Gemini Totems and Archetypes

The Sun goes into Gemini this week on  Thursday (21st) at 8.45 a.m. in the U.K.  I intend to look today at some of the animal totems and Archetypes for this birth sign.

I will start with the Animal Totems of this sign.  Although the traditional emblem of the sign is The Twins and it is one of the few signs which does not have an animal representation traditionally, I have been working since the late 1980s with animal totems, and a few have consistently presented themselves over the years.  I first developed my work with animal totems when I worked jointly with Sandy Colyer in Watford, who sadly passed away a few years ago.  We called ourselves ATTEMPT (Astrological Totem Tarot encompassing Massage and Past Life Therapy)! These totems and archetypes can relate to you whether you have Gemini Sun or Ascendant in your chart, or a prominent Mercury.  Otherwise, it might make your observation of Gemini family and friends more interesting.

Animal Totems

Definition of “Animal Totemic Theology” by Barbara Hand Clow: “Systems that explore how the gods act through humanity by showing characteristics in humans and gods that mirror animal traits.”


This refers to both the mischievous side of Gemini, and to the restless mind which they refer to in meditation circles as “monkey mind”, an inability to still the mind and settle to meditation.  Monkey is also associated with a talent for mimicry, at which Gemini can excel.


Gemini is an adaptable sign, one of the four “Mutable” signs as they are known.  Butterfly refers to the Geminian tendency to flit from subject to subject, or, as with Venus in Gemini, the social butterfly who works the room at a party or gathering. Butterfly also describes the Geminian love of variety, ephemeral change (as distinct from the deep change of Aquarius and Uranus).

Jamie Sams and David Carson write in “Medicine Cards” where Butterfly comes up:

“There is a need for change in your life that you are not recognizing.  This could be a possible need for freedom, for a vacation, or for a new job.”

There is a deeper side of Butterfly as an aspect of Transformation, associated with the sign of Scorpio, and the planet Pluto.  If I should carry on with this theme as a series for all the signs, I may get to that!


I think one of the manifestations of the Chameleon for Gemini is related to the fact that one of the talents of Gemini is mimicry, and it is remarkable that a high proportion of successful impressionists are Geminian.

Famous Examples: Mike Yarwood (a pioneer of the art) and John Culshaw (of Dead Ringers and Newzoids); Harry Enfield (who worked on Spitting Image), and Debra Stephenson (who worked with John Culshaw on Dead Ringers, and now accompanies him on Newzoids).

Gemini in combination with Pisces

Certain combinations of signs turn up animal totems.  An example is the dragonfly which comes up for Gemini in combination say with a Pisces Ascendant.  This incorporates the sense of illusion and delicacy from Pisces’ ruler Neptune.


Bird Totems

All air signs bring up bird totems, but Gemini does especially.


Eagle is the most prominent bird totem for Gemini, and particularly the Bald Eagle, which is strong for British Geminians, and I imagine would be even more so for U.S. Geminians!  It heralds all the bird totems in the zodiac, in the way that Gemini heralds the Air signs.

Nicky Scully writes, in “The Golden Cauldron”: “Eagle clarifies choices.  As you soar with him, you can view your choices and make decisions about your life based on the keen vision and lofty perspective you have as Eagle”.


Magpie refers to the slightly kleptomaniac tendency of some Geminians (though not all), as well as its curiosity.  It is the sense in which they collect bits of information, but also pass it on. [I have been indebted to a certain Gemini collector of information this week].   Magpie’s reputation has been linked with superstition through the old rhyme “One for sorrow, two for joy…”

In “Birds Divine Messengers” Andrea Wansbury writes:

“A magpie is saying you need to adopt a more enquiring mind and not be so resigned about your life by putting everything down to fate or ‘that’s just the way life goes’.  In this age of becoming conscious, we have to switch to detective mode, probing into our own lives to discover our fears and negativities.”


It has only come to my notice this week, after some feverish polling, that Wren seems to be one of the popular birds amongst Geminis, possibly because of its cheerfulness, a trait which Geminis often have.


Parrot speaks for itself!  Gemini is a conduit for its social environment, and passes on information as a natural function: a veritable winged messenger.


Red Kite for Sun in Gemini in combination say with Aries Ascendant (or vice versa)

Blackbird for Gemini in combination say with Scorpio Ascendant



Definition of “Archetypes” by Barbara Hand Clow: “Thoughtforms that shape reality, which may have existed before reality manifested and may even have precipitated reality; the primordial ideas.”


Communication is the most basic principle for this sign.

Famous Example: the loquacious Russell Brand

(Related to the Parrot Bird Totem)

The Thief

This Archetype has a more negative connotation than most, although all archetypes can have a positive side, and a shadow side.  This correspondence with Gemini derives from the ruler of this sign Mercury (Roman god, and Hermes the Greek equivalent).  He apparently stole Apollo’s cattle while still a toddler!  This trait may be a function of the Geminian cleverness, outwitting opponents.  And in the modern world, it may refer especially to the stealing of information (as in cribbing essay notes from Wikipedia).

(Related to the Magpie Bird Totem)

Other Gemini Archetypes:

Teacher, Scientist, Scribe, Intellectual, Merchant

These Archetypes feature heavily in Geminian careers, and potential.


Gemini in combination with Aries: The Engineer

Gemini in combination with Virgo or Aries: The Critic

Gemini in combination with Virgo: The Gossip

Caroline Myss writes of this Archetype:

“Most people would hesitate to choose this archetype because of its negative implications, yet many others make their living in the business of political, social and entertainment gossip in a positive way.  The Archetype is connected to lessons of truth, integrity, and honouring the trust another has placed in you.”

