"TAURUS" by ShellyeSR

“Tauropolos’ themes are work, patience, strength, and courage.  Her symbol is the bull.  No Goddess could better represent this date other than Tauropolos, the Cretan bull Goddess whose name literally means ‘Bull Lady’ (and that’s no bull!). Teaching us the virtues of diligence and the rewards of hard work, Tauropolos also has a strong connection to the fields (the plough) and the hearth, where food from the fields gets prepared.

The Cretans were all known for having bull-leaping festivals that honored this Goddess, probably as a fertility rite and test of one’s bravery. Oddly enough, this is how we come by the saying ‘seize the bull by the horns!’.

So, if there’s an area of your life in which you want to really seize the day, try this symbolic spell. Find and image of a bull (in a magazine, carved out of stone, or in some other form). Put it on the floor, and put a symbol of your aspiration on the side of the image across from you. Say:

‘Tauropolos, prepare the fields for success
Help me now to do my best.’

Leap over the image and claim victory!

If you can’t find bull images, any harvested item may represent Tauropolos instead. If you choose this option, be sure to consume the food later. This way you can internalize this Goddess’s tenacity, persistence and fortitude, then apply them toward successfully achieving your goals.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Tauropolos, known as Artemis Tauropolos,  is “an epithet for the Goddess Artemis, variously interpreted as worshipped at Tauris, or pulled by a yoke of bulls, or hunting bull Goddess. A statue of Artemis “Tauropolos” in Her temple at Brauron in Attica was supposed to have been brought from the Taurians by Iphigenia. Tauropolia was also a festival of Artemis in Athens.

There was a Tauropolion, a temple in a temenos sacred to Artemis Tauropolos, in the north Aegean island of Doliche (now Ikaria).” [1]

"Taurus" by faerieofskye

This very interesting piece entitled, “Artemis 0f the Bulls” by Carla Osborne describes the importance of bulls in ancient Greek religion, particularly in Crete and how they played a part in the worship of Mithras. “Artemis and Goddesses similar to Her were also closely connected to the bull and cow, sacred from Neolithic times. The head and horns of a bull resemble the uterus and ovaries of a woman, and the cow produced milk for people as well as her young. Both could provide meat, leather for clothing and footwear, horns for musical instruments, and so on. These connections had persisted on Crete more  than elsewhere in Southern Greece, where they were connected to Britomartis instead.

The bull’s head was clearly connected to rebirth and new life. The butterfly, one of the symbolic carriers of human souls in the cycle of rebirth. Hence the association between the bull’s head, butterfly and double ax. The bull and double ax became especially connected to Artemis. The ceremony of blood baptism was used in Her worship, later taken as a sacrament by the worshippers of Mithras.

Atia undergoing the taurobolium from HBO/BBC's series "Rome"

The ceremony used by those worshippers may not have been identical to that of Tauropolos, however. Worshippers of Mithras stood beneath a grating, and were drenched with bull’s blood as its throat was cut above it. According to Greek writers, priestesses of Tauropolos were the only ones able to drink bull’s blood and survive, implying a strong taboo due to its sacred nature. They were also known to sometimes sacrifice gelded horses.

Baptism does not need more than a few drops of a liquid for sprinkling, as can be seen in present day Christian ceremionies. The religion around Mithras was created for professional soldiers, men who faced bloody death each day, an entirely different life pattern from most worshippers of Tauropolos.

On Bronze Age Crete, the Goddess of the Sun (Alectrona perhaps) was the one to whom bulls were sacred. The bull game of Crete was called the taurokathapsia, ‘purifying bull dance.’ This was not a bullfight, but a test  of bravery and skill, in which young women and men ran at the bull, grasped its horns, and somersaulted over its back. While Tauropolos does mean bullslayer, this refers to the sacrifice of bulls, not the process of infuriating and tormenting a large bull prior to killing it through loss of blood and repeated sword thrusts.

Sacrifice often involved beheading the bull and leaving its head in the temple, where the skull was used in sacred decoration. The meat was returned to the family who provided the bull, or if community sacrifice, was shared in a feast. No evidence exists of a human sacrifice in the Neolithic, the time these ceremonies derive from, or any such sacrifices later in this context.

The story of the island of Taurus, with its homicidal priestess of Artemis Iphigeneia is probably a demonization of other religious practises. Bull heads were mounted on the walls of many temples, from Catal Huyuk to Crete. The practice of embalming and displaying the heads of honored ancestors may also be the original action. It was meant to allow the ancestors to be part of the family, still remembered and respected, who in turn contributed wisdom and protection.

So Iphigeneia, whose name is also a title of Artemis, is a mortuary priestess like Kirke and Calypso.  Men in Attica could dedicate themselves to Artemis Tauropolos by undergoing a mock beheading ceremony in which a few drops of blood were drawn from his neck with a labrys. Its descendant is the English Knighting ceremony.” [2]

 

 

Sources:

Osborne, Carla.  The New AmazoNation, “Different Aspects of Artemis“.

Wikipedia, “Artemis Tauropolos