Information on Gemini History and Myth
The History of Gemini
As other signs in the zodiac, Gemini is not in the same position as the constellation of Gemini. In the zodiac, it follows Taurus and takes the third 30 degrees of the zodiacal circle. Gemini is a mutable sign that is preceding the summer, and as such, it announces change while ruling the time of year when Taurus spring has ended, and life on Earth is about to change. Spring is dying down and preparations are done for summer to take over with the beginning of Cancer.
The word “Gemini” is a Latin word for twins and it is one of the constellations that actually look like its name would suggest. The first known reference of the Gemini constellation was in Aristotle’s Meteorologica, over 300 years BC. He mentions that he observed an occulting a star in Gemini and speaks of observing Jupiter in conjunction with it. In Babylonian astronomy, these stars were known as the great twins and regarded as minor gods – Meshlamtaea (The One who has arisen from the Underworld) and Lugalirra (The Mighty King).
This constellation is located between Taurus at the west and Cancer at the east. It is special because the twins from Greek mythology were not represented only by the constellation, but by actual stars which mark the twin’s heads in it. Pollux is the brightest star in Gemini and it is an orange-hued giant star, and Castor is the second brightest star in this constellation, and it is a sextuple star system which appears as a blue-white star to the unaided eye.
The myth of Gemini
The myth of Gemini is a myth of Castor and Pollux, sons of Zeus and Leda. Leda was the wife of Tyndareus, king of Sparta. One of the versions of this myth states that Leda got seduced or raped by Zeus disguised as a swan, on the same night when she shared a bed with her husband. As a result, she hatched two eggs from which four children were born, mortal and immortal for they have different fathers, and among them – Castor and Pollux.
Castor was the mortal twin brother, and Pollux was immortal. They never fought and loved each other greatly. Pollux was known for his boxing skills and Castor as a horse tamer. Brothers aspired to marry two women who were already betrothed to two of their cousins. This lead to a family feud and Castor was fatally wounded by one of the cousins as a consequence. Zeus gave a choice to Pollux – to spend every day as an immortal at Mount Olympus among the gods, or give half of his immortality to his brother Castor. He opted for the latter, and the twins shared life and death, by spending a day at Olympus together followed by a day at Hades – the underworld.
The second story is connected to the birth of the twins, in which they weren’t really Leda’s sons. By this version of the myth, Zeus fell in love with Nemesis, who was the spirit of divine retribution against those who succumb to hubris (arrogance before gods). She represented inevitability of fate to those who were godless and evil. Zeus started chasing her, acting on strong attraction he felt, and she started changing shapes to escape him. When she transformed into a goose, Zeus found her, became a swan himself, and mated with her passionately. As a result, two eggs hatched, found by Leda in the swamp and she claimed them as her own.
The connection between the Gemini myth and the Gemini zodiac sign
This myth reminds us of sincere brotherly love and can manifest through the love for a brother, or a friendship that is so close that it feels like brotherhood. It tells about two people who don’t care about their differences and are prepared to do anything for each other. They could have trouble with women who already have a man in their life, and we can certainly see a picture of two men fighting over a woman. If one of them gets badly hurt, it is to be expected that the other one will give anything to help him. The sign and the constellation of Gemini represent a link of heaven and the underworld and can represent someone’s near death experience or any sort of intense contact with death.
Behind the main story, there is a face of Zeus that shows a father who presented himself as something he is not, only to seduce their mother. In a truly challenging position, we can even see brothers born from rape, or adopted children whose mother left them (in a swamp). The second version of the myth tells us about overcoming the inevitable. The chase for beating inevitability is almost always present in the sign of Gemini.