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Astrology of Twin Differences:
Inventors and Balloonists Jean and Auguste Piccard
(Born Fifteen Minutes Apart)
Their “Explorer Genes”
Plus Their Deaths from Heart Attacks 10 Months Apart
by Sandra Weidner

The term “the Explorer Gene” is from the book The Explorer Gene: How Three Generations of One Family Went Higher, Deeper and Further Than Any Before, by Tom Cheshire with a foreword by James Cameron (New York: Marble Arch Press, 2013. Originally published in Great Britain by Short Books). The book is about three generations of explorers of the Auguste Piccard family. Piccard also had a twin brother, Jean, who was an also inventor and balloonist. Several dates and some of the biographical material in this paper are from this book.

The generations referred to in the book are Auguste, his son Jacques, and Jacques’ son Bernard.

As I have stated in other twin papers, twin births are especially useful to this astrology. Why? Parents of twins usually know before birth they are having twins, so they pay especial attention to birth time. They do so because later those time differences are a conversation piece as well as forming part of the identity of the twins. So, birth time for twins is likely correct to the minute and the charts cast from them are also close to exact. Comparisons made between them are then based on correct astrology. That means twin births are especially good for testing a major principle of this astrological method, that planets on (≤2° orb) Angles are of primary importance in describing all our lives.

Jean and Auguste were born fifteen minutes apart—Jean at 10:45 p.m. LMT and August, 11:00 p.m. LMT in Basel, Switzerland. (Full birth data is at the bottom of the page under the title Data Acknowledgments.) Europe has long had the tradition of recording births to the nearest fifteen minutes. Since these are European births, it looks like they were not recorded to the minute, but to the nearest fifteen minutes. Moreover, except for dates of balloon ascents, biographical dates are scarce. Auguste’s marriage, for instance, is given for the year, not the month and day. So, their charts cannot be rectified. Nonetheless, I have checked their charts for their given time and ascents, and found their comparison helpful in understanding the difference between their lives. So, we proceed with their astrology.

When one twin has a different sign on an Angle, their births are also useful for demonstrating the principle of this astrological method that sets (aspects) ruling an Angle are of far more importance than those which do not. Instances of this did not occur with the Piccards, so in this paper we are only interested in their different planets on Angles.

Examples of twin birth validation of the importance of planets on Angles as well as the importance of differing rulers of Angles are also shown in the many twin papers on this site. Their links are below the following biographies.

Let’s get right to the Piccard biographies, which are primarily about their professional and avocational achievements.

Jean Piccard
Picture from

Wikipedia (2/14/14) has this on Jean: Jean Felix Piccard (Basel, Switzerland, January 28, 1884 – January 28, 1963, Minneapolis, Minnesota), also known as Jean Piccard, was a Swiss-born American chemist, engineer, professor and high-altitude balloonist. He invented clustered high-altitude balloons, and with his wife Jeannette, the plastic balloon. Piccard's inventions and co-inventions are used in balloon flight, aircraft and spacecraft.

Piccard and Jeannette Ridlon met at the University of Chicago where he taught and she received her masters degree. They married and had three sons, John, Paul and Donald, and also had foster children.

Piccard was the co-pilot for his wife Jeannette on the third and final voyage of the Century of Progress. The largest balloon in the world was conceived for him to fly at the World's Fair in 1933 but was flown there by US Navy pilots who were licensed.[3] After this flight he created the liquid oxygen converter when the liquid failed to vaporize on descent after the cabin doors were open. Piccard developed a frost-free window, that was used on this flight and later by the Navy and Air Force in the B-24 Liberator or B-26 Marauder. He used blasting caps and TNT for releasing the balloon at launch and for remote release of external ballast from inside the sealed cabin. This was the first use of pyrotechnics for remote-controlled actuating devices in aircraft, an unpopular, revolutionary idea at the time. Later his student Robert R. Gilruth, who became the director of the NASA Manned Spacecraft Center, approved and used them in spacecraft.

…In 1935 and 1936, to reduce weight and thus enabling a balloon to reach higher altitudes, plastic balloon construction began independently by Max Cosyns in Belgium, Erich Regener in Germany, and Thomas H. Johnson and Jean Piccard, then at the Franklin Institute Bartol Research Foundation in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Johnson suggested cellophane to Jean Piccard.

…Developed with John Akerman of the University of Minnesota and piloted by Jean Piccard in 1937 in Rochester, Minnesota, the first multi-celled balloon was called The Pleiades and was made of 98 latex rubber balloons. In a letter to Robert Gray of the Dewey and Almy Chemical Co. later published in Time magazine, Piccard describes how he broke balloons with a hunting knife and revolver to control his descent….

Balloon research stopped for the most part during World War II.

In February 1946 with Otto C. Winzen, Jean Piccard proposed manned flight to the US Navy using clustered balloons made of thin plastic. In June the Office of Naval Research approved Project Helios and that year General Mills and the University of Minnesota contracted to build a cluster of 100 polyethylene balloons for atmospheric research. Helios was designed to reach 100,000 feet for ten hours with a payload of instruments.

Jean Piccard helped Winzen design the Skyhook polyethylene balloons that replaced Project Helios in 1947. Skyhook balloons were used unmanned for atmospheric research by the Navy and for manned flights by the US Air Force. Later Jean Piccard developed electronics for emptying ballast bags.

Piccard died on January 28, 1963 (his 79th birthday) in Minneapolis [of a heart attack].

Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek is named for one or both of him and his twin brother Auguste - in fact, it was sometimes hinted that the character may be descended from the scientist.

Auguste Piccard
Picture from

And we have this on Auguste from Auguste Antoine Piccard (28 January 1884 – 24 March 1962) was a Swiss physicist, inventor and explorer [italics mine].

