Jessa Crispin On What To Read: Mercury in Taurus

Nicole Gustafsson

Some little girls dream of horses. I dreamed of having a cow of my very own. I still dream of this. It must be why on three separate occasions I have chosen to vacation on or adjacent to Irish and Swiss dairy farms. I would spend afternoons just watching the cows outside my window, watching the way they’d lie in the mud, rub up against one another, absorb the sun through their thick hides. I’d admire their amazing hip bones, I’d watch them slowly philosophizing as they chewed and chewed.

Cows make excellent listeners. Go ahead, tell them all your secrets. They’re not going anywhere, and they will listen attentively, twitching their ears in a sense of camaraderie.

So I love Taurus. I regret not having more Taurus. I imagine being a Taurus is like lying in the muddy fields with the sun bearing down all day, I imagine it is like the story of Demeter screwing a much younger man in a field at someone else’s wedding and then showing back up with her dress covered in mud and her hair all undone. Please do not ever tell me anything different I don’t want to hear it.

And with Mercury in Taurus, everyone must just be Daphne du Maurier all of the time. Smoking cigarettes, wearing trousers, seducing women, writing great, languid prose about passion and jealousy and time travel. So let’s think through some of the great Taurean qualities together, shall we?

Money

 Taurus rules money, so it would be helpful to be able to think about money. Without that grasping panic, that whole “Because this is how much money I make this is how much value I possess as a human being” nonsense. Great Taureans know that money is abstract, that its only value lies in how it can be converted into good works, or community, or pleasure. (Darling, go ahead and convert my paycheck into bottles of champagne, that’s a dear.)

 So if you want to think about money, there are a lot of places you could go. Michael Argyle’s The Psychology of Money will tell you why you have such strong feelings about money. Georg Simmel’s The Philosophy of Money shows how money flows through a society.

 But Taurus is also Venus, who is all about connection. How people are connected to one another, how they rub off on each other. And so maybe there’s no better book about that than

 Debt by David Graeber

 It’s all about how we value people (and don’t), the meaning we place in money over people, and how we separate people out by debtor and creditor. Also how we have lost the meaning of forgiveness when it comes to money and debt, and what that says about how we view others.

The Earth

 And by that I mean, actually, earth. Mud, dirt, the stuff that has worms wiggling around in it, the stuff some of us sees as unclean and gross and others want to roll around in. (Demeter, love you, write me back.)

 I like Laura Kipnis’s The Female Thing for its insightful things about how dirt and dirtiness became something that women were supposed to deal with, I like The Rodale Book of Composting, which does exactly what it sounds like it will do. (I want to keep worms under my sink so badly, but my travel schedule keeps me from owning a dog, a cat, or a tub full of worms.) But then we have the woman who turned dirt and the earth into high art, Ana Mendieta.

 Where is Ana Mendieta? by Jane Blocker

 Mendieta’s art has been eclipsed by the story of her death (tossed out a window, probably — allegedly! — by her husband), and that is unfortunate. Her works, landscapes and “earth-body” sculptures, her outline cut into the earth and then consumed by fire or tide, her naked body pressed up against the earth and the trees… They are glorious. There’s also a graphic novel, Who is Ana Mendieta??, if you need more of a basic primer on her life and work.

 Great Women

The bull has long been associated with womanhood, its skull echoing the anatomical shape of the uterus as it does. And so when I think of Taurus I think of its women before its men: Jane Jacobs, Katharine Hepburn, Martha Graham, Charlotte Bronte… Taurus is not so into the abstract, it loves the physical and the real, and so seeing its themes in the lives of others in the form of a really good biography is essential. But the greatest Taurus dame of them all is of course, Catherine the Great.

Catherine the Great by Robert K Massie

People (and terrible writers) love to turn Catherine’s story into a salacious sensationalized tabloid affair, because people are terrible. No one rules the craziness of Russia and guides it into prosperity without being brilliant. She saw the nation through wars and upheaval, she oversaw its cultural and artistic development. I mean, she also let the serfdom policy stay in place which was basically just slavery, so she wasn’t perfect. But then so did all of the other Russian leaders.

