Gemini

Great Symbols Series @ Theosophy Trust


GEMINI


 In a time so long ago that it barely lingers in the memory of aged medicine men, two sons were born to Sun-Carrier and his consort Changing Woman. They were Nayanezgani and Thohadzistshini, who overthrew the monstrous ones and brought an end to the Age of Giants. They heralded a new race and ushered in the Fourth World, where every colour existed and a snow-covered mountain stood at each of the four cardinal points. The Navajo say that four gods created the first man and woman from ears of corn. To this pair came five births of twins, the first of which were hermaphrodites. The four that followed intermarried with the Mirage People who dwell in this world. Their children slowly forgot their ancestry and even failed to see the significance of the birth of twins.

 The heavenly twins of every mythology have some striking affinities. The sons of Sun-Carrier and Changing Woman are reminiscent of those of Adam and Eve or Zeus and Leda. Sometimes they are male and female offspring, standing like two pillars side by side. They, like the Navajo brothers, are symbols of the brilliant white and red stars which for thousands of years have been identified as 'the Twins.' The pillars of Hermes and Hercules, as well as Jachin and Boaz at the entrance to Solomon's temple, are derived from the great myth of Gemini. The glyph that describes them all is a graphic indication of their nature: two columns supporting a crossbeam over a threshold. Used in this form by the ancient Spartans, the glyph was later translated into the image of two amphorae with snakes twined around them. The glyph stands for the Portal of the Temple of Humanity. The ancient Euphrateans called the twins Mun-Ga, which designates 'the making of bricks' and refers to the building of the City of Man. Similarly, Romulus and Remus, who despite their differences, built 'the Holy City' of Rome stone by stone, reflect a conception of the temple of humanity common in Mediterranean cultures. Gemini is also associated with fertility, and Finno-Ugric people still carry twins into the fields to ensure an abundance of crops. The celestial twins suggest a link between the evolving human vehicle and the increase of life in general through the divided, overbrooding Spirit, which quickens the processes of division and fructification.

 Like Romulus and Remus, the twins of legend and sacred lore are often in opposition to one another. They may, like the brothers depicted in the Cahuilla creation myth, separate to their respective positions in the nether and upper worlds. Or, like Odin and Ollerus of Eddie mythology, they may alternate with one another, representing summer and winter and other cyclic patterns. They maybe like the twin warriors who embody the ever-contending forces of creation and destruction, life and death, their struggle being the cause of all change. They precipitate externally the nature inherent in Changing Woman and bring face-to-face with itself the duality intrinsic to manifestation.

 Gemini may describe two hostile brothers, but in Hindu and Egyptian tradition the twins are brother and sister. In The Book of Knowing the Evolutions of Ra, which describes the nature and exploits of the children of the Creator Temu, Shu and Tefnut are described as the right and left eye of Ra. Their father Temu declared the twin birth: "Thus from being one god I became three out of myself." Shu and Tefnut, side by side, represent the union of past and present, space and light, life and order. The Gate of the Pillars of Shu was recognized by Hierophants as the entrance to the Path. The divine nature of androgynous twins points to a state of wholeness which existed prior to the subsequent divisions of evolving existence. An occult analogy can be found in the process of fertilization of a single mother cell which produces, in human generation, identical twins. In such cases the ability to provide the entire complex genetic structure for multiple individuals lies within one fertilized egg. The psychic closeness that twins experience seems to mirror their monogenesis, as well as an even higher and more abstract form of sharing than any they experience on the physical plane. Coming from that which can reproduce itself, and seeming to move, think and feel as one person, twins have inspired philosophers from many cultures to see in them the first emanation of the Creative Logos.

 The dual nature of Gemini, as the central theme of the symbol, is shown in various ways. If the twins represent the forces of creation and destruction or the upper and lower worlds, they are both loved and feared. Where the Finno-Ugric peoples rejoice at the birth of twins, some African peoples fear them. It is often said that Heaven kills as well as creates and is associated with the unexpected, like lightning and other awesome phenomena. With the birth of twins the unexpected occurs and they attract both good and evil. Knowing not which is which, some people abandon both in the forest. It is not always a simple task to tell Cain from Abel, and sometimes the dual nature of Gemini, which is usually present in single individuals, becomes separated out in two twins as though one were the dark shadow of the other. In modern times the extraordinary example of two French brothers seems to echo the ancient biblical crime. The innocent and virtuous brother was so repeatedly plagued by the perverse misdeeds of his twin that he finally lost control and in a fit of exasperation strangled him. The mystery as to why the good brother kills the evil one is compounded by the fact that in the biblical allegory the brother rejected by God kills the one accepted.

