The Constellation of Taurus is the representation of a Bull – a snowy white bull. The Bull plays an important role in numerous mythologies and across many ancient societies.
It has been recorded that the Babylonian version of Venus was spurned by Gilgamesh (the first recorded hero), who accused her of destroying all her lovers. In rage, she got her father to create a ‘Bull of Heavens’ to destroy Gilgamesh. To this day, Venus rules Taurus, the Sign of the Bull.
Worship of Taurus the Bull dates back to the Taurean Age (approx. 4139 BC to 1963 BC). The great Taurean Age was when the Pyramids, stone circles and other great feats of architecture were built, strong and solid constructions that would stand the test of time. It is a Taurean trait to want to build things that last, to create a legacy. The Bull has long played a major role in fertility worship and the bull’s horns are said to represent fertility, growth and regeneration, all analogies of spring, the season in which Taurus falls.
For even the Celtic Druids the bull was an object of worship. One of the Druids' most important religious festivals was called ‘the Tauric’, held when the Sun entered the boundaries of Taurus each year. The Tors of England are said to be an old site for the Taurine cult.
The Bull is often depicted as rising from the Ocean. This is a depiction of one of the most universal myths surrounding Taurus the Bull. In myth Zeus turned himself into a Bull in order to seduce the beautiful Europa and then he hid amongst her father’s herd, waiting for the right moment. Drawn to the attractiveness of the Bull, Europa gradually overcame her fear of the massive beast, first stroking him and eventually climbing onto his back. Once on his back the Bull took off over the seas and they eventually landed in Crete where Zeus revealed his true identify, pledging his love for her and gifting her all the land she could see – Europe.
In every culture the Bull was a powerful phallic symbol. As the Sign that is rising during the vernal equinox, its starry body was said to be the incarnation of the Sun – the vernal equinox lay in the constellation of Taurus and in ancient times was often referred to as the ‘breaker of the year’.
Even the story of the Minatour and the Labyrinth of Minos is that of the Bull. King Minos raised the wrath of Poseidon by refusing to sacrifice a white bull. To punish Minos, Poseidon afflicted Minos' wife, Pasiphae, with a love potion that made her lust after the Bull and mate with him. She did and the result of that union was the Minotaur, a creature half man and half beast, so shameful that a labyrinth had to be built to hide the creature. This is a story that represents our own shame over our ‘bestial’ passions. Taurus is therefore said to be a sensual Sign.
Venus, the ruling planet of Taurus, has a cycle of 224 days and spends around 4 weeks out of each year in each Sign.
Venus is a planet of exquisite beauty. The third brightest object in the night sky (after the Sun and Moon), Venus was once believed to be two different planets as it rises at either sunset or sunrise, depending whether she is travelling ahead of or behind the Sun. The ancients knew however that the morning star ‘Eosphorus’ and the evening star ‘Hesperus’ were one in the same, but to this day Venus rules two Signs, Taurus and Libra.
With very few exceptions, modern Astronomers who have mapped Venus have given the physical features on the planet names, which in almost every instance are female. Taurus is a feminine Sign and Venus a feminine energy.
Venus is the second planet from the Sun and the sixth largest in our solar system. Because it’s closer to earth than any other planet, to us it appears the largest.
There are some scientific facts known to modern man that weren’t known to the ancients but even so, portray aspects of Taurean energy. Although Venus has a year very similar in length to the earth, it rotates at an extremely slow speed, making each day incredibly long – 243 earth days to one Venus day. Secondly, Venus’s rotation and that of its orbit are synchronised so that it always presents the same face to the Earth when the two planets are at their closest.
Scientists don’t know if this is merely a coincidence or if it's because of some resonance effect. However Taurus is energy is all about beauty and pride in appearance, so is patience (some call it stubbornness). Beauty, whether it’s of the body or the psychical environment, is important to Taureans. How apt that Venus herself portrays the same characteristics, wanting to take her time and always show her ‘best side’.
