The Divine Twins at Midsummer


The dyad of the Twins leads seemingly inexorably to the formulation of trinity. Whether this be the trinity of Their parentage from the Sky Father or Great Mother, or in some other sacred triangularity, an implicit triplicity is revealed over and over again in the legends as they have been collected over the ages by scholars, storytellers, and the curious. Thus, Donald Ward reports that the Indo-Iranian, Graeco-Roman, and Baltic traditions about the Twins each present the Brothers as having a Sister, typically characterized as a solar maiden or literally daughter of the Sun: “In Greek mythology the sister of the Dioskouroi is Helen, whose very name means approximately ‘divine splendor,’ and who, according to some reports, is also known as the daughter of Helios ‘the Sun’ … .” (Ward, p. 11)

—Leafshimmer, Red and Green:  Meditations upon the Twins (in progress)

In this month of June, our swiftly tilting planet swings Her Northern Hemisphere swoopingly towards the Sun, as eager as any Groom for the embrace of his Swain.  This June of 2015 has seen an exceptional burst of Divine Gemini energy–Sun in Gemini, Mercury Retrograde in Gemini, and an amplified, even perhaps somewhat haywire, soaring of Elemental Air energy.  Communications on all levels and of all descriptions have been stunningly affected.  Conversations have assumed a sometimes feverish level of intimacy, or a spectacular degree of misfire.  Motherboards, circuit boards, and trustee boards have erupted and frazzled.  Emails have gone astray and telephone calls have rushed into the realm of stupefying cowabungatude.   It’s no wonder that this Witch feels somewhat dizzy!  Still onwards we lurch with what we hope is a stately tread, and not just another drunken stagger, towards the event of Midsummer, the Summer Solstice.

My most constant bed-friend for the past fifteen years has a lot of Gemini energy, and I, as a Leo, personally groove with the vibe.  I offer a few quotes I have assembled in an unfinished paper about the Twins for your delectation:

“Either one or both of the Divine Twins can …function separately or together like two candle flames blended into one.”–Cora Anderson, Fifty years in the Feri Tradition (1994), p. 7-8.

“According to those who have seen the Dioscuri (the Divine Gemini Twins), the only noticeable difference between them is that Polydeuces’s face bears the scars of boxing. They dress alike: each has his half egg-shell [headgear] surmounted by a star, each his spear and white horse. Some say that Poseidon gave them their horses; others, that Polydeuces’s Thessalian charger was a gift from Hermes.” Robert Graves, The Greek Myths, v. I, section 74.p.

“How the heart of the initiate thrills when the antique mysteries are written of. She or he recognizes the same great truth expressing itself in many forms, yet as one thing.” Victor Anderson, in The heart of the initiate: Feri lessons (Harpy Press, 2010), p. 42

The final lines from Victor remind us that the Gods are the mistresses/masters of the Art of Shapeshifting (and yes, gender-shifting) and the “same great truth” can be found in a seemingly endless variation of forms across many cultures and teachings.  So it is with the Divine Twins.

I first encountered the Twins as the Red Man and the Green Man, Lord of the Beasts and Suzerain of the Plant Kingdom respectively.  I saw Them as eternal Lovers in a sixty-nining  erotic sarabande of consuming and being consumed.  In the way I was taught, it was said that it is as the Red Man and Green Man that They come most strongly at this holy hour of Midsummer.  I seldom see the erotic bond between Them acknowledged directly in the lore, perhaps because of all the taboos around sex, especially between siblings (incest taboos) in all historic cultures.  On a vase from a region of Italy called Magna Graecia in ancient times, there is a painting of the Twins with the Goddess Nyx, who in some Traditions was Their Mother.   Their hands are reaching out to one another but not quite touching, in a gesture that seems  at once eloquent, longing, and profound.  I believe that in the Illiad, Helen recalls her Twin Brothers while standing on the ramparts of Troy. The Homeric narrator comments that one brother is in the Netherworld, while the other roams through the sky; by decree of Zeus, “to appease the Fates and the Gods,” they keep switching places, but are never able to meet. In this stream, They are both mortal and divine, perhaps embodying a notion of the human state as eternally caught between the forces of death and rebirth.  In other legends, we find Them appearing, sometimes as Twin Stars, and performing various miracles.  Among the common folk, they were venerated as the Greatest Gods–Saviors and Patrons of the downtrodden and despairing.   This accounts for how enormously popular Their cult was, even though the only form in which They are generally known in modern times is as the Gemini Twins.
(Drawing of the Twins with Their Mother Nyx from a Vase by the Underworld Painter, as realized by Caroline Christian)

June, month of the Divine Twins, was named after Juno or Hera, and this accounts for why the Twins are sometimes depicted as attending Herself, the Queen of Heaven. She is the Matron of the Marriage Bed.  To this day, the month of June is favored by those who seek the rites of matrimony.  There is something mystically romantic about this month that follows the tide of Beltane and the Sacred Marriage that ushers in the Summer season.  It is obviously a mysticism deeply rooted in the physical–a specifically Pagan kind of realization, as I am very strongly reminded on this hot June evening.

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6 Responses to The Divine Twins at Midsummer

  1. Sean Daughtry says:

    I love the image you’ve selected of the Divine Twins with the goddess Nyx. Their hats are just so precious!

    Is Polydeuces another name for Pollux? And if so, what is the counterpart name for his brother Castor?


    • Shimmer says:

      Glad you like the drawing! It is a copy my old friend Laurel’s daughter Caroline made from the original vase painting. She’s so talented.

      Yes, Polydeukes is aka Pollux. The Greeks spelt Kastor with a K; otherwise, His Name remained unchanged, and became a personal name among the Romans. A member of the Imperial family bore the name in the time of Tiberius.


  2. Nightshade says:

    Can’t wait for your longer piece on the Twins. I have always found the energies of the Summer Solstice to be particularly inspiring and creative. P and I will celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary next Saturday, by the way. 🙂


    • Shimmer says:

      Congratulations! It is a wonderful season for a wedding anniversary. This Summer Solstice marks the seventh year of my Marriage to God Herself… where did the time go??

      I hope this evening to do a post on the Midsummer Bee Goddess. Because I adore Her and Her Holy Honey.


  3. Henry says:

    to thicken the plot as it were, don’t forget Clytemenestra, also in the mix…


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