Of Cows, Bulls and Mars in Taurus

Dear Friend and Reader:

Have you ever seen that Far Side cartoon where one cow is standing up on two feet in the middle of the herd, trying to get all the other cows to stampede? The thing is, they’re not interested. They just want to stand around and graze.

The Forge of Vulcan by Luca Giordano, c. 1660, located in the The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia. Vulcan is the Roman name for Hephaistos.

Taurus is about values, that is to say, it represents what is important to us. There are those days when this Far Side cartoon is what it feels like to care. Do you know what I’m taking about? You have something really meaningful on your mind, but everyone else wants to eat grass. Taurus is interesting that way. It can be loaded with passion, and it can want not to get up off the couch. There are days when nobody wants to budge about something that really makes a difference, and days when everyone wants to stampede to the new flavor shake at Dairy Queen, willing to commit acts of violence to get a better spot in line.

It’s often a mystery what makes the difference, besides a good publicist.

One symbol of Taurus is a bovine critter — either a bull or a cow, depending on how you think of it, and depending on what day you inquire. The bull and/or cow are among the many symbols associated with Taurus, which also include the pentacle (or five-pointed star), Venus (which traces the pentacle in the sky) and various manifestations of the Goddess, the Moon (shown in the crescent over the circle) and others, most of which are drawn together in the mythology of Crete. That was one of the last goddess-based cultures in the Western world, if not the very last, and was probably destroyed by the eruption of a volcano on the Greek island of Santorini (properly, Thera) around 1640 BCE. There was also a big earthquake, which probably happened about 10 years earlier (archeologists know that because piles of rubble were found encrusted in volcanic ash).

The association of Taurus with an earthquake and volcanic eruption is essential to understanding this sign. Elegant and composed on the outside, Taurus is more like a blacksmith’s shop on the interior. There is heat, smoke, loud noise, and the clashing and shaping of the soul.

We are in a Taurus moment right now. The Sun will be in this sign for another week, and Mars just entered this week (where it will remain till June 21). Many other planets (still in Aries) are on the way — those would be Mercury, Venus and Jupiter. For the moment let’s focus on Mars.

Cow munching alfalfa — non-GMO, for now. Acting on one’s values can include putting one’s money where one’s mouth is.

Mars is a visitor from either the sign opposite Taurus (Scorpio) or the prior sign (Aries). In this arrangement lies a subtle point — Mars is the daytime ruler of Aries and the nighttime ruler of Scorpio. That is, it’s the warrior during the day and operates by stealth at night. Either way you look at it, Mars has an opposition energy to Venus-ruled Taurus.

Note that in astrology there are two kinds of opposing signs; one is the sign directly across the dial, and the other is typically one of the adjoining signs. The adjoining-sign kind of opposition is rarely mentioned by astrologers, but it’s significant because the sign next to any other sign will be of the opposite gender energy.

For example, while Scorpio is ruled by Mars, it’s still a feminine sign (as a water sign). Aries is ruled by Mars, but it’s a masculine sign. Taurus is a feminine sign ruled by Venus. So we have Mars in a sign ruled by Venus, and this will bring out the underlying fiery energy of Taurus. Most astrologers would say that Mars is compromised (it’s called being ‘in detriment’ because the natures of Taurus and Mars are supposedly so different), but I think that Mars is really bringing out or activating a fiery property of Taurus. You might say it’s choosing the bull version of Taurus rather than the cow.

In terms of a psychological effect, it could translate to active desire rather than hoping something comes along; that is, outward passion rather than feeling desirable, or quietly yearning. It can be about the direct expression of one’s values rather than simply ‘having’ a value. You could think of a Mars influence on Taurus as the active use of resources rather than saving them up for a rainy day.

By the traditional rules of astrology, Mars is definitely out of its element in Taurus; a bit on the defensive, with less ability to take advantage of its usual gifts. In a modern context, it is going to change the quality of Taurus and make contact with this underlying element — and like an earthquake, it can all emerge at once. So with Mars in Taurus you will want to be aware of this, and make sure you keep a handle on your temper. You need to find a way to let off the steam, especially if you have a lot of Taurus in your chart. Figure out ways to use that energy creatively.

By the way — with fiery Taurus, we’re talking about the archetype of Hephaistos, the consort of Aphrodite (Venus in Roman terms). Alice Bailey associated Taurus with the Roman god Vulcan, equivalent to Hephaistos — which is an asteroid by the way, and which happens to be in Taurus at the moment.

As I mentioned, Mars will be in Taurus till June 21 — right on the eve of solstice. (Speaking of June, Keith Olbermann returns to cable on Current TV at 8 pm on Monday, June 20).

Other planets will be moving in, meanwhile:

Mercury enters Taurus May 15. Mercury is the ruler of Gemini and Virgo. Because of the Virgo connection, it has a natural affinity for earth signs; yet in Taurus it tends to be more pensive and emotional rather than mercurial and quick-witted. Its intelligence is the more thoughtful and enduring kind. For reference, when Mercury is in Capricorn, the third of the earth signs, there’s a stronger emphasis on the past (a quality, to some extent, of all earth signs).

