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Gemini is The Twins. The double-bodied sign of the Zodiac. The other double is Pisces, which is represented by the two fish swimming in opposite directions.
And here is the eternal dilemma ... doing one thing, and thinking something else.
Saying one thing and doing something completely different. It's something that all Geminis suffer from, this ability to see two sides to a situation, give two versions of events, and want to know not only the good things in life, but also the worst. My ex-husband, who is a Gemini, used to say he'd never hope for something good, in case he was disappointed, so he'd always think about the worst-case scenario.
Not sure if it works, or if he still thinks like that, but it was something he told me.
Here's Peter, an administrative assistant and part-time software writer. I asked him how he first got into Astrology and he gave me some good reasons for feeling at home with the descriptions that his Sun sign is supposed to have:
I'm a Sun in Gemini. But when I read about Sun in Gemini, I thought, "Yes! This is me!" but underneath it was a sense of actually is this REALLY me or do I just really relate or resonate with this because I WANT it to be? And I think it's a bit of both. I don't think I'm actually as amazing as Gemini sounded when I read it, but I really wanted to be and I really came away feeling upbeat and positive that I could do anything and be the best version of myself that I could be, but I wasn't really there yet. I really felt that Sun in Gemini must be the very best Sun sign around. As a control I read Sun in Aries as I was skeptical that maybe they all relate to you and they're written in a vague way that applies to all. But it wasn't. I didn't relate to it at all.
Later I went and bought the book (I was a student and prior to this I was just sneakily reading it in a bookshop) and I read the whole thing straight through. Some of the other signs really resonated with me, particularly Aquarius, Scorpio and parts of Libra. I have nothing in Libra, but I later discovered that I also had something called an Ascendant in Scorpio, whatever on earth that was, and that other planets counted too, such as the Moon, which was in Aquarius.
So what is a Gemini?
To call someone a Gemini, they would need to be born between a certain set of dates. These are the ones you read about in the magazines and newspapers and on certain websites, and they are usually from the 22nd May to the 21st June.
Now, I say usually, because it does depend on where your Gemini was born and at what time of day.
I'll tell you why.
Here we are on Earth. Astrology is the study of the planets in their orbit around the Earth, from our viewpoint of the Earth. And even though Astrology bases its calculations on the Sun going round the Earth, which it doesn't do (the Earth goes round the Sun), it looks as if the Sun moves across the sky when we look up at it.
All a birth chart or natal chart is, is a little map of the sky on the day you were born. Those orbits of all the celestial bodies don't occur neatly in time with our calendars though.
So, when the magazine says Mrs Green, who was born on the 21st June, must be a Gemini, that's not entirely correct. Because if Mrs Green was born at 10pm on the 21st in New York, NY, USA, she'd actually 'be' a Cancer. She would have to be born before 6am on that date to be a Gemini.
People have got round this dilemma by saying things like, "Oh, she was born on the cusp." There is no such thing as a cusp. You are either one sign of the Zodiac or another; you can't be two. The Sun will move around the sky and at a certain point it will then be in the next bit of the sky, and you're either in one bit, or the other. There is a mathematical cut-off point.
As there are 12 signs of the Zodiac, we've divided the sky into 12 bits. Each one is 30 degrees in size ... this will become more apparent when we look at Bob's chart in the next chapter, but just keep that in mind.
There is no such thing as a cusp.
Try to imagine it like the dividing lines on football pitches or tennis courts. A ball is either in ... or out. And anyway it's a maths thing. It's not difficult to work out now that computers do all the work.
There is no true agreement on how the signs of the Zodiac got their names. Some historians say it's because of the shapes the stars make in the sky but if you've ever looked at the stars, you certainly won't see anything remotely like a twin in the sky.
More likely is the idea that the original Astrologers (the Babylonians) named the 12 signs after their gods.
Nicholas Campion tells us in his The Dawn of Astrology that Gemini the sign was part of the constellations and was named after Mul Mas.Tab.Bagal.Gal or as they called it 'The Great Twins'.
They first recorded the path that the Moon took along the Sun's ecliptic, its apparent path through the sky, and divided it into 18 constellations "which stood in the path of the moon."
When the Babylonians were looking at the sky, the planets' orbits had in their backgrounds various constellations of stars. And I would just like to make a distinction here. Astrology is the study of the planets, not the stars. Stars are the twinkly things you see in the night sky and are billions of light years away from us here on Earth. Planets are celestial bodies, like the Earth, that orbit around the Sun in our 'Solar System'. Some of the planets are made of gas, some are made of rock like ours, but all of them go round and round the Sun. The Moon, our nearest neighbour, orbits around the Earth, while we orbit around the Sun.
So, Astrologers originally plotted the paths of the planets, through the sky, by matching the bits of the sky with the star constellations behind them as you view them from Earth.
