Star Watch

by Terri Smallwood

Welcome, Star Watchers, to May and to the earthy delights of springtime in full flower. It’s a busy time for farmers and gardeners alike, as the moist earth is ready to receive the seeds that will eventually mature and ripen into a bountiful harvest. It’s a busy time for lovers too; both human and animal, as the fruitfulness of the Earth and the warm rays of the still-maturing Sun inspire an increasingly persistent drive to love in a natural and very physical way.

May is domicile of Venus-ruled Taurus, the strong-minded Bull who stabilizes the fiery rushing creativity of Aries into a steady phase of rejuvenation and growth. Taurus is earthy and fixed, grounded and practical, capable of strong and enduring energy.

Taurus is associated with the 2nd house of the natural zodiac, the house that rules our material possessions and resources. If the 1st house shows us who we are and gives us the spark to ignite our internal flame, it’s the 2nd house that gives us the tools to sustain and grow that spark. Earthy Taurus, the keeper of these resources, is well suited to the task. All life is sustained by the Earth. Plants and flowers, important sources of nourishment and beauty, would have nothing to offer were it not for the richness of the Earth in which they are rooted. A mirror of the natural world, astrology reflects this important factor. Microcosmically it’s the rich soil that nourishes and feeds the ripening seed. Extrapolated astrologically, Taurus and the 2nd house provide that same solid base upon which our spirit grows.

The 2nd house acts as a foundation for the activities of many of the other houses. Opposite the 8th house and at 90-degree angles to the 5th and 11th houses, the 2nd house is the first of this grouping of succedent houses. As a collective, these houses are concerned in a broad way with resources, from the most basic material needs to the highly charged spiritual energy required for deep transformation and regeneration.

The base provided by the 2nd house is the root of our comfort zone, indicating our feelings about security, the ways in which money or wealth will be attracted into our lives, and the broader set of values that we use as a basis for the life we create. By the time we reach the 5th house, we’ve taken those values and material resources and applied them to our daily life and the way we communicate (the 3rd house), and from there we head into the realm of our families of origin and home lives (the 4th house.)

The 5th house then broadens our sphere of influence and shows us our creative resources, either in the arts or through our procreative abilities and the children that come into our lives. Historically children have been a vital family resource, both for their ability to contribute to the wealth of a family and by the comfort and joy they bring. While most modern North American families are depending less on children for their material success, the primal need to create life and the joy these young souls bring to the family still show the importance of this most cherished of resources

Opposite the 5th house is the 11th, which is the most socially focused of the succedent houses. Affiliated with Aquarius, this house looks at the resources gained from friends, especially those people who are connected to one’s career or field of work. Philosophies are shared here, talents are pooled and ideas are grown and then disseminated back into the world at large.

But by far the most interesting relationship among the succedent houses is the polarity between the 2nd and 8th. The axis that polarizes these houses is the Taurus/Scorpio axis, a fascinating pairing that has been significant to several different cultures throughout history. Nowhere was this more obvious than in the world of ancient Egypt. Their preoccupation with the 8th house syllabus of death and the afterlife created a vibrant culture whose intrigue persists to this day.

The Egyptians owed the greatness of their civilization to the predictable flooding of the Nile River, which not only watered their crops but left behind richly fertile silt for planting. This interplay between the elements of earth (Taurus) and water (Scorpio) is but one example of the interconnectedness of these two signs.

Bull worship was also common among ancient Egyptians. The Bull was seen to represent virility and played an important ceremonial role in the rituals surrounding the spring flooding. Apis, the sacred Bull of the ancient city of Memphis, was said to carry part of the spirit of Ptah, one of the earliest Egyptian creator gods. Here too we see a connection between the Bull and the Scorpion, as Ptah was one of three important gods of the mortuary, a very important position in the Egyptian panoply of gods, and a very Scorpion-like endeavor.

The Egyptians, like many other agrarian civilizations, learned the hard way about the links between creation (Taurus) and destruction (Scorpio). The ebb and flow of the Nile that allowed early Egypt to flourish also held in its hand the power to destroy. If the river rose too high, the waters spilled over and flooded villages and towns. If there was not enough rain, then the flooding was too mild and the crops failed. The Egyptians took the fear that came from the natural uncertainties of life and used it as a basis for their absolute trust in the glory and power of the after-life. And while many of us today would disagree with the need to be buried with all the trappings of our lives here on Earth so that we would not be lacking in heaven, there still persists in many religious and spiritual traditions the belief that what we do on Earth follows us into our life beyond. Call it our karma, our stockpile of good deeds to share with St. Peter, or our lessons learned on the path to enlightenment. But these are the resources that matter, the ones that are etched into our souls and persist with us for ages after. And these are the true 2nd-house resources that balance and temper the detrimental qualities that are associated with the 8th house, and that result in a path of regeneration, not destruction. On the 2nd-to-8th house axis, as ever, Love truly does conquer all.

As one of two signs ruled by Venus, the planet of love and artistic creativity, Taurus brings a sensual and deep-hearted variety of ardor to the table. Unlike airy Libra, with whom he shares Venus, Taurus knows his mind and can be purposeful and driven in the arena of love. He’s also romantic underneath his sometimes bullish demeanor, with deep-rooted sensitivities and a compassionate understanding of people. Don’t expect these feelings to be articulated in any sort of prosy fashion though. Tauruses are practical to a fault. Their expression of love is less about talking and more about (ahem) doing. A well-cooked meal, a thoughtfully prepared bouquet of backyard roses, a well-aged bottle of wine; those are the quietly loving gestures of a sign that loves luxury almost as much as he loves self-indulgence.

His Venusian eye for beauty and his love for luxury come from the joy of understanding that there’s a synergy created when one takes time to appreciate the fruits of our Mother Earth. He is the Bull, after all, the sign of masculine virility and the bearer of resources, material and spiritual. His faith in his assets is unshakable and well deserved. He’s part of a cycle of giving and taking, of creating and destroying, and it’s his intrinsic understanding of life’s fragilities that inspire him to indulge himself when he can. It’s a precious bounty he willingly shares, a springtime feast of asparagus and tiny new potatoes, sitting on a patio at sunset, smelling the freshly opened flowers and letting us all know that these earthy pleasures of life really are a good thing.

For a detailed listing of this month’s transits,
please see the May Interactive Calendar.