Athena's Web Weekly Column

Week of Jun 28th - Jul 4th,  2002

Saturn rules Capricorn

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Saturn Eating His Children

Saturn eating his children

   This week we're once again taking a look at Ovid's Fasti, a correlation of the calendar and traditions associated with each of the Roman holidays through the year. This is part of an ongoing series, and our hypothesis is the original calendar of the Roman Republic was choreographed by the positions of the Sun and Moon, with each month beginning on the New Moon and reaching a crescendo