The origin and meaning of the Taurus Symbol
In astrology the Taurus symbol is a bull. Taurus is associated with beauty, sensuality and an artistic nature. Other Taurean characteristics include steadfastness, strength, hard work, patience, dependability, and stubbornness! Taurus rules the neck, shoulders, the throat, voice, and the throat chakra in the body.
Taurus is the fixed earth sign and it’s probably the most down to earth of zodiac signs. That said, there is also a deeply spiritual side to this sign. Esoterically Taurus is associated with the opening of the third eye and with enlightenment.
“I see and when the eye is opened, all is light”
-The Tibetan Master DK, Esoteric Astrology
Buddhist Astrologer Jhampa Shaneman thinks that the Buddha may have had six planets in Taurus. No surprise then that this sign has a strong association with illumination and spiritual awakening.
The Constellation of Taurus
It’s commonly believed that the Taurus Symbol comes from the constellation of Taurus. The stars are supposed to form the shape of a bull’s head and forequarters. But when you look at it, it isn’t easy to see the shape of a bull. So the Taurus symbol probably represents something much deeper than a mere visual similarity. (Also see constellation vs zodiac sign )
The constellation of Taurus is very large with two well-known star clusters: the Hyades and the Pleiades. The brightest star in Taurus is the red giant Aldebaran. It’s name comes from the Arabic word al-dabarān, which means “the follower”. Aldebaran is also called “the eye of the Bull“. In the Ancient Mystery schools this was called “the eye of illumination“. The reference to ‘followers’ and ‘illumination’ are another hint at a deep connection between Taurus and spiritual awakening.
Taurus Symbol in Esoteric Astrology
In Esoteric Astrology it says our soul’s journey begins in Aries as a point of light in the mind of God. In Taurus that point of light then becomes a single emanating beam of light. Accordingly, the energy of Life takes shape by moving into form in Taurus.
Taurus is the fixed earth sign. The earth element represents substance. In other words, the physical realm. In addition, ‘fixed’ energy forms conduits, supports or containers. Consequently the esoteric purpose of Taurus is to maintain an unswerving single-pointed focus on the material plane. Especially at this crucial early stage, when Life is moving outward on it’s journey into form. In short, the esoteric purpose of Taurus is to be a steadfast guiding light.
The four cardinal signs mark the beginning of a season. These are Aries (spring equinox), Cancer, Libra (autumn equinox) and Capricorn.
Next, the four fixed signs mark the peak of each season. Taurus is the fullness of spring. Leo is the height of summer. Scorpio is the peak of autumn and Aquarius marks the depths of winter.
Finally four mutable signs mark the changing seasons. In Gemini spring rolls into summer. Virgo watches summer turn into autumn. Sagittarius rolls autumn into winter and in Pisces winter rolls into spring. (These are the seasons in the Northern Hemisphere).
The Energetic Qualities of Taurus
The Taurus Symbol of a bull probably represented energetic qualities. For instance, strength, endurance, single-mindedness, and a placid, gentleness of spirit.
Bulls as Symbols of Fertility and Virility
One ‘earthy’ facet of Bull symbology is conception. In the sexual act, the ‘seed of life’ (represented by Aries) is symbolic of the creation of sperm. The ‘canal’ of fixed energy (Taurus) is symbolic of the erect phallus. As a result, the ‘seed of life’ is directed, guided, and ejected into physical form by the energy of Taurus.
The Bull therefore symbolizes a male’s capacity to father children. As a result many traditions of bull worship emerged throughout the ancient world. Some were blatant celebrations of male power demonstrated by killing a Bull, for example the cult of Mithras. In contrast, other traditions viewed Bulls as sacred.
The Sacred Bull in Ancient Times
Taurus is thought to be one of the first constellations to be represented by an animal symbol. It was probably used in early forms of astrology to predict the best seasons for planting and sowing.
Cave paintings dating back 17,000 years appear to show Taurus with the seven stars of the Pleiadies. It’s also thought that by around 4,000 -1700 BCE1 Taurus marked the beginning of the ‘new’ year at spring.
