A Glass-Bottomed Boat Reveals Undersea Wonders

Dear Friend and Client:

In her 1951 cult classic Esoteric Astrology, Alice A. Bailey describes Gemini as one of the most important signs of the zodiac. If you took a survey, most people would probably not say this. It’s not Aquarius, of Age of Aquarius fame. It’s not Aries, of Aries Point fame. It’s not the ever-infamous Scorpio, and it’s not Capricorn, the Moon sign that Augustus Caesar proudly revealed about himself to assert how powerful he was, had stamped into coins, then tried to hide.

Not The Star, not The Sun, not The Lovers, not The Brothers, rather, two versions of The World card from the tarot decks of Jean-Pierre Payen (left) and Jean Dodal (right). Dodal’s card dates from sometime between 1701 and 1715; Payen’s from 1713. What is interesting is that the symbol of the twins appears many times in the history of the Tarot, visiting several different cards over the centuries. The tarot is a living document that changes over time as it is reinterpreted.

I think that AAB knew what she was talking about, and that it’s more relevant now than ever.

The astrological year begins at equinox, when the Sun enters Aries, represented by a ram. Aries is a high-initiative fire sign, which is a good way to get things started. Aries, ruled by Mars, describes the competitive nature of humanity, seemingly a necessity of survival.

The story continues when the Sun enters Taurus, represented by a cow or bull, which implies resources. Not so long ago, if you had a cow, you had an assured supply of food: you had milk and you could plow the fields. Taurus, ruled by Venus, also emphasizes the human obsession with beauty.

Then comes Gemini. It’s taken 60 days traveling through the zodiac before anything human shows up. And when it does, there’s not one person but two of them. They are not adults; they are kids. This is symbolism so rich I can barely write another word, but I will try.

The mythology of a civilization from which we’re descended says that the twins represent Castor and Pollux — the mortal son of Leda and the immortal son, respectively. Both were the brothers of Helen of Troy. Castor was the son of the king of Sparta, and Pollux the divine son of Zeus (who seduced Leda in the famous scenario where he manifested as a swan). These represent the (perhaps constructed, perhaps organic) notion that in each person, there is an ego with a transient life and there is a soul with an eternal life — or that all humans have a part of them that is immortal or divine.

Gemini, ruled by Mercury in traditional astrology, is the first sign associated with thought. I would propose that the first human image or concept in the zodiac is presented in a pair because it represents self-awareness. It is the human consciousness aware of itself as the other. If you talk to yourself, who is doing the talking and who is doing the listening? When you have the feeling of observing yourself, who exactly is doing that observing, if it’s you? There is a quality of reflexivity to the human mind, and that is Gemini.

Castor and Pollux, also called the Dioscuri or twin gods. In Greek mythology they were brothers of Helen of Troy, the ‘face that launched a thousand ships.’ They brought forth favorable winds for those who made sacrifice to them. In astrology, Gemini is an air sign.

It can manifest as self-consciousness, self-awareness, self-criticism and any number of other facets of relationship to oneself, including in modern terms the self and its shadow partner. Twin consciousness can also be a symbol of sentience.

But usually this quality is projected outward (for example, seeking validation of our existence from others). That outward projection is known as dualism — something that contains two essential parts, in this case ‘self’ and ‘other’.

We live with a lot of dualism in our dimension of existence. Just about everything we see bifurcates, or splits in two. The most significant splits are probably the divide between all that is human vs. all that is not human, and within humanity, male and female.

Yet these twins of Gemini are brothers. They’re both male. On one level, this is a reference to Castor and Pollux, who appear in the early versions of Trump VI of the tarot, which used to be called The Brothers.

According to Aleister Crowley, later occultists revised that card to The Lovers, depicting male and female humans, the pair-bonded couple and the most overt symbol of dualism. In most versions of The Lovers, there is a third and fourth party involved, usually cupid or an archangel, and a minister who is marrying them. There are a number of ways to read this, including the idea that relationships don’t exist in a vacuum. As ‘sacred’ as many people want to make the ‘space’ of a relationship, it’s often a mob scene. Each lover or twin has a double; notably, one is ‘divine’ (the angel) and one is ‘mundane’ (the minister), echoing the theme of the mortal and immortal twins.

