The Book of Talismans Amulets and Zodiacal Gems
CHAPTER II TAURUS - THE BULL
The Constellation - Aldebaran - The Chaldeans - The Temples - Apis Bull - Aphrodite - Characteristics of Taurus - Training - Gems of Taurus - The Sapphire - Bishop’s Ring - St. Jerome - Qualities of the Sapphire - Star Sapphire - Solomon’s Seal - Charlemagne’s Talisman - The Turquoise - Bcetius de Boot - Horseman’s Talisman - Qualities of the Stone.
The Sun enters the Celestial House of Taurus, the second sign of the Zodiac, on April 21st, and remains in occupation until May 22nd. Taurus is situated between the constellations of Aries and Gemini, and its position is marked by a beautiful cluster of stars named Hyades, from a Greek word meaning rain, because the influence of these stars was considered to be conducive to rainfalls. Its most brilliant star is Aldebaran, a star of the first magnitude; Taurus also contains the Pleiades, and it is a generally accepted theory amongst astronomers that the motion of the
Sun, probably in a circle, has its centre in one of these stars. According to ancient mythology, the Pleiades were the seven daughters of Atlas and Pheione, who, because of their great virtue and purity, were rewarded by a place in the heavens as a constellation of stars.
The symbol of this House is the Bull (as illustrated Frontispiece, No. 2), which was selected by the early Chaldean astrologers as typifying the nature of those born under this sign, and not from any fancied resemblance of its stars to a Bull. Undoubtedly the Zodiac had a prehistoric origin, and one of the ancient names given to this sign was TE, meaning foundation, which is interesting from the fact that it was in this sign period that the foundations of the two Jewish temples were laid.
As Taurus is the first of the earthly signs it typifies the creative forces of Nature; Apis, the sacred Bull of the Egyptians, was used as its symbol and was adopted by the Greeks as typical of fecundity, and is mentioned in Part I, Chapter VIII, on Greek Talismans. In Ancient Greece, Venus, the ruling planet of this House, was represented by the goddess Aphrodite, usually shown with horns on her head (not intended to represent the goddess Isis as has been sometimes imagined, but the planet Venus, which occasionally in the course of her revolution round the Sun is seen in crescent form).
The dominating characteristic of Taurus subjects is their tenacity of purpose, which makes them staunch friends but determined enemies; and although this may to some extent cause difficulty in adapting their opinions to those of others, on the other hand it enables them, when once they have grasped existing conditions, to reap the benefit of their industry and application.
They possess strong mental and physical powers, and are persistent students, their qualities of concentration making them capable of high educational attainments. They are determined, fearless, enthusiastic, and unyielding in carrying out their schemes; and, when not irritated, are generous. The temper is, under normal circumstances, even, if at times sullen, not easily provoked, but very hot and tempestuous when aroused. They can be influenced through their enthusiasm, but will resent to the utmost with dogged obstinacy any attempt to drive them against their inclinations. Their memories are, as a rule, good, and their tenacity of purpose is usually accompanied by a great deal of patience, so that they usually accomplish aims, although not always with a due regard to cost. Their outlook is practical, but not miserly, and money is valued as a medium of power, and for the use that can be made of it. Owing to their strong
vitality, they generate life forces very rapidly, which gives them the power of healing, making them very helpful to people of nervous temperament lacking in vitality which this type possesses in excess. When attracted their friendship is sincere and trustworthy; and, although they are undoubtedly shrewd in business matters, they are also sensitive to psychic and emotional influences, being apt to allow their feelings and emotions to rule, laying themselves open to
deception, and the unscrupulous, by working upon their sympathies, can prejudice their judgment, so that as a rule it will be best for this type to make all important decisions when alone, either in the early morning or after retiring at night.
They do not usually suffer from lack of appetite, and their tastes are of an epicurean nature, the masculine subjects being critical and not easily satisfied; the gentler sex are apt to be hypercritical and with a strong bias in favour of their own culinary theories or methods over those of others.
Their success in life comes, as a rule, after thirty, when they have their dispositions well in hand and are able to benefit by their experiences.
In this sign the Moon is in exaltation, and subjects born when she is so placed have their characters strengthened, and have more reserve and self-control. Their ambitions become practical and successful; the constitution is stronger, and there is less liability to disease.
With Taurean subjects, the early impressions of life are vivid and lasting, and their future career and welfare depend very largely on their training and influences through childhood and youth, surrounding conditions and early attachments being never forgotten.
Although producing practical business people, this sign has also its artistic side natural to the planet Venus. Many talented musicians and singers are born during this period, and the type as a whole, even when personally unaccomplished, is greatly influenced by music and singing which make a strong appeal to their emotional tendencies.
Unless following a very active vocation, their abundant vitality predisposes them to put on flesh, and it is through this tendency that disease attacks them and they become liable to stomach troubles, dropsy, affections of the heart, kidneys, and generative system; they are also prone to complaints affecting the throat, such as quinsies, diphtheria, and laryngitis.
They will harmonise best with people whose birthdays come between August 22nd and September 22nd; December 21st and January 20th; and June 21st and July 22nd.
The Gems of this House are the Sapphire and Turquoise, which are especially suitable for the expression of the Taurean qualities.
The sapphire. The Sapphire, one of the earliest gems known to man, is found in riverbeds and torrents, the force of the water washing the stones from their matrix ; and to this day are still found under these conditions. In its finest quality the sapphire is of a deep blue colour, and the more it resembles the dark velvety blue of the Pansy the greater is its value.
Of coloured gems, the Sapphire has been the most venerated amongst all nations, and particularly in the East it is the stone most frequently consecrated to the various deities. Amongst Buddhists it is believed to produce a desire for prayer, and is regarded as the Stone of Stones to give Spiritual Light, and to bring Peace and Happiness as long as its wearer leads a moral life.
