article originally appeared in The Mountain Astrologer,
In the name of the One.
I offer the following meditation; for the fullest experience, you might
read slowly, pausing after each sentence:
Imagine you are a cow in a field on a spring day. You feel the wind blowing
across you. You hear the clear sound of birds chirping. You see colorful
flowers all around. You smell the fragrant grass. You are simply being.
Time does not exist. You are totally present, and are at home on the
earth. Your mind is quiet and there is nothing to be done. You are fully
at rest, yet fully alert. There is just the ordinary miracle of existence.
You allow yourself to let go, relax, and accept life just as it is. Thus
you uncover peace.
The astrological community is familiar with the material aspects of Taurus
and the 2nd House (the two are naturally connected in astrology,
so when I refer to Taurus I will also be referring to the 2nd House).
The material purpose of Taurus is to be materially comfortable and secure,
and to enjoy the physical world (including art and music).
There is also a crucially important spiritual dimension to the sign Taurus
and the 2nd House. The complementary spiritual purpose of
Taurus is to be present here and now, and to know the peace in realizing
that you already have it all. Both dimensions of Taurus are vitally important.
If we define Taurus only by its material dimension, we leave the sign
fully dependent on external stimulation for its happiness, thereby creating
a Hindu or Buddhist nightmare: an endless cycle of craving.
It is only because we live in a predominantly confused, wounded, and
materialistic world that we think Taurus is mainly about money, possessions,
and sensual indulgences. But Taurus is also a powerful symbol for enlightenment,
and as we begin to wake up, it becomes more important to see Taurus and
the 2nd House as referring to the potential for the truest
inner peace, and therefore as well as to the obstacles to this real freedom.
Material and sensual compulsions are not the true nature of anyone. Addictive
cravings come from an inner self that feels incomplete and unloved. The
immoderate, materialistic aspect of Taurus is a just potential of Taurus when
Taurus is in a wounded condition. Taurus is actually about an inner
feeling of wholeness that reaches for nothing external to feel better.
In its deepest truth, Taurus is about Being, not having or craving.
Remember the cow? She doesn't need to do anything. She doesn't
need to have anything. She doesn't need anything. She isn't
drawn to thinking or believing anything. She is resting in pure existence,
and experiencing a peace that is always present. The cow is the most
still and contented animal associated with the astrological signs. I
know many, many people with prominent Taurus and 2nd House placements
who exemplify this enlightened quality. It is critical that modern astrology
point to the conscious, higher possibility of Taurus and the 2nd House.
Otherwise we support and promote ignorance.
Luckily, the material and spiritual facets of Taurus do not conflict--they
naturally support one another. By establishing material and financial
security, one can more easily relax and be present to the beauty of life.
And by healing oneself through being present to oneself (and others),
one can enjoy material possessions and sensual pleasures without a quality
of grasping and clinging.
One of the best ways to recognize the spiritual dimension of Taurus is
to look at the relationship between Taurus and its opposite sign, Scorpio.
Opposite zodiac signs might seem totally different, because on a superficial
level they are, but at their center, polar signs have the same core.
I call Taurus/Scorpio the Axis of "True Being." Technically, Taurus and
Scorpio are feminine and fixed signs. One way to describe the purpose
of this axis, then, is to go within (feminine) with determination and
persistence (fixed), as deeply as one can go. Taurus and Scorpio can
be about cutting out the distractions, and "just being" with ourselves
and others; when we do this for ourselves we often discover aspects of
ourselves that have been hidden, and which need our healing awareness.
One purpose of both Taurus and Scorpio, then, is to meet all aspects
of oneself completely and compassionately, like a sitting bull (See note
1, below). A mutual shadow of Taurus and Scorpio (and therefore all of
us, since the twelve signs are within us all) is the desire to run away
from our deepest emotions by seeking to control things external to us,
or to distract ourselves with various addictions. The 2nd House in Vedic
astrology, for example, can actually be associated with food and drug
addictions. In addition to food, drink, and drug addictions, we also
have addictions to spending money, making money, doing, TV, movies, computers,
the internet, information, thinking, thrill-seeking, traveling, fame,
external validation, romantic relationships, friendships, and sex. None
of these things are bad; it is compulsively seeking these things, which
distracts us from our deeper selves, which is bad. Taurus and Scorpio
face the need to be with, in other words to love, all of oneself so that
one can be loving and present for others.
