Updated: Jun 4
The word Gemini is Latin for 'twins' and we will be exploring this theme of birth twins, twin lovers and polarity and how this connects with the ruler of Gemini, Mercury - we will also look at unhealthy 'twin flame' dynamics and how this connects with Mercury and the pathway of healing. Interestingly the dwarf planet Sedna will soon be entering Gemini which is significant since it will be the first time in thousands of years. Sedna is in the outermost regions of the solar system with an orbital period of 11,408 years and she will enter Gemini on the 15th June until the 23rd of November and will return again in 2024 until 2066. She was a shamanic Inuit Arctic sea goddess who was betrayed by her father and husband and can signify the need to let go of depending on situations which don't serve us and find our own strength and power by diving deep into the waters and connecting with our spirit or animal guides. These themes are very apt for this blog since I will discuss the twin 'Lovers' of Gemini as well as unhealthy dynamics such as codependency (or a lack of self-love.)
Mercury - Ruler of Gemini
In Roman mythology, Mercury was the chief messenger of the gods and was the god of commerce, communication (words, language and wit,) travel and also trickery; we may have experienced the ‘trickster’ energy of Mercury, particularly in Mercury retrogrades when we may find that our travels or technology act in unpredictable ways or our communication may feel strange – forcing us to go more inwards and reflect. The word Mercury is thought to come from the Latin word merx meaning 'merchandise' and mercari meaning 'to trade.' He was also a psychopomp in Roman religion and guided souls to the
Underworld. Mercury is also shamanic and a guide to the unconscious, the Otherworld, the Underworld, the nature spirit realms and the liminal - he can meet us at the crossroads and helps us travel forward. Mercury was given a magic wand by Apollo which became known as the caduceus - a staff with intertwined snakes which became known as a symbolic symbol of the planet Mercury or realms that he governs; it was also said that the wand could wake the sleeping or put the awake to sleep. The magician energy can be seen clearly in Mercury and in Tarot, Mercury represents the Magician card.
A fresco of Mercury from Pompeii
Mercury was adopted from his Greek equivalent known as Hermes - it is not entirely clear where the word Hermes derived from with some believing it came from the Greek word herma meaning ‘stone heap.’ Hermes was also a psychopomp like Anubis of Egyptian religion and like Mercury was similarly a god of boundaries, travel, wit and merchants. Their symbols included winged sandals, winged hats, the caduceus, tortoises and roosters.
Both Mercury and Maia (the mother of Hermes/Mercury who was a nymph of Pleiades) were celebrated on the 15th May during the Mercuralia festival and merchants would sprinkle their heads, ships or business items with sacred water from a well in Rome. The month of May was named after Maia.
Mercury and the Twins
The Rider-Waite Tarot card for Two of Cups. Note the 'twin' theme here and the caduceus with its two snakes, the symbol for Mercury. The winged lion head could suggest that courage is required to meet your twin or soul mate and open the lion-heart and wings are also a symbol of Mercury who is fast moving.
Gemini, Twins & Polarity
The sign of Gemini comes from Babylonian astronomy of the Great Twins, Pollux and Castor which was adopted into Greek and Roman mythology with the half-twin brothers of the same names. In Greek mythology, these twins were born to the Spartan queen Leda, yet Castor was the son of the King, Tyndareus and Pollux was the son of Zeus who had seduced Leda in the guise of a swan. Pollux had asked his father if he could share his immortality with his twin and they were transformed into the constellation of Gemini. The Latin word literally meant ‘twins’ and they were twins who loved each other. The astrological glyph for Gemini (♊) shows two lines, as the twins. Mercury's wand, the caduceus, also was made of two twin snakes rising up - in spiritual terms this could symbolise the ida (yin) and pingala (yang) channels which allow the Kundalini coiled snake energy to rise up the spine.
In the human zodiac, Gemini is represented as the two arms where the body splits in two at the shoulders – it is a perfect visual representation of our yin and yang, (left and right,) aspects. Here we see Gemini becoming the twins, or two of something. Our brain is able to synchronise these polar opposites with super-intelligent precision - this intelligence is very Mercurial it could be argued. Interestingly, the element Mercury or quicksilver is able to divide itself due to its liquid properties. In medieval alchemy, quicksilver (Hg) was associated with Mercury - too much exposure to this element can cause Mercury poisoning, or 'mad hatter syndrome' which historically was experienced by hatters exposed to Mercury.
Mercury's Twin Sons
Mercury is connected with the twin theme in another way since he had twin sons with a river nymph called Larunda and they were known as the Lares. Larunda (Lara) had been made mute in punishment for revealing an affair of Jupiter and was sent to the "deadland" with Mercury as her guide. Of this encounter Ovid wrote the following in his book, Fasti: "On their way they came to a grove: then it was, they say, that she won the heart of her divine conductor." Some interpret this as an act of rape however Ovid wrote:
"He would have used force; for want of words she pleased with a look, and all in vain she strove to speak with her dumb lips. She went with child, and bore twins, who guard the cross-roads and ever keep watch in our city: they are the Lares."
Either way, beneath the patriarchal energies piled onto these gods, it is clear that Mercury had love for Larunda and we will look at the journey of the archetypal 'Lovers' as they face any strong polarities and purify to return to the innocence beneath, further on in the blog.
The Lares twins were seen as guardians in the Roman religions and they protected all that happened in the area designated for them which included the hearth, households, families, neighbourhoods, roads, towns, cities, military, seaways, fields and livestock. Statues of them were sometimes kept in households and household shrines containing the Lares were known as lararia, where offerings such as incense were left. The figures were often shown to be lively, holding drinking cups or cornucopias and almost dancing - here we can see the playful and airy Gemini 'nature spirit' energy coming through.
A Lararium from the House of the Vettii in Pompeii showing the two Lares holding rhytons (ceremonial cups) either side of the house genius or spirit. The snake is thought to represent the land's fertility and snakes are often associated with earth energy or ley lines (serpent lines.)
A Mutable Sign
Gemini, ruled by Mercury, is symbolised by the twins and it represents themes such as two sides, polarity, two hemispheres and changeability since it is a mutable sign. For those interested in how mutable Gemini and Mercury connect with themes of natural androgyny or hermaphroditism which occurs for some people at birth and themes of polarity, please see the following article.
From Urania's Mirror, a set of constellation cards, c.1825.
In Greek mythology, Hermes had a child, Hermaphroditus, with Aphrodite (Venus) who embodied both feminine and masculine qualities and his name was a combination from his parents. According to some myths, his androgyny came from a sacred union between his soul and a water naiad, whereas the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus wrote that he had been born with both characteristics. From this god, we have our word, hermaphrodite.
Twins are children born from the same pregnancy and can either be identical (made from the same zygote which splits) or non-identical/fraternal twins which are from two fertilised eggs. In rare circumstances, twins can have the same mother yet different fathers, which is known as heteropaternal superfecundation. The rare phenomenon of conjoined twins means that the twins are joined together in utero and may share body parts or organs. A list of famous birth twins can be found here.
The theme of twins can also connect to romantic love and the 'twin flame' lovers. In Tarot, Gemini governs the Lovers card and the Rider-Waite card depicts two lovers, guarded by an ‘elemental being’ or nature spirit, between two trees – this could depict the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life. Interestingly, this image on the Lovers card is the complete opposite of the Devil card in Tarot which depicts two lovers bound with chains (limitation) and guarded by a demon which has the appearance of a goat or faun-like being. It could be argued that the lovers card represents the archetypes of Adam and Eve who were initially bound with shame and limitations after being tempted by the downward force. There is a need to liberate themselves completely in order to come back again to being lovers in their pure state with a child-like love of the world, nature and animals – living in harmony and peace with the precious wisdom obtained from their journey and honouring their purity, integrity, truth and innocence in order to release their binds.
Mirror and Shadow Work
Yet the 'twin flame' dynamic is usually not what people think it is - a twin is a catalyst that comes into our life and aids in our soul growth by mirroring us in certain ways. We may project onto a person that they are our twin, our 'other half.' Yet here is where many souls get trapped since with every relationship, the ultimate goal is wholeness and acknowledging the divine self as part of god. We are never 'half' a soul which needs to be completed by someone else. A twin can show us all these places in ourselves where we may feel lack or incomplete, they may bring up inner child wounds and show us the parts that crave to be seen or loved. A lot of growth can happen with a twin, yet also these dynamics are renowned for being volatile, passionate, fiery and challenging since all our buttons will get pushed. If both twins are willing to look at the wounds that inevitably get exposed through the connection then healing can happen at all levels and growth and greater intimacy can emerge for the couple and they can rise from the ashes together as 'soul mates.'
Marble sculpture of Castor and Pollux, c. 10 BC.
A similar dynamic may occur in platonic relationships or with birth twins - our soul may have chosen these dynamics in order to heal the shadow and accelerate our growth and expansion. Famous archetypal twins who didn't grow together include Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome and in some myths, Romulus murdered his brother as well as the conflicted twins Jacob and Essau of the Book of Genesis. Whereas Isis and Osiris represented the archetypal 'twin' lovers of Egyptian mythology, who were also twins of birth.
The 'False Twin'
In certain situations, one soul will face their wounds and triggers and do the deeper shadow work and the other soul will 'run' or remain in their wounded ego and not be willing to grow - this dynamic can also include the archetypal 'false twin' or 'karmic' who tempts and pulls us down and is represented as Lilith-Samael and more can be read about that here. This kind of dynamic can be seen in narcissistic-empath relationships which are imprinting models we may inherit from our family, collective, ancestry or past-lives - we may need to face these abusive layers we have inherited, which can include power games, manipulation, triangulation, lust, abuse, control and addiction. The concept of the 'evil twin' found in literature and myth could also apply here - this twin appears nearly identical to the protagonist yet with an inverted nature and some origin myths of the world are comprised of twins with one being good and one being bad.
It is important to not go into victim mode with these situations and label someone as a narcissist since this is perpetuating the victim-persecutor-rescuer drama triangle. We also may see ourselves as 'good' and the other as 'bad,' which is also not healthy. We are healing centuries of power abuse, control and narcissism, (especially amongst the elite) on our planet, and it requires compassion along the process. There is also a danger that men can be labelled as narcissists, when this behaviour can also occur with women and it is important that we are mindful of demasculinization patterns on the planet as well where too much emphasis can be placed of the rising on the divine feminine and the masculine energies can receive a lack of support.
The Corded Fish
Many of my clients have experienced unhealthy attachments and given their power away to a partner or experienced 'trauma bonds' and collectively this is part of the healing we are going through from the Age of Pisces with the 'corded fish', towards the Age of Aquarius which will require us to connect with our wholeness, our identity and our self-love so that we can be with our true partners in divine timing rather than from a sense of neediness. Along our journey we may be blessed with kind soul friends who can mirror back to us in certain ways and allow us to grow through seeing our light and our shadow - even if they push our buttons, this allows us to grow and connect back with our soul. I have been blessed to have met a soul-friend who has mirrored me in many ways and helped me to remember my light and through willingness to do our shadow work we have both been able to grow and heal many layers on our journeys back to wholeness. Being willing to do this deeper shadow work is vital on this pathway back to Self and requires a willingness to be truthful with yourself and with others. Some clients have come to me feeling stuck and unhappy in their relationships and seemingly unable to conceive of a way out. Sometimes this can involve a strong 'cord' and it is an archetypal journey, for this closing Age of Pisces, to cut this cord in order to find the freedom and sovereignty needed for the coming Age of Aquarius with its strong focus on truth, frequency and unique resonance for each of us. A trauma bond or strong cord is connected with past abuse patterns and it is vital to understand this attachment style in terms of deeper childhood wounds in the nervous system in order to heal and find true healthy connections.
