April 20/21 - May 20/21
Fixed Earth: Fundamental Values
Objectively: Spring in full bloom. The daylight of ego-consciousness stabilizes into an established identity. Sun climbs slowly, steadily north on a set path into the future. Emerging potential flowers, becoming known and visible in actual circumstance. Personality expresses itself in sensual experience.
Subjectively: The thrill of dawn supplanted by a morning calm. A clear and steady light illuminates consciousness. And reveals its deepest hungers. The freshness of a new day alive with opportunities. A sense of recharged strength that makes them happen. Ego cultivates its own attributes and enjoys the fruits of its productivity.
Taurus: Desire. Values. Valuables. Physical matter. Body.
Taurus manifests Aries' initiating impulse. Will takes root in reality. An enchantment of spirit into matter.
What Aries starts, Taurus develops. Aries makes a declaration of independence, ignites a war of liberation. Taurus carries out the slow careful process of nation building: the growth of stable institutions, evolution of an enduring national character.
In Taurus the spiritual becomes sensual. Aries' general aspiration acquires a specific agenda. Its spark ignites a flame. The ethereal shimmering of a rainbow condenses into a pot of gold. A beautiful flower solidifies into a nutritious fruit; its enticing fragrance becomes a delicious taste. Drive becomes desire. Fire becomes flesh. The ideal coalesces into the real.
Aries thinks a thought. Taurus gives it voice. Precipitates it into heard vibrations of speech that make inner motives known. Taurus gives mind the pleasures of sensation.
Taurus grounds Aries's energy charge. Its womb of matter absorbs the thrill of intercourse and grows it into new life. The orgasm becomes an organism. Information sprouts into identity. An abstract genetic code blossoms into a specific being. A genome, with many potentials, becomes a phenome, with one life to live: not in theory or intention, but in reality.
Taurus demonstrates the principle of fertility. It provides the substance that embodies dreams and makes them come true. It endows whatever animating principle impregnates it with a primal strength.
Taurus makes things concrete. It creates the distinctiveness of individuality. This emphasis necessarily implies a narrowing, and an intensification, of vision. Taurus is the most specific, least universal, of signs. It exemplifies the general truth that each thing must be itself, of a quality and nature different from all others.
Taurus focuses singularity: a unique set of characteristics that will occur only once in the history of the universe. Other signs emphasize social role or personal hopes, heart or mind, sensitivity or ambition. Taurus gives them a solid foundation as a self defined by what it has. Taurus means possession: what one owns, and what owns one.
An entity can only flourish by securing resources. Taurus refers to its capital, the wherewithal enabling all other functions. The second house, Taurus' subjective correlate, and any planets in it, describes competence at gaining and utilizing physical, emotional and mental assets. How it gets. The house cusp that the sign of Taurus occupies indicates both productivity and sensuality in that sector. It describes an area of desire. A subjective 'pearl of great price.'1 That for which one will sell everything else. Perhaps even honor or soul. The position and aspects of Taurus' ruling planet, Venus, shows where the money actually goes. Why it spends and what it buys.
Taurus generates abundance. It evokes actual manifestation from the possibilities inherent in every moment of the Now. It grows potential into potency; brings latency to life. Thus Taurus = wealth. In financial instruments and material things that grant security, the prerequisite for healthy development. In talents and sensitivities; the psychological endowments of intellect and empathy that enhance experience. And in the spiritual resources making possible our appreciation of the now, and an adventure into the future.
Taurus defines not only given resources, but also resourcefulness. It can make a barren landscape grow through effort and skill. Or erode a fertile field through vanity and incompetence. Taurus has the ability to coax wealth from waste. Or it can wallow in an indolence that squanders even the most promising opportunity.
Taurus portrays not just static facts of ownership, but also the process of calculating merit. The dynamics of evaluation. A visceral economics of feeling. It reveals real priorities in actual exchanges. Buying and selling tangible goods allocates scarce capital. Emotional expectations make or break relationships. Intellectual assumptions determine crucial decisions. Taurus defines an investment strategy, wise or foolish, prioritizing limited time and energy. Its portfolio of done deeds adds up, or dwindles down, to define a life.
