurrying.. and might have missed something crucial... are you saying that, in your opinion, there isn't anything very "mystically astrological" about similar astro-related traits in families, that the phenomenon, if it exists at all, is somehow mathematically or calendrically produced, if and when it occurs?

As for friends - I usually gravitate towards Air or Fire-heavy people most easily. I've always found the elemental side of astrology to be a reliable rule of thumb in relationship matters. Age is irrelevant when other things line up.

mike (again) said...

I think that the chance of same astrological placements by sign needs to be evaluated with a degree or two of caution or at least have some logic applied. When the frequency of same sign placements increases between two natal charts among the variables, the odds of that happening decrease and the chances become more rare. Due to the planetary cycles in astrology, simple common sense will dictate some of the odds, as I indicated in my first comment.

What are the chances that a parent will have Uranus in the same sign as their child? Next to zero. What are the chances that an individual will have friends or siblings that have Uranus in the same sign? Much higher. Friends of the same age? Much, much higher.

In astrological cycles, there are things that simply aren't going to happen when comparing parents and their children, but more likely with siblings. There are other cycles, like the solar and lunar that have as much likelihood to occur between parent to parent, parents and their children, sibling to sibling, or friend to friend.

The likelihood of having the same solar degree is the same as the old "birthday problem":

"In probability theory, the birthday problem or birthday paradox concerns the probability that, in a set of n randomly chosen people, some pair of them will have the same birthday. By the pigeonhole principle, the probability reaches 100% when the number of people reaches 367 (since there are 366 possible birthdays, including February 29). However, 99.9% probability is reached with just 70 people, and 50% probability with 23 people. These conclusions include the assumption that each day of the year (except February 29) is equally probable for a birthday."

What is the probability that anyone in the group shares the same astrological solar sign? Much, much higher.

mikr (again) said...

I'd add that my comments do not necessarily reflect some astrological principles, such as a parent's fertility cycle, perhaps lunar-based, which may increase the odds of that parent giving birth more often at a particular time of year, which increases the likelihood of children with the same Sun sign...I've seen this in many families. I'm aware that there is a notion that the Moon's sign at conception is the ascendant upon birth.

Also, mutual attraction between parents and-or lovers my preclude them from having a large number of same-sign placements, favoring aspects between planets, instead. This notion is astrologically supported with the study of mid-point and synastry placements.

I often think that the "hand-me-downs" are more likely to appear in oddities between the two charts being compared. My mother has (had?) Sun-Jupiter-Saturn conjunct in the last two degrees of Virgo, which my Saturn and lunar South Node conjunct almost exactly. My father was born exactly two weeks prior to my mother, so his Jupiter-Saturn are conjunct my Saturn-Node, too, but his Sun conjuncts my Moon in Virgo. Weird, eh?!

Anonymous said...

Hmm, this is food for thought.

I have no birthtimes for my parents.

But my Dad had the same 3 outer planets involved with his Sun.
- Neptune in the same aspect.
- His Pluto was sextile mine.
- Neptune square.
- Uranus widely opposed.

My Mom had the same 3 planets in Virgo as Mike, but with no conjunction.
- We did not have a lot in common.

Her sister, on the other hand, had her Saturn only 38 minutes away from mine.
- Our Mercury's were conjunct, her Pluto opp's my merc partile.
- Her Venus at 19 Sag is directly sextile my own.

All three had Mars in Sag.
I heard the phrase "Ohh ... Hurry up!", all too often!

There is a streak of "Redhead" on my Mothers side.
Lot's of Sag and many Aquarians - all of them in January.


Twilight said...

mike ~ My brain turns to mush when considering statistics, though I do see the logic in what you've written.

My views spring only from my own experience, and that's as an only child, no siblings to compare, and no birth times for parents to give me exact Moon positions and house, ascendant/midheaven placements. So, I've come to my conclusion on unstable facts, I guess.

Even so, the similarity of nature between myself and my Dad surely has to be more than chance - and we were very similar in nature (as my mother never tired of telling me!) :-)

Traits could be passed down, as you say via astro aspects. There are many combinations capable of producing versions of, say, an impatient nature, or a methodical nature, or an egotistical nature or a sarcastic nature......

Perhaps the idea that a parent's nature being passed on via DNA, which DNA in turn is connected, or responsive somehow, to the time of year, time of day, time of month - whatever, at conception or birth, isn't totally wild, even if impossible to prove statistically.
Just as certain plants grow and thrive at certain times of year, maybe certain combinations of sperm+ egg containing particular mix of DNA will only "gel" at certain times and deign to be born at certain times.

It's a topic that lends itself to all kinds of interesting propositions and argument, but nothing truly capable of proof.

Twilight said...

Anonymous (Kidd) ~ Thanks for your contribution of family info. It's all grist to the mill. :-)

Lack of birth times is a really annoying block isn't it? Still we do what we can with what we've got.

If statistics are unhelpful in the proof that astrological bits and pieces can run in families, all we have to go on is intuition, sharp observation and sensitivities, insight....and guesswork, which might not be 100% accurate, but are a lot more satisfying.