Famous Example: Gossipy style of Joan Rivers’ humour

Hope you have found it interesting to peruse the many faces of this multi-faceted sign!

The animal and bird totems reflect the traditions of shamanism and Native American culture.  If you are out in nature, the appearance of a particular animal or bird can carry a message, empowerment, protection or intervention for you for that time.  Perhaps a bird has been following you around, which sometimes happens.  Birds are often seen as messengers from the spirit worlds, after the departure of a loved one.

Archetypes are dynamic forces in the psyche, and can depict or highlight a psychological issue in a vivid and dramatic way.  Both animal totems and archetypes as they appear in meditation, dreams and sometimes in past-life regressions can be worked with in dialogue with each other or in role play.


“Medicine Cards” by Jamie Sams and David Carson

“The Golden Cauldron” by Nicky Scully

“Birds Divine Messengers” by Andrea Wansbury

“Sacred Contracts” by Caroline Myss



The start of the week brings a New Moon at 26 degrees Taurus.  In the office that may mean a minor reorganization.  In the retirement garden, there may be a new spirit of landscaping; moving plants and trees where they need to go, according to your listening skills.  In the artist’s studio, a new painting or artform may begin.  I have been attending an art course, and have painted my first bird!  Hence the inspiration for this Gemini bird totem blog.

There is some information on the net linking this New Moon with the fixed star Algol, which frankly does not have a good press.  The Sun is aligned with Algol in the constellation of Perseus at this time of the year, and the ancients were most fearful of its presentation in their lives.  Bernadette Brady in her book of the Fixed Stars says: “Algol…is the wild, raw, frightening face of the outraged feminine which has been labeled demonic or simply evil.”

There are some deeply negative reputations from ancient astrology for some of the Fixed Stars, of which Algol comes out as one of the worst.  In astrological literature, I found these irredeemable until “Starlight Elixirs” by Michael Smulkis and Fred Rubenfeld fell into my lap in 1992.  Since then I have worked with this book in many applications, including a meditation group.

So here is an alternative interpretation from that book, should you wish to adopt it as an alternative mindset:

“Algol’s ability to prepare individuals for understanding their destiny, their life purpose, and the ability to manifest this purpose more easily in the world, this is at once spiritual and practical.  For most people what will usually result is an ability to understand their profession and accept it more easily.

Algol can attune individuals to harmonies deep within their being.  These are partly genetic in nature, partly past-life in nature, but more importantly are in attunement to the shared soul of the lifestream of humanity.”

In the early hours of Tuesday 19th (in U.K. time) Mercury is stationary, prior to going retrograde.  It has become fashionable to be alarmed at this, and now the internet is issuing prior warnings in advance, of communication disruption in its “shadow period”, declaring that its influence is beginning even before it turns retrograde.  Retrograde Mercurial disruption pertains primarily to old school communication, as Uranus represents the more modern and technological side of communication.  When these two planets are squared, we are stymied from both aspects of communication.  And of course much of our equipment these days, such as smartphones, double up for both functions.  I have observed that communication can be disrupted outside of a Retrograde period (e.g. we have had a rail strike announced recently) and also perceive that with clarity and consciousness, successful communication can take place during a retrograde period.  I feel that the Mercury Retrograde has been bigged up by the media as it is a phenomenon easy to see and to grasp by those not immersed in Astrology.  But I also feel it is a negative and fearful way of seeing and working with Astrology.  There are more likely to be glitches when Mercury is switching from direct to retrograde, but I do not favour the drama and demonizing of Mercury which is being perpetuated.  So bear in mind that you need to make extra effort to get your communications clear, but otherwise don’t panic.  Also it is good to from time to time cultivate the skills of the old forms, such as snail mail, just to show that you are not totally dependent on technology.  Practise handwriting. And mindfulness.  The lower mind (Mercury) and the higher mind (Uranus) need to work together, so you don’t need to let your natural skills go rusty.

On Thursday 21st at 8.45 am in the U.K. the Sun enters Gemini, so we have a focus and emphasis on the Gemini way of consciousness.  More communication (of the disrupted, the not so disrupted and even the harmonious kind), and more learning about the world.  Gemini represents information and news gathered from magazines, newspapers and television (broadcasting is ruled by Gemini), rather than book learning.  We may hear more about the new government’s Education plans, as this is another area associated with Gemini.  On Thursday, you may find your mind opening out to new areas of information, and new theories.

Late morning there is a minor aspect of Jupiter quincunx Pluto.  The aspect may be minor, but the two planets involved are major.  So there may be power struggles arising both in private and public lives, and volcanic activity in nature.

More volcanic activity, this time tending to be on the emotional front, on Friday 22nd in the early hours, as Venus opposes Pluto.  You may have retired to your bed fretting about an interpersonal encounter, but likely as not there may not be much you can do about it.  Surrender to sleep and ask your subconscious to come up with a solution, which it may do.

But Saturday (23rd) in the early hours may bring up another dilemma, with Saturn opposing the Sun.  The issue that keeps you awake may not be as deep as the previous night/morning, but may seem intractable and keep you weighed down.  Again, acceptance may be the key, and the ability to work with solutions from your subconscious, superconscious mind, or Higher Self.  In that way, a fresh outlook may await you in the morning as you emerge from your bedcovers.

The week in bullet points:

  • Tomorrow – a practical new beginning
  • Tuesday – disrupted communication of sorts
  • Thursday – more emphasis on communication; some power struggle
  • Friday – emotional wrangles
  • Saturday – deflation early; let go of it