2000-2003. All Rights Reserved
originally appeared in The Mountain Astrologer, Oct/Nov 2001.
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 has Earth.
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 this truth.
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
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
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
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).
Interpreting 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).
Some Astrological Examples of this Approach
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."
Trungpa, 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"