by Eleanor Buckwalter © 1995, 2000
Taurus, like the preceding Aries, is a survivor. While Aries goes chasing after what it wants, Taurus quietly draws toward itself those things and circumstances that are necessary for the sustenance of physical life. It represents the attracting force, and magnetizes things into manifestation. It is focused on sensuality and pleasure. It runs on the pleasure-seeking, pain-avoiding dynamic. It likes things nice and easy.
Taurus is the sign of fundamental sexuality. It represents the basic drive to pleasure the body and is essentially masturbatory. Satisfaction and contentment come through connecting with that which gives sensual gratification. It does not matter where it comes from so long as there is more of it. The Greek word “epithymia,” meaning something akin to “horniness,” but not quite lust, gives a sense of what Taurus is about. It is voluptuousness waiting to be violated. Taurus really is the sex fiend of the zodiac, although Scorpio has that reputation. Scorpio draws a great sense of power from “violating” and pleasuring that voluptuousness! There are no inhibitions with the pure Taurus archetype. It is a very personal and pre-moral sign. Its mottoes might be, “If it feels good, do it,” and “Try it, you’ll like it!” Oral gratification is the first pleasure, and Taurus’ first love is really good food and sweet things. Watch a Taurus eat an ice cream cone! There is something almost embarrassingly erotic about it.
Though it is a feminine sign, the men born under it can be exceedingly attractive, handsome to a degree that one could call beautiful. They are slow moving and seem sensually inviting. Their passive quality is sweetly enticing. It is as though they are waiting to be seduced. The very fact that you sense they will not “come on” to you and seem non-threatening makes them all the more alluring. Gary Cooper, James Stewart, and Henry Fonda had Taurus as their sun sign. The Taurus presence lets you feel safe, secure and comfortable.
The archetypal feminine Earth Mothers: Eve, Isis, Aphrodite, et al, are associated with Taurus. The goddesses were worshipped as representing fecundity, fertility and abundance. Their worship and rituals revolved around planting and harvest, and included the offering of sacrifice (sometimes human) and sexual ritual (temple prostitution).
The two myths that illustrate archetypal Taurus are those of Adam and Eve and of Demeter and Persephone. Eden is a Taurean place with Mother Nature lovingly, abundantly providing all life’s necessities. There, mankind is innocently in tune with the Source. Eve is the archetypal primitive feminine. She is innocently receptive and sensual, thus vulnerable to temptation. It is through eating fruit (oral gratification) that she is seduced. The consumption of this fruit leads to an evolution in consciousness: awareness of duality (Gemini). This gives rise to comparison, contrast and judgment of what is good and evil. Good is what we like and bad is what we do not like, pleasure and pain. With each step of evolution something is gained in consciousness and something is lost. Taurus loses innocence. It represents the fall from Grace, from an instinctual attunement to God and Nature. It is the serpent (Kundalini) that is the tempter, drawing her to a higher state of consciousness. The serpent is called Lucifer, which means light-bringer, by the Christian tradition. Serpent power is sexual energy directed upward through the central nervous system (Tree of Life) that gives rise to higher states of consciousness.
The myth of Demeter and Persephone illustrates what happens as a natural response to Taurus’ inertia and reluctance to change. The harvest goddess, Demeter, closely guards her virgin daughter, Persephone. But one day as the girl is picking a narcissus in the meadow, Pluto rushes up from his kingdom in the underworld, grabs her and takes her down to his dark palace. The “rape” forces the loss of innocence. At the same time, it empowers, for, as Pluto’s bride, Persephone shares the wealth beneath the earth, precious metals and gems. Mother Demeter is a fertility goddess of agriculture; Persephone’s abundant wealth is of another order. Without the violation of innocence, there can be no growth; inertia pervades. Taurus tends to lack a realization of its true worth unless or until it is connected to its opposite, Scorpio.
The Buddha, tradition tells, was born under Taurus, and the May Full Moon is the celebration of his enlightenment. The teaching of the Buddha emphasized the nature of desire and attachment. The error lies not so much in desire, but in the attachment to, and identification with, desire as well as with the objects of the senses. Everything changes; therefore, nothing of the physical world can truly be possessed, for it is not permanent and cannot give lasting security or real happiness.
The house with the sign Taurus on its cusp is where we seek permanence, material security, structure and stability. It is also where we may feel we have fallen from grace, lost our innocence, or been exiled. There is a feeling or idea of the loss of some primal state of purity and perfection brought about by some act of disobedience. Part of the Taurus experience is the need to accept exile in a hostile world and to work resolutely within it to regain what was lost according to Paul Wright, author of “The Literary Zodiac.” This is the theme of expulsion from Eden. For example, Taurus on the 10th may feel alienated and out of place in her career unless it involves the arts, or some area where beauty and comfort are utilized (Marilyn Monroe). A man with Taurus on the cusp of the seventh house may feel exiled from the partner he desires because he was too possessive and she ran. Pope John-Paul II was born on May 18, 1920, just seconds after a solar eclipse at 27 degrees Taurus in his eleventh house. His conservative views on sex and women have alienated many from the faith. Yet today, at age 80, he continues to work toward healing alienation and strife, not only within his own church, but among the major faiths of the world as well.
Some very well known leaders of spiritual organizations have been born under the sign of the Bull. Swami Muktananda was born May 16, 1908. He was one of the most outstanding spiritual teachers of our era. Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters), a primary disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda, founded the Ananda-Expanding Light Community. He was born May 19, 1926. Rabindranath Tagore, born on May 7, 1861, was a spiritual and literary giant of modem India, a poet, critic, statesman, playwright, nature mystic and educational reformer [“Astrology and Spiritual Awakening,” by Gregory C. Bogard, Ph.D.]. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was born Mary 1, 1881. His great work, “THE PHENOMENON OF MAN,” gives a three-fold synthesis of the material, physical world with the world of mind and spirit, past and future, variety and unity. Teilhard de Chardin was a mystic who envisioned evolution as a coherent process starting from the formation of the planet through the emergence of life, and later of thought, to an imagined end state or Omega Point.
Yet, even with Taurus “holy men” there is the ever-present matter of sensuality and issues of sexuality. It was rumored that Muktananda was exceedingly fond of sweets, and in his writings about his spiritual journey and awakening, he often speaks of sexual arousal during his meditations. And just a few years ago, J. Donald Walters (Swami Kryiananda) lost in a case of sexual harassment brought against him by a disgruntled former lady disciple.
There were some Taurean villains: Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein and Jim Jones, leader of the People’s Temple mass suicide. And in between, we must not forget Sigmund Freud (May 6, 1856), father of modem psychoanalysis, who believed sexual repression to be the cause of most psychological aberrations.
About the author:
Eleanor Buckwalter has studied, practiced and taught astrology in Los Altos, CA for more than twenty-five years, including three years with the late Richard Idemon, a psychological astrologer. Her primary astrological focus of interest is parent-child relationships and family dynamics.