TAURUS - The Bull
April 21- March 21
SYMBOL - The Bull
ELEMENT - Earth
QUALITY - Fixed
RULING HOUSE - Second
PLANET - Venus
LUCKY COLOUR - Green
LUCKY STONE - Emerald
LUCKY DAY - Friday
LUCKY NUMBER - Six
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The Rape of Europa
by Noel Nicola Coypel
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The Rape of Europa
Taurus, the second sign of the zodiac, is all about
reward. Unlike the Aries love of the game, Taurus loves
the rewards of the game. Think physical pleasures and
material goods, for those born under this sign revel in
They are also a tactile lot,
enjoying a tender, even sensual, touch. Taurus adores
comfort and likes being surrounded by pleasing, soothing
Along these lines, they also favor
a good meal and a fine wine. The good life in all its
guises, whether it's the arts or art of their own making
(yes, these folks are artistic as well), is heaven on
Earth to the Taurus-born.
Sometimes Hera, Queen of the Olympian gods, was pre-occupied,
and her husband Zeus was free to do as he pleased. One morning,
as he idly surveyed the earth from atop his lofty perch high up
at Mount Olympus, he saw a young maiden named
Europa (Εὐρώπη), daughter of the King of Phoenicia.
The young beauty was troubled; Just before dawn, she had the
strangest dream, that two continents, each in the shape of a
woman, had tried to possess her. One of the continents was Asia,
but Europa couldn't determine what the other one was.
Unable to get back to sleep, Europa roused her companions, noble
girls her own age, and told them that they were going to pick
some flowers in the blooming meadows by the sea. Often they went
there, to dance and bathe their fair bodies and gather flowers.
They filled their baskets with sweet-smelling narcissus and
hyacinths and violets and yellow crocus, and most radiant of
all, the crimson splendor of the wild rose. The girls delighted
in gathering the flowers, wandering hither and fro over the
Zeus in heaven watched with lust the young maidens, each one
more fair than the other, yet none as radiant as Europa. It was
no secret that the King of the Olympians had a passion for
beautiful maidens, much to the chagrin of his jealous wife.
Well. Who should chance by but Aphrodite, goddess of love, in
the escort of her mischievous son Eros (Cupid).
One well-aimed arrow from Cupid, and Zeus was instantly in love
with Europa. He just had to have her! Even though wife Hera was
away, the naughty god had learned
to be cautious, so to be safe he transformed himself into a
But not just any bull, but one beautiful beyond all bulls that
ever were, pure white, with a silver circle on his brow and
horns like the crescent of the moon.
Struck by his beauty, and finding him
gentle as a lamb, Europa mastered her fear and began to play
with him. She put flowers in his mouth and hung garlands in his
I'll let the Alexandrian poet Moschus paint the scene:
He seemed so gentle as well as so lovely that the girls were
not frightened at his coming, but gathered around to caress him
and to breathe the heavenly fragrance that came from him,
sweeter even than that of the flowering meadow.
It was Europa he drew toward, and as she gently touched him, he
lowed so musically, no flute could give forth a more melodious
Then he lay down before her feet and seemed to show her his
broad back, and she cried to the others to come with her and
"For surely he will bear us on his back,
He is so mild and dear and gentle to behold.
He is not like a bull, but like a good, true man,
Except he cannot speak."
Famous last words, or what? 'Good true man' indeed! 'Trust
me dear, I'll respect you in the morning.' Ha!
Smiling broadly, Europa climbed upon his shoulders and let him
amble down with her to the edge of the sea. But when he reached
the water, before the others could join them, the bull at full
speed rushed into the wide water.
As he went the waves grew smoother before him and a whole
procession rose up from the deep and accompanied them - Strange
sea gods, Nereids riding upon dolphins, Tritons blowing their
horns, and all kinds of similar creatures.
Even the god of the sea, Zeus' brother Poseidon, showed up to
see if there was any action for him. Europa, scared silly
equally by the wondrous sea creatures she saw and the moving
waters all around, clung to the bull and shouted to her friends
However, once she realized that her companions were useless, she
turned her attention to the abductor. This can't be an ordinary
bull, thought Europa, but most certainly a god.
Having descended from Io, who had been transformed into a heifer
by Zeus to hide her from Hera, and knowing that woman's long and
peripatetic torment, she spoke pleadingly to the white bull,
begging him to take pity and not leave her in some foreign place
Zeus then revealed his identity and assured her that she had no
cause for fear. He said that out of love for her, he was taking
her to his place of birth, the island of Crete, and there she
would bear him:
"Glorious sons whose scepters shall hold sway
Over all men on earth."
Sure enough, Crete came into view. They landed, and the Seasons,
the gatekeepers of Olympus, received Europa and prepped her for
her tryst with Zeus.
Their passionate union produced many famous sons, including the
fabled Minos and Rhadamanthys, who were rewarded for their
justice on earth by being appointed judges in the Underworld, as
well as Sarpedon, who was killed in the Trojan War.
Zeus loved his Europa, but his 'incontinence' when it came to
Hera eventually moved him to return to Olympus.
But not before bestowing a number of fine gifts upon his lover,
including a dog, Laelaps, which could outrun any animal; a
javelin which never missed its mark; and the bronze man, Talos,
to act as her guardian.
Talos was a man of bronze, made by
Hephaestus, whom Zeus gave to Europa after he kidnapped her and
took her to Crete.
It appears Crete was a gated community; Talos became its
guardian, circling the island three times each day and throwing
huge stones at any ship which approached its shores.
He had a single vein, which ran from his neck to his ankle and
was closed by a single bronze nail. When the ship Argo
approached Crete on the way back from stealing the Golden
Fleece, Medea cast a spell on Talos and then removed the bronze
nail. All of Talos' blood ran out and he died, thus enabling the
ship to land, and Jason and the Argonauts to find refuge. Just
thought you'd like to know.
On the recommendation of matchmaker Zeus, Europa afterwards
married Asterius, the king of Crete, and presented him with a
daughter named Crete.
Europa had two brothers, Cadmus and Cilix. Some writers add a
third brother called Phoenix. When Europa went missing her
father, King of Phoenicia, ordered his sons to search for their
sister, and to not return without her.
The brothers wandered for years, never finding Europa, but
establishing significant colonies and blood lines of their own.
Cadmus was known for bringing the alphabet to mainland Greece.
To commemorate the bovine love affair, the continent of Europe
was named after the beautiful Princess, and Zeus placed the
image of the bull in the heavens as the constellation Taurus -
which means 'bull' in Greek - joining the honored
and exalted Little Animals in a Circle.