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data  (pl.n.)  Factual information, information that has been organized for analysis or use, or translated into a form that is more convenient to move or process.





Gemini Women of Letters

Gemini Women of Letters 

        Siblings and gender issues are said to play a special role in the lives of those born under the sign of the Twins.
        Barbara Pym, (b. 6/2/1913) Spent most of her life with her sister Hillary, and they are buried together. The relationship is examined in several of her novels.

 Compton-Burnett-2-books114.jpg       Ivy Compton-Burnett (b. 6/5/1884) She had eleven siblings, among which "her favourite brother, Guy, died of pneumonia; another, Noel, was killed on the Somme, and two sisters died in a suicide pact on Christmas Day. Not one of the twelve siblings had children,Compton-Burnett%202%20books114%20copy.jpg and all eight girls remained unmarried." (Wiki). Her first successful novel, Brothers and Sisters (1929; 18 of her twenty novels have similarly dyadic titles) introduces a favorite theme: incest. She signed her writing "I. Compton-Burnett" as she wished the reader to regard her as neuter (as well as dual).

        Novelists Joan and Jackie Collins are sisters: Joan is the Gemini. Author of five best-selling novels, five life-style books and two memoirs, in 1996 she was awarded 1.3 million dollars in damages from her publisher Doubleday. She is perhaps even better known as an actress, and starred in two movies based on novels written by her sister.

    oates-twins117.jpg    Joyce Carol Oates (b. 6/16/38). Her preoccupation with siblinghood spills over into obsession in her series of thrillers (Double Delight, Snake Eyes, Lives of the Twins, etc) written under the pseudonym Rosalind Smith (Smith is her husband's name), which explore the criminal psychology of twins. Her signature 1966 short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" is about a teenager named Connie: "Everything about her had two sides to it." (It's dedicated 'to Bob Dylan', also a Gemini (b. 5/24/41). Oates has written, "Eventually, I would regret the dedication: too many people have asked me, 'Why?' Who knows why?").

Oates's biographer, Greg Johnson, writes of:

"The extraordinary fates of Caroline Oates's two daughters--both born on June 16 [eighteen years apart] and virtual twins in physical appearance, but one brilliantly gifted, the other severely [autistic]--contributed to Joyce's fascination with twins . . . and her lifelong interest in the theme of 'doubleness' in human nature."

One can't discuss J. C. Oates and Gemini without noting her brilliantly-imagined 738 page bio/fantasmagoria Blondeoatesblonde118.jpg (working title: Gemini), in which she downloads her mythos of twentieth century American female experience onto her uncannily opposite alter ego, the historical Marilyn Monroe (b. 6/1/1926), replete with contemplations of twins, mirrors, gender and identity. One of the book's great set-pieces is the antepenultimate chapter, 'Happy Birthday, Mr. President', recreating the unforgettable 1962 Madison Square Garden event for Pres. Kennedy (as well a Gemini) [www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4SLSlSmW74]. Replaying tragedy as farce, Gemini Beverly Sills breathily sang the song at Gemini Henry Kissinger's birthday a few years ago.


oates-contraries121.jpgOates published a book of literary essays called Contraries in 1981. The title recalls Mary McCarthy's 1961 volume On the Contrary. Mary McCarthy (b. 6/21/1912) has her own remarkable-sibling-experience: her brother, distinguished actor Kevin McCarthy.mccarthy%20contraries122.jpg

        Lillian Hellman (b. 6/201905) had a lifelong personal and literary relationship with anotherimg.888016.jpg Gemini, the writer Dashiell Hammett (b. 5/27/1894). She refered to him as her twin. She was involved in a vicious literary feud with Mary McCarthy, who accused her of duplicity.

        Lady Mary Wortley Montague (b. 5/26/1689) rescued her sister, the mentally deranged Countess of Mar, from a cruel husband. Noted for her scintillating and informative letters from Turkey, where her husband was English consul, she was perhaps the first foreign correspondent and female travel writer. She was involved in a vicious literary feud with Gemini poet Alexander Pope, who imputed Sapphism.  

hedda        Hedda Hopper (b. 5/2/1885) famed Hollywood gossip columnist, was born Erda Furry, third of eight Furry siblings. After marrying Mr. Hopper, she was advised by a numerologist to change her first name to Hedda. Double-lettered names seem to stimulate Geminian achievement.


        Harriet Beecher Stowe (b. 6/14/1811), author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, and, according to Abraham Lincoln, 'the little lady who started this war', was the seventh of thirteen siblings. The next in age was Henry Ward Beecher, the fiery abolitionist preacher whose trial (for adultery) was one of the most famous of 19th century America. Four other Beecher siblings were prominent political activists. Harriet and Henry were particularly close and collaborative throughout their lives.


        Marguerite Yourcenar (b. 6/8/1903) lived intimately with her translator, Grace Frick, for fifty years, until her death in 1979. Her first novel, Anna, Soror, introduced the theme of brother/sister incest, which along with male homosexuality (for instance, in the figures of the Emperor Hadrian, Mishima and Cavafy, about whom she wrote biographies) recurs in her work. Her mother died in childbirth, and no man ever replaced her aristocratic father, who raised her with quasi-incestuous intensity. She was the first female member of the Academie Francaise.

        Djuna Barnes (b. 6/12/1892), American journalist and modernist writer, was daughter and granddaughter of polygamists. She raised her eight younger siblings, and was subjected to incest and rape. Flamboyantly bisexual, her work explores intra-familial passions.


anne-frank.jpg        Anne Frank (b. 6/12/1929) and her older sister, Margot. Their relationship deepened during their confinement. Margot also kept a diary, believed to have been lost. They died within days of each other in Bergen-Belsen.



    "Interest" comes from the latin inter esse, to be between. This Gemini experience of being as a twoness, or a multiplicity, or a passage, and the associated curiousity of the child, restlessness of the adolescent, energy of the youth, this vivacity and wit to connect, is Gemini's continual gift to life.







Hands of Gemini 9

Johnny Depp    9 June 1963 

Vincent Price   27 May 1911





ALBRECHT DURER  one of the earliest Gemini media giants, perfected the manufacture and trade of the reproduced image, and launched several culturally influential images of Gemini itself. First, the widely-transmitted versions of the primal pair, the biblical Adam  and Eve.                                                                                                                                      adameve2.jpg




And this image from the climax of the judeo-christian writings, the Saint as Voracious Reader.



Durer was the first graphic entrepreneur, creating images for reproduction and distribution on a substantial scale.    The computer screen cannot do justice to these astonishing engravings, so I take the liberty to crop them badly. Seek out better examples at your local used book and print dealers. 




two gemini painters: Fairfield Porter and Velasquez

Fairfield Porter movingly captured the American suburban pastoral, snapshottyimg.888-porter%20cars in composition, in occasion, in cropping, even in rapidity of execution.

As in many Gemini artists (Gauguin, Rouault, Gottleib, Steinberg, perhaps even Courbet) a certain awkwardness evokes a certain manner with which to conceal itself.
At a Porter show  in 1992 it seemed that every other painting was of a pair of something: a pair of houses, a pair of boats, of people, of trees, a couple of chairs, a
porter.jpg mixed doubles match,  etc.  The show was titled "Porter Pairings" and


One of Porter’s most notable canvases, The Mirror, is a direct homage to Velasquez’s masterpiece Las Meninas, a work that incorporates a mirror to profound effect. The mirror, of course, is a principal visual Geminism, and Velasquez, one of the greatest “hands” in the history of painting, was himself, also, a Gemini.                                                                                                                                             img.888-porter-figures.jpg


Las Meninas
(detail), Prado

Porter is an elegist of John Cheever country, and the two Geminis had much else in common:  both husbands and fathers juggling family ties with a bisexual identity, both artistic WASPS with intense sibling issues. Porter was 4th in a brood of five children, one of his three brothers was the well-known photographer Eliot Porter. Cheever had a notorious love/hate relationship with his older brother, and his fiction is marked with fratricide and incest.


Fairfield Porter: Art in its Own Terms. Selected Criticism 1935-1975. vg/vg, rare, $45.



O glorious Twins, o stars
    impregnate with great strength,
to whom I owe whatever genius

I possess, with you the sun
    arose and set when first I
breathed sweet air of Tuscany.

              Dante Alighieri


new arrivals + escher pettibon 



 Of Gemini interest: Hannah Arendt's biographty of RAHEL VARNHAGEN  (b. 19 June 1771), the famous Jewish Berlinvarnhagen131.jpg saloniste, voluminous correspondent, bluestocking and proto-feminist, a close sister to Margaret Fuller, Fanny Burney, Mary Wortley Montague; $5

and the Phaidon RAYMOND PETTIBON (b. 26 May 1957) an artist who holds hand, so to speak, with other geminis like Saul Steinberg, Escher and Albrecht Durer. (The two hands on top are Pettibon. One day I'll figure out this layout business.) $15










M. C. Escher (b. 17 June 1898)





        I sit at my desk and scribe the endless message from myself to my                                                 own hand.    Allen Ginsberg, Planet News








                                                                                                                    Planet News, 4th printing,  $10


Durer's Drawings, Berlin 1937, Vol 2. superb oversize

(13"x10") cloth covered, from which most of the Durer drawings seen here were scanned. $150. 