Now, because of our orbit and a thing called the precession of the Equinoxes, those planets don't line up with the constellations anymore. So what we do now is divide the sky into 12 equal portions and start the division at the 0° Aries point at the Spring Equinox.
So now the Astrological signs match up with the seasons.
Each sign of the Zodiac has a planet that looks after it. We call it their 'ruler' and the ruler to Gemini is Mercury as there are similarities to Mercury the planet and Gemini the sign. Just to make things a bit difficult, this is also the ruler to Virgo, but that's only because there were originally 7 planets that the Babylonians used: the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. It wasn't until Uranus, Neptune and Pluto were discovered that the rulerships changed, as Astrology is a living and breathing art-and-science and there is always room for change.
The Speedy Planet
Mercury is a funny little planet. It has a very erratic orbit. Sometimes it can be seen in the morning, sometimes in the evening. Goodness knows how the ancient Babylonians saw it, as it's not easy to see even with a telescope.
In our solar system it's the planet that is closest to the Sun. This makes its surface boiling hot in places, and freezing cold in others, as because of its orbit round the Sun only part of the planet actually faces the Sun. Bit like standing in front of a bonfire on a cold winter's night. If you're facing the fire, your front can get hot, but your back can get really chilly.
Mercury's orbit around the Sun is four times as fast as the Earth's, so its year is only 88 Earth days long. However, it spins so slowly on its axis that one day on Mercury is equal to 59 days on Earth. It is also the smallest planet in our solar system and is not so easy to spot; the best times being early evening in the spring and early morning in the autumn in the northern hemisphere.
NASA's Messenger Probe
The American space agency NASA sent a probe called Messenger to explore the planet in 2004 and it became the first spacecraft to orbit the innermost planet on 18th March 2011. It was going to cease its investigations in March 2012, but has secured funding for an additional year of research. There is another mission planned for 2013 called BepiColombo which will carry two orbiters, one from Europe and one from Japan.
So far they have discovered that the surface of Mercury is covered in volcanic explosions, craters and evidence of flood volcanism. The surface temperature is of two extremes. On the sunny side it reaches 430° C and on the dark side of the planet it goes into deep freeze with temperatures to a low -180° C. Hmm, don't fancy living there!
Mercury the Go-Between
If we look at Mercury in our solar system, we see that it stands between the Sun and us and I agree with Christina Rose who writes in her Astrological Counselling:
Mercury, positioned closest to the Sun, stands rather as one who introduces the solar energy to all the other planets, and vice versa. Thus, his function is that of an introductory link, transmission, connection and we may liken Mercury to a go-between, an agent or courier between the Sun and the rest of the solar system. On an incoming wavelength, this function is experienced within the individual as recognition, perception and awareness. On an out-going wavelength, it is that which spurs us toward the communication of those perceptions and awareness.
Astrologers therefore think of Mercury in the birth chart as something that acts as a mediator or negotiator and helps with communication.
Mercury the Messenger God
In myth Mercury is named after the God that the Greeks called Hermes. And Hermes replaced the Babylonian god Nebo and then later the Romans named him Mercurius. This poor God had a number of name changes before it was agreed to call him Mercury.
In the Greek myths soon after being born, Hermes set off in search of the cattle belonging to his brother Apollo. He made their "hooves go backward, the front ones last and the back ones first" and hid them in the cave of the Sun god Apollo.
He is also known as the trickster God because of all the naughty things he got up to.
Hermes was also the only God capable of travel to the deadly Hades underworld and back again. This is similar to the reality of the planet's surface temperatures being so extreme. Hot/cold.
Mercury is now depicted as a God with winged feet, travelling great distances with lightning speeds, being the messenger of the gods. It is these attributes that we mirror in Astrology. We're not saying that the attributes of Gemini are exactly the same as the planet Mercury, just that they're similar, that they have alike qualities.
Mercury has a dark and light side: Gemini can be bright and breezy sometimes, and dark and moody at others.
So what do other Astrologers say about Gemini?
Other Astrologers' Views
Here's Rae Orion in her Astrology for Dummies:
The Sunny Side
Forever young, they say. You're clever, cheerful and thoroughly interested in life. In your never-ending quest for mental stimulation, you are fascinated by the diversity of the world ... when you master a skill, travel to a new place, explore a new area of knowledge, or meet someone new, you feel invigorated ...
The Sorry Side
You talk too much. You drain people. You can even exhaust your own interest in an idea, simply by talking it to death. When you go into overdrive, which is often, you become nervous and tense ... You're the original chameleon.
Here's Christopher McIntosh in his Astrology:
... As Mercury is the planet of the mind, so the typical Geminian is quick-witted and resourceful. He can turn his hand to many different activities, but often finds it difficult to settle for any one. He can be something of a Jack of all trades, master of none ... they also excel in written communication. Gemini is a double sign, and the Geminian often lives a double existence moving easily from one role to another.
How about Linda Goodman, what's her take on Gemini?
Almost every Gemini speaks, understands or reads more than one language and French is the favourite. One way or another, the Gemini will triumph with words. He cut his teeth on the Oxford Dictionary. He can sell ice cubes to Eskimos or dreams to a pessimist. If you happen to catch him in some dodge, he can change the subject so fast, and direct the conversation away from himself so adroitly, that the whole affair ends with you on the carpet instead of him.
Let's ask Maritha Pottenger in her Easy Astrology Guide: How to Read Your Horoscope:
Sun in Gemini. You need to shine fluently. You may gain or seek recognition for your verbal skills. This could vary from the teacher/professor to the neighbourhood gossip, from the punster to the use of extensive vocabulary. You need to shine by being versatile. You are likely to be proud of your versatility (or ashamed of your tendency to scatter with multiple interests). Driven by wide-ranging curiosity, you may shine in diverse areas. You (also) seek recognition for your mental brilliance and for nimbleness and flexibility ...
Felix and Bryan tell us in The Instant Astrologer these Gemini keywords:
Versatile, curious, shallow, stimulating, communicative, restless, sociable, quick-witted, fickle, dexterous, ingenious, diffuse, inconsistent, chatty, artful, flippant.
Bright, sociable and communicative one day, sullen and moody the next, Gemini, the Twins, is unquestionably the most mercurial sign of the Zodiac. The fact is that, while we are all made up of many 'selves' somehow masquerading as one person, Gemini is the living embodiment of the split personality ... The Twins signify Gemini's dual nature, and its challenge to get to grips with the world of opposites – for example, between light and dark, belief and cynicism, intuition and reason.
I think we can safely say Gemini encompasses the attributes of communication, duality and changeability.
Loving to Communicate and Languages
This is the quality that a Gemini excels at. Being heard and understood. If you want to understand something, get a Gemini to explain it. They love to explain things. It's not that they want to appear more clever than you; they just enjoy the process of passing on information.
Ulrika lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland as a translator and teacher. She tells us a bit about her Gemini self:
What I think is typical Gemini in me is that I am very fast, on the road, in picking things up, trends ... I 'find' things long before they become a trend, or mainstream. I am definitely a messenger and conveyor of information to others.
I asked her how many languages does she speak? "Five" was her answer.
I then asked Veronica about her language ability. She lives in the UK in a large metropolitan university city and works there as a lecturer:
Well, I'm a bit rusty with some of them, but I know/have known at least a bit of these languages in varying degrees: Ancient Greek, Modern Greek, Latin, French, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Spanish, Welsh; and if I weren't so lazy these days I would have been learning a bit of Portuguese and Serbo-Croat, because it doesn't feel right to me to go on holiday abroad and not know anything of the language.
One language I like but have never managed to learn is Icelandic, because classes conflicted with my working hours when I was studying Scandinavian languages. I am fluent in Norwegian, almost bilingual, as well as my mother tongue English & can translate from Swedish and Danish better than my oral skills might suggest.
I then asked her what her favourite form of communication is. Is it e-mail, letter, phone or face-to-face?
You forgot telepathy!
E-mail is the easiest (I used to love letter-writing before we had e-mail, and found it a real lifeline e.g. during my marriage), but erotic texting is great fun. Phone can be great, especially with people who are not so good at being present when you are with them in physical reality – they pretty much have to make an effort on the phone!
I also love receiving handwritten letters and really enjoy good handwriting; in fact it can even be a turn on. (I am also interested in graphology.) In affairs of the heart I think to write the object of desire a letter – or poem – would be most appropriate.
Face-to-face communication works best with some people, but it depends on the individual. I go for whatever will be the most satisfying mode of communication with the individual in question.
Among other hobbies she even liked learning Greek at school!
Ancient Greek, Modern Greek (which I was teaching myself for fun), Latin, French, English, swimming, riding, reading, specially poetry, creative writing ...
Julie is a British citizen but now lives and works in Florence in Italy. She tells us her preferences:
Communication – I prefer face-to-face to talk and chat, then the telephone. I use my mobile to send messages and arrange where to meet friends etc. I'm a bit lazy to send e-mail and letters, quicker to pick up the phone and talk.
Excerpted from How to Listen to a Gemini by Mary L. English. Copyright © 2013 Mary L. English. Excerpted by permission of John Hunt Publishing Ltd..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Chapter One: The Sign.................... 7
Chapter Two: How to Make a Chart.................... 26
Chapter Three: The Ascendant.................... 31
Chapter Four: The Moon.................... 39
Chapter Five: The Houses.................... 48
Chapter Six: The Problems.................... 55
Chapter Seven: The Solutions.................... 60
Chapter Eight: Listening Tactics.................... 67
Further Information.................... 89
Astrological Chart Information.................... 90