And yeah, so what, she had sex. Not with a horse, let it go. She knew how to spend money, she knew how to allow herself to have pleasure, and she knew how to run an empire. We should take notes.

Pleasure

 I keep writing about pleasure here, because that to me is the baseline of Taurus. Valuing pleasure. We Americans are not great at it, we have Protestant DNA and it freaks us out. It is no wonder we have to look to French writers like Anais Nin and Colette to tell us things about sex, and why writers like Julia Child and MFK Fisher had to go to France to write about the pleasure of food and taste.

 Really, anything by MFK Fisher will do here. She was a super Cancer, but her stories of love affairs and oysters and the terroir of France will satisfy anyone trying to think about pleasure. The Art of Eating is a classic, Not Now, but Now, her novel, is beautiful. My favorite is secretly:

 An Alphabet for Gourmets by MFK Fisher

 Perhaps because it begins with a section on taking pleasure in dining alone, something I advocate everyone learn how to do. Fisher encapsulates the pursuit of pleasure, of taking it even when one is down and out and it looks like none is to be had. Because she knows the secret: pleasure is about living. Not just about loving one’s life when it’s a bubble bath every day, but also when Saturn is on your Venus and you’re using all your mojo and waggling your hips and that guy will just not look over and you’ve got about $3 on you for your big night on the town. But then all a cow really needs is a little sun, a little grass within reach, and someone to tell them stories. The rest will take care of itself.

Jessa Crispin is the editor of Bookslut.com and Spoliamag.com. She is a tarot card reader, specializing in issues with creativity and writing. For more information, go here. Her first book, The Dead Ladies Project, about love and travel and art, is forthcoming from the University of Chicago, October 2015.

Image: Nicole Gustafsson

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fluidfeline
fluidfeline
December 27, 2014 12:53 am

Love this! Thank you Jessa Crispin.

SagiTaurean
SagiTaurean
December 25, 2014 10:27 pm

On that note- bloody hell friends – as if the zap zone werent enough, globally stirring racial prejudice and injustice – can we agree that there are both Aussies and Americans who have sticks up their bum?
And plenty of friendly folk alike? Can we save the continental battlefield BS for another terrain less sacred than dear MMs blog post?

Anonymous
Anonymous
December 26, 2014 12:24 am
Reply to  SagiTaurean

well, yes, we can agree, but there’s one particular individual with a superiority complex who keeps banging on about how unkind and unfriendly people in Australia are. We have the right to defend our lovely country.

SagiTaurean
SagiTaurean
December 25, 2014 10:20 pm

Taurus sun and True node, Mercury at zero degrees Taurus opposite pluto … A “Natural” at writing, but when it comes to speech It has been a life long process of learning when to bite my tongue (pluto in scorp opposition)- possessing the ability to cut down anyone or thing in a matter or sentences… helpful for eliminating toxic relationships, although some others have been made casualty. Notoriously blunt. Maybe partially due to the combination of Sagi Asc and Uranus in the first as well.

Pegasus
Pegasus
December 24, 2014 4:46 pm

The CowGirls i know are Venus incarnate and i adore them and their extremely good taste, social skills and innate exterior calmness.

‘Hello Cowgirls in the Sand’ how does that Neil Young song go??
‘Even Cowgirls get the Blues’…Tom Robbins?
Annie Oakley…’Anything you can do i can do better’.

pi
pi
December 24, 2014 5:57 am

Ms Crispin, THIS! is my reading list for Saturn in saggitarius. well at least the first half, because I have Saturn natally in my second house and ALL of the first few books you listed made me prick up my ears. So, for Saturn trine Saturn, maybe this is a more user-friendly way to balance my money / wealth mojo more evenly. I think it will go well with the brilliant Libra Dress Historian’s observations about fashion and saturnised saggi’s, because my wardrobe is very possibly as schizophrenic as any saggitarius. Better understanding of the second house, less crazy self… Read more »

pi
pi
December 24, 2014 6:01 am
Reply to  pi

(I already love food and dirt so that part is cool)

(Protestant DNA…! Is this why I am so confused when I read certain US writers on food? My inner response is “huh? I thought everyone knew this stuff”, but at the same time, like good sex, or champagne, it’s never too late to get involved 🙂

MercuryPluto
MercuryPluto
December 24, 2014 4:46 am

I’m a Virgo Sun in 2nd house, which is a bit like being a Mercury in Taurus. Can’t feel the sensuality because of the guilty overtones! Dirt is better analysed and written up in books I say!

