The Bull of Heaven II


I make no pretense of being an expert in Egyptology, but there are some fundamental elements of that culture which allow us to see Taurus in a different way, in part by the relationship of the Bull of Heaven to Osiris

The region of the heavens occupied by the constellation Taurus is home to several powerful fixed stars from Algol (above left) the Pleiades, the Hyades and Aldebaran, the red eye of the bull – Watcher of the East and one of the Royal Stars of Persia. Babylonian astrologers would also be very interested in the stars associated with the horns – unsurprisingly they tend to be of the nature of Mars.  However, as an entity we can see the essential nature of Taurus is Lunar and Venusian.

The cultural interpretation of a constellation surely says something about the culture itself. The ravaging bull in eternal conflict with Orion the Hunter is a very good case in point. It takes more than simple imagination to see Orion as a brutal hunter wielding a spiked club at Taurus and to see Taurus as a determined wild bull bent on Orion’s destruction. Orion is just as often portrayed as an archer, aiming at the Bull’s eye! This is a rather violent view. Of course nothing is wrong just because it’s violent, but in this case we have what I believe is a far more convincing and satisfying interpretation.

Stele dedicated to Apis-Louvre

Stele dedicated to Apis-Louvre

Looking once again at the image at the top of part I, the white calf rising with the Sun is Apis. He is the Ka of Osiris:

“In ancient Egyptian religion, with the ba and the akh, a principal aspect of the soul of a human being or of a god. The exact significance of the ka remains a matter of controversy, chiefly for lack of an Egyptian definition; the usual translation, “double,” is incorrect. Written by a hieroglyph of uplifted arms, it seemed originally to have designated the protecting divine spirit of a person. The ka survived the death of the body and could reside in a picture or statue of a person”  Britannica

The Egyptian hieroglyph for the Venus cycle from Morning to Evening Star in the shape of a perfect pentagram as viewed from Earth.

The Egyptian hieroglyph for the Venus cycle from Morning to Evening Star in the shape of a perfect pentagram as viewed from Earth.

When we change the name and perception from Orion to Osiris, the idea of the god Osiris, the consort of Isis, charging to deal a deathly blow to his own life force is as silly as it’s poignant. In Egypt as in so many ancient cultures, the motif of bull’s horns with solar disks are all but universal. We find them shown even in the depiction of pre-Islamic Arabian deities.

wweeeeIn the sky map to the left,Sirius, the brightest star in the sky from our viewpoint, follows Osiris closely and is associated with Isis. The rising of Sirius signaled the inundation of Egyptian farm land by the Nile.  The association doesn’t end there, though. The Egyptians considered the Milk Way to be the “real Nile” just as many Hindus consider the Milk Way as the “true Ganges.” as even so called inanimate objects have soul in the Egyptian view, the relationship of Earth to the Heavens was divine and inexorable. We could say that they mirrored each other. Other articles related to Sirius

Egyptian religion wasn’t particular dogmatic and did in fact differ from one time and region to another to some extent. However, the primacy of Isis as the Queen of Heaven and of life itself, her brother Osiris the Lord or King of the dead, thier son Horus, god the Sun, Sky and Kingship, was widely understood.

Gwen Parker: tells us that when an Apis bull died “the body was embalmed and entombed with the great ceremony that would be afforded royalty. A Memphis temple housing large alabaster slabs was the place in which the bulls were embalmed.

Osiris holding crook and flail

Osiris holding crook and flail

After preparation of the body and internal organs, the crouching bull was intricately bandaged, artificial eyes were inserted, its horns and face were either gilded or covered with a gold leaf mask, and it was covered with a shroud. The Apis mummy was carried to the Serapeum (a catacomb preceded by an avenue of sphinxes), amid the formalities due a deity, for burial in a massive stone sarcophagus weighing over 60 tons. A papyrus from the 26th Dynasty explains the technique used to embalm an Apis bull.”Hathor-and-IsisHathor (Red Disk & Horns) and Isis

Wearing the crown. with the Royal insignia of the flail and crook on his hands, Osiris looks more like a shepherd king than a hunter. His best known epithets are “eternally good” or “eternally incorruptible” and his relationship with the Bull of Heaven is both essential and  benign, and offers profound insight to the nature of the Bull.

Isis and Hathor share various feminine qualities, with Hathor being more of a Luna deity and Isis being the Queen and Guardian of the path of the planets.

It’s easy to mistake one for the other, particular if Isis is not shown with wings. At the end of the day, we still have the Moon exalted in Taurus and Venus Isis ruling both Libra and Taurus. The Ankh carried by Isis is a slightly modified glyph for Venus, with the circle of Spirit and Cross of Matter. The cross differs from the modern glyph only slightly. The cross is further up towards the centre of the whole symbol, suggesting a greater level of relationship with Spirit perhaps.

Isis offering-Key of Life Ankh to her son Horus

Isis offering-Key of Life Ankh to her son Horus

We now know that the Bull of Heaven held a very important position in both Sumerian and Egyptian culture, possessing mystical qualities. Taurus, the Moon and Venus are all feminine and I cannot help but wonder how this came to be seen as something to be clubbed or shot.  I might suggest this has something to do with the denial of the Divine Feminine. Even Paleolithic paintings of Orion, crafted by hunter gathers do not associate him with a hunter. He is a Shaman. See the Stars of Orion. 

The extraordinary astronomical knowledge and skill of these ancients is staggering. Mapping the Venus Pentagram alone shows uncommon skill and all these things should give us pause when interpreting Venus or the Bull of Heaven.

Festival of Lughnasadh

Blessed Lughnasadh to all my friends and readers! May your harvest be bountiful !  I will be posting on all eight Sabbats as they occur. Recognizing and celebrating the wheel of the year is all but forgotten in increasingly urban societies, but continues to be both relevant and profound in significance.

 Dancing Bacchante at Harvest Time - Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Dancing Bacchante at Harvest Time – Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

The Sun is rising with Procyon, but we are entering the “dog days” named after the apparent heliacal rising of Sirius, the Dog Star. The days are hotter but shorter. It’s the time of first harvest in the Northern Hemisphere and the focus is on grain, which can sustain us throughout the winter months. In that sense, Lughnasadh is a recognition of the waning Solar force and the need to preserve some of what it has helped produce.


Grain has held a very important place in civilization for millennia.  Grain has been associated with the cycle of death and rebirth. Tammuz,  The Sumerian Sun god was slain and his beloved Ishtar mourned so deeply that nature stopped producing. Ishtar followed the Sun god to the Underworld to bring him back,. The story of Demeter and Persephone shares the same theme.

I’ve added the chart for Noon 30 August 2013 for general purposes, set for Pacific Time. Note that Regulus is parallel the Part of Fortune.

Original music by Thorrin Jonsson