What best way to meet Saturn than to come to its own personal holiday – Saturnalia. Romans celebrated it with flair: public banquet, followed by private gift-giving, continual partying, and carnival atmosphere that overturned Roman social norms: gambling was permitted, and masters provided table service for their slaves.
In Justinus’ Epitome of Trogus the following was said:
“The first inhabitants of Italy were the Aborigines, whose king, Saturnus, is said to have been a man of such extraordinary justice, that no one was a slave in his reign, or had any private property, but all things were common to all, and undivided, as one estate for the use of every one; in memory of which way of life, it has been ordered that at the Saturnalia slaves should everywhere sit down with their masters at the entertainments, the rank of all being made equal.”
It must have been difficult for Romans to set aside pride and serve their slaves, I am guessing. A bit like inviting a few local homeless folks to our house for Christmas. In fact, Saturnalia was celebrated around the same time as Christmas in our time. While Christmas acquired new (and significant) meaning, the spirit of Saturnalia remains. A CEO sits down with a courier boy at a corporate party to share food and conversation. As seen in Downton Abbey Christmas special, British royalty served their servants during the celebration – a tradition clearly traceable to Roman days of Saturnalia.
This is the arrival time for Capricorn, often unjustly ascribed qualities of cold ruthless ambition , but at its core one of the most just and democratic signs. Sometimes depicted as a sheep (or more recently goat) with a fish tail, the Sea-Sheep’s very wellbeing depends on friendly collaboration and mutual respect. While the tail pushes forward, or upward, each sheep needs its herd. This is where teamwork begins, where rank and hierarchy come in, as simply roles played towards efficiency of the team.
Saturn, the “ruler” of Capricorn, is then unsurprisingly just and inclusive. It is said to rule skin and bones, which skin is the most inclusive part of the body and bones are all joined in a unified multi-purpose action that carries the rest of the body.
Now those who know astrological Saturn may ask “what happened to the Old Devil with a scary sickle of death?” What about “The Greater Malefic” as it was once called?
It is true of course that Saturn related events are likely to feel constricting, squeezing even, slowing down, lonely and downright miserable.
Think of what happens to people around 28-30 years of age during so called Saturn return for example. Many have to make tough choices, “grow up”, mature, deliver themselves to that college degree or professional license, or decent job, or that blogging site they always wanted to start. Some move out to start on their own, some move in with someone to pursue their dreams or change status. Some have to meet their parents on a deeper level of understanding and acceptance.
Whatever it is, it may feel focusing or constricting. It may feel like promotion or a suicide mission. You either suffer the toothache alone or you make your way to a dentist and fix it for good – either way you will be reminded of your body, of your physical existence and the responsibilities you have to yourself (and, by extension, to others in your life).
These are sides of the same coin. Saturn is as “real” as it gets, it is grounded, and it governs practical 3D concerns. (S)he is a professional benefactor of farmers, and with its sickle it reminds us that we are to tend to the fields, and we reap what we saw. That made it a lord of Karma, whatever meaning you put in this term. But in simplest terms it rewards effort, focus and consideration. So whether we are being squeezed or nudged is a matter of perception. Whether we flounder in loneliness or act in solitude is our choice.
When we do pay attention and make choices to our own benefit, without succumbing to Saturnian feelings (but rather acknowledging, addressing and releasing the feelings and moving on, which is another very important skill), we surprisingly start getting immediate rewards. Saturn was revered by farmers as deliverer of plenty. It’s not an indiscriminate enthusiastic abundance of Jupiter, but we get saturated with the results of our focus and our actions, we feel matured, accomplished. The word “saturated” (as well as “sate”) comes from Saturn. It has this proper magnetic feel to it.
To be sure the Lord of Perception and Time is always at work creating our 3D realm nonstop. The question is, how do we partner with Saturn, which direction we point to with our attention and determination.
Contrary to popular belief, all evidence point to Saturn being a Seasoned Wise Witch rather than Old Sickly Devil.
Meet the Witch
Anyone growing up in Eastern Europe knows a scary, but cute old witch flying around in a mortar (an ancient form of a food processor) attached to a mop. She likes guests and eats anybody (but prefers children and heroes). She lives in a cabin on chicken feet (a marvel of bionic engineering). Her name is Baba Yaga. The Wicked.
Yaga and Saturn is a match made in heaven.
Baba Yaga is old. We’ll see that she is also wise, and properly scary, to children, at first.
“Baba” means “Old Woman” (or grandma). “Yaga” sounds like someone up to no good, but could have roots in Sanskrit word for snake, or Lithuanian for “oppress” or “skin”.
The full name includes “bony leg”. Of course Saturn rules bones and joints, especially knees and ankles. Her hut is on one or more chicken legs, so legs are again emphasized.
