The Seasons in the Stars- Hey Toro! The Star-Bull Taurus

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Taurus Symbol
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The Black Bull by George Bellows 1919

Common Associations

  • Dates: April 21-May 21 The cusp is April 19/20
  • Element: Fixed earth (mid spring)
  • Ruling planet: Venus
  • Body: neck, throat, tonsils
  • Birthstone: Emerald
  • Metal: copper
  • Flower: the Daisy; innocence, sanctity
  • Tree: the Apple Tree; youth, beauty, happiness, immortality. Avalon, resting place of King Arthur went was the ‘isle of apples’
  • Colours: pastel blue, green, pink
  • Famous for: strength, stamina, stubbornness, practicality, thoroughness, duty, honesty, sensuality, money sense, a pleasant speaking voice, artistic/singing ability, green fingers, good cooking, independence
  • Professions: Politics, Banking, (also think Bull markets) Agriculture, Construction, Arts, Musician, Entertainment, Beauty, Fashion, Restaurants
  • Tarot card: The Hierophant- Tradition, Received wisdom, Books

Astronomy

Wiki

Taurus (Latin for Bull) is a large and prominent constellation between Aries to the west and Gemini to the east. It ranks 17th in size of the 48 Greek constellations recorded by Ptolemy in his introduction to the Mathematics of the Heavens, the Almagest, written AD 150.

The stars of Taurus depict the face, horns and forepart of the bull’s body. His face is made up of a triangular cluster of stars called The Hyades. There are no legs. The bull is imagined half submerged. He is the mythical Bull from the Sea.  A second cluster of stars, The Pleiades, known as The Seven Sisters, swarm like bees above his back.

The best time to observe Taurus in the night sky is during the months of December and January. By March and April, you might see it in the west in the   twilight.

To find Taurus first the three stars of Orion’s belt. That’s usually easy on a clear winter’s night. Now look up to the right, looking north- east, See that bright orange-red star? That’s Aldebaran, ‘The Follower,’ a red giant, the biggest, brightest star in the constellation, the red eye of the Bull, glaring in the direction of Orion.

Should the Bull escape his heavenly pen, said an ancient Arabic legend, he would stampede the universe to pieces, and it would be the end of things for all time. Let’s hope nothing upsets him.

Wiki Commons: the horns, face and the giant red star, Aldebaran, the Eye of the Bull, glaring menacingly in the direction of Orion the Hunter  

Taurus has been recognized as a sky bull since at least the Early Bronze Age. Historians think the figure of a bull was first discerned in the stars by the Sumerians around 3000 BC and was recorded in cuneiform by the Babylonians.

Ancient History

In modern astrology Aries is the first sign of the western zodiac, ushering in the spring (vernal) equinox along with the first lambs.

However, 4000 years ago it was Taurus, not Aries that coincided with the vernal equinox, and for Babylonian astronomers Taurus was the first sign of the Zodiac, ‘the Bull in front,’- leading from the front.

The Bull was also the first sign for the early Hebrews, who called it Aleph, as in A, the first letter of the alphabet.

Taurus coincided with the start of the calving season.

The bull, like its ancestors, the wild aurochs, is a potent symbol of strength and fertility, but where Leo the lion, represents wild strength, Taurus the bull is domesticated, controlled strength, as harnessed in oxen or a bull with a ring through his nose. One of the several archetypes associated with Taurus is ‘The Farmer,’ and many a bull has worn a ring through its nose for the sake of the farmer’s safety. The dairy bulls, breeds such as the Charolais for instance, are especially to be handled with care where the famous black bulls used in bullfighting are by comparison, more easygoing.

The bull has exerted a magical influence on human imagination even before the dawn of agriculture. Aurochs, the fiercer, wild ancestors of the modern bull, were painted in the Lascaux caves in France, in paintings thought to date from 15000 BC.

The most famous section of the Lascaux caves in the Dordogne in France is the Hall of the Bulls, featuring four black bulls, or aurochs.  One of the bulls is 5.2 metres (17 ft) long, the largest animal discovered so far in cave art.

It is thought that the aurochs migrated at this time of year; a dangerous but potentially highly rewarding hunting opportunity. Not only did the aurochs provide the luxury of meat, but the horns and hide had many uses.

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Lascaux

Hunting gave way to farming of animals, guaranteeing supplies with less risk attached. The first ever cattle, goats, sheep, and pig- farming began in the so-called ‘Fertile Crescent;’ a region covering eastern Turkey, Iraq, and south-western Iran about 12000 years ago.

