Wednesday marked our entry into the full moon cycle of Gemini. Ruled by the planet Jupiter the planet of expansion, luck and even indulgence. The key phrase for Gemini is "I think". This is all very appropriate as we move into the darker shorter days before the Winter Solstice. Imagine for a moment how concerned our ancestors must have been as the daylight became shorter and shorter and in some latitudes disappeared entirely. This is when Strength would be essential as well as a good sense of how the cycles of nature progress. And here is where the twin symbolism comes into focus.
Early astronomers observed the heavens and watched as the morning stars would disappear into the sun and then a 'twin' star would appear in the early evening sky. The moon would also do this as day by day it became thinner and thinner in the early morning hours just before dawn and then would disappear into the sun in the eastern sky only for its 'twin' to appear in the early western sky during sunset. During the full moon cycle of Gemini it is the waning sun itself that disappears into the body of the Great Mother with the promise of a new waxing sun which would be born at Winter Solstice.
In the image of the Strength card we see the Egyptian twins (usually twin lions) Shu and Tufnut with the sky goddess Nut. Shu (the Egyptian Atlas) who often took the form of a man holds up the sky goddess Nut. The Sun was thought to have been devoured each night by Shu's twin sister Tufnut who took the form of a lion. In the image of Strength we see the sun being devoured by Tufnut as it heads toward point of Winter Solstice on the analemma (figure eight). In the story of Shu and Tufnut it is Shu that also takes the sun back from his sister each morning and places it back in the sky. This is really a beautiful metiphor for the relationship of these twins. the female twin in the darkest month takes the 'light' into her body (to protect it?) and her brother returns it to the sky (when the time is right?). I couldn't help but see images of the traditional images ofthe Herculean Strength in this Egyptian myth. Coupling this image with full moon cycle of Gemini seemed to be good fit with the idea of twins. As well as the use of lucky,expanding and indulgent Jupiter energies to get us through the darkest month of the year by focusing on preparations for the pending celebration of the sun's return.
This card also explores the 'Oneness' of all things, eternity, and being a part of another, soulmates, twinsouls and relationships that continue beyond time and space. All very appropriate for a month full of many cross cultural holiday traditions. Remembering the source for all family traditions whether great or small begins with single couples in love who combined their family traditions into their own.