The Capture of the Cretan Bull
(Taurus, April 21st - May 20th)
The presiding One spoke to the Teacher of the man whose light shone forth among the sons of men, who are the sons of God.
is the man who stood with power before the Gods, received their gifts and entered through the first wide open Gate to labor
at his task?"
"He rests, Oh, great presiding One, and ponders on his failure, and mourns for Abderis, and seeks for help within himself."
"It is well. The gifts of failure guarantee success, when rightly understood. Let him proceed to labor once again, enter
the Second Gate, returning with dispatch."
The Second Gate stood open wide and, from the light which veiled the distant scene, a voice emerged and said: "Pass through
the Gate. Proceed upon thy way. Perform thy labor and return to me, reporting on the deed."
Alone and sad, conscious of need and worn with deep distress, Hercules slowly passed between the pillars of the Second
Gate into the light which shines where stands the sacred bull. On the horizon rose the island fair where dwelt the bull, and
where adventurous men could enter that vast maze which lured them to bewilderment, the maze of Minos, King of Crete, the keeper
of the bull.
Crossing the ocean to the sunlit isle (though how we are not told) Hercules entered on his task to seek and find the bull,
and lead it to the Holy Place where dwell the one-eyed men. From place to place he chased the bull, led by the gleaming star
which shone upon the forehead of the bull, a bright lamp in a dark place. This light, moving as moved the bull, led him. from
place to place. Alone, he sought the bull; alone he chased it to its lair; alone he captured it and mounted on its back. Around
him stood the Sisters seven, urging him on his way and, in the shining light, he rode the bull across the glimmering water
to the isle of Crete unto the land where dwelt the Cyclops three.
These three great sons of God awaited his return, watching his progress through the waves. He rode the bull as if it were
a horse, and with the Sisters singing as he went, drew near unto the land.
"He comes with strength", said Brontes, and went to meet him on the shore. "He rides in light," said Steropes, "his inner
light will brighter be," then fanned the light to sudden flame. "He comes with speed," said Arges, "he is riding through the
Hercules nearer drew, urging the sacred bull upon the Way, throwing the light upon the trail which led from Crete unto
the Temple of the Lord, within the city of the one-eyed men. Upon the mainland, at the water's edge, these three men stood
and grasped the bull, taking it thus away from Hercules.
"What hast thou here?" said Brontes, arresting Hercules upon the Way. "The sacred bull, Oh, Holy One."
"Who art thou? Tell us now thy name," said Steropes.
"I am the son of Hera, a son of man and yet a son of God. I have
performed my task. Take now the bull into the Holy Place and save it from due death. Minos desired its sacrifice."
"Who told you thus to seek and save the bull?" said Arges, moving towards the Holy Place.
"Within myself I felt the urge and sought my Teacher. Told by the great Presiding One, He sent me on the Way, and with
long search and many pains, I found the bull. Helped by its holy light, I rode it through the separating sea unto this Holy
"Depart in peace, my son, your task is done."
The Teacher saw him coming and went forth to meet him oil the Way. Across the waters came the voices of the Sisters seven,
singing around the bull, and nearer still the chanting of the one-eyed men within the Temple of the Lord, high in the Holy
"You came with empty hands, oh, Hercules," the Teacher said.
"I have these empty hands, because I have fulfilled the task to which I was assigned. The sacred bull is rescued, securely
with the Three. What next?"
"Within the light shall you see light; walk in that light and there see light. Your light must brighter shine. The bull
is in the Holy Place."
And Hercules reposed upon the grass and rested from his labor.
Later the Teacher turned to Hercules and said: "Labor the second is performed, and easy was the task. Learn from this task
the lesson of proportion. Strength to perform the arduous task; a willingness to do the task which taxes not your powers;
such are two lessons learnt. Rise soon and seek the country, guarded by the Third Gate, and find the golden apples. Bring
The Meaning of the Labor
In spite of all initial partial failure, Hercules has made his start. In line with the universal law he has begun his work
on the mental plane.
In the working out of the creative plan, thought-impulse is followed by desire. That state of consciousness, which we call
mental, is succeeded by the state of sensitivity, and this second labor deals with the desire world and with the potency of
desire. It is one of the most interesting labors and one that is told us in fullest detail. Some of the accounts given of
the various tests to which Hercules was subjected are exceedingly sketchy and brief in outline, but the tests in Taurus and
Gemini, in Scorpio and Pisces, are related at greater length. They were drastic in their application and tried out every part
of the aspirant's nature.