Piccard and his twin brother Jean Felix were born in Basel, Switzerland. Showing an intense interest in science as a child, he attended the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, and became a professor of physics in Brussels at the Free University of Brussels in 1922, the same year his son Jacques Piccard was born. He was a member of the Solvay Congress of 1922, 1924, 1927, 1930 and 1933.

In 1930, an interest in ballooning, and a curiosity about the upper atmosphere led him to design a spherical, pressurized aluminum gondola that would allow ascent to great altitude without requiring a pressure suit. Supported by the Belgian Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (FNRS) Piccard constructed his gondola.

An important motivation for his research in the upper atmosphere were measurements of cosmic radiation, which were supposed to give experimental evidence for the theories of Albert Einstein, whom Piccard knew from the Solvay conferences and who was a fellow alumnus of ETH.

On 27 May 1931, [italics mine] Auguste Piccard and Paul Kipfer took off from Augsburg, Germany, and reached a record altitude of 15,781 m (51,775 ft). (FAI Record File Number 10634) During this flight, Piccard was able to gather substantial data on the upper atmosphere, as well as measure cosmic rays. On 18 August 1932, [italics mine] launched from Dübendorf, Switzerland, Piccard and Max Cosyns made a second record-breaking ascent to 16,201 m (53,153 ft). (FAI Record File Number 6590) He ultimately made a total of twenty-seven balloon flights, setting a final record of 23,000 m (75,459 ft.)

In the mid-1930s, Piccard's interests shifted when he realized that a modification of his high altitude balloon cockpit would allow descent into the deep ocean. By 1937, he had designed the bathyscaphe, a small steel gondola built to withstand great external pressure. Construction began, but was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. Resuming work in 1945, he completed the bubble-shaped cockpit that maintained normal air pressure for a person inside the capsule even as the water pressure outside increased to over 46 MPa (6,700 psi). Above the heavy steel capsule, a large flotation tank was attached and filled with a low density liquid for buoyancy. Liquids are relatively incompressible and can provide buoyancy that does not change as the pressure increases. And so, the huge tank was filled with gasoline, not as a fuel, but as flotation. To make the now floating craft sink, tons of iron were attached to the float with a release mechanism to allow resurfacing. This craft was named FNRS-2 and made a number of unmanned dives in 1948 before being given to the French Navy in 1950. There, it was redesigned, and in 1954, it took a man safely down 4,176 m (13,701 ft).

August Piccard died of a heart attack on March 25, 1962, at Lausanne, Switzerland.]

The Piccard brothers have many things in common. They are both inventors, both balloonists, both involved in the physical sciences, both accomplished men. Auguste, however, is the better known for his record-breaking ascents and descents. Jean’s professional life was less stable, at least at first. And it appears Jean sometimes felt he undeservedly received less recognition than his brother. An attitude like that is difficult to prove, so accordingly I have included below several quotes from Cheshire’s book. Even then we have to keep in mind that just because it is in print it isn’t necessarily true. Still, Cheshire’s statements occur in a whole book about the Piccards, necessarily preceded by considerable research into their lives. They were not just off-the-cuff statements of some bystander. So, we can temporarily assume they have some factual basis. And since they are supported by the differences in the twins astrology, our assumption is warranted.

The different planets they have on Angles best illustrate the difference between the lives of Jean and August Piccard. What are Angles? Angles is a generic term for key locations in every one’s charts--the Midheaven (MC) and the Ascendant (Asc). The Midheaven is that position which is approximate noon, while the Ascendant shows us approximate sunrise (around 9:00 a.m.) These points, their oppositions, and their movement through time known as progressions, are the most sensitive points in our charts. Planets on them will express their unique attributes more clearly in the individuals' lives than planets in all the other areas of their charts.

Their “movement through time,” as I use them, are called progressions of the Angles. I use secondary progressions, which equates movement of the planets per day after birth to one year in the individual's life. (There is actually a reference to a "day for a year" in the Bible in Revelations.) Midheavens are moved the same degree and minutes as the sun for that period of time (which is about 1° per day, which equates to circa 1° per year for progressions), and Ascendants are found through the new Midheavens. But "movement through time" also occurs in any imaginary chart cast for any date and locality on planet Earth. Let's say the chart is being cast for a child about to be born. The Midheaven of that imaginary chart also changes approximately 1° every four minutes (depending on the movement of the sun. 24 hours times 60 minutes gives the total number of minutes in a day. Divided by 4 we get 360, which equals the number of degrees in a circle and the number of degrees in every chart). With fifteen minutes separating the Piccard births, these men have their birth (and conception) Midheavens nearly 4° apart. Ascendants vary a little more or less than one degree every four minutes. The Piccards birth and conception Ascendants are about 3° apart.

As we shall see, 3-4°--especially with this method which allows only a 2° orb for Angle-to-planet (with 2° being weak and the exact conjunction being strongest), makes a definitive difference regarding which planets each has “on Angles.”

I have written other papers on twins that separate one twin from another using their astrology. Below are links to each of them :
One Twin Died Ten Hours After Birth, the Other After 24 Hours
One Twin Normal, Other Twin with Myasthenia Gravis
One Twin Normal, Other Twin Retarded
One Twin Normal, Other Twin Retarded, Example II
One Twin Suffocated as Toddler by Car Window, the Other Lived
Boy Twin Homosexual; His Sister Heterosexual
Twin Girls: One Twin Healthy, Employed, Heterosexual, the Other Sickly, Underemployed, and Lesbian
Boy Twin is Autistic While His Sister Is Not
One Twin Dies of SIDS, the Other Lives
A Second Paper on One Twin Dies of SIDS, the Other Lives
One Twin Dies in Driveway Accident, the Other Lives
One Twin Drowns
One Twin is Very Different From the Other
The Silent Twins, June and Jennifer Gibbons

Most of the twin papers are short—several pages long. This paper is longer. The Gibbons paper is longest.

Before we start looking at their charts, directly below are statements about this astrological method, different from traditional. They can be referred to at any time.

Astrological Method
This method is not traditional. It uses a birth and conception planets and their harmonics and houses, all of which share the same axis. Conception is based on a formula discussed in the following paper: How to Find Conception

This astrology uses the sidereal positions of the planets based on the Fagan-Bradley’s SVP. My view of the practical differences between the tropical (Western) and the sidereal (Eastern) zodiacs can be found at Tropical vs. Sidereal Zodiac.
Harmonics are taken from the sidereal position of the planets. The Egyptian harmonic, discussed in the paper “About This Method” (link just below), is used.
”Lights” include suns, moons, and moons nodes. When mercury rules an Angle, it also acts like a light and has the same orb as the other lights. The MC or Asc also acts like a light, but one with only a 2° orb, because when a set is on an Angle it does not need a light to be active.
This method uses only conjunctions, applying and separating squares, and oppositions. Orbs for static planets with lights is 5°; without lights, about 2.5°. Orb for MC/planet or Asc/planet is 2°. Planets so related to each other are referred to as in the same “set.” A set, then, is two or more planets (or an Angle) connected to each other through conjunction, square, and opposition within the defined orbs. Sets without Angles are more active when they contain a light, and less active without one. Learning to look in terms of “crosses” can be helpful in rapidly finding planets that are in the same set.
Because this approach uses both a birth and conception chart and they share the same axis, birth houses usually overlap different houses of the conception chart. These are called “house overlaps.” Throughout all papers I use the convention when writing about house overlaps of putting the birth house first, then the conception house. So, for instance, a “5th/1st” overlap refers to an overlap of birth 5th house with conception 1st house in that order.
Birth planets (including their harmonics) rule only birth houses. Conception planets (including their harmonics) rule only conception houses.
For a more thorough explanation of this astrological approach, refer to the following papers:

About This Method
Empirically-Derived Rules for Reading These Charts
In the partial charts shown below, birth planets and their harmonics are inside the circle. Conception planets and their harmonics are outside the circle. Conception sidereal planets are red; conception harmonic ones, black. Birth sidereal planets are blue; birth harmonic ones, green. Occasionally, because of space limitations, I have had to violate this inside/outside arrangement, but the color coding remains constant.
Abbreviations used are b = birth, c = conception, and t = transiting. Even though the harmonic used for each chart is always two more than the chart’s number, in these papers—for ease of reading—I write the harmonic number the same as the chart number. For example, the 5th chart uses the 7th harmonic, but I have established the convention of writing harmonic planets for the 5th chart as, e.g., c5 mars, which reads, “the harmonic for the 5th chart for conception mars.” Pc3 mars stands for the harmonic for the 3rd chart of its progressed conception mars. T5 pluto represents transiting (at the time of the event) pluto for the 5th chart.

Four planets are emphasized in this study.

The Main Significators For Winning and Losing Anything
Somewhat over-simplifying, thirty years research results with this method have clearly demonstrated that for conditions and events there are two planets which primarily sponsor all our ills and bad fortune. And there are two different ones that primarily sponsor our success, joy, and good fortune.

The planetary authors of almost all of our good feelings are venus and jupiter, known to traditional astrology as the lesser and greater benefics, respectively.

  • Venus represents the principles of love, connectedness, appreciation, responsiveness, emotional victory. People with moon/venus on or influencing an Angle, like Marilyn Monroe, have immense charm and charisma, be they male or female.

  • Jupiter represents the principles of ease, growth, expansion, relaxation, comprehensiveness. It is most likely the planet sponsoring the high “emotional quotient.” written about by Daniel Goleman. Prominent in a chart it, more than any other planet, sponsors success, recognition, good timing, self-confidence. On an Angle it also helps protect against disease and disaster: Paper on Various CNS Diseases.

Venus and jupiter together (square or conjunction, or on differing Angles of the same chart but “summed”) with a light, on or influencing an Angle, create a golden benefic. Golden benefics are in evidence in almost all instances of success, winning, joy, in all areas of human experience. In the 2nd chart of money they represent winning the lottery, inheritances, or other fortunate windfalls. In the 10th house of career they represent very favorable social stature, and occurring by timing, they sponsor promotions, great new jobs, and other social honors. In the 9th chart they represent success and unusually clear understanding in (usually one of the) areas of law, religion, aviation, skydiving, foreign travel, languages, philosophy.

The planetary authors of almost all of our difficult feelings and experiences are mars and saturn, known to traditional astrology as the lesser and greater malefics, respectively.

  • Mars represents friction, fevers, tearing, strife, combativeness, martial. People with mars on an Angle, that is, forefront in their psyche, either use these qualities in their life or get used by them. If their charts are basically benevolent, they may be, for instance, successful athletes. If not, mars predominance turns harsher. By timing, mars is often on an Angle and predominant when an individual commits crimes of violence.

  • Saturn represents darkness, dryness, voids, losing, lack of self confidence, isolation, depression, and other such “anti-charismatic” qualities. It sponsors breakdowns and things not working. In descending the planetary "Tree of Life" (Search for "Tree of Life" in paper on autism) of incarnating, each being starts his process of becoming one individual human being at saturn. At that point he still lacks the planets of personality, found further down the Tree, needed in order to perceive and act as a person. So, forefront and predominant in charts saturn sponsors levels of existence lacking many of the pleasures and meaning of existence.

Mars and saturn together (square, opposition, or conjunction, or on differing Angles of the same chart but “summed”) with a light, on or influencing an Angle, create something I have called a dark malefic. By using that name I do not imply anything evil. The expression is used simply to imply the results most opposite to those of the golden benefic. Dark malefics are usually forefront in instances of all kinds of failure, serious accidents, death, hard lives, poor social image, and so on. How they manifest depends on the chart they are in and the houses they rule within that chart. When they are on Angles in any chart, whether on the same Angle or summed as on differing Angles, they always imply that area of the individual’s life is difficult.

