The symbol of the bull often refers to the instinctive responses or energy in us that are powerful enough to drag us along, cause us anxiety if we are in conflict with them, or carry us further in our endeavours if we can work with them. Such instinctive urges may be in connection with sexual attraction and desire, feelings about people invading our territory, and protectiveness for family. But we have to remember that the bull is a domesticated animal, and so its enormous energy is available for transformation or direction. See Mammal Brain
Where the bull connects with sex drive, it may depict the aspect of it that is generally under control, but may occasionally be wild if provoked. The bull can also represent the basic drives toward parenthood, and caring and providing via sex. The bull might link with aggressiveness, a ‘bullish’ trait in you or someone else; or personal traits to do with being very basic or earthy, and perhaps sexual in ones relationships, and being moved by impulses such as sex or aggression, without being aware of this. The bull is of course a symbol of strength, ferocity, obstinacy, maleness and power. So at a times it can represent your father, or an enraged father.
The bull in your dreams represents the way you may have faced this power in the past. If you have faced it without love it will cause enormous tension and frustration. That is the negative side to the bull. The problem is that of the will turned back on itself. It was perhaps frustrated by guilt about success and love. The reason it is difficult to face the bull was because the bull was your lust, your sexual love. The conflict you felt about love also turned against and destroyed your sexual desire.
The bull also represents striving to break through. This might not be allowed because to break through would-be to face your past.
The aggressive bull: Often shows the frustration arising from your basic drives being taunted or thwarted. For instance a person may wish for a family, yet be frustrated by a form of sexuality in their partner that does not care for children. Or their inapt ability in sexual and family relationships causes such frustration blocking an easy and satisfying life.
The killed bull: A killing of the natural drives connected with family, sex and procreation.
If sacrificed: May show self-giving, or the abandonment of the life in which sexual relationship occurs.
The ridden bull: Shows a harmony between self awareness and its decision making, and the basic ‘animal’ drives, or the reverse if the riding is difficult or a fight.
To realize your place in this flow of events there is neither joy nor sadness, rather infinite satisfaction. Once achieved this realization of the perfect harmony of all things will never be voluntarily renounced.”
Example: I dreamt I was in a farmyard. A small boy climbed all over the bull, and it became terribly angry. It had been chained without attention for too long. Now it tore away and sought the cows. The gates were closed, but the bull smashed through the enclosing fence. I had rushed to the fence and sat astride it, but on seeing that the bull smashed it like matchwood, I looked around for some safe place. Meanwhile the Bull charged the first cow to mount it, but so terrible was its energy and emotion that it could not expressed as sex. It smashed the cow aside as it had done the fence. Then it rushed the next and passed it over its head, charging and smashing the next. Meanwhile I climbed into somebody’s garden trying to get out of the district.
Example: Was in Wilson’s farmyard. There were some puppies or something – not sure – and I went to get them some oats. To do this I walked to the top of the hill where the oats were kept. I had a bucket and a young man came with me. As I was filling the bucket with oats, we saw a bull nearby. It looked a bit thin in the flank, slightly cow like. My friend was a bit nervous, but I told him the bull was all right, and to give it some oats. The bull was so hungry it emptied the bucket in a couple of mouthfuls. So I scooped some more oats out for it. My friend looked at its penis, remarking how huge it was. I said, “I should think so. After all, it’s a long way into a cow.”
Example: Dreamt I was on top of the hill opposite Amersham hospital. There were bulls and cows in the field. I was afraid they would chase me, and tried to get away on a bicycle. But seemed to go very slow.
The dreamer explored this dream and says: When my feelings began to be released through dropping thoughts, sexual desire and love arose which I felt threatened by. I therefore attempt to escape by my efforts at self-advancement or meditation.
Idioms: Like a bull at a gate; bull in a china shop; red rag to a bull; score a bull’s eye; sacred bull; take the bull by the horns.
As an astrological sign the bull is the sign of Taurus. Therefore with Taureans the bull may depict their innate characteristics and how they are dealing with them. Taurus is a ‘Fixed’ ‘Earth’ sign. The bull, and the time of year it is within, symbolises being in tune with the instinctive earthy side of oneself. An animal born out of season, a calf for instance, would find it difficult in nature to survive, because there would be less food, and it might not be strong enough to face the winter. Therefore the Taurean is born ‘in season’ and has a harmony with the natural cycles. The sign denotes bodily, mental or spiritual strength; also inherited qualities of possessions; practical, useful powers or gifts. Its essential characteristic is that of service. The person born in this zodiacal sign is said to be a steady-going, reliable, practical, rather conservative person; slow to anger, but likely, if angered, to be a formidable adversary.
In past cultures the bull was considered sacred. In Egypt for instance the bull was never sacrificed. But in Mosaic times, and in the Persian cult of Mithras, the bull was used for sacrifice to God. In these approaches the bull was a symbol of servitude. But there are many different cultural approaches to the bull. In Christianity it was seen as representing brute force or the earthy quality of human life. In other cultures it was male procreative power, or the power of nature or God in action. It was occasionally called the Shaker, as it was seen as a symbol of the earth shaking – earthquakes.
There is a theme which appears in many cultures or myths connected with the bull. It is of the Hero confronting and overcoming the bull. Lao Tzu for instance, struggled with and eventually rode the bull, representing the human struggle and victory over instinctive or reactive habitual forces influencing consciousness. Also Theseus saves Ariadne from the Minotaur, suggesting that the conscious self has to meet and transform the instinctive sexual drive, the entangling forces of emotional dependence upon cultural norms, mother and public opinion, to be capable of a mature heterosexual relationship. Theseus, or our active growing self, frees Ariadne, the feminine or intuitive feeling principle. From this a new life can be born or emerge. While we live within and do not recognise or acknowledge the instinctive nature we all have, we fail to see the opening to a new form of awareness, one that is still in harmony with the instinctive and yet is not controlled by it. See animals
Useful Questions and Hints:
What is my relationship with the bull in the dream, and what does that suggest about my relationship with sex or natural urges?
Is the bull out of control or peaceful, and does that show my own inner condition?
Am I using or abusing the enormous energy of the bull in my dream, or am I afraid of it?