We are beginning our last week in April's A-Z challenge as we explore heavenly bodies. For the letter T, we’re look for Taurus. If you have a good dark eastern horizon, Taurus can be seen rising in the east an hour or so before Orion. As Orion’s belt becomes visible, follow them up till you see the “V” in the sky. The main “V” forms the Bull’s face with the bright star, Aldebaran, serving as the bull’s eye. Many of the stars in the V make up the Hyades Cluster and although it appears that Aldebaran is one of them, it isn’t as it is much closer to earth than the other stars The V, called Hyades, takes up but a little of Taurus. The Pleiades (or the seven sisters) are the Bull’s shoulder. As fall turns to winter, the bull is seen higher and higher in the sky. Taurus is a part of the Zodiac, the band of stars around the equator in which the sun and planets move.
There are a couple of mythological stories relating to Taurus and Jupiter (or Zeus) playing a major role in both as he sought to commit yet another extra-marital affair. One of the stories involved the over-sex god disguising himself as a beautiful and tame bull, that lured Europa (the beautiful daughter of the Phoenicia king) to climb on his back while she was playing by the sea. Once she mounted the bull, he led her away through the sea. As land disappeared, Europa held on tighter, till they came to Crete, where Jupiter seduced her. Jupiter, it seems, never shot any blanks. Europa conceived and gave birth to Minos, the king of Crete. Missing children were tragic in antiquities, too.
In another story, Jupiter fell in love with Io, who happened to be a priestess in the temple of Juno (Jupiter’s wife). Learning of her husband’s affair, she change Io into a heifer and orders Argus to keep her prisoner. Wanting to free Io, Jupiter asks Mercury to intervene and to kill Argus (who has 100 eyes so he sees all). He decapitates Argus and Jupiter takes Io to Egypt and restores her into a woman, where she becomes the mother of Epaphus, ruler of the Nile.
The Greeks believed that Pleiades, the seven sisters, were the children of Atlas and Pleione. They are also seen as a bunch of grapes and when Taurus and Orion are setting in the west, it appears the hunter is leaning in to fetch the grapes (however, he’d be butted by the bull if he’s not careful).