Z
Z
December 23, 2014 7:34 pm

I love Ana Mendieta. Was she Taurus?

bellablue
bellablue
December 23, 2014 6:54 pm

Taurus rising here….for me being without art, beauty, nature and sensuality is like losing the sun, there would be no life.

The Baroness
The Baroness
December 24, 2014 12:08 am
Reply to  bellablue

Ditto. And much prefer when all three merge into one. Deeply passionate acting/art/music, deeply soulful cooking with flavor that takes you on an experience. The feel of the sun kissing your skin, the wind caressing it and waves holding you in their rhythm. So, so understand 🙂

Charles
Charles
December 23, 2014 6:37 pm

I dunno.. I have Merc in Taurus and I think it’s about turning abstract ideas into concrete reality. It’s not about reading books full of ideas, it is more about writing books and printing them. It’s about making a physical representation of an intangible concept, like words printed in ink on paper.

The Baroness
The Baroness
December 24, 2014 12:06 am
Reply to  Charles

Agreed. We’re very good at bringing things to life whether literally writing it or taking the words of others and embuing it with passionate life (recipes from cookbooks into gorgeous plates of food, the words of scripts into an experience via acting).

Charles
Charles
December 24, 2014 10:31 pm
Reply to  The Baroness

I always feel I have to speak up for us Merc-Taurus people, since the usual interpretation is that it means cautious thinking at best, slow-witted at worst. But that has nothing to do with it.

pi
pi
December 25, 2014 12:19 am
Reply to  Charles

So what I need is a merc toro to help me bring my merc Pisces ideas to fruition.

Birdstargirl
Birdstargirl
December 23, 2014 3:21 pm

“Please do not ever tell me anything different I don’t want to hear it.”

I love this in ways I can’t express.

hdq
hdq
December 23, 2014 3:13 pm

Yes, but wouldn’t a Taurus be more likely to DO these things? I was seriously getting itchy reading. Don’t read about bubble baths – go take one! Don’t read about delicious food – make it and eat it. Put yer feet in the dirt already!! I cannot express the wrongness my soul feels at living vicariously. Pleasure is all around, ready to be created and felt at every moment.
But I don’t have mercury in Taurus, so I’ll shaddup.

The Baroness
The Baroness
December 24, 2014 12:04 am
Reply to  hdq

Funny you say that. When I was looking for new cookbooks several years ago via Amazon I was amazed on how many glowing (and demeaning reviews) were posted by people who had NEVER actually cooked from the books. The weirdest one I encountered was from a guy who wrote a review critiquing the authenticity of the oil suggetions that would be used for cooking from my parents country of origin. When I asked in the comments how the recipes actually tasted he said he never cooks from cookbooks and never cooks a recipe straight as he mixes and matches how… Read more »

The Baroness
The Baroness
December 23, 2014 1:28 pm

It warms my heart that this writer adores us Taureans. Sun/Asc/Mercury/Mars/Venus/Chiron Taurean here. We love money because of the beauty it allows us either access to or invest in. Money to afford the gas/fare to get to beautiful natural spaces. Money for concert tickets and art galleries. Money to cultivate our gardens and invest in gorgeous produce. We may be careful but we are far from stingy. We’re deeply generous with people we know honor generosity. We love that Earth. It rebirths us. Gardening. Oceans. Views of trees. Birds. Bugs. We get off on it. It’s all deeply sensual. Which… Read more »

Year of the Cat
Year of the Cat
December 23, 2014 8:31 pm
Reply to  The Baroness

I thought the decans were elemental in their division. Eg;
Taurus Dec 1: Taurus
Taurus Dec 2: Virgo
Taurus Dec 3: Cap
anyone?

hdq
hdq
December 23, 2014 8:34 pm

That’s been my understanding as well.

