Thursday 22 September marks the mythical British mid-harvest festival of Mabon, heralding the arrival of the autumn equinox which in 2022 is on 23 September.
During an equinox, the Suncrosses what we call the “celestial equator”—an imaginary extension of Earth’s equator line into space. The equinox occurs precisely when the Sun’s center passes through this line.
In the Northern Hemisphere, when the Sun crosses the equator going from north to south, this marks the autumnal equinox and when it crosses from south to north, this marks the vernal equinox. This is reversed in the Southern Hemisphere.
Now we leave the zodiac sign of Virgo, the Queen of the Harvest, and enter the astrological territory of Libra The Scales, representing the ever changing balance of day and night, represented in Tarot by The Justice card.
Libra is the only Zodiac constellation represented by an inanimate object, and not by an animal or a mythological character. The stars that represent the scales of justice are borrowed from the constellation of Scorpio next door, the claws of the Scorpion.
Those born under Libra are famously cool in temperament, intellectual, and can be somewhat emotionally detached but also volatile. According to the Roman writer Marcus Manilius, Roman judges were born under the sign of Libra. The moon was said to have been in Libra when Rome was founded, and therefore the Roman empire itself (at least, according to Manilius) began on a just and balanced foundation. Or at least, a legalized, rational, process based system.
The first harvest festival of the year was Lammas (‘Loaf Mass Tide) celebrated on the first of August. This later second harvest, Mabon, ends on 29 September.
Mabon ap Modron, -Mabon the son of Modron, was a figure from Welsh mythology who by the tenth century AD, and the first written record of him in an old Welsh poem, had became associated with the story of King Arthur. In these stories, he was one of Arthur’s war band, but the roots are much older.
The origin of the name, Mabon is related to the Romano- British god Maponos, whose name means “Great Son”; his mother Modron, in turn, is likely related to the Gaulish goddess Dea Matrona. (modern word Matron) (Via Wiki)
Dea Matrona was the Divine Mother Goddess. The River Marne in France was named in her honour and Gaulish religious images included mass produced inexpensive terracotta statues for domestic use in household shrines. These little statues showed mother goddesses nursing babies or holding fruits, other foods, or small dogs in their laps.
Mabon may be a semi-fictionalized festival. The name is not known to have been associated with this late harvest before the 1970’s, and may be at least in part, a Neo-Pagan confection.
But there is only humility and gratitude, in seeing stories in the seasons, honouring the great earth mother, whether we think of her as Modron, Virgo, Astrea, Demeter, Gaia or Persephone, or simply as the earth itself.
All stories grow out of some real soil.
The stories are all true.
The fall or autumn equinox is especially associated with apple picking. Bring on the scrumping, the crumble and the cider.
The best cider vinegar still contains the living ‘mother.’ This vinegar is made through a two-step process. First, yeast is added to apple juice to break down the sugars and turn them into alcohol. Then, bacteria is added, converting the alcohol into acetic acid. This bacteria is what is known as the mother, This is the catalyst that gives rise to the vinegar. Many apple cider vinegars have the mother removed because it gives the vinegar a cloudy appearance and some people think it’s gone bad. Not so. The mother is the best bit, the most nutritious element.
Today is a New Moon in Leo, a moon phase of endings and beginnings. Kings and empires rise and fall, but to paraphrase Outro M38, ‘we are all the kings in our own land’…Facing tempest of dust/ I’ll fight on till the end/Creatures of my dreams/Raise up and dance with me/ Now and forever, I’m your king.’
There is something unsettled right now, says this Taurean subject born with a first quarter Moon in Leo. The astrology paints this New Moon in buoyant, passionate, Jupiterian terms, though with a potential for chaos. But a New Moon phase only last two and half days, while a rare and major Mars, Uranus and North Node in Taurus triple conjunction is approaching 31 July/1 August. This is a rare event, historically associated with major political, weather, explosive or seismic events. Such events may not occur precisely on these dates but are set…
What’s the difference between premonition and precognition?
Precognition is a sense of foreknowledge arrived at by “paranormal” means; e.g., via card reading, or a psychic dream or clairvoyance. On the other hand, a premonition is simply a feeling, however powerful, that something is about to happen – usually this means something bad.
The Premonitions Bureau tells a story that started with a tragedy.