The key to the labor in Taurus is the right understanding of the law of Attraction. This is the law that governs that magnetic
force and that principle of coherence which builds the forms through which God, or the soul, manifests. It produces the stability
which demonstrates in the persistence of the form throughout its cycle of existence, and concerns the interrelation between
that which builds the form and the form itself; between the two poles, positive and negative; between spirit and matter; between
the Self and the not-Self; between male and female, and thus between the opposites.Four Symbolic Words
We find that this test concerns predominantly the problem of sex. There are four words in the English language which are
ideographic and symbolic. They consist of three letters each and are as follows: God, Sex, Law and Sin. In these four words
we find expressed the sum total of all that is.
God, the sum total of all forms, the sum total of all states of consciousness, and the energizing Life. Sex, that Life
in operation, attracting spirit and matter and instituting the interplay between the objective and the subjective and between
the exoteric and the esoteric. Sex, desire, attraction, the instinctive urge to creation, the pull of the soul, the urge to
divinity, desire of the male for the female, the lure of matter for spirit: all these phrases can be piled up to express some
of the activities of Sex in its various relations. Law, the thought-impelled response of God to form; the habits instituted
by the timeless interplay between the polar opposites which have been recognized by humanity as the inevitable laws of nature;
the imposition of the will of God and the impress of that will upon form and its recognition by man. Sin, according to its
connotation, signifies "the one who it is," the uprising of the unit against the whole, individuality versus the group, selfishness
instead of universal interest.
Thus is the story of the universe written for us in these four words. God, the Whole; Sex, the attraction between the parts
within that Whole; Law, the habit of the Whole; and Sin, the revolt of the unit in the Whole.
The Story of the Labor
Minos, King of Crete, possessed a sacred bull, which he kept on the island of Crete. Eurystheus sent for Hercules and told
him that it was necessary to capture the bull and bring it from the island to the mainland. No instructions were given as
to how this was to be accomplished, and all that Hercules knew was that the bull was sacred, that it was born from the sea,
and that its destiny was to be offered in sacrifice to Minos. Hercules, therefore, travelled to Crete and searched all over
the island, pursuing the bull from place to place until at last he cornered it.
Then, we are told, he rode the bull, like a horse, across the island and through the waters which separated Crete from
the mainland, and so brought it into the city of the Cyclops. These Cyclops were peculiar beings of whom it was claimed that
they possessed only one eye, set in the middle of the forehead. They were ruled over by three outstanding figures, whose names
were Brontes, meaning thunder, Steropes, meaning lightning, and Arges, meaning whirling activity. When Hercules arrived with
the bull at the gates of the city, he was met by the three Cyclops, who received the sacred bull from him and took charge
of it. And thus ended the second labor.The Theme of Illumination
Taurus is one of be most interesting of the zodiacal constellations, especially at this time. It is the Fixed Cross in
the heavens, the Cross of the Disciple, and the following extract is of interest in this connection:
"The sky is mystically spoken of as the Temple, and the eternal consciousness of God. Its altar is the sun, whose
four arms or rays typify the four corners of the cardinal cross of the universe, which have become the four fixed signs of
the zodiac, and as the four powerful sacred animal signs are both cosmical and spiritual, they represent the basic elements
resembling our human principles.
The sign Leo represents fire or spirit; Taurus, earth or body; Aquarius, air or mind; and Scorpio represents water
likened to the soul. Leo, as the lion, is the strength of the lower nature, and is the serpent of force which, if directed
upward, overcomes. Taurus, the bull, is always the symbol of creative force. Aquarius, the man, is the light-bearer, or light-bringer.
Scorpio, the scorpion, is often transmuted with Aquila, the eagle .which rises at the same time with Scorpio; they are closely
linked in symbolism. Scorpio is 'the monster of darkness', who stings to death, and yet preserves and reproduces, symbolizing
not only generation but regeneration. As the latter it is Aquila, the eagle, the bird of the sun which has conquered the dark
side of Scorpio (that adversary that can drag man down lower than the beasts), but when transmuted is the eagle of light,
which can exalt above the gods."