The Baroness
The Baroness
December 23, 2014 11:51 pm

Theoretical concept and actual nature I find differ. Every single person I know who is a Decan1 Taurus marries deeply dsynfunctional individuals. They are very calm, loving logical people (e la Virgin perhaps) so you have a point but they are drawn to qi vampires. Don’t get me started on how many of them are hung up over toxic Aries and Scorpions. I could write a drama (or dramedy series on the topic).

The Baroness
The Baroness
December 24, 2014 12:11 am

In contrast, ,ay explain why most of my exes are either Capricorns or Gemini, though, lol. After many years of loving both I must say I now do not like Geminis at all beyond superficial social interactions and plan to NEVER date another Capricorn male, lol. ;P

Anonymous
Anonymous
December 23, 2014 8:55 pm
Reply to  The Baroness

“Americans are LIBERATED in comparison” 😯

Bullshit! Maybe amongst your immediate circle but not the country as whole. Australia has no where near as many fundamentalist Christians as the US does.

MiM
MiM
December 23, 2014 11:43 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Have to agree. Australians are veeeery laid back, live and let live & can truly appreciate the simple pleasures in life such as the beach, the sun, nature, a good barbie (BBQ), chats with mates, and community involvement (to name only a handful). Have lived in three countries – Aus + US among them. Australia also a lot more secular than the US. The arts, creative pursuits, architecture and different cultures are revered – especially in Melbourne, but increasingly everywhere. As Pisces sun, I have a deep special love for Taureans (one of only 5 signs I will date.) Jupiter… Read more »

MiM
MiM
December 23, 2014 11:48 pm
Reply to  MiM

I mean *Jessa*.

Sorry, am drunk on chocolate. 🙂

The Baroness
The Baroness
December 23, 2014 11:57 pm
Reply to  MiM

Very socially limited, deeply cliquish and deeply arrogant about other cultures. It astounds me how so many people think they are cultured and politically savvy but quite the complete opposite. Every exhibition that tours here was in NYC or Los Angeles 5 years prior. I lived on the west coast for 12 years, from Compton to Venice to up north in Canada in Vancouver. Lived in Melbourne for awhile. Nice restaurants and nice galleries but see the shows in the States and cook better myself. Living in the States I see how people overcharge on fashion in Australia so the… Read more »

Year of the Cat
Year of the Cat
December 24, 2014 2:05 am
Reply to  The Baroness

In Sydney, on a clear day, you can see the smog!

Melb’s kulcha ranges from black wearing latte sippers to football going bogans who all have their ‘Gary’ placed in either Aries or Saggitarius

Lady L
Lady L
December 24, 2014 3:11 am

You mean as opposed to the cultural giant that is the US? Haha!

The Jupiter-sized chip on your shoulder seems to be obliterating your Sun(shine).

Good luck with that.

Year of the Cat
Year of the Cat
December 24, 2014 3:41 am
Reply to  Lady L

You obviously don’t unnderstand australian humour. Im an Aussie takin the mickey at my/our expense. To laugh at one’s self and country is liberating. Lighten up!

Year of the Cat
Year of the Cat
December 24, 2014 3:45 am

By the way my Gary is in Aries!

K
K
December 24, 2014 4:31 am

I think Lady L was replying to Baroness

Year of the Cat
Year of the Cat
December 24, 2014 8:27 am
Reply to  K

Ok then. It looks like the line of reply goes to my comment.

Lady L
Lady L
December 24, 2014 3:04 am
Reply to  The Baroness

“Deeply arrogant about other cultures”

Can we agree that the US takes the crown on the above?

“Melbourne is dull”

Oh dear. A la Sting, let’s just say “it takes a (wo)man to suffer ignorance and smile.”

🙂

K
K
December 24, 2014 4:21 am
Reply to  The Baroness

so sick of you bagging our country. Why don’t you just go back to the states if it’s so much better!!

K
K
December 24, 2014 4:21 am
Reply to  K

that was meant for The Baroness

Lady L
Lady L
December 24, 2014 12:14 pm
Reply to  K

Hear hear, K!

Life’s too short to be seemingly ‘suffering’ THIS much, Baroness.

There is a happier place for you. Just hope you’d be able to recognise it?

