by Oraia Helene
The constellation of Gemini sits between Taurus and Cancer, which in the northern hemisphere, puts it roughly above Orion’s head. When lines are drawn connecting the stars of Gemini, it really kind of looks like a pair of stick figures holding hands. In the northern hemisphere, the constellation is clearly visible in winter, around the same time you’d find Orion in the sky.
The name Gemini comes from the Latin word for “twins,” and relates to the twins Castor and Pollux in Greek mythology. Its two brightest stars are also named Castor and Pollux, which form the heads of the two twins with Castor on the right and Pollux on the left. (That’s as they are visualized from the northern hemisphere where the stick figures are upright. When seen from the southern hemisphere the twins are upside down, so Pollux appears on the right and Castor is on the left.) These two stars, however, aren’t quite the twins they appear to be.
Pollux is the brighter of the two, and is a fairly straightforward orange giant star, almost nine times bigger than our sun. It has been confirmed to have at least one planet orbiting around it, so that’s pretty cool. But it’s Castor that has presented a series of surprises as our telescopes have gotten better. Back in the 1600s it was discovered that Castor is a binary star – that is, two stars rotating around a common point. Later on, however, it became clear that each component of that binary was itself a binary system, making four stars instead of two. But things didn’t end there – the whole quadruple system has a companion that is itself a binary. That little point of light, in other words, that looks roughly the same as Pollux, is in reality a system of six stars in a complex pattern of orbits.
The constellation also includes the open star cluster M35, and more than one nebula. One of the more interesting ones is called the Eskimo Nebula (or sometimes called the Clown Face Nebula). This is a planetary nebula made of concentric rings of gas clouds so that it looks a bit like a person’s face surrounded by a fur hood. At least, that’s what it looks like from down here on the ground; when Hubble got a sharp image of it, it showed the gas clouds forming extremely complex patterns.
In Greek mythology, Castor and Pollux were sons of Leda, the woman seduced by Zeus in the form of a white swan – so naturally enough, they hatched from an egg. But only Pollux was fathered by Zeus; Castor had a human father and was therefore mortal. When Castor died, Pollux appealed to Zeus to let him share his immortality with his brother in some way; Zeus agreed and transformed them into the constellation. They were brothers to Helen of Troy, as well, and in Roman times were often mixed up with Romulus and Remus, the mythical founders of Rome. Castor and Pollux were raised by the centaur healer Chiron, as was the hero Jason; when Jason set off with his Argonauts, Castor and Pollux were among them. Because of an incident in which the twins calmed a storm at sea, they were sometimes seen as watching over sailors.
Astrologically, Gemini is the sign of mutable air. It is ruled by Mercury, and associated with the third house, which has to do with communication, short journeys, and the day-to-day operation of the mind, when things are more or less on auto-pilot. Generally speaking, the energy of Gemini is fast-moving and ever-changing, like the wind. While this sign relates to a quick grasp of information and learning, it may sometimes seem superficial, mostly because it never stays long in one place. You could look at this sign as the first development of the intellect that hasn’t yet learned that there is depth to the world as well as breadth; that development won’t come until the next sign, Cancer, the first water sign we come to.
Gemini is all about speed and curiosity, flitting from subject to subject with astonishing enthusiasm. The sign lends a lot of vigor and sociability as well, with something of a gift of gab. Gemini’s love of conversation and numerous intellectual interests always make for interesting discussions, though deeper connections to people may be difficult.
As a Sun sign, Gemini means versatility. A Gemini will typically not be one to specialize in one subject. This sometimes results in a lot of unfinished projects, so it’s best to develop a stable structure to work within to encourage good follow-through on their many ideas. On the other hand, they aren’t likely to get stuck in ruts, and will generally be flexible about changing their approach to difficult subjects. Geminis are also driven to communicate, which serves them well in social relationships as well as their careers. The tendency of this sign is to be very rational, and a little distrustful of emotion, as well as sometimes overlooking how someone might be hurt by their very rational arguments. Superficiality tends to be the primary flaw, again resulting from not staying very long with any one thing due to their wide-ranging curiosity.
As a Moon sign, Gemini leads to quick reactions to things, which could emerge as a quick wit or direct and ready answers to questions. Gemini gives a strongly rational and logical influence to emotional reactions, which can be a really positive influence, but it can also lead to an appearance of insensitivity or lack of interest in others’ feelings. Restlessness might be a problem, driving a need for constant change, but this need will incorporate a strongly intellectual and well-thought-out grasp of the situation which leaves the person with a Gemini Moon with a strong ability to take advantage of changing situations, including those of their own making.
As a Rising sign, the Sun sign will have a lot of influence over the expression of the typical Gemini characteristics. For example, with a less gregarious Sun sign, Gemini rising may result in someone who is a lively, talkative person in smaller settings but remains quiet in larger groups. Intellectual variety will still be attractive to the person with Gemini rising, though they may be happier working on many varied projects in a row rather than all at once. There will often be a great need for self-expression, as well as challenge (and possibly an attraction toward risk-taking.) Restlessness, again, may be a problem, whether acknowledged or not.
So that’s Gemini, our first air sign, quick-witted and talkative.
This article was adapted from the Astra segment of Media Astra Ac Terra Episode #8.