Taurus – 19 11:12 PM

5ee203d594573781f98256a69a22eca5.jpg (400×450)Taurus, comes from the Latin for the bull. It is the second astrological sign in the Zodiac. The sun is in the sign of Taurus from about April 21 until about May 21 in western astrology.

Taurus was the second sign of the zodiac established among the ancient Sumerians and Akkadians, who knew it as the Bull of Heaven. It was the constellation through which the sun rose on the vernal equinox at that time. Due to the precession of the equinox,the vernal equinox has since passed through Aries and into Pisces. Taurus is a fixed earth sign.


The Myth Behind Taurus

In Egypt, Taurus was seen as the Hathor, the cow goddess of beauty, love, and happiness, and she represented all of the riches seen in cattle as the providers of nourishment. The symbol of the bull is based on the Cretan Bull, the white bull that fathered the Minotaur. Minos, King of Crete, controlled many of the islands in the seas around Greece, and was such a powerful ruler that the Athenians sent him tribute every year.  Zeus, in the shape of a bull, had carried Minos’ mother Europa to Crete, and the Cretans were fond of the sport of bull-leaping, in which contestants grabbed the horns of a bull and were thrown over its back. When Hercules got to Crete, he easily wrestled the bull to the ground and drove it back to King Eurystheus in Mycenae, which completed his seventh labor. Eurystheus let the bull wander around Greece, terrorizing the people. It wound up in Marathon, where it was killed by Theseus. This is the same Theseus who later sailed to Crete, found his way to the center of the Labyrinth, and killed the Minotaur as well.

Taurus as Archetype

The Bull represents a strong-willed character with great perseverance and determination. In the solar year, its time is that of sowing the fields, securing food for the coming year. Thus, one of its archetypes is the Farmer, who cares for the land, tends the livestock  and provides not only sustenance, but abundance and security. The farmer knows the cyclic rhythm of the year and is tied to the land. A corrollary to this that Taurus is the archetype that stands for what brings life and nourishes humanity. It is the archetype of bountiful nature. Taurus represents the life returning to the land and the fertility which brings abundance.

Taurus correlates to the survival instinct, but not the all or nothing raw survival, rather the survival of security and civilization.  Taurus represents our capacity to be in the body, alive and receptive to our physical existence and yet it also is the archtype of conservatism and the desire for comfort and safety. Taurus is symbolic of physical strength, but it is the strength for work, not the active strenth of the Aries warrior archetype. Taurus is the archetype of stoic endurance, as exemplified by the bull.

Taurus signifies cultivating a life of abundance through nuturing, rewarding work, and physical endeavor. While Aries is an archetype of the adventurer, Taurus is the man who stays home, deeply connected to the land,whose life rythms are tied to the seasons and the cycles of nature. J.R. Tolkien’s hobbits are emblematic of the Taurus archetype. Steadfast, loyal, both hard working and able to enjoy life to the fullest, the hobbits exhibit all the things the Taurus archetype represents. Presence comes from inner strength and this is the root of the Taurus archetype. Follow the exploits of Frodo and Sam and see if you don’t recognize this.

The martial art of Tai Chi combines both the presence of Taurus with the action of Aries. Watch a practitioner in action. There is Tai Chi as a fighting art and Tai Chi as a moving meditation, but like yin and yang there is flow of the elements in both objectives of practice.  If you want to experience these archetypes in a physical way, try Tai Chi. It is a wonderful way to both energize and relax.

Highland bull in pasture


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My Cats Are My Life, They Have Kept Me Going Through All My Troubles

The title of this post might sound like the theme for the crazy cat lady or a melodramatic overstatement but it is simply a statement of fact. The world is a harsh place. Many people are lucky to excape major illness or catastrophe in their life, but frankly, most are not. Even the United States, the richest country in the world, full of innovative people like those in Silicon Valley, has major problems.

Tony and Shinki Good Friends

I lost my last permanent job in the 2008 financial debacle where the ecomomy dried up for thousands of people. Unable to get a job I started a tutoring business. Why couldn’t I get a job? I was already having trouble with arthritis and walked with a cane. One woman actually contacted me and said if I took any action on what she told me she would deny ever speaking to me but I didn’t get the job because they were afraid of their medical and other benefit costs because they saw the cane. Never mind it was a desk job. I met many people at the library looking for work who shared the same story of being “too old” and “overqualified”.