Background: Aberfan 21 October 1966
Aberfan is a mining village near Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales. There was a huge colliery tip on a mountain slope above the village, Tip Number 7, and this tip had a natural spring rising up underneath it, bubbling out in a stream that flowed down into the village below.
Heavy rain had led to a build-up of water inside the tip, until one morning it suddenly collapsed and went sliding down the hill. A thirty foot wave of coal slurry hit not only a row of houses but Pantglas Junior School, and killed 116 children and 28 adults, of whom 5 were the children’s teachers.
The following inquiry firmly placed the blame on the National Coal Board, who had received multiple previous warnings about the instability of this particular colliery tip, Number 7 after it was created in 1958 against regulations which said no coal tip was to be raised on top of a spring, but the NCB, although they knew this, had taken only sporadic maintenance action.
After this tragedy a high profile psychiatrist and psychologist called John Barker went to Aberfan to try and support the bereaved. Then he started receiving reports of people who had had premonitions of this disaster. Most tragic of all was a premonition experienced by one of the children who had died in the school and who had been worried, telling her mother about a dream she had had the previous night.
“Mummy, let me tell you about my dream last night.” Her mother answered gently, “Darling, I’ve no time. Tell me again later.” The child replied, “No Mummy, you must listen. I dreamt I went to school and there was no school there. Something black had come down all over it.”
Two other children had done drawings of the avalanche before it happened.
John Barker, who was the resident senior psychiatrist at a sadly run down mental hospital which he was working hard but with mixed success to modernize, went to Aberfan to offer counselling support and was deeply struck by some extraordinary reports received in the aftermath. He decided, with assistance from a newspaper, The Evening Standard, to make it his mission to collect and collate other premonitions. How common were they? How did they manifest? Could they be logged and used to give an early warning of impending disaster?
“A more predictable existence is, in theory anyway, a less frightening one,” writes Sam Knight of Barker’s motivation. “Societies have always craved prophets, or people who claim to see round the next corner.”
But unless we can do something about it, maybe sometimes we would really rather not know. One day, John Barker received two premonitions which were about him, himself, and which seemed to suggest that his own death was imminent…
I won’t provide spoilers, except to say that these premonitions were proven correct.
“It is a story both elegant and eccentric, cleanly capturing that brief moment in the 1960s when extrasensory perception verged on mainstream acceptance. It is also quietly terrifying, a reminder that even those who can see the future have no hope of getting out of its way.”
Coming back to the question of preferring not to know, as a useless burden, the so- called gift of prophecy- assuming we accept there is such a potential, is likely to feel more like a curse. It is not known as The Curse of Cassandra for nothing.
Cassandra (or Kassandra) was a tragic figure in Greek mythology; a Trojan princess, a daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba and a priestess of the sun god Apollo. Apollo had given her the gift of prophesy but when she subsequently rejected his sexual advances, he could not withdraw the gift but he turned it into a curse, such that Cassandra would see and speak the truth, only never to be believed.
Cassandra warned the Trojans to send Helen straight home again after Paris eloped with her and brought her to Troy, taking her away from her husband Menelaus in Sparta. Cassandra had warned the Trojans it would bring disaster down upon them all. They didn’t listen. Then the Greeks came and laid siege for ten long years.
Cassandra then warned them not to bring the giant wooden horse into the city. Again, they didn’t listen. There were Greek warriors hiding inside it, and in the night they crept out and opened the gates and let in all the other Greeks. A massacre followed; the Sack of Troy. The city fell. Cassandra was first raped in the temple of Athena by Ajax, then dragged away to become the slave of Agamemnon, and together with him, was later murdered by his queen Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus on returning to his kingdom of Mycenae.
The takeaway here is that while Cassandra knew her own fate, she could do nothing to save herself. Helen meanwhile, was forgiven by her husband Menelaus, and, restored as his queen, led on board his ship, passing the wretched lines of the other surviving women, now homeless, stateless and bereaved, all slaves and captives now.
It could be said that it was Helen who was really the Trojan horse.
The name of Cassandra has therefore come to mean a person whose accurate prophecies, generally of impending disaster, are not believed.
Cassandra by Evelyn de Morgan: Public Domain
This ancient story, like this new book highlights a big problem with prediction. If the future exists, what can be done about it? If the future doesn’t exist, how is prediction possible?
