An interesting case of twins born 2 minutes apart

Recently I was reading in post by Michel Ibarra on the FB Traditional Astrology Forum about the charts of twin sisters, one of whom was murdered. The birth times are Rodden rating AA and taken from their birth certificates, so they are probably reasonably accurate.

On 18 September 1966 at about 5:15 AM Valerie Jean Percy was found beaten and stabbed to death in her bed in her family’s Kenilworth mansion. Her father was running for the U.S. Senate at the time of her murder. According to their birth certificates Valerie was born on 10 December 1944 at 5:25 PM PWT in Oakland, CA, just 2 minutes before her twin sister Sharon was born. The two women have very similar birth charts, a significant difference being that Valerie’s Asc lies at 13 Gemini 39 whereas Valerie, born 2 minutes later, has her Asc in a different degree, namely, 14 Gemini 10. Valerie was murdered at 21.77 years of age. Sharon is still alive and has led a productive public life. Are there factors in their birth charts, or are there predictive techniques, that might explain the difference in their life courses?

Valerie’s natal chart. Her sister was born 2 minutes later.

I began by looking at the primary zodiacal directions (Placidus semi-arc, Naibod rate) for both women at age 21. For this purpose I used the natal chart which is at the midpoint of the two births, which were only 2 minutes apart.

The primary directions in effect during 1966 (the year of the murder) were:

Pz MC square natal Moon 7 Feb 1966 Age 21.161

Pz Mercury conjunct natal Sun 21 Apr 1966 Age 21.362

Pz Asc square natal MC 10 Aug 1966 Age 21.664

MURDER 18 Sep 1966 Age 21.77

Pz Saturn oppose natal Sun 1 Oct 1966 Age 21.807

Pz Chiron square natal Mars 6 Oct 1966 Age 21.820

Pz Chiron square natal Uranus 31 Dec 1966 Age 22.055

Because the Sun is hyleg in this chart and also ruler of the 4th house of endings, the primary direction of Saturn opposing the natal Sun in late September – early October of 1966 indicates the risk of death at this time and correlates closely with the murder of one of the twins on 18 September 1966. In other words, Saturn rules the 8th house of death and it applies by primary direction to oppose the natal Sun, which rules the natal 4th, described by Sue Ward as signifying “the end of all things, often termed ‘the end of the matter’, and also the grave.”

Having noticed that the twins had their Ascendants in different degrees, I wondered whether a symbolic direction involving the Ascendant could distinguish why one twin experienced the zodiacal direction of Saturn to the natal Sun (hyleg) in September of 1966 and the other did not. My experience with charts that have such close birth times has been that Ascendant Arc symbolic directions often distinguish the two charts predictively.

As the Matrix Software site explains, the Ascendant arc method of directing a natal chart is calculated as follows: 

“The distance from the natal ascendant to the progressed ascendant (derived from a solar-arc directed MC) is measured. This arc is then applied to all planets in the natal chart in order to arrive at their directed positions, and all house cusps are either directed by the same arc or derived from the directed midheaven.”

If we compare the Ascendant-arc directions of the twins, we find the following:

Valerie has Asc-arc directed Mercury sesqui-square her Ascendant on 24 Sep 1966, within a week of the murder. If she were born just a few seconds before the time on her birth certificate, the perfection of this direction would be exact for the date of her death.
Because she is born two minutes later than her sister, Sharon does not experience the Asc-arc direction of Mercury sesqui-square natal Asc until June of 1967, a full 9 months after the murder.

In comparing the Asc-arc directions for the twins, directed Mercury sesqui-square the natal Ascendant appears to be the distinguishing feature. Mercury rules the natal Ascendant and lies just inside the Placidus 8th cusp. In addition, Mercury conjoins the fixed star Facies, which is associated with violent death. Thus Valerie appears to be at greater risk of a violent death in September of 1966.

Another feature of the Placidus zodiacal directions is that in September of 1966 Sharon’s directed Sun is almost exactly trine (by primary direction) the 11th Placidus cusp of the house of the Good Daimon where Jupiter, the greater benefic, rejoices. In Valerie’s chart this directed Sun trine the 11th Placidus cusp would not perfect until 6 months after her death. Traditionally the 11th house of the Good Daimon (guardian angel) is one of assistance, comfort, safe harbor and relief.

Addendum (5 July 2021): Planetary Hour Sub-periods

As I was comparing Valerie’s chart to that of her sister Sharon (born 2 minutes later), I noticed another feature, besides their ascendants being in distinct degrees of Gemini, that distinguishes the two charts. Both women were born on a Sunday during the 12th hour of the day, which was a Saturn hour. At age 21, the natal lord of the orb is also the lord of the orb of the year, giving Saturn special prominence in the birth charts of both women at this time. By primary direction Saturn advances to oppose the natal Sun at the time of the murder.

In my study of the lord of the orb technique, I have been experimenting with dividing planetary hours, much like the system of fardaria. My method is to divide the duration of a planetary hour by 7 and assign each of the 7 parts to one of the visible planets in Chaldean order (slowest to fastest), starting with the lord of the hour.

Calculating from the natal chart of 10 December 1966 in Oakland, CA, the amount of daylight was 9:29:11 hours (tip of the Sun first appearing on the eastern horizon until the tip and body of the Sun descend below the western horizon), so that each of the daytime planetary hours had a duration of 46.43 minutes. Dividing 47.43 minutes by 7, we find that each of the seven planets during a daytime planetary hour is allotted 6.776 minutes. Sunset occurred at 17:46:34 in this natal chart. Hence, the 12th planetary hour, which belongs to Saturn in this case, can be divided into 7 equal segments as follows:

16:59:08Saturn17:05:52Jupiter17:12:39Mars17:19:26Sun (Valerie born at 17:25 during Sun subperiod) 17:26:13Venus (Sharon born at 17:27 during Venus subperiod)17:33:00Mercury17:39:47Moon17:46:34Beginning of Jupiter hour at sunsetIf we divide the Saturn hour into 7 parts and assign each part to a visible planet in Chaldean order, Valerie was born during the Sun subperiod of the Saturn hour, and Sharon was born during the Venus subperiod of the Saturn hour. The Sun (Valerie’s subperiod ruler) is hyleg and received the primary direction of the opposition of Saturn at the time of the murder. Venus (Sharon’s subperiod ruler) was not prominent by profection or primary direction at the time of her sister’s death.

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