Europa & the Bull

Europa & the Bull

According to the Greek myth, Zeus (Latin: Deus, 'God', or Deus-Pater, ‘God the Father’, hence Jupiter), falls in love with the beautiful Europa. In order to appear to her he takes on the symbolic incarnational form of a bull. He emerges from the dark ocean (Black Sea), successfully attracts and woos Europa, and carries her off on his shoulders to a secret place on Earth. There the couple make love, resulting in Europa conceiving and giving birth to Hermes (Mercury).

The popular (and later) version of the myth associates Europa with the daughter of Agenor, king of Phoenicia, and the place of love-making as being Crete. In this version of the myth, Europa gives birth to three sons (Minos, Rhadamanthys and Sarpedon), before marrying Asterius, the ruler of Crete.

On Earth the myth is manifested in the landscape of Europe, from whence Europe derives its name. In the stars the myth is portrayed as the constellation of Taurus (the Bull) and the prominent group of stars on its neck known as the Pleiades (Europa).

In some ancient zodiacs, whilst Taurus (Jupiter) is shown as a bull, the Pleiades (Europa) are represented as a dove. Alternatively the symbols are such that Europa is represented as a cow when Zeus is a bull (e.g. such as in the Egyptian symbolism of Isis and Osiris), or that they are both known as phoenixes or doves.

Europa is equivalent to Venus, the astrological ruler of Taurus and mother of Cupid. Cupid signifies the Christ, who is Mercury, both names (Greek: Christos; Latin: Mercurius) being derived from the Ancient Egyptian name for Horus, Maa Kheru, meaning ‘The True Word’. Another name for Europa, therefore, is Maia (Mary), meaning ‘Mother’. She is Isis, mother of Horus, whilst the Bull is Osiris. Maia is said to be the eldest of the seven Pleiadean stars or sisters and represents them all collectively. All this, it should be emphasised, is metaphorical.

Traditionally, the sign of Taurus rules the throat chakra. Europa, signified by the Pleiades, is associated with the alta-major chakra, known as the 8th chakra, Pan chakra, Gateway of the Holy Spirit (Breath) or Mouth of God. It is via this gateway that the sacred AOM or Word of God enters the body, carried by the spiritual Breath. This breathes itself as inspiration into the heart, from where it speaks to us via the throat and the faculty of intuition. This spiritual breath is echoed by the physical breath, which we breathe in via the nose (or mouth), and from thence down into the lungs: hence correct physical breathing helps the spiritual breathing or inspiration.

When we hear the inner voice of truth (the Word of God) correctly and conceive the good or god-idea, and let it speak to the mind (or speak it outwardly), then the alta-major chakra has linked fully with the throat chakra. This is what is allegorised in the myth of Europa and the Bull, wherein Hermes/Mercury (the Word of Truth or Word of God) is conceived and born. From this the true vision arises, followed by understanding and the good deed. As this occurs, the alta-major chakra links with the brow and crown chakras, thus producing the sacred triangle of energy between the alta-major, brow and crown chakras that constitutes the true Third Eye, All-Seeing Eye or Eye of God. The experience of this is illumination, which occurs most fully when the good deed is done.

To summarise: Europa the dove is associated with the Holy Breath or Spirit and with inspiration; Taurus the bull is associated with the throat and physical breath, which can speak and sound the Word. Together they manifest the Word and create Light, bringing the cosmos into being.

For this reason the zodiacal sign of Taurus is traditionally known as the Alpha or first sign of the zodiac. The Greek letter Alpha (Α, α), derived from the Phoenician Aleph, from which we derive our letter A, is said to be based on the shape of the head of the bull or ox with its two horns. The first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Aleph (א) although ending up with a different form, likewise has the same derivation (i.e. from a bull or ox head) and is symbolised by an ox (the literal West Semitic meaning of aleph).

All other letters of the alphabet are said to be derived from the Alpha, Aleph or ‘A’, whilst all other signs of the zodiac are said to be derived from the sign of Taurus. The Alpha signifies the Creator: “I AM the Alpha and the Omega” (Revelation 1:8); “In the beginning was the Word...” (John 1:1); “And God said, Let there be light, and there was Light” (Genesis 1:3). The triangular shape of the letter A represents the Creator as the Holy Trinity.

The All-Seeing Eye (i.e. the Bull's Eye, Eye of Horus or Eye of God) set within its radiant triangle is symbolic of these things.

© Peter Dawkins

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