To the ancients Aphrodite didn’t just rule Venus, it was Aphrodite they saw in the night sky. In Aphrodite we find one of the most colourful figures in Greek Mythology. Aphrodite (meaning 'foam born') is the goddess of love, beauty and desire. She is a very complex Goddess, for she could be jealous, vain, spiteful, disloyal and even vindictive. Yet she also evokes love, pleasure, passion and joy. But then, aren’t these the very aspects of human nature that we all display? In many ways Aphrodite is a very ‘human’ goddess.
To understand Aphrodite you need to understand what drives her and that is that she was a goddess who truly and totally believed that she deserved as much love and pleasure as she could get and that she was the most beautiful and desirable goddess in the world. Aphrodite had enormous self love and to gain the object of her desires she didn’t care what she had to do to get it. To Aphrodite the ends justified the means. Beauty, love and material gifts are things that Aphrodite/Venus aspires to. She is also a very fertile goddess, giving birth to many children, from many lovers.
Taurus is the second of the 12 Signs of the zodiac and the middle of the three spring Signs. Here the spring thaw has finished and the earth is warming. It’s time for the planting of seeds and for fertilisation to begin.
This was an important time of the year in the life of the ancients and was a time of fertility sacrifices and festivals. There was new life in abundance, the grasses, crops and seeds were all flourishing. The land itself was coming alive. This was a time of sowing, procreation and celebration of life.
The middle Sign in each season is a ‘fixed’ Sign. It is after the initial surge in optimism of the first Sign that the hard work begins. By now the things initiated in Aries can be turned into reality. The hard work begins. It’s time to get your hands dirty in the ground. Planting begins. It’s time to make solid the dreams and ideas birthed at the start of spring.
As with all of the Signs, Taurus gains its energy and characteristics from the multitude of factors that go to make up this Sign, including taking up from where the Sign before left off. Taurus gains its rich sensuality and fertility from the Bull. From Venus comes its love of beautiful objects and its rich sensuality in love. As an earth Sign it’s practical. As a fixed Sign it has a hard work ethic, one that stays on the job and doesn’t give up. It needs to be, for it’s the Sign that watches over the planting. Being a fixed Sign, spring is at its peak. The ideas of the first part of spring have to be turned into reality. If the seeds aren’t planted there will be no crop, no crop means no survival. Taurus energy has to be hard working, patient and dedicated to the pursuit of new life.
Taurus is one of the most ancient of Signs, with its origins stretching back to the very origins of human civilisation. Two main features of Taurus the Sign and of the origins of Taurus, is that it’s focus is on fertility and the building of structures that would last, creating something solid and tangible, a real legacy. Taurus energy is strong energy, earthy and solid. It is Taurus energy that has brought us the Great Pyramids and the Wonders of the Ancient World, all rich Taurean themes. Without Taurean fertility rights and worship and the importance of new life who knows, maybe we wouldn't have even survived as a species.
When the Sun was moving through the Sign of Taurus in ancient times it was a time of year for ritual sacrifice, with an animal sacrificed with great ceremony, to bless the new life being born and new crops being planted. Ceremony and doing things the ‘right’ way are all Taurean aspects. It is not within Taurean thinking to have thrown some seeds in the ground and ‘hope’ they’d sprout. For Taurus energy comes from a time when life was brutal and fragile. If the plants didn’t sprout there would be no food in the winter, which meant death, therefore there was a great respect for life and in particular for the planting or seeding of new life, whether plant, animal or human. Taurus energy isn't focused on the harvest or the end result, but on planting or conception, all elements of fertility.
Taurus has a great respect and reverence, as well as a need to apply practical and focused energy into the task at hand and a great respect for nature. Taureans are said to be stubborn and bull like. Is this from its symbol The Bull, from the fact that it’s a fixed Sign or is it more importantly the energy of the season? Taurus energy needs to be stubborn. The task had to be stuck to. It’s not an ideas time, it’s a time to muck in, get your hands dirty and get on with the job.