Taurus rules the throat, and as soon as the sun entered Taurus, I came down with bronchitis. This is never a robust time of year for me, since I was born with the sun in the opposite sign.
But how can this be?, I ask myself. Who would prefer dank and shadowy November? This time of year (at least, here in the northern hemisphere) is so lush, so brilliantly green. The azaleas are finally blooming. Everything is redolent of life. I don’t see lambs cavorting on our lawn, but that’s only because there’s no room for them, what with all the bunnies frolicking.
Of course, I’ll feel better when my throat isn’t so scratchy.
Taurus is the most fixed of the earth signs. Of course, no season is fixed, and this bright moment is already priming its replacement. But this is the time of year when people build – homes, barns, gardens, farms. Humans see a lot of good stuff happening around them, and have an insatiable desire to make it permanent. If there’s wood, there needs to be a shelter, or a shed, or a gazebo, or something. If there’s clay near the river, let’s make bricks and build something even longer-lasting.
And so Taurus is the sign most intimately connected with value. We work, and there is value in our working. We make things, they are solid and material, and we own them. The cow has a calf, and this should be a signal to start dancing around celebrating the miracle of life, right? Okay, maybe, but the next thing is to add one more stick figure to our cattle count. The richness of the earth makes us rich.
Nobody who lives on this earth can dispute the value of the material world. We live by our connection to the fruits of the earth, and the better we are at building and growing, the more luxurious our lifestyles. Who doesn’t want to lie down at night on a feather mattress, rather than a bed of sticks? Even the most cerebral, spacy or disconnected among us feel that sigh running through their bodies, when we give ourselves pleasure and comfort.
Sometimes I think there is one danger and one danger only, and that’s narrowness of vision. Of course, that is a pretty narrow way of looking at it.
Still, toxic materialism is born from the belief that only the material matters, that there is nothing else important besides the accumulation of wealth. This gives us this strange lopsided world, in which life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are treated as scanty commodities, and sold off to the highest bidder. People are well because they can pay for health care, and they’re free when they can buy their way out of prisons.
So now Uranus is about to enter the sign Taurus. It’s been 84 years since this happened, folks, so this is momentous. I’m shocked myself by how fast it’s coming up – it will be here on May 15.
Uranus’ specialty is to break things up, to liberate, to shock, to revolutionize. And now it’s going to enter the sign of capital, Taurus. Does that mean it’s end days for capitalism? Unfortunately, I think it will take more than a few 84-year cycles to accomplish this. But as we look back on Uranus’ last sojourns in Taurus, we can see that the economic pictures has been radically changed every time. During the seven years that Uranus stays in this sign, established patterns are broken (or sometimes just beaten down) and new ones are established.
In 1517, Uranus was in Taurus when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the church door, making the first rift in the Catholic Church’s absolute economic power. Uranus was also in Taurus in 1606, when Guy Fawkes tried to take down the British parliament, an event that was converted into a rowdy holiday, celebrated ever since. (I always wonder why they celebrate this?)
You might even say that Uranus was in Taurus when the Almighty Dollar was born, since it was there in 1690 when the first paper money was issued by Massachusetts. They were still a colony, so this was a radical act. And Uranus was back in Taurus in 1773, when all that tea went into the harbor, and when the colonists got all antsy on the question of taxation.
The cruel Southern plantation system didn’t come apart when Uranus was in Taurus between 1851 and 1858, but it was losing ground at a fast clip. Harriet Tubman was doing everything she could to break it apart, as she dipped in and out of the shadows and rescued people. And “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was published by Harriet Beecher Stowe during this period, helping to raise the consciousness of white people. Meanwhile, in London, Marx was writing about the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The last time that Uranus was in Taurus (1935 to 1941) things were pretty bleak economically, as the Dust Bowl grew ever dustier. (And now I’m recalling that when I first started researching this, I noticed a drought in Tsarist Russia that killed two million people, between 1601 and 1603. Does the earth get angry and rebel when the planet of change is in this earthiest of signs?)
And of course, there was Hitler, the last time Uranus was in Taurus - taking advantage of a general economic malaise, flouting the Treaty of Versailles, and consolidating his power. A law-breaking leader with authoritarian tendencies – does that ring a bell, anybody?
Looking at the lessons that history gives us, I’m struck by the two different ways that big systems can come apart. Sometimes an old, decadent system dies because a newer one has come along, but the new one is equally oppressive. The wealth and power change hands, but nobody is better off.
At the same time, there are always possibilities at these times of transition. When a big, powerful system is developing its fissures, things are wide open for just a moment. Maybe not wide open, but more open. The difficulty is that everybody is scrabbling for a foothold, and it’s easy to fall back on panicked and selfish survival patterns.
Somehow, we have to keep a better way in mind. It’s not complicated, and when intricate graphs and diagrams are presented to us, there’s a good chance someone is trying to obfuscate these basic truths. All people need the essentials – food, water, shelter, health care, support for their family members, and safety from violence. We can share the wealth of this lush earth. And after this, we can talk about what else we want to build.