Earth is a negative feminine element, and as the earth signs unfold from Taurus to Virgo to Capricorn, they describe successively more mature expressions of this element. Taurus is fixed earth, which tells us that it is the most solid of all the signs. Ruled by Venus, with the Moon in its exaltation, these two feminine planets give Taurus its charming, gentle nature. Venus rules two of the signs of the zodiac - the feminine, 'being', fixed earth sign of Taurus and the masculine, 'doing', cardinal air sign of Libra. This fact tells us that there are two fundamentally different ways in which Venus finds expression, as both an active and a passive principle. An excellent example of principle of Venus as the ruler of Taurus is the Botticelli painting of Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, in The Birth of Venus, which I am sure is known to you all.
Audience: She is very beautiful.
Clare: Yes, she is an expression of the Renaissance ideal of earthy beauty, standing naked on a shell, with the winds blowing her gently onto the shore.
Audience: Wasn't she born from the severed testicles of Uranus?
Clare: That's right, she was born out of terrible bloodshed and conflict. Here you can see the central importance of the relationship between strife and love, or Mars and Venus. Without the preceding violence and destruction, Venus would not have been born in the first place. In order for anything to be in balance and harmony there needs to be a relationship between Mars and Venus. The point about this Venus principle is that it is sensual, fertile and passionate. There is an ability to delight in the good things of life and a real capacity for enjoyment. As the principle of love, beauty and pleasure, the Taurean Venus encourages us to validate and fulfil our personal values and desires. This is not particularly easy to do in our Puritan culture, but as a symbol of self worth, knowing what gives us pleasure and joy, Venus gives us the power to draw towards us what we desire.
As a fixed earth sign, Taurus is strongly connected to the natural world and to the rhythms of the growth cycles and the seasons. There is a real need for contact with nature, which is why Taureans are often farmers or gardeners, florists or artists working with natural materials, such as sculptors, or using their bodies as their instruments, in the case of singers and dancers. One of the male images of Taurus is that of the green man, the male fertility principle. The feast of Beltane, which takes place in Taurus time, at the beginning of May, is an ancient celebration of fertility held when the crops are beginning to establish themselves and the vegetation is becoming lush and green. Taureans are sensuous, relating to themselves and to the world through the five senses of sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste. Taureans normally love the feel of silk, satin, fur and velvet, feel happy when they are surrounded by nature and beautiful colours, fine wines, good food, pleasant smells, such as perfume or coffee or the scent of flowers, and music. The relationship to the senses and to the physical body is a source of real joy and delight for Taureans. There is normally a kind of serenity and calmness about this gentle, peace-loving sign, and often a real grace and beauty about the way they move. The actress Audrey Hepburn and the ballerina Darcy Bussell both have Sun in Taurus. Under pressure, Taureans will dig their heels in and refuse to budge. Rooted in nature, Taureans have the patience and determination to wait until they feel the time is right for them to act.
The Venus principle of Taurus is not about relationship per se, but about knowing what gives us pleasure and joy. I once worked psychotherapeutically with a Taurean client who was in an extremely depressed state. It turned out that he was living in a sixth floor flat with no contact at all to nature. Not only that, but he was earning his money as a guinea pig for a pharmaceutical company testing medical drugs and working in a fast food hamburger outlet where the smell of the food disgusted him. The solution can often be very simple and tangible, and the first task I gave him was to buy some pot plants for his room and to take a daily walk in a nearby park. Eventually, as he learned to listen to his own senses, he moved out of London and went to work in a garden centre. Venus is a powerful force and if she doesn't get what she needs then she will take her revenge on us. The natural balance of give and take will become distorted to all take and no give. An unfulfilled Venus will become extremely demanding to the point where she can manifest as all the seven deadly sins at once. She can become self-indulgent, greedy, lustful, jealous and covetous, which might express itself, for example, as a shopping addiction.
The integration of Mars, traditionally in its detriment in Taurus, will bring Venus and Mars into a positive relationship with each other, with Mars giving this sign the determination to stand up for its own values and to put itself and its own values first when necessary. The integration of the opposite sign of Scorpio will balance the emphasis on personal safety and security with a deep emotional connection to others and the courage to trust to life.
Planets in Taurus
Audience: I have Moon in Taurus.
Clare: The Moon in Taurus tells us that what feeds and nourishes you, what makes you feel comfortable and secure is plenty of contact with nature, an environment which is beautiful and peaceful, and the wherewithal to enjoy the simple, tangible pleasures of life. The Moon in Taurus resists change because it needs constancy and permanence, something to rely on. You may even need to eat your food slowly in order to savour the texture and taste. Imagine, for example, that your job involves constant travelling around the world. No matter how much you enjoyed your job, on an instinctual level you could begin to feel increasingly disorientated because Moon in Taurus needs to put down its roots in one place and stay there. Does this make sense to you?
