Mythology, Astrology, and Herbs of Saturn
“Of all the greek gods that populate the horoscope, this is the one most frequently grappled with…”-Erin Sullivan
Ties to Roman and Greek mythology, second largest planet and adorned with rings, taskmaster of the sky, ruler of time itself; when it comes to Saturn there is much to sift through and unpack. While this will be a brief overview of all that encompasses Saturn, I intend to peak your interest to delve deeper into all the information currently out there.
Known as the colossal planet and sixth from the Sun, Saturn’s diameter is nine times larger than Earth. This gaseous giant has 53 confirmed moons, and an additional 9 moons awaiting confirmation within its orbit. Saturn is the farthest planet that can be seen by unaided eyes, and was considered the last planet in the solar system for quite some time. The last stop before the complete dark of space. This was, obviously, before the telescope came into existence, eventually aiding in the revelation of the outer planets. Saturn’s rings are theorized to be comets, asteroids, and/or moons shattered and torn apart by its gravity. Recent research shows that Saturn’s rings are disintegrating into the planet. Ultraviolet light from the Sun and plasma clouds from meteoroid strikes charge the icy particles of the rings, which then gets pulled into Saturn’s gravity due to its magnetic field.
Translucent Arcs. Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute, 13 August 2018.
Kronos, King of Titans and God of Time, is associated with Saturn. He was known to take rule of the cosmos after defying the chain of command, castrating and replacing his own father. Ironically, Kronos was told of a prophecy that he would, also, be overthrown by his children. This led to his infamous plan of swallowing his children whole, as each one was born. The tale continues on with Rhea (mother of his children) saving the youngest, Zeus, by hiding him on an island and feeding Kronos a stone wrapped in cloth. Once Zeus was grown, he forced Kronos to dislodge his siblings and kicked off the war against the Titans. Now let me just repeat, that this is a brief overview and most definitely not the most eloquent telling of the story. The entire mythology of Kronos would need its own blog post to explain in more detail.
Saturn, known for teaching agriculture and providing the Romans with bounty, peace, and abundance, was associated with the Roman’s Golden Age. This is why he is often depicted with a scythe. Saturn was thought of highly amongst the Romans. So much so, that a temple in his honor was built, the remains of which can still be seen today. This temple was the center of celebration for Saturnalia.
Saturnalia was the most popular Roman festival honoring the deity. The length of celebration changed over time, starting on December 17 and lasting between one day all the way up to a week. The tradition of the seven day festival still lives on today in the celebrations of Christmas and the New Year. During this time, all businesses came to a halt and shut down. Even slaves were not required to work during the liveliest and rowdiest celebration of the year. Some accounts even state that masters and slaves switched roles. Although there are no exact accounts as to a step-by-step ritual for Saturnalia, it is concluded that sacrifices, plenty of drinking and partying, and the suspension of work took place.
The Temple of Saturn, with the Temple of Vespasian, ruins of the Roman Forum, Rome. © Ron Gatepain.
“Saturn is the boundary of the mind, body, and soul.”
The lessons of the Saturn archetype, of course, revolve around time itself. He works in pushing you into more mature roles, deeper levels of adulthood. His values align with moderation, limits, and emphasizing boundaries. Nudging you to create spacial rings of your own, while still being able to take all that comes into contact with them, breaking them down bit by bit to test your inner strength. During Saturn’s transits, you may face old mistakes and issues. He gives you the opportunity to piece through your reality of the past, so you may change the outcome of those issues. After all, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes we have not learned from. Your weaker traits will be highlighted in the hopes that you will strengthen them. This opportunity can be utilized to shed self-delusions and help within your own spiritual growth. No matter how you handle the events of the transits, Saturn will dish out the deepest and heaviest lessons you need to grow. It is 100% up to you how you handle it internally and externally.
“Saturn represents in our psyche the series of challenges that we experience as we are compelled towards achievement.”
Saturn transits, especially the Saturn Return, are a time to practice self discipline to help you build a more solid foundation in life. You will be challenged on what gifts you want to offer the world. This motivates many people to finally pursue what they truly want, removing everything that no longer serves a purpose to their lives during their late twenties. Astrologically speaking, this is a heavy transit period with various planetary aspects coming into play. There are five other cycles that happen from ages 24-30. They all lead up to “Father Time” completing this transit period with his return to the natal position (the same position Saturn was in at the time of your birth). This period lasts for a span of 2-3 years. During this time, you will feel Saturn’s influence heavily pushing you to your limits and helping you identify your boundaries and obstacles.
“We can think of Saturn representing a place in the [birth] chart where we devour our creations….Instead of trusting what we create, or trusting life, we are fearful and disdainful, and we want to control or repress those creations.”
-Thea Wirsching, Saturn Astrology Interview on Magik Pizza Podcast.
SATURNS TRANSITS THROUGHOUT THE AGES:
- Saturn Square: Age 7
- Saturn Opposition: Age 14
- Saturn Square: Age 21
- Saturn Return: Age 27-29 Approx.
- Saturn Square: Age 36
- Second Return: Age 44
- Saturn Opposition: Age 52
- Square to second return: Age 52-59
- Second return onwards age 59+
- Some may even experience a third Saturn Return at age 87
Currently, Saturn is in the sign of Capricorn until March 21, 2020, where it will transition into Aquarius. However, Saturn will retrograde back into Capricorn from July 1-December 16, 2020, and then full on enter Aquarius from December 17, 2020- March 7, 2023. Saturn is the ruler of Capricorn, and the traditional ruler of Aquarius. To figure out your Saturn Return, or other stages of transits, you will first need your birth chart. One website I highly recommend for an in depth chart would be www.astro.com. You need your exact birth time, place, and date.
