This issue of American Archaeology has a fascinating story titled The Hero Twins in the Mimbres Region. Accompanying the story are images of the Hero Twins story from painted bowls found in the region.
The twins in astrology are the sign Gemini which is ruled by the planet Mercury. The god Mercury was a messenger and both Mercury and Gemini are associated with communication. Because of Gemini’s high intelligence, speed and ability to perceive situations extraordinarily quickly, Gemini gone bad is associated with the con artist.
The Gemini personality, as the twins, is seen has having two distinct sides. Having two sides is part of the intelligence and, if you think about it, should be admired. But too much diversity of personality is often viewed as inconsistency which is counter to the physical, permanent aspect of our world.
What fascinates me about the Hero Twins saga is not only how the astrological symbolism matches, but how allegory enlightens and brings up deeper aspects of life which is symbolized by astrology.
Birth and Rearing
The birth of the twins is described as such:
The mother of the twins is a virgin and the daughter of one of the gods of the Underworld. After an encounter with the twins father, she becomes pregnant . . .
We learn the mother disappears from the saga after birth. Interesting. The paternal grandmother raises the twins. We then learn:
The larger, right-handed twin carries a sunflower, as he is destined to become the sun; the left-handed twin holds a moonflower, as he will become the moon.
The sun is conscious self and moon reactive self. Right and left – today talking about right and left brain is common but remember these plates are from 1000 AD.
That Gemini represents both left and right brain ability is clear from the sign and from the myth. The virgin mother I almost skipped over with the thought, “here we go again, another virgin.”
But then I realized the virgin is ruled by the sign Virgo which is also ruled by Mercury. I’ve been viewing the double-rulership as simply a lack of planets, but now I’m seeing the relation.
The virgin represents purity as she hasn’t been physically penetrated. After penetration by life, one is split which is represented by Gemini.
Mercury, then, is the dualistic perception (split into left and right) of daily life. The virgin represents the pre-dualistic perceptive state. It’s interesting that one planet contains both potentials.
Like many gods, the Hero twins were challenged with trials by the gods of the Underworld (which is watery). One of the trials mentioned in the article was to smoke but not consume tobacco.
Smoking follows the same path as the communication channels, the throat.
The trial plate goes on to say:
The twins were tricksters, imbued with a duality of both earthly and divine heritage.
We’re back to the trickster / con artist image of Gemini. But if Virgo is the non-dualistic state, then possibly the twins, by nature, represent trickery. The trickery isn’t the ability to shift the shells and take your money, but dualistic perception itself. That is the trickery.
Arms and hands and ascension
We know some folks talk with their hands. In the Hero Twins saga, each has one hand dominant which suggests that they are not complete until both hands are equal. Our left and right sides need to merge to be whole.
One one portion of the story, the right-handed twin loses an arm to a monster and now must get it back. The brothers have to go to the underworld to retrieve it.
In the Underworld, the twins eventually retrieve the lost arm but then the left-handed brother decapitates the right-handed brother whose head stays attached to his body by a lifeline. I’m not clear why he does this but the article says it’s needed to defeat the gods of the Underworld.
Both brothers eventually ascend from the watery underworld where the right-handed brother becomes the sun and the left-handed brother becomes the moon.
Both sides survived, but now are separate, one ruling the day and one ruling the night.
The moon brother has a “celestial burden” on his back represented by a “burden basket.” Today we call it the monkey on your back. Look to your moon sign to see what you’re carrying in your burden basket.
Astrology and myth
Astrology and myth both try to describe through symbolism underlying energetic principles. Story is truly more enjoyable which can explain why so few struggle with the numbers, geometry and math behind astrology.
Mercury is so much more than communication and talking. In a prior blog I mentioned a little book by Jim Self which describes the third dimension as: time loop, duality and the rational mind.
Duality and rational mind point directly to Mercury. The myth seems to be clearer than astrology in describing how the rational, dualistic mind (Mercury) is conceived from the Virgin (pure non-duality). Our two sides are represented at the highest level by sun and moon.
That the left-handed brother decapitates the right-handed brother in that watery Underworld represents something we all do in this world – Gemini or other sign. We often suppress parts of ourselves to get along in a dualistic world.
When I read myths I often wonder why we need to keep writing stories. All the stories we need exist.
But that’s Mercury too. Communication in a dualistic world can confuse as much as enlighten.