Gemini the sign of the Heavenly Twins is a mutable air sign, and the third sign of the western or Tropical zodiac, representing late spring/early summer in the northern hemisphere.
The word ‘zodiac’ comes from the Greek meaning ‘circle of animals.’
The only zodiac sign that is non-representative of a living creature is Libra, representing the Scales of Justice. But even the scales of Libra are borrowed from the stars of neighbouring Scorpio, the heavenly scorpion.
See the Scales of Libra, doing double duty as the claws of the Scorpion.
Dates: May 21- June 20
Ruling planet: Mercury
Affirmation: ‘I think, I inquire.’
Birth Stone: For Gemini born in May, Emerald. For Gemini born in June, Pearl (although it is not a stone, and it is a product of the sea it is classically ruled by Mercury)
Lucky stone, The Tiger’s Eye. Why? Grounding of ‘flighty’ Gemini energy, brings focus
Tree: all kinds of nut trees
Flower: Lily of the Valley, Lavender
Astronomy of Gemini
The Gemini constellation was listed as one of the 48 ancient constellations by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the second century, though Ptolemy referred to it in terms, not of the constellation as a whole, but of its two brightest stars, Castor ‘ The Star of Apollo,’ and Pollux ‘The Star of Heracles’.
Gemini is the northernmost constellation in the zodiac, in size the 30th largest. To see Gemini with the naked eye, we need to look north east of the constellation Orion between the Taurus and Cancer constellations.
Best viewing is during February. By April and May, the constellation is visible in the west soon after sunset.
Castor and Pollux, the brightest stars in the Gemini constellation, represent the heads of the twins from Greek mythology. Fainter stars are the outlines their bodies. Pollux, the westerly twin, is a red giant star, 33 light-years from Earth while Castor is about 51 light-years away.
(One light-year is the distance that light travels in a year – approx 6 trillion miles/9.6 trillion KM.)
Pollux is the brighter of the two stars, orbited by a massive planet orbiting it, Beta Genorium B, 1.6 times bigger than Jupiter.
Castor is actually not a single star, but a star system made of up six stars not visible to the naked eye.
Gemini represents the key principle of duality or polarity, similarities and opposites, life and death, light and dark, night and day, hot and cold.
We see this principle in active operation in spring, in the climax of splitting or cloning. Pollen flies free. Eggs hatch. Butterflies and dragonflies hatch out of their chrysalis. The mythology of twins goes back at least as far as the so-called Age of Gemini, during the Palaeolithic, 6, 500 BCE, arising from our understanding of the duality fundamental to the nature of reality.
There are countless stories of the twins in world myth, representing dualities and polarities; night and day, light and dark, heat and cold, male and female, war and peace, good and bad, life and death. The creation myths of ancient cultures across the world reflect this eternal battle of seeming opposites. Many surviving objects feature twin gods and goddesses. But there is a shadow side. In some cultures twins have been feared
In Egyptian astrology the stars of Gemini were twin goats, or else they were the two gods, Horus the Elder and Horus the Younger, while classical Greek mythology identified them as the twin brothers, Castor and Pollux, The Gemini.
Gemini is the first sign of the western tropical zodiac year that has a human representation rather than an animal one, following Aries the Ram and Taurus the Bull.
Castor and Pollux
Gemini is the name by which the constellation is known today throughout the western world. Gemini is Latin for “twins,” and Gemini is The Hellenistic names of the Heavenly Twins, Castor and Pollux.
Castor comes from the Greek Καστωρ (Kastor) and means “to excel, to shine.” In Greek myth Castor was a son of Zeus and the twin brother of Pollux.
Pollux comes from the Roman form of Greek Πολυδευκης (Polydeukes) and means “very sweet”.
The circumstances of their birth were unusual, to say the least. Queen Leda of Sparta was seduced by Zeus who had disguised himself as a swan. ‘Seduced’ is putting it rather too politely. She was bathing in the river. He glided about pretending to peck at things and then pounced on her while she was looking the other way, minding her own business. Later that evening, notwithstanding this shock, or perhaps, who knows, because of it, Leda also slept with her husband King Tyndareus and went on to produce four children; Castor, Pollux and their sisters Helen (later Helen of Troy) and Clytemnestra (later married to Agamemnon as queen of Mycenae.)
