General - Twins are the subject of many and varied beliefs in cultures. Throughout the world. (1) In Africa, the Ibo regard twins with horror whereas other tribes, including the Yoruba, revere them. (2) In Greek mythology, the twins Castor and Polyneices (Pollux), sons of Zeus and Leda, were placed in the heavens as the constellation Geminia (Twins). (3) In Mexico, the Aztec killed one twin at birth, in the belief that it saved the life of a parent, and the surviving twin was said to have evil power; the Tarascans regard twins as gifted in the matter of medicine and say that the plants grown by twins will yield double fruits which, if eaten by a pregnant woman, will result in the birth of further twins; the Popaluca say that twins are good horse-breakers and can cure colic in domestic animals and such ailments as toothache in humans. (4) In North America, the Apache have their heroes in the twins Child-of-the-Water and Killer-of- Enemies. The Cherokee say that twins are able to see the 'little people'. The Iroquois twins, Flint and Sapling, acted as transformers and creators. The Kiowa talk of the Split Boys who have many strange adventures. The Lillooet say that twins are the children of bears. The Micmac creator, Gluskap, is the twin of Malsum. In the lore of the Ojibwa, the trickster, Nanabozho is the twin of Wolf. Plains Indians tell of the twins Lodge Boy and Thrown Away. The Pueblo tribes have the twin war-gods Ahayuta achi. The Shawnee are said to regard twins as lucky in some cases though in others it was said that the elder was likely to be evil. Among the Tubatulabal Indians it was believed that, if one twin should die, both would die, and if one joked about a woman having twins she would do so. The Winnebago have stories of the hero twins, Flesh and Stump . (5) In Roman lore, the twins Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome, were suckled by a wolf after they were abandoned. (6) In South America, the Bakairi twins, Kame and Keri ate the moon and sun respectively personified. The Miskito father of twins, believing he could father only one child at a time, killed one or abandoned both. The Yaghan talk of divine twins, culture-heroes, who taught the tribe the use of fire and the art of hunting. A widespread theme has one clever and strong twin, the other stupid and clumsy, often regarded as sun and moon respectively. Another common motif is that of the woman killed, by jaguars who rear her twins; they, when they discover the truth, kill the jaguars and climb up to heaven on an arrow-ladder and become the moon and sun. (7) Other beliefs about twins: twins result from adultery; they may have separate fathers; a woman who eats a double fruit will bear twins; twins are lucky or have second sight. In some accounts, identified as twins.


North American - Creators and culture-heroes of the Pueblo tribes. These primordial beings, Preceder and Follower, were given power over all the creatures on earth. Using their thunderbolts, they made cracks in the earth and descended into the depths on spider webs, finding partly-formed beings buried in the first womb of the earth. They led them up to the second womb, those that failed to make the ascent becoming monsters. In the next womb, these beings discovered the nature of sex and continued up through the fourth womb until they reached the outer world as men and women. Occasionally known as Twins.

Nearby Myths