International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally
International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch Europe Globally

TWINS & THE DOUBLE

 

Mirrors are glass, sad glass! In our mother's belly// I tumbled with a twin, looked in her eyes.// In the old time what we know was dangerous to know// when others tumble around this world so lonely, so lonely.

- Philip Daughtry

 

Why does Agnes tell you to fast and go on vision quests? It is because she knows that for the sacred twins to be able to reach you and each other, and translate messages, all blocks to this process have to be eliminated. Dreams and visions are the essence of sacredness. You must be still to smooth the path for your sacred twins.

- Lynn V. Andrews in Jaguar Woman

 

<  IRISH TWINS   80 x 100 cm   £435

(Irish Twins are siblings born within one year of each other)  

My eldest sons (born 20 months apart) went through phase of looking and behaving like twins. For me this sparked off a fascination with twins, twinning and doubles.

Why are twins so fascinating?

In the human world we find both identical and non-identical sets of twins.

However, biological twins are only a limited case in a larger category. The so called Archetype of Twins includes variations such as The Double, Rivals, Soul Mates and Scapegoats.

All twins are counterparts. But not all counterparts are twins.Think of apples: two identical apples are not "twin apples"!

 

<  SYMMETRY   80 x 100 cm   £425


 

 (TOP RIGHT)  Romulus and Remus were twin brothers. Their father was Mars, the God of War. Their mother was Rhea Silvia, a vestal virgin and daughter of King Numitor. Numitor's brother, Amulius, had taken the throne from him and forced Rhea Silvia to become a vestal virgin so that she would not have any children who might try take back the throne. When the boys were born, Amulius put the boys in a basked and threw them in the river Tiber, hoping they would drown. However, the boys were rescued by a she-wolf who fed the babies with her own milk and cared for them. 

 They grew up and the spepherd Faustulus took them in. One day the boys found out who they really were and decided to kill Amulius. Having done so they decided to build a city of their own but could not agree where situate it. Romulus killed Remus in the heat of an argument and became the first King of Rome in 753 BC. The legend ends by telling how Romulus was carried up to the heavens by his father, Mars, and was worshipped as the God Quirinus.

 

 TWO BABY TURTLES

DO NOT TWIN TURTLES MAKE!

PRIMORDIAL TWINS    £155

Throughout the world twins occur in Creation Stories. Twins inherently represent duality and symboliZe opposing principles. This painting shows the 'Primordial Twins', i.e. the Twin Archetype, the 'cosmic blueprint for all twins"...

 SAND BURIAL

My sons look alike

but they are not twins!

 

 

Twins are idiosyncratic pairs, this means 'pairs that share certain characteristics'.

They are bound together by certain activities and principles, such as inversion, substitution, imitation, rivalry and so forth.

Poison one of two apples and substitute it for the other one: they will become twins. If one apple is reflected in a mirror, it becomes the twin of its counterpart!

Our hands are twins. They match if they come together in prayer, but mismatch if we fit one in a glove belonging to the other. Here is where the concept '-handedness' comes in. Things such as crystals, sea-shells, galaxies, water spiraling down a drain and curly hair possess either right- or left-handedness.

The human umbilical cord occurs predominantly in a left-handed spiral, why?!

 Throughout all mythologies twins appear: twins of light and darkness, born from the Great Mother or primordial womb. They bring opposing principles, duality, into the world in Creation Myths.

In folklore and tribal customs surviving to this day, human twins are often viewed as taboo regardless of whether they look alike. The (so called)  'primitive' mind intuits in twins the workings of an inscrutable power to be feared and revered, inspiring awe that goes quite beyond the novel impressions made on us by exact look-alikes.

Twins therefore pose a lot of conundrums and contradictions!

In America the so called 'Hero Twins' or 'Warrior Twins' are prolific. They are sometimes called 'Twins of the Sun' in pueblo myths from the Southwestern part of the USA.

Twins also appear in Rock Art, e.g.  I have seen twinned flute players in petroglyphs in New Mexico.

 Shamanic teacher, painter and author in the UK and the world

THE NORSE GOD ODIN HAD TWO RAVENS: HUGINN AND MJNINN.

Were they twins?!

 

One interesting aspect of myths about twins is the notion that  they were originally united in the womb but forced apart at birth; thus constituting a single person and belonging together. This means that they need to be reunited, difficult as that is.

In a sense twins represent the two sides of human nature, such as masculine/feminine, introvert/extrovert.

This polarity has been expressed in stories that relate to the nature of the soul and to sexuality as well.

This myth may be the foundation for the contemporary belief in "twin flames and soul mates".  I recently wrote a blog about these concepts. You can use the button to read this piece:

QUANTUM ENTANGLEMENT & TWIN FLAMES

Among the pre-Incan culture of Peru, the Creator God was called Atachuchu, 'Lord of the Twins'.

He produced the first man as a magical projection of his own double. (Think also of the Bible: God creating man in his own image).

The world over first-born twins are generally seen as benevolent, but they may also be presented as adversaries.

In Nigeria it is a curse to say: 'May you be the mother of twins!'

