Gemini Symbolism and Mythology Explained

Gemini is the third sign in the Zodiac. It is named after the constellation of Gemini. It is also called «The Twins». It is considered a dual-faceted sign, as is explained by the legend around it.

In Greek mythology there once was a set of twins born to a woman named Leda. Even though the boys were twins from the same mother, they had different fathers. Castor was the son of her husband, King Tyndareus and Pollux was the son of Zeus. So of course Castor was mortal while Pollux was immortal. There are other accounts that claim both boys were hatched from eggs, so obviously their exact lineage is somewhat questionable. (Not too mentions their theory on where babies come from). However, they did grow up to be great horseman, warriors and hunters. They were also very close to each other.

One day shortly after they had reached adulthood they decided to run off with two women that had already been promised to their cousins. The twins had fallen in love with the girls and wanted to keep them for themselves. So they stole these women out from under there cousins and carried them off to live with them. It goes without saying that this caused some hard feelings between the four male cousins.

Some time later all four men were raiding cattle together in Arcadia when they started arguing about how to divide it all up. Their larger cousin, Idas, suggested that the herd be divided into two groups instead of four. Then whichever two cousins finished their meal first would get the cattle. This seemed like a good idea to everyone so they all agreed and began to eat their dinner.

Idas quickly ate his meal and then finished off his brother Lynceus’ meal as well. Idas (who was much larger than the others) had tricked his cousins and he and Lynceus left with all the cattle. Even though Castor and Pollux had run off with the women promised to Idas and Lynceus, they still felt betrayed and vowed they’d get their revenge for this dirty trick that was pulled on them. They seemed to have forgotten that they were the ones who had actually agreed to it, to begin with.

A little while later Castor and Pollux saw an opportunity to steal the cattle back from their cousins. They had been attending a party at their uncle’s house when they made up an excuse to leave early. So they left the party and began to work at gathering up all the cattle. As they were trying to do this, Idas and Lynceus (who had left the party just after they had) saw what they were up to and knew instantly that they were trying to steal the cattle back. Together they attacked Castor, fatally wounding him. Pollux heard Castor’s warning shout and ran back to try to save his brother. Pollux manages to kill Lynceus but can’t overcome Idas’ great strength. Slowly Idas is beginning to wear Pollux down. Just as Idas is about to slay Pollux, Zeus intervenes and strikes Idas down with a lightening bolt. (I guess every now and then it comes in handy to have a god for a father!)

Pollux runs over to the side of his dying brother and Zeus is so touched by the love the brother’s share that he gives Pollux a choice. He can either keep his immortality or he can share half of it with his brother. Of course Pollux decides to give half of it to Castor.

So this act of brotherly love enables the twins to split their time between Hades and Olympus. In this way Castor and Pollux earned their spot in the constellation of Gemini. They are the two brightest stars in the constellation.

An interesting note to this story is that Castor and Pollux are also known as the brothers to their sister, Helen of Troy. She too was rumored to have been hatched from an egg. She was playing hostess at the party Castor and Pollux had been at, but after they left she was kidnapped by Paris of Troy. This happened at about the same time that her brothers were off stealing the cattle back from their cousins.

Greeks and Romans alike worshipped Castor and Pollux, but they weren’t the only ones to do so. In Italy they were known as Kastur and Pultuce. Their images have even been found etched onto Etruscan mirrors. In fact, sailors at the time considered them to be their patron saints and would pray to them for favorable winds. The Sanskrit name for Gemini is Mithunam.

The «element» that Gemini belongs to is air. It is a sign that is considered to have «mutable» qualities. This means that Gemini’s by nature are very fluid and adaptable to their surroundings. They are naturally talkative and tend to have high energy. The duality of their natures allows them to assume different personas at different times when necessary.

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