But prediction is rarer and premonitions are common. Barker reckoned that it was at least as common in the population as being left handed, the experience of premonition, suggesting we are all more connected than we understand or can logically explain.
The Premonitions Bureau is an intelligent, understated, quietly absorbing read. It raises big questions with many fascinating, if often deeply sad anecdotes.
It has been criticized by some reviewers for failing to provide clear conclusions. But this is in the nature of the subject, as it is in life, and there is at least one conclusion to be drawn from this story that is self-evident.
What is that conclusion? John Barker had hoped that a Premonitions Bureau might help save the countless lives through the interventions of a centralized psychic early warning system. But this was never a practical possibility. Why not? A premonition may be an intensely powerful feeling, but it lacks detailed information sufficient for anyone to act on it in any meaningful practical way.
A True Story
June 2016 I was staying away from home in Carlisle when I had a presentiment of a terrible accident or impact that was about to happen. I was shown in my Tarot cards that it would be involve a vehicle, anger and a fiery impact.
My first worry was that we were about to have an accident in the car. Then I decided no, I didn’t feel that was it. I said to my husband, “We will soon find out what this is. It will be on the news soon”.
Two hour later, we saw on the television, the news of the terrorist truck attack in Nice.
“On the evening of 14 July 2016, a 19-tonne cargo truck was deliberately driven into crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, resulting in the deaths of 86 people and the injury of 458 others. The driver was Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a Tunisian living in France.  The attack ended following an exchange of gunfire, during which Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was shot and killed by police”- Wikipedia.
This experience was neither a premonition nor a precognition. It was somewhere between the two. My feeling of unease did not hit me out of the blue. It came to me while I was looking, initially rather casually in my Tarot cards. I drew The Devil, The Chariot and The Tower cards all together in a row and knew I did not like it one bit.
But of what possible potential use was this to anybody? It lacked actionable specifics, and even had there been a whole ton of specifics, there was no outlet, no mechanism or avenue of action or follow-up, such as John Barker had once envisaged in creating The Premonitions Bureau.
May 24, 2022, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos fatally shot nineteen students and two teachers and wounded seventeen other people at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, United States. Earlier in the day, he shot his grandmother in the forehead at home, severely wounding her. Wikipedia
Date: 24 May 2022 at 7:27 pm BST
The night before, I was sitting up late in bed, reading. It was after midnight when I turned off the light and noticed a peculiar sensation, a fizzing, buzzing, tingling sensation that affected my head and shoulders, but only my head and shoulders. I first wondered whether it was a new physical symptom that was possibly affecting my ears or balance. I have severe rheumatoid arthritis which can affect organs as well as joints and muscles. But then the thought came to me, “what is this? Who is it? What bad news is this now, that is coming down the track?”
Was it a family member? I didn’t think so, but I had no idea was it was. All I knew was, and I said this to myself before turning over to go to sleep was, “there will be bad news tomorrow.”
How do any parents bear such a thing as this and it happened for what? One unhappy creature, empty of purpose and full of ugliness, grudge and spite, a loser in the true meaning of the word, was handed the means to indulge himself to the full, unleashing the grotesque horror of the Id, for mere dollars.
On May 24, 2022, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos fatally shot nineteen students and two teachers and wounded seventeen other people at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, United States. Earlier in the day, he shot his grandmother in the forehead at home, severely wounding her. Wikipedia
I’ve been jittery for some weeks one way and another, and possibly so have you. Leo season, I feel, is going to be extra dramatic in world events this August, both the beauty and the beast.
“Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy,” said. F. Scott Fitzgerald.
“Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely”, wrote Edna St Vincent Millay
A Dirge Without MusicEdna St. Vincent Millay
I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.
Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.
The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
But if there is hope for us all- and there is, then it is exactly this. That we have this shared, mysterious but entirely natural human potential to sense what may be happening to others, even over great distances, and to sense, to feel -to work for, care for, or even fight for people we have never met and never will.
It’s a natural magic but it’s not unique to us. Baboons have it. South African naturalist and poet Eugène Marais witnessed it in action. A group of male baboons attacked a stalking leopard in order to defend their group, and succeeded in killing it, but only one of them survived.
Marais also observed soldier ants racing up a tree and attacking and killing a praying mantis many times their own size, that was preying on their column,helping itself as the marching column passing under its tree. A lot of soldier ants died in the process but they stuck fast, swarmed on it and finally managed to bite off its head.