As the bad economy finally trickled down to the frugal immigrants I was teaching English and whose children I was tutoring in school subjects my business died with theirs. My apartment complex had been taken over by a mostly government funded non-profit when the condo conversion collapsed with the economy. A bailout deal was finagled with the county that would have done any third world corrupt government proud. Within months we were stuck with shoddy management that harrassed us for wanting maintenance, who harrassed my disabled neighbor for having a therapy animal while letting the people upstairs from me have six illegal immigrants living in the apartment in addition to the three people legitimately on the lease. They inspected twice a yearthey had to know those people lived there. Anyone with a pet was harrassed and charged a very high extra pet rent. Two different friends of mine lived in luxury condos that had more pet tolerance and lower pet fees. Mountains of garbage piled up around the dumpsters. We had police helicopters flying overhead hunting gang members. It had been a quiet, safe, multicultural place where neighbors spoke with each other and it became a slum. The cats developed allergies and autoimmune symptons and I was getting depression and PTSD. I had to get the cats out of there.

The cat Cloud in the sunLuckily when visiting my friend, I saw the house for rent I am in now. They were willing to accept the family income I got without question although their office screwed up the paperwork and I almost didn’t get it because someone told me it was rented to someone else. I wound up living in my truck for a month unti lit got straightened out. Thankfully my friend had room and took my cats in. Through all this, keepng my promise to my rescue cats that they would have a forever home was the thing that kept me fighting. The family money won’t last forever. My father saw the wisdom in helping me when I needed it instead of waiting until he died and letting lawyers and the government take a big chunk, and I am lucky he could do that.  There is very little interest in education here, I have had occaional tutoring gigs with accounting students at the University of Virginia, but only one K-12 studen in five years, and his parents were here temporarily from West Virginia, not locals. When I came here the manager of the local office of a national temp agency said, and I quote “We don’t have much call for brain work around here.”

So I got a coaching certification. Lots of people wanting help and advice but not willing to pay. I started blogging for my sanity and it has been a real life saver, but it is not a business. I have tried so many things to bring in more income. The network marketing group I joined had great products but even closer to the city no one was willing to pay for health up front, they would rather get sick and pay doctors and insurance copanies than take vitamins and use personal care products without toxic chemicals. I certainly didn’t connect here. I don’t get it. I know there are lots of people out there that don’t think like that.

Little Mini, white Persian cat


This is not my usual kind of post. I try not to complain and this is not a venting forum. I like to inform and entertain. It’s just that I am reaching a point where I am running out of energy to keep up a false front. I went back to school and I am trying to finish a master’s thesis on returning compassion to medical care. Maybe all the things I discovered in researching it have tipped the scale. You know the saying, “No more Mister Nice Guy”.  It could be too, that the last year of loosing my aunt, who I talked to every week, and finding out she had left me a generous bequest in her will, only to have to struggle to get it has tipped the scale. The stress has brought back all my auto-immune symptoms. Blecch!

I don’t know all the reasons people decide to follow this blog.  I am sure each one is unique and I thank you all for doing so. I do know people like to hear about the cats and people seemed to like my October specials. That was a lot of work but I hope to do it again. If you managed to read this far and not get bored, discouraged or depressed you deserve a reward. Please comment and let me know why you subscribed so I can write more about what you like to read about. Believe me, after all the effort I put in on my thesis, I really want to write about anthing but the dysfunction of the American medical system.

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Before it happens again!

Todays post will be delayed. Laptop froze and reboot brought up only BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH!! Had to do to scram type reboot three times. Want to get this out before it freezes again. Tomorrow to get a diagnosis @ the repair shop I think befor I loose the works. Thank goodess I have a recent backup. Doing it gain now too.

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Caturday Thoughts – Warm at Last!

Cardinal on branchThe cats  are in heaven. It was warm enough yesterday to have all the windows open all day and even in the night and this morning is beautiful as well. The good weather is helping me, I haven’t slept properly since Simba left us and I think the futon may need replacing. I also feel like I need the chiropractor but the one I used to go to is up close to the city as is my dentist Dr. Kim. I don’t really trust the standards and work ethic of people here to go to a health practitioner. At some point I’ll probably try to cluster all the appointments on a Friday afternoon and Saturday morning and shell out for a hotel overnight. At least service businesses there are open on Saturday. Not here. Which is why I take my business  up to the city. Interestingly the farmer’s markets all offer a Saturday option and you can go to most of the farms on Saturday too. Farmer’s are supposed to be the most conservative and old fashioned people but around here they are the most progressive and up to date. Contractors and service business often don’t have websites, but even tiny specialist farms do.  

I have seen both a make and female cardinal in the bush outside the kitchen window. A pair has nested somewhere near sonce I moved in and there are a joy to watch. Charli watches them and the other birds that come but doesn’t get excited. Birds make Milk and Skye do that eck eck eck chattery noise but Charli is very quiet and just watches, like cloud. There are a few bud clusters on the lilac bushes in the front of the house. There should be more but they need better nutrition, the soil is very depleted. Really they all need to be dug up and moved to a new location. Some idiot ran railroard ties from the foundation out a few feet and then straight across parallel to the foundation until the front porch steps,to define a garden bed. There is nowhere to place the splash guards that ensure the water runs away from the house. No wonder there is a moisture problem in the crawlspace! Not only that, roots might damage the foundation, another reason there might be a moisture problem. Anyway, lilacs spread, so the bush has grown under, out and around these railroad ties. You can see where another idiot (or perhaps the same one) thought the best approach to fixing ths spread was not to dig it up and put it in a better spt but to chop it off at a stump. This ensured (the roots still being alive) that it grew back and spread even more. The same goes for the Van Houtte Spirea at each side corner, although they did not get such a drastic cutback.

I see a lot of this kind of stuff aroud here. Call it ignorance, stupidity, lack of common sense or what you will, it seems to be everywhere here. I think it is ignorance. For example, the trees in this neighborhood are old and many are at the end of their life. Branches often come down and the custom is to stack it around the base of the tree. I am not a certified arborist, but I know that stacking dead wood around a tree base attracts insect pests and fungus and the tree can easily be infected and eventually weaked or even killed, especially an old tree. Stack it somewhere else or have the city haul it away, or use it in the fireplace. These people have it under the tree as much as a yearor more.

Close up of lilac budsBut enough kvetching. This will be a short post. I have a lot to do. Next week the forecast is rain so I want to clean up winter’s debris from the yard. I’ll be working at the rescue thrift today so I have to work around that. I also am taking an online class in animal behavior and training that I am behind in and want to catch up.  I also have to stake up the blackberry bush and seriously cut back the bush in front of the kitchen window that is really more of a tree at this point. That’s another one that never should have been planted so close to the house. Plus I am still trying to finish up my thesis paper. I can work on the thesis during next week’s rain but I would like to get outside this weekend!!

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When the Cat is the Canary

Mosby, Tony and Milk

I lost little Mini to some auto-immune disease even the vet was unsure of although he thought it was feline lupus. She was exposed to something in that old apartment complex, probably some toxin the idiot maitenance men tracked all over. Then both my beautiful boys Mosby and Tony to cancer.  YJ told me when beautiful Bengal Shinki died they told him is was “old age”. What baloney! Mi Sun  is at least two years older and has been chronically obese most of her life. Simma, her litter mate developed renal failure and still managed to outlive Shinki who was an active, atheletic cat, as those who know Bengals will know. Cats can easily live to sixteen, even to twenty. But it’s happening less and less. Cats live a foot off the ground, up close and personal to all the crud human beings litter the earth with. Dogs, depending on their size, might be a little higher up, but they roll and play on the ground all the time. And they are dying sooner too.


I triple filter their water.Even though I feed the top of the line stuff the vet recommends I know it’s not good enough and I am going to transition them to home made food. I’ll have to get a new freezer, but I wanted to do that anyway. I found sources for clean, organic meat and supplements cats need for a balanced diet. All along I’ve been transitioning myself to more and more orgaic food. Trust me, it makes a difference. I won’t try to cram all my notes into a blog post, it would read like a science journal article but the more I move in that direction the better I feel. I am lucky to live in an area withlots of conscientious small farmers. It’s great in the summer but winter makes it harder. Stores really mark up organics because they know they can, but also because it has to be transported.  Thus another need for the bigger freezer.


I wish we didn’t live in a toxic soup. Plastic is everywhere. I make a special effort to buy my organic coffee cream at Trader Joe’s because they use the old fashioned kind of carton, the kind where you open the side of the top to pour. Those cartons have worked just fine since I had my first school milk in kindergarten over sixty years ago. I do not need the addition of a plastic screw on top to pour without spilling. I know it seems trivial but little things add up. Plastic bags are everywhere, hanging in trees along the side of the road, clogging the landfills. I recycle mine. I give Target credit for selling re-usable bags for 99 cents and have a collection point for recycling bags, one reason I shop there when I need something they sell. I realize paper bags have their own issues. Paper production can be very polluting but at least when you see a paper bag on the side of the road you know a month later it will have broken down. The plastic bag will be there a years later.


I’ve posted about how I had to report nasty cleaners to the owner of my cleaning service. I find it ironic how germ obsessed people are, yet in this day and age they are more likely to succumb to disease insuced by stress and environmental toxins. Many years ago I used to assist an older woman genealogist. She could not drive after dark and had trouble reading faded documents in that spidery 18th century script. It didn’t take e long to notice trends in cause of death, Lots of accidental deaths early on and deaths from diseases. As you reached the 19th century the accidental deaths were still there but from machinery and the diease deaths tended to be clustered in epidemics.  Buy the middle of the 20th century the deaths were coming from heart disease and cancer. Now I look at the numbers and see a hugh spike in auto-immune disease.


You can’t develop a vaccine to protect against a toxic environment. You can’t build immunity to chemicals that accumulate in body fat and pass to babies from their mothers. There are a lot of people ou there fighting to bring awareness and  change but there are also millions who are oblivious to what they are doing.  I do what I can. I am just tired of watching my beloved feline companions fall like dominos to what I believe are preventable problems. The same goes for people I know. Like the canaries in the mines our animal companions are warning us the environment is not safe. Unlike the miners, we can’t run to the nearest exit. We are stuck on this planet. Wecan only, quite literally, clean up our act. I am going to see how much “junk” I can eliminate from out immediate environment. Let’s see how far I get. I can’t ask others to do more than I do myself.

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Humors – Cornerstones of World View

Old colored manuscript illustration of the four elementsMost people have had some exposure to the  Greek classical elements theory of earth, air, fire and water. These were considered the building blocks of all matter and the basis of medieval understanding of how matter works and interacts. Aristotle gave characteristics to the elements; air is primarily wet and secondarily hot, fire is primarily hot and secondarily dry, earth is primarily dry and secondarily cold and water is primarily cold and secondarily wet. This was the origin of the theory of humors.

Hippocrates develped a correlation of the elements with four bodily fluids. Fire was associated with the choleric humor of yellow bile. Water was associated with phlegm. Air was linked with blood  and earth with black bile. Before Paracelsus it was mainly believed that illness was caused by an imbalance of the four  humors, and therefore the cure was to remove whatever was excess,  This was the idea behind blood letting. Where did the idea of these fluid humors originate? An interesting idea was suggested by Robin Fåhræus (1921), a Swedish physician who devised the erythrocyte sedimentation rate. (The erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR or sed rate) is the rate at which red blood cells sediment in a period of one hour. It is a common  blood test, and is a non-specific measure of inflammation) He thought the four humours were based upon the observation of blood clotting in a transparent container. When blood is drawn in a glass container and left undisturbed for about an hour, four different layers can be seen. A dark clot forms at the bottom (black bile). Above the clot is a layer of red blood cells (blood). Next is a whitish layer of white blood cells (phlegm). The top layer is clear yellow serum (yellow bile).

It was actually alchemists (both European and Muslim) who played an important role in switching this thinking to one where outside forces can be to blame, and therefore outside substances (medicine, tonics, elixirs, etc.) can be the cure. The balance of humors went beyond physical illness though. It was also thought to impact mental health and personality types. Theophrastus and others developed a set of characters based on the humors. Those with too much blood were sanguine. Those with too much phlegm were phlegmatic. Those with too much yellow bile were choleric, and those with too much black bile were melancholic. Nicholas Culpeper, the herbalist (1616–1654) disregarded the idea of fluids as defining human behavior. Philosophers Maimonides (1135–1204) and Immanuel Kant (1724–1804),  psychotherapist Alfred Adler (1879–1937), and physiologist Ivan pavlov (1849–1936) all theorized on the four temperaments and contributed to modern theories of personality.

Alchemical illustration of man and four elementsObviously, the Four Elements of the alchemists are not our everyday ideas of earth, water, air, and fire. “There are four common elements,” wrote Polish alchemist Michael Sendivogius (1566-1636), “and each has at its center another deeper element which makes it what it is. These are the four pillars of the world. They were in the beginning evolved and molded out of chaos by the hand of the Creator; and it is their contrary action which keeps up the harmony and equilibrium of the mundane machinery of the universe; it is they, which through the virtue of celestial influences, produce all things above and beneath the earth.” Sendivogius is speaking of the fundemental archetypes which underly the elements. As archetypes, the elements are beyond any rational explanation and must be experienced to be understood. Personal experience of things was and is a fundamental operating principle in alchemy.

In the view of Aristotle, the elements arose from the interplay of the ideal (archetypal) properties of hotness and coldness, and dryness and wetness. Fire and Water are polar opposites, as are Earth and Air. Wet and dry are the primary qualities. Wet  is the quality of fluidity, which makes it adaptible. Dry is the quality of rigidity, which allows a thing to define its own bounds. Aristotle predicted that one material could be transformed into another by altering the mix of its archetypal elements and their qualities. You can see where this figured into alchemy.

The symbols used by the alchemists for the elements have a lot to say about their archetypal origins.

Alchemical fire symbol, upward pointing equilateral triangle.

The symbol for Fire is an upward-pointing triangle. Fire, hot and dry, is the most volatile element and seeks to ascend. Alchemical symbol for water a downward pointing equilateral triangleThe symbol for Water  is a downward-pointing triangle, since Water, cold and moist, seeks to descend or condense. Fire and Water are the two purest elements, and the other two elements of Air and Earth are considered to be more material versions of them.

Alchemical symbol for air, upward pointing equilateral triablge with horizontal line through itThis gives the symbol for Air as the upward-pointing triangle of Fire with a horizontal line through it. Air seeks to rise, but its moist component blocks the full ascent of Fire, thus the horizontal line through the triangle. Air is suspended in time and space, between the Above and the Below. The symbol Alchemical symbol for earth. a downward pointing equilateral triangle with a horizontal line through it.for Earth is the downward-pointing triangle of Water, also with a horizontal line through it. Earth is cold and dry and wants to sink, but its dryness impedes the full descent of the Water aspect, indicated by the horizontal line.  Earth is suspended in time and space and is the most fixed or immovable of  the alchemical elements.

 Carl Jung’s theory of personality types is clearly derived from the humors. In Jungian psychology there are four basic personality types; feeling, thinking, intuition and sensation.  Each can be associated with an element and  humor, feeling with Fire and the choleric type, thinking with Water and the phlegmatic type, intuition with Air and Sanguine type, and sensation with Earth and the melancholic type. By combing these with the polarities of introversion and extroversion, he developed a system of eight personality types. The popular Meyers-Briggs test also echoes the four humors expressed as personality. 

Personal alchemy combine the language of alchemy with the tools of psychology to transform the self to a higher, more integrated and complete version. The goal of both disciplines is to reach a balance of the elements within the individual. When we intergrate the opposing forces within us, rather than let them war with one another inside us, wecan transcend much of what makes us unhappy or leaves us feeling incomplete and unfulfilled. Understanding the four humors can be a valuable tool in this process.

Robert Fludd's illustration of the spheres of the four elements

Deutsche Fotothek Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Caturday Thoughts – Sorry We’re Late – What’s With This Weather?

 First of all, sorry we’re late. This week there has been more crazy than just the weather. The past couple of days I have been trying to get get caught up on an online summit about pet cancer and an animal training class I am taking. I am trying to finalize my master’s thesis. And it looks like (fingers crossed) I might have a solution to getting a place of our own for me and the cats. There will be a great deal of preparation and work, though, which I have started.

Close up of bright yellow daffodil bloomIn the meantime I have daffodils on the mantelpiece and even out in the front garden bed, but it just won’t warm up. It would have been nice Wednesday were it not for the 20 knot winds that actually created a wind chill even though we were well above freezing. It shook the house so much the nose spooked the cats.That night the temperature dropped to the twenties!! I am sick of winter and gloom. If it warms even a tiny bit we are overcast and dark, Though we are in a drought and could use it the clouds are not giving it up much, either. And today, even though the early morning was relatively warm by noon it was actually snowing. And it continued. When we left the thrift store it was still snowing. Just a little while after I got home the furnace came racketing on, the filter rattling against the air intake grill. I gave the cats a snack and crawled under the covers of the futon to eat the sushi takeaway I had picked up. I didn’t feel like cooking amd I have been craving fish lately.

Dolly and Milk both jumped right in with me. This yo-yo weather is driving them crazy too. Just when they get used to an open window, down it comes.Just when poor srthritic Mi Sun find where the sun is, the next day it’s gone. I think tonight will be a lot more like a night in Deember than April but cat cuddle time is appropriate for any season. I’ll get caught up with all my endeavors, including blogging, and in time the weather will catch up with the season (fingers crossed)!!


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