Pettibon and Durer united in spiritual light

I have wondered if my attribution of a specifically Geminian vibration to Durer's Revelations plate XIV mightimg.888stjohn031.jpg not be a bit far-fetched, the pair of pillars not being as entirely central to the image as one might wish to uphold the claim.

Then I came across this corroborating twin-piece by Pettibon. Evidently the ultimate manifestation of Gemini spirit is in a starry flash of illumination, that transcends the shallow, garrulous dualities which Gemini may often display. Pettibon routinely counterposes image and text; here the very words "I'm Gemini", embedded in an airheaded phrase that mocks the profundity of the image, takes the mid-bottom label title position precisely parallel to Durer's placement of his famous monogram.




Ralph Waldo Emerson

Another quote from gemini Ralph Waldo Emerson:

How slowly, how slowly we learn that witchcraft and ghostcraft, palmistry and magic, and all the other so-called superstitions, which, with so much police, boastful skepticism, and scientific committees, we had finally dismissed to the moon as nonsense, are really no nonsense at all, but subtle and valid influences, always starting up, mowing, muttering in our paths, and shading our day. (Journals, September 1842)


scientists: gilbert coulomb poisson maxwell lodge crookes mesmer 

steinbergplusminus057.jpgAnother image of pure Gemini from Saul Steinberg (June 15, 1914). The obvious limitation of Steinberg as an artist might be described as a restriction, both technically and thematically, to purely Gemini matters. (Other Gemini artists similarly self-limited are Ellworth Kelly, M. C. Escher & Raymond Pettibon.)


Scientists usually feel left out when the topic of astrology arises;  they should not. For instance, a clearly disproportionate number of the seminal names in sub-atomic physics were born under Gemini:

William Gilbert, author of De Magnete, ("the first great English scientific work") was born May 24, 1544. His discovery that the Earth is a giant magnet embraces the adjacency of Gemini to Taurus, sign of Fixed Earth.

Charles Augustin de Coulomb (born June 14, 1736). In seven papers on electricity and magnetism published between 1785 and 1789, he explained the mathematical laws of attraction and repulsion between magnetic poles and electric charges.

Simeon Poisson, mathematician (b. 21 June 1781)" . . his memoirs on the                             theory of electricity and magnetism, which virtually created a new branch of                            mathematical physics. . . . Poisson made important contributions to the theory of                                                 attraction."

James Clerk Maxwell (b. June 13, 1831), author of the 1873 Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism demonstrating the identity of the two phenomena, "the most important physicist between Newton and Einstein".

These four men established the theory that the material world is essentially constituted by the interplay of two opposing immaterial forces. Perhaps on a level with these three belongs the British technoscientist Oliver Lodge (b. 12 June 1851). He extended and applied electromagnetic theory to wireless transmission, the bipolar electrical cell, the study of lightning, automotive engineering (the spark plug), and fog-busting. He might almost be the man in Steinberg's drawing. Oliver Lodge is also remembered as a president of the (British) Society for Psychical Research.

Another important scientist and British SPR member was Gemini Sir William Crookes (17 June 1832) who made discoveries in many scientific realms, including electricity. He is best remembered for the Crookes radiometer, which moves by virtue of the difference between black and white. [Allow me to recall here Wallis Simpson's insouciantly Geminian earrings: a black pearl in one ear and a white one in the other.]

Mention must also be made of another experimenter associated with a form of magnetism, so-called animal magnetism: Franz Anton Mesmer (b. May 23, 1734) who, applying the principal of universal immaterial polarized force to medicine, psychology and sexuality, was the progenitor of dynamic psychiatry and the experimental approach to subjectivity. Mesmerism was, of course, a principle object of study at the SPR. 