These farming practices spread westwards, and in time had a genetic effect on the human population, with the sudden appearance of a gene mutation that enabled humans to digest raw cow’s milk. It’s not known when this first occurred, but it probably happened first in Northern Europe and today 35 % of the global human population can digest the milk sugar, lactose. Click on this link to find out more on this subject.

The Cult of the Bull and related Worship

Bull Leaping in Knossos

The bull was considered a divine animal throughout antiquity and was a symbol of the moon, fertility, rebirth, and royal power, while today, the Lithuanian word ‘taurus’ means ‘noble.’

There is evidence of bull cults throughout the Mediterranean starting in Anatolia, dating from at least 70000 BC. From the worship of the Apis bull in Egypt, to bull-leaping in Knossos and the sacrificial portrayal in Roman Mithraism, the bull has been an integral part of many diverse and important religious traditions.

Greek legend associated Taurus with the legend of Zeus and Europa, in which the god Zeus, up to his sneaky tricks yet again, disguised himself as a beautiful, gentle white bull, coaxed the princess Europa into climbing on his back, then abducted her, swam away with her to Crete, and made her one of his mistresses. The many gifts Zeus gave Europa included a pet dog that later became the constellation Canis Major. Their children supposedly included Minos, King of Crete, the builder of the Labyrinth and the famous palace at Knossos where the bull games were held.

Bull worship, or rather, the concept of the bull as divine concept gradually migrated ever westwards and northwards. The Celtic druids held Tauric festivals at least 2000 years ago, and there is archaeological evidence of bull worship near Newcastle and York in the UK.

The Buddha was born when the Full Moon was in Taurus (Vesak) and his birthday is celebrated at the Vesak Festival which occurs on the first Full Moon in Taurus.

Beware of the bull

Like the Bull himself, the classic Taurus subject, male or female, is generally peaceable, pleasant, even placid. But Taurus will not be disrespected, pushed or driven. Other people can get a shock when Taurus suddenly sees red …and they don’t give a lot of warning.  The mistake of the other person was in underestimating them, taking their good nature for granted once too often.

Bulls cannot physically see red. It is the movement of the toreador’s cape that provokes them, and not the colour. But when the human bull ‘sees’ red, they  either dig in hard, or may charge head on.

Taurus in a full-on rage is a ‘bull in a china shop’ – the Earth sign that will withstand or demolish the opposition of  other more famous ‘fighting’ signs, Aries, Leo, and even lethal Scorpio, its opposite number in the zodiac.

Taurus doesn’t like to fight but doesn’t lose in a fair fight. The bull ring is not a fair fight; that’s the tragedy of Taurus. But if a Taurus is being unreasonable, misbehaving, or being a ‘bully’ quietly stand your ground.  It should pass. Taurus is not at all vindictive as a rule.

But why upset the Bull? Look at him, quietly grazing. Taurus is not a saint, and can be difficult or grumpy sometimes, but he’s really not looking for trouble. Do as you would be done by, and everything should be buttercups and daisies in your everyday dealings with the Taurus subject, man or woman.

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Archetypal Tarot

The Tarot Talks Archetypes

What is Yours?

Astrology and Tarot are separate artistic disciplines with distinct histories and traditions, but there are powerful connections between them, with many astrological archetypes embedded in the Tarot.

Zodiac Public Domain Book of Hours The Sky Order and Chaos Jean Pierre Verdet

Image: Public Domain from The Book of Hours, Jean Pierre Verdet

The 78 cards of a classic Tarot deck include 22 Major Arcana cards (Greater Secrets) and 56 Minor Arcana Cards (Lesser Secrets.)

The Major Arcana cards shine a light on life-changing situations and events, or draw attention to some crucial aspect of your own personality or behaviour, demanding attention at the time of the reading.

Each sign of the Zodiac is linked with a Tarot card from The Major Arcana. Your sun sign and your Major Arcana card represent key archetypes. But what exactly is an archetype?

Archetypes

The word derives from Ancient Greek and means a very typical example of something, like a model from which other copies are made; a prototype.

Arkhetupon ‘something moulded first as a model’, from arkhe-‘primitive’ + tupos ‘a model’.

The Oxford English Dictionary offers these  definitions

  • A very typical example of a certain person or thing.
  • Later, in Psychoanalysis (in Jungian theory) a primitive mental image inherited from the earliest human ancestors, and supposed to be present in the collective unconscious.
  • A recurrent symbol or motif in literature, art, or mythology.

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Archetypes are complexes of experience that come upon us like fate, and their effects are felt in our most personal life.

The ‘anima’ no longer crosses our path as a goddess, but, it may be, as an intimately personal misadventure, or perhaps as our best venture.

When, for instance, a highly esteemed professor in his seventies abandons his family and runs off with a young red-headed actress, we know that the gods have claimed another victim.