HONORING SATURN AND THE TRANSITS
“Saturnian plants open the way here in the middle realm.”
-Coby Michael Ward
My personal choice of how to honor Saturn for my upcoming Return is to work with Saturnian elements and to be mindful of what slowly comes to me in the journey to my natal Return. One way you can do this is to work with Saturnian plants that correlate with its associations of the mind, body, and spirit.
Saturn’s temperament is cold and dry. This aligns with plants that prefer shade, dry ground, or an environment that is unlikely to nurture other plants. Saturnian plants’ characteristics are ones having cooling, constricting, stabilizing, and/or rejuvenating qualities. They typically teach you boundaries in the methods used to handle them. The cultivation of slow growing plants help teach patience, delayed instant gratification, and offer a different perspective to one’s reality of time. While it is not true for all plants within the Saturnian temperament, some may be classified as hypnotics and deliriants. Again, teaching you boundaries and the limits of reality. A few plants that come to mind are Comfrey, Mullein, Belladonna*, Bittersweet Nightshade*, Cannabis**, Fir, Pine, Juniper, and Witch Hazel.
Saturn’s associations to the body include the skeletal and excretory systems, which offer vital functions to enable survival. The skeletal system being the network of bones, tendons, and ligaments that provide the internal support structure of the body and protection throughout movements. The excretory system performing excretion to rid the body of wastes. Supportive herbs to these systems include Comfrey, Chlorella, Spirulina, Nettle, Dandelion, Chickweed, Ginger, and Fennel. I want to note that plants can have more than one planetary ruler. However, my choices here are to support the systems that are associated with Saturn, not necessarily that they are ruled by Saturn. For instance, while Ginger can aid digestion, aiding in excretion, it is traditionally consider an herb ruled by Mars.
Saturn’s gravity tends to shatter most things it comes in contact with, adding those particles into its rings. In the more spiritual sense of Saturn, I see this as signifying your own ability to break down issues and patterns to create your healthy boundaries. An important task to complete during transits, especially Saturn Return. So utilizing plants that offer comfort in calming anxieties, restlessness, fear, and uncertainty though tough transitions can be beneficial. Ones that will help you stay grounded and focus in the light of change. Some herbs that can be utilized are Hawthorn, Tulsi, Lavender, Linden, and Chamomile. Flower Essences may also aid in this area and at the very least help you address various obstacles you have yet to overcome.
Although Venusian by trade, I feel it may benefit to add plants that enable a loving quality such as, you probably guessed it, Rose. Rose helps keep your heart open, not just for others, but yourself as well. Rose will lend its loving-embrace during periods of grief, should it appear during your Saturnian transits. Keep in mind Saturn transits seem to bring on a death of sorts throughout the years. Usually pertaining to the shedding of certain characteristics, thought and behavioral patterns, and expectations from outside sources. I will point out that Hawthorn is mostly recognized for matters of the heart. Personally, I have more of a connection with Rose as it is more in line with my ancestors, who stemmed from the Romans. Saturn is after all, a Roman deity.
Saturn’s north polar spinning vortex storm: The Rose. Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI. Photojournal: PIA14944 29, Apr 2013.
If you enjoy the usage of crystals within your life or rituals, you may want to create a crystal grid in honor of the deity. I do not typically like to specify on how the grid should look. I feel it is something that should be personalized by you. Take some time to meditate on it, maybe use the herbs above during a guided meditation to give you inspiration. ( See this Magik Pizza Podcast featuring a Saturn meditation including audio of Tibetan Throat Singing. ) For aligning with Saturn, I would suggest Jet, Obsidian, Onyx, Smoky Quartz,Tourmaline, Blue Sapphire, and Red Jasper. You can use all one just one. The crafting of this grid is up to you.
As you know, I wanted to give this information for those of you interested in working with Saturn and the meaning behind some upcoming products. You can find the Saturn's Return Meditation Mist here. There will be other products added later down the line. However, if you prefer to put together your own Saturn dedicated products, I will be listing quite a few herbs in the shop along with the launch.
*These plants are known to be toxic, and typically not ingested. They are included here for educational purposes only. Please research all plants listed in this post and consult with your physician before usage.
**Cannabis is still not legal in all areas. It is included for educational purposes only. Please check your state laws on the usage of this plant and consult with your physician.
Sullivan, Erin. Saturn in Transit: Boundries of Mind, Body and Soul. Weiser Books, 2000.
Ward, Coby Michael. The Poisoner’s Pocket Guide, Volume One: Book of Saturn. Poisoner’s Apothecary, 2018.
Baumgartner, Anne S. A Comprehensive Dictionary of the Gods. Wings Books, 1995.
Franz, Marie-Luise von. Time: Rhythm and Repose. Thames and Hudson, 1978.
Sagan, Carl. Pale Blue Dot: a Vision of the Human Future in Space. Random House, 1995.
Magik Pizza Podcast. “12 Saturn Astrology with Thea Wirsching”. 19 Apr. 2019.
“In Depth | Saturn – NASA Solar System Exploration.” NASA, NASA, 25 Apr. 2019, solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/saturn/in-depth/#moons_otp.
"NASA Research Reveals Saturn is Losing Its Rings at "Worst-Case-Scenario" Rate". 17, December 2018.
Anderson, Maggie (2000, August 5). Of Planets and Plants: Saturn. Retrieved from www.stariq.com
The Editor’s of Encyclopaedia Britannica.(2017, March 3) Saturnalia. retrieved from www.britannica.com