The Dioscuri are the sacred twins known to the Romans as Castor and Pollux and to the Greeks as Castor and Polydeuces, sons of Leda and brothers of Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra. Zeus seduced Leda, wife of a Spartan king, in the guise of a swan. Theoretically only one (Pollux) was of divine origin; Castor was the son of Leda’s mortal husband, but the myths are confused on this point. Sometimes both are mortal or both are immortal. Sometimes Castor is Zeus’ son. Dioscuri derives from Dios kouroi, the God’s boys, translated as “sons of Zeus.”
When it was time for Castor’s death, Pollux refused to part from his beloved twin. He negotiated with Zeus, who allowed them to stay together, alternating one day in Hades, the next on Mount Olympus. Because of their dual residence,they are amazingly well-connected spirits and are thus able to provide exceptionally well for their devotees.
Pollux is a boxer, Castor an equestrian. They are patrons of the sports. The Dioscuri were very popular deities in Greece and Rome. They protect soldiers on the battlefield and are guardians of the sea. Allegedly Poseidon gave them power over waves and winds so they were worshipped as patrons of sailors and mariners. They are sometimes venerated alongside their sister, Helen of Troy.
Saint Elmo’s Fire in the form of double-lights was welcomed by ancient Greek mariners as a manifestation of the Dioscuri. A single flame was considered a harbinger of doom, however, as it was a manifestation of Helen, who leads ships to death, as opposed to her brothers, who guide them to safety.
Also known as:
The Gemini –
Those born under the astrological sign Gemini; twins; equestrians; horse breeders; boxers; sailors; mariners
The Dioscuri are handsome twins who ride white horses and wear egg-shaped helmets crowned with a star.
27 January, the day their Roman temple was dedicated in 484 BCE
- Helen of Troy
Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.