Again, in isolating these four planets so we can see their general influence on Angles in charts of the twins I have had to over-simplify somewhat. We need all the planets in order to exist. Together they symbolize, and somehow promote, the material, emotional, psychological, and intellectual modes of existence we know as "our life."

So, specifically, when not in excess, mars and saturn work well, as they should, to sponsor meaningful and productive lives. Even when forefront, if they are also accompanied by forefront benefics like venus and jupiter, they have their useful place. For instance, mars and saturn are often forefront in the charts of explorers, boxers, and extreme sportsmen of all types. Then they show the difficulty of that particular lifestyle--its physical arduousness. Those people are famous and successful explorers or sportsmen if they also have 7th or 10th charts which contain forefront—usually golden--benefics. Otherwise they are “mars/saturn challenged." and remain anonymous.

Saturn forefront by timing sponsors some of our deepest, most individual, most humbling learning in life. It is a question of how much saturn. Too much and the individual gets buried in depression and difficulties without learning anything. Further, saturn sponsors part of the abstract part of intellect, especially good for comprehending symbols and patterns. So, for instance, it plays a part in being good at mathematics (mercury/saturn and mercury in Capricorn). As the ruler of Capricorn, an Earth sign which especially relates to interest in and capability with function, structure, and control, it is not surprising it figures in the Piccard brothers interest in material sciences.

Similarly for the planets of good fortune, venus and jupiter. In excess in certain ways they can sponsor difficulties, usually ones of excess or over-confidence. For instance, if the bounty that jupiter sponsors is used to compensate for some lack, people try to fill the hole with that bounty--which isn't usually related to the area in which they feel deficient. An example would be eating too much because one is lonely. Or, especially for men, trying to become a millionaire in order to find love. Money helps increase choices in partners, but in the end love and money are not related. People get greedy, dissimulate for their own ends, engage in too much sex, don’t even allow for the fact that they could fail, and so on. Their good fortune ends up being "too much of a good thing." It is not balanced by the prudence sponsored by the pitfalls of mars and saturn.

We can now get to looking at the Piccards’ charts.

In reading this paper keep in mind that there is no appreciable difference in position (by degree or sign) of any of the twins' planets, including their harmonics, though these latter diverge more in their later harmonics. So, the greatest difference by degree of their planets occurs in their 12th chart with the planet which moves fastest in the sky--the moon. August’s b12 moon is at 10 Leo 30; Jean’s at 8 Leo 32. August’s c12 moon is at 7 Scorpio 14; Jean’s, 5 Scorpio 32. For all practical purposes the rest of their planets, especially in lower charts (1st through 11th), are exactly the same. Since I show their charts below next to each other, it should be assumed that planets shown in one's chart are exactly the same in the other's. To save space and cut down on clutter, I have not shown those same planets in both charts.

We are not going to look at all twelve charts, just those which most help us see the difference in Auguste's and Jean's lives.

The Twins, Their Charts
We start with examination of the twins' shell charts. Any (non-harmonic) planet that falls on an Angle in the shell chart does so in all twelve charts. They are "constants" for that individual’s life.

In looking at planets on Angles, they can be on the same Angle, or on different Angles. When they are on different Angles—but nonetheless on Angles—they have a little more freedom from each other than when on the same Angle. On the same Angle they must either cooperate or compete. So when I am writing about planets on different Angles within the same chart and want to speak of their influence, I refer to them as “summed.”

After non-harmonic planets on Angles, we are interested in which harmonic planets fall on Angles, especially harmonics for venus, jupiter, mars, and saturn. These necessarily are different from one chart to the next for all twelve harmonic charts. Their accumulation from chart to chart can be summed to give us a reasonable statement, using astrology, of the demonstrated differences in the Piccards’ lives. I have created a Table in the Discussion part of this paper showing those summed conditions.

A complete shell chart includes all birth and conception planets (but not their harmonics). The shell is used as the unchanging foundation for all twelve charts. Addition of the harmonics creates the differing 12 charts. All shell planets are not shown here because all are not needed for the comparison. All house cusps are drawn in their shell charts, but after that only pertinent ones are shown.

Jean and Auguste Piccard, Their Shell Charts


Placidus Cusps11th 12th2nd 3rd------------------------11th12th2nd 3rd
Conception:20Vir13Lib3Sag 12Cap------------------------24Vir17Lib7Sag16Cap
Birth:29Can28Leo17Lib 18Sco------------------------2Leo1Vir20Lib22Sco

The astrological equivalent of the “explorer gene” is shown above as Set (2) in Auguste’s chart. It is about as simple and straightforward as could be possible. The sign of Sagittarius in astrology is natural ruler of the 9th house and both are correlated with law, philosophy, religion, travel in foreign countries, and a few other things. Exploring is a form of “travel in foreign countries.”

Auguste’s b mercury at 28 Sagittarius 56 is on an Angle with his B MC at 27 Gemini 46. Since it also rules both birth Angles, it acts like a light, making it even more powerful since the light part of it energizes the meaning of it even more. It is made even more powerful since it rules two Angles. Auguste is automatically (on an Angle) going to be involved in and know for one of the Sagittarian subjects listed in the previous paragraph.

Do I know right now which of those subjects is represented by Sagittarius in which charts of people? I do not. Right now I can only verify that emphasis, especially lights, in Sagittarius (and/or the 9th house emphasis)—as found in charts of explorers, philosophers, philologists, jurists, world travelers, skydivers, and saints holds up.

His brother, Jean will also be known as an explorer, just not quite so readily because Jean’s mercury on Sagittarius is not on his B MC. (My understanding is he is best known as an inventor.) That mercury, however, is a light in Sagittarius which influences two Angles. It is not weak, just not as strong as his brothers.