From Jung: Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, Image: John Strudwick 1849-1937

 

The archetype represented by your Major Arcana card does not define you, of course, any more than your Sun sign does. You and I are unique. Every living thing is unique and yet-  it is also classifiable

The archetypes are classifications of behaviours and attributes, and in the Tarot, the Major Arcana chime with the signs of the zodiac.

There are two key archetypes in play in personal astrology; the archetype of your Sun sign, and then there is your ‘outward face’; a key aspect of the public persona, represented by your Rising Sign or Ascendant; the planet rising on the Eastern horizon at the time of your birth. It’s a good idea to read both when reading your horoscope.

If you know your time of birth, you can identify your rising sign via this link

Discover the Tarot’s Major Arcana card for your zodiac sign below.

Astro_signs

Aries (Mar 21-Apr 19)

Astrological archetype: The Ram. The Warrior.

Major Arcana card The Emperor – (energy, organisation, leadership)

Spring bursts forth after winter and so does the ram with the year’s first lambs, and so does The Emperor in you and me. The Emperor decrees we can’t just creep through Life. We need to push sometimes, and push hard or we would never get anywhere. The Emperor is fiery, energetic, driven and determined, good at delegating but controlling – some might even say bossy; A battering ‘ram’. The Emperor may be accident- prone due to general speed and haste. Male or female ‘he’ needs to learn how to take it easy, and slow down, to be more careful and patient, to stay curious and listen to the ideas of others. He’s not the only Emperor round here.

Taurus (Apr 20-May 20)

Astrological archetype: The Bull. The Farmer.

Major Arcana card The Hierophant – (faith, study, tradition)

This card is about the power and wisdom of the written words and of tradition. Books, publishers, librarians, churches of all faiths, and universities are indicated by this same card. The High Priest (Hierophant) does things by the book, and has faith and trust in the old ways. He is all about standards. He is a protector, a gardener, a teacher, a mentor, a scholar, but the other message of this card is that change can be good, even necessary, wisdom is knowing when to bend with the wind, and that does not necessarily mean the same as throwing out any baby with the bathwater. 

Gemini (May 21-June 20)

Astrological archetype: The Twins. The Jester.

Your Major Arcana card is The Lovers – (choices, love, duality)

This card has another name: ‘The Decision.’ Gemini is quick-witted, but sometimes decisions need more care and time than mercurial Gemini gives them. There is an innate restlessness, Gemini can be quick to walk away, even when sometimes they might do better to stick at things, even if they are bored, or the going gets rough. Gemini is the archetype of the Jester, the one who can take any turn of fate with a laugh and makes sure we remember to enjoy ourselves. This is the wisdom of Gemini. We need to be able to laugh at ourselves in order to keep a healthy sense of perspective. Laughter is powerful medicine. What we can’t joke about, we can’t deal with..

Cancer (Jun 21-Jul 22)

Astrological archetype: The Crab. The Mother.

Major Arcana card The Chariot – (progress, effort, co-operation).

The Crab is famously gentle, home-loving, intuitive, private; even secretive, but just look again at this guy/girl. This is Cancer’s Tarot face. The Chariot carries the victorious on parade. The Chariot takes us places. This is a card of triumph through discipline and sustained effort; the harnessing of resources, the charioteer and the horses working as one. Choose your teams well, put in a sustained effort, you and they can do great things together.  The Crab may be the archetypal sign of motherhood where the Ram is fatherhood, but these are qualities, not identities, while a carer is not a servant, and the gentleness of Cancer does not make it a doormat. No way. Push too far they will withdraw.

Leo (Jul 23-Aug 22)

Dominant element: Fire.

Astrological archetype: The Lion. The King.

Major Arcana card Strength – (courage, willpower, fortitude)

Life demands courage to meet it head on. To learn new things you have to take chances and risk failure. But the fire of Leo also demands control. The lady patiently restrains the lion. It shall not devour her. She shall not try to harm it. The lion represents the spirit of the Leo subject. There is natural courage and charisma, but the Lady represents strength with gentleness and restraint – moral courage. The lion does not want to be ruled, but nor does she wish to be devoured, power must be used wisely and tyranny is always to be resisted.

Virgo (Aug 23-Sep 22)

Dominant element: Earth

Astrological archetype: The Virgin. The Craftsman.

Major Arcana card The Hermit – (Self-sufficiency, connection to nature, analysis)

The Hermit often likes to walk alone, and this is usually by choice. Time alone, especially in quiet, wild, green places, is especially good for the Hermit, male or female, married, or single. People turn to the Hermit for wise advice. The Hermit knows how to listen and sees far more than he or she says. The Hermit shines a quiet light along his path and others may safely follow in times of need. Animals can trust to the hermit’s compassion. The Hermit is often a talented artist or crafts-person, slow, methodical and a perfectionist, so much so, that she never feelsthe work is good enough to sell, even when it is. Virgo’s challenge is to expedite..

