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HOMER’s ODYSSEY, Ch. XV- GEMINI II 

Posted on June 28th, 2018 by Don Cerow

This lunation we’re taking a look at the third sign of the zodiac for the second time, Gemini. If our hypothesis is correct, this constellation of the zodiac was the theme for Chapter 3 and 15 (12, repeating the cycle, plus 3 for the second time around = 15).
      Astrologically speaking Gemini was said to be ruled by Mercury and is a mutable AIR sign. Seen in the stars as two youths, it ruled inseparable twins, siblings and duality. Essentially, Gemini ruled the brain as both the central and anatomic nervous systems and all their functions. It is the mind, especially featured when characterized through youth. It controls outer and inner speech, anything from shouting to silent thought. The mutable component of the Twins makes them restless and nomadic, always wanted to travel here and there. In the body Gemini ruled the realms of duality through the hands, arms, lungs (which brings in our AIR and breath themes again) and fingers.
      Let’s start with two (naturally) AIR themes, of birds sending a sign to the on-lookers, of divine communication attempting to connect with the mundane.
      AIR
will send you a fresh fair wind         (line 41)
a bird flew past on the right              (line 179)
an eagle clutching a huge white goose
(line 180)
the bird veered off to the right         (line 183)
Just as the eagle swooped down      (line 194)
that goose fattened up                        (line 196)
he said in a winging supplication     (line 289)
waiting . . . for the life breath to slip away
(line 394)
“a bird flew past on the right               (line 588 etc)
a hawk, Apollo’s wind swept herald-
tight in his claws
a struggling dove, he ripped its feathers out
and they drifted down to earth
between the ship and the young prince himself”

 

Now let’s take a look at anatomical features, of the pairs that are aligned in the body. The most obvious are the hands, but they are often cleverly hidden in the lyrics so that you don’t notice how often they are being used unless you’re looking for them.

 

Hands
With your own hands                           (line 28)
with empty hands                                  (line 91)
her own hands                                        (line 116)
in his hands                                             (line 133)
holding the robe in her arms               (line 136)
I wove it with my own hands              (line 138)
She laid the robe in his arms              (line 145)
Rinse their hands                                  (line 151)
that lay at hand                                      (line 157)
her rose-red fingers                              (line 211)
Fleeing death at their hands               (line 307)
“All lay hands to tackle!”                     (line 321)
hoping to find a handout                    (line 348)
I can lay my hands on                          (line 501)
Kept on fondling it                                (line 517)
Grabbing my hand                                (line 520)
Handing us up on board                      (line 530)
hand-in-hand with the bad                  (line 546)
and grasped his hand, exclaiming      (line 594)
“Look, Telemachus
the will of god just winged that bird on your right!

                                                                                      (line 595)

 

Next we find the variety of internal mental workings that go on inside the mind, which are emphasized here. One that caused me to re-think the use of a word was to re-mind someone . . . of what? What they had forgotten and to bring that thought up again. This is not to say that these expressions are not used in other places in the book. Many of them are, but the number of repetitions which come to life here is what makes these themes stand out.

 

      Mind
Athena went to remind                       (line 2)
tossing with anxious thoughts          (line 9)
but I have my doubts                          (line 35)
tactful Telemachus                              (line 171)
The warlord fell to thinking               (line 188)
How to read                                           (line 189)
how to reply                                           (line 189)
gods have flashed it in my mind        (line 192)
pensive Telemachus                             (line 201)
The son of Nestor pondered               (line 226)
this way seemed best                            (line 227)
cast upon his mind                                (line 261)
thoughtful Telemachus                         (line 312)
wondering all the way                           (line 333)
I have no choice                                      (line 325)
“What’s got into your head, what crazy plan?”
(line 363)
clear-headed Telemachus                     (line 563)
gave the men commands                       (line 563)
​​
      No self-respecting Gemini would go anywhere without his duality. But this can manifest in a number of ways, and Homer seems fond of the use of couplets. This possibility didn’t strike me until later in the chapter, but there were enough to list a few of them here.
      Two
night and day                                        (line 39)
safe and sound                                     (line 48)
loose and lovely                                    (line 64)
too pressing or too cold                      (line 77)Balance is best in all things.                        (line 78 etc)
It’s bad either way,
spurring the stranger home who wants to linger
holding the one who longs to leave- you knowhonor and glory                                     (line 86)
tripod / cauldron                                   (line 94)
brace of mules / golden cup                (line 95)
Helen and Megapenthes                      (line 110)
two-handled cup                                    (line 112)
silver / gold                                             (line 127)
the two-eared cup                                  (line 132)
both boys out                                           (line 162)
so the two might pour libations           (line 164)
pledging both his guests                        (line 166)
or the two of us                                        (line 187)
the (two) horses broke quickly             (line 204)
they yoked their pair (of horses)          (line 212)
he whipped his sleek horses (2)           (line 239)
two staunch sons                                     (line 270)
Zeus and Apollo                                       (line 273)
Leaving behind his two sons                 (line 277)
Just the two of us, growing up together
(line 408)
back and forth                                         (line 423)
a snack and a cup or two                       (line 424)
sheep and cattle                                      (line 434)
We two will keep to the shelter            (line 447)
eat and drink                                            (line 447)
Apollo . . . with Artemis                         (line 460)
Two cities there are, that split the land in half
(line 462)
cups and tables                                        (line 521)

The travel component of Gemini comes through quite strongly in a variety of fashions,. For Telemachus and his new found friend are on the edge of youth and manhood, when hair begins to grow on his chin. It is to this transit in motion that we travel next. Remember that all of these examples are coming from a single chapter of the work.

      Travel
walked towards his guests              (line 65)
strode out to meet his guests         (line 69)
the grand tour                                   (line 88)
guide you through the towns         (line 90)
searching for my great father         (line 100)
walked to a storeroom                      (line 109)
grant you the journey                        (line 123)
on passage home                                 (line 130)
And may you return in joy                 (line 142)
Led them back                                      (line 147)
followed both boys out                        (line 162)
horses broke quickly                            (line 204)
the roads of the world                          (line 207)
and this tour of ours                             (line 221)
we must be on our way                        (line 243)
went off to a distant country               (line 266)
all the men who travel with you         (line 289)
to wander                                                (line 309)
to roam the streets                                (line 347)
send you off                                            (line 377)
the wayworn exile said                         (line 378)
my endless, homesick roving              (line 380)
Tramping around the world                (line 381)
wide streets                                             (line 432)
and wandered many miles                   (line 451)
where did she come from?                   (line 475)
meeting me on the street                     (line 493)
I’ve been drifting through cities         (line 551)
Strode out briskly                                  (line 618)
legs speeding him on                           (line 619)
      And finally, we come to what many Gemini’s like to do best;                                 talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. Need I say more?
      Speech
Athena said                                             (line 10)
Menelaus, lord of the warcry              (line 16)
So sail for home, I say!                         (line 27)
Take it to heart, I tell you.                   (line 31)                                                                         Nestor’s son objected                           (line 55)
So wait, I say,                                         (line 57)
At those words                                       (line 62)
Menelaus, lord of the warcry              (line 63)
The lord of the warcry                          (line 73)
the lord of the warcry                           (line 102)
he told his wife                                       (line 103)
told him                                                   (line 107)
he told his son                                        (line 113)
The red-haired king spoke out           (line 121)
Give my warm greetings                      (line 167)
Telemachus replied at once                (line 171)
we’ll tell him all                                     (line 172)
all you say                                              (line 173)
I’d tell him                                             (line 176)
At his last words                                   (line 179)
shouting, men and women                 (line 182)
spoke out first                                       (line 185)
Listen to me                                           (line 191)
Telemachus burst out in thanks        (line 201)
Turned to Pisistratus, saying              (line 217)
Won’t you do as I ask                           (line 218)
so we claim                                             (line 219)
a flight of winging words                     (line 231)
shouted out commands                       (line 241)
shipmates snapped to orders             (line 244)
bellowing cattle                                    (line 262)
he said in a winging supplication     (line 289)
tell me truly, don’t hold back            (line 293)
the forthright prince responded       (line 295)
“I will tell you everything, clearly as I can.”
(line 296)
Theoclymenus replied                         (line 302)
Hear a fugitives prayer                        (line 310)
Telemachus exclaimed                         (line 312)
shouted out commands                        (line 320)
They sprang to orders                           (line 321)
Odysseus spoke up                                 (line 338)
his warm welcome                                 (line 339)
invite him                                                (line 340)
But advise me well, give me a trusty guide
(line 345)
tell me                                                      (line 386)
I’ll tell you the whole story                   (line 393)
Never a winning work                           (line 420)
Gossiping back and forth                     (line 423)
his canny master said                           (line 427)
Come, tell me the whole story            (line 430)
the swineherd answered                      (line 437)
“you really want my story?                  (line 438)
So many questions                                (line 438)
listen in quiet, then                               (line 439)
savor a long tale                                     (line 440)
My own story?                                       (line 451)
This will answer all your questions  (line 451)
Then he asked her questions             (line 474)
Now there’s a tempting offer             (line 486)
she said in haste                                    (line 486)
swear an oath                                         (line 487)
they vowed to keep them                     (line 489)
swore their oaths                                   (line 490)
mum’s the word                                     (line 491)
none . . . say a thing to me                   (line 492)
tell the old king                                     (line 495)
he’d think the worst                             (line 495)
you send the word to me                     (line 500)
they sent a messenger                          (line 513)
He gave a quiet nod to my nurse        (line 518)
Father’s men of council                         (line 522)
Off to the meeting grounds for full debate
(line 523)
with your long tale                                  (line 544)
Theoclymenus broke in quickly           (line 569)
Telemachus replied                                (line 573)
I’ll mention someone else                     (line 580)
At his last words                                     (line 588)
alert Telemachus answered                  (line 599)
all you say comes true!                          (line 599)
would call you blest                               (line 601)
the one who’s done my bidding          (line 603)
Piraeus the gallant spearman offered warmly
(line 608)
told the crew                                           (line 611)And as they say, that’s the name of that tune!


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