Exaltation of the Moon in Taurus

  Monique Pommier  © 1997


Prove mud and Sun, and roots and flowers are one       (The 4th purpose of Deity) [1]


The cosmic Moon—universal substance

The second statement from the astrological tradition about planetary exaltations – “The Moon is exalted in Taurus” – responds to the first one  – “The Sun is exalted in Aries” – as its universal counterpart.

When life is “launched” and the One begins to manifest, matter responds and forms begin to ascend from the formless whole.  Evoked by the very emanation of spirit out of its primordial Oneness, matter offers its “other”ness to substantiate the One, its Dark to reflect Light — the light in which the World-Self begins to discover its face.

This Other who “seconds” the manifestation of the one is thus dual. It is both the ex pression of the One Self, and the impressed sub-stance which supports Its manifestation or the veil which underlies Its revelation. Matter is stirred by what it  both “hears” and em-bodies, as it begins to take and reveal the forms of Being.

Universal substance, the womb of the “Mother of all forms,” is an archetypal Moon; for the universe is to the living One as a cosmic Moon, a glowing reflection of his glory and the growing  womb of his becoming.

The archetypal “second” : the duality of “Form”

When the One Ram “springs” out of universal hibernation, a world emerges, a land opens under its feet. Taurus opens its zodiacal field to the Aries sower. The promised land looms on the horizon of the primordial “I Am,” bringing forth in its honey and milk the luminous and pristine delight of the divine Beginning at work within it.

When the Sun emits the first rays of dawn (Aries), symbolically yet ever so vividly, the sensory world appears and the landscape of life takes shape (Taurus).

In this second step of the “One”, which Taurus represents in relation to Aries and the Moon in relation to the sun, duality begins its tenuous course of beauty within the many forms. Form is that which ceaselessly bears through existence a transient blend of life and of the matter which vibrates to such life, an ephemeral union of light with a corresponding density which holds and conveys it, a fusion of substance informed and of the spirit informing it. As the spirit which coalesced them withdraws, forms – whether of a plant or a human being – are released and disintegrate.  Thus fleetingly, forms stand; and with all the spiritual designs they represent and the life they bear, it is the resistance and opacity of matter which constitute their very capacity to reflect.

It is this duality of “form” as life (A) and matter (T), organized matter and objectified life, which is symbolised in the moon and exalted in Taurus — the second sign of the Zodiac, the number 2  which responds to the emergence of the 1 as the deployment of its land and the landscape of its forms.  Taurus is the sign of the divine meadow which spreads out under the world-seed of the cosmic Sower to give it substance and form. It signifies the matter of Life, the clay of the world-Self, the body of God.

The Cow — a moonlike archetype of “Form”

It is illuminating to see the two faces of Form “exalted” in a clairvoyant description of the cow given by Rudolf Steiner, for it grants the body and “weight” of a spiritual fact – hidden in the earthly cow – to the philosophical contemplation of the archetype of Form in the celestial cow— Taurus.

The remarkable aura of the cow is in such marked contrast to earthly existence because it is entirely cosmic…  There is a whole world in the astral organism of the cow, but everything is based on gravity, everything is so organized, that the earth gravity works there… Each day, the cow must metabolize 1/8 of her weight.  This binds the cow with its material substance to the earth; yet,through its astralityit reflects the entire cosmos in a wonderful light filled way…  When one sees the digestive process in the cow with the eye of the spirit, it is beautiful, it is magnificent, it is something of a tremendously spiritual nature.  The cow lives here on earth, but through this fact, it creates in physical matter that is subject to gravity, an image of something superearthly. It is the animal which continually spiritualizes the earth, and continually gives to the earth that spiritual substance which it has taken from the cosmos. [2]

To the clairvoyant eye, the cow reveals itself as an image in the meadows of earth of the body of the cosmos (T) in the meadow of Space. It offers a metaphor of Form itself, and mirrors in its spiritual nature the character of its counterpart in the zodiac — Taurus. An exaltation of the archetype of Form resonates back and forth between the cow of earth and the Taurus of heaven — between the animal of nature and the living principle in the universal psyche.