The "eye of the bull" in Taurus, the magnificent fixed star, Aldebaran, is one of the reasons why this constellation
is regarded as conferring illumination. In ancient days it was called the leading star of the heavens, and Taurus has always
been connected with light and, therefore, with Christ, who proclaimed himself as the Light of the World. Light, illumination
and sound, as an expression of the creative force: these are the three basic ideas connected with this constellation. The
"interpreter of the divine voice", as Taurus was called in ancient Egypt, can be paraphrased into Christian terminology and
called "the Word made flesh". It is an interesting sidelight on the power of the zodiacal influences to recall that the bull's-eye
lantern can be traced back to the bull's eve in Taurus, and the pontifical bull, or the papal enunciations which were regarded
as interpreters of God's voice, is a term in common usage today.
It might well be asked here, in what way does Taurus, the bull, become the bringer of illumination? We are told that in
this sign the moon is exalted and Venus is the ruler. The moon has always, from the standpoint of the esotericist, and among
primitive agricultural peoples, been regarded as the form-building aspect. The moon is the symbol, therefore, of matter and
is seen in many of our churches, closely connected with the Virgin Mary.
The consummation of the work that is undertaken in Taurus, and the result of the Taurian influence, is the glorification
of matter and subsequent illumination through its medium. All that at present prevents the glory, which is the soul, and the
radiance which emanates from the God within the form, from shining forth in its full power, is the matter or form aspect.
When that has been consecrated, purified and spiritualized, then the glory and the light can indeed shine through and the
moon aspect can, therefore, be exalted in Taurus. This is done through the influence of Venus, the symbol of earthly and of
heavenly love, of both spiritual aspiration and of carnal desire, and is fittingly, therefore, the ruler of this sign. She
is, above everything else, love, the creator of beauty and rhythm and unity. The bull and the cow together represent creation,
and so Taurus and Venus are closely linked. The following is of interest:
"The bull or cow is the symbol of this sign, and in the celestial chart it will be observed that the little group
of stars called Pleiades are represented just at the shoulder of the bull. Now, in Egyptian sculpture, or painting, the Pleiades
are sometimes represented by the figure of a dove with wings outspread over the bull's saddle. The dove as we remember, is
the bird sacred to Venus, and as the Pleiades are part of the constellation Taurus and, as we shall see, more Taurian in nature,
if possible, than Taurus itself, the dove becomes a specially appropriate symbol for this little star-group."
The Theme of Sex
From this extract and many others which could be adduced, it is apparent how closely linked with sex, in its lower and
in its higher aspects, is this important constellation of Taurus. This is why it has been called in some books, the "sign
of generation", both earthly and heavenly. We have seen that the power of the sign Taurus is that of attraction, or of bringing
together. It exerts a steady and continuous pull and in both the symbolical and the astronomical sense it attracts. We have
seen that in this sign are to be found the Pleiades, among them Alcyone, called the central sun of our universe, and around
it circles our sun, with its attendant planets. The words of job when he said: "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades
or loose the bands of Orion?" thus become clear. The Pleiades are the symbol of the soul around which the wheel of life revolves.
It is interesting to discover again, in Taurus, the triplicity which is so constantly recurrent in astronomical lore and
in mythology: Taurus, representing form and the attractive pull of matter; the Pleiades, representing soul and the vast recurring
cycle of experience; and, among the seven Pleiades, [Note the "seven Sisters" singing about Hercules, in the statement of
the Myth] the Lost Pleiad (for only six are visible) a symbol of the obscuration of spirit, whilst soul, through desire, takes
a body. Thus the idea of the relation of the Self and the not-Self, in order to produce the ultimate revelation of the spirit,
underlies all mythological teaching and the scriptures and symbols of all time, and thus we have also the emergence of the
idea of the great illusion and glamor. Spirit or God is "lost", or veiled, and disappears in the attractiveness of the outer
form and in the glamor which the soul attracts around itself.
It should be remembered here that the opposite sign to Taurus is that of Scorpio, and these two signs constitute the field
of a stupendous effort on the part of Hercules; for in one he wrestles with the problem of sex, and in the other, he overcomes
the great illusion.Nature of the Tests
The broad lesson to be learned in this sign is to achieve right understanding of the law of attraction and right use and
control of matter. In this way matter is raised up into heaven, figuratively speaking, and can enter upon its right function;
which is, to constitute a medium of expression and a field of endeavor for the indwelling Christ or soul. The aspirant, therefore,
is tested in two ways: first as to the caliber of his animal nature and the motives underlying its utilization; second, he
is tested as to the attraction which the great illusion can exert over him.