Venus also enters Taurus May 15. This is one of the signs of which Venus is the traditional ruler. The mix of Venus, Mercury and Mars brings quite a nice dose of erotic energy to Taurus. The three are moving into a trine with Pluto, which will give that energy some means of expression and depth, taking advantage of the psychic space that Pluto in Capricorn has been clearing out for us (whether we like that clearing out process or not).

Artifact of the Inuit creation goddess Sedna, who rules over the seas; photo from the collection of M.E Brown.

Jupiter enters Taurus June 4. It stations retrograde at 10+ Taurus on Aug. 30, and retrogrades back to the first degree of Taurus — it does not re-enter Aries for this cycle. It stays in Taurus until June 11, 2012, when it enters Gemini amidst many other world-changing events.

Sedna is also in Taurus. This is the planet with the longest known orbit — 11,400 years. It’s currently eight billion miles away from the Sun (and that is close; it’s at the near side of its orbit). It is, for us, a seemingly permanent fixture in Taurus. It’s currently at 22+ degrees of that sign. It begins its transit into Gemini in 2024. The Sun is currently conjunct Sedna, and over the next few weeks Mercury, Venus and Mars will also make conjunctions as well. The themes of Sedna take us into some of the darkest territory of the psyche, including alienation and rejection. Melanie Reinhart once described its themes as being about ‘keeping your heart open in hell’. That might mean while you’re looking at Coke Zero and Exxon-Mobil ads everywhere.

Tuesday, by the way, is the Scorpio Full Moon (Sun Taurus/Moon Scorpio). This will happen with the Sun, Mercury, Venus and Mars in Taurus — so we are in a moment of full activation of Taurus, with just four days of the Sun’s passage to go after that Full Moon — but thanks to the presence of many inner planets, more than a year of Jupiter and Sedna for another decade, Taurus is an energy we will be exploring for quite a while.

Because Taurus is about an investigation of what is meaningful and valuable to us, and because it relates so closely to how we feel about ourselves, I would say that’s a good thing.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis

Planet Waves
Weekly Horoscope for Friday, May 13, 2011, #859 – BY ERIC FRANCIS

Eric’s Zodiac Sign Descriptions

Aries (March 20-April 19) — The late, great Lois Rodden (the astrologer who created the system by which birth data is rated) once wrote that astrologers think Mercury is the money planet — but they have it all wrong. The money planet, she said, is Mars, the reason being that in order to make money you need drive. Mars provides motivation and energy, and it has recently entered the money sector of your chart. If you’ve ever felt complacent about your finances, you now have a phase of time where you can experiment with being more assertive, and also more persistent or maybe it’s consistent, or both. The contact point is drive, connected to action, sustained for the next five or six weeks. I assure you, you can make progress, but I would add some caution. Anything you do that is not directly connected to what you actually value is liable to backfire.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Inaction, or what is sometimes called paralysis, is usually the result of fear. The human psyche runs in a fairly typical cycle: for many, only fear is a motivating force. When fear subsides, then we can find ourselves going back into lazy mode. Mars has entered your sign, which means two things. One is that you are being relieved of significant mental pressure that has been at the root of a good bit of frantic emotion, paranoia or psychic irritation the past couple of months. Another is that you now motivate yourself directly, without having to process or dance with paranoia. There is freedom with this, but that implies movement, change and a dynamic — not predictable — relationship with existence. To make the most of this, you’ll be shaking your bones, even the lazy ones. Get in the groove now. More planets are on their way into your sign — a lot of them.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You seem to have had your mind rearranged recently, or at least your thinking. The subject is how you see yourself in the world, or how you think others see you. Need I say that the differential can be more impressive than that big canyon on Mars? How you think people perceive you has nothing to do with how they actually do. This is important to keep in mind, all the time. The potentially troubling news is that, try as you may, you have only a limited ability to influence how people think of you, or experience you; most of that influence comes from where you present yourself, and to whom — rather than how. The good news is that you have far more freedom to be who you are than you think. People tend to be distracted; they tend to be forgetful; when necessary, most can be seduced with self-interest, no matter what they may have thought yesterday.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — With planets starting to exit your career house (Aries), you may find it easier to focus on some specific goals related to advancing your work or profession. Fewer planets means less pressure, and more acting from choice and a bit less acting from compulsion. Yet while it may seem like the chaos of the past two months hasn’t helped much, or helped anything, you’ve made more progress than you think. If you don’t know what you’ve learned, I suggest that you have some data-mining to do. All these experiences you’ve been through may be things you hope you have to avoid going through twice, but every one of them has taught you something, whether you deem it a success or a failure. Let the dust settle on these recent events; you’ll see you are still in possession of an excellent idea that you have every intention of developing — and you now know enough to do it.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You can now take authority; it would be great if you did. Here’s the thing to remember: It’s easier to bring people into consensus if you start with getting them to agree on values and principles involved. Leave the exact subject matter out; stick to the underlying things that everyone can agree to. Then, once a subject is added, you have a basis for the conversation and with that it will be easier to reach an understanding. Your outer role, therefore, is not really being the boss or the authority but rather the one who establishes a framework of ethics. Let everyone around you take credit for the accomplishments that result from the progress that you guide them into making. Of course, you do have the option to declare yourself chief in some obvious way, but that is far less likely to be effective. And effective is precisely what you want.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — As planets move into your fellow earth-sign Taurus, you will have support plucking up your moral resolve and your sense of adventure. For weeks life has had the approximate overtone of a sudden-death event of some kind, where your ego was on the line every day. This may have been fun at first but it is likely to have grown tiresome. People to whom crisis is interesting make excellent paramedics and ER docs, but the rest of us thrive on some balance between crisis and placid times. One advantage to planets leaving Aries is that you and others are less likely to take so many things so personally. This will make it obvious that neither you nor others have to get defensive, and you’ll tend to see defensive responses for what they are. One thing they are not is useful. What we call ‘ego’ is a frustrating perspective from which to see the world, and yourself — fortunately, other options are on the horizon.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — Saturn in your sign has provided you with a base of stability through some unusually torrid weeks and months. Well, it’s not just Saturn; it’s how well you embody the Saturn principle of flexible structure, and of stability through times of change. The theme of your life is now about negotiation, rather than confrontation or of being confronted. Yet it will help considerably if you are the one who opens the discussion. This will mean being conscious of what you want sooner rather than later; and dispensing with your usual strategy of leading from behind or ‘topping from the bottom’. You gain a significant advantage both by admitting your actual desire and taking initiative on that desire on the framework of your relationship. This is not about being aggressive; it’s about being aware and assertive.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — Mars in your opposite sign presents you with a mirror. The first question is, what do you see in that mirror? What do you feel? You can tell that by the shift in perception, experience and what some call ‘energy’ both in the world around you and in your most intimate relationships. For practical purposes, assessing a transit in your opposite sign, they are basically the same thing: your environment. Notice in particular the shift of the 48 hours surrounding this moment. See if you can observe what within you has changed that is coloring your perception. Observe how what you are noting is changing how you feel about yourself. The idea is to come as close to ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ being one experience as you can. This is not intended to blur a boundary — it’s intended to reveal your influence over your own experience of life.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — One house in your chart has been lit up for months now — your 5th house, which is Aries, which is daring art, adventure, passion and sex. There has been so much going on in this house, peaking the past two weeks, that I would not be surprised if you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by all of this so-called creative energy. It has been difficult to focus, difficult to gather your ideas, challenging to follow through on so many fleeting matters initiated by an impressive collection of planets. Now that most of these critters are moving into Taurus, two things happen. One is that you can tap into some persistent focus and work-related drive. The second is that your 5th house clears out except for two of the most inspirational energies, slow-moving Uranus and Eris, which will be around for years. In other words, you lose nothing in the way of inspiration, and gain plenty in the way of drive and dedication.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — You could relax and loosen up a little. Your concept of existence has been so driven by a mix of responsibility and the need to grow that quite a few times you’ve forgotten to have fun. But you have not forgotten how to have fun; that’s the meaningful thing. The kind of fun you’re likely to want to have involves risk, and that risk involves daring to act in a way you might consider childish or irresponsible. I can see where you might think this, though it’s unlikely to be true. In fact, one of the greatest risks you run is to allow the pressure to have fun and indulge yourself to build up, which could lead to actually acting irresponsibly (for example, such as when you drink). A little conscious indulgence will go a long way toward helping you fulfill more ‘serious’ responsibilities, but more to the point, it is springtime and that is a natural time to frolic and play.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — As more planets — beginning with Mars — cross your sensitive 4th house cusp, you may feel restless, even unsettled and like it’s time to pick up and make changes. At the same time you may have the feeling that it’s not a good idea to act from a point of frustration. Yes, maybe that would be true at a New Age workshop or Buddhist monastery. In reality, though, the things that spur us to action are valuable, be they ‘negative’ or ‘positive’. And given the challenges that so many of us face making changes at all, I suggest you take any inspiration to improve your situation as helpful and creative. You have the option to see the humor in any situation; to not get too emotionally wound up; to merely experience any feeling as the motivation to act. Indeed, the fact that you may feel anger or frustration is likely the result of waiting.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Sometimes you’re slow on the uptake, but once you get something, you really get it. The thing about your intellect is that it’s tactile, and it’s becoming more so. You like the actual document and substantial proof over somebody’s say-so. You like to see the thing in question, or at least see a picture of it, rather than merely having a description. Mars joining the Sun in the brains/cognition/idea angle of your solar chart is inviting you to be assertive, inquisitive, curious and bold about learning what you want to learn. You’re invited to be passionate about what inspires you to creative action, and by passionate I mean feeling anywhere along the whole spectrum. Love your ideas for how they feel as much as what they say. Your mind is a kinesthetic thing; that is to say, your preference most days would be for having clay in your hands over a math problem, for going into the woods over going into the gym, and for sex over the idea of sex. In the words of old Uncle Fritz, lose your mind and come to your senses.

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