Such an exalted vision of the cow may have been what the Egyptians perceived as they worshipped the cosmic Goddess Cow, or the lunar Bull with long curving horns: “Hathor, the Cow-Goddess, stood upon the earth in such a way that her four legs were the pillars of the four quarters.  Her belly was the firmament.”[3]

While Steiner saw in the aura of the cow the entire light-filled cosmos, the Egyptians saw the cosmos in the form of a cow. This intriguing reversal – from seeing the whole in the shape of a part, to seeing the living whole contained in the same part, reflects and illustrates the reversal of rapport and relative position which gradually took place between man and the world with the birth of individualized thinking — on one hand, the internalisation of the gods, who “walked” into the human psyche (from mythology to psychology) at the time of the Greeks; on the other hand the incipient insight of the individual self into the psyche of the world, now perceived as distinct from his own, and reflecting it.

From either side of man’s relation to “self,” the Egyptian vision and that of the modern Initiate both reveal the cow as a model of cosmos. In reflecting quite literally the idea associated with the zodiacal Cow – that of the archetype of Form  – they inspire reverence for the wisdom of the zodiacal “signs.”

The dual nature Steiner sees in the cow – a face of material substance, and a face of cosmic light – is akin to what one perceives, spread in time, as the Moon waxes and wanes, from a dark new Moon to a fully lighted Moon, from a beaming Moon to a “dead” Moon. This resonance, the ancient civilizations experienced and celebrated when they enacted in the physical fields of the earth the dying and rebirth of the Moon in the celestial fields. Joseph Campbell describes how in Egyptian times, the Apis Bull, “The black Bull engendered by a moon-beam”… was “ceremonially slain upon attaining the age of 25, then embalmed and buried”[4], while a new incarnation of the God was sought. This black Apis bull was said to be an incarnation of the god Ptah, whose name – “The Risen Land” – fuses the creative, “arising” power of the Sun-Ram with the substantiating, enfleshing, “land-ing” nature of the Moon-Bull: “It is he who made all and brought the gods into being. He is verily The Risen Land that brought forth the gods.” [5]

All along we see how the black corpse of matter and the luminous God of Life alternate in the contemplation of the Moon, as in the contemplation of all forms.

The journey of the “form,” exalted  in Taurus—towards harmony, through conflict 

Once a form is born, it begins to exist as a temporary embodiment of spirit and an organization of substance. It senses the life of its self-containment and lives within the gravitation and gravity of its own space. The enclosure of spirit which substance has become by virtue of its responsiveness, wishes then to exist for itself and to perpetuate its separateness. In the era of the Bull, the Egyptians mummify their physical bodies, and bury them with their material treasures. “The desire to materialize” manifests quite concretely in this insistence for the preservation of the physical form. The ghosts of lives gone by, the masks of long transmigrated “suns” stare like an archetypal full Moon from the Egyptian legacy. However, what is reflected in these forms maintained against their transient nature, is also Egypt’s vivid belief in the immortality of the soul.

In our time, as densely if not as concretely, it is the astral body, by its very nature of inwardness and sentiency, its awareness of separateness and desires, which epitomizes the gap, the interplay and the struggle between the self-seeking nature of the form and its selfless function (Both the Moon and Taurus convey the fourth Ray of Harmony through Conflict). Nurtured by the activity which responds to impression by sensation, the sentient nature tends to appropriate that which it senses for its own preservation, pleasure or suffering. The “gravity” of its separate existence binds it to its transient center. However, while the desiring nature of its sub-stance claims the astral land, the desiring soul “standing” within it moves and emotes to the pull of another gravity. The life refracted in the astral consciousness “wishes” to organ-ise its sensitivity into a clear instrument of perception and response, a reflector of the unitive light which pervades existence.