Just as the axis of Virgo and Pisces, is a mystical and universal axis,
the axis of Taurus and Scorpio is the other deep and esoteric axis. How
could the sign opposite Scorpio, which is ruled by Pluto, not have a
deep and esoteric element to it? Until Taurus is seen as a fundamentally "spiritual" sign,
the axis of Taurus and Scorpio will not be fully understood; it's not
just "sex and money". Virgo/Pisces (6/12) and Taurus/Scorpio (2/8) are
the two most complex, difficult, and transformative axes. Each of these
four transformative signs has a planetary co-ruler of unique spiritual
power. Scorpio has Pluto. Pisces has Neptune. Virgo has Chiron. Taurus
Taurus is, at least symbolically, co-ruled by the Earth, in addition
to its traditional and well-known ruler Venus. The overwhelming spiritual
power of the Earth might be overlooked because you can't find the Earth out
there or directly observe its movements over time since you
are the Earth and (unless you're an astronaut) the Earth is always
Here and Now. The Earth is closer than most of us think, because
our bodies are (unless you're an astronaut) indivisible pieces of the
Earth. And like the enlightened mind, the Earth is eternally present,
though often overlooked. The Earth, as the higher-octave ruler of Taurus
(until a newer planet is integrated in our knowledge, which may happen
with the recent discovery of a 'Plutino' about one fourth the size of
Pluto. See note 2) has been so close that most astrologers have overlooked
its significance all along. As Ken Wilber and the non-dualistic spiritual
traditions suggest, we can end the great search, because the prize is
always and already present. See the note at the end of this article for
a discussion of each Sun/Earth sign combination.
That which integrates the material and spiritual dimension of Taurus
is something else that has always been so present, yet also so frequently
ignored: awareness of the body. The body enjoys sensual pleasures, and
inhabiting the body is the only way to Be. One can only be present and
mentally quiet to the degree that one inhabits the body. Most of us dwell
primarily in our minds, which is why we are collectively insane. Because
our society does not emphasize meditation or body awareness, most of
us do not know that restless, busy thinking is the very soil of suffering.
All healing approaches that encourage presence in the body help us to
move from mental insanity to consciousness, and into healing, loving
presence. The current collective trend of spiritual understanding appears
to be about, not transcendence or ascension, but embodiment or descension.
Taurus has very strong connections to the spiritual approaches which
characterize the East (or any spirituality that encourages simplicity,
silence, naturalness, and being peace), and to the enlightenment to which
these traditions point. Think of the silence of Zen and Buddhism. Isn't
Taurus one of the few signs that has the patience to "Just Sit?" I have
also heard that the Buddha was born, became Enlightened, and also died
during the month of May. And what sign is most like Winnie the Pooh,
the American poster bear of Taoism? Certainly Taurus, with its full-bellied
innocence and simplicity. The most famous Taoist virtue is Wu Wei,
usually translated as "non-action." Does non-action sound like an astrological
sign that we know? And all of this talk about resting into reality certainly
sounds like Advaita Vedanta (high-tech Hinduism).
A further illustration of the connection between the Taurus/Scorpio axis
and Eastern wisdom comes in with the role of 'emptiness.' In Buddhism,
for example, Ultimate Reality is not 'God,' or any word that denotes
a thing. Instead it is no-thing, or shunyata, meaning nothingness,
emptiness, transparency, void, or spaciousness. Emptiness is also very
highly valued in Taoism. Well, Taurus and Scorpio are the two most inherently
silent signs (only Virgo comes close), and silence is just another facet
of nothingness. A vipassana, or Buddhist meditation, retreat is
a good illustration of the value of emptiness. At such a retreat, there
is no T.V., no internet, no talking, little interpersonal interaction,
no sex, no alcohol/drugs, no emotionally satisfying food--basically nothing.
Such a retreat involves a lot of sitting and--most importantly--meeting
oneself, one's mind and one's emotions, because one has eliminated all
the distractions. The silence of Taurus and Scorpio (and Virgo and Pisces)
helps reveal that their spiritual dimension involves a process of emptying
through non-activity and wakefulness. In such cultivation, we can compassionately
witness and inquire into any thoughts, emotions, and cravings.
One of the reasons why we have been unable to see the spiritual reality
of Taurus is because of the religious stupidity that characterized the
Piscean Age (approximately the last 2000 years), an age in which we have
fashioned the Piscean ethic of always putting others first, even to the
detriment of ourselves, and have stressed the spirit over the
flesh; and created an all-pervasive concept of a real duality between
matter and spirit. This religious residue has left us with guilt for
being in a body, and a desire to escape the body for more lofty realms.
We are just beginning to wake up and see how dangerous and unspiritual
this negativity toward the body is. In this article, i refer to the 'material'
and 'spiritual,' not to further any kind of split or war between the
two, but to refer to aspects of life which are different but not separate.
