Friday, April 23, 2010

The mythology of Taurus (I)

Leaving behind the baby Aries we now find a chubby smiling and happy child of one or two years, who hates change and although he has a lot of energy, has learned he can get things without putting much effort

Taurus is solid and firm and rarely let anything affect his peace of mind: you can throw hot water at him, hit his chest and slide needles under his fingernails and Taurus will not move. Not an inch: once taken his position he quietly crosses his arms, sits on his heels, sigh... and to hell with you.

He rarely let anybody running over him. Bother him and he’ll turn his back on you hoping you get lost. Push him and he will get more stubborn. But when you put on his back that last blade of grass he’s not putting up with, the Bull will unleash a violent rage and charge against everybody and everything, whether or not is related to the cause of his anger.

Taurus is sensual, appreciate perfumes, good food, elegant and sober clothing, and when conquering he is not pursuing his preys, since he prefers to attract people to him. And the best part is that often get away with it.

Taurus is a bull, but what bull and how it became a Constellation?

The bull of Mesopotamia

The hero of the Sumerian civilization is Gilgamesh, who once had the not very good idea to reject the advances of the goddess Inanna. I do not know if Innana was particularly ugly but the Sumerians, with a twisted sense of humor, made her goddess of sexual love, fertility and war at the same time. Considering the unpredictability of a goddess with such diverse patronage, one understands that Gilgamesh had prefer to abstain

Now, even without being God, what makes a woman scorned? That’s it: gets revenge. And if you are a goddess you have special resources available, so she took the case to the assembly of gods and with their permission she borrowed from her sister, the queen of the underworld, her husband, the bull Gugalanna that made the earth tremble at every step. Earthquake and everything, Gilgamesh dismembered the monster while Inanna watched from the walls of the holy city and the hero's faithful squire tore the insides of the divine bull and threatened Inanna to do the same to her if he reached her, which is why the gods killed him soon after: one is to win in a fight and another to threaten a goddess who had already suffered a rebuff.

The "European" bull

Europe was a Phoenician maiden, so beautiful that Zeus, king of the gods, fell in love with her. Having the king of the gods falling in love with a mortal may sound like a great honor, but let’s say Zeus fell in love easily with anything and anybody, meaning he was shamelessly promiscuous, which degrades the honor a little.

Europe had a habit of going to the sea coast. Not far from her favorite spot the cattle of the king, his father, used to graze and one day a white bull of docile aspect separated from other animals: it was Zeus, determined to seduce the girl (let's be a little generous with words: "seduce" included kidnapping and rape)

The girl, attracted by this beautiful animal, adorned his horns with flowers. Then he had the idea of sitting on its back. Who would seat on the back of an enormous bull just because it is pretty I do not know, but that gives new meaning to the question of what the woman made to be raped: Zeus seized the opportunity to run, plunged into the sea and showing that one is god for something, he arrived to the island of Crete where he finally stopped.

Zeus abandoned her after she gave birth to his three children (the myths do not elaborate much on the logistics of these things: if Zeus spent three years with her, if they were triplets, if he came and went and specially if Zeus gave up his bull disguise, although he told her who he was) and Europe married the local king, which would adopt the children he had by Zeus, including Minos

To prevent you to say that Zeus was a damn chauvinistic male, let’s remember he left Europe some gifts: a necklace made by Hephaestus, the god of metallurgy; Talos, a giant of bronze who was the first guardian of Crete, forged by the Cyclops, one-eyed giants that made the thunderbolts of Zeus; Laelaps, a hound who always caught his prey, and a javelin that never failed its target. Considering it was a kidnap, one would say he didn’t behave so badly.

The Cretan bull

The most famous ruler of Crete, author of its constitution and creator of their naval power was King Minos (not existed), which is not surprising, considering that his father, Zeus himself, taught trade and constitutional law.

To ensure his ascent to the throne over his brothers, who he was eager to banish, Minos asked Poseidon, god of the oceans and his uncle, to show Minos was his favorite by making a white bull come out of the sea so Minos can sacrifice the animal to the god. Despite the absurdity of a god sending a superb land animal from the water so it can be killed in his honor, Poseidon accpeted.

The people were convinced, Minos could banish his brothers and reign... and decided that the animal was too beautiful to kill him, so he sacrificed to Poseidon a less pretty one. This is a comedy of errors already, but it got better when the god managed an extraordinary revenge by making queen Pasiphae fall in love with the bull.

Considering that Minos was the son of another bull, maybe the queen, seeing her father in law, thought that stranger things had happened in that family. So he called Daedalus, something like the scientist of the court, and asked him to invent something that would allow her to mate with the bull. Daedalus invented a kind of cow where Pasiphae came in to see if the bull idem her. Things worked out smoothly so to speak and for such a love was born the Minotaur, a monster with human body and head of a bull who fed on human flesh and was confined in a maze, but that is a myth for another day (Minotaur's father, the white bull, was released and Hercules had to catch him, another myth for another day)
The bull in the constellation is the Phoenician or Greek one, in both cases is the same group of stars for the Greeks knew the Sumerian astrology. In any case, the Bull holds for those born under its sign its grandeur, the joy of living, the sensuality, the docility, the nobility and the quiet way of seeing things, in spite of knowing he has been born for slaughter

No comments: