One of the most surprising things I learned was that being born in late May. There was some concern about that because on the 22nd of the month on the astrological chart,everyone born for the next month is born under the Gemini star. In astrology, a planet’s domicile is the zodiac sign over which it has rulership. The planet said to be ruler of Gemini, or those associated with Gemineans, is Mercury. That of course is the closest celestial body to our sun Sol-a hot,boiling place so constantly and intensely radioactive beyond human conception that no life form on Earth could live there. In mythological terminology, Gemini were the twin brothers Castor And Pollux in Greek mythology, also sometimes known as Iabal and Ivbal. Represented in one star,this represents a singular personality with a duel nature-a split personality. On his album Soul Zodiac,jazz saxophone player Cannonball Adderley described Gemini’s as being alternately as both intellectual as well as “schizophrenic and freaky”. He also once referred to those of this sign personally with the phrase “beware of a Gemini”. Where would these perceptions come from strictly in the musical world anyway?
In this case I’ll examine different musical figures from different genres. First,the rock world. The Beatles had a representative of the Gemini sign within their midst in Paul McCartney. One of the two lead personalities of the band along with John Lennon,a Libra sign to which he would be quite compatible interestingly enough,McCartney contributed some of the bands most enduring songs such as “I Saw Her Standing There”,”Do You Want To Know A Secret”,”If I Fell”,”For No One”,”Fool On The Hill”,”Let It Be” and really too many to mention both as a Beatle,a solo artist and with his own band Wings. Songs that are modern day standards that have affected the course of life for many individuals actually. On the other hand, this is the same man who in the early 90’s commissioned a loosely autobiographical opera called the Liverpool Oratorio without having had any classical training. Despite its general failure, he’s continued to alternate between his often brilliant pop masterpieces and more awkward attempts at the classical genre since. Todd Rundgren is a similar case. A DIY/one man band type musician he had recorded enduring pop standards of his own such as “Hello Its Me”,”I Saw The Light” and “Can’t We Still Be Friends”. Yet in a split second can veer into musically and lyrically obtuse subject matters of non sequiter spiritual/philosophical tracts that are somewhat limited in appeal-though I personally love and find much value in them.
On the funky side of things there is Patti LaBelle and of course the man now known as Prince. Patti’s Gemini nature seems to have more to do with general personality than music. On stage she has the firey presence and booming voice of a funky soul diva of the highest order usually associated with the Aries sign of Chaka Khan and Aretha Franklin. Offstage,she is a pleasant and down to Earth lady-who was so shy as a child her mother had to pay her to go out and play with her friends so the story goes. Prince is probably more confused in his public perception by his astrological sign than any other musical figure born under the Gemini star. He’s also the one most defined by it. Musically in every conceivable way,the man is absolutely brilliant. Though there is a very complex personality struggle within him that forces him thematically in his music between either the righteously religious and the extremely profane. These elements never come together into mutual focus in his music. The result is a personality very much like Mercury. One where if one gets too close to it,they would metaphorically burn alive within their souls. This creates a mystique about him,very much in the order of the two other famous musical Gemini’s in Bob Dylan and Miles Davis,that is so intense and provocative that it deserves an entire blog article written on it. And from me anyway,he and Miles are surely going to get one.
There are those in my own family who are thankful by personal experience that I was not born under the Gemini star. In fact its become a cliche for me to say “I am not really that into astrology”. If so,how come it continuously comes up in conversations I have with different people? Well from my own personal experience I’d say that it has to do with the fact that so many humans who don’t know the facts of someone’s personality often create fantasies of one sort or another to explain it away. Its much like a someone explaining their eccentric grandmother as it “just being their personality”. Whether based in science or pure fiction,Astrology has become a vital way for many people in all aspects of the art to explain away their unusual and sometimes irrational behavior. In the end,it really comes down to the actual nature of people like Paul McCartney,Todd Rundgren,Prince,Miles Davis or even Ramsey Lewis that make their decisions so highly unusual and not necessarily what’s in the stars. That is going to have to remain within the spectrum of the unknown to humans for possibly the rest of eternity itself. All we can do now is enjoy the brilliant music these people have given us. And try to look at it as banked fire glowing with an inner light.