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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