Planets in Astrology, Chapter 7. Saturn, the Gatekeeper

Vintage illustration of Saturn as seen from an asteroid, taken from the first issue of The National Geographic ever, July 1939. Author unknown.

With Saturn, we enter the sphere of transpersonal planets, symbolizing all those energies that transcend the Ego. As a celestial body, Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun, and the farthest one from Earth still visible to the naked eye. Classified as a “gas giant”, and with a magnetic field about 578 times more powerful than Earth’s, Saturn is made visually unique by its most outstanding feature: Saturn’s rings. Its distinctive ring system, made up of particles of ice and rock, symbolize its metaphysical status as principle of restriction, and structure.
Saturn is named after the Roman God Saturnus, which, as it’s the case with the other planets we examined, is a syncretism of ancient Roman and Greek characteristics. Since the name adoption is influenced by the fact that Greek culture long preceded Roman domination, we will therefore start by outlining the traits of the Greek Kronos.  Mythologically speaking, Kronos was the leader, and the youngest, of the first generation of Titans. These figures, the titans, were divine beings of legendary strength composing the first pantheon of Greek deities, and lacked a distinct personality in Greek narrations, as opposed to the way gods like Ares/Mars and Aphrodite/Venus are depicted, with their passions, pulses and adventures. It makes sense, therefore, that an impersonal character of mythology, is invested with the Astrological significance of a planet/principle which transcends the range of human comprehension, symbolizing a force that can be felt as though imposed from outer sources.
Kronos was the son of Uranus, deity of the sky, and Gaea, the Earth, and, on his mother’s advice, he castrated his father with a harpē, a sort of sword with a sickle-like protrusion, casting his testicles into the sea. This caused the separation of the Earth from Sky, and Kronos’ overthrowing of his father as leader of the Titans. Kronos then begun eating his offspring soon after being born, to prevent himself from being dethroned, until his wife tricked him into swallowing a stone when his son Zeus was born.  These myths showcase the most common expressions of Saturnine energy in action: testing, limitation, and deprivation.
Kronos was later identified with the Roman God Saturnus. Romans took a more innocuous view of the deity,  in the adaptation of myths from the Greek literature, attributing him mastership over agriculture but also order, eventually becoming associated with time.
Saturn, as astrological principle, does lord over time and order: its essence is cold and dry, its expression is concrete, pragmatic, and reality-based. Delays and setbacks are commonly associated with this tireless Zodiac taskmaster, a cosmic authority whose purpose is to help us awakening the authority figure within us. Saturn commands us to get to work and act with rectitude and sense of morals. Saturn represents the possibility of learning through experience, unlike Jupiter, whose wisdom is primarily assimilated on an intellectual level. Its power is that of triggering the necessary pressure that allows us to focus on our goal, to measure up with a standard of excellence, to “do the right thing”, to grow up and attain maturation and adulthood.
Saturn teaches us about responsibility, commitment, and boundaries. Its action is that of testing our patience and desire, to grant us the necessary perseverance through trials. With its sickle, Saturn castrates all that is superfluous, puerile, allowing us to become dependable and confident. Self-discipline is a strong theme with this planet, as there is also a marked parental signification attached to its overall meaning.
Dubbed as the “Great Malefic” in traditional texts, Saturn is often seen as a punishing father of sorts, a sinister, malevolent influence, but its role is no less necessary than that of beneficial planets like Jupiter and Venus. Saturn balances out the flourishing of Life, the mutability of existence, with its grounding action: as Father Time, he delays, but doesn’t deny. He rewards hard work and sense of duty, and, by bringing temporary restraint, he allows us to consolidate our position, our achievements. He challenges us to stand alone, to make the most of our resources, to plod through hardships and endure our struggles on the way to self-confidence; ultimately, Saturn fortifies us, bestowing his very same strength and endurance upon us.
Saturn is the ruler of Capricorn, and, before the discovery of Uranus, was also regarded as the ruling planet of Aquarius. Many astrologers still contemplate the dual rulership of this planet over both signs.

Comments (3)

  • Very interesting and well explained, especially using the term Indo-European, and linking it to mythological figures. Will read the whole website in the near future. I wonder though how can we apply mythological figures to present-day reality? Astrology? Also, I believe, through personal experiences, that the gods are really alive in other spheres. Thank you for your well-learned website.

  • […] upcoming Retrograde cycle of Saturn, starting on April 18, 2018 (9°08 Capricorn), is, among other things, our first chance to pause […]

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