 Whether good and evil, or both purely divine, the dual forces symbolized by the twins are inextricably bound together. As Manilius wrote, "Tender Gemini in strict embrace stand clos'd and smiling in each other's face." The Aswin twins of Hindu tradition are always together, guiding their horses through the heavens. In the Tarot cards the twins symbolized 'the Lovers' and their masculine and feminine activities are like two reflections of one will. The heavenly twins express opposites fused together, like twin beams from one light. The image of Castor and Pollux, seen by the Romans as the Double Light, was placed on the bow of ships in the belief that their dual presence could nullify or blend the powerful negative and positive forces working during electrical storms at sea. Their salvific power was suggested in Shelley's translation of Homer's Hymn to Castor and Pollux:

 Ye wild-eyed muses! sing the Twins of Jove,
. . . . . . . . mild Pollux, void of blame,
And steed-subduing Castor, heirs of fame.
These are the Powers who earth-born mortals save.

  The Greeks and Romans often called the two brilliant stars of Gemini the Sons of Leda. Castor and Pollux were separately termed 'the Starry One' and 'the Lightful One,' names indicative of their respective natures. Castor symbolizes the Earth while Pollux is the emblem of Spirit, reminding us of the ancient edict which states that it takes Earth and Heavenly Waters to create a human soul. The Greek myth achieves its most sublime expression in Pindar's version. Leda is united in the same night with Tyndareus, King of Sparta, and with Zeus, King of the Olympian gods. From this dual union emerge two sons, the mortal Castor and his immortal brother, Pollux. Bound together by a common mother and intense fraternal devotion, they journey on adventures throughout the world. In a ferocious battle with the sons of Aphaereus, Idas, 'he who sees and knows,' mortally wounds Castor. Pollux finds his brother dying and appeals to his divine father to allow him to perish also. "Thou art of a divine race," Zeus replies, "Thou canst not die altogether." Nevertheless, just as the brothers have shared all things in life, they may both share death and immortality. Pollux gives a portion of his immortality to Castor, and thus the twins live alternately, one during the day, and the other at night, in the heavenly abodes. As an allusion to the evolutionary history of humanity, Castor represents the purely mortal man, unconscious in its personality and a mere animal until united with the immortal individuality, signified by Pollux. He is Manas, the informing fire of consciousness which transforms animal man by linking him to the immortal individuality, Atma-Buddhi. Lower man becomes conscious, and Higher Man can behold the world through his less favoured brother. Thus Castor symbolizes the egg-born Third Race humanity, unconscious until awakened to Manasic awareness by the informing god - Pollux.

 Gemini is ruled by the planet Mercury, and the twins are often depicted as children using their budding intelligence to play life's game with a cleverness which mimics innocence. Gemini represents the forces of both the Higher and Lower Mind which when ideally combined result in an airy and mercurial balance of self-consciousness. Like the union of past and present symbolized in the Pillars of Shu, Gemini brings into emergence the delicately balanced confluence of the rivers of mind and matter. In China it is represented as an ape with dual qualities related to Yin and Yang, whereas in Tibetan Buddhism it is symbolized by a monkey climbing a flowered tree. The agile primate with his humanoid characteristics climbs upward to grasp the opening bloom of self-conscious intelligence. From this point the light of awareness will disperse through writing and education as well as the arts of commerce. Its benefactors will be many, and some great poets and thinkers attribute the source of their genius to Gemini. Hesiod wrote, "To them I owe, to them alone I owe, what of the seas, or of the stars I know," and Dante intoned:

 O glorious stars,
O light impregnated - with mighty virtue,
From which I acknowledge - all my genius,
What-soe'er it be.

 In occult tradition we are told that the source of this genius is the First Androgyne whose essence is eternal and who emanates a pure ethereal light. It is a dual light which is not perceptible to the physical sense but which carries the seed of the Dual Man. It is the Androgyne who completes man, "whose ethereal form is emanated by other divine, but far lower beings, who solidify the body with clay, or the 'dust of the ground.' ' The progressive manifestation of twins suggested here is reminiscent of a Babylonian account of creation which states that "In Heaven and Earth 'faithful twins' had been brought into being" who were all to be the gods of the three worlds.

