Taurus

This constellation is next to Aries in the zodiac, and is one of the most celebrated and splendid. The Pleiades are in Taurus, and near it is the magnificent constellation Orion, called Orus by the Egyptians. In that sublime chapter of the Old Testament, Job xxxviii, mention is made of these: "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?" Taurus, once seen and recognized in connection with Orion, is never forgotten.

The Bull is represented as engaged in combat with Orion, and plunging toward him with threatening horns. The face of the Bull is designated by five bright stars in the shape of a letter V, known as the Hyades, the most brilliant of which is Aldebaran, which is much used by navigators. The tips of the horns of the Bull are marked by two bright stars at an appropriate distance above the face. The Pleiades gleam brightly near the shoulder. Orion, who faces the Bull, is known by four bright stars, forming a large parallelogram, in the center of which is seen a diagonal row of stars, known as the belt of Orion, and called in Job the "bands of Orion." The four stars of the parallelogram, respectively, indicate his shoulders and feet. A line of smaller stars form his sword, its handle orna mented by a wonderful nebula. Just below Orion shines, with a splendor almost equal to Jupiter or Venus, that mighty sun-star Sirius, the deified Sothis of the Egyptians. Further east and over him flashes that brilliant star known as Procyon. These two, with Betelgeux, in the shoulder of Orion, form an equilateral triangle, whose sides are each 26°, which is so perfect and beautiful as almost to force itself upon our attention. Taurus, Orion, Sirius, the Pleiades, and Hyades, are all frequently alluded to by the poet Virgil in the "Georgics." This is, perhaps, the most magnificent and sublime quarter of the heavens north of the equator.

Taurus was held by the Egyptians, and most of the nations of antiquity, as a sacred constellation. Before the time of Abraham, or over four thousand years ago, it adorned and marked the vernal equinox, and "for the space of two thousand years the Bull was the prince and leader of the celestial host." The sun in Taurus was deified under the symbol of the bull, and worshipped in that form. The sacred figures found among the ruins of Egypt and Assyria, in the form of a bull with a human face, or with a human shape with the face and horns of a bull, are emblematic of the sun in Taurus, at the vernal equinox. In the Hebrew zodiac Taurus was ascribed to Joseph.

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