“Will the Taurus of desire or the Taurus of illumined divine expression triumph?”[6]

We see how the question of Taurus is indeed the question of the form. It speaks to the ambivalence of the Moon, magnified and exalted when the Moon is held in the zodiacal body of the Bull. The exalted Moon, illumined in the cosmic image of the cow, is the prefigure of an astral body cleared and stilled to reflect and to hold, to hear and to conceive. In this elaboration of a translucid sense organ for the psyche, there is much inspiration to be drawn from Steiner’s description of what our sense-organs have long been offering us:”We have eyes in our body; through these eyes we see, but only because they are selfless and we do not feel them. We see things through them, but the eyes themselves are apart from our perception… If our eyes were as selfish as we are in our moral, intellectual and emotional life.. all our impressions would give us sucking or stabbing pains. Today, however, unselfishness reigns in our senses…”[7] while as of now, the sentient “moon” within the human being continues to fluctuate between a moon filled with itself, and a moon filled with the Self. This the lunations rhythmically enact, as month after month, the Moon empties itself of its dark inwardness to let a waxing Sun grow within it.

In Taurus, the gift and purpose of the form is seen in all its glory, as vessel of the world and matrix of the universe. In Taurus, the form fashions itself into a perfected organ of sensitive response — an eye of reflection, a larynx of utterance, a womb of fiat, an ear of annunciation.

The Persian Poet Rumi evokes this annunciation of the light within the form:

Oh Mary, look well for I am a form difficult to discern. I am a new Moon, I am an Image in the heart.

When an Image enters your heart and establishes itself, you flee in vain: The Image will remain within you, unless it is a vain fancy without substance, sinking and vanishing like a false dawn.  But I am like the true dawn, I am the light of your Lord. [8]

 Or in A. Bailey’s words,

 Without the form, and without the ability to bear in mind the need to respond sensitively to the environing conditions and circum-stances, the soul would never awaken to knowledge in the three worlds and, therefore, would never know God in manifestation. [9]


 The Exaltation in a Chart

 From the Minotaur to the Eye of the Bull

In an individual chart, the placement of the Moon in Taurus may certainly indicate that “the form side of life is a powerful factor of domination.”[10]

If the person is essentially self-centered, the astrality will be actively self-seeking and self-absorbed. In response to Venus, the exoteric ruler of Taurus, the instinctual nature, indulgent and tenacious, feeds its “minotaur” with the delights of the earth. It seeks to acquire, feed and secure itself with possessions and pleasures. The lower aspect of the form is here intensified; the retentive rumination of what has been accumulated or buried weighs down the response to life. The focalization on the need for material security or emotional permanence stares in the inner sky, whether it be from a place of lack or one of indulgence. Love is obscured by possessiveness. Forms of self-indulgence congest the organ of receptivity.  The “prison of the soul”[11] is exalted.

For the individual who walks his/her conscious steps from the “form side of life” to its spirit in the increasing light of the soul, discontent with the divided existence of “I”/”have”, or deflected by circumstances from a blind identification with self-preservation and form gratification (physical or emotional), the Moon in Taurus stages a battlefield (fourth ray) between the will of the form to accumulate and maintain, to preserve and enjoy, and the will-to-BE of the essence it is meant to hold and manifest.

The person is engaged in the process of spiritualizing the cradle of his being (a), of cleansing his manger, that his ox may behold and reflect where it used to chew; speak and birth the self where it used to eat the not-self.