7 Stages of the Trauma Bond
These connections are forged on a trauma bond which usually involves 7 stages: the first is the euphoric 'love bombing' stage, next is gaining trust/dependency, then being criticised or devalued, followed by gas-lighting (manipulation to make you doubt yourself, crazy-making and confusion,) followed by resignation, then loss of self, and finally emotional addiction whereby the person can't imagine living without their partner and has totally surrendered their power; the brain chemistry involved during this stage is similar to alcohol or drug addiction. Love can also be confused with lust which controls us and we may crave the toxic emotions or drama - this is the downward pull which prevents us from growing spiritually, emotionally and mentally and keeps us trapped, feeling 'owned' and dishonoured. In a trauma bond we are psychologically addicted to our partner and 'coming off them' can involve intense withdrawal symptoms and has been described, by many, as the hardest thing you will ever do.
Healing the Trauma Bond
Here the 'feeling incomplete' wounds must be faced - the projections placed on another individual must be seen and the power must be reclaimed. We may project onto the other that they are our 'divine counterpart' or even a god who we give our power away to or seek love and approval from. We may feel trapped in the situation and helpless without the partner due to the trauma bond. The 'twin' may remain energetically in our life even if we are separated and we may still feel connected to them in some way. This dynamic finally dissolves when we totally reclaim our power and release the projections and find the true self within which is whole and complete and have succeeded in releasing the trauma bond. When this happens and we are at peace once more with the universe, a true 'soul mate' may be invited into our life who is also at peace within themselves and whole - this connection is forged on love, respect, growth and empathy which are the 'upward forces.' If someone is truly meant to be with us, they will be and they will come in God’s timing. We may be asked to trust in letting go of a lover if they are not quite right for us. We may fear being alone or doubt that there is someone who could truly love us and may need to find contentment in our own company and identity.
The Tragedy of Amy and Blake
A perfect example of a turbulent 'twin flame' connection could be Amy Winehouse and Blake Fielder-Civil. After proposals of their divorce had been submitted based on adultery, Amy made the following statement:
"I still love Blake and I want him to move into my new house with me—that was my plan all along ... I won't let him divorce me. He's the male version of me and we're perfect for each other."
Back to Black
You can see how she idealised Blake and needed him to complete her as the 'other half' in 'codependent denial;' she was unwilling to see the many ways in which they were not perfect for each other and had spiralled down into drug addiction (including heroin and crack cocaine,) codependency, violence and unfaithfulness and incidents which eventually led to Amy's death from alcohol poisoning. Amy's famous album and song Back to Black were inspired by their relationship, when Blake had left her for an ex-girlfriend and you can hear the heart-ache. In these dynamics, love can be confused with need and addiction since we are quite-literally hooked on a person - and we may stay in the trauma bond entanglement instead of finding the resources, support, therapy and strength to get out of the dysfunction and emotional addiction:
"The relationship quickly became a destructive and turbulent one. Arrests, public spats, and rehab stints followed, one of which resulted in a now-notorious photo of the couple: him with scratches on his neck; her in smeared eye make-up and bloodied ballet pumps, which he has since said was fuelled by a row in which he self-harmed. They claimed to love each other unhealthily; that they would have died for each other. “I feel love is somehow killing me,” Winehouse herself is heard saying in old footage." From the following article.
Amy was a Gemini ascendant and her Chiron was also in Gemini which could suggest a wounded aspect in regard to her 'twin' dynamic in life. A fascinating break-down of Amy and Blake's astrology can be found here. Amy's tragic life and lack of support was a powerful sign to show that there needs to be more awareness about the dangers of codependency, narcissism or abuse cycles in relationships and that there is hope and a way to heal and it involves a willingness to break the trauma bond and find connection with Source/Self again.
