What does the sign Gemini have to do with wainscoting?


Recently I reviewed a horary chart about a missing piece of jewelry. The Moon in this chart happened to be in Gemini along with Jupiter, which ruled the 4th house cusp. The Moon is a general signifier of missing things and 4th house and its ruler, according to Lilly (CA 322) represent “the place where it is laid, put or done, or conveyed unto, and is at that instant of time” (when the horary question is posed to the astrologer).

The Constellation Gemini: twins eternally linked, like paneling or plaster to a wall.

Given that both the Moon (the missing object) and the ruler of the 4th (the location of the missing object) were in Gemini, I looked up what Lilly had to say about places signified by the mutable or dual, Air-sign Gemini (CA 94):

“Wainscot rooms, plastering and walls of houses, the halls, or where play is used, hills and mountains, barns, storehouses for corn, coffers, chests, high places.”

A wainscot panel against a wall.

I was struck by Lilly’s ordering of significations, which places wainscot rooms first. If the item were in the house, presumably Lilly would first search for the missing jewelry in a wainscotted room, or near the plastering or wall within the house, or within a hall or a place where people play within the house. He would also search in any coffers or chests. The emphasis on wainscot paneling and plaster suggests locations where things (like paneling or plaster) are attached to walls. In this case the item was eventually found. It had fallen behind a piece of furniture and landed on a bracket which held a radiator against a wall.

How did Lilly come to associate Gemini first and foremost with wainscoting?

According to https://www.etymonline.com/word/wainscot, the word ‘wainscot’ dates back to the mid-14th century and refers to “‘imported oak of superior quality‘ (well-grained and without knots), probably from Middle Dutch or Middle Flemish waghenscote ‘superior quality oak wood, board used for paneling’ (though neither of these is attested as early as the English word), related to Middle Low German wagenschot (late 14c.), from waghen + scote “partition, crossbar”. So called perhaps because the wood originally was used for wagon building and coachwork, but the sense evolution is not entirely clear. Meaning ‘panels lining the walls of rooms’ is recorded from 1540s. Wainscoting is from 1570s” (bold mine).

One connection to Gemini is that the wood used in ‘wainscot’ paneling is the same oak that was originally used to build wagons and coaches, both means of transportation which is ruled by Mercury, whose domicile is Gemini. In addition, the wainscot panel is often carved in a manner that strongly resembles the glyph for the sign Gemini:

Antique wainscot panels often resemble the glyph of Gemini, the sign of the Twins who are joined together for eternity.

In summary, wainscoting uses the same oak wood that was originally used to make coaches and wagons but is now repurposed to make wood paneling that is joined to a wall, much as the Gemini twins are joined together for eternity.

About Anthony Louis

Author of books about astrology and tarot, including TAROT PLAIN AND SIMPLE, HORARY ASTROLOGY, and THE ART OF FORECASTING WITH SOLAR RETURNS.
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