Maya, or the great illusion, and sex are but two aspects of the same force, that of attraction: one, as it manifests on
the physical plane, and the other, as it expresses itself in the field of the emotional-desire nature.The Disciple and Sex
An aspirant to discipleship has in sex a real problem with which to contend. Self-indulgence and the control of the human
being by any part of his organism are always inevitably wrong. When a man's entire mind is occupied with the thought of women,
or vice versa; when he lives mainly to satisfy an animal craving; when he finds himself unable to resist the lure of his polar
opposite, then he is a victim of and is controlled by the lowest part of his nature, the animal.
But when man recognizes his physical functions as a divine heritage, and his equipment as having been given him for the
good of the group and to be rightly used for the benefit of the human family, then we shall see a new motivating impulse underlying
human conduct where sex is concerned.
We shall see the elimination of promiscuity, with its attendant evil, disease. We shall see the solution of the problem
of too many children and, incidentally, easement of the economic problem. Through right control of the sex function and its
relegation to the purpose for which it exists (the carrying onward of the human family and the providing of bodies whereby
souls call gain experience) then right use will be made of sex.
Then, passion, lust, self-gratification, disease, and over-population will die out in the world. Matter will no longer
be prostituted to selfish desire, and the relation between the sexes will be governed by understanding of divine purpose and
Two points of view are equally wrong: in the one case we have practices taught which lead eventually to sexual orgies.
These have been dignified by the name of sex magic, and in the sexual orgasm, deliberately induced, a man is led to believe
that the physical sex act is his highest point of spiritual opportunity and that, at such a moment, he can touch, if he will,
the kingdom of Heaven.
The other attitude, which makes marriage and all expression of the sex life a sin for a disciple and which says that a
man cannot be pure in the truly spiritual aspect if he marries and raises a family, is as devastatingly dangerous. There is
no state of consciousness and no condition of life in which it is impossible for a man to function as a son of God.
If it is not possible for a man to live the life of discipleship and the life of initiation and, with due self-control
and understanding, live a normal, balanced sex life; then there is a department of human expression in which divinity is helpless,
and this I refuse to recognize. There is no department of life, no field of expression, no meeting of obligation, no use of
the physical apparatus, in which the soul cannot fulfil the part of the dominating factor and all things be done truly to
the glory of God.
But the soul must control, and not the lower nature. People forget that some of the greatest of the world initiates married;
that the Buddha married and had a son, and must have been an initiate of high degree when he entered into the married state.
They forget that Moses, David the Psalmist, and many of the outstanding figures in the world of mysticism in both hemispheres,
were married and raised families.
Disciples belong to all races, both in the occident and in the orient, and the attitude of different races towards sex
is widely diversified. Standards of conduct differ. The legality or the illegality of relations varies. Different epochs and
different civilizations have seen relationships that were legal at one time, and illegal at another. Some races are monogamous
and some races are polygamous. In some civilizations the woman is regarded as the dominant factor, and in others the man.
Down through the ages sex perverts, homosexuals, true and spurious, have been with us, and today is probably no worse than
5,000 years ago, except that everything is now dragged out into the light, which is good. Everybody talks about the problem;
and the rising generation are asking in no uncertain tones: "What about sex? What is right and what is wrong?" How can they
be expected to deal with a question which has been discussed, seemingly in the most futile manner, down through the ages?
Here it is pertinent to note that Minos, King of Crete, who owned the sacred bull also possessed the maze in which the
Minotaur lived, and the maze has ever been the symbol of the great illusion. The word "maze" comes from an old English word,
meaning to bewilder, to confuse, to puzzle. The island of Crete with its maze and its bull is an outstanding symbol of the
great illusion. It was separated from the mainland, and illusion and bewilderment are characteristics of the separated self,
but not of the soul on its own plane, where group realities and universal truths constitute its kingdom.
The bull, to Hercules, typified animal desire, and the many aspects of desire in the world of form which, in their totality,
constitute the great illusion. The disciple, like Hercules, is a separated unit, divided from the mainland, the symbol of
the group, by the world of illusion and the maze in which he lives. The bull of desire has to be caught and mastered and chased
from one point to another in the life of the separated self, until the time comes when the aspirant can do what Hercules succeeded
in doing: ride the bull. To ride an animal, in the ancient myths, signifies control. The bull is not slaughtered, it is ridden
and guided, and under the mastery of the man.
