No astrological sign is more grounded than sensual and security-loving Taurus. But these obvious traits obscure a more esoteric dimension to Taurus. In the pre-Christian world, for instance, religious ceremonies often revolved around rituals of sacrifice. Bulls, the animal associated with Taurus, were commonly used in these ancient rites. Consecrated to the moon-goddess, the bull’s blood was sprinkled on stone altars and used in rituals of baptism and purification.
Few modern-day seekers would find meaning in the literal sacrifice of a living animal. But reflecting on the archetypal symbolism of ceremonial sacrifice yields rich insights. The archetype of sacrifice teaches that there is wisdom in giving something up in order to make room for the creative spirit of the new. It teaches that we cannot do or be all things at once. This esoteric principle is fundamental to being “grounded”—the essence of Taurus. Paring down and stripping away limits us-but at the same time gives structure and shape to our free-form spirits.
Thus this Taurus new moon is a cosmically ordained time to create a ceremonial ritual of sacrifice. To begin your ritual, assess your life and determine what part of your inner character or outer life simply “needs to go.” Unlike banishing something unwanted, the ritual of sacrifice involves relinquishing something that is meaningful or important to us. You may find, for instance, that giving up your extroverted social life is necessary in order to bring forth some creative project. Or, it may be that you need to forswear your love of seclusion in order to allow a relationship to blossom. You may truly appreciate spending money on books, but need to sacrifice that in favor of an acupuncture treatment. Making a sacrifice is a form of emotional ecology. By practicing principles of conservation in how we live our lives, we cultivate a healthier inner ecosystem.
After you have determined that part of your life that needs sacrificing, choose a spirit animal that symbolizes your choice. Our inner, human nature, the ancients realized, reflects the living realm of outer nature. A bird, for example, might stand for that part of you that loves getting together with friends. A bull might signify the side of you that is assertive to the point of dominating the more sensitive, empathic side of yourself or others. A dove may embody the peaceloving part of you that prevents confrontation. A cow may signify the part of you that is overly nurturing to the detriment of your professional life. A fox might symbolize your wily street smarts that has obscured the more innocent part of your soul.
Next, imagine that you are facing your spirit animal. Pay tribute to the creature before you, honoring its positive gifts. Then explain your reasons why it must leave and give voice to the new dimension it is being sacrificed for. After you have blessed your spirit animal, imagine that you have released it into freedom, whether through opening a gate, letting it fly into the air, or seeing it rejoin its wild peers. This may not be forever, but for a portion of time, until you are ready to welcome that part of your nature back into your life.
At first, you may feel grief at letting go of a cherished part of yourself. You may also feel touched by the love of the animal that has sacrificed itself for your sake. Gradually, however, you begin to feel the spacious opening that has been created through making this spirit sacrifice. There is room now within your soul for the birth of the new and the uprising of an unexpected and unexplored part of yourself. Finally, give thanks to the moon, give thanks to the realm of nature and all living creatures, and last, acknowledge the sacred principle of sacrifice and its usefulness in our everyday lives.
If you’d like to explore the archetypes in even greater depth, if you like to journal and/or muse on the positions of the Sun and Moon, you may enjoy my enrolling in Dana’s Twelve Moon workshop (by snail-mail or email). It’s designed to deepen your relationship with the guardians of natural time, the Sun, the Moon, the zodiac… and you!