Audience: Yes it does, but I also have several planets in fire signs.
Clare: That is interesting because it indicates that there is an inner conflict between two opposing elements. If these can be harnessed together, they will be extremely effective. What tends to happen, however, is that, because these elements appear to be mutually antithetical, we will suppress or project one of these elements and live out the other. Eventually, both the earth planets and the fire planets need to be acknowledged in their own terms and you will need to find space for each in your life.
Audience: Since joining this class I have felt my earth signs more strongly than my fire signs. I just feel very earthy in this group.
Clare: Is that a comfortable feeling, or does it make your fire go crazy?
Audience: No, but it certainly makes me dampen my fire. I feel less confident.
Clare: That must be quite uncomfortable.
Audience: Yes, definitely. On the other hand, I do feel very safe in this group.
Clare: It would be interesting to compare your chart with the group's chart to see what is happening. It may be that the group's Saturn sits on one of your fire planets or something like that. Each of us will respond to this group in different ways, depending on our own charts, and it would be interesting to look at this at some point.
Audience: Didn't Jung have the Sun in Leo and the Moon in Taurus?
Clare: Yes, that's right, and he lived out both these elements very strongly. With the Sun in Leo his life was devoted to the search for meaning, through the exploration of mythology and symbolism. His goal, in his work with patients, was to encourage the development of 'consciousness', the journey of 'individuation' and the discovery of the 'Self', which are all very solar words. But on a personal level he found that working with his hands and working with stone was extremely healing. He had a real feeling for stones and rocks and the earth, and built his house at Bollingen with his own hands. He also needed to be a man of the soil.
Audience: I have Mars in Taurus.
Clare: Mars is traditionally in its detriment in Taurus. Here we have the planet of assertion, action and focus placed in the fixed Venus ruled earth sign. How is Mars going to function in Taurus?
Clare: Yes, there is a determination and persistence and perseverance to Mars in Taurus, the ability to go on and on until you get to your goal. Mars in Taurus is practical, able to grapple with the real issues and achieve tangible results. At the end of the day, Mars in Taurus can move mountains. I believe there is a real strength to this placement, and a stubborn determination not to be deviated from one's course. Does anyone remember Swampy at all?
Audience: Wasn't he the nature lover who lived in trees to stop people cutting them down, and then dug himself into tunnels under the earth to stop people clearing the land to build roads?
Clare: That's right. Swampy had Sun, Venus, Mars and Mercury in Taurus. He didn't collect petitions signed by thousands of people, which would be an air function, and he didn't stand on a soapbox and preach about the importance of nature conservation, which would be a fire function, and he didn't just feel miserable and upset about what was happening, which would be a water function. Instead, he just used his own body to obstruct the tree cutters and land clearers. This was a very strong statement which received a great deal of press coverage. It was not aggressive, because Taurus is a peaceful and gentle sign, but he was extremely persistent and, like all Taureans, he refused to budge until he was physically removed.
Let's have a look at Mercury in Taurus, which David has in his chart. This can be an indication of slow, methodical thinking and speaking and there is often a very beautiful and gentle voice, since Taurus rules the voice. Mercury in Taurus needs time to ground their ideas and time to make up their minds before they are prepared to speak. Once decided, however, Mercury in Taurus will stick to its ground.
Audience: I have Mercury in Taurus and I always need concrete proof before I will take anything on board. I am always searching for something solid to believe in. And I tend not to offer my opinions until I am sure of them.
Clare: It is often said that the earth signs are not comfortable with astrology, because it is such an abstract, mythic system, but a couple of years ago most of the students in my class were in fact Taureans, so I now know that is not true. I think astrology can be meaningful to the earth signs because it is rooted in history, with a strong foundation and tradition which has stood the test of time. The other reason is that I suspect that once the earth signs experience the fact that astrology actually works and that it can be immensely useful, then it has proved itself on a practical level, which is good enough for them.
Sally has Chiron in Taurus, which indicates that she may not feel inherently safe or secure or physically confident. We can anticipate that she will initially try to 'fix' this, as most of us do initially according to the placement of our own Chiron, by becoming extremely materialistic and possessive and by keeping tight control over her body and her money, her physical resources. The question with Taurus is usually about values, and with Chiron in Taurus Sally may be trying to gain security not according to her own values, but according to the values of others or of society. She can learn to accept and to trust her own instincts, no matter how unacceptable they may be to others, in the knowledge that 'the only difference between a flower and a weed is a judgement'.
Copyright ©2005 by Clare Martin.
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