Abstract Landscape by Rami Schandall

TAURUS BEING THE SIGN OF LOVE and comfort, it's strange that this sign comes second in the zodiac. Is there a comment here by the ancients on human priorities?

If so, it is perhaps that love evolves from a state of war, that chaos yields to creation, and that from striving to get, we learn to give, receive and accept.

Another perspective is that the hungry quest for experience headed up by Mars leads to the deep, reflective knowledge and value of what is good and true that's so deeply part of the Taurus spirit: of your spirit.

Skipping straight to the astrology of this thing called 2004, Venus is quite the central actor on the celestial stage of our world. If I had to choose based on one event from amongst all the others that characterizes this cycle du Soul, it is her performance this year. Venus is the planet that finds its home in the bosom of Taurus, though there's not much that's typically Tauran about her. She is one of the hottest (900 degrees) and most eccentric planets, inclined to the ecliptic and rotating backwards in a way suggestive of Uranus, the planet of the revolution and the revelation — which itself is extraordinarily active in your solar chart this year.

We always knew that 'boring old me' was an act.

This spring Venus makes a retrograde in Gemini and is responsible for the rarest astrological occurrence of the year: what is technically called a planetary transit of the Sun, sometimes called an occultation. In this move, Venus passes between Earth and the Sun and crosses the exact disk of our star relative to Earth. This last occurred in the 1880s, at the dawn of the women's suffrage movements in New Zealand and the U.S.

This is one of those events that marks a transition point for the world, and if it will help shape the world, it will surely shape you. As reported elsewhere in these pages, the Venus transit of the Sun emphasizes themes of resolving the split ideas women have about themselves, and men have about women. Quite literally we get some relief from the schizophrenia consuming our ideas of women, of femininity and of the nature of Goddess. Along the way, we may rightly expect a struggle to accept the shocking fact that women are — surprise! — human.

I'll save the feminist rant for elsewhere. For now, let's check in on what this Venus transit of the Sun is about for you. We will need, though, to dismiss certain commonly perceived notions of what Taurus means, for example, that it's all about sensuality and comfort and chocolates on your pillow. Now, Taurans are rather fun to have sex with (Scorpios, don't worry, you are too), and one rarely finds them wanting for much of anything material. And they almost always have the most comfortable homes with a stash of imported chocolate in the pantry. But there's a touch more going on, that is, brains. Few people notice because those born under Taurus tend to be a somewhat reserved and refined.

Your inscrutability normally masks a much deeper cleverness, creativity and uncompromising opinionated way of viewing the world. If you are stubborn, it's only because you know so much. Your intelligence is so powerful because it combines mental knowledge and body knowledge. Most 'smart' people are just that: witty and, sadly, cut off from their heart and guts. By whatever means this comes to pass, you are about to make contact with this resource: with your mental clarity, your ability to focus on a single idea, and most important, with the true value your wisdom deserves.

Value... let's devote a paragraph or two to money. This is a very important year for financial dealings, particularly in preserving and cultivating the gains you've already made. Cultivate means to grow and make more. We always make more, based on what we're starting off with, and you need to take the widest possible view of that. When you think of what you have, consider the sum total of all your resources: first, the people you love. Then, your property, including the rock collection you've been growing since you were 11. How about your fine, specialized bookshelf, the one in your bedroom?

How about all your experience? Money can't buy that, and you are about to find out just how worthwhile it is. To get the most from experience, you need to use it.

Then, consider your professional tools, your cash, and any real property you're fortunate enough to have acquired; no doubt, at least a bit. Real property — houses, land and so forth — has value in itself, but it's also got leverage (i.e., with banks) and it demonstrates a track record of meeting obligations.

Now, add it all up, and imagine what you can do when you really understand the value of what you have. What you have is a kind of potential, and you are about to make the very, very most of that potential. And at the heart of why is because you're about to recognize you are your greatest resource. And when you embrace flexibility, you increase your own value manifold. How you feel about yourself becomes a factor in deciding how you want other people to feel about you — no, the most important factor.

Friendships become the place where you express your highest ideals and get your greatest gains. If you've experienced a shake up recently in your circle of friends, don't worry; you're just growing. The people you meet this year are going to be some of the most exciting, strange, eccentric and influential people you've ever encountered. These people will teach you that you can be as strange as you like and get away with it: the most important factor in getting along with others and supporting the social structure rather than tearing it apart is treating one another with simple compassion, no matter how weird we are.

The real gift you receive from all this is that you seem ready to let your relationships change you, and change you deeply. Look at how many relationships are covenants between two people not to change. How secure is that in a world of seasons, storms, wind and ocean waves? You have long been learning there are two ways to do relationships: power and possession, or communication, vision and experience. The issue in relationships now is very much one of timing, which will be assisted greatly by you staying available for communication.

But the world you see is the world you look at. Survey the world until you can see your reflection as something much greater, more liberated and far less understandable than you imagined.

Taurus Moon

I wouldn't blame you for feeling like you're under siege, nor be the least bit surprised if you described it as being sprung loose from rigid ideas about yourself that have kept you under a sleepy spell. There is the sense of "I must do what I must do, and nothing is going to stop me." You are being pushed and pushed hard. Your comfort zones are being shaken or perhaps invaded. But were they that comfortable? The more you reach, stretch and tease yourself beyond what you've felt for so long, you'll see there's often a fine line between comfort and confinement. Work that line and give yourself space to move and grow.

Message from Eros

Desire is of the body, not the mind. Mental desire, for instance, obsession, insecurity, fixation and related patterns, have nothing to do with actual, corporal desire: the kind that makes you eat breakfast in the morning. What your body wants, the mind cannot fabricate. You need it in person, for real. One by one, illusions of yourself are caving in and there seems to be this unspeakable pressure not just to be, but to eat reality raw. Don't think about it too much; it's not a matter of opinion.

I think rather than controlling a person, the more pressing point of relationship is to keep them coming back. That, in the most human terms, is a matter of appeal. It is, on the other hand, a matter of what your particular partner can handle. Given how many kids are abused, and how badly, love is not a trustworthy thing in most quarters of the heart. It becomes associated with a towering presence, not a peer; the notion of peer is obliterated.

Gradually, there are fewer external factors influencing your relationships. For a while there, it seemed like you could do nothing, say nothing, choose nothing, that did not directly involve getting the consent or checking in with the reality of another person, even to the point of getting their permission. Now the question has shifted to the elusive idea of freedom, and discerning the illusion from the reality of freedom. Some would say that freedom comes from no commitments; others would say that it emerges from clear commitments. I take the second view. There's no need to be hot and heavy about this. Strive for understanding, agreement in principle and a sense of what serves the larger whole, and you've got your solution set.