There is the usually denied potential for dyadic relationships to form a threesome (with Cupid, the angel or the minister — or someone having another lover; or with the birth of a child). There is the presence of ‘the relationship’ as a fictional third entity; the notion of the relationship being blessed (or cursed) by some non-physical entity; the idea that the church and God must somehow get involved in human intimacy (which looks like either advertising or more likely, a sly commentary); and a variety of other possibilities. Notably, those are from tarot representations, which are thousands of years newer than the much simpler zodiac representation of Gemini.

The essence of Gemini is dualism, and this property has a way of finding its way around. If the mind is dualistic, everything will seem that way. One thing that AAB notes is that many signs of the zodiac depict dualism. There are the two horns of the ram in Aries, the horns of the bull in Taurus (which doubles as the crescent Moon, the Moon being exalted in Taurus), there are the twins of Gemini, and the apparent yin-yang of Cancer. There are the scales of Libra, the double wavy lines of Aquarius and the two fish of Pisces.

The Lovers, from the Camoin-Jodorowsky tarot. This is a 1997 rendering of the 1761 Nicolas Conver deck, also called the Tarot de Marseilles. Though The Lovers corresponds to the sign Gemini, the twins, there are often four entities depicted in the card.

What she is suggesting is that at our time in history, the concept of Gemini is underlying all of these seemingly different forms or expressions of dualism.

If you study Esoteric Astrology, you quickly discover that a core idea of the philosophy is that all of astrology is about the resolution of seeming opposites. I am reluctant to call anything associated with astrology new, but I have not come across this idea in any version of ancient astrology that I’ve seen.

In classical astrology, the signs are generally considered independent working parts of the wheel, and the system is taken as a whole [note the existence of the Thema Mundi].

The signs are grouped in batches of three and four — triplicity being element (three each of fire, earth, air and water signs) or quadruplicity being type of sign (four each of cardinal, fixed or mutable signs). There are divisions like male and female signs. There are things that describe night and day emphasis (Saturn is associated with Capricorn at night, and Aquarius during the day).

But as far as I know (and I am open to being corrected on this), the first book where the idea that opposite signs contain one another appears is Esoteric Astrology. Said another way, opposite signs are not really opposite. They are part of the same idea or energy system; they contain one another. For this reason Patric Walker could quip, “Scratch a Pisces and you find a Virgo under their skin.”

The seemingly twin souls, or two people, or two aspects of humanity of Gemini seek resolution in Sagittarius, which is the sign of alchemical bonding. But in this, the cosmos has given us a little joke, or a clue. Sagittarius is the sign of the centaur, which is the morph of half-man, half-horse. Here we have an indication that the relationship of those twins is the animal aspect and the human aspect of who and what a person is.

Whatever the inner split may be, it’s a crucial part of the story of humanity, and we see it illustrated in Gemini. I have found that on a number of levels, the question to ask when strong Gemini is present is, do the twins get along? What is their relationship? Are they aware of one another? Does each of those hemispheres of consciousness know that the other one exists?

The Lovers from the Thoth Tarot, by Lady Frieda Harris and Aleister Crowley, drawn between 1938 and 1943, and finally published in 1969. The card is directly associated with Gemini and depicts a same-sex couple getting married or blessed; nearly every symbol appears with a counterpart. Including two women was both prescient and a throwback to The Brothers (the same sex parties of the older card).

In anyone with a strong Gemini element to their chart, be aware that they are likely to present one side to the world at a time, then the other. This depends, in part, on how integrated the personality of this person is. In situations where the personality is not that integrated, there may be a degree of unawareness of what one twin or the other has in some way presented to the world, say, for example, the night before.

So we have another image from Gemini — that of personality integration (or lack thereof). It’s been observed before that the human mind seems to have many people residing within it. There are many levels and facets of the psyche that are constantly seeking expression and are also in the process of integrating into one another.

Incidentally, that process is expanded upon and illustrated in Virgo, the other Mercury-ruled sign, and another sign on the mutable cross. [For those curious about the the Thema Mundi, note that when using this chart, the signs and houses shift by 90 degrees, creating an overlay between Gemini and Virgo. They are very closely related, and can function as aspects of one another.]