What we call courage or duty might be vainglory. It might be the Ego or the tribal Id. But what we call heroism is the readiness to put ourselves last in the service of some quest undertaken for some greater purpose, no fear or favour, no guarantee of success, reward, recognition or memorial.
We are coming ‘home’ again, entering the zodiac sign of Cancer the Crab on Tuesday 21 June, the day of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, and the shortest day in the southern hemisphere.
The word ‘sol –stice’ is from the Latin ‘solstitium’ and means the ‘sun stands still.’
The month of June has got a lot going on, calendar-wise. We have got:-
-The meteorological start of summer (1 June)
-The astronomical start of summer, the solstice (20, 21 or 22 June)
-Midsummers Day (24 June.)
Meteorological or Astronomical Summer?
What does it mean?
The meteorological calendar is a more recent invention based on seasonal temperatures, separating the year into four groups of three months, based on the observation that summer is the warmest time of year and winter is the coldest, with transitional seasons in- between. These seasons are always 90 to 92 days long, and always start on the first of the month except for leap year. This definition makes it easier to calculate seasonal statistics for the purposes of weather forecasting.
The astronomical calendar is ancient, based on thousands of years of observations of natural phenomena used to establish and mark time. This calendar follows the Earth’s rotation around the sun, defining the four seasons by two solstices and two equinoxes. The Earth’s tilt and the sun’s alignment over the equator determine these events, so the two solstices mark the times when the sun passes over the equator, on June 21 and around December 22 and the two equinoxes are on or around March 21 and September 22.
At the summer solstice, the Northern Hemisphere receives sunlight at the most direct angle of the year with the North Pole tilting towards the Sun at its maximum (about 23.5 degrees) resulting in the longest period of sunlight hours. In the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the opposite and the Sun is at its lowest point in the sky.
Astronomical timing is variable, depending upon when the Sun reaches its northernmost point from the celestial equator, and this date varies between June 20, 21, and 22.
Midsummer’s Day, 24 June is an ancient agricultural festival. It marks the midpoint of the growing season, halfway between planting and harvest. It is traditionally known as one of four “quarter days” in some cultures. Folks celebrated by feasting, dancing, singing, and lighting bonfires to usher in the hot summer days ahead where once the mighty auroch roamed and the prowling sabre tooth tiger crouched low, watching and waiting in hope.
Every summer solstice in the UK, as many as 10,000 people arrive at Stonehenge for a pagan style summer solstice festival on British shores, complete with druids. The main event is sunrise, when the first rays of the sun strike the gigantic Heel Stone and illuminate the centre of the stone circle, and people are allowed to touch the stones- a rare opportunity, and the only day of the year they are permitted to do so.
The Tarot and the Sun card
The Sun card is the ultimate summer card in the Tarot deck; number 19 in the Major Arcana. This positive card signifies all kinds of good news, starting with sunny weather in the literal sense, and overseas travel, usually to a hot country. It is our moments in the sun. It is the state of childhood. It is good health or recovery from sickness. The Sun card is vitality, just as the sun is life itself. The Sun card can therefore be predicting new life- a birth.
The Sun card, when it is drawn reversed is like the setting sun. It can mean the memories of childhood, nostalgia, beautiful, bittersweet twilight. It may mean sadness or delays or getting less than you hoped for.
Every card has its downside, just like every situation in life. The fire of the sun can also be cruel, even savage when ‘reversed.’ We might have drought. We might have wildfires. And then the Sun means death and we pray for rain.
The Sun gods can be cruel; Ra, Arinna, Surya, Mithras, Helios, Apollo, Sol – by whatever name we have called the Sun.
Reincarnation and The Sun card?
As the sign of the Sun’s highest point in the skies as seen from Earth, the constellation of Cancer the Crab was considered nearest to the highest point of heaven. Greco-Roman philosophers (The NeoPlatonists) called it ‘the Gate of Men.’
The stars of Cancer, specifically The Beehive Cluster, were the gateway, the portal in the heavens through which souls descended to Earth to be born.
The opposite constellation, Capricorn, marked the midwinter solstice and was the ‘Gate of the Gods,’ where the souls of the departed rose back to heaven.
But did they later descend again to be reborn, in a cycle of reincarnation?