Chicken leg(s) also emphasize movement. Her cabin moves, and so is she. When she is not cooking, Yaga is constantly on the move on a latest model of Mortar and Pestle – designed in retro style of an ancient food processor. This is the mothership. For shorter trips she uses her mop or broom. Talk about “fly by the seat of one’s pants!”, which certainly could be the feeling with increased responsibilities and “playing with the big boys” of Saturn expansion.
In folklore Yaga is usually boiling water or preparing a brew, all she needs is visitors to be used as protein. She sniffs them out with her long stretching nose. “Oh, smell like Russian spirit!” she said. Russia is incidentally an Aquarius culture, which is also (co-)ruled by Saturn.
Visitors are often children or young fellows. It must be terrifying to wait for that water to boil. But curiously Yaga always leaves for one reason or another, perhaps to keep an osteopath appointment or get fresh herbs.
Sometimes there are three Yaga sisters, in which case they send the protagonist from one to another, clearly dragging their bony feet, and even give the hero a tip on how to fool the youngest craziest sister and get out of the soup they find themselves in. Sometimes several magic whistles are involved, it takes time and action, and again the Witch herself gives the means of escape.
Something is fishy here. My guess is they don’t really enjoy eating people. It’s an elaborate scheme to test the youth and to pressure them to become part of decision making and engineer their own escape.
Another possibility here is that cooking each other is a game for these shrewdly funny witches. In their own reality or dimension (see reference at the end of this post) they may be boiling each other head to toe, hat to boots, to see what other aspects of a given personality can be brought forth by using herbs and spices. What it means for us mere mortals is that Saturn signifies where and how we may choose to be careful and considerate, burned and seasoned, where we marinate ourselves and others, whether we are raw, medium or well done.
… and the Tooth Fairy
As always zeroing in on an astrological archetype creates plays to experience it first hand, as a refresher and inspiration. In this case I had to visit a dentist to re-cement a loose crown. Teeth are no stranger to Saturn, cement is Saturn’s middle name. Even the word “crown” implies authority and inclusion, which are at the heart of the Wise Witch.
First a younger associate fellow could not get the loose crown out. The nurse was patiently assisting. He took some time, pulled a bit, wiggle a bit, drilled a bit, but the crown would not budge. My Saturn is in the 2nd house of possessions, and I was holding to the tooth tightly. I can’t even return purchased merchandise, and this was my own tooth! I began having “bleed-thru” images of some other life in which we performed some surgery together. Finally the younger guy stepped out and let me rest.
Then my own doc came in, who is truly a Master at what he does, a published scientist and teaching professor. Clearly an authority who’ve earned my respect many times over. He immediately lended confidence to whole situation.
By this time I begun connecting the dots and jokingly asked Baba Yaga for help. I instructed myself to relax and trust, that somehow the crown will come off, or another solution will be found. Sure enough with letting go of control and focusing on the teamwork, the crown has came right off. I was warned that solution is temporary (aren’t they all?) , and the crown was re-cemented anew. It takes time though, about 24 hours, to set fully.
Waiting for Godot
With so many references to time and “temporary” I started to really feel the Saturn-Time connection. Waiting for the cement to set, hurricane Irma to hit Florida, then Katya and Jose to do whatever. Waiting for inspiration to finish this post.
This opens a subject of patience. Which true patience is not waiting – it is allowance, a nurturing creative participation. Here Saturn’s sickle or Yaga’s broom comes in handy – remove the impatience, sweep away the doubt, open the door, blow the whistles and release the feelings, clear the way. Saturate in what’s interesting and important in this moment.
This is where eternity lives. “A man is the room he is in” says Chinese proverb. It’s hard to find more Saturnian saying than this. This is what it boils down to in Yaga’s hut. Board your Mortar, grab a drink and a broom. There are no slaves while Saturnalia reigns.
So do I follow my own advise? Maybe…sometimes… a bit more than before.
When my front tooth loosened up I immediately thought of the experimental “seed of intention” I “planted” a wile back, intending to move my teeth around. I actually made a bet with my dentist that, rather than pulling out (in my case horizontally growing ) wisdom teeth, and putting a post and a crown to where a recently vacant lot was from another dead tooth, I will encourage my body to regenerate and reconfigure the entire mess to its overall benefit.
I started playing with the idea, reading about cell regeneration
I recalled a meditation technique from Osho’s books that involves moving attention along the body from toes to head and back again to somehow “lit it up”, and that was exciting.
My gums have been irritated, once again reminding me about my mouth area and so I have been playing with energy via imagination of moving my teeth around and reconfiguring.
I am now encouraged even more.
This morning, incidentally, I woke up a bit groggy , but in a pleasant way, and I felt really immersed into environment, like wearing it, and here/now, like my cup of tea was extension of me, honey jar was a extension of me and so precious, kitchen table was me, and so on.
It was a great feeling, as if my blog post came alive, I was indeed “saturated”, I “was the room I was in”
If fairy tales inspire you, chances are you may like a blog by a friend of mine that is looking into fairy tales from a totally new perspective:
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