The general hypothesis claims that astrology is the cosmology that modern physicists are seeking, and more specifically, that the astrological model that claims a correspondence between the configuration of heavenly bodies in the sky and earthly events is valid.

The working hypothesis claims that this can be demonstrated with photographs by showing that strong similarities between subjects' birthcharts are also visible in their appearances - that the Shape of Time is visible in our faces.

This correlational study explores whether people who share the same Sun, Moon & Ascendant will resemble each other to a greater degree than those who do not share those factors. It is hoped that these resemblances will be perceptible to viewers and measurable with facial recognition software.


The resemblances that can be seen in the photos are not due to close genetic relationships, and are only correlated to the astrological similarities between the birthtimes of the subjects. This correlation involves astrological factors that are perceptible and measurable. These relationships indicate that Time itself has a shape, a structure of amazing subtlety, and is not simply a progression of random movements of existing material.

This implies that we may be able to prove that we live in an integral, holistic, designed and created world and not an accidental conglomeration of energy and matter. Verification of Astrology would invite modern scientists to approach the metaphysical paradigm.

The metaphysical and mystical traditions say that the physical world is essentially an illusion, and that ultimate reality does not depend upon time and space. Life creates the world as a set of principles and inhabits it, infusing the abstract lines of the world and fleshing it out, activating the qualities of reality - light, color, heat, identity, gravity, form, span, movement, cycles, imprints, ripples and wakes, memory, integrity and unity, duplication, self-similarity, conformity, scale and proportion, balance, relationships, synthesis, expansion, continuity, structure, range, layering, levels, diversity, illumination, inertia, entropy, chaos, etc.

All lives and existences are integral threads of time itself. The time we appear in the world as a unique identity is our 'fingerprint', our stamp, our lifelong cloak and no two times are identical.

Although no two times are identical, times are made of repeating elements (Every Spring and Summer, every systole and diastole, etc..) and therefore they share patterns, so that there are resemblances.

The Shape of Time shows in our faces. The resemblances that can be seen in the photos are correlated to three astrological factors shared by the subjects - the Sun, Moon and Ascendant signs at birth. The photos which cluster on these factors can be viewed as a layer of markers which outlines the patterns of Time. This layer of markers is a correlation between the physical appearance and the configuration of the sky at birth.

Verification of the resemblances and the correlation support the following argument:

  • Astrological factors (eg: zodiac signs, etc) are distinct, perceptible and measurable and we can speak of them as patterns in Time. These patterns are the interactions of the archetypal principles of Time.
  • The existence of this layer of markers means that we partake intimately of the same patterns of Time that are ascribed to the configuration of the sky. It means that anything that is created or born is formed in the patterns of the moment of Time into which it appears as an identity. The creation of each identity in Time involves archetypally symbolic natural principles.
  • This layer of markers shows that Time is not simply the progression of movements of existing energy and material, but that Time can be seen to have a shape with real meaning and physical symbolism that applies at every scale - large and small. Time has a structure of amazing subtlety which is completely inter-related, and to which everything that exists is integral, a condition that includes us as well as the planets and sub-atomic particles.

Verification of the Shape of Time implies that we may be able to prove that we live in an organic and created world and not in an accidental conglomeration of random energy & matter. This will encourage modern science to approach the metaphysical paradigm including the basis of spiritual experience and religious tradition - the awareness that we are participants in a complete and meaningful universe.

Astrology is a cosmology that describes the world as existing within the Shape of Time according to abstract principles which provide a framework for the universe. It is our (Life's) participation that fills out the world and makes it real. Every moment in Time is unique in symbol and meaning. Each life and every existence is an actual thread of Time. Verification of Astrology will bring to light a model for modern science that can serve as a unifying template.

The Education of Children:

K-12 Educators are invited to visit the Groupings site to review a system that uses Astrology to enhance the education of children.

Astrology declares that there exists innate individuality. If this were to become common knowledge, it would work in the educational systems to help strengthen children's individuality and create healthier self-esteem and socialization.

Children suffer from the message of reductionist materialism that says that the world is "nothing but chemicals and energy". A view of the world as an random accident, empty of meaning, is very destructive & disheartening.

