Of Mythic Proportions: Mythology Series
Venus & Taurus
When reading stories of the gods in any culture, one will soon find that the syncretistic principle exists, which can easily be seen in the Greek and Roman myths, such as Aphrodite & Venus, the Greek and Roman goddesses, respectively. I will probably be focusing on the Greek and/or Roman origins, but itís ridiculous to think that this is where many of these tales originated from. Mythology never seems to have a beginning, but is a constant evolution of storytelling as each culture embraces and evolves out of the old. This month itís Venus and Taurus.
There is not much said about the mythology of Taurus. The constellation of Taurus seen as a bull is old enough that we cannot be sure of the origin of its story. Check out the references below to read further about some of the theories on the origin of Taurus the Bull. Taurus is the Latin word for bull and a common story of Taurus as the bull is used in reference to Zeus, when he took the form of a white bull and seduced and kidnapped Europa.
Of course, what we lack in information on Taurus, we make up for in an abundance of information on Venus. Venus is the Roman equivalence of the Greek Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. The personification of these qualities is found all through history in various cultures, such as Inanna (Sumerian) or Turan (Etruscan).
Venus was known as the champion of love and a friend to lovers who wanted to be together, but she could also be jealous and vain. In Roman mythology, Venus was actually married to Vulcan but she seemed to be sort of trapped into the marriage so she often dallied with Ares and Adonis. In Greek mythology, One of the most famous stories about Aphrodite is her involvement in the Trojan War. In a contest to be declared Ďthe fairest,í she promised Paris that if he chose her as the fairest he could have any woman he wanted. He agreed, and chose a woman named Helen, who was already married. Paris took her to Troy and the siege on Troy began.
One of the most interesting things about the mythology of Venus is itís duality that we can see reflected in human culture. This shows up in two versions of her birth, two astronomical bodies, and even the common cultural duality of the feminine energy. There are two primary stories regarding the birth of Venus/Aphrodite. In one, she was said to be born from sea foam, literally from the genitals of Uranus (Ouranos). She is known as Aphrodite Urania or Celestial Aphrodite (born from Uranus who was the sky god). Another version, written in the Iliad, speaks of Venus being born from Jupiter (Zeus) and Dione (a Greek mother goddess). She is known in this version as Aphrodite Pandemas or Common Aphrodite. Celestial Aphrodite is associated with the pure, spiritual love of the divine. Common Aphrodite is associated more with lust and the sexual aspects of love. A perfect correlation of the Madonna/Whore complex, which is, in essence, the separation of two distinct forms of the feminine into the sacred and the profane.
Astronomically, it was often thought to be two different planetary bodies which were separately named, as Venus rises in the morning sometimes and sets in the evening sky other times. Venus rising in the morning is commonly referred to as Venus Lucifer (or Venus Eosphoros/Phosphoros)* and Venus in the evening sky is referred to as Venus Hesperus (Hesperos). In reality, it is the same planet, at different times in its synodic cycle.**
The duality is also mirrored in the rulership of two signs by Venus, Taurus and Libra, although that is not unique to this planet. Speculating about this Venusian duality, I think both Taurus and Libra can also embody these two distinct forms of feminine energy. We can see the sensual nature of Venus in the sign of Taurus, which, being an earth sign, is very connected to physical pleasure, something associated with Common Aphrodite, but we can also see the deeper need for Taurus to establish an inner peace, which can correlate more with the divine Celestial Aphroditeóa union that aligns body with spirit. We can see the divine in the Libran desire for objectivity and justice without bias, but we can also see the Libran pitfall of separation from all that might not be lovely or perfect or easy out of discomfort or fear, thus cutting out a rich source of truth and beauty in the human experience.
*Lucifer is the Roman word meaning “light bearer.” The Greek equivalent is the word Eosphoros or Phosphoros). **A planet’s synodic cycle is the number of earth days that a planet takes to reappear at the same point in the sky, as observed from earth. For instance, it takes Venus almost 584 earth days to return to the same place in the sky. For more information, refer to Heavenly Truth, Libra 2007 issue, “Venus and the Pentagram.”