When the will is purified, at-oned and single-eyed like the Cyclops who work with Vulcan (the esoteric ruler of Taurus) in the forges of the world [12], the prison is made into a temple. Increasingly full-filled with the light of the now and its invaluable truth, the form begins to fulfill its purpose. It begins to substantiate the words of One who poured solar life in the dark body of the earth and “raised” its nature (its bread and its wine) into his lightfilled flesh and blood:”If thine eye be single, thy whole body will be full of light.”[13]

These words of the Christ find a clear echo in the keyword which A. Bailey associates with Taurus: “I see, and when the Eye is opened, all is illumined.”[14]

The soul-infused individual knows the value of the form and treasures it as the great mediator (the fourth ray conveyed by both Taurus and the Moon) which takes hold of the intangible, reflects the invisible, suggests the inaudible and gives birth and body to the inner worlds.  He seeks to gather or recondition matter to substantiate spirit – whether in a garden or a painting, bodywork or economics. He brings germs of Light to “land” in matters he fashions and refines (under Vulcan’s rulership) to a delicacy that can receive and reveal what seeks to be embodied, beheld, born. He “proves mud and sun, and roots and flowers are one”.

Hat-hor [15], the Cow-Goddess, bears Horus “with-the-falcon-eye” — the  eye and sun of the cosmic Cow.  The Taurus moon, increasingly illumined by the soul nature – “bearing the sun” – becomes ultimately an EYE of revelation.

…”Through its astrality,  it reflects the entire cosmos in a wonderful light filled way…”

When filled with the light of Self, the form becomes an eye of revelation. “The ‘eye of the bull’ is the eye of revelation.”[16] The exaltation in Taurus suggests the enduring, persistent dream of illumination which waxes and wanes within the inconsistent eye of the Moon, prompting the lunar nature to clear itself of its glamours and illusions to become a luminous, translucid vessel, a pure and single eye for spirit to reveal itself in the form side of life.


To bring a vision to birth and fruition; to reveal oneSelf – to reveal the soul – in the exalted “materials” of art;

To “translate the ideals into words and acts, [and pursue] the creative work of materializing the vision;”[17]

To create a space, build a form where more of the Real may be “imagined” or embodied in beauty —”To create in physical matter… an image of something superearthly…”

To incarnate light in translucent colors, inspired compositions or uplifting designs;

To see matters of security and economics from the eye of the whole. To approach them with the care required for the physical body of humanity — a sacred  Cow indeed;

Such are some of the faculties of the exalted Moon.

Carl Jung 

Carl Jung exemplifies in a most interesting way this exaltation of the Moon in Taurus.  Pluto was conjunct his third house Moon in Taurus. This enhanced and quickened the process of cleansing and elimination that was to clear an organ (Moon) – “clear a throat” (third house Taurus) – for the unconscious forces (Pluto) of the psyche, his own as well as those of his clients, to find their voice. Not only did his own purified sensitivity become such an organ of  “hear”ing, but so did the self-hearing process of “active imagination” he created. This image-making “larynx” he devised as a womb-like psychological space for the unregistered wills and unfathomed depths of the human psyche to “become bearable” and be “born” in the light of consciousness. He helped the many people he touched to recognize and develop this faculty as a method to both envision and incorporate (the two sides of Moon in Taurus) the informulable truths of the psyche.

In this “imaging” activity, we see how both the containing and the formative power of the Moon are exalted in its true “seconding” function — that of midwife and mother of the world-Self, sub-conscious land of the unfolding individuality, and “risen land” of the emerging sun of self. It is interesting to take notice, in the light of our considerations about the duality of “form” and the nature of the “second”, of the speaking and hearing character of this practice — formative for the chaotic matters of the unconscious, and informative for the self.

Jung also used his deepening “eye” of receptivity to “take hold” of the unconscious (Moon Pluto) in his approach to dreams – another lunar activity. In dreams, he learned to behold myth-like formulations of the imprisoning contents of a client’s psyche. By assisting in bringing these contents to light, he helped the individual “clear” his prison and bring about a slow metamorphosis – a change of form – of the prison into a temple.

Far beyond his lifetime, Jung greatly contributed to the transmutation of human sentiency, and to the raising of the Moon into the “Grail of elixir vitae” he understood it to be. It is quite revealing in this light to consider how he spoke of the dogma of the Assumption of the Virgin (which indeed reflects the reintegration of matter and the feminine principle in the heaven of the Western culture) as one of the great events of the 20th century.[18]

Edgar Cayce

Also born with the Moon in Taurus (conjunct Neptune and Midheaven), Edgar Cayce first worked as a photographer (using a physical lens to capture “images of life”).  He later became aware, after temporarily losing his voice, of the depth and clarity of his capacity to “reflect” and see the physiological condition of another human being, as well as to “speak to” it and advise on how to improve it, drawing on his wealth (T) of knowledge from the past (a). He eventually became a translucent organ, a spiritual lens and a clear voice for people’s soul conditions and soul histories, in the life “readings” he is well known for.

 The Taurus House

The house occupied by Taurus in an individual chart offers insights into the phase of one’s relation to the form side of life— anywhere between blind attachment and light-filled embodiment.

This is the area where the obstination of old conditionings and insecurities, egocentric desires or resistances can be most entrenched and limiting, where the pull of materiality (in whatever form), the tendency to “hold one’s own” and self-indulge can be at their strongest; where it is to be “feared that the Taurus will blunder blindly forward in his own self-interest.”[19]

Here lies also the opportunity for radical transformations, “profound disruptions and alterations,”[20] as the hammer of the “Fashioner of divine expression” becomes increasingly efficient in the waxing light of the soul. In the forge of this house, if the soul is actively present in the life, Vulcan is at work destroying the lumps of self-insistence and the forms of retentiveness which opacify the body of the soul and hoarsen the voice of the Self. It fashions the acquiescence (Venus) of the instrument to the Life that seeks to resound within its form (Vulcan).

Will this be the house of the golden calf or that of the Sacred Cow?

Will it be a land of milk and honey, or the tomb of a mummy buried with its treasures?

The Moon in a Chart

As to the Moon itself, exalted for better and for worse in the Bull of God or the Bull of earth,  what does its placement by sign and house indicate in the individual chart?

The Moon lends us the passive forces of gravity and the “negative” support of past substance and consciousness without which there would be no vehicle for a soul to incarnate — no echo chamber to reproduce that semblance of the cosmic “machine”: the human organism; no separate physicality to conceive and express self; no brain to form representations of the world; no sentiency to form and transform our feeling response to life.

The Moon represents the capacity of substance to respond, as well as its faculty to receive and contain, evoke and bear, protect and nurture Life. It is the subtle “body” of the psyche, and its placement by sign indicates the energy quality (with its dense face of need and its lighted face of nurturance) in which our consciousness instinctively both vehiculates and expresses itself .

The formative responsiveness of the Moon is associated  with Cancer, the sign it rules and the spiraling-in vortex through which the spirit is said to descend into matter according to the Pythagorean symbolism of the “gate of men.” The exaltation in Taurus suggests the ways in which this (Cancer) moon-process furthers itself when “exalted”:

On one hand, it may loose its fluid adaptability and vulnerability as it slows down into the solid earth element (T) and densifies into the definite shapes where patterns of motion have “mineralized” (similar to the  spinal like columns of sand which tides leave along the shore). Habitual responses become the habitat of security as well as the entrapping formations of habits — the ways in which we find our instinctive “bearings” through existence as well as the fixed responses that protect us from the threat of the unfamiliar while often blinding us to the truth of the moment.

On the other hand, as we saw above, the habitat is also the latent abode of the light; the evolving bearer of that which seeks an organ of appropriate response; eventually a clear and sensitive vehicle for one of the twelve zodiacal principles.

So the sign of the Moon will indicate, along with its exoteric ruler, the specific “rut” of the personality, its type of “blind rush,” atavistic need or cherished selfishness; the “unpromising land” of the life; the particular cravings which animate the self-serving life of the vehicles or the automatisms by which the personality seeks to protect the instinctual ground of its existence.