And both their mercuries in Sagittarius co-rule their 9th house, emphasizing the 9th house application of their mercuries, but a little more for Auguste.

Set (1) above, C Asc in Scorpio in the same set with c saturn in Taurus in Jean’s charts gives us the only Angle/saturn in either twins’ charts. It is a little less than a degree, and will come out more strongly every time a progression or return, and sometimes even transiting, light falls conjunction, square, or opposition it. Angle/saturn is anti-charismatic and supports breakdowns, failures, being misunderstood, acting contrary to one’s own best result, bad timing, and even social pratfalls. Along with not having his mercury in Sagittarius on an Angle, this set shows that Jean, but not Auguste, has the malefic saturn on an Angle.

Jean’s Angular saturn increases the likelihood he would be less successful as an “explorer” than his brother August. Here is the promised quote from the book which suggests Jean felt less successful, less feted, than his brother: When August arrived in America, though, Jean was unemployed…Although he was happy to see Auguste again, and to show him his new homeland, he resented his twin brother’s success and subsequent celebrity; they had been equally feted as youngster, and Jean had won a prestigious post at an American university before Auguste had even been awarded his doctorate…. [italics mine] (p. 76)

[On 10/22/1934] Jean and Jeanette’s balloon, the Century of Progress reached 57,979 ft. high. Jean had beaten his brother’s record, but not Settle’s. Jeanette became the first woman in the stratosphere: her female altitude record would stand for twenty-eight years until broken by Russian cosmonaut Valentina Terechkova… She also proved to be an erratic pilot, making several impulsive and unplanned manoeuvres. The landing was not the smoothest, either…The bag got caught on tree branches…The Piccards had set down on a farm near Cadiz, Ohio. Behind them, at the origin of the gondola’s trail of destruction, the huge gasbag hung dismal and empty on a tall elm…Asked by reporters whether she would repeat the flight, [Jeanette] said, “Oh, just give me the chance!”

The Piccards were never given the chance, though. Jean worked for the thrill of revealing a hitherto unknown, of going where no one else had gone before, but he would not manage to return to the stratosphere. Anxious for the fame that August had won, the American Piccards thought that their stratospheric flight would make them celebrities (they became minor ones for a while) and lead to lucrative university positions…But theirs had been the eighth stratospheric balloon flight and the novelty was wearing off; they had not even set an altitude record, and the scientific results of their flight had been negligible…

Still, Jean and Jeanette wrote to dozens of colleges, trying to secure teaching posts in chemistry and even presidencies, but received only rejections. [italics mine] {Eventually Jean secured a non-tenured professorship at Minnesota in 1936, teaching and conducting aeronautical studies. Jean would no longer be a chemist, but a full-time aeronaut. (pp. 81-82).

Oddly, we find this quote on the brothers in the Wikipedia biography of Jeanette Piccard (Jean’s wife, fellow balloonist, chemist and minister): DeVorkin [David DeVorkin, curator of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, who wrote a history of manned scientific ballooning.] wrote that Jean Piccard lived his whole life in the shadow of his brother, whose success in ballooning he wanted to emulate.

Their differing position relative to ease of social success are further delineated through Set (3), shown above in Auguste’s shell chart. It shows C MC in the same set with moon/venus/uranus in Leo. The uranus is more than two degrees past his C MC, but the presence of c moon between them increases, including both uranus and venus on an Angle. So, August has one shell benefic on an Angle—venus. He is going to appear more couth, more victorious, more pleasing than his brother.

Jean’s moon/venus/uranus does not include a ruler of an Angle. Neither is it on an Angle. So it is not nearly as strong as his brother’s set, and accordingly, he is less famous., less innovative. He nonetheless has moon conjunction uranus in his c 10th house of career, so he is still seen an quite an innovator as is shown by the number of his inventions in aeronatics.

With a few final comments we can leave the shell chart. Note that both brothers have b sun and b moon in Capricorn in birth 3rd house of mind. These show both their interests in the physical sciences. And both have the b mars at 20 Cancer 33. I have mars in the 10th house and I majored in chemistry, as did Jean. (I think it also goes with surgeons.)

Both brothers have jupiter, exalted in Cancer at 5 Cancer 13, in their b 10th houses and lighted by c sun at 5 Aries 20. Jupiter, the greater benefic, in the 10th all by itself shows a certain degree of success.

And both brothers have sun and mercury in Aries, with those suns ruling their C MCs. This is another part of their explorer signature. It shows some one who wants to be the first one to have done something, as in exploring space. It also likely created a certain amount of unavoidable competition between the brothers.

Jean and August Piccard, The 3rd Chart of Mind
Our 3rd charts contain information about the way our minds work though certainly not exclusively so since we are, ultimately, a product of consciousness and the whole chart shows what type of consciousness. The 3rd chart also has proven to contain information about conditions like SIDS, mental retardation, bipolar disease, schizophrenia, and certain forms of brain dysfunction. For instance, it was the main chart showing the absence at birth of a child’s corpus callosum, the fibers in the brain which connect its right and left hemispheres. Here is the link to that paper (search for “Ian” within the paper): Example of Missing Corpus Callosum at Birth .

Placidus Cusps11th 12th2nd 3rd------------------------11th12th2nd 3rd
Conception:20Vir13Lib3Sag 12Cap------------------------24Vir17Lib7Sag16Cap
Birth:29Can28Leo17Lib 18Sco------------------------2Leo1Vir20Lib22Sco

Set (6) above shows how Auguste’s shell chart MC-mercury in Sagittarius got developed in his mind chart. Receiving both a light (intensified) and a jupiter in Pisces (blessed), his “explorer gene” is magnified mentally and its fruits are sure to be recognized (Angle/jupiter-in-Pisces). Remember, Jean has the same set, but it is not Angular although its mercury rules both B Angles. His is just a matter of “less potent.”