It is helpful to remember that these terms are complements which form
a unity, and are not actually distinct and separate from one another
at all. Perhaps because the man-made divide between body and soul has
not yet been largely bridged, Taurus is generally seen as 100% material
and 0% spiritual. The reality is 50% and 50%. We have not
yet been ready to perceive an astrological sign which is a unified blend
of materiality and spirituality, because we ourselves have not been living
In fact, Taurus is precisely the first and most significant sign that
represents the unity of spirit and matter, inner peace and outer fullness,
resting in the present moment and being active in the physical world,
loving others yet taking care of ourselves first, valuing the ideal of
peace but remaining grounded in practical reality. With our modern psyche
so fundamentally divided, of course we have been blind to see Taurus
as it really is, a union of heaven and earth. But in this Age of Aquarius,
we have the opportunity to take advantage of a higher logic, one which
accepts rather than rejects apparent contradiction, and unites the opposites
that our rational logic has told us were irreconcilable. This is the
Age of Both, no longer the age of Either/Or. If we do not recognize that
Taurus is the greatest astrological symbol of the union of the sacred
and the secular, then our astrology also is preserving a dangerous split
between the two.
What has the word 'spiritual' meant to us? Think of the signs which we
have traditionally thought of as spiritual. Take Sagittarius, with its
potential for thinking that others ought to believe in and practice the
same things as oneself; this 'spiritual' archetype has created immense
judgment of those of different lifestyles, and countless suffering in
the form of religious wars. Take Pisces, with its potential propensity
for martyrdom, lack of personal boundaries, and self-sacrifice; this
'spiritual' archetype has resulted in enormous guilt, widespread dysfunctions
in relationships and families, poor self-esteem, and a distorted notion
of what real love is. Are we ready to accept that it is spiritual to
be grounded, physical, and respectful of the earth? Are we ready to accept
that it is spiritual to be fully present to others, but to take care
of ourselves first, and to insist on a life that is true to our own hearts'
desires? Are we ready to accept that it is spiritual to enjoy the physical
realm with all of our senses and with all of our sexuality? Are we ready
to accept that it is spiritual to appreciate a simple life, uncluttered
with endless desires? If we are ready to accept such a notion of spirituality,
then we are ready to undo our conditioning and recognize Taurus as a
fundamentally spiritual sign.
Taurus is about a holistic self-sufficiency that applies to all levels
of a human being, including the material, bodily, mental, emotional,
and spiritual levels. Material self-sufficiency is being able to support
oneself financially. Bodily self-sufficiency is knowing how to care for
and heal one's body as much as possible by oneself, and through a healthy
lifestyle. Emotional self-sufficiency is self-love, instead of leaning
too much on others. Mental self-sufficiency is not being overly dependent
on others for knowledge. And spiritual self-sufficiency is deriving our
peace and happiness from within, not from without.
With the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction and planetary stellium of May 2000
having occurred in Taurus, i think it is now the time for this holistic
self-sufficiency. I believe the deeper Truth that Taurus points towards
is our key to the possibility of a New (or Now) Age. It's fitting that
the planetary lineup in Taurus was the most significant astrological
event of the first year of the new millennium.
Taurus is potentially an amazing and powerful conjunction of opposites.
The paradox of Taurus is that it embodies the full enjoyment of the physical
and sensual realms, as well as an inner freedom that is not dependent
on external gratification. The fact that these two aspects of Taurus
seem to exclude one another is what makes Taurus so fascinating. The
full realization of Taurus can be described as what Osho considered to
be the whole person: Zorba the Buddha. Zorba is fully alive to the passions
of physical existence, and the Buddha is fully awakened, possessing "inexhaustible [re]sources,
available...from the cosmos itself." Combining these opposites within
us is the wonderful opportunity of a lifetime. And such a freedom can
only be realized through the gentle patience of Taurus.
A wonderful book which is becoming very popular is The Power of Now by
Eckhart Tolle, and it is fitting that such a body-oriented, present-oriented
spiritual teaching is gaining such popularity around the time of the
Jupiter/Saturn conjunction in Taurus. The spiritual teaching (Jupiter)
which is based on grounded reality (Saturn) is that we can all calm our
minds, enter our bodies, and discover the liberation of the present (Taurus).
the Earth in astrology
When we look from a heliocentric, or Sun-centered perspective, we find
that our Earth placement is exactly 180 degrees opposite our Sun placement.