The Glossary of Idiosyncrasies 

One of my favorite concepts out of Gemini is the idioglossia. This is the phenomenon of the secret language of twins. Not all twins do this, but many do — they develop an entire miniature language that only they understand.

If you’re trying to suss out the word idioglossia, think of it as an idiosyncratic glossary. I have read that they usually outgrow this at a certain point, like many things in childhood, but from the standpoint of symbolism and the occult, it’s magnificently rich.

It has to be pretty inspiriting to any linguists who are paying attention. For one thing, this points to the innate human capacity for language, a factor that is part of the story of Gemini, perhaps the chattiest of signs, and one of the funniest and most clever. The 3rd house, which in some astrology systems corresponds to Gemini, is the house of brethren, and as such, local matters, gossip, rumors and basic communications.

With the idioglossia, we have an image of the secret language of any two people — be they twins, sisters, brothers, lovers, co-conspirators, co-authors, co-inventors or any two people who are intimate. This opens up space for a whole range of intimately shared observations, inside jokes and many, many adventures and facts of life known only to close siblings or twins — or people who emulate them. I love the line from the U2 song The Fly — “They say a secret is something you tell one other person.” But since Gemini is the sign of gossip, that telling one other person can spread pretty fast.

The Mercury Retrograde Phenomenon

Gemini is ruled by the planet Mercury, a planet that does something that no other planet does — goes retrograde three times a year. That means Mercury switches directions six times a year (three times retrograde, three times direct).

Chateau de Avenieres Tarot mosaic at Cruseilles in France.

This is the essence of the Gemini quality of mutability, or changeability. Not only does Mercury change directions, it often changes signs when it goes retrograde and direct.

In this sense, Gemini can be a chameleon, constantly absorbing the energy of different signs, accentuated by the fact that it stops and changes direction many different places along the zodiac. Indeed, sometimes six signs per year are involved, as they are this year.

Having Mercury as the ruling planet makes being or hanging out with a Gemini an adventure. It’s impossible to be bored. Intrigued, entertained, puzzled or frustrated — but never bored. There is always some change on the horizon.

And that change can happen quickly. One of the interesting things about Mercury, as opposed to any other planet, is how quickly it comes back up to a fast daily motion once it’s stationed retrograde or direct. It stops and changes directions often, but it never takes long.

As regards mutability, one of the older definitions of that property is that a mutable sign can act like a cardinal sign (for example, Cancer) or a fixed sign (such as Taurus). So this is another way that Gemini and its associated planet can embody many different feeling tones in the zodiac.

In the upcoming Mercury retrograde (from June 7 through July 1), the process starts in Cancer, then retreats back into Gemini. When Mercury goes direct, it will then re-enter Cancer.

All three Mercury retrograde cycles this year bridge a water sign and an air sign in a similar way, indicating an integration process between emotions and thoughts, or between feelings and ideas.

That Glass-Bottomed Boat

There is a set of symbols, described in various books, that assign an image to each degree of the zodiac. The symbols were channeled in the 1920s by Elsie Wheeler and the Rev. Dr. Marc Edmund Jones, one of the founders of modern astrology. The original is charming, though my favorite version of the symbols is the revision published in 1973, written by Dane Rudhyar, called An Astrological Mandala.

The Lovers from the 1986 Voyager Tarot by Dr. James Wanless. This is the deck that I use in my tarot readings associated with the birthday reports. Gemini — this means you!

The symbols were channeled randomly. In other words, Wheeler, the clairvoyant, had no idea what sign or degree she was channeling for. Jones wrote the degree and sign of each of the 360 degrees onto an index card, shuffled them, and then without revealing the card, Wheeler would come up with an image.

The result is one of the most fun and intriguing developments of modern astrology, and the first borrowing from contemporary symbols.

I pay attention to the first and last degrees of any sign. The first degree of Gemini is “A glass-bottomed boat reveals undersea wonders.” Rudhyar explains the symbol in the context of psychology, saying it’s about “the revelation of unconscious energies submerged in psychic structures.”

