The Birthday Paradox

Explore James' Teachings and Insights on All Things Spiritual

The Birthday Paradox

Feb 22, 2020 | JVP's Blog

When I was younger, my teacher once demonstrated something to the class that I thought was pretty amazing. She predicted that in classroom of 30 children, at least two classmates would share the same birthday. That didn’t seem likely to me! There were more than ten times as many days in the year as there were children in my classroom. But sure enough, when we all wrote our birthdays on the board, there were two that were identical. Intrigued, but a little skeptical, I asked if I could go around to a few other classrooms and see if they also had two students who shared a birthday. She gave me permission, and to my surprise only one classroom at of the six or seven I surveyed didn’t have a match – and one classroom had two pairs of matching birthdays.

Later on, I remembered that exercise, which is actually called “the birthday paradox,”  when I was mapping out astrological charts for a group of friends. I had recently gotten interested in astrology and was practicing creating charts by hand. Before smart phones, there wasn’t an app that would create a detailed astrological profile in seconds. As I laboriously plugged in data, I  realized why some of my friends who shared an astrological sign – even those with an identical birthday—were so different.

If my teacher had not only been looking for children in the class who not only shared the same birthday  but were also born at the same time in the same place – the odds against that would be ASTRONOMICAL!

That’s why people who call themselves Leos, or Virgos, or Capricorns might have a few similar qualities, but be very different overall. There are actually three things that combine to create a large part of your astrological profile (and there’s even more beyond that). You actually have many signs in your birth chart — one for each of the significant celestial bodies in the solar system.

When you know the exact date, time, and place of your birth, that’s when you can create a chart that gives you real insight into your personality, your characteristics, and your relationships. And best of all, there are all kinds of apps for that!

Here comes your sun sign!
Your sun sign is the most popular and well-known part of your chart. For many people, it’s the only sign they know – but I’m trying to change that! The sun sign is usually what someone is referring to when they ask you what your sign is. All you need to identify your sun sign is the month and date of your birth. So no digging out birth certificates or calling up mom required!

Your Sun sign determines how you act. Your sun sign is associated with your ego, how you present yourself to the world. It influences your actions, your careers, and your skills, and your creativity.

Rising awareness
The spot on the eastern horizon, where the sun met the earth on the exact moment you were born is your rising sign and it rules the first house on the chart (the house of self). The position of the sun and the planets on the horizon changes often, which is why you need the exact time and place of your birth to determine it.

Your rising sign gives you a big clue about how you appear to people at first glance – how the world perceives you. It represents both your self-image and the image you present to others.

Reflecting on your moon sign
The third main component of your chart is your moon sign and it’s determined by  where the moon was when you were born. Your moon sign is all about the deep stuff, like your emotions, your subconscious, those parts of your personality that hide way below the surface. My moon sign is in Sagittarius. Sagittarius is the mystic, teacher and therapist. That makes sense, because deep down, I’m a healer and a counselor.

Interestingly, there are a lot of Sagittarius’s in my life. That’s no coincidence! People are usually drawn to someone who has a moon sign that matches their sun sign. So, for example, people whose sun is in Sagittarius tend to be drawn to me because of my Sag moon- either as a mate, a teacher or in a business relationship.