By Mary Plumb | May 30, 2011
The “Two Stars” known to the Egyptians are the brightest stars in the constellation that came to be known as Gemini. There are different mythological stories of these twin stars, named Castor and Pollux by the Romans. (1) In most telling, they have the same mother and different fathers. Castor is a son of Zeus, and thus immortal. When his beloved, mortal brother Pollux is killed in battle, Zeus responds to Castor’s request to keep them together and they become the Gemini constellation. In another part of the tale, once both brothers are granted immortality, they spend alternate days on Olympus with the gods and in Hades with deceased mortals. They were the only beings who participated in both worlds.
Earthly life is dependant on the Sun, the central star of our solar system. The Sun is in Gemini from May 21 – June 21. I always think about Gemini as I first read about it in an early book on esoteric astrology, The Wisdom in the Stars, by Joan Hodgson. She makes the parallel between the twins and the dual nature of the human mind. The so-called “lower mind,” or ordinary mind, is subject to fear, doubt, restlessness, discursive thought, insecurity, worry, and on and on (and on and on). The “higher” aspect of mind has access to truth, beauty, insight, equanimity, etc. According to this view, we all have both aspects of thought in our cellular imprint, and the story of Gemini reminds us to cultivate that higher quality of mind; to speak from there when we can, to draw that out from all of our fellow humans. The essence of Gemini is to make connections and to communicate; it is a natural impulse of the sign.
I appreciate the reminder about that “higher” quality, as we are unmistakably awash in what looks a lot like the other aspect of mind. I follow celebrity gossip and hilarious YouTube videos as much as anyone, but it may be that that sometimes under-cultivated, forgotten but steadying, strengthening and stabilizing aspect of mind is a quality to be called upon during these rapture-filled, environmentally-imperiled, and man-made-disaster-filled days. (2) Deborah Houlding makes a very interesting point on her wonderful site: “In a strange parallel to the Roman myth, Pollux has experienced an increase in luminosity and become a 1st magnitude star, the brightest of the two, whilst Castor, which held this honour until three centuries ago, has undergone a reversion of brilliance, and is now almost 2nd magnitude.”
This month’s two eclipses in Gemini are going to shake up, recalibrate, and reverberate through all manner of Gemini’s correspondences: the borderless places; the conscious and subconscious minds; young people; the immediate neighborhood; the mental vehicle; our response to the situation at hand; naming things (and nicknames); use of language; travelers and trips; polarities and their synthesis (good/bad; inner/outer; right-left brain and on and on).
Some teachings suggest that the synthesis of polarities occurs in the human heart. The esoteric ruler of Gemini is Venus. Venus is traveling as comfortably as can be in the sign of Taurus for the June 1 solar eclipse at 11º01’ Gemini. She will move into Gemini for the lunar eclipse on June 15 at 24º23’ Sagittarius.
Gemini, of course, rules the hands, arms, shoulders, the nervous system, and the lungs. Once, when I was in a tumultuous state (gripped by anxiety and fear), I was taught a simple (and for me, unforgettable) breathing practice: Sit and begin to relax with awareness in the heart. Quietly, slowly, begin to inhale all the love you can hold. Slowly, quietly, exhale all the love you can give. Repeat and repeat, as often as you want.
Here’s to a happy/sad; full/empty; light/dark; funny/bleak eclipse season for us all. And may we employ all of the nimbleness and the swift-footedness that Gemini offers to us, and relax in the movements between Olympus and Hades. (In case it’s not apparent, the myth suggests we don’t get to stay in either place for too long!)
(2) Although it’s meaning may have been temporarily captured by reductive thinking, “rapture” is, in fact, “the state of being transported by a lofty emotion; ecstasy and an expression of ecstatic feeling.” Neptune’s few months in Pisces (April – early August 2011) is opening a window to its long passage (2012 – 2025) through the sign.