In contrast, Astrology tells of an astonishingly comprehensive and subtle integrity of time that includes our temporal lives. When children learn that they are part of, even co-creators of, a living meaningful world, they are strengthened and ennobled. Children thrive when they know that they are important.

Much of the self-image of today's youth is based on a narrow set of images and styles. If children do not closely fit the model, they can be strongly affected in a very negative way. This may contribute to the prevalence of anorexia and the use of steroids and diet drugs in the attempt to transform to fit the socially highlighted models of physical attractiveness. Since this research highlights the natural characteristics and style of each grouping, it points out that there are many different physical styles, and can help widen society's definitions of beauty.

Science & Religion:

Astrology can bridge the divide between science and religion as a cosmological model that includes the living, meaningful character of the universe. If modern science can outgrow the reductionist materialist view, then religious people will be able to outgrow their fearful stance toward modern science.

Science & Technology:

If facial recognition software analysis yields indices of similarity within groups that are significantly greater than those between groups, then modern science will have statistical verification of a correlation between physical measurements and a set of Astrological factors. We will have measurable, duplicable & verifiable indicators of the validity of Astrology.

This would invite scientists to openly explore the metaphysical paradigm, starting with Astrology, and to re-examine the extant Astrological research in a new light.

Astrology describes a world made of an integral set of principles. If physicists seriously examine these principles, they could soon find the coveted mathematical 'Grand Unification Theory' or 'Theory of Everything'. This will certainly change modern technology. It is speculated that the 'GUT' or 'TOE' would lead to virtually free energy, which in turn would tremendously improve our social systems by dramatically simplifying the world's economies.

Those in the fields of psychology and medicine will also be encouraged to investigate astrological definitions and research regarding personality and character and the connection with the body.

Astrological Birthtime Rectification:

One benefit would be the appearance of a new tool for use in Astrological birth time rectification. In addition to the usual methods, progressions and transits, the astrologer could also use this kind of photographic database to check for a resemblance.

Close or long-term groupings (eg: space exploration, rescue teams):

Astrology can be used to determine which individuals will work together more happily, harmoniously and efficiently in long term projects - for example in spacecraft traveling several months to explore other planets.

Police Departments sketch artists:

This sort of database could be incorporated into the identification procedure which is used to recreate the faces of perpetrators from the descriptions of witnesses. It is well known that recognition is more reliable than description. The witness or victim of the crime could browse through the groups of photos, and find the group that most closely resembled their remembered image of the perpetrator. The police artist would then have a closely matched set of models from which to start. They could then focus on individual characteristics.

The photos can also help in cases where age progression is needed. Children who have been missing for a long time change, but in predictable ways. The photos of older people in the same groupings can help focus the graphic prediction.

Reconstructive Surgery:

A database of this sort would be of practical benefit to those cosmetic surgeons who perform reconstructive surgery on perinatally deformed children. The surgeon could incorporate the photos of the birth time group into their study of the patient's facial structure when preparing the model for the surgical reconstruction.

Facial Recognition Software:

The next generation of facial recognition software might be improved by the incorporation of the spectrum of astrological archetypal faces.

Methods of the Current Stage

The Sun, Moon and Ascendant signs are the three most prominent factors in a chart and so were chosen as the threshold criteria for visual resemblance in this study. If more factors (Mercury, Venus & Mars, the house positions of the planets, etc) were included in the set of threshold indicators, the resemblances would become even more vivid. The threshold was limited to the Sun, Moon and Ascendant because of the numbers of people involved. Only about 2000 people share the same Sun, Moon Ascendant, Mercury, Venus and Mars, and although the resemblances would be striking, it would be very difficult to organize the project at that level.

There are 1728 combinations (123) of Sun, Moon & Ascendant. Of the more than humans on earth, approximately 3.400.000 share each Sun, Moon and Ascendant configuration. Of course, these people belong to both genders, a range of ages, ethnic and racial groups, and also have planets rising and in conjunction with the Lights (the Sun & Moon). Thus the appearances are modified further.

