We all know there are 12 zodiac signs and chances are you also know where your Sun is located. I’m a Gemini, you say? Well, what type of Gemini are you? If you didn’t know that there are subdivisions within each of the zodiac signs, then welcome to the 36 decans.
Each of the 12 zodiac signs is divided into 3 distinct parts of 10 degrees each. So if your Sun is at 8 Gemini, it’s in the 1st decan of Gemini but if it’s at 26 Gemini it’s in the last. We can consider the decans as 3 distinct acts in a 3-act play, the overarching theme of which is the zodiac sign involved. For example, Gemini is oft thought of as the precocious child keywords for which include, versatile, adaptive, restless, keen, alert. The inherent theme of the Gemini drama is about exploring the world by breaking it into tiny, digestible pieces of information that like toys, he can play with to his heart’s content, or so he thinks.
You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts,
And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart you live in your lips, and wound is a diversion and a pastime.
And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered.
For though is a bird of space, that in a cage of words may indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly.Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet (on Talking)
But quite how that all unfolds in any given native of Gemini depends on the decan involved.
1st decan – Ruled by Jupiter and Mercury, the native with key planets here is a busy bee gathering up massive amounts of information from every conceivable source, whether or not it might ever fit together in any meaningful, useful way. Mercury, strong as the ruler of Gemini, represents the ultimate in the making of connections and Jupiter, in his detriment here, is well known for going overboard.
This does not mean that the information gathered is not fascinating stuff. Likewise, it does not mean that the native is not skilful in his task.
It does, however, suggest, as does the 8 of Swords, the tarot card associated with the decan, that at times it can all get a bit too much. In this card, The Lord of Interference, a lightly blindfolded woman stands trapped in a circle of swords, representing the many unprocessed thoughts and ideas milling through her mind.
Unless she manages to lift her blindfold to see the situation she’s in, she’ll never realise that it is she, herself, who is responsible for this unfortunate position.
2nd decan – With Mars and Venus as the joint rulers, this is a complex decan. Opposites are opposites but at the same time they attract. The question here is how do appreciate the difference whilst still recognising all parts of the whole. Historically, the imagery accompanying this decan is full of challenging contradictions and their reconciliation is not meant to be easy.
Basically, there are two types of duality: (1) harmonious as in the ying/yang symbolism that can be reconciled and (2) frictive, or that which cannot. For example, I both love and hate myself – how is one meant to reconcile that?
Nonetheless, natives of this decan must find a way else they’ll end up like the woman in 9 of Swords, the Lord of Cruelty, who suffers from the angst that comes from being unable to make 2 +2 always equal 4.
The fact is that sometimes the logical linearity we perceive to underly our world does fall apart. In that case, the best that can be achieved is to balance yourself in the middle whilst playing along with both sides of the polarity.
3rd decan – Archetypal enemies, the Sun and Saturn, rule this decan. This suggests that natives with planets here will oft be called upon to make tough calls.
As required in the 1st decan, they will have assembled lots of information and, in keeping with the requirements of the 2nd decan, they’ll have found their balance within in. But with this decan, it comes time to a decision what to do next and chances are good, that will be painful.
In reality, we can only do a limited number of things in our lives and so in saying yes to one, in essence we are saying no to another. For some zodiac signs, that’s easy but for curious, multi-dextrous Gemini, who loves nothing more than juggling multiple balls (or projects or books or whatever), it’s horrible.
There is however, one significant consolation to this. As scary as the tarot card, 10 of Swords, The Lord of Ruin, associated with this decan is, the good news is now, with that difficult decision, it’s over. As the last card in the series, the number 10, this card makes clear, the end of the line is exactly that – the end – the last act in the 3 act play – and with this comes the opportunity for a new beginning.