A true story
I have sometimes been asked, do I believe in reincarnation? I don’t believe in it. I don’t disbelieve in it. I don’t know. But many people do believe in reincarnation around the world. The Hindu and Buddhist faiths believe in reincarnation, while Easter is the great Christian celebration of Resurrection, signifying the hope of the soul’s eternal life.
Nature is cyclical. The seasons run in cycles and life runs in cycles. Our lives only seem linear because they represent such a short piece of a curve. Perhaps it is only logical and natural that some will see human life as cyclical too, not only in terms of successive generations, but in terms of the individual persona, spirit or soul as something that is continuously recycled.
As the American poet Emily Dickinson famously wrote, ‘the mind has many corridors.’
Many years ago I did a distance Tarot reading by email for a young lady who wanted to know, was her brother OK? This struck me as a strange question. I asked her, what did she want me to investigate that she could not ask him herself?
The lady answered that her brother was dead, and that he had committed suicide. She did not tell me more, nor did I ask about the circumstances, but as one would expect there was great distress attached to her questions:
-Where was her brother now?
-How was he now?
I do not advertise as a psychic medium. Not at all. Nor did I agree to accept payment for this particular reading and am not handling new readings just at present. But I have, all the same, over the past twenty years done a number of Tarot card readings which have been focused on client’s questions about deceased loved ones, when the Tarot has facilitated me in offering feedback which only the client could verify, and there have been some deeply curious and strange, and equally, deeply moving responses.
Now, looking at this lady’s brother, wondering what on Earth the Tarot would make of this. I drew the Sun card, the card of sunshine, happiness, innocence, childhood. Birth.
The Sun is life itself. If our planet were closer to the Sun, or further away, there would be no life on Earth. People like to post images of Earth to make the point that we are tiny and insignificant. I think those images from space, the photographs taken by Cassini from Saturn, showing Earth as a teeny white dot make the exact opposite point; illustrating the enormity of the miracle that was the sweet spot of a ball of rock exactly the ‘right’ distance from the Sun.
But where was this young lady’s brother? Some would say, perfectly reasonably, that the question was nonsensical. That he was gone. That he was nowhere or that he was in the grave.
But it wasn’t them she was asking. It was my Tarot she was asking.
It is hard to describe, but as you look deeper into a card, a door opens in the mind, or in the imagination if you wish to classify it as that. The brain wave activity has switched from conscious, intellectual, beta state wavelength to a more meditative alpha state wavelength.
I gazed into the Sun card and it suggested to me that ‘wherever’ her brother was, ‘whatever’ he was, he was like a child again, sometimes awake, sometimes asleep. I received the strong impression- there is no other word for it- that he did not remember his death. Not at all, or whatever it was that drove him to it.
He was a little boy again. And then I was struck with another sudden but vivid impression. I saw him kicking about, splashing in a puddle. He had his back turned on the Earth. He was neither bored, nor sad nor lonely, simply quietly, happily preoccupied.
He had forgotten how he died. He did not remember whatever it was, however it had been for him, what it had felt like, being him in his life, that had driven him to such a point of nihilism.
If her brother had any memories or consciousness surviving death- if that could be possible, then this was his afterlife, all trauma forgotten.
It may simply have been telepathy, and I was picking up on the lady’s own memories of her brother. I had never met her
But then, and again this was prompted by The Sun card, I told the lady that she would soon be hearing news of a new baby on the way. This was probably a birth within the immediate family, and whether it was a boy or girl, the Tarot was suggesting the possibility, however bizarre, that it was the soul of her brother being reborn. Or that he could be reborn, when he was ready. The Sun card said that her brother would be returning soon, whether or not the coming baby was her brother returning again (down through the Gates of Men)
Some souls, it is said, wait many centuries before they are ready to get in the queue again. Others wait decades. Others only months. Time means nothing to them. It is when they feel ready. Just that.
Stanley Kubrick was a visionary. A seer.
Has someone been here before? This is not a thing that can ever be known, and in this instance, the coming baby was his or her own unique self. Each birth is unique. And if we are reborn, we are not clones or carbon copies of the person we were before. The soul needs free of old burdens.
