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Mythology of Taurus

A wheel within a wheel, the Zodiacs move clockwise and counterclockwise, blending across each other in evolving/revolving motion. Though we move though progressing the Zodiac (clockwise movement) as we calculate horoscopes from natal charts, the Zodiac of the Ages has been in a counter-turn, moving backwards through the signs. The Taurean Age occurred before the Age of Aries circa 4,000 to 2,000 BCE. The Sumerians and the Egyptians were still in the early formative stages of their civilizations in the Near East and the Minoan civilization was in its peak. Stonehenge was being built in England. The great Goddess who created all life was worshipped and the Bull was held sacred as her consort, the representation of the Male Presence. Taurus was the first sign of the Zodiac. Aldebaran, the star in the center of Taurus, was called the "Bull's Eye" and was used to calculate the beginning of the Zodiac circle. At this time, Aries was the final sign in the Zodiac, not the first as it is considered now.

The symbol of Taurus is the full Moon circle with bull's horns, blending the symbols of the Goddess (the Moon) and the Bull. Since the Neolithic Age the Moon has been exalted in Taurus and is also presently exalted at the Pleiades, which presently is located at 29 degrees Taurus. In Greek tradition, they are the daughters of the Titan Atlas. In the Hindu tradition the Pleiades were the wives of the Seven Celestial Wise Men, who tended to the war god, Mars, during his childhood which confirms the nurturing qualities always strongly associated with Taurus.

Aldebaran, the star referred to as the "Bull's Eye" gives intensity to the ability the Taurean has to concentrate. Taureans can generally be very focused and stay on the path they need to be on to completion. Hindu tradition treats the "Bull's Eye" as the Third Eye, and esoterically, it is connected to meditation and seeing "the unseen" or "future sight", what we refer to as prophecy.

The Pleiades had an important place in the astrology of India, Greece, Egypt and the Mayans. The ascent of the Pleiades assured the believers of the inevitable spring rains and the nurturing quality of Gaia (Mother Earth or the Great Goddess) was awakened again. The Central Sun of our Universe, Alcyone, is believed to be located in the Pleiades and as such, lays the foundation of the Taurus/Aphrodite power of attraction. Alcyone is the star that keeps our galaxy in place through its continuous pull. It is the force that represents Spirit. As such it attracts matter and when they unite, matter becomes animated, just as when spirit and breath unite, a body lives (becomes animated).

In the Taurean mythology of Egypt, the Apis Bull was born at midnight on the New Moon, which is why it is depicted with a new moon circle under its horns. The actual Apis Bull had a crescent moon on his flank. He was used in fertility rites and though no one is sure whether he was sacrificed or if he died of old age, he was definitely resurrected as Osiris. He was also associated with prophecy.

Ancient tales from the mythologies of the ancients prominently speak of the Bull. The ancient tale of the Epic of Gilgamesh which is Sumerian in origin, recounts how Ishtar, the Babylonian goddess of love (the equivalent of Venus) and head of the Matriarchal Order sent the Bull to do battle against Gilgamesh, the leader of the Patriarchal Order. Zeus used the form of a bull to seduce Europa, the mother of the people who populated Europe. And it was a bull that carried Europa to Crete where the in matriarchal society there, the Goddess was still worshiped as Supreme Being.

Another bull featured prominently in Greek mythology is the one sent by Poseidon (Neptune) from out of the sea to King Minos of Crete. Because of its magnificence King Minos refused to pay homage to Poseidon by sacrificing the bull and kept the creature as a prized possession. Angered, Poseidon drove the queen mad with lust and she seduced the creature, then gave birth to the Minotaur, a creature with a man's body and bulls head.

The Minotaur required human sacrifice and his victims were captured from the Greek mainland and shipped to Crete. They were sent to him through a vast underground labyrinth. One of these captives, Theseus, fell in love with Ariadne, the daughter of Minos and gained her confidence. She gave him a special thread to help him find his way back out of the labyrinth. He descended into the labyrinth, killed the Minotaur, and then was able to find his way back to the surface again by following the thread. This tale coincides with the Mycenaean Greeks conquering the Cretans. Sadly, Theseus (an apparent Arien) abandoned Ariadne, lusting after another woman. Ariadne found fulfillment through spirituality and creativity (something many women do following divorce or as widows). Eventually she married Dionysus.

In line with the Goddess connection, the sign of Taurus is the sign considered the most fertile and fruitful. Like a bull, Taureans tend to plant their feet firmly on the ground and take root until a plan is ready to be put in motion. Then, like a locomotive the Taurean goes into action and once motion has begun it is likely to continue full steam with little affecting it's path.

There are those of us who believe that Gaia, the Earth Mother, represented by the rotund form or a woman with large round breasts, should be the ruler of Taurus. Gaia is presented as overly bounteous, perpetually pregnant and in a nursing state. Her form was the most common idol during the time of the Goddess and for long after. However the predominant natural ruler of Taurus is Venus (Aphrodite) and esoteric astrologers link Taurus with Vulcan (Hephaestus in Greece), the invisible planet.