 

There are two things in life for which we are never truly prepared: twins. ~Josh Billings

It is not economical to go to bed early to save the candles if the result is twins. ~Chinese Proverb

 

 Shamanic teacher, painter and author in the UK and the world

 We have all come across the statement that (so called!) primitive people won't have their picture taken for fear that their soul will be stolen. But it is not as simple as that!

The image itself is the problem: it can serve as a potential reservoir, a medium capable of drawing vital and spiritual force from its original, transmitting impressions on it from afar.

What is done to the image, is done to the owner. This, of course, it the base for voodoo spells and effigies.

The danger posed by doubles is illustrated by Greco-Latin myth of Narcissus. Narcissus is a beautiful young man who falls in love with his own reflection. He sits by the fountain (or pond) all day, staring at himself. (Here is where the term 'narcistic' comes from). In the story there is another twin-motif in the figure of Echo. Echo is a nymph who repeates what the gods have said, so other gods can hear it. She falls in love with Narcissus. However, Narcissus rejects her due to his self-absorption. Echo calls down a curse on Narcissus and pines away until only her voice remains. Narcissus jumps in the water to reach his own image and drowns.

Shamanic teacher, painter and author in the UK and the world

 >  NARCISSUS AND ECHO  80 x 100 cm   £425

The danger posed by doubles is illustrated by the Greco-Latin myth of Narcissus. Narcissus is a beautiful young man who falls in love with his own reflection. He sits by the fountain (or pond) all day, staring at himself. (Here is where the term 'narcistic' comes from!) In the story there is another twin-motif in the figure of Echo. Echo is a nymph who repeats what the gods have said, so other gods can hear it. She falls in love with Narcissus. However, Narcissus rejects her due to his self-absorption. Echo calls down a curse on Narcissus and pines away until only her voice remains. Narcissus jumps in the water to reach his own image and drowns.

 

>  ISHTAR SUCKLING TWINS  80 x 100 cm   £545

 The Akkadian goddess Ishtar (also known as Astarte or as Inanna to the ancient Sumerians) is shown here suckling twins. 

Shamanic teacher, painter and author in the UK and the world

 Shamanic teacher, painter and author in the UK and the world

In its metamorphic aspect (i.e. in myths and legends expressing change or  and in shamanism we sometimes call this shape-shifting), the Twin can become The Double, an identity capable of assuming a wide range of monstrous and nightmarish forms. (Think of e.g. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hide!)

At its extreme the bloodsucking Double is the vampire. In fact the vampire is the Double which has vanquished its original other.Therefore it has no reflection.

Or the same concept presented in different words: the vampire is the 'living dead', but only living human beings of flesh and blood have mirror reflections and shadows, vampires don't.

Our attachment to the unity of our own ego ('I am myself and myself alone') is challenged every night when the ego dissolves into the dream-state. In the world of psychology and psychoanalysis dream-images are often viewed as animated fragmentation of the psyche. When the same thing happens while people are fully awake it results in hallucination or schizophrenia.

 In shamanism we believe that in our dreams 'astral travel' occurs: we visit other realms, other dimensions, the spirit world  It is said that the difference between shamans and people in a psychotic state is that shamans can navigate other worlds at will and find their way back to everyday reality. 

Over time I have discovered that I have many twins: my shadow (illustrated either side of this text block), my mirror image, the people I become when I am dreaming, my younger self, my future (crone) self...

 

SCAPEGOATS

The supreme case of twinning occurs in scapegoats. The sacrificial Double. The one who suffers and dies in place of another.

If all of this sounds extreme and hypothetical, think of a hot and very controversial issue right now: cloning! (And all the rights, wrongs and risks of cloning).

 I will also add here that when people have fertility (IVF) treatment, often multiple births occur. However, the offspring of those treatments are still young today, so we can't quite tell the long term effects of this treatment phenomenon (if any).

Twins have only just started to appear in my paintings. It is a subject I hope to explore further.

Shamanic teacher, painter and author in the UK and the world

Shamanic teacher, painter and author in the UK and the world

 

Shamanic teacher, painter and author in the UK and the world

 The theme of "twins, twinning and doubles" keeps coming to attention in new and fresh ways.

 We explore this theme in the Sacred Art Practitioner Training I teach.

It also comes up in ceremonial work with gods and goddesses. The question I am mulling over at the moment is: do gods and goddesses have sacred twins (who often appear as their shadow brothers and sisters). Is the principle of twinning at the very heart of Creation coming into being?

 

I will end this page with a picture of my favourite twin (one of many, the competition is fierce!)

When I do shamanic work I shape shift and explore my multi-dimensionality. I explore other worlds in the shape of a mermaid, or crow...

>  THE APPRENTICE OF THE WIND  (Sold)

 

And does Nature have a "handedness" (chirality)?

Physicists have found hints that the asymmetry of life — the fact that most biochemical molecules are ‘left-handed’ or ‘right-handed’ — could have been caused by electrons from nuclear decay in the early days of evolution. In an experiment that took 13 years to perfect1, the researchers have found that these electrons tend to destroy certain organic molecules slightly more often than they destroy their mirror images.

Some information on this page came from the following book: Twins and the Double  John Lash  Thames and Hudson  ISBN 0-500-81042-7