Having been born in Texas, I couldn't get very far without seeing the bull symbol in the form of either cattle branding or the legendary Longhorns, the icon for the University of Texas at Austin football team.
However, the purpose of this page is to identify a few bull symbols for more soulful applications, or even for tattooing purposes.
Because of its virility, power and regal presence, the bull has been an icon for worship in many ancient cultures. The bull was considered a sacred animal in ancient Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome and Egypt to name a few. It is common to see the bull offered as a blood sacrifice in these cultures.
In Celtic symbolism the bull represented physical strength and power. To the Celtic way of thought, the bull was also extremely virile, and so symbolized fertility and the power to procreate - to extend the life of the clans. Druids associated the bull with solar energy and the female cow with earth energy. The bull was also symbolic of great luxury, wealth and provision by later Celts. Indeed, cattle were a source of income and supply in many forms - a way of life for the Celts for centuries.
The Celtic bull symbol stands for strong will, an uncompromising nature, and even belligerence. Due to its unbending, stubborn personality traits, we get the term "bull-headed." from the bull. The bull is also a virile sign for men, and a sign of fertility for women. Donning the bull symbol in the Celtic bed chamber (depicted on sheets, robes, pillows, etc) is said to enhance the mental state leading to sexual strength and endurance. A third representation of the bull sign is that of riches and wealth. Likely due to the fact that this creature was a great source of food the Celts, it can easily be associated with easier, fairer, and abundant times in the Celtic villages.
In a more modern sense, the bull symbol identifies an upward trend in the stock market. Here we see the bull as a symbol of confidence and strength. Although the source is unknown, common knowledge tells us that the bull became a symbol of strong investment trends because of its style of attack. A bull swings its horns upwards in a mighty push, hence the comparison to a intense upward movement in the stock market. Conversely, the bear is identified with a downard market trend, presumably because of its downward strike when attacking.
The constellation of the bull (Taurus) is in such a position as to welcome the sun's motion during the vernal equinox. Meaning, the constellation of Taurus corresponds to the motions of the spring in western astrology (May 14 to June 19). This also conjures symbolism of abundance, replenishment and subsidy as spring is a time when the earth experiences her renewal.
To the Greeks, the bull was an attribute of Zeus (as represented by the constellation of Taurus) who transformed himself into a glistening white bull. Fully tame and quite striking, Zeus (in the guise of the white bull) unassumingly planted himself amongst the herds in an effort to capture the attention of the lovely Europa with whom Zeus was completely smitten. Classic art will show Europa riding a white bull. This is Zeus in the form of a bull, and will touch on symbolism of passion, transformation, virility, strength and fulfillment.
Astrology Bull Symbol:
Astrologically speaking the bull symbol is one-in-the-same with the Taurus (and the word Taurus means bull in Latin). Traits of the Taurean personality could be considered very "bull like" because these people can be incredibly powerful in both physical and spiritual presence. To be sure, a Taurus who has made his or her mind up will be unmovable. The symbol to the left is the astrological sign of the bull, Taurus.
Chinese Symbol for Bull:
The Chinese the bull symbol is shown in writing on the left, and the bull is one of the twelve zodiac signs in the lunar calendars. The sign of the ox or bull is symbolic of perseverance, determination, stability and longsuffering.
In this light, the bull is also symbolic of hard work, materialism, methodical progress and rigid determination. Unlike western astrology, the sign of the ox corresponds to the season of winter and has yin properties. 2009 is currently the year of the ox with 2021 being the next occurrence of the bull in the Chinese years. See Chinese Zodiac signs and meanings here.
In ancient cultures such as Sumerian and Semitic cults the bull is a common symbol of protection and guardianship. Indeed, the bull is featured in art and statue guarding entryways into temples, protecting doorways and is believed to ward off thievery and other nefarious people/deeds.
Hebrew Bull Symbol:
The bull symbol shown right is the Hebrew aleph. It is the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet. It is thought this symbol was derived originally from the Semitic word for bull, and it is based on a pictograph (hieroglyph) that looks very much like a bull or ox head.
The aleph as a bull symbol will represent mans ability to work with Nature and her creatures to bring about abundance in the human tribes. Further, the aleph is symbolic of harmony, provision and harmony. To be clear, the aleph has many more symbolic connotations, and this is just one suggestion dealing with the origin of the glyph. (see the aleph in alchemy here).
Of course, there are tons more about the symbolism of the bull. This page just offers some bull symbols and scratches the surface of all the symbolic implications the bull represents. So don't stop here with your research on the deeper meaning of the bull. Carry on with your investigation. You're going to find this magnificent creature has connections with the beginning of human history.
Furthermore, you'll find the bull has been a symbol of assistance to mankind as it has stood by our side through eons, helping us in industry, agriculture and other forms of provision.
I hope you have enjoyed these thoughts on symbolic bull meanings. Be sure to check out my page on bull symbols for tattoos, and check out the end of this page for more links to animal symbolism.
An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings
Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.
This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."
Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happening to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive in! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)
As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!