Emotional Entanglement and Codependency (or lack of self-love)
These patterns can be hard to detect for couples since codependency can include a lot of denial - people may struggle to identify exactly how they are feeling or deny how they feel. Codependency includes low self-esteem patterns, compliance patterns, remaining in harmful situations, being very loyal or being afraid to express truths and feelings. Codependency (or lack of self-love) can also include control patterns and may include blaming or shaming others, trying to influence other people; they may exhibit avoidance patterns which can include judging others harshly, pushing people away to avoid intimacy, refusing to surrender to a higher divine power, allowing addictions to people or things to avoid intimacy in a relationship or they may see emotions as a sign of weakness. Codependency ultimately derives from a lack of self-love or connection to the true Self and a need to fill in that void with a dependence or addiction on people or things and it may involve feelings of superiority or specialness to avoid feeling the low self-worth. Many people are running denial patterns and are not interested in the truth, even though it is the truth (and our true path) which ultimately sets us free. They may prefer not to know or use a lover or attachment to distract themselves from bringing healing to the sadness, disconnection or trauma within.
The Karpman drama triangle
Those with narcissistic personality traits may also have codependency and rely on others to supply them with energy or a sense of self which they lack within themselves due to their self-loathing or self-rejection. Narcissistic abuse can become more and more 'diabolical' - this word is connected with diablos, the Spanish word for the devil. Those experiencing narcissistic abuse may end up feeling more and more worthless, depressed, stressed and lose their self-worth.
Here we see the polarity and the need to transcend these patterns and avoid projecting the fault onto an abusive partner (or ourselves) or blame or shame them since these dynamics operate on the Karpman triangle of the victim, rescuer, and persecutor. Healing includes looking at any 'victim' patterns we have of attracting the situation such as feeling unworthy of anything better or undeserving of healthy love and therefore remaining stuck or trapped in the trauma bond. It may also require shadow work and facing any controlling or abusive patterns we might also run. Our nervous system may be entrained to seek out drama, intensity, chaos, conflict or trauma from earlier wounds in childhood. Our nervous system may also have been entrained to sense love as absence, abuse or neglect for example. Doing this deeper healing is vital to break a trauma bond.
The Choice to Heal and Be Free
"Anyone who has suffered this type of emotional and psychological abuse for any length of time may actually come to see the narcissist as a higher power in their lives. When we put another human on a pedestal and see them as above ourselves, we are quite literally making them a higher power. And highly empathic, untreated co-dependence, especially those with a history of being cast as the family scapegoat will do this with family members as well as friends, bosses, and romantic partners. If you believe that the narcissist is a power greater than yourself with more value and therefore authority over you, your thoughts, feelings, beliefs and decisions - if you've fallen for the illusion that the narcissist is the bearer of truth and that you're as unworthy as they say, and therefore you should be grateful to receive anything from anyone ever, you're in big trouble. First of all, never make another human being a higher power in your life. If you've done this, don't be hard on yourself, it's a side-effect of long-term exposure to emotional manipulation and narcissistic abuse. And you can heal from the effects of narcissistic abuse, but it's up to you to make the choice and actually do the work." Quote from Tamie Joyce.
A 'Double Life'
The Gemini Constellation
Marilyn Monroe (born as Norma Jeane Mortenson) is a famous example of a Gemini who lived a double life - she appeared as a beautiful adored actress loved by many on the screens, yet behind closed doors her life was fraught with mental health issues, drug addiction and turbulent, codependent relationships. Many psychologists believe Marilyn had a borderline personality which can include emotional instability, (usually to avoid a fear of abandonment,) a distorted sense of self and the tendency to think using 'splitting' which heavily polarises a situation and sees in extremes with someone as all bad or all good. Again we can see the Gemini or 'twin' themes here.
"If you're gonna be two-faced, at least make one of them pretty." - Marilyn Monroe.
Freeing the 'Lovers' of Gemini within us from any downward forces and polarities is an archetypal journey. The Lovers card in Tarot as mentioned features a nature spirit which suggests that the medicine is in finding harmony with Self and feeling part of nature again so that we don't crave or give our power away to a person in order to fill a void.
It is possible to see this connection with Mercury and the nature spirits since he is famous for his ‘trickster’ energy, particularly during retrogrades and was known for his trickery in mythological stories. Interestingly, Mercury was also a child of a nature spirit – a star nymph of Pleiades called Maia and his father was Jupiter. Pleiades is situated at the end of Taurus and near the start of Gemini which is ruled by Mercury. It could be argued that there is therefore a strong connection between Mercury and Pleiades and that he carries Pleiadian nymph energy. He also had a lover who was a river nymph called Larunda. The planet Mercury is the closest to the sun and therefore receives its light or ‘messages’ first before all the others.