He describes how the conscious mind, so often opaque, has become translucent, or really, transparent; one can see what is going on below the surface, even if one cannot yet make direct contact with it. Yet he suggests that a “new dimension of reality is perceived by the earnest inquirer.”

The last symbol of Gemini is “A parade of bathing beauties before large beach crowds.” It’s as if the symbol of inward gazing has gone the whole distance and been projected outward. The inner quest is being projected as an external drama. The bathing beauties have an intuitive connection to Gemini through the sister of Castor and Pollux, Helen of Troy, and that infamous beauty pageant that started the Trojan War.

Rudhyar comments that this is about the setting of social standards through personal excellence and competition. While in many ways the human story is an inward one, mostly it seems to be about exploring the world, and that is a fact that we need to address. The inward split in humanity is resulting in a state of nearly constant strife. The split in the mind, unrecognized for what it is, results in projected differences that go so far as to lead to war.

In a somewhat ominous comment on this last degree of the zodiac before the [Northern Hemisphere] summer solstice, Rudhyar says, “The show is over. Now comes the hour of decision.”


Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope for June 2014, #999 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19) — It’s time to update your files on a relationship. All year long you’ve been in a phase of review or reconsideration of an important partnership. The question phase is over, and it’s time to apply the things you’ve learned. The core question that it’s time to answer is, what are you doing in this involvement? You may decide that it’s productive; you may decide it’s not working for you at all; you may decide that the situation is workable and that you’re still committed to it. However, you need to know where you stand, and anyone else involved must know that too. This meeting must be on level ground, with all parties agreeing that the situation is fair and mutually beneficial. This is likely to require some ongoing, careful thought on your part. For example, if you decide that the situation is not perfect but is workable, then the details have to be worked out. If you decide that it’s not worth going forward, then an exit strategy must be negotiated. And if you feel strongly about moving ahead with the relationship, you still have to do some careful review of the history of your involvement so that you don’t repeat any mistakes going forward. Whatever you do, it’s clear that you need to proceed with full information and a solid commitment. There are significant challenges ahead, and you have the ability to turn them all to your advantage.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Your relationships seem to throw you one opportunity after the next to rise above your own nature. The world is constantly demanding a higher level of maturity, attention and commitment. Such is the nature of Saturn in your opposite sign Scorpio. This transit won’t last forever, it’s indeed challenging and I promise you one thing: you will miss it when it’s over. Saturn presents challenges, and it also offers the circumstances that you need to meet them. In that sense, Saturn is eminently even-handed, though you may not see it that way. Speaking in the more immediate sense, but also related to Saturn, the theme of this month is a focus on money. It’s vital that you rethink some recent decisions, not waste your resources and make the most of the situations where you are compensated for your work. It’s essential that you find the meeting place between what you’re good at and its value to others, and maximize that relationship. Make sure you focus your efforts on what really matters to the person or organization that is paying you. Remember that you’re part of something larger than yourself, and that your role is to contribute energy and ideas. Reach for a whole-system approach — also known as a plus-plus symbiosis, or the greatest good for all concerned. That’s not the way of the world, but soon we’ll have no other choice.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — This month’s astrology illustrates an idea that’s dear to my heart: that self-esteem and one’s financial situation are closely related. I know that money supply is often blamed on the economy, and one’s place in life seems to be about how many credentials or connections one has. I think it’s much more obviously an emotional connection to feeling good about who you are, good enough to assert yourself to others and to excel at your work. This is one of the most basic measures of self-esteem — whether you feel you have a role in society. It also works the other way: the more you cultivate your talent and assert yourself as a gifted person, the more likely you are to develop those qualities. There are always ups and downs along the way, and dealing with them in a mature way is a significant part of personal growth. One aspect of this is being passionate about your talents, which means enough to take a risk on them. Then there’s one more bit. You may need to give up something in order to move forward doing what you’re best at. That might be your time, it might be some other interest, it might be a financial involvement or it might be an attachment to not succeeding. This is not really a sacrifice — in time, you’ll figure out that it was an exchange.