Bull and Cow Worship and Ritual through the Ages
- c. 8,000 BCE. Preserved ancient bull skulls were found at a sanctuary in Anatolia (Turkey).
- 3,300 BCE – present. Bulls were featured on the seals of the Indus Valley Civilization. They were probably early forms of the current saivite deity Nandi. Cows and bulls are not worshipped in the Hindu religion, but they are considered sacred and would not be killed or eaten.
- 3,000 BCE. The Ancient Sumerian myth about a bull of heaven probably refers to the constellation of Taurus.
- 3,050 BCE – 400 CE the Ancient Egyptians worshiped Apis the sacred bull. Worship of Apis as a deity is thought to have continued beyond the Egyptian empire, into ancient Greece and then Rome. The ancient egyptian goddess Hathor was also said to appear in the form of a cow.
- 2,700 – 1450 BCE Ancient Minoan (Crete) artwork depicts people ceremoniously leaping over bulls, possibly in some kind of fertility rite.
- 1,200 BCE – 600 CE. In Ancient Greece bulls were connected to the gods Zeus and Dionysus and to the goddess Hera. The Greek myth of the Minotaur featured a man with the head of a bull.
- 200-400 CE. The Romans believed that ritually sacrificing bulls would benefit both the people and the state.
- 100-400 CE. The Roman mystery cult of Mithraism also featured the ritual slaying of bulls.
- 3,000 BCE – present day. Bullfighting as a sport may have originated in ancient Mesopotamian religious rituals. From there it probably spread across mediterranean cultures, including Spain.
The TAURUS Glyph
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The Circle and The Moon in the Taurus Symbol
Our modern calendar is a solar calendar, based on the Sun’s orbit. However, many ancient people’s were using lunar calendars based on the Moon’s phases, to determine optimum times for planting crops. Therefore, the Moon was more meaningful to them than the Sun.
In astrology, the Moon is exalted in Taurus. This means her energy is most active and able to flow freely. The Taurus glyph may be a simple symbol of the Moon. The full circle could symbolize the Full Moon. A semi-circle would represent a crescent Moon:
This means the Taurus glyph could have been a very simple symbol of the Moon and her phases.
Taurus Symbol and the Throat
The Taurus glyph may also be an esoteric symbol of the throat. The circle may represent the throat itself while the bull’s ‘horns’ would be the two “Eustachian” tubes that connect the throat and ears. Astrology Symbol specialist Fred Gettings explains:
“it has been suggested that this is a vestigial drawing of the larynx, with the Eustachian tubes. The sigil thus linking the ideas of speech and hearing.
This has been used as an explanation as to why the image of the bull is sometimes linked with Christ. For within both Taurus and Christ are contained the idea of the logos or ‘Word‘. As well as the idea of blood sacrifice …
Fred Gettings, The Arkana Dictionary of Astrology
The Divine Circle
The circle itself has a deep symbolic meaning. Because it is without beginning and without end, it represents the infinite universe. In other words, it represents the unmanifested source from which all manifest reality arises.
“God is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference is nowhere”
(attributed to) Hermes Trismegistus
Therefore the circle in the Taurus glyph, can also be interpreted as a symbol of unmanifest Divine potential. In addition, the ‘horns’ can be viewed as initial emanations of light into form.
The highest Soul Purpose of Taurus is to achieve enlightenment by releasing personal attachment. The patience, strength, and determination of a Bull can overcome all obstacles to spiritual awakening. Consequently, we can see just how perfect the Bull is, as a Taurus Symbol.
To sum up, the esoteric purpose of the fixed earth sign (Taurus) is to be a conduit for light on it’s journey into form. Unlike other zodiac signs that have many symbols, Taurus has only one: the Bull. This emphasizes the single-pointed purpose of Taurus.
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- From the article Sacred Bull on Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_bull
As a professional astrologer, her defining talent is bringing deep insight, clarity and simplicity to complex subjects - in particular Esoteric Astrology and the teachings of The Tibetan through the work of Alice Bailey.
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