Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Energies of Twinning

Picking up on the theme of the Sacred Twins in preparation for Sunday’s event, this is in keeping with the seasonal theme of Sun in Gemini.

If you have multiple Tarot decks, you might want to look through them to see which have good images of twinning or doubling. The Rider-Waite-Smith deck utilizes such images in the Hierophant, Lovers, Chariot, Strength, Devil, Moon, and Sun, (as well as Minor Arcana cards, like the Two of Cups). However, not all decks—even RWS spin-offs—bring in the same images. On the other hand, some decks may use images of doubling or twinning in novel ways, as in the case of Hanson-Roberts’ nursery rhyme-themed “Whimsical Tarot,” which features Jack and Jill in the Temperance card. In fact, in preparing for Sunday, I got out a number of decks and asked them to edify me on the theme of twinning; when I shuffled and went through the Whimsical Tarot, the first major “twins” card that came up was Temperance (Jack and Jill), flanked by the Two of Cups (the Owl and the Pussycat) and Two of Pentacles (Jack Sprat and his wife). If you come across any interesting new images in other card decks, I would like to hear about them, because I’m not able to keep up with all of the Tarot decks that are out there.

We’ll also get into the theme of “double fortune,” which the Chinese tie in with the symbolism of the twins, and also with the number “8,” which they describe as “the luckiest number,” (and have different ways of doubling it numerically). You might want to look at the 8s in your Tarot decks, to see how they are portrayed by the artists. Knowing the Chinese associations, we can talk about how some of the more negative traditional Tarot associations can be transmuted, and how 8s cards with positive images can be used in Tarot spells.

Back to the sign of Gemini, you don’t need to know anything about astrology to appreciate the twins symbolism. However, if you happen to be familiar with your personal horoscope, this can add another level to your Tarot reading. If you have had your horoscope done, take note of which of your astrological houses are ruled or over-lapped by Gemini, and which (if any) of your planets or points are in Gemini, because in the way that the Tarot holographically casts light on many different areas of life, the twins cards also offer insights into what’s going on in the areas of your life that Gemini presides over. Furthermore, in line with the double fortune theme, take note as to whether Jupiter or Venus make friendly aspects t your planet Mercury (ruler of Gemini), the cusp of your Gemini-ruled house(s), or any planets you have in Gemini.

Food for thought: the Gemini twins were known as the Dioscuri, and were very important deities in ancient times. (Why would people pray to twins? It’s understandable that people would pray to Venus for luck in love, and to Mars for luck in war, but what sort of human needs would they address the Dioscuri for?) When a number of the old gods were converted into catholic saints, the Dioscuri became the twin doctor saints Cosmas and Damian, patrons of healers. (How can we engage the Sacred Twins in healing issues?) In Santeria, Cosmas and Damian are identified with the twin Orishas known as the Ibeji. They are patrons of children, and people also believe they can double their luck and their money by honoring the Ibeji.


  1. Lovely post! This is my first time visiting, and I hope to come back for more soon.

    I wonder if the twins were treated as deities because of their sometimes androgynous traits. I think I read once that early version of The Sun card showed two young children and that it was not always clear what their sexes were.

    Jung argued that, in order to be complete, one must understand and incorporate their masculine and feminine sides. Maybe this need was recognized long before Jung and this might be another reason the twins are significant.

    Thanks for the read.

  2. Hi Tabitha! I'm glad you found your way to this site. Yes, older versions of the Sun card did feature androgynous twins. I think that ancient people were in tune with the points you are making, and Plato may have said something along those lines, though I don't recall enough about Plato to comment on how his thoughts might apply to the Twins in Tarot.