The Alchemy of Gemini – Betwixt & Between


As the days get longer and the sun rises to its zenith in the sky, so the alchemical carousel turns again and we enter the sign of Gemini. The dialogical exchange of the divine twins invites us into the mysteries of the air element and Nature responds with a rich variety of sounds, colours, scents and textures. The blossom of Taurus has attracted bees and butterflies and the pollination cycle is beginning in earnest, carried on winds of change. Endlessly darting from flower to flower, the Gemini messengers buzz and flutter happily from one source of interest to another, spreading the news, stirring nature’s alchemical mix and heralding the arrival of summer. It seems like everything is up for grabs in this hubbub of trade and exchange. We find Nature’s theme reflected in the Christian calendar with the festival of Pentecost or Whitsuntide, which remembers the story of the holy spirit coming as a rushing wind, carrying divine “wit” and inspiring the apostles to spread the word of Christ’s ascension.

Changing the Buzz

The bee is an apt animal totem for Gemini and its activities are so obviously essential for the sustainability of life. Yet, as we know, the bee population is declining at an alarming rate, and one of the contributing factors, it seems, may be the electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile phones and wireless internet signals, our modern Geminian pollinating devices. The airwaves are now saturated to near exhaustion with our half-baked human jabberings and it appears to threaten the very essence of life.

The Sacredness of the Air

Many indigenous cultures, past and present, recognize the air, the wind and the breath (that we moderns have secularised and commodified) as aspects of a sacred power. It is the sensuous medium through which they live and have their being. Moreover, spoken words, drawing their communicative power from this invisible realm, are still considered by many indigenous groups to be the “structured breath”,1 which voice the intentions of the spiritual powers. And for those who have their sensitive antennae intact, the sacred air through which we all breathe and think and speak is still perceived as being richly endowed with myriad elemental beings, carrying with them the spirit of our interactions.

A Tapestry of Evocative Language

Gemini carries the power of Hermes or Mercury, the god of language and communication, trade and commerce. All that is betwixt and between comes under the auspices of this duplicitous messenger, wordsmith and riddler. So, on the alchemical journey this month, with this wily daemon at such close quarters, we are paying extra attention to what we are thinking and saying! Gemini always reminds me to choose well from the web of words and stories and to voice them with more ritual care. We do well to remember that words do not simply label things that are already there, but can also carry an incantative power which reverberates in the aether, echoing back and forth as the great tapestry of life is woven.

Including the Middle

The alchemy of Gemini can re-enliven our awareness of the more-than-human otherness of life, help us reconnect to those emissaries of the air that dance between worlds. Daemons, elves, sidhe, little people – a plurality of spirits marginalised by our disenchanted modern worldview – still close enough to this world to be occasionally sensed in certain special places, yet elusive enough to escape too close a scrutiny. But, if we are to re-enter such a perspective, it will take a suspension of our logic, literalism, hasty judgments and singleness of vision; we will need to embrace metaphor, ambiguity and the “middle” that Aristotle would have us exclude. The rewards are great, though difficult for the analyst, to glimpse for a moment a deeper truth in that enchanted realm where the bard and the ovate – speaking in tongues – still hold court.

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