One of the banes of modern astrology is the adoption of the 12-letter alphabet which equates planets with signs and with houses. In such a system there is no difference in signification, for example, between Mars, Aries and the 1st House. This type of thinking ignores the long history and development of horoscopic astrology since its birth in ancient Hellenistic times. As a result, modern astrology sometimes twists astrological symbols to become gross distortions of what they originally signified.
The original universal horoscope in Western astrology was the Thema Mundi which had Cancer rising in the 1st place (topos), and Aries at the Midheaven. The 12-letter alphabet considers Aries rising as the first sign of the universal horoscope and locates Cancer in the 4th place and Capricorn in the 10th place (which is where Aries appeared in the Thema Mundi).
Recently I’ve seen several references to Taurus being a “hedonistic” sign. The reasoning appears to be that Taurus equals Venus, the planet of sensual delights, so that Taurus is thus a sign in constant pursuit of sensual pleasure. By the same faulty reasoning, Venus is thought to equal money because Taurus falls in 2nd place in the Aries-rising chart, even though Taurus occupies the 11th place in the original Thema Mundi of Western horoscopic astrology. Here is a typical “modern” astrological delineation of Taurus based on the 12-letter alphabet, which ignores tradition and substitutes a modern misunderstanding as the basis for delineation:
“Taurus is an earth sign, and it’s ruled by love-and-money planet Venus. This gives those born under this sign an immense connection with sensuality and earthly pleasures. As such, they can be big lushes – sipping fancy cocktails, wearing gorgeous outfits, knowing the best chef in town. Their favorite drug is MDMA, because they’re constantly chasing ecstasy. Few people can luxuriate like Taurus! However, with such expensive tastes, it can be easy for them to rack up a high balance on their credit card or a debilitating hangover.” (Source: https://www.vice.com/en/article/vbxpv9/taurus-worst-traits-zodiac-sign)
If we contrast the above delineation of Taurus with that of a traditional astrologer, say William Lilly, we find that Taurus meant something quite different in the 17th century. Lilly writes (CA 538) that if the significator of manners in a natal chart falls in Taurus, then the native is “laborious, for the Oxe or Bull is represented by Taurus.” In Lilly’s time, “laborious” meant “devoted to labor, hard-working and industrious” (See https://www.etymology-online.com/laborious).
Again in England’s Prophetical Merline Lilly discusses a horary question from a woman who asked whether she should marry a much older man for his money?
Lilly studies the chart and determines that the man inquired after, signified by the 7th house and its ruler Jupiter, must be “worldly and cautious, for Jupiter being in Taurus, the emblem of labour, doth insinuate so much.” Here again, Lilly views the Earth-sign Taurus the Bull as hard-working, industrious, worldly and cautious, partly because the bull is an animal of labor and spends his days sweating and plowing fields under the hot sun. This is hardly the modern 12-letter image of Taurus as the hedonistic, pleasure-seeking lush who spends his or her day in pursuit of ever more sensual delights.
Lilly interprets the chart as follows. Mercury signifies the woman querent, and Jupiter signifies the old man whom she might marry. Mercury is separating from a sextile to Jupiter, so their significators are not applying to any type of union.
Mercury lies in Cancer, the exaltation sign of Jupiter, so the old man is hot to get married to this younger woman. Mercury (the woman) will next square Mars in Aries. The Moon separates from a square to Jupiter and next applies to sextile the Mars in Aries, so the woman has the hots for some younger man, perhaps a soldier. Unfortunately, the Moon lies in the 6th and Mars in the 8th, and there Mars does not receive the Moon or Mercury in any of his dignities, so this young virile soldier has no interest in her.
Lilly also advised the woman that the presence of malefic Saturn in the 8th, the house of the old man’s money, with Saturn peregrine and in Aries, the sign of its fall, meant that she would have problems getting at his money. It turned out that even though the old man owned property, there were legal claims against it and she would not fare well financially if she were to marry him. Nonetheless, Jupiter (the old man) in Taurus the Bull meant that he was very hard-working, industrious, cautious and worldly, like a bull pulling a plow all day, working hard in the fields. In addition, because the elderly man’s signifier is expansive Jupiter in Taurus the Bull, Lilly describes him as fleshy and full-bodied with an oval face and dark brown hair.