Set (4) (the same in both charts) falls in birth 3rd house of mind (showing interests) and shows that their Earth sciences moon Capricorn has been made more inventive and innovative by receiving a conjunction from uranus, the planet of innovation.

When we add to it their c3 moon at 11 Sagittarius 09, c3 uranus at 13 Sagittarius 35, and b3 SN at 16 Sagittarius 14 in birth 3rd house (interest in) we see the combination of innovation and invention (uranus) regarding aviation (Sagittarius), and structure and function/Earth sciences (Capricorn).

Set (4) has some other planets in it. They are:

Full Set (4) b3 uranus23 Capricorn 33
b moon 24 Capricorn 19co-ruler (30 of 34°) of b 10th house
b3 venus 22 Aries 51
c neptune24 Aries 39
b mars 20 Cancer 33ruler of b 3rd house
c3 mars 26 Cancer 50ruler of C Asc
c3 jupiter 20 Libra 00

This set has some wide orbs, so is less potent than a close set. The b moon at 24 Capricorn 19 is the light that ties them all into one set (otherwise, the two mars are completely separate from each other). Note it contains light/mars/neptune with influence to an Angle and a 3rd house, the set that occurs in paranoid schizophrenia. But as has been stated in papers about that malady, uranus in the set appears always to mitigate against such an experience. Moreover, though opposition, the set includes venus and jupiter, representing states of joy, not states of unhinged free association.

Finally, Set (4) contains light/mars/uranus with influence to a 3rd house and an Angle, sponsoring mental states of courage and daring—a set that almost of necessity occurs in charts of explorers (of Earth, space, or ocean). 33,000 feet altitude in a modern jet is already too high for me. Ten miles in a little enclosed bubble? Inconceivable.

Set (5) occurs only in Jean’s chart. It shows that his B Asc is in the same set with b3 saturn in Gemini. Considering how intelligent he already is, this Angle/saturn doesn’t do much to decrease his intelligence as it could in more afflicted charts. Saturn in Gemini is like a conjunction of mercury (Gemini) and saturn, which is seen in charts of those involved in very detailed work, including, I imagine, focus on the details of inventions. An example from my files--it occurs conjunct North Node in the chart of one of the early (starting in 1967) computer programmers, a woman. Since it is in Jean's b 9th house (explorer) and co-rules his b 4th (end of life), it could be interpreted as depression (saturn) late in life (4th) resulting from the fact that his accomplishments as a balloonist (9th) were not as recognized as those of his brother.

We finish this chart with a comment about Set (7), which occurs on an Angle in August’s chart, but not Jean’s. However, in this chart b3 mercury, ruler of B MC and B Asc has entered the set, giving it double Angle influence. So now it also has strong influence in Jean’s chart (as well as his brother’s). Containing moon/mercury/uranus it means both twins are (and are seen as) very intelligent and innovative—fine inventors. Combined with the moon/uranus in Capricorn in their b 3rd house (Set 4), it is a wonderful combination for scientific inventions. The Leo/c 10th house part of the set encourages pride in accomplishment and a desire to show off their accomplishments to the public.

Before we leave this chart we want to see two of the sets in Auguste’s 3rd chart for his successful first balloon ascension—to 51, 775 feet (9.8 miles)—from Augsburg, Germany on January 27, 1931. Remember his B MC (at 27 Gemini 46) in the same set with c3 sun (26 Sagittarius 45), b mercury (28 Sagittarius 58) and b3 jupiter (26 Pisces 04) in set (6) above. On the date of the ascent it picked up pb3 venus at 27 Pisces 22, giving him a conjunction of venus and jupiter in Pisces on an Angle and with sun/mercury, and influencing two Angles. Return3 uranus at 28 Virgo 21, return Asc at 27 Gemini 30, and return NN at 27 Pisces 19 were also in the set. This is a powerful 3rd chart golden benefic for the event.

Return jupiter at 23 Gemini 47 was in the same set with his B Asc at 23 Virgo 34. And he has a second one involving his return planets for Augsburg for that date.

Set (8) pB Asc28 Libra 26
return3 venus 28 Libra 11
return3 jupiter28 Capricorn 54

As can be seen, Auguste had not only been high in the air, he was high in spirit during and following this successful ascent.

Jean and August Piccard, The 6th Chart of Health and Service
Like all the charts, they have a usual meaning and sometimes an unusual one. Usually the 6th chart contains information about health. It also contains information about service. In doing so, it may also contain, for instance, spiritual information. Such was the case with Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dag Hammerskjöld. He had always been service-oriented, but when he became Secretary-General, his service was so magnified that his 6th chart became his center-of-gravity chart for the rest of his life. And it was his 6th chart which showed his primarily hidden mystical bent. Here is the link to that paper: Paper on Dag Hammarskjöld .

We are interested in the Piccard brothers’ 6th chart because it contains the information about their death from a heart attack at age 78 (Auguste) and age 79 (Jean). Auguste died in Lausanne, Switzerland while his brother, Jean, died in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Their heart conditions can be compared to the much more severe 6th chart astrology for early death from a heart condition (inflammation, at age 29) of twin Jennifer Gibbons. Here is the link to that paper: Paper on Gibbons Twins and June's Death from Heart Attack.

[November 2014] There is now a whole paper on heart deaths. Here is the link: 28 Cases, Newborn Serious Heart Defects, Adult Deaths from Heart Attack and Heart Failure.. I will shortly also be publishing a paper on another set of twins--one died of a heart attack and the other of cancer. That link will be Kray Brothers, Ron Died of Heart Atack, His Brother Reginald of Cancer.

Also now available is the astrology of the death from heart attack of Enron CEO Ken Lay. Here is that link: Ken Lay's Death from Heart Attack.

