Women-matador Christina SanchezIn the beginning of Navratri I remember a theme of Kill Bull and Kill Bull 2 in which I argued on dual bull's nature and how that is reflected in sacrifice ritual.
Dharma is generally symbolized in Hindu thought by the bull, vrishabha. The related term vrisha, not only means bull but also male and strong. The bull, a symbol of male sexuality, is the driving force of attainment in many symbolic systems. Consider Zeus, sky god of the Greeks who, in the form of a white bull, unrelentingly pursues Europa.
"The Rape of Europa" by Valentin SerovThe bull which wanders about, anxious to find a mate, is taken as the embodiment of the sex impulse. Most living creatures are governed by their instincts; they are ridden over by the bull.
But Shiva rides on this bull, He is the Master of the bull. Who are masters of their own impulses can ride on the bull. Thus the image of Shiva atop his bull represents the sexual drive brought under control.
It is possible to consider that dual symbolism of a bull very long but what it means for each of us today? One of many explanations is the bull represents the raw material strength or force of the Earth, the force of nature. The astrological sign of Taurus (bull) also represents the element of Earth. And Shakti is Power, or Fire. The color of Shakti is red. A bull is also at war when shown a red rag. Therefore I see the hidden forgotten symbolism in bullfight. So, if we look at the face off between matador and bull, we are seeing a conjunction of fire and earth. This is all about the man versus the bull. Both creatures still retain their raw untamed instincts, but they have also been tamed to a great extent. Man has the power to control his own nature.
Jai Maa Durga!