In the early days of the Christian Church, the stones and metal used in making the ring of a Bishop was left very much to the taste of the individual, but in the twelfth century Innocent III decreed that these rings should be made of pure gold, set with an unengraved stone, the Sapphire being the gem selected, as possessing the virtues and qualities essential to its dignified position as the badge of Pontifical rank and “a seal of secrets,” for there be many things “that a priest conceals from the senses of the vulgar and less intelligent; which he keeps locked up as it were under seal.”
Of this gem St. Jerome writes that “it procures favours with princes, pacifies enemies, frees from enchantment, and obtains freedom from captivity.”
The Jews also held this stone in high veneration, the seal-stone in the ring of King Solomon being said to be a Sapphire, and in Exodus XXIV. I0, we read in the description of a manifestation of Jehovah: “There was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.”
This description of clearness, if taken as meaning transparency, would indicate a familiarity with the qualities of the stone as we know it, although in most of the ancient writings all blue stones are loosely described as Sapphires, including the Tables of the Law, which it is practically certain could not have been of Sapphire and in all probability were of Lapis Lazuli.
During the Middle Ages the qualities attributed to the Sapphire were that it preserved Chastity, discovered Fraud and Treachery, protected from Poison, Plague, Fever, and Skin Diseases, and had great power in resisting black magic and illwishing; in smallpox it preserved the eyes from injury if rubbed on them. It also gave concentration; but if worn by an intemperate or impious person, it lost its lustre, thus indicating the presence of vice and impurity. It is recorded that in the Church of Old St. Paul’s, London, there was a famous Sapphire given by “Richard de Preston, Citizen and Grocer of that city, for the cure of infirmities in the eyes of those thus afflicted who might resort to it.”
Cloudy Sapphires are sometimes found which owing to a peculiarity in their composition show six rays of light running from the top of the stone. These are known as Asteria, or Star Stones, and this Star Sapphire was much valued by the Ancients as a love charm; they considered it peculiarly powerful for the procuring of favours, for bringing good fortune and averting witchcraft. Six is the number given to Venus, and is also the number of the true Solomon’s Seal, whose virtues and qualities (treated of under Talismans, Part I, Chapter II) this stone represents.
The wife of the Emperor Charlemagne is reputed to have possessed a very powerful Talisman composed of two rough Sapphires and a portion of the Holy Cross, made by the Magi in the train of Haaroon Al Raschid, Emperor of the East. This Talisman was made for the purpose of keeping Charlemagne’s affections constant to his wife, and it was so efficacious that his love endured after her death. He would not allow the body, on which the Talisman hung, to be interred, even when decomposition had set in; and burial was only permitted when Charlemagne’s confessor, who knew of the Talisman and its virtue, removed it from the body. The confessor kept the Talisman and was raised to high honours by Charlemagne, becoming Archbishop of Mainz and Chancellor of the Empire. It was, however, restored to the monarch on his death-bed when he was suffering great agony, and it enabled him to pass peacefully away.
The turquoise. The Turquoise is universally recognised as a Venus stone, though sometimes erroneously attributed to the Zodiacal House of Capricorn, which is ruled by the planet Saturn. It responds to the vibrations of both Venus Houses, but seems strongest in Taurus.
This stone was, in ancient times, known as the Turkis, or Turkeystone, as most of the specimens found in Europe in those days came from Persia through the hands of Constantinople merchants. The best specimens still come from Persia, although Turquoises are also mined in Arizona, U.S.A.; in China and Thibet and Russia; and in the Crown Jewels of Spain are many Turquoises brought from New Mexico over two hundred years ago. The Turquoise is more frequently used for Amulets than any other stone, as much for its mystic virtues as for its beauty, particularly in the East, where sentences from the Koran are engraved upon it and the characters gilded.
Amongst its many virtues it was believed to warn of poison by becoming moist and changing
colour; and it is said that King John, by these indications, detected the poison that caused his
death. This gem has always been regarded as a pledge of true affections, and is also credited with
the power of drawing upon itself the evil that threatens its wearer; but this quality belongs only
to the Turquoise that has been given, and not purchased. Bcetius de Boot tells of a stone that had
been in the possession of a Spanish gentleman living near his father; the stone was of exceptional beauty, but at the time of its owner’s death it had entirely lost its colour and was said to resemble Malachite more than Turquoise. Because of this de Boot’s father bought it for a very small sum, but not liking to wear so shabby-looking a gem, he gave it to his son, saying, “Son, as the virtues of the Turkois are said to exist only when the stone has been received as a gift, I will try its efficacy by bestowing it upon thee.” De Boot, although he did not much appreciate the gift, had his crest engraved upon it, but had not worn it a month before it regained its original beauty. Shortly after this the stone gave evidence of its power, for as de Boot was riding home in the dark his horse stumbled and fell from a bank to the road ten feet below, neither horse nor rider being any the worse for the fall; in the morning the stone was found to be split in two.
It is for qualities such as these that it is prized by the Turks as a horseman’s Talisman, they believing that it makes a horse sure-footed and protects its rider from injury by falls; and Camillus Leonardus says: “So long as a rider hath the Turquoise with him his horse will never tire him and will preserve him from any accident, and defend him that carries it from untoward and evil casualties.”
In the Middle Ages the Turquoise was believed to appease hatred, relieve and prevent headaches, and to change colour when its owner was in peril or ill-health. The change of colour must not be permanent, and the stone should recover its real hue when the illness or danger is passed.
A gentleman who is a practical business man, holding an important position in the City, to whom I supplied a Turquoise, assured me that on two occasions when he was in personal danger the stone paled, but afterwards recovered itsnatural colour. It is not, however, sensitive to the changes in his states of health.