The sign and its esoteric ruler will suggest the true function of the vessel of consciousness fashioned and toned by a dominant orientation of past life experiences.

The interplay of influence between the two rulerships of the Moon sign will reflect the struggle the individual faces in turning his prison into a temple by “con-forming” his astral and etheric sheaths to their purpose as chalices of the Self. This particular interplay reveals for each of us the specific way in which the crescent of the personality may grow to host the solar light.

As an example, the Moon in Aquarius suggests a specific range of self-bound automatisms and self-feeding ways, such as emotional aloofness, gregariousness, instinctual disengaging from taxing emotions to secure the personal independence and free social movement (Uranus rules exoterically). The esoteric ruler, Jupiter, points out the true function of this form, when silenced of its need: to serve as a vessel for group inclusiveness. It suggests a personality vehicle well prepared by past experiences to foster, mirror and actualize the growth of a group process, to reflect the heart of a group and evoke the beat in unity of individual differences.  The strain between the two faces of the Moon is symbolized in this case by the tension between Uranus and Jupiter and the resistance to the infusion of one by the other. The love-wisdom quality of the second ray (Jupiter) is here the chosen tool of Vulcan, and its cultivation constitutes the way to “dissolve the obstacles” of separateness or exclusivity, so that the inwardness may be filled with the light of brotherhood it can so well harbor.


*      * 

The Fall of the Moon in Scorpio

The fall of the Moon in Scorpio describes the process through which the form may actually be “raised in heaven, thus irradiated and glorified”[21] in Taurus.

In Scorpio, the sign of the “triumphant disciple,” that which does not reflect the unifying light of soul and does not hear the sound of the soul’s voice is eliminated and eradicated. The old form “disappears” in the trans-formative pyres of Mars and Vulcan.

The “Fall of the Moon in Scorpio” is a statement of opportunity as well as limitation:

It is a statement of limitation in that in this sign of intense struggle, compulsions and conflicts between obsessive instincts and desires (exoteric Mars) and the will to release or be released (esoteric Mars), the form still fights for its survival. The “Passion” of all the passions is endured. As the form descends in the depths of chaos and torments, as it is eaten up by the blind hydras of self-will, it cannot rest as a mirror nor bear the light of a Sun. It cannot hold and behold, contain and reflect. As the struggle of transformation rages in the personality-centered man, the vessel is molten, the mother cannot bear the son— the Moon falls.

The opportunity is great however for “the form to cease to dominate”[22] in such an incarnation; for the astral body to cleanse itself and emerge out of the circling pursuits of its inferno; for Lot to walk away from Sodom in flames, while his form, which still reflects the past –  his “wife” who “looks back” – is turned into a pillar of salt. The past conditionings which hold back the “hastening life” (Mars, the esoteric ruler) are broken down, melted by Vulcan acting through the sixth ray power to “kill out desire”[23](Mars). The work of extermination proceeds and the devouring mothers of the Christ within lose their grip and are overcome.

If indeed the selfishness of “the personality is completely defeated,”[24] the death of the smothering form will liberate the power of the indwelling self— the natural power (natural because now part of the Moon “nature”) to serve as a catalyst for others in the dispelling of their self-imprisoning ways and glamorized personality traits. Having allowed the death of the old instinctual bull, the Moon may now fully “conceive” in the light of its falcon eye and bear in its clarified womb the desire of another human being to release itself – a truer Self – from the demands of the lunar nature. The conquered light of one becomes the dynamic mirror of another.

This, the Moon in Scorpio is destined to become: a healing mirror and a cathartic reflector for the will to transform the obscure conditionings of the psyche— the will to descend with the light of the “Sun” in the sub-conscious “material” of the Moon, dispel encrustations of memories and images, traverse the old instinctual fleshes of the psyche and “rain” on their blind compulsions “with sulfur and fire”[25] — the will to shed the old skins of the Self as pillars of salt.

 Becoming lightning, the cow has thrown back the veil



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