 Gemini as a symbol of the Higher and Lower Mind points to the process whereby the whole of evolving existence leads to the pivotal point inherent in the dual nature of man. The duality symbolized by and inherent in Gemini suggests the dynamic unity of the mind, the crucible of the Aquarian Age. Like the two amphorae encircled by serpents, Higher and Lower Mind have complementary functions. When separated, Kama Manas is the calculating mind which apes its superior twin, fantasizing images of the world which deny significant occult import to events, and ruled by projected desires rather than spiritual aspirations. As the shadow of Buddhi-Manas, it can concretize any conception and exploit spiritual language for its own inverted ends. Buddhi-Manas is ever indifferent to all but universal truths; it abstracts the formless core from the world of form, synthesizes the mathematical harmonics of the world of change into the one fundamental vibration which precedes and pervades every manifestation, and transcends every level of insight, each of which becomes a step on the stairway to pure Spirit. When Kama Manas is wedded to Buddhi-Manas, its relational side is weaned from the snares of tanha, the thirst for embodied experience, and it becomes the vehicle through which Buddhi-Manas can manifest in the world. Gemini represents the realignment of the inverted mind.

 Emerson likened friends to diamonds and opals, the one pure and impenetrable, the other variegated. The adamantine Higher Mind is multi-faceted, reflecting every colour from within itself while remaining colourless. The opalescent Lower Mind reflects all the colours of the world because they are lodged within it. When brought together in fraternal friendship, Lower Mind is purified so that it picks up and refracts only the colours emitted by Higher Mind, pouring its light forth into the world. Lower Manas must achieve a philosophical negation - refusing to identify with name and form - so that Higher Mind may manifest. If the lower aspect of dual Mind is positive, the higher aspect must be negative. The Aquarian Path is the process of reversing these polarities. Then the potentiality of the Akashic light, contained in the crystalline amphora of Higher Mind, can reflect in the potency of the pristine astral light poured forth from the translucent amphora of the purified Lower Mind. Thus the two aspects of Mind stand in the same relationship as did the first awakened Third Race humanity to its spiritual Instructors.

 Twins in the world are like witnesses to the archetypal transition from the wholeness of the androgynous race to the duality of the separation that marked the lighting-up of Manas, They are a testimony to this, though few of them actually divide the opposing forces of higher and lower consciousness. Usually they blend the two individually as well as collectively, although there are few cases where the divine and animal natures pit themselves against each other as two separate persons inexorably linked in a desperate struggle which can only end in the death of one or the other. But this too is a reflection of the inherent potential unleashed with the awakening of self-consciousness. Adam separated into Cain and Abel (male and female), who are his own 'allegorical permutations,' and from the seed of this First Androgyne issued that series of twins which would, like the Navajo hermaphrodites who married 'the Mirage People,' produce the mortals of the earth. The 'killing' at the archetypal level has to take place, for without this sacrifice there can be no descending issue. The killing on the worldly level is a shadow of this mythical 'crime.' In its own sad and convoluted way, this illustrates further the painful involvement of purity and wisdom with that which is steeped in the mire of ignorance.

 In Isis Unveiled H. P. Blavatsky suggests that Adam, Cain and Abel can be likened to the sephirothal triad of Crown, Wisdom and Intelligence. Correlating the Sephiroth with the classical zodiac, it follows that Abel symbolizes Gemini, marking it as the point where pure creative force is divided in two, such that one half is elevated and the other half descends into the multiplicity of phenomena. Adam is the collective name for man and woman or Cain and Abel, indicating that the separation of the sexes is only being alluded to analogously at the stage of evolution depicted in the myth. All stories concerning a seemingly objectivized Eve separated from Adam or separated siblings are merely indicators of the potential which lies latent at the dawn of the Third Root Race. These allegories do not refer to beings of flesh but rather to states of consciousness embodied in the most ethereal garments. Abel, the female aspect of Adam, is 'killed' because it enters into generation, and this is done as sacrifice by Cain or Jehovah, the masculine and creative aspect. Adam itself is the androgynous issue of Adam Kadmon, the sexless and pure Unmanifesting Logos. The allegory in occultism describes the development of the First purely sexless Race, the inactive androgynous condition of the Second Race, and the emergence of the 'Separating Hermaphrodite' which marks the Third and last semi-spiritual Race. It is in subsequent races that woman and man separate further and come, increasingly, to fight the battle of the dual self each within herself or himself apart. There is a karmic reflection of the androgynous commingling of forces in the relationship existing between man and woman today. While the shedding of the blood of Abel symbolizes the sacrifice of virgin consciousness, thrice-blessed is he who realizes the synthesis of the long separated forces within himself and through his relations with others.