Pollux and Helen were fathered by Zeus, and were immortal, while Castor and Clytemnestra, fathered by Tyndareus,were mortal.
The brothers, known as the Dioscuri, meaning ‘Sons of Zeus’, were handsome, curious and always up to something. The mortal Castor was a renowned horseman and a master at fencing, while the immortal Pollux was known for his great strength and skill at boxing.
But then Castor was killed, possibly in a quarrel over dividing the spoils after a cattle raid. Pollux was distraught. He didn’t want immortality, not if it meant being without his brother, he said, and he begged his father, Zeus to make him mortal, and then kill him so he could be with his brother. Zeus couldn’t bring himself to do that, scratching his head, wondering how to fix this, and decided to place them both in the stars, to be immortal together forever as the constellation of the Gemini.
The Greeks, in particular the Spartans, though the twins had a temple in Athens, worshipped the twins as horsemen, and also as patron saints of shipwrecked sailors. Sacrifices were offered to the Dioscuri before a voyage, with a request for favourable winds.
The Romans later developed a cult around Castor and Pollux, dating back to 484 B.C. They built a temple to the twins in the Roman Forum in 414 BC in thanks for their help in defeating their old enemy The Latins, in the battle of Regillus.
Castor and Pollux were the patron gods of the Roman cavalry, the mounted knights or equites, and appear in this role on many early Roman coins.
The Zodiac Archetype
The planetary ruler of Gemini is Mercury, the planet nearest the Sun, representing the winged god Mercury or Hermes; patron deity of all forms of communication, media, trade, global commerce and travel, medicine, research and analytics.
But Mercury has a lesser known role as a psychopomp; one who can go between the realms of the living and the dead, a go-between and safe escort to the dead. It was Hermes who escorted the souls of the newly dead to the banks of the Acheron or The Styx, where they waited for Charon to come in this boat and ferry them across to the Underworld.
It was Hermes who escorted Persephone out of the dominion of Hades to be reunited with her mother Demeter, not knowing that despite his instructions that she was not to eat anything, or the deal was off, Hades had tricked Persephone into eating six seeds of her favourite pomegranate fruit. Seeds don’t count, Hades told her, and she believed him, but now she was bound to his side for six months of the year.
All the zodiac signs represent archetypes; meaning something that is considered to be a perfect or typical example of a particular kind of person or thing.
A zodiac sign paints a poetic portrait of a person born at a particular time of year, in a particular season. A baby born in summer arrives into a different physical environment from a winter baby; differences of temperature, hours of daylight, maternal diet during pregnancy and so on, with potentially different effects on the baby’s physical makeup and constitution.
As a mutable sign, Gemini rules a borderline between seasons, in this case late spring into early summer. The other mutable signs are Virgo and Pisces, and all three mutable signs are considered the most changeable and agile of the signs, inquiring, analytical, logical and restless.
Mid- May is the start of grass pollen season which then builds to a peak in mid July:-
“May is quite the roller-coaster when it comes to tracking pollen. Dock and lime pollen start triggering hay fever in May as they begin their season, while both pine and oil seed rape peak and end within the month. Oak and plane end their peak – but grass pollen begins hitting its high notes.“
The Gemini temperament is friendly yet watchful, generous but changeable -mercurial as personified by Hermes with his winged sandals and his staff, caduceus- emblem of messages and trade. The well-known delivery company of the same name clearly chose its name for this same reason.
In medical astrology, Gemini rules the arms and hands. The typical Gemini native is of above average personal appearance, personable, attractive, usually slim and of average height or taller and with neat, tidy facial features. The Gemini is socially gifted, cheerful, humorous, witty, capable and quick to learn.
At the same time, Gemini can also be surprisingly dogmatic, attaching themselves to causes, even inclining towards fundamentalism, whether it is to do with religion or an entirely secular creed or manifesto, or to do with lifestyle, for example, exercise or diet choices.
Gemini can be, not insincere, at least, not in that moment, but quick to lose interest, fluttering like butterflies, looking for the next new thing, looking for some better, brighter flower. This can apply to the way they interact with other people, here today and gone tomorrow, even though once mature, and once committed, they make dutiful and devoted partners and parents.
Gemini in the Tarot
The Tarot cards associated with Gemini are The Lovers, The Knight of Swords and the 8, 9 and 10 Swords.