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — Use a series of rare aspects this month to work out conflicts in your motives, the ‘mixed signal’ phenomenon and other unresolved material that will come to your awareness. You will be able to get underneath the surface of subject matter you’ve long puzzled over, and psychic material you’ve had a vague sense of but could never put your finger on. This will key directly into healing modalities that become available, plus mentors or practitioners you encounter, who actually understand something about the nature of what you’re experiencing, and can actually help. Perhaps the most significant thing you should know about your astrology, and that is not visible on the level of the ordinary planets, is what a profound time of healing and learning this is for you. On some level you suspect this intuitively, though I want to confirm it for you as an astrologer. And I want to let you know how big this really is. I’m not just talking about healing; I am talking about you tuning up your entire system to be able to receive rare and highly specific teachings, information and what you might think of as galactic data. I know this is a bit more New Agey than I usually get, though that is what the charts say. And the next four to six weeks will be a time of focusing your learning patterns and opening up to possibilities you never imagined.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You play a unique role in the culture, and this month your charts are describing that as a publicist for something weird, intriguing or that goes against the normal grain of society. It could be your project, it could involve someone close to you and it might also be that you’re going to be taken on a tour of all that dances to the tune of its own drummer. You’re likely to make some big scores or turn up a few gems in your process of exploring and experimenting with some aspect of culture. But you may not know what they are, so the idea is to be very observant and to treat everything as a potential gem. Doing this involves being more than a consumer or passive participant in the world around you. Think of yourself more as a cosmic talent scout, someone surveying new artistic or business territory, or going to unusual places and finding the most creative people. In these weeks you have the potential to cultivate or discover ways to increase your income, but there are two caveats. One is that you must be following your true calling. The second is that you need to be flexible enough to adjust and adapt to a continually changing environment. As it turns out, this aspect of life is one of your most adaptable, and where you have the most natural curiosity.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Examine carefully your values as they relate to the spiritual and financial aspects of your life. They’re not really separate; indeed, they are inseparable except for an idea, and that is the idea I’m suggesting you look at. This is not an easy idea to translate out of the charts, but here’s my best throw. It’s not necessary to give up success to have some form of spiritual growth, or not in the way that you think. Western religion is all over the map on this one — some say that wealth is a reward from God, some say that one must give it all up to get any respect from God. But what does God have to do with it? Who is this mysterious authority figure making bold, sweeping and seemingly contradictory statements about what must be so? And why do they apply to you? I suggest you examine carefully the concept of sacrifice — that which you must give up in order to make something sacred, or to win the favor of God. Your charts in my reading reveal a passionate drive for something that includes devotion, creative passion, a visionary quality and the potential for monetary success. There are, as you well know, two ways to read nearly anything; of the two this is the creative, life-affirming one, the one where you come out the winner, in harmony with existence.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Yours is known to be one of the most laid-back signs, but you know this is an act. In fact you are one of the most driven and determined individuals you know, once you make up your mind what you want — and as long as you don’t simmer in resentment and regret, uncertain whether you deserve something. Now, you always have the option to hook into that, but it’s old, and it’s the very thing you’re trying to let go of — so I suggest you cut your losses, give back what is not yours, and move on with a clear conscience. If you have to make amends to anyone, do so sincerely and move on. If you need to apologize to anyone, do so and get on with your life. And one other thing: if you have to forgive anyone, including yourself, then integrate that into everything else you’re doing as part of the move-on process. Forgiveness is not stuffing something, or forgetting something, or demanding that someone take the blame. It’s the opposite of all these things, and though nobody can really explain the process, it does exist and it seems to be easier if you ask for help in whatever spiritual language you speak. The most important thing nearly everyone agrees on about forgiveness is that in truth, it’s not about anyone but yourself.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — In most of my recent Scorpio commentaries, I’ve explored the concept of fear, and the way your charts are describing how you’re working it out. The sum total of this topic is that the most poignant, threatening subject of fear is oneself. This manifests many ways, including as fear associated with dropping the charade and being oneself. It’s always fear that keeps the game of being ‘someone else’ going. It manifests as fear of one’s potential. Or it can express itself as the quality of needing to hide behind a barricade, concerned what will happen if you come out. And one of the most common, and for you debilitating, ways it can manifest is fear of your sexuality. All of the pseudo-conservatism we are seeing in our current era of history, and false modesty and intentional ignorance of biology, are all expressions of fear of sex and sexuality. This is especially distressing and debilitating for you because your sign is all about sex: the sign that in ancient astrology rules the sex organs, and in modern astrology one’s hormones, desire and the nuances of attraction. Because life emerges from sex, the fear of sex, in any form, is fear of life. You who want to be alive need to align with your desire and your erotic power, as if it were the cosmic gift that it actually is.