There are potencies and faculties hidden in the human being that, when developed and unfolded, may bring new powers to
bear upon this problem. But, in the meantime, what shall the aspirant do? Certain suggestions may be made:
- Ride, control and master the bull and let the aspirant remember that the bull has to be ridden across the waters to the
mainland; which means that the solution of the whole sex problem will come when the disciple subordinates his separated personal
island self to group purpose and endeavor, and begins to rule his life by the question, "What is best for the group with which
I am associated?" It is by doing this that the bull is ridden to the mainland. Use common sense. The ancient meaning of the
word "common sense" was that there was a sense which synthesized and unified the five senses and so constituted a "common
sense", literally, the mind. Let the aspirant use his mind, and through the medium of intelligent perception, guide and control
the bull of desire. If common sense is used, certain dangers will be avoided. There is a danger in the method of many aspirants
in inhibiting or shutting off all sex expression. Physiologically they may succeed, but the experience of psychologists and
teachers is that where inhibition and a drastic suppression is imposed upon the organism, the result is some form of nervous
or mental complex. Many physically clean people have unclean minds. Many who would scorn the practice of any of the sex perversions
and who hold that marriage is not for the disciple, have mental apparatuses which will not bear investigation. Their minds
and their interpretations of other people's actions are so salacious and their capacity to think evil so great, that, dangerous
as this may sound, one feels that it would be better for them to be ridden by the bull of desire than to continue their present
practice of substituting mental indulgence for outer sin. A clean mind and a pure heart, a rightly organized and rightly used
physical body, conformity to the laws of the land in which his destiny is cast, utter consideration for the welfare of those
with whom he is associated, and a life of loving service: these constitute the ideals of the aspirant.A right understanding,
of the meaning, of celibacy. The word means "single" and the meaning usually given to the word is, to refrain from the marriage
relation. Many young men and women, driven by spiritual desire and under the influence of the thought-form of the church during
the Middle Ages, with its many monasteries and convents, believe that for them the celibate state is essential and right,
and are puzzled when they find that complexes result. But may it not be that the true celibacy has been expressed for us in
the words of Christ, when he said, "If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light"? May it not be that true
celibacy is the refusal of the soul any longer to identify itself with the form? May not the real marriage relation, of which
the physical plane relation is but the symbol, be that of the union of the soul and the form, the positive spirit aspect and
the negative mother-matter?
Let the soul be single in its purpose and freed from the thralldom of matter, and then right action and a right point of
view will inevitably be the characteristics of the physical plane life. Let the soul ride the form, controlling and mastering
it, and then it will surely know its right obligations. It will recognize the relation that it should hold to other human
beings, whether its destiny is to be that of husband or wife, father or mother, brother or sister, friend or companion.
Through right use of the form and right understanding of purpose, through right orientation to reality and right use of
spiritual energy, the soul will act as the controlling factor and the whole body will be full of light. Through control, through
the use of common sense, by a right understanding of celibacy, and by identification with group purpose, the disciple will
arrive at liberation from the control of sex.
He will succeed in following the example of Hercules and will ride the bull of desire over to the mainland where, in the
Temple of God, he will hand it over into the care of the Cyclops who were early initiates, having the single eye about which
we have been speaking, the eye of Shiva, the Bull's eye in the constellation Taurus. For Hercules himself was not only the
disciple, but he was, in his lower nature, the bull, and in his higher nature the Cyclops.
When the bull of desire has been handed over to the Cyclops, to the initiate with the single eye, which is himself, the
soul, the three divine aspects, will begin to manifest: Brontes, Steropes and Arges will guard the sacred bull, and Hercules,
the disciple, will no longer have any responsibility. Brontes is the symbol of the first aspect of God, the Father who spoke
and is the creative sound. Steropes means lightning, or light, and is the second aspect, the soul. Arges means whirling activity,
the third aspect of divinity, expressing itself in the intense activity of physical plane life. These divine aspects constitute
the controlling factor and once they have gained possession of the sacred bull, the problem of Hercules is solved.
From the viewpoint of spiritual psychotherapy, our suffering and symptoms are due to the mis-use of energy through our
various addictive solutions to our fear-based story of separation, lack and entrapment. Sexual addictions and symptoms are
no exception. Transmutation of the basic life energies into their higher purpose of loving relationships and service is our
constant challenge. The bull is sacred and has a light upon its head. It is not to be destroyed but ridden out of its separated
state and placed under holy watchfulness.