At the outset of this paper I explained the problem verifying birth times of Jean and Auguste. Above, in discussing Auguste’s 3rd chart astrology for his first balloon ascent, it became clear at least that his given time of birth could easily be his correct (to the minute) time of birth because of the planets that fell on Angles in that astrology.

The only usable date we can use for looking at Jean’s time of birth was the date of his 1st Century of Progress ascent on October 23, 1934. On that date his 3rd chart was not the benefic one. His 10th was (it could have been either or his 7th). On that date he made is above the 10-mile stratospheric limit. It was certainly a big win for him and his wife in spite of the fact it did not lead to the job offers they wanted. Two of the following pertinent benefic sets showed up in his 10th chart (there were more than two):

Set (9) pc10 uranus 14 Pisces 00co-ruler (20 of 38°) of c 3rd house
pb10 mercury 14 Pisces 41ruler of B MC, B Asc, and co-ruler, b 9th house—a light
c10 venus 14 Pisces 47
pc jupiter 14 Gemini 12

Set (9) is a 10th chart golden benefic showing success (Angular influence) and joy (3rd house) in Jean’s flight endeavor (9th house). It influences two Angles, but it does not fall on an Angle, so we cannot use it to check his time of birth.

They took off from Dearborn, Michigan.

Set (10) pb10 jupiter16 Taurus 19co-ruler (24 of 36°) of b 9th house
return Asc 16 Taurus 51 14 Pisces 47
b venus 16 Aquarius 33ruler of b 9th house

We cannot use the above to prove Jean’s time of birth is correct to the minute, but it certainly supports that belief.

We want to have believe the twins’ time of birth is correct because in the sets below I am going to do something I seldom do with this method. In looking at their sets for their deaths, we are going to include locality Angles and harmonics of their birth, conception Angles. In the 6th chart, for every ½° that the time of birth is off (that would involve approximately two minutes of actual time of birth), these harmonics of their Angles will be off by 8 times that amount, or 4°! Errors like that are unusable. But as will be seen, both men had very appropriate harmonics of Angles for their death.

As a convention, harmonics of Angles are written in brackets. Even more than their regular Angles, harmonics of the men’s Angles are unique to each. They are not shared.

Placidus Cusps11th 12th2nd 3rd------------------------11th12th2nd 3rd
Conception:20Vir13Lib3Sag 12Cap------------------------24Vir17Lib7Sag16Cap
Birth:29Can28Leo17Lib 18Sco------------------------2Leo1Vir20Lib22Sco

Examination of the 6th chart of Jennifer Gibbons, who died of heart disease at age 29, shows summed sun/mars/saturn on Angles.

The above sets certainly do not suggest anything like that.

November, 2014 That paper on heart conditions has bow been posted on site and is available at Paper on Infant Heart Defects, Adult Heart Attacks, and Adult Heart Failure

Jean has summed sun/saturn on Angles from Sets (11) and (12). Set (11) involves his birth sun and the harmonic of his birth Midheaven and is shown below as Set (11a)—the precipitating set for both brothers death.

Jean’s conception locality MC for Minneapolis is at 12 Taurus 23, in the same set with his c6 mars at 12 Aquarius 52, his pc saturn at 12 Taurus 17, and his return6 sun at 12 Aquarius 43. .

Jean’s progressed conception locality Asc for date of death was at 21 Cancer 08, just slightly past the conjunction to his b mars at 20 Cancer 24 and his b6 saturn at 20 Cancer 51..

Here is how Jean’s Set (11) developed into Set (11a):

Set (11a) return saturn14 Capricorn 40
b sun 15 Capricorn 20
harmonic of pB MC [14 Aries 43]
progressed c SN15 Aries 45coming from 18 Aries 13 at conception
harmonic of B MC14 Cancer 02
pb mars15 Cancer 43ruler of b 9th house

Set (11a) above shows sun/mars/saturn, with a node, on two Angles. Jean’s death was 10 months after Auguste’s, so his mars to his sun is later, getting ready to leave the set. It is the node and Angles which kept it in the set for so long.

While not shown here, additional requirements (necessary but not necessarily sufficient) for death for any one involves mars and saturn to Angles as well as lighted mars and lighted saturn in 4th houses. The latter occurred, but are not shown here. The occurrence of all of this astrology in the 6th chart shows its application to a health issue.

Saturn in the above set is a little below the set. But as we shall see, it is similarly placed 10 months earlier for Auguste’s death. Again, the Angles and nodes allow it to have earlier influence than would normally be the case. Below Auguste’s astrology for death there is a table showing saturn’s movement by transit from the time period before Auguste’s death and after Jean’s, helping support the idea that the saturn for both their sun/mars/saturn sets indeed came from transiting (or return) saturn.

August has even less in his 6th chart suggesting a heart condition.. Set (13) above shows us Angle/2 mars, with the Angle being the harmonic of B MC. Set (14) is the harmonic of an Angle, but it does not even come into play until around the date of Auguste’s death.

For his date of death, Auguste’s Set (14) with [B MC] at 12 Leo 11 and c6 mars at 12 Aquarius 56 picks up pc saturn at 12 Taurus 11. Unlike with Jean, it does not acquire a sun.

Auguste’s Set (14) with [C MC at 14 Scorpio 54] picks up pb saturn at 14 Taurus 29.

Auguste’s p C MC at 10 Scorpio 12 is in the same set with his b saturn at 10 Taurus 06.

His pc mars at 4 Taurus 16 is in the same set with C Asc at 4 Scorpio 38.

Auguste’s b sun, which is not even a numbered set above, shows the following astrology to his birth sun for his date of death:

Set (15) pC Asc14 Capricorn 27
transiting saturn14 Capricorn 38(return saturn was at 13 Capricorn 17)
b sun 15 Capricorn 21
progressed c SN15 Aries 54coming from 18 Aries 13 at conception
pb mars15 Cancer 43ruler of b 9th house

The similarity between Jean’s Set (11a) and Auguste’s Set (15) is considerable.

