“I still believe that in this world we’ve got to find the time for the Life of Riley.”—Lightning Seeds
Jupiter enters Taurus on June 4, 2011. The magnificent and beneficent King of the Gods, the ruler of Mount Olympus himself, comes down to earth for a year. How to make sense of this?
FLYING THE FRIENDLY SKIES
Jupiter is a planet of vistas, expanses, wide open spaces and openness in general, as well as generosity and optimism. Jupiter is a glass-half-full kind of guy. He is uplifting. Where Jupiter is, things are looking up! The very act of looking up reveals the mysteries of the vast skies above, opening as they do to the infinitely vaster mysteries of the cosmos, echoing the infinitely deep mysteries of the soul. “As above, so below,” announces the mystical truth embedded into astrology, and it is within that very statement we can take a look at what Jupiter in Taurus is all about.
Jupiter is big!, huge!, enormous! and impressive. When Norma Desmond said, “I am big, it’s the pictures that got small,” she was adamantly emphasizing the aspect of life associated with Jupiter. Where Jupiter is, the pictures are always big, and we grasp the big picture.
See, Jupiter is connected to the faculty of pattern recognition. If you’ve ever played connect-the-dots, where a series of points on a page come together to reveal an image, you know what I’m talking about. Jupiter is the big dot-connector of the planets, the intuitive perception that connects the dots of life instantly to reveal the greater meaning of the plotted points.
Example: If you’ve seen the X-Files episode “Conduit,” you might remember the little boy who started writing pages and pages of binary data, very quickly. He laid the pages out, which made it only look more confusing and absurd. ”What does it mean?” asked Scully. “I don’t know,” replied Mulder. Yet when Agent Scully walked up the staircase and saw the view from above, with a gasp of “Oh my god!” all of the meaningless, separate data bits came together to form a picture, the image of a face. Meaning emerged from nonsense. This is the nature of Jupiter.
With Jupiter’s brand of connectivity via the big picture, life becomes meaningful, philosophies and faiths emerge, and you can trust that your life right now, at this point in its plot, fits into a larger scheme. This archetypal perception of patterns is essential to Jupiter, evidenced even in the planet’s twelve-year orbit around the Sun, with twelve being one of the big archetypal numbers.
Meanwhile, the earthy and material sign of Taurus is resplendent with the vibrant and vibrating life of the natural world. Taurus is the awesomeness of the five senses that bring the aliveness of the physical world to our attention. To smell the fragrances of fresh flowers, hear the hooting of the owl, taste the tangy tangerine on your tongue, catch the cacophony of color nature splashes everywhere, and feel the satisfyingly sensual surfaces of life—all of these are fundamental to Taurus.
Taurus also has to do with money and security. They say money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can buy a lot of really nice stuff! With enough money, and a decent purchase, you can be secure in experiencing the best food, the most comfortable furniture, something abundant in color (aah!) rather than saturated in cheap beige (ugh!). The five senses come home. With money you can purchase a most beautiful and precious work of art, and it can hang from the wall in your expensive and expansive home for as long as you desire to stand and see its image reflecting back to you something tangible about life. Think of Steve Winwood, a Taurus, singing “The Finer Things” or “Back In the High Life Again.”
To stand firmly on solid ground knowing your life has worth and value simply because you are alive; to be self-possessed and affirm this with material things that act as mirrors, providing a sense of security by reminding you of what you value—that’s Taurus.
Le sens de la vie / The meaning of life
Putting Jupiter and Taurus together might, at first, seem like a strange combination of opposites. However, one of Jupiter’s symbols is the Bull, the symbol of Taurus. There seems to be something more going on here than just expanded waistlines, expanded wallets, or bouts of kingly overindulgence. (Interestingly enough, “The Life of Riley” first emerged while Jupiter was in Taurus in 1941). If we keep in mind Jupiter’s capacity to make meaningful connections, and add Taurus’ material-world senses, what happens? What happens when meaning enters the realm of sense?
Curiously, if we look up (up!) the meaning of “sense” we find that “sense” means “meaning.” Huh? To be clearer, there is a strong inherent link between sense and meaning. When we say that something is “senseless” (such as violence) we are saying that it is meaningless, or pointless. To speak of the meaning of life in French is to speak of “le sens de la vie,” where sens translates into “meaning.” To align meaning and sense together is only natural; it makes sense. With Jupiter in Taurus, then, two powerful modes of sense perception connect: our perception of life through the five senses connects with our higher sense perception from which life garners meaning. Meaning becomes tangible, touchable, substantial, full of sense and sensibility.
MAN'S SEARCH FOR MEANING
Viktor Frankl, who had Jupiter in Taurus in his birth chart, wrote “Man’s Search For Meaning” and said this: “For the meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment.” Not only was Frankl invested in making the meaning of life tangible from moment to moment, but he did so from within the profoundly senseless (on every level) environment of a Nazi death camp. To be in a black and white environment stripped of Venus—love, color, beauty, life!—and to have the five senses assaulted with nothing but horror, and to emerge to write “Man’s Search For Meaning” carries the full impact of Jupiter in Taurus. Anne Frank, another Jupiter in Taurus, said from her hiding place in a tiny attic during World War II: “I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.”
Martin Luther King (indeed, a King) had Jupiter in Taurus in his birth chart and generously afforded a meaningful life to all humans, deeply rooted in values. Said King: “The great problem facing modern man is that the means by which we live have outdistanced the spiritual ends for which we live.” This sentiment is echoed by Viktor Frankl: “Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.”
With Taurus’ connection to values, money, and financial security—surely a complicated issue in 2011, in the midst of recession, when looking up reveals a ceiling of debt—it’s very possible that things could be looking up. Less debt? I don’t know. But I look to Anne Frank again for curious possibilities and something more meaningful: “No one has ever become poor by giving.” One of Jupiter’s many strengths is generosity.
COME TO YOUR SENSES
When the band Lightning Seeds sang in “The Life of Riley” (from their album entitled “Sense”!!), “I still believe that in this world we’ve got to find the time for the Life of Riley” they remind us that life itself is fun, a pleasurable and sensual experience. The phrase “the life of riley” can insinuate a kind of shallow materialism, but it also resonates with a world where pleasures are not automatically linked with “guilty” but are essential to why humans live in the first place: to experience life on Earth, to experience being alive.
I framed this post within the mystical statement, “As above, so below.” The mirroring of the spiritual world through the material world is essential to Jupiter in Taurus. And its sensibility is at the core of astrology; some of the deepest roots of astrology go back to the Age of Taurus 5,000 years ago. When we look up to the skies and see a bunch of dots we call stars, and imaginatively and intuitively connect those stars with daily life on the ground, the cumulative effect gives life cosmological meaning. Some say that those stars are our ancestors shining down on us. Jupiter in Taurus reminds us that we don’t have to literally be up in the stars, twinkling, to be back in the high life again—the high life is down here, right now, we need only come to our senses.