Mercury - Travel and Play in May and Sacred Wells
Sagittarius is considered to represent the ‘higher mind’ whereas the opposite sign, Gemini, represents the ‘lower mind.’ One is not better than the other and whereas Sagittarius can develop our higher reasoning and philosophy it can fall into the danger of becoming ‘overly-philosophical’ or may take life too seriously. This is where it can benefit from the keys and gifts found in its opposite sign of Gemini, ruled by the quick-witted Mercury – this is the most playful planet. Mercury encourages travel and enjoying the Gemini season he rules which marks the stirrings of summer - this is a time to play, create connections, communicate, be creative, spend time in nature and enjoy the blossoms.
Hermes (Mercury) and mother Maia on an Attic red-figure belly-amphora (vase), c. 500 BC.
I recently felt to visit a sacred well - according to the folklore it is recommended to visit the well 9 times in May to receive its maximum healing benefits and so I dunked down 9 times since we didn't have the time to stay longer - the cold water felt really refreshing for the nervous system and it took me some time to regulate in the sunlight and I could feel a release. Both Mercury and his mother Maia were honoured in May by visiting a sacred well, particularly by merchants who blessed their wares and sought forgiveness for any financial errors of the past. Waterways were also sacred to Hermes in Greek religion since he was believed to have been bathed in three spring waters at birth by nymphs.
In book 5 of Fasti, the Roman writer Ovid wrote the following regarding this ceremony:
"All who make a business of selling their wares give thee incense and beg that thou wouldst grant them gain. There is a water of Mercury near the Capene Gate: if you care to take the word of those who have tried it, there is a divinity in the water. Hither comes the merchant with his tunic girt up, and, ceremonially pure, draws water in a fumigated jar to carry it away. With the water he wets a laurel bough, and with the wet bough he sprinkles all the goods that soon are to change owners; he sprinkles, too, his own hair with the dripping laurel and recites prayers in a voice accustomed to deceive. “Wash away the perjuries of past time,” says he, “wash away my glozing words of the past day. Whether I have called thee to witness, or have falsely invoked the great divinity of Jupiter, in the expectation that he would not hear, or whether I have knowingly taken in vain the name of any other god or goddess, let the swift south winds carry away the wicked words, and may to-morrow open the door for me to fresh perjuries, and may the gods above not care if I shall utter any! Only grant me profits, grant me joy of profit made, and see to it that I enjoy cheating the buyer!”
A marble Roman copy of a Greek original of Hermes/Mercury, 2nd century BC.
Resolving the Drama Cycles
The last line by Ovid is rather Roman! It could be argued that in his purest essence beyond any Roman conditioning, Mercury does not wish to cheat or deceive in trade (since he was also associated with thieves) - crossing boundaries, he can read both sides and wishes for there to be fairness, ethics and honesty in all transactions. He supports true trade and services which are in harmony with all that is and for people to flow with their intuition in natural abundance and to trust each day.
Some of the Greek and Roman conditioning on Mercury/Hermes included stories of rape and dishonouring women. It could be argued that in his divine template, Mercury has self-love and a true beloved, the nymph Larunda. With his ability to cross the worlds, he is humble with his power, empathic to others, considers their needs and evolution and is truthful - the empath-narcissist twin dynamic is resolved and he honours his polarities in a healthy way.
"MERCURY marches;--madcap rover,
Patron of pilf'rers. Pert quicksilver
His gaze begets, goblin mineral,
Merry multitude of meeting selves,
Same but sundered. From the soul's darkness,
With wreathed wand, words he marshals,
Guides and gathers them--gay bellwether
Of flocking fancies. His flint has struck
The spark of speech from spirit's tinder,
Lord of language! He leads forever
The spangle and splendour, sport that mingles
Sound with senses, in subtle pattern,
Words in wedlock, and wedding also
Of thing with thought." From The Planets by C.S. Lewis.