Planet Waves | Behold the Bull of Heaven by Melanie Reinhart


Rare view of the night side of Saturn, as seen from
Voyager 1, 20th century. Image courtesy of APOD.


Behold the Bull of Heaven

By Melanie Reinhart
Reprinted from Caduceus

Exactly forty weeks on from the Total Solar Eclipse of August 11th, 1999, there occurs a Full Moon on May 18th. This is Wesak, also called Buddha Purnima, or the Festival of Buddha,s enlightenment. It is preceded by a truly extraordinary line-up of planets in the sign of Taurus, and followed by a powerful conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, also in Taurus. Melanie Reinhart explores the symbolism of these three major celestial patterns.

The Big Picture - Jupiter conjuncts Saturn

The Jupiter/Saturn cycle is about 20 years long, from one conjunction to the next. The current cycle began in December 1980, and the next one begins on May 28th at 17.05 BST 1. This means we are now in the closure stage, marked by low energy, need for rest, the withdrawing of energy from outgoing structures, and the work of inwardly preparing for the new beginning. It is time for the heartful appreciation of the last twenty years of our life, savouring and honouring what has been, releasing its form and absorbing its essence so that we can move on. What was fulfilled and needs celebrating? What didn,t work and may need a decent burial? What vision did we follow then? What now? These weeks are a time of fertile darkness for the gestation of new dreams, new visions and a sense of new orientation to the light which leads forward in the new cycle.

The planet Jupiter 2 refers to faith, vision, meaning, purpose and aspirations, and all kinds of expansion, including literal travel, generosity, optimism, hope and the elevation of consciousness. By contrast, Saturn is the Lord of Boundaries, limits, restrictions, the master of time, timing, protection and manifestation. Their conjunction may mean we have to halt expansion in one area in order to consolidate and re-distribute energy. It may also enable new forms to be created that provide the foundation for the next 20 years. We are invited to a renewal and consolidation of faith - not faith in something or someone, but faith as a heartful quality of consciousness which can sustain us through difficulties, and help us develop trust.

The Venus Connection

The forthcoming conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn occurs in the sign of Taurus, ruled by the planet Venus; the last one was in Libra, also ruled by Venus. This emphasis is echoed in various poetically significant movements of the planet during last year,s important eclipse season.3. Love, beauty, truth and justice are in the terrain of Venus, as well as the tests and trials of the way of the heart. The new Jupiter/Saturn cycle will challenge us to walk our talk,, to put our money where our mouth is, and to commit ourselves to manifesting what most deeply matters to us. The idealistic and airy balance of Libra becomes in Taurus the grounded realism needed to sustain forms which honour the sacredness of the Earth we live on. Indeed, we may discover that spiritual values are not a luxury, but a necessity which in turn supports our custodianship of the material forms we are creating and sustaining.

Inanna, Sumerian Queen of Heaven and Earth

In ancient Sumeria, the planet Venus was revered as Inanna, Queen of Heaven and Earth, and her story is a precise reflection of the astronomical features of the orbit of Venus, with her cyclic disappearance and reappearance.4

The mythology of Inanna is a poignant story of her attaining queenship as Queen of Earth, then choosing to renounce her glory and descend to the Underworld to visit her sister Erishkigel who is mourning the loss of her husband, the Bull of Heaven. Inanna descends through seven gates, which represent the seven chakras, and after meeting Erishkigel is killed as the Eye of Death is fixed on her. She is hung on a peg and eventually released into resurrection once the task of bearing witness to her sister,s extremity of grief has been fulfilled by the little mourners who descend from the upper world to assist. Inanna leaves the Underworld surrounded by a cloud of demons who demand she send a substitute. After condemning to death her beloved consort Dumuzi, outraged by his nonchalance and complacency, his non-recognition of her experience of death and resurrection, Inanna relents, full of remorse. Her desire for vengeance transforms into compassion and forgiveness - Inanna attains queenship of spirit as the Queen of Heaven. Dumuzi is released, permitted to alternate with his sister in the dual realms of the Great Above and the Great Below.

The Call of the Eclipse

Shortly before the Total Solar Eclipse of August 1999, Venus turned Retrograde, which can be seen as symbolising the beginning of Inanna,s journey to the Underworld, after she hears and responds to the call of the Great Below,. The meeting with Erishkigel occurred around August 20th5. During this descent, we may have reached the root place of inconsolable wailing, with its density of accumulated loss and grief. Rebirth was signalled by the reappearance of Venus, rising as Morning Star on August 24th, 1999, and Inanna left the Underworld in September, symbolised by Venus turning direct. Since then the emphasis has been on the painstaking work of the heart, seeing the need for forgiveness and beyond, piercing the veil of illusion, patiently bearing witness to whatever emerges for healing. Venus reached a climax of maximum brilliance in late September 1999, and continues to be visible until May 5th 2000, when she disappears, in preparation for the new cycle of union with her consort Dumuzi the shepherd, symbolised by the conjunction on June 11th, 2000.6 Venus is always invisible when conjunct the Sun, whose rays veil her while the sacred conception occurs.

Wesak - the Eye of Light

This Full Moon occurs exactly forty weeks after the Solar Eclipse of last summer which can be seen as the conception, followed by gestation, a herald of the multiple new beginnings indicated during May and June 2000.

The Full Moon occurs on May 18th at 5.11am BST. During Full Moon the Sun and Moon are located on opposite sides of the Earth, in opposite signs of the Zodiac. During this one, the Sun will be in Taurus, the Moon in Scorpio. The potency of the Taurus energies relates to the symbolism of the bull,s eye,, or the centre of a target. Thus the en-lightened eye sees with compassion straight to the heart of our own en-darkenment, and is able to penetrate our illusions and entrapments with the clarity of truth and higher perspective. Near Mysore, in South India, there is a gigantic and impressive stone carving of the Nandi Bull, the mount of Shiva, Lord of the Dance of destruction and recreation. The Bull is the substance which enables Shiva to dance the cosmos into being. In Buddhist iconography, the bull represents the power of the desire nature to lead us deep into the quagmire of delusion, but whose energy is also needed for the one-pointed aligning of our consciousness in the direction of what is Real.

This is the single eye, of the New Testament that maketh thine whole body to be full of light,. The horns of the bull, depicted as the upturned crescent in the symbol for Taurus, represent the arms of humanity reaching upward in longing for the light, leaving the bondage of duality, but protected by the subtle alternation of opposites, as if rocking the Christ-child of our own spirit in a cradle suspended between the two horns.

Coniunctio - the Alchemy of Sun and Moon

Jupiter and Saturn have already been in Taurus for some time, but from mid-April all the other faster-moving planets begin gathering up in this sign. The greatest concentration occurs on May 3rd, from 5.53am BST when the Moon enters Taurus, until 20.16 BST when Mars enters Gemini. During these hours all the seven classical planets 7will locate in Taurus, elegantly lined up around the Sun and Moon, preparing for the New Moon in Taurus the following morning. On May 3rd, between 16.57 BST and 20.16 BST the Sun holds central place, with three Taurus planets either side, like the Judaic menorah which holds seven candles. On May 4th, between the New Moon at 5.11am BST and its conjunction with Jupiter at 10.05am BST, the Moon will be the central body in the line-up. In the Talmudic tradition, the Moon is said to represent the Messiah, and the Sun, the heart of the solar system, is often associated with the Christ, Light of the Heart.

The Moon is powerfully placed in Taurus, and this union with her consort the Sun in this sign creates a potent alchemy of materialisation. This time is therefore a substantiation, a gathering of what most deeply matters, the stuff of life, the resources with which to manifest our own future both individually and collectively. The Sun and Moon are connected with the Brow Chakra, seat of the Third Eye, the Bull,s Eye of clarity, intention, vision and spiritual perspective.

Because all the planets will be close to the Sun during these days, they will be veiled by the glory of the solar radiance, and not actually visible to us. The planets will line up in the following sequence: Venus, Mercury, Sun, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars. When the Moon moves through Taurus, moving much faster than the other planets, she will contact and overtake each planet in turn, like a celestial relay runner passing her message of Light reflected from the Sun. The sequence begins with Venus and ends with Mars, invisibly connecting this pair of planetary lovers, signalling for us another union, joining, another yoga,, that of putting right values into right speech and action.

All the density, fixity and false externalisation which also troubles the sign of Taurus is metaphorically burned up in this intense light. In times past, culture heroes like Ahura Mazda had the task of slaying a bull, in order to atone for the sins of the realm, to ensure fertility and renewal. Initiates in these rites would bathe in bull,s blood, to emerge redeemed and washed clean. The word sacrifice, means to make sacred,, and so we are invited to consecrate our power, fertility, resources and substance to the process of rebirth, to release ourselves from the density of our own attachments and illusions, and to re-honour the realm of our individual and communal lives.

What's New | Contents | May Horoscope by Eric


Melanie Reinhart was born in Zimbabwe, and has been a professional astrologer since 1975. She is the author of several books including "Chiron and the Healing Journey" (Arkana 1989), "To the Edge and Beyond and "Incarnation (CPA Press: to order call Midheaven Books on +44 171 607-4133). Melanie has travelled internationally, giving seminars and consultations, and is available for readings in person, or long distance by phone or tape.

Eric's note: "To The Edge and Beyond," which covers Saturn, Chiron and the newer Centaurs Nessus and Pholus in a truly understandable way for beginners, is a bit expensive (about $70 including shipping for US readers) but is worth ten times the price. Melanie's Chirion book is in bookstores in the US.

E-Mail Melanie | Midheaven Books +44 207 607-4133 | Metalog

Melanie's Office in London +44 207 372 8685



1. British Summer Time, one hour ahead of GMT.

2. Jupiter rules Sagittarius, the sign of the Centaur; the etymology of this word can be read as rounder up of bulls,. See Caduceus Issue 46, pg. 32 for more information.

3. On 16.8.99, Venus set at 29.32 Leo, disappearing from view while in the precise eclipse degree of August 1998. On 11.9.99, Venus turned Direct in the precise eclipse degree of August 1999.

4. The general parallel in Sumerian mythology between Inanna and the planet Venus has been acknowledged by scholars for some time. See the work of Samuel Kramer and Diane Wolkstein in their book "Inanna, and also "Descent to the Goddess, by Sylvia Brunton Pereira, Inner City Books, Toronto. However, the details are my own work, and I wish to acknowledge the inspiration of my colleagues Erin Sullivan, Nick Kollerstrom and Daniel Giamario.

5. Technically, the Interior Conjunction of Sun and Venus, at 27.2 Leo.

6. Technically, the Exterior or Superior Conjunction of Sun and Venus at 20.48 Gemini.

7. The classical, planets are those visible with the naked eye, from the Sun to Saturn.

8. In classical astrology, the Moon was said to be in exaltation, in Taurus, referring to the fertility of the sublunar, realm. Note that the symbol for Taurus contains an upturned crescent, as seen in the sky in the Middle East.