Venus (Aphrodite), the goddess of harmony, beauty and peacefulness was married to the archetype of the master craftsman, the god of the forge, and of fire and whose hammer brought abrupt change, Vulcan (Hephaestus). He was dwarfed and lame, and bitter over his lot in life. Angry over his wife's blatant infidelity with Mars, Vulcan built a net and captured Venus and Mars, during one of their trysts. He bound them there as a spectacle to the other gods until Zeus intervened. The pairing of Venus and Vulcan was a true marriage of Beauty and the Beast.

Daedalus, the gifted architect, another Taurean craftsman was called upon to build the labyrinth for King Minos. He eventually became trapped in his own creation. Likewise, many Taurean personalities become trapped in their achievements or in their quest for possessions. Minos himself a father figure whose need for control and emotional repression created the opposite effect: chaos. Most Taureans try to control the beast within by burying it in the labyrinth of their emotional basement, the way Minos locked the Minotaur in the ground under the palace. The extremes of family dysfunction are evidenced in a Taurus/Scorpio polarity.

Venus was not a goddess who would pursue her lovers. She preferred to be pursued. She had an attraction that magnetized her lovers. Taureans also prefer to be pursued. Not that they won't do what needs to be done to make a relationship develop and last, they just prefer to have their lovers be attracted toward them.

If Taurus is strongly emphasized in your chart it is recommended that you study the rhythms of the Moon so that you might use them to help you focus on your center of gravity. The Taurean personality must also follow the patterns of the seasons. Taurus is very attuned to the earthly cycles. It is not by accident that Taurus falls in the spring when the nurturing of seeds and rebirth is taking place.

Typically until mid to late forties, a Taurean is bent toward a life of serving others, however, as he approaches middle-age feelings of being unfulfilled permeates his psyche and there is a movement toward the Scorpio side of the polarity as he becomes somewhat reclusive and withdrawn. The Taurean will actually need fewer people in his life and he will enjoy spending more time alone. Generally, Taureans behave like a volcano in regard to their feelings of anger. They tend to bide their time, holding it in, until the feelings are so strong they erupt with the unstoppable fierceness of a volcano.

The interesting thing about the Age of Taurus is that there was no strife during this age. People lived in very pastoral settings, free of wars and inter-village strife. The effect of Venus is felt and seen during this period through the opulence of the clothing and assessories and household items depicted in the frescoes existing from that period. There is a quality of Atlantis involved in the imagery of the Age of Taurus. There was a balance in all things and an acceptance of, and between, nature and mankind that has never been seen since. Eventually, however, as is always the case, people get lazy in their lifestyle, taking things for granted and stop paying attention to the things that matter. When this happens the complacency creates inertia, then eventually that "don't bother me" attitude that becomes arrogance sets in. This is the extreme of the Venusian quality. As we know there is no such thing as a good extreme. When the extreme of Venus is active, the natural consequence is always for Vulcan to become active. Vulcan, with his hammer, and his forge soon begins the process of total chaos and disruption.

The Island of Crete, isolated form the continent and a last holdout in its practice of goddess worship, venerated Venus to extreme. True to archetype, destruction came from beneath. Vulcan sent an earthquake and the opulence disappeared in the wake the destruction. There was a complete shifting to the other end of the extremes, which always seems to happen when there is need to restore a balance and measures are not taken voluntarily. It is the proverbial pendulum swinging back to the farthest position.

Even today, we accept "natural destruction" from earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, horrific storms and nuclear disasters, as well as acts of mankind such as war, murder, criminal acts, fires, and violent deaths as acts of "God" or "the reaping of what one has sewn".

Many years ago, I can remember there was the erroneous belief, common among the uninitiated (and may still be), that those born under the sign of Cancer would eventually have cancer (the disease). There is a misconception concerning Taurus that leads the uninitiated to think that either the bull (masculine) or Venus (feminine) is in control. Consequently, that leads them to believe that women will either be super feminine, or somewhat masculine in character, like Pallas Athene and prone toward hating men or being a lesbian. A man with strong Taurus qualities will generally be thought to be bullishly masculine or effeminate, or gay. Neither is true.

In reality, Taurus gives us the opportunity to get more in touch with our feminine side; something the world at large frowns on, but is indispensable in dealing with members of our families and the people we interact with. It has become unpopular again to admit that we all have feminine/masculine sides. Life is all about seeking the balance between them. Balance between the work we do to sustain our lives and creative things we do to enhance our journey here. We move onward seeking the peaceful serenity that Venus offers, on our right side, and the chaos of change, on our left side. We stand directly in the middle between them. We draw from both of them and create the life we live by applying what we take from them. We need both of these qualities to make our lives a blessing to ourselves and to others.

When we change it is because at least a small amount of chaos has occurred in our minds, causing us to review and change something about the way were thinking. It can be something as aesthetic as realizing what you missed in life when you stop to sniff the fragrance of a magnificent rose in full bloom, one summer morning as you walk your dog along your neighborhood street and notice Old Mrs. Smith's roses are particularly beautiful this year. Or it can be as shattering as diving 15,000 feet in an airplane. You know without a doubt that you are going to die. For those few seconds your entire life is passing before your eyes and you are remembering every mean thing you never asked forgiveness for and all the things you never took the time to do or say to your wife/husband and children.

Archetypes of the Zodiac by Kathleen Burt
Mythic Astrology: Archetypal Powers in the Horoscope by Ariel Guttman & Kenneth Johnson
Mythology by Edith Hamilton
Dictionary of Astrology by Fred Gettings