I once had a small experience that has sometimes made me wonder. I was in the kitchen, stirring a pan when suddenly the kitchen changed around me. I was now standing in a very different kitchen with white walls, a stone floor, a high ceiling. It was simple, a few notches above basic, an urban kind of rustic, not rural. There was an open door to my left, with an evening light sunshine streaming in at a low angle, and I knew that the door led down a set of steep stone steps to a small, rather dark cobbled courtyard. I was not anxious but I was starting to wonder where Pietro was, and when he would be arriving home. I know no such person as ‘Pietro.’
A vision. A day dream? An hallucination? Of course. It could have been anything or nothing. It has only ever happened that one time.
I sent off the lady’s email reading and three weeks later received an email in reply, telling me among other things that her sister had just found out she was expecting a baby and was about six weeks pregnant. Wouldn’t it be something, she joked, if she was going to be her brother’s auntie this time around?
Again, this story is easily explained away as a co-incidence. But if nothing else, the Tarot was proven absolutely correct in predicting the imminent news of a new birth in the family.
I would like to think the Tarot’s vision offered this lady and her family some kind of comfort, however peculiar, for a truly terrible grief. Some griefs are more natural to be borne than others. Not all griefs are equally terrible.
“There are more things in heaven and earth Horatio, than are dreamed of in your philosophy”-Hamlet, Shakespeare.
Indeed, Mr Shakespeare.
There are many documented stories of people claiming that they have lived another life before this one; some so detailed, that it does at least offer food for thought.
We go into the zodiac domain of Cancer the Crab Tuesday 21 June 2022 and we sail once again into the zodiac domain of the mysterious and elusive Cancer the Crab, scuttling across the heavens as we arrive at the summer solstice. The word solstice comes from the Latin ‘solstitium’ – meaning the sun stands still. Now the sun appears to move sideways/crabwise as we pass the peak. The North Pole has now hit its maximum angle of tilt to the sun, 23.5 degrees, and now we are on the return journey.
This is the great astronomical event with which we came to associate the zodiac sign of The Crab. Butwhat does it look like in the night sky, and what’s the story behind it? It’s that time of year again.
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, the sign of the Scales, but even its scales are borrowed from the stars of Scorpio, the giant scorpion in the heavens next door.
Gemini the sign of the Heavenly Twins is a mutable air sign and the third sign of the western zodiac, representing late spring into early summer in the northern hemisphere.
Dates: May 21- June 20
Ruling planet: Mercury
Affirmation: ‘I think, I inquire.’
Birth Stone: Born in May, Emerald. Born in June, Pearl (although it is not a stone, it is thought to be ruled by Mercury)
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 of its two brightest stars, as ‘ The Star of Apollo (Castor) and The Star of Heracles (Pollux)’.
Gemini is the northernmost constellation in the zodiac, and is the thirtieth largest in size. Gemini can be seen with the naked eye looking 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.
The two brightest stars in the constellation, Castor and Pollux, represent the heads of the twins from Greek mythology, while fainter stars outline their bodies. Pollux, the westerly twin, is a red giant star, 33 light-years from Earth while Castor is about 51 light-years away. A light-year is the distance that light travels in a year – about 6 trillion miles/9.6 trillion kilometres.
Pollux is the brighter of the two stars, and has a massive planet orbiting it, called 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 principle of duality or polarity, similarities and opposites, and in late spring in the northern hemisphere, this is seen in action 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 many twin stories in world myth, representing 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. In some cultures twins have been feared In some remote places, so much so, that twins have been killed at birth, and it is thought the practice continues to this day.
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 immortal, fathered by Zeus, while Castor and Clytemnestra were mortal, fathered by Tyndareus.
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 in a quarrel, in a disagreement 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, sneaky swan Zeus to please 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 Gemini.
The Greeks, and 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.
Later, the Romans too, 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: of the Mercurial Gemini
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; 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 rollercoaster 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 caduceus- staff of 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 religion or some other 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.
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 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 decanates, or as they are 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 and they correlate with the dates of the decans.
If you don’t feel like you are a ‘typical’ Gemini, well, we are 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 common ingredients.
First Decan Gemini
(0-10 degrees of the sign)
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)
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)
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 2022
This year may have got off to a slow start, personally speaking, but the second half of the year requires you to identify goals, and to place a clear focus on finance and your security. This is a good year for meeting a new partner and starting a new life together, but this also means this is the year for the free and easy flighty Gemini to demonstrate efficiency, to get serious, and to pay close attention to their resources, up-grading their nest and investing in nest eggs. Expect key developments in August and October.