 The Heavenly Twins of Gemini are beautifully typified by the Aswins, the divine charioteers of Hindu mythology. They are depicted riding in a golden car and possess many forms. They are "the bright harbingers of Ushas the dawn" and represent the transition from darkness to light, both cosmically and metaphysically. It is said that at one time the gods refused them access to a great sacrifice on the grounds that "they had been on too familiar terms with men." Identified with both heaven and earth, these divine twins can show a negative character, due to the alliance of light with darkness which they characterize. But when they sacrifice themselves as a bridge, like the reins they attach to their wild steeds, they are known as the Aswini-Kumaras, the reincarnating 'principles' in the Manvantara. Their natures are endlessly reflected in the manifestations of Gemini in the world, but also represent a great and sustained sacrifice which, in its earliest stages, the stars of Gemini channel into the cosmos.

 In man, the dramatic manifestation of this is in objectivized, reflected intellect. The Nidana traditionally related to Gemini is Vijnana or 'I-consciousness.' Of the twelve Nidanas, the first and second have to do with the last life or the past, while the third or Vijnana has to do with this life and the present. Therefore its nature is very dependent upon the 'karma-formations' and the skandhas of consciousness predominating in the previous birth, which can be seen as a 'causal mind-base' for the present. As a phenomenon like any other, it arises through dependence upon conditions. Vijnana is the collective term for all evanescent mental states, and to understand it requires the raising of fundamental questions, such as "Why do we think that matter exists?" and "What is the cause of the illusion of objective consciousness?" In Buddhist philosophy this has been put in terms of a contrast between Absolute Mind which is changeless and unreal image-making which obscures the light of the Absolute Mind. This Mind is called alayamjnana and refers to stored consciousness, whereas the unreal image-making is a product of evolving consciousness or pravritti-vijnana.

 According to the Yogacharya School, cosmic will produces effects stored in alayavijnana which result in potential touch, mental activity, feeling, perception and further extensions of will. This first transformation of consciousness from the Changeless is followed by a second involving the evolution of ego-consciousness out of Alaya. The third transformation completes the process and ushers in that condition where sense perceptions are wrongly interpreted as descriptive of objective and subjective worlds, each independent of the other. Here, built into the dynamic duality is a system of perpetual inversions which is the realm of phenomena, the endless house of mirrors. The focal point of the inversion is like the central aperture of an hourglass through which sand flows back and forth. Creative Nature (Natura naturans) and Created Nature (Natura naturata) endlessly intermingle, the one being like the wearer, the other like the mask. As in the Babylonian god Nergal, who has two heads and two sets of wings and eyes that can rest and act simultaneously, cause and effect merge in Gemini. They twist and turn and reflect, sending the soul through the Pillars of Shu. From Absolute Reality, the Self partakes of the relative reality belonging to the realm of the pure hermaphrodite, the divine Twins. But evolution demands full descent and the separated ego enters into a long passage through the realm of imputed reality where the unreal imagination has full sway and the memory of the divine Twins is barely discerned. The struggle between Reality and its shadow begins.

 Like the original moment of a vow taken with the first light of self-awareness, Gemini recalls the beginning of the quest. It reminds us of the awesome struggle of humanity for eighteen million years, and it points to the purpose of our existence, which is to uplift nature and bring her back to self-conscious unity with the One. This process is intimated in The Secret Doctrine: "The universe hath a Ruler (Rulers collectively) set over it, which is called the WORD (Logos); the fabricating Spirit is its Queen: which two are the First Power after the ONE." These Two Inseparables remain in the Universe of Ideas so long as it lasts and then merge back into Parabrahm, the One Changeless Source which rests unmoved at the centre of the great zodiacal wheel.

Hermes, July 1977