  • Photos and birthdata are submitted by self-chosen participants and by astrologers. Some respondents send only the signs of the Sun, Moon and Ascendant, while others send complete birth data - date, time and location.
  • If the birth data are available, the Sun, Moon and Ascendant signs are calculated in the Tropical system.
  • All photos are then labeled with the subjects' Sun, Moon & Ascendant signs and uploaded to the complete database on the web. All photos are included in the database. Photos for which the moon or ascendant signs are unknown are labeled with a question mark.
  • The photos are also evaluated for inclusion in the "Clearest Similarities" pages which are prepared by the researcher with comments to summarize and illustrate the point of the study.
    • Photos from the same row are included in the Clearest Groups if there is an easily perceptible resemblance.
    • Photos from adjacent rows may be placed together with speculation about the accuracy of the recorded birth time. These are clearly labeled. See the section on Problems for a detailed explanation of this speculation.
    • A few photos are placed from non-adjacent rows to point out similarities that are not simply identical SMA - eg opposite moons. These are clearly labeled.
  • A set of cgi programs create web pages to display the photos that match the selected view. If requested, the respondents' or contributor's name, email or homepage are visible beneath the photo in the raw data views (Select Photos,SM Rows,SMA Rows).

Preliminary Findings for the Current Stage

Even though this is an uncontrolled, informal pilot stage of the study, most people recognize the similarities between those in the clearest SMA groups. One woman, when seeing a photo of someone else in her row, described herself as feeling "a kind of Deja Vu'". Several people have noted, when seeing a photo of an older person in their row, that they feel they will resemble the other person when they reach that age. The resemblances found in the identical groups tend to support the hypothesis that the Sun, Moon & Ascendant are indeed all expressed in the physical appearance. The degree of similarity when the Sun, Moon and Ascendant match is about the same as a strong family resemblance between siblings or parents and children. The similarities seem to show in the general shape and expressive forms of the face and features.

Additional Shared Planets:

It's likely that some of the better resemblances are due to shared Mercury or Venus. For example, for each Sun sign position, there are three possible Mercury positions - the preceding sign, the same sign and the succeeding sign. This gives three more groupings. It would be possible to categorize these once there are many more photos.

Four additional differences due to SM house positions:

Even when subjects' Sun, Moon and Ascendant are identical there are four differences that can be present. These are the house positions of the Sun and Moon.

For example, a subject may have an Aries 'zodiac face': Sun, Moon and Ascendant in Aries. However, the Sun in Aries could be in 1st house or 12th house, and the Moon in Aries could be in 1st house or 12th house. Thus, even though the subjects share the same Sun, Moon & Ascendant sign positions, there are four possible subgroups due to the house positions of the Lights (Sun & Moon).

  • Sun in 12th and Moon in 12th
  • Sun in 12th and Moon in 1st
  • Sun in 1st and Moon in 12th
  • Sun in 1st and Moon in 1st
  • In a finer-grained stage, these would be identified. It is expected that there would be a closer resemblance between those subjects who share house positions as well as sign positions of the Sun and Moon. For one possible example see Clearest Similarities and select the SMA group Sun-Sco/Moon-Can/Asc-Lib. There seem to be two sub-groups. It is also possible that the subjects in one of the subgroups simply had their births recorded several minutes late and they actually have Virgo rising.

    The Part of Fortune may play a role:

    Another sub-group related to the groups described above may be indicated by the house position of the Part of Fortune. This is the point on the zodiac that has the same angular relationship to the Ascendant as the Moon has to the Sun. Some astrologers use it as a point of synthesis of the Sun, Moon & Ascendant.

    For example, two subjects with the same SMA could have a wide difference between the angle of the Sun and Moon. In one chart, the Fortuna might be in the ninth house, while in the other chart, it could be in the tenth. This would indicate a significant difference in outlook and typical expression. Fortuna in the ninth would indicate an attraction to sports and outdoor life, while a position a few degrees later in the tenth house would indicate an attraction to business and perhaps political life. The appearance would also reflect the differences.

    Planets in the first house contribute resemblances and differences:

    A planet in the first house can be expected to contribute a great deal to the appearance and to a certain resemblance. For example, two people with Mars in the first house will share something in their appearance and character regardless of the respective signs of the planet.

    Conversely, a planet can contribute to a difference in appearance. Two subjects may share SMA, but a planet in the first house of one subject will modify the appearance strongly.