As for Australia, I can write love letter upon love letter to this place. I choose with every ounce of my being to live and thrive here. Besides Italy, it is my ‘spirit country’ 🙂

K
K
December 24, 2014 10:25 pm
Reply to  Lady L

“I can write love letter upon love letter to this place”

That’s beautiful 😀 Me too!!
Love this country xx

anon
anon
December 24, 2014 5:05 am
Reply to  The Baroness

“Every exhibition that tours here was in NYC or Los Angeles 5 years prior”

🙄

And you’re point is? Yeah, so this isn’t New York. Big deal.

We get exhibitions from all over the world, including Afghanistan.

pi
pi
December 24, 2014 6:28 am
Reply to  The Baroness

It is the nature of living in a country that is very far away from other western cultural centres, Baroness. Organising tours for artists visual recording or otherwise is rather costly as I am sure you know, it’s a different set of economies. Have to admit I am surprised at how strongly negative you are about living in Aust. If you’re so unhappy, I mean what is keeping you here? I agree with certain social elements but heaping scorn on the place as a while could be what is stopping you from appreciating what can be offered. If I think… Read more »

The Baroness
The Baroness
December 23, 2014 11:49 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Strongly disagree. Lived in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Los Angeles and Atlanta for years of my life in each city and overall the average American ia kinder, smarter and vastly friendlier. Who Australians THINK they are as a nation and HOW they are have nothing in common. On average they are unkind, narcissistic and deeply prejudiced. And the majority of cross cultural, well travelled people I’ve ever known agree. The thing is, people don’t talk about their true impressions of Australia because they know how much Australians suffer from the Tall Poppy Syndrome and now they can’t handle one lick of… Read more »

K
K
December 24, 2014 4:33 am
Reply to  The Baroness

YOU, Baroness sound “unkind, narcissistic and deeply prejudiced”

K
K
December 24, 2014 4:43 am
Reply to  The Baroness

and it’s ridiculous to be comparing the entire country Australia to LA! What about the mid-west and the south of USA – deeply prejudiced and not queer friendly there either!

And thank goodness we don’t have the NRA in this country.

anon
anon
December 24, 2014 5:12 am
Reply to  The Baroness

“And the majority of cross cultural, well travelled people I’ve ever known agree”

And this majority consists of how many people – 50 max?

So this qualifies as a statistical fact now? Pfffft.

Anonymous
Anonymous
December 25, 2014 1:05 am
Reply to  The Baroness

I think the Baroness is right in some ways. Australia today is a country that was founded on invasion, genocide, slave trading and mining. It has a small population compared to a country like the US and has a shorter history (read since invasion) so the trauma experienced by those forced to settle here experienced is more recent. This doesn’t make for a great situation psychologically. But the great weather does a good deal to lighten up people’s mood as is evidenced by the lack really great comedians from up north 🙂 – the funny people are all busy actually… Read more »

sphinx
sphinx
December 25, 2014 3:59 am
Reply to  Anonymous

soy yo

The Baroness
The Baroness
December 23, 2014 11:52 pm
Reply to  Anonymous

Australias reputation as unfriendly is quite common. It’s even been written about in media. Do a google search on Australia unfriendly and see the hundreds of comments, from locals included. When you push beyond social veneers people WILL be honest about this country. I appreciate if for many things but brimming wonderful, generous, open-hearted funny people it is not.

Lady L
Lady L
December 24, 2014 3:27 am
Reply to  The Baroness

Well if the MEDIA says so, it must be the Yankee-doodle truth!

You s-u-r-e you’re not Rupert Murdoch? Lol. I recognise in your comments his, shall we say, LOOSE insight into the lay of the land, otherwise known as personal opinion desperately (yet failingly) presented as “objective analysis”.

If
If
December 25, 2014 12:38 am
Reply to  The Baroness

Stats? Objective analysis? I got it, and it doesn’t support the opinions of the Baroness. Perhaps, as others suggest, Baroness, you are attracting what you are putting out.

It just so happens I had to research this earlier in the year.

e.g. Sydney voted city with friendliest people in the world in the Anholdt GFK city brands index in 2014, and second only to London in relation to being a place where people of different cultures could easily fit in.
Check out also Price Waterhouse Coopers 2014 Cities of opportunities index, and the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Liveability Rankings.

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