*Foundation*Value*Stewardship*Glorification of Matter*Endurance*


Symbol:   The Bull   Solar month: 20 Apr. – 21 May.

Element: Earth     Temperament: Cold/dry  
Quality:   Fixed    Gender:   Negative/feminine  

Dignity of:    Venus     Detriment of:  Mars  
Exaltation of:   Moon     Fall of :   none

Archetypal faces:  Settler/steward/artisan 

Ancient & Traditional Taurus

“I mark, stern Taurus, through the twilight gray, The glinting of thy horn, And sullen front, uprising large and dim, Bent to the starry Hunter’s sword at bay.”

“Of plants, in its share are the tall trees, and all trees that bear fruit and all trees that need little water, and every tree that grows on mountains and bears useful fruit, and every planted tree whose taste and fragrance are good.”

Taurus is one of the earliest and most noted of asterisms, this is considered due to this sign marking the Vernal Equinox from 4000-1700 BCE .  It is mentioned that ‘in all the ancient zodiacs preserved to us it began the year’ , Taurus was also known as the ‘wild ox’.  Most usually this constellation is represented as only the forward, or front, part of the bull.  Thus there is a feeling of the animal emerging from something.  The ancients considered that the hindquarters were ‘immersed in waves’.  

Amongst other symbology, here the bull is also being personified as the animal Zeus disguised himself as to trick and steal the virgin princess Europa, over the sea and away from her homeland.   Interestingly, the ancient historian Plutarch (c. 46-125 CE) observed that when the planet Saturn was in Taurus every thirty years, that there took place a legendary migration.  This migration was said to be from the ‘external continent, beyond the Cranian, or Saturnian Sea’.

Bull cults were birthed through ancient history, with this figure being strongly associated with principles of strength, endurance and fertility.  The Bull became venerated for its practical usefulness, and was a primary sacrificial icon, particularly in agricultural communities.  In Zoroastrianism it was thought of as the first animal ever created, to be slain and from its soul is said to have arose ‘the germ of all creation’.   The prominence of Taurus is seen in early Mesopotamian astronomy and religion, thus representations of the Mithraic (solar) bull are to be seen on ancient gems, dating from four or five centuries prior to Christ.  Eventually it is noted, that some of the later Christian schools of thought recognised Taurus as the ox, which stood with the ass in the manger of the Nativity.  In the ‘apolistic zodiac’, this symbol was to become St. Andrew.

The ancient importance of this animal is witnessed  in all cultures throughout the pre-classical times, which was definitely a period when humanity was very focused on cultivating the land, which is the prime realm of this sign.  This animal was important in early Egyptian religious cults and the ancient kings of Egypt called themselves the ‘bulls of Amon- Ra’, the bull sometimes used to depict them in art.  A golden disc was fixed between it sacred horns, symbolising the one life force as manifest through its body. 

The ‘Apis’/‘Hapi’ (or sacred bull) was considered an incarnation of the spirits of the gods.  The bull did become considered as a main symbol representative of Osiris and also of his sister-consort Isis.   The sacred bulls of ancient Egypt were used in ritual and divination, when one died there followed a period of national mourning.  The stars of the bull were made much of though all Egyptian history and religion, part of this appears due to it marking the earlier Equinox and there was also the belief that the human race was created when the Sun was in this sign.

The Chaldeans also had their ‘bull of light’, or ‘bull of heaven’, as two important star groups, the Pleiades and Hyades reside in this sign.   The ancient Latin author, Manilius (c. 10 CE) stated that Taurus was ‘rich in maidens’, as there are seven mythical ‘daughters’ in each of the two star clusters.  The Pleiades were also nominated the ‘doves of Venus’, or the ‘Pleiadean doves’, often represented as birds on the back of the animal. 

The planet Venus, of course, is known as the ‘lady of Taurus’, thus the feminine facet of this constellation is very present.  The bull was seen in ancient times as the consort for the great lunar mother, who is often depicted as riding on the bull’s back, as represented in the myth of Europa.  Taurus has also been implied as relating to the mythology of Zeus and the nymph Io.

As a zodiacal component, in the traditional context, Taurus was said to ‘act upon the element of earth’ by imprinting on it temperate cold and dryness, namely little or no impediment’.  So that within this temperateness ‘the generation of many sensible things happens, that is both of species and the growth of vegetables and the like’ .   Some of the traditional associations that have been applied to the sign are as follows; The ‘night house of Venus’, vernal, vital, fruitful, nocturnal, even, of the warm season, crooked, dry, commanding, luxurious, physical, animal, bestial, quadruped, gluttonous, magnetic, melancholic, rich of voice.

Some More Symbology & Mythology

The glyph for Taurus is obviously symbolic of the head and horns of a bull, it is also viewed as the full moon with a crescent moon attached to it.  This lunar symbol is one of great fecundity and sustenance, as the crescent is upturned to ‘catch’ and hold that which may fill it.    This symbol also reinforces Taurus’ ancient astrological association with nocturnal principles and as a feminine metaphysical constituent (the Mis exalt in Taurus).  This symbol is seen on a Babylonian cylinder seal (c. 2150 BCE).  In modern times the glyph of Taurus is thought to be a abstracted representation of the larynx, with the Eustachian tubes, main parts of the body governed by this sign.

The Greek myth of the Minotaur (the man with the bull’s head) is well known and as direct result of this myth, evolved the ‘bull dance’ rituals of ancient Crete, in which young gymnasts somersault over the bull’s back.  The Alexandrians of Egypt also held a ceremony in an arena where a bull was captured and sacrificed and the Romans also pitted man against the bull.  The remnants of all these ancient practices are still alive today in the bull fights of Spain and Portugal.  These ceremonies were representative of the victory over the lower, instinctive ‘animal’ nature and the blood spilt is a symbol of fertility.