Libra (Sep 23-Oct 22)

Dominant element: Air.

Astrological archetype: The Scales. The Judge.

Major Arcana card Justice – (order, reason, restitution).

Libra combines analytical ability with intuition, and a natural grace and charm, with a talent for diplomacy. Justice is capable of severity, however, and can just now and again be overly keen to apply the letter of the law, forgetting the spirit. See the Sword in the hand of Justice. But the scales don’t stay still. They are rarely in perfect balance. They see-saw, like Libra’s moods and occasional indecision. Libra is changeable. It may be the only sign of the Zodiac represented by an inanimate object, and a Libra subject may be a born judge, but still, they are only human. But without Justice there would be chaos and misery, mature loose and running red in tooth and claw. There could be no society and no civilisation.

Scorpio (Oct 23-Nov 21)

Dominant element: Water.

Astrological archetype: The Scorpion. The Actor.

Major Arcana card Death – (endings, liberation, transformation)

There is no life without death. There can be nothing new without something else changing or ending. But just like the song, the seasons don’t fear the reaper. Death is not the enemy of Life. Scorpio understands this great mystery. Intuitive, subtle, often somewhat secretive, charismatic, intense, Scorpio is devoted to their loved ones, while with others they may be a true friend and powerful ally – or a vengeful enemy. Death has a long memory. He has seen it all before. Get in the way, and he may mow you down with that scythe. Sometimes it is better to walk away. Sometimes it is wiser to call it quits and call time on something that no longer serves you well.

Sagittarius (Nov 22-Dec 21)

Dominant element: Fire.

Astrological archetype: The Archer. The Explorer.

Your Tarot archetype is Temperance – (moderation; timing, healing).

Temperance was regarded as an angel- a force for virtue at the time the Tarot was first in use. Temperance is about moderation, and self- control, and the avoidance of extremes. But Temperance has other meanings…alchemy, the fusing together of two elements, materials or qualities to make a new thing stronger than either individual element; Intellect and feeling, ability and ambition, one person and another, one people and another. This is a force for diplomacy, reconciliation of differences and also for physical healing after illness.

Capricorn (Dec 22-Jan 19)

Dominant element: Earth.

Astrological archetype: The Goat. The Builder.

Major Arcana card The Devil – (also Pan. Wildness, entrapment, liberation)

Powerful opposites meet in the Goat. Capricorn, thought to be named originally for the ibex which mated at this same time of year,  is the builder and the banker of the zodiac; hard working and solid yet agile, with an often understated glamour and a keen, if dry sense of humour. The Devil comes in many guises; often powerfully attractive. Or think of animal magnetism. That’s Pan for you. The Devil warns us to beware compulsion reminding us that we can get trapped by our own behaviour as much as by circumstance but we can choose to liberate ourselves by exercising the willpower sufficient to change the behaviour or the circumstance, bringing order out of chaos.

Aquarius (Jan 20-Feb 18)

Dominant element: Air.  (Special note: Aquarius is sometimes mistakenly identified as a water sign because its symbol is the water carrier)

Astrological archetype: The Water Carrier. The Teacher.

Major Arcana card The Star – (hope, inspiration , humanitarianism).

The Star of hope has much in common with the imagery of the Aquarian Water Carrier. It shines its brightest, far-off light when everything else looks dark. The figure in the card has one foot in the water, symbolising her powers of intuition, and the other foot still on land, denotes her stability. Her knee is a bridge between elements. The stars symbolise the card’s over-arching message of guidance, hope and inspiration. Aquarius loves people as a general concept, but she is not one to blend in with the crowd, indicated by the biggest star above her head, which is bigger and set apart from the others.

Pisces (Feb 19-Mar 20)

Dominant element: Water.

Astrological archetype: The Fishes. The Seeker/Seer

Major Arcana card The Moon– (imagination, instinct, intuition)

Like Pisces, The Moon card is associated with the subconscious, and suggests that things are not always as they first appear. The Moon card also represents our secretive side or “shadow self”. The barking dog and the wolf in this card represent Pisces’ wild side sitting alongside its more domestic self. Pisces may seem gentle but the pull of the wild is strong, and so is the pull of the ocean’s tides. These people are deep. The crayfish crawling from the water represents “coming into consciousness” and the possession of psychic abilities, true of all signs in their different ways, but especially archetypal of Pisces.

Watch for the archetypes manifesting in real time all around you.

Until next time 🙂

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