The two most famous non-scientific members of the SPR were also Geminis: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and W. B. Yeats


This universe a thing of dream
                substance naught & Keystone void
                                    vibrations of symmetry  Yes   No
                                    Foundations of Gold Element Atom
                all the way down to the first Wave
                making opposite Nothing a mirror
which begat a wave of Ladies marrying
waves of Gentlemen till I was born in 1926
                in Newark, New Jersey under the sign
                                                                sweet Gemini ---

                                                                           ALLEN GINSBURG




pettibon & escher

escher-pillar104.jpgpettibon-pillars109.jpgHere's a couple of interesting Gemini images from Gemini artists. The one on the right is by M. C. Escher. The one below comes from "The Arte of English Poesie" of 1589, an influential compendium of rhetorical and poetic techniques. The column on the left is to be read from bottom up, the  one on the right from top down. "The Arte of English Poesie" is attributed to George Puttenham about whom little is known (no birthdate, alas)  except that he had a brother. This particular, and peculiar, excerpt  appears in a selection of work by the Gemini artist Raymond Pettibon (published by Phaidon), in the "Artist's Choice" section.




The Arte of English Poesie, George Puttenham. $5


Two gemini hearts

Have a nice day from two gemini artists.  

Two six foot red hearts, sculpture by Jim Dine (b. 16 June 1935 )                                                                                                                                


                                            Raymond Pettibone (26 May 1957), 

                                         Untitled (Meet  John Doe), detail                 


E. M. Lilien


An interesting Gemini has turned up on my shelves, the photographer and artist E. M. Lilien (b. May 29, 1874). These two images comprise the front and back covers of The Art of Light, Photographic Aspects of E. M. Lilien, Jerusalem, 1992. The reciprocity between the two duplicative processes (photography and engraving), both practiced with great imagination and skill perfectly strikes the Geminian interval.

In Lilien’s involvement in newspaper, journalistic and reportage photography, book and periodical illustration, and art education, the resemblance to the German graphic master, Durer, is notable;
the stylistic resemblance is obvious. In the two illustrations above notice the importance of that symbol of Gemini, the subject’s hand.

There is bold adventure in a 25 year old eastern European Jew dragging cumbersome photographic equipment to the desert. Sometimes called “the first Zionist artist”, his photograph of Theodore Herzl is iconic. As Gemini needs continuously to communicate, to mediate, so Lilien felt that his art would help
bridge  both the jew/arab and the semite/European splits.



John Edwards, Gemini behaving badly.



He of  the “Two Americas”,  with the inherent duplicity of the Twins, called LIAR in 4 inch letters on the front pages of the tabloids. Months ago he was caught by YouTube preening in a mirror. Narcissus, a Gemini without a brother, yearns after his own image, never matures. Dowd in the Times made merciless fun of him for hiring his lover to make videos of himself (“His self-diagnosis of narcissism was weirdly narcissistic . . . ”).  

Mentally fluent Twins fill the ranks of Edwards’s profession, lawyering,  fascinated by the dynamic of justice’s two-panned scale and the power of the word.  As a Gemini, the lawyer enjoys  in-betweening and pairing off in so many ways: as an advocate, a mediator, a communicator, a representative,  an opponent whose strength lies in the ability to argue either side;  also,  she exploits to the hilt her network of personal relationships and inter-obligations, contacts and introductions.  Some prominent  attorneys immediately come to my mind: F. Lee Bailey (10 June 1933, with the Geminian lightness of the aviator/playboy), and Palm Beach’s Robert Montgomery (9 June 1930, who died last week),  a tort litigator like Edwards, a Democrat with Republican clients, and the man responsible for the multi-billion dollar finding against the tobacco industry. Closer to Edwards’s current dilemma are two recent New York Attorneys General: Eliot Spitzer (June 10, 1959), who projected an image clear as a bell, then suddenly proved schizoid, two-faced; and Rudolph Giuliani (28 May 1944), whose idiosyncratic infidelities and cellphone antics are the least of his Geminian displays.                                                         


(Marilyn Monroe & Donald Trump are also Geminis.)


Geminis Cardozo and Habermas carry weight.

A highly distinguished Gemini attorney, “one of the most influential legal minds of [the twentienth] century”, would be Benjamin Cardozo,  revered Justice of the Supreme Court from 1932 until his death in 1938. Born 24 May 1870, he was one of twins, and lived his entire life, apparently celibate, with the older sister that raised him, another example of a talented Gemini  enacting a lifelong sibling-centered existence. Witness the gifts and interests of Hermes/Mercury, the patron of Gemini, in Cardozo’s contribution to contract law (dyadic, reciprocal),  while as a theorist of common law and social action he shares the terrain of the Gemini communications theorist Jurgen Habermas (18 June 1929), about whom I wrote a few weeks ago. The vibrational similarity (if I may) seems to play out in a physical resemblance.

Benjamin Cardozo


Juergen Habermas


 A weighty column by Habermas appears now on Arts and Letters Daily (www.aldaily.com) about the current European Union crisis. There are few public intellectuals left who express enlightenment ideals as forcefully and opportunely as he. (www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,560549,00.html)


Not G. K. Chesterton, too.

Readers of The New Yorker puzzled recently over a seemingly pointless article about G. K. Chesterton, of use to me at least because he was, you guessed it, a Gemini (29 May 1874).  When he was 19 he got deeply into the Ouija board with his 14 year

old brother Cecil and they were scared witless. The experience was so powerful that Chesterton was shocked into lifelong orthodoxy. He and Cecil remained staunch brothers-in-arms, both professional progressive literary journalists in London, supporting and editing each other, co-editing journals, even sharing in libel trials, until Cecil’s death in the Great War.

The tendency among prominently paired literary siblings, for one of them to be a Gemini is marked: the Corneilles (Pierre's the gemini), the Goncourts (Edmond), the Manns (Thomas), the Hitchens (it's Peter), the Wolffs (Tobias), the Collins (Joan), Byatt/Drabble (Margaret), Cockburns (Alex), Dunnes (John Gregory), etc . . . where is my list?

Chesterton had that knack of creating an identity by pairing off. His biographer Joseph Pearce examines his long and successful, though childless, marriage with Frances Blogg in a chapter titled “Chesterblogg”.  His signature controversies with Hilaire Belloc and G. B. Shaw get chapters likewise titled “Chesterbelloc” and “Chestershaw”.  Called in the title of another biography “the Prince of Paradox” he bristles with dualisms. The caricature above calls  attention to his wonderful plain old bookishness, which an old bookstore owner admires. He seems to have published yards of books;  one collection of essays published in 1908 was called “All Things Considered.” 

Chesterton is remembered mostly, however, for his Father Brown mysteries, which some esteem as highly as the Sherlock Holmes tales by Arthur Conan Doyle, also born under Gemini. Doyle was led to mediumship by the death of his brother. He paired up with Gemini Oliver Lodge for psychical investigations. Also involved with these two in the Society for Psychical Research was the scientist Sir William Crookes, (again, what else, a Gemini) the discoverer of the cathode/anode tube, who turned to the study of mediumship after the death of his brother. 


The chameleon

photo: Francois-Marie BanierReading about prodigious imposter, the "professional liar", Frederic Bourdin, in the Aug. 11-18 New Yorker, I sez to myself, "This guy has got to be a Gemini." Sure enough, the author (David Grann) gave up his birthdate: June 13, 1974. In addition to his amazing adaptability, his facility with languages, and his effortless border-crossing, it was his youthfulness, his ability well into his thirties to convince everyone he was fifteen that struck me as particularly Geminian.


Obama TIME Magazine cover


    TIME Magazine's wonderfully archetypal cover gives us Barack Obama as the fulfillment of our new transnational identity, as black and white and (multi)colored, serenely transcending our differences, the traditional, gently smiling soli-lunar heavenly orb.  Obama was born with the Sun in Sun-ruled Leo, his Moon in Gemini is also referenced in this cover image, the sign of pairs, opposites, binaries, of which the sun and moon pair is the ancient sky's most resonant example. Born at 7:24 pm, birth certificate time, his Moon is in the 4th degree of Gemini, interpreted like this:

    "Here is a universal richness of experience through which man may substantiate the dignity of his order and learn to share the magic of his own self-renewal on every occasion. He responds quickly and enthusiastically to the frequent and cyclic manifestation of life's eternal overtones. . . [He has] a gift for fellow participation in every rewarding expression of individuality on all levels of human relationship." (M. E. Jones, The Sabian Symbols, 1969)

    An important feature of Obama’s chart is the conjunction of Uranus (the planet of invention and originality), with the North Node of the Moon (a point of fortunate contacts), in the compatible sign of Aquarius and in the house of partners. This represents not only his important marriage to an Aquarian life-partner, but an ability to plumb brilliant advisors. He will need them. In December Pluto, the natural ruler of the 8th house of finance will enter Capricorn for a fateful 15 years, and immediately oppose Obama's Venus, the ruler of his own 8th house, which is conjunct key planets in both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution charts. 


Stendhal on astrology

Any announcement of future events is an infringement of the rule, and involves this danger—that it may change the event, in which case the whole science falls to the ground,  and becomes nothing more than a childish game.  

The Charterhouse of Parma, Chapter 8


For my Sagittarian friends



I will post an image of an Aries in a red dress every day this month.