Taurus does not just define values. It creates them. Over time its experience evokes more sophisticated levels of desire. It refines appetite, turning a glutton into a gourmet (or occasionally the reverse). Taurus grows a range of appreciation from the gross to the sublime. Everybody enjoys pleasurable physical sensations. Taurus fosters their extension into higher octaves of sensibility and thought. It cultivates a taste for more subtle forms of beauty. It enhances brute facts with an awareness of their significance. Thus knowledge, a gathering of data, becomes wisdom, a comprehension of its quality.
Taurus acts through the miracle of compound interest. Things attract added merit over time just by their accumulation of defining events and acquired attributes. Raw activity distills into stored memory and remembered consequences. These form a concentrated extract of experience. A general wisdom emerges out of particular situations, a larger perspective forms from specific perceptions. This happens slowly but surely. Even a 1% annual growth rate leads to a doubling in 70 years, a normal human lifetime. Taurus subliminally gains gravitas, a weight of worth, simply by its ongoing processing of life's sensations and sensitivities.
Think of soil, that most Taurean of things. Just by existing it acquires potency. Every year rock particles erode into its mineral base. Plants grow in this nurturing medium. They photosynthesize, making organic matter from sunshine, air and water, adding it to the soil bank when they die. Topsoil grows perhaps one inch per millennium, becoming richer with the legacy of all the lives it sustained. It turns ever more fertile because it holds increments of value and generates a further increase from them.
Taurus demonstrates the magic of how a simple state of matter, a layer of mineral grains, slowly evokes a higher state of biology, perhaps a grassland or a forest. This in turn may support a civilization. Taurus forms the foundation and adds to the substance of life. Taurus creates the very ground of being, enhanced by its own duration in time, enriched by the return to it of all the creatures it supports.
Taurus describes immanence: the fullness of spirit's descent into matter; soul's incarnation in the temple of a body. For example, consider a tree. Its sky seeking branches with Sun tasting leaves are mirrored by earth clinging roots that drink subterranean waters infused with mineral nutrients. Together they marry solar fire and ethereal air, flowing water and solid earth into the breathing green vitality of photosynthesis. Chlorophyll, the molecular agent of photosynthesis, has the exact same structure as an animal's red energy carrying hemoglobin - except that a single atom of magnesium vibrates at its center v one of iron in blood.2 Taurus describes the mystery of manifestation in which the electronic quality of a single atom determines the character of a living kingdom.
Taurus expresses individual psyche through the shared substance of a great planetary Life.3 It consolidates the accumulated legacy of many gone but ever gifting moments into an elemental essence. It shows what one is made of.
Taurus centers universal urges into a unique ego. Precipitates generic motivations into a singular destiny. Think of the clear calm eye, or I, of a hurricane. A hurricane/typhoon organizes the diffuse heat of a tropical ocean (collective unconscious) into a zone of winds (personal forces) circling around a still inner point with a name. It forms a swirling storm of collective passions, thoughts and actions into the focused power of a personality.
To participate in life that personality must give and take. Venus ruled Libra portrays an external sense of social equity while Venusian Taurus portrays an inner ranking of priorities. Taurus defines what turns you on. The house with Taurus on its leading cusp, and any planets in it, describe the basis for selection.
Taurus delights in a sensual response to the world. Much of this is deeply instinctual, especially in the realm of creature comforts. The rest is idiosyncratic. Some like a strenuous rush. Others prefer sybaritic ease. 'There's no accounting for taste.'
What we want describes who we are. Our values act as a constantly shifting equation of virtues and vices, appetites and ambitions. These are always in conflict: to have this you must give up that. Taurus portrays the battleground of desire. It forces choice between competing attractions. Taurus spotlights various seductions, some delightful and others damnable.
As Buddha taught, craving is the root of all suffering.4 It eventually dies into transcendence (Taurus' polarity Scorpio) - just as spirit must ultimately separate from its body. Yet in its time the body provides the vehicle of experience. It enables spectral soul to smell, see, touch, taste and hear. And to love: not as a cosmic benevolence but as a personal appreciation of another, also made in the image of God. In the same way desire gives celestial ideals a workout in the heartbreaking beauty of life.
Taurus' most characteristic conflict occurs between the antithetical merits of productivity and sensuality. Economics v enjoyment, developmental investment in the future v a 'be here now' appreciation of the present. Too great an emphasis on either leads to distortion: 'all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,' yet too much pleasure quickly becomes monotonous. Then desperate efforts to stimulate jaded appetites become decadent, even degenerate.
The Taurus function develops an ability to prioritize; to intelligently allocate effort and enthusiasm. What good is life if one cannot stop to smell the roses? Yet there will be no roses without cultivating the garden they grow in.
Taurus describes life's gravity well: a fundamental attraction. It forms the psychological equivalent of the Higgs field in physics, which wraps itself around energy movements, slowing them down into material phenomena. In the same way Taurus adds attributes to Aries' impulse. This inevitably involves a degree of distortion, as an intangible template of soul thickens into a discrete self weighed down with wants.
Matter condenses spirit into mass, and gives it inertia. It also endows abstract purpose with measurable power. Will character compromise its standards to fit the limitations of incarnation? Or can it enhance and express the potencies made flesh in our body/mind, temple of the soul?
Taurus springs the honey trap of desire. It tempts with the counterfeit currency of lowered expectations to compensate for a 'fall' from aspiration into the disappointments of our human condition. The debased 'realism' of greed. The demanding hunger of wounded wishes. The despair and depravity of insatiable appetites. Or it can learn to appreciate the very flaws of creation, recognizing that boundaries make beauty, scarcity gives value, life's brevity generates its poignancy, loneliness opens to love.
Taurus depicts the principle of physicality. Here all theories melt down into a solid fact: me and mine. The corresponding pathology can be a mean and stingy solipsism. Narcissism. Or an enthrallment by fetish objects, substitute gratifications for love.
Taurus revels in sensation as the most tactile of signs. It embodies sense impressions rather than ideas or ideals. Scent, flavor, feel, sound, sight: the real reality or the web of illusion? They are simply a true aspect of reality. Taurus is their home.
Taurus reasons instinctively. It has a gut sense of what things are worth and who people are. It accurately appraises merit. Distinguishes gold from glitter. To what end? Its problem can lie in knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.
At its best Taurus respects, and reveres, self and others for their intrinsic qualities. It serenely accepts entities in their own right, rather than insisting on how they should be. At its worst it covets what it so admires and so falls prey to morbid jealousy.
Among earth signs Taurus fulfills personality as it is while Virgo refines it by a rational standard and Capricorn subordinates it to ambition, destiny or a social calling. Taurus grounds the realization that one really is made in the image of God. It means worshipping the universe by fulfilling one's inherent nature. This is the antithesis of conceit, an attempt to justify ego through artificial projects.
Taurus emphasizes the principle of being rather than of becoming. A visceral appreciation of what is rather than what could or should be. It promotes the validity of existing character without having to meet others' expectations, heroically achieve or feverishly compete; to develop at one's own pace; to grow organically. It insists on that most precious of rights: to be left alone.5
Taurus consolidates an established identity. It underwrites a predictable sequence of unfoldment that guarantees stable growth. Provides the continuity necessary for long-term development and large scale endeavor. Taurus does not make quantum jumps or revolutionary breakthroughs. It demonstrates the incremental quantitative accumulations that create qualitative change. The slow buildup of muscle and bone, heart and hormone growing a man from a boy, a woman from a girl. This process cannot be forced.
Taurus symbolizes the unhurried dynamic of evolution. It demonstrates the geological stability, biological inheritance, social traditions and enduring personal qualities underlying the more spectacular, and ephemeral, events of nature, history and human development.
Taurus builds the bedrock foundation of character through the properties cultivated, or ruined, in the course of a life. It leaves a legacy. Does one acquire merit? Or squander it? Taurus makes explicit a psychic ledger of profit and loss, assets and liabilities.
1. Matthew 13:45, 46
2. A few creatures, notably intelligent mollusks such as octopi, substitute a less efficient oxygen carrier, an atom of copper, in the hemocyanin of their blue blood.
3. We share the same DNA code, and many of its basic metabolic sequences, with the most primitive bacteria as well as all other organisms.
4. Attachment to craving generates pain. Only nonattachment to conditioned experience can lead to enlightenment. Buddha, himself a Taurus, demonstrated a way of liberation. At the opposite pole Hitler, also a Taurus, personified the anti-value of hate. Between these extremes two other Taureans deeply explored the nature of desire. Shakespeare artistically portrayed its full range of expression in his comedies, tragedies and histories. Freud first exposed its unconscious origins. Although modern consciousness studies have evolved beyond his initial framework he remains the undisputed father of modern psychology.
5. 'The right to be left alone - the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men.' Chief Justice Louis Brandeis, Olmstead v U.S., 1928.