The ‘lunar’ bull was also sacred to Venus as a fertility goddess.  This has a more ancient connection with the Babylonian goddess Ishtar , who ordered the creation of a bull and sent it against the hero-god Gilgamesh, seen as a symbol of matriarchal order versus the patriarchal.  Thus, in the very highest sense, the ‘sacrifice’ of the bull is expressive of the penetration of the feminine by the masculine, the cause of the fertile process (as seen in the matador piercing the animal in the bullring).  This supplies part of the explanation how in some cultures the bull is a solar, rather than a lunar symbol, as the solar cults slowly supplanted the dominance of  the more ancient cults of the moon.

The creative, artistic aspect of Taurus comes through in myth with the fact that Venus is the planetary ruler of the sign and she is primarily a deity of beauty and pleasure.  Taureans are classically known for their appreciation and abilities with these aspects of life. Venus (Aphrodite) was married to the ‘smithy’ of the gods’,  Hephaestus (Vulcan ) and her beauty inspired in him the desire to craft amazing objects of incredible refinement.  As Taurus the zodiac sign contains themes about giving form to the creative ability, in the greatest sense this principle is expressed as  the glorification of matter.

In the ancient Druidic culture, Taurus was seen as an important asterism of worship.  There took place a great religious festival called ‘the Tauric’.  It is noted that it is claimed, maybe fancifully by some scholars, that the hot-cross buns are our contemporary representatives of the ‘bull-cakes’ from such past times, which hold the same stellar association.  This connection is said to stretch back through the ages to the civilizations of Egypt and Phoenicia. 

It is also observed that the Scottish people talked of the ‘Candlemas bull’, which was seen to rise in the twilight of their New Years Eve.

Human headed bulls guarded the temples of Assyria, the animal also significant in this culture.  The ‘celestial bull’ ploughed a great furrow of the sky and the Babylonian lunar god Sin also took the form of a bull.  The Hebrew priests assigned the first letter of their alphabet (Aleph) to this sign, connecting it to the concept of the ‘eye of god’.  In Scandinavian myth the roar of the bull and the stamping of its hooves are reflected in the thunder which heralds the fertilizing rains.  

The Amazon Indians were observed as seeing in the Hyades the head of a bull; they also nominated it as ‘Tapura Rayoaba’, ‘The Jaw of an Ox’.  In China, as a zodiacal constellation, this sign was the ‘Cock’, or ‘Hen’, this eventually became the ‘Golden Ox’, under subsequent Jesuit influence.  Hindu culture venerates the bull as well and testament to the importance of this animal as a symbol, there are many more examples than the scope of these notes allows.

Archetypal Principles

Uplifting the Physical Plane. Spirit into Matter. Guardian of Value. Consolidator of Form.

Primary Archetypal Type    Settler Steward Artisan

 Examples of Mythic Representations
 Bull Rituals - Minotaur - Kings Minos and Midas - Europa – Io - Dadelaus - Hephaestus/Vulcan – The 7th Labour of Hercules, the Capture of the Cretan Bull.

 Examples of Archetypal Personas
 Labourer, Carpenter, Tradesperson, Farmer, Gardener, Chef, Craftsperson,  Sculptor, Jeweller, Sensualist, Builder, Courtesan, Garland maker.

 Examples of Archetypal Objects and Symbols
 Rock, Tools, Steel, Anvil, Labyrinth, Garden, Five Senses, Crescent Moon,  Adornments, Good Food, Lush Gardens.

 Examples of Key Manifestations
 Quality, value, resource, security, foundation, provision, possessions, greed,  accumulation, acquisition, determination, tenacity, resistance.

 Primary Psychological Associations

Processes regarding the principle of accumulation and holding on - Sense of personal worth and subsequent value systems - Validation and Deserving - Stewardship and cultivation - Stability of the psyche - Stubbornness and Predictability - Security.

Modern Taurus

Taurus as a Stage of Development
As the second sign of the natural order of the zodiac, the Taurean ‘stage’ of anything reflects a theme of containing and consolidating, a bonding and forming of something tangible and real.  As a point of development, what has been seeded now finds a stable place to take a potentially fuller form.  In the northern hemisphere, Taurus is analogous to spring in it’s fullest bloom, pregnant with the vital, potential fertility that gives rise to the ripe fruit of summer.  In the metaphysical dynamics energy is drawn together and thus strengthened, given greater potency and endurance.  Thus things may grow further from the laying of a more stable and ‘real’ base.

In the analogy concerning the newborn human being, as a psychological template developing, this sign may be given a parallel with an infant’s growing sensory capability.  Here the baby is getting more ‘in touch’ regarding the perception of a greater reality, than just mother and the quest to exist (as in A).  At this point the child is embarking on a further recognition of  its own physical body , grasping fingers and toes, clutching new things, new textures, tastes smells, sights and sounds.  The world becomes a kaleidoscope of sensory stimulus and it is as though the senses are literally ‘blossoming’. 

The child is perceiving what ‘it has’, through aspects of its own body and objects in the graspable environment.  This is the next crucial and basic step in the individuation process.  At this stage the child is experiencing how ‘’safe’ it is to further their sensory limits, and how ‘comfortable’ the world really is.  Ideally security is supported rather than threatened, or destabilised.  The parental validation of touch is vital in this phase.


Organic Divination for the Urban Jungle

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