Card Meanings: love, friendships, partnerships, agreements, contracts, difficult choices, decisions
Every suit in the Tarot has its own court with a king and queen, a knight and a page. The principle Court card associated with Gemini is the Knight of Swords.
Card Meanings: speed, action, forward movement, sudden developments, attack, assertiveness, intelligence, sudden news, cunning, calculation, good timing, a pre-emptive strike, a confident, forceful young person, windy weather, east wind, motorbike
The Decans of Gemini
The word ‘Decan’ comes from the Latin meaning ‘ten.’ Each zodiac sign lasts about 30 days and is further divided into three blocks of roughly 10 days each. These are the decans or as they’re sometimes called, the ‘thirty-six faces of astrology,’ bringing added depth to the psychological profile associated with your zodiac sign/sun sign.
The minor arcana cards associated with Gemini are the Eight, Nine and Ten of Swords, correlating with the dates of the decans.
If you don’t feel like you are a ‘typical’ Gemini, well, we’re all unique, but perhaps you are also a second or third decan Gemini native, rather than a ‘most typical’ first decan Gemini.
Gemini is still Gemini, whatever the decan and this holds true for all the zodiac signs. But an early born Gemini is born under a slightly different planetary influence than a later born Gemini. It’s all still Gemini, the same heavenly recipe, but with varying amounts of classic ingredients.
First Decan Gemini
(0-10 degrees of the sign)
Eight of Swords
Card Meanings: Entrapment, uncertainty, a sense of helplessness, waiting for rescue, there is a way out if only you will open your eyes, look around and take a step forward. I have personally also come to associate this card with plumbing, drainage issues.
This decan gets a double dose of the planetary influence of inquisitive, rational, Mercury. This is an alert, perceptive, intellectual and forceful personality. The acumen is sharp. The negative side of this coin is a Gemini native who is just as inquisitive but careless, flighty, forgetful, restless and unreliable.
First decan Gemini is a multi-talented juggler, light on their feet, graceful and agile. But at the same time they tend to develop a strong point of view on a wide range of subjects, and they have a clearly defined belief system. For all their apparent flightiness they are also tough and resilient- even stubborn, a quality more usually associated with Taurus, its next door neighbour and predecessor in the zodiac.
Gemini make devoted partners, contrary to whatever people might assume. They will hang on in there when the going gets tough, though they are prone to boredom, can quickly tire of routine quickly; and have considerable charisma or sex appeal. But they know when they have a good thing so long as there is plenty of social interaction and short distance travel to keep their restlessness under control.
Second Decan Gemini
(10-20 degrees of the sign)
Nine of Swords
Card Meanings: The Nightmare card. Worry, ‘the black dog’ anxiety, stress, grief, insomnia, things that keep us awake at night.
The personal planet of this decan is Venus, planet of love, beauty- and money. This Gemini has charm, and a generous and giving spirit. The sub-ruler is Libra, ruled by Venus, the natural ruler of the seventh house of marriage, partnerships, close associates, associations, and legal matters. This Gemini is more of a “me-too” person, rather than an “I-am” person when compared with a first decan Gemini.
This Gemini native needs to be especially careful in the selection of companions/associates. The choice of a mate is, of course, of the utmost importance. This Gemini especially needs to avoid making big decisions about a choice of partner when they are too young to fully understand what they are doing.
These are easy going and pleasant people. Gemini strives on change while Libra works to establish equilibrium. Their Venus/Libra influence is their salvation, because it makes them artful in their judgments and full of affection for those they do judge.
Gemini 2nd decan is drawn to quiet, reserved people. Not only do opposites attract, but the secrecy fascinates Gemini-Libra, ans they also match up well with reliable, practical types who can get the job done with little fuss or excitement. A person that will ground, refine and implement the Gemini-Libra.
People respond well to the Second Decan Gemini warm and effusive nature. They also have a sense of adventure, same as the other Gemini decans, and they enjoy travel for the sake of new experiences. Sharing is part of the Gemini-Libra life; they are generous with their time and friendship and also with possessions.
Gemini-Libra is great company, with a great deal of magnetism. They are kindly, sharp and witty. Just cut your cloth to suit and don’t be too surprised or upset if they disappear as suddenly as they appear or go quiet on you without warning. It’s not personal. It’s just the way they are.
Third Decan Gemini
(20-30 degrees of the sign)
Ten of Swords
Card meanings: Destruction, despair, betrayal, ruin, dark night of the soul, darkness before dawn, the only way is up, illness, comatose, a fall, spinal injury, head injury.
Incidental perhaps, but this card has come up repeatedly in respect of events and outcomes affecting the personal destiny Vladimir Putin since the invasion of Ukraine, 24 February. We shall see what occurs during these forthcoming decan dates, June 11-June 2020.
The personal planets of the third decan Gemini are Saturn and Uranus, painting a portrait full of contradictions. Sometimes this person is ultra-careful, dutiful, responsible, serious, at other times carefree or even careless. Uranus combined with the planet Mercury suggests an unusually active or even brilliant mind possibly even verging on genius. This person may be a thinker who is ahead of their times. Or maybe they are just zany.
Aquarius – natural ruler of the eleventh house of friends, hopes, and wishes-makes this Gemini a social type, a friend-oriented individual interested in social causes. This Gemini is an optimist, always interested in trying out what is new, and never happier than when they are on the move.
Life is rarely dull with a cheerful Decan 3 Gemini around, but they are the most independent- natured Gemini decan. They need plenty of space and freedom, with a partner who makes few demands on their time and attention. They are very hard working when they put their mind to it. But keeping promises, fulfilling obligations and routines are not their strongest suit. It is a mistake for this Gemini native to marry early or settle too soon. Adventure, exploration and experimentation with ideas, people and places- this is what they are about. This is what makes them tick.
Famous Gemini people
Carl Linnaeus, Peter the Great, Adam Smith, Richard Wagner, Arthur Conan Doyle, John Maynard Keynes, John F Kennedy, Frank Lloyd Wright, Boris Johnson. Johnny Depp, Queen Victoria, Charles 11, George 111,George V, Donald Trump, Muammar Gaddafi, Angelina Jolie, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.
Happy birthday, Gemini 2023
What is the advice for Gemini in 2023?
We have drawn The Sun in Gemini in the Second House.
Here is the mystery of synchronicity at work in real time. I throw 3 dice, asking, what is the keynote message for Gemini in 2023, and, blow me down, we have drawn the Sun in Gemini, reflecting an exact mirror image of the question as stated, and then the Second House, ruled by Taurus, represents the answer.
And here is more real time astrology. The astro-dice are picking up on the current transit of Mercury (ruler of Gemini) in the second house of Taurus.
These die have already been cast. What we have been dealing with since April and May may start to bear fruit (or deliver further baggage) from June onwards in 2023.
The focus this year is on material and financial security, and also perhaps wining and dining and other earthy luxuries. The money sign of Taurus, ruled by Venus, planet of beauty AND money, as the best things in life may be free, but the basics cost money, and beautiful things cost more money. Taurus also refers to agriculture and food- all good things.
The second House is also to do with our values and priorities, and these can change over time.
This is a year for cautious rather than exuberant optimism. New opportunities and adventures are coming this year, and new relationships, though these may be slow to start with.
Taurus gets things done, sharpened by the wit of Mercury. But you may find yourself making slower progress than you are used to. Gently does it.
There is a sense of needing to make peace with the past, letting go of griefs or grudges to do with past disappointments in relationships and business.
Health wise, though butter for instance is a real food, where margarine is not, and Taurus is all about real, rather than processed foods, rich heavy foods may not suit the slightly slower Gemini digestion, or the Gemini mood this year.
Back soon with more to come on Gemini 🙂
5 thoughts on “Birds and bees and all that flies. It’s time again for Gemini. But what’s the story behind the zodiac sign?”
Great post as usual, Katie-Ellen. Do you mind if I ask you a question? I was born in Brisbane at 2 a.m. on 21 June 1938. Am I a Gemini or a Cancer?
Generally this would make you a Cancer Sun sign native, Danielle. However, the time and location of birth have to be factored in, and a look at your natal chart confirms you are in fact a very late degree Gemini native, at 28 degrees, and with an Aries rising sign and Moon in Pisces. You can find out more by entering your birth data here:- https://astro.cafeastrology.com
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Oops! Born Sydney.
Still Gemini. Couple of degrees away from first decan Cancer.
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