If, fearing repercussions of magical work for which I know I’m not adequately trained, I’m not going to make a talisman of my goat-headed man on a pankhrous (colourful) stone as well avoiding eating parrotfish, then what ought I to do instead?
Talismans (from the Arab tilasim, or Greek, telesma meaning “initiation”) are physical objects, of mineral, vegetable or animal origin that are traditionally used to carry a charged intent. With wearing or carrying the talisman associated with a particular astrological decan, we are in effect drawing down the (magical) power associated with that decan. Talismans are usually used to bring us luck (or avoid bad luck). But because each decan carries both positive and negative energies, we might think of our talisman as rather like our annual flu jab – a brief exposure to that which is not nice so as to build up our natural resistance to it.
Even without making a talisman, I can still promote good luck (and health) whilst warding off bad luck (and ill health) by coming to grips with energies in play with my special decan.
Research suggests that my goat-headed man might be associated with Baphomet, a deity worshipped by the Knights Templar in the 14th century; setting aside the Satanic aspects of this deity, I can still benefit from knowing he represented the ‘equilibrium of opposites’ (half-human and half-animal, good and evil, male and female) that is inherent in our everyday material world of space and time. Given that the zodiac sign of Gemini is associated with duality (it is after all, known as the twins), this makes sense.
It also makes sense that Liz Greene links Gemini to Romulus and Remus, the twin sons of the Ares (the Romans knew him as Mars), the god of war. Remus is the good brother because he does acceptable things whilst Romulus is the bad brother because he doesn’t. Together, Romulus and Remus accomplish many great things including founding the city of Rome. But they constantly quarrelled about who should be in charge. One day Remus kills Romulus (in self-defence). Such is the fate of Gemini. He is always juggling his light side with his shadow. He needs to learn that like Romulus and Remus, these two aspects of himself are flips sides of the same coin.
As with most decans, my decan has two planetary rulers: Mars and Venus, which are themselves opposites (male/female).
To the extent that these flip sides of myself (and my life) cannot be reconciled, I might find myself not unlike the woman pictured in the tarot card, the 9 of Swords (i.e. the card associated with this decan). As one of my favourite tarot books notes, this card – usually a woman sitting up in bed at night in obvious anguish – is the most ill-omened of the minor arcana. It symbolises ‘unconscious conflicts, deep seated neuroses, and madness’. Sounds like the typical OMG situation – I can’t believe this or that happened and why did it have to happen to me? This is the Martian, the divisive energy, of this decan.
Luckily, Venus is the joint ruler of this decan and, as my tarot book suggests, thankfully – because Venus is a benefic – the ill effects of the 9 of Swords are usually of short duration. Venus seems well connected with both with the pankhrous (colourful stone) and the parrot fish, a brightly coloured fish abundant in tropical reefs. Both the fish and the stone represent the gaiety oft associated with Venus. But Venus does more than help us to have a good time. Venus promotes harmony and balance. Could it be that the Venusian part of this decan offers much-needed assistance in juggling that divisive Martian duality?
Finally, because Gemini is a Mercury ruled zodiac sign, the focus is on both intellect as well as making connections of all kinds. Thus I suspect the energies of this decan are meant not only to help me to reconcile the conflicts in my own head (i.e. the OMG nightmare) but also to cultivate a bright, colourful, happy atmosphere in support of such efforts. Like Romulus and Remus, I might sometimes be good whilst at other times bad. But there’s no sense beating myself up for this as Mars might tempt me to do. Instead, I need embrace the pure Venusian joy of being who I am and what is mine. This, as I understand it, is what the Buddhists call The Middle Way: i.e., avoiding the extremes of self-gratification (Venus) on one hand and self-mortification (Mars) on the other.