Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gemini, A Mutable Sign

It may not have meant so much to me being a Gemini all these years, except for the fact that I was born not just a Gemini, but a real twin. Though we may not have those special vibes that you hear of identical twins sharing, my twin brother Bruce -- or as I called him in younger days, "my swin Brucie" -- and I have always enjoyed our twin-ness and had fun with our special status. Being a twin -- that's my TOP 10 reason for being a Gemini!

[just try not to notice major usage error: your / you're]

The Gemini personality is described as changeable, talkative, mercurial; a profile of duality, paradox, and opposites. But even more interesting than these characteristics is the concept of the Mutable Sign that can cross a cosmic divide with grace and ease and flexibility.

The Four Mutable Signs of the Zodiac
Signs of adaptation and adjustment, also called double - bodied or common, because they fall between two seasons, thus making the time neither truly fixed nor truly movable but common, i.e., half fixed and half moveable.

Gemini: between the spring and summer seasons
Virgo: between the summer and autumn seasons
Sagittarius: between the autumn and winter seasons
Pisces: between the winter and spring seasons

The Four Cardinal Signs
Moveable signs of creation that initiate change, coinciding with the beginning of each season and directing energy outward:

Aries: spring begins in the northern hemisphere
Cancer: summer begins in the northern hemisphere
Libra: autumn begins in the northern hemisphere
Capricorn: winter begins in the northern hemisphere

The Four Fixed Signs
Sustained signs of preservation and perseverance, all occurring when the seasons are already fixed in place.

Taurus: spring in northern hemisphere (autumn in the southern)
Leo: summer in northern hemisphere (winter in the southern)
Scorpio: autumn in northern hemisphere (spring in the southern)
Aquarius: winter in northern hemisphere (summer in southern)



  1. i'm a gemini, too! and that certainly seems to describe me. too bad i'm not a real twin, like you!

  2. More Historical Definitions From Wikipedia

    In a Byzantine scholium to Chapter 2 of the Introduction to astrology by fourth-century Hellenistic astrologer Paulus Alexandrinus, the following clear definition can be found:

    "A double-bodied zoidion [sign] is said to be between two seasons, such as Gemini between spring and summer, ending the spring and beginning the summer [...] That is to say, double-bodied as being between the two bodies of spring and summer."[1]

    900 years later, when medieval Italian Guido Bonatti wrote his Liber Astronomiae, in the final years of the thirteenth century, the definition remained the same and his is quite elegant:

    "The moveable (cardinal) signs are so-called [...] because at the time when the Sun enters them the disposition of the air is changed [...] The common signs are so-called because when the Sun enters any of these signs it makes the time common, neither truly fixed nor truly movable, but it partakes of both, fixed and moveable. Whence part of that time it is of one [nature] and part of the other [...] when [the Sun] leaves Leo and enters Virgo, then the season is changed, and is made partly summer and partly autumnal."[2]

    However, by the time William Lilly wrote Christian Astrology, in 1647, a subtle change had taken place. Lilly writes, describing Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces:

    "The Signs [...] are divided into moveable, fixed and common, [...] [Common] Signs are constituted between moveable and fixed, and retain a property of nature, partaking both with the preceding and consequent Sign [...] They are called bi-corporeal or double bodied, because they represent two bodies: as Gemini (twins), Pisces (two fish)."[3]

    The seasonal connection had become more tenuous, although it was doubtless still understood.

    Lilly goes on to say that mutable signs are inherently "unstable, and of no resolution, and mutable, perverted, wavering [...] inconstant."[3] This is a rather dramatic overstatement, but Lilly is trying to create the most striking comparisons he can between the three classes of sign.

    Modern astrology does tend to regard mutable signs as more unstable and wavering, less strong-willed, than either cardinal or fixed signs, but also more adaptable and can deal more easily with change.

    Paulus Alexandrinus. "Introductory Matters."" Text as translated by Dorian Gieseler Greenbaum in Late Classical Astrology: Paulus Alexandrinus and Olympiodorus. ARHAT Publications (Archive for Retrieval of Historical Astrological Texts) (Reston, VA; 2001.) P. 5.

    Guido Bonatti. Liber Astronomiae. [translated by Robert Zoller] Project Hindsight. The Golden Hind Press. (Berkeley Springs, WV, 1994.) Second tractate, Chapter XI. (Vol. 2, p. 2.)

    William Lilly. Christian Astrology. (London, 1647.) Chapter XVI. P. 88. Ascella Publications (London, 1999.) P. 39.