For example, someone with the Sun at 20 Scorpio would have the Earth
at 20 Taurus. The best way I know to work with the Earth as an astrological
influence is to recognize that when we become totally present to ourselves
and our bodies, and thereby contact the enlightened nature that we really
are (which is what the Earth and Taurus is about), we access the qualities
of our Earth sign. This allows us to moderate and balance our Sun sign
excesses, and come from a deeper place within us. In this sense, our
Earth/Sun relationship is like the North Node/South Node relationship,
but on a totally inward level. The Earth shows what we are here to discover
within ourselves, our own enlightened nature (Earth) beneath ego (Sun).
Including this perspective in chart analysis adds a clear and important
spiritual direction to an individual's chart.
When the Sun in Aries is really at peace with itself, it can be more
objective, and more balanced in its relationships (Earth in Libra). When
the Sun in Taurus really contacts itself, it can be more intimate and
more deeply involved with others (Earth in Scorpio). When the Sun in
Gemini knows its innermost, it can be more interested in natural simplicity
and spiritual realization (Earth in Sagittarius). When the Sun in Cancer
contacts its deepest self, it can be more self-sufficient and financially
responsible (Earth in Capricorn). When the Sun in Leo knows its own core,
it can be less concerned with others' approval and more truly altruistic
(Earth in Aquarius). When the Sun in Virgo contacts its inner self, it
can be more in touch with its feelings, and more relaxed with its self-imposed
standards (Earth in Pisces).
When the Sun in Libra knows itself deeply, it can be more quick to release
its irritation, and can communicate more directly (Earth in Aries). When
the Sun in Scorpio relates to its own core, it can be more deeply at
peace and content within itself (Earth in Taurus). When the Sun in Sagittarius
finds its innermost, it can be more practical in integrating its passions
into a practical livelihood, and be less rigid about its own convictions
(Earth in Gemini). When the Sun in Capricorn finds its deepest self,
it can allow itself to receive love and share its deepest emotions (Earth
in Cancer). When the Sun in Aquarius is honest with its own heart, it
can be more warm in its relationships, and more compassionate in translating
its wisdom for others (Earth in Leo). When the Sun in Pisces finds its
deepest nature, it can be more moderate with its emotions, and more caring
towards its body (Earth in Virgo).
Astrological Examples of this Approach to Taurus
Mars in Taurus or the 2nd House: Mars can represent intense
desire, sexual or otherwise. Thus its connection with letter 2 can represent
various intense desires which block a resting into one's deepest peace.
This compulsive nature can result in a greater awareness of the need
to simplify and go within.
Jupiter in Taurus or the 2nd House: Jupiter's
main problem is always "too much of a good thing." So these are,
in a way, some of the most dangerous placements for Jupiter,
as Jupiter's tendency towards excess can find quite full expression
here. Through moderation, though, all of the beautiful elements
of Taurus can find fulfillment.
Saturn in Taurus or the 2nd House: Saturn,
which represents, on one level, our deepest-seated sense of
inadequacy, here shows a fundamental lack of self-love that
tends to manifest in various compulsive, addictive, and materialistic
behaviors. Simplifying, sobriety, and deep self-inquiry are
initially difficult for this person, but total dedication to
these virtues is possible and necessary for this individual
to realize peace.
Uranus in Taurus or the 2nd House: This shows
a spiritual intention of the soul or inner self to powerfully
realize a holistic self-sufficiency, body awareness, and inner
peace; this is also known as enlightenment. There is an unconscious
motivation or inner guidance towards developing this real awareness,
and obstructions to its development will be dealt with. Some
people might 'sleep through' this placement to some extent,
not tapping into its higher potential.
Neptune in the 2nd House: The clear danger
is the intensification of many forms of addiction, including
relationship drama and dependence, that would block the ability
to be aware of one's deepest nature. The clear potential is
enlightenment, but of course achieving clarity through real
sobriety must come first.
Pluto in the 2nd House: One of the deepest
motivations of this soul is to actualize a deeply integrated
sense of self and self-worth, and thus true inner peace. It
is important for this person to learn to relate deeply and
intimately with others, but it is more important for this person
to learn to relate deeply and intimately with him or herself.
(Note 1, from above):
This is a quote from the late Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Chogyam Trungpa:
" Another way to put it is to say that compassion is the earthy quality of meditation
practice, the feeling of earth and solidity. The message of compassionate warmth
is to not be hasty and to [just] relate to each situation as it is. The
American Indian name "Sitting Bull" seems to be a perfect example of this. "Sitting
Bull" is very solid and organic. You are really definitely present, resting."
Chogyam. Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism;
Shambhala 1973. p. 105.
Osho. Osho Zen Tarot; St. Martin's Press 1994. p. 73. Quoted
from the book: Communism and Zen Fire, Zen Wind, Ch. 2.
Wilber, Ken. Eye of the Spirit; (I don't have this book handy
right now) I would just reference the entire chapter: "Always Already"