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Much that you could not talk about, or find anyone willing to discuss, is about to become a household topic. It will be up to you to make them a household topic, though you know it’s time for you and the people around you to speak in an open way about what is obvious. You can initiate the discussion gently, and you may be surprised to see that people respond. Seen one way, they are reflecting you and responding to your commitment to truth. Seen another way, they are tapping the underside of their own nature, and that particular aspect has more in common with who you are than it does with who they usually are, or think they are. Therefore, I would encourage you to have all the unusual, irreverent or taboo discussions that you’ve ever wanted to have. Get good at it. Find out how easy it is to lure people into revealing the truth of who they are, and use that information wisely. In one sense you will be looking into a mirror — but a mirror so clear, it will be entirely convincing that what you see is not a reflection. You don’t need to believe it’s a reflection — you can merely ask yourself how you would respond if what you were seeing reveal itself in others was, hypothetically, some aspect of yourself.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — This is your take-charge moment, though for the next few weeks as Mercury treks backwards through Gemini, I suggest you keep this fact concealed. Rather, work with people on their familiar level of the game, of the company or of society. Learn everything you can, about them and about what they do. There is a style of leadership (such as onboard a ship) where the captain must have mastered every single station, task and routine that any of his or her sailors must do. This is the approach that I suggest you take. As you do so, establish relationships with everyone you know who is doing those tasks and make sure they know you appreciate them. Once Mercury stations direct, you will then step into a coordinating role. Again, this will not be the ordinary kind of top-down leadership that our society seems to worship, leading to the $25 million CEO who cannot actually do anything. As time goes on, and you demonstrate your competence and skill by passing through a series of initiations or tests, you will earn the respect of those around you. Along the way, I suggest you think of everyone as your potential benefactor and supporter rather than as a competitor. This will be a refreshing change, and who knows, maybe other people around you will start to pick up on the idea.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — You seem to be having doubts about your power or your influence, and at the same time you seem to be tamping yourself down intentionally. This may be the best approach for the next few weeks as you work out some ethical issues that seem to be bothering you. This may be stuff that has been hanging around for a while, but which you’ve just been able to focus into a coherent thought. The question relates to one or both of your parents, which is why you can go for so long working something out that you don’t even know exists; it showed up before you were born, and you thought it belonged there. This would be a good moment to question everything you’ve taken for granted, any words of self-defeating ‘wisdom’ that any parent, teacher, caregiver or other authority figure ever delivered to you. One way to find such material if it’s buried is to consider any self-defeating thoughts you have and ask yourself where you learned them. They came from somewhere, but they will have little influence without your support and willingness to play along. It will then be up to you to teach yourself what is right, and to follow that teaching and see how it works. It will help if you gather others around you who affirm what you both know is true. There’s strength in numbers, especially for an Aquarius.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — This is a rare and beautiful moment in your life — especially if you remember that the best thing you can do for yourself is to believe in yourself. Have faith in your abilities and your goals. Know that you have the talent and the strength to accomplish what you set out to do. Trust that you have more than just enough; you have more than enough to make whatever happen. All you need is faith, and that is indeed a sign of strength. If you can’t muster that, then even the most basic modicum of trust in yourself will suffice. Tune into this on an emotional level, not just a mental one. Connect with the feeling of competence. If there are two sides to the argument, listen to both and choose carefully which one you believe. Most of all, allow yourself to feel desire and hunger for accomplishment. What you cannot do yourself you are capable of finding others who are loyal to you to do; be bold and ask for what you need. People will respond to your confidence, and this will create a cycle that feeds on itself. Your astrology portrays a time in your life when you possess unusual gifts, yet ones that are distinctly human. That is all you need to be, though I would add that most descriptions of what human means fall woefully short of what is possible — though the difference is almost always crossed by that distinctly human quality of faith in oneself.

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