But did transiting (or return) saturn really act as the only saturn in those sets for their death? When a planet becomes stationary retrograde, it appears, relative to our viewpoint on Earth, as if it is moving backwards. When it turns stationary direct, that apparent backward movement ceases and the planet appears to again be moving forward again. In reality, planets do not move "backwards." Sun-centered, or heliocentric, astrology does not record these apparent reverses. But most astrology is not sun-centered, it is Earth-centered, as is this form, which is just another way of stating that most of us see the universe from our (subjective) perspective on Earth. In Earth-centered astrology, these apparent positions of the planets moving backward and forward through the signs are as valid as if they were actually occurring. Below is the table with shows saturn’s movement--when it turned direct (SD) and when it started moving backward (SR)--over the time period covering the deaths of the two scientists. We are interested in the fact that it covered a wide range during that time but that it was very near the same position when each died:

DatePosition of Transiting SaturnStationary Retrograde or Direct? Date of Death of
May 9, 19615 Capricorn 40SR
September 27, 196124 Sagittarius 02SDAuguste died on 3/25/1962
May 22, 196217 Capricorn 10SR
October 9, 196210 Capricorn 32SDJean died on 1/28/1963
May 29, 196328 Capricorn 52SR
October 28, 196322 Capricorn 15SD

Clearly, both died when their progressed node/sun/mars with varying accompanying Angles picked up transiting (or return) saturn in nearly the same position. Considering that saturn was in movement all the time in the interval between their deaths, it appears, indeed, to contribute the crucial saturn to the progressed sun/mars/saturn sets representative of their heart attacks.

Auguste Piccard and Jean Piccard
Picture from

These are all the charts we want to look at for this paper. Both Jean and Auguste have 10th chart astrology that shows Angle/venus plus a set with 2sun/2jupiter with influence to two Angles. That is, both had summed golden benefics. But Jean still had that C Asc in the same set with his b saturn at 2 Taurus 22 (discussed in the shell chart) which worked against his success. He also had the misfortune to have his B Asc at 20 Virgo 47 in the same set with c10 uranus at 20 Pisces 32. Uranus in Pisces is never good on an Angle. It introduces too many fluctuations and unpleasant surprises. Auguste’s B Asc at 23 Virgo 34 is not in a set with that uranus.

The Piccard brothers shared some similarities with the Gibbons twins. Jennifer Gibbons started out life with a shell Angle/saturn as did Jean Piccard. But Jennifer’s saturn was progressing toward her Angle (which it did during her childhood, making a dark, difficult childhood), while Jean’s started out progressing away from his C Asc. He never went through the discouraging difficulties, sometimes death, represented by slow secondary saturn progressing over an Angle.

June Gibbons and Auguste Piccard started out life with a shell Angle/venus. Unlike their twins, not only did they not have the "downer" saturn, but they even had an all-charts "upper" venus. On the kabbalistic Tree of Life, the sephirot in the spot identified with venus is labeled "Victory." With them every harmonic chart that contributed an Angle/jupiter thus constituted a chart with a golden benefic, suggesting good fortune and success. We know that one of those harmonic Angle/jupiters occurred in Auguste’s 3rd chart of mind, suggesting the creations of his mind would know more "success" than did Jean's, who did not have it.

The Piccards and Gibbonses depart similarities in two ways. Jennifer’s harmonic charts developed far more Angle/mars than did Jean’s, creating charts with both mars and saturn on Angles which in turn sponsored her more difficult life and social reputation. (I like to think that spending ten years committed to Broadmoor, an institution for the mentally insane, was objectively more difficult than not having the experience...) Jean Piccard did not suffer that. In fact, having had a marvelous helpmate, an interesting and productive professional life, and raised children besides his own, Jean's life was rather rich.

Jennifer Gibbons’ 6th chart astrology for her death from heart disease is far more developed malefically to begin with than are the 6th charts of the Piccard twins. Nonetheless, all three end up with conditions which are similar in suggesting their deaths from heart disease.

All in all, the similarities and differences between the charts of the Gibbons and the Piccards are reflective of the radical differences in their lives.

Jean's feeling that he spent his whole life in the shadow of his brother's accomplishments is a statement of comparison that should never have been made, never started. Jean was not exactly like his brother. One cannot do the same thing with saturn on an Angle that can be done without it. In similar charts, like those shared by Auguste and Jean, it turned out to be a lifelong "separator," providing different challenges to Jean. "Successfully" handled--admittedly a quality hard to measure, it could yield different, primarily internal rewards.

The many papers on twins on this site showing the astrology of their sometimes radically different fates should be enough to show how unfair, how wrong, is the burden of lifelong comparison. Some twins are more alike than others. It doesn't take a great difference in their time of birth to create radical differences. It all depends on whether or not very different planets fall on their differing Angles.

Objectively Jean's "load" in life was different from Auguste's. But the tricky part for twins is that they were born at nearly the same time having similar-looking bodies, so every one, including the twins themselves, believes they are "the same." They are not.

Twinflower, a member of the honeysuckle family
From Wildflowers of Michigan Field Guide, by Stan Tekiela

Data Acknowledgments
Letters following each name show the Rodden rating for data reliability.

Jean Piccard
Birth: 1/28/1884, 10:45 p.m. LMT, Basel, Switzerland. From Astrodatabank: Wemyss FN No. 143 quotes records. Same in Astrosophie, 1112/1936, from B.R. Conception:4/18/1883, 9:11:17 pm LMT, Basel, Switzerland.

Auguste Piccard
Birth: 1/28/1884, 11:00 p.m. LMT, Basel, Switzerland. From Astrodatabank: Wemyss FN No. 143 quotes records. Same in Astrosophie, 1112/1936, from B.R. Conception:4/18/1883, 9:27:26 pm LMT, Basel, Switzerland.

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