    A difference in 'look' may also be expected when a planet is transiting the subject's first house when the subject is photographed. For example, most people with Aquarius or Capricorn rising who were photographed in 2003 will have Neptune transiting through their first house. They may seem to have quite a different look than in their photographs of previous years.

    Opposites can resemble each other:

    If the Sun or Moon or Ascendant of one subject are opposite those of the other subject, there can also be a striking resemblance. Opposites signs are related. For example see Sun Tau, Moon Gem Asc Lib. Next to her is a Sun Tau, Moon Sag, whose Asc was recorded in Scorpio but suspected by the researcher to actually be in Libra. The Moons are opposite.

    Resemblances may be due to a shared ascendant element:

    If the Sun and Moon are in the same signs, and the Ascendants are different but in the same element (fire, earth, air, water) or opposite, there can be a certain resemblance.

    Ruler of the Ascendant may contribute to stronger resemblances:

    Another key to the stronger resemblances may be the sign position of the ruler of the Ascendant sign. For example: Mercury is the Ruler of Gemini. Thus, you may see a stronger resemblance between two subjects who have Sun Leo, Moon Cancer, Asc Gemini with Mercury in Cancer than between either of them and another subject with the same SMA with Mercury in Leo. Thanks to Astrologer Jen Luffman for noting the importance of the Ascendant Rulerships.

    Problems with the Current Stage
    Photographic Difficulties:

    The most serious problem is the inconsistent quality of the photographs and the general limitations of a single photo to capture the features and expression. Some of the photographs are of photo portrait quality while others are simple snapshots. Few are in a pose suitable for computerized measurements.

    An improved stage of the study would include photos of subjects in standard poses, front and profile. Later, the study could include video of the SMA groups actually grouped together and interacting. The movements, expressions and speech patterns as well as physical forms would then be evident to viewers.

    Birth Data Problems:

    Another serious problem is inaccurate birthdata and lack of verification. The first breath is the indicator of the birth of a life. If a birthtime is recorded even a few minutes late, the error can produce a chart with an incorrect Ascendant and incorrect house positions for the planets.

    There are probably many photos submitted where the Ascendant (birthtime) was not exactly known but approximated. These do not actually belong in the group to which their birthdata assigned them, but most likely to the preceding group. Some respondents send only their Sun, Moon and Ascendant. The accuracy of the calculations is not verifiable in these cases. Errors also appear when someone forgets to include Summer Time (Daylight Savings Time) in their calculations.

    Time zones present problems for astrologers:
    • Irregular Shapes - One problem with recorded birthtime is that the system of time zones is irregular in shape, since it is arranged politically and not geographically. (see an atlas for details and a good laugh.) Time zones ought to correspond to lines of longitude.
    • Wide Areas - Time zones also assign a single hour to a wide area. However, the sky moves continuously over our heads. Thus ten actual minutes can make a great difference in a chart. For example, even though it may be 10:00 pm in New York and Philadelphia at the same time (EST), a planet will rise over the horizon first in New York and many minutes later in Philadelphia. Calculation systems try to work with this by using the longitude of the birthplace and correcting for the difference, but the results can be unreliable due to the irregular shape of the zones. In addition to this, some areas use summer hours while others do not, giving more room for error.
    Tropical vs Sidereal zodiacs.

    There is an ongoing debate about the position of the first point of Aries. There are at least three obvious possibilities - the tropical system which uses the vernal equinox, the sidereal system which uses the constellation Aries, or some synthesis or compromise between the two. If some of the photos match and some do not, the difference may be due to the overlapping thresholds of the signs in the two systems. Studies such as Astrofaces may be able to help clarify the issue. Astrofaces currently displays photographs with birth data calculated in the Tropical system. Apart from this study, this is not as critical an issue to chart interpretation as might be thought. The aspects between the planets do not differ nor do the house positions.

    Perception and Bias.

    It is hoped that many photos in each row will dispel the bias. The similarities between the photos are perceived by some people only uncertainly. They insist that any similarity is "merely coincidence". The perceptive differences are likely due to individual differences in visual sensitivity or artistic perception, the ability to recognize facial features, and other such natural differences in perception. This may be an example of "some get it, some don't" like those little computerized images that everyone has seen with wavy lines and patterns that resolve into 3-D images for some people and escape others completely.

    Objective measurements obtained by computerized systems may help clarify these issues and remove the argument that the perception of similarity is due to suggestion.

    Religious Bias.

    Most of the orthodox Christian & Islamic traditions prohibit or deny the validity of Astrology.

    The Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish traditions accept or have no inherent bias against the validity of Astrology. "The Significance of Astrology in Judaism" is an interesting short article from the Orthodox Union that discusses the issue of the structure of time, our connection to the divine and free will.

    Small Population.

    A small sample population is always considered a detriment to any study. Hopefully this problem will eventually resolve itself.

    Goals for Future Stages:

    This study needs to be formalized and standardized with computer analysis of the photos using facial recognition software. At that point it will be a suitable model for duplicate studies which would be expected to further verify findings and develop new techniques.

    Toward this goal, the Astrofaces study seeks affiliations with organizations such as universities, hospitals or police departments that have access to many subjects' photos and birth data.

    The computer analysis will use either facial recognition software or the sort of software that produces some of the visual effects you may have seen on television shows and in advertisements. The commercial advertisements in which one person's face changes into another's face are produced by this kind of software. In order to perform the illusion, the software measures the facial features and mathematically calculates the points in between the features of the source and destination photographs.

    When good quality, similarly posed photos are available, the computer software can compare the measurements of the subjects' faces.

    The uniform quality photographs would be subjected to the computer for measurements such as distance between features, relative size of features, categorized shapes of features and the face in general.

    At that point, objective statistics can be derived regarding the differences between faces within each group and between groups.

    The measurements would be compared statistically within groups and between groups that were astrologically similar and dissimilar. The statistics would be examined for significance.

    It will not be necessary to photograph the entire population of thousands of possible subjects.

    The birthdata of the entire population can be charted, and the Sun, Moon and Ascendant (SMA) found for each subject.

    Several large groups could be assembled using the subjects with the most reliable birthdata. These groups could then be photographed and analysed. For example:

    1. Out of several thousand birth data, thirty six consecutive SMA groups with twenty subjects in each group could be drawn. There are two levels of groups here. Comparisons between the larger groups are expected to exhibit greater differences. For example:
      • Sun Capricorn, Moon Scorpio, with all twelve Ascendants - Aries to Pisces.
        • Asc Aries
        • - to -
        • Asc Pisces
      • Sun Gemini, Moon Gemini, all twelve Ascendants - Aries to Pisces.
      • Sun Leo, Moon Cancer, all twelve Ascendants - Aries to Pisces
    2. These 720 subjects would be photographed.
    3. Each photo could then be analysed by the facial recognition software and compared to the others to obtain indices of similarity within and between the groups. In addition, one average index could be found within a group while many indices would be found for comparisons between groups.
    4. A set of baseline indices would be obtained by the the comparisons of several sets of two photos selected at random.
    5. The resulting indices - within groups and between groups - could then be analysed for statistical significance against the baseline indices.

    Summary of Project Goals.

    The goals of the project are to have a controlled study with:
    • A large population.
    • Accurate, verified birthdata with distance of genetic relationships verified.
    • A photo facility capable of processing quality photographs.
    • Photographs of a uniform pose and quality.
    • Photos clustered by gender & age group.
    • Computer facial recognition analysis performed on the photographs.
    • The results of the computer measurements subjected to statistical analysis.

    Historical Notes:
    • In 1978 Rick Brightfield and Mary Orser published a book titled What's my Sign? with an artist's illustrations of people's faces according to their zodiac signs.
      Thanks to author Rynn Berry for the notification.
    • The book 'Recent Advances in Natal Astrology - A critical review 1900-1976', compiled by Geoffrey Dean, PhD and Arthur Mather, included collaborators such as Robert Hand, John Addey and Baldur Ebertin and:
      • Astrologers Edith Wangemann & Hans Stein who depicted an artist's interpretations of the "Planetary Effects on Facial Appearance" on page 408;
      • A reference (page 446) to another book - "Famous Heads" (published in 1959 by Bertelsmann-Verlag), which contains photographs and birth dates for 3200 famous men and women.
      Thanks to John Gilbert for the notification.
    © M.Dovdovan 2001
    "When I consider thy Heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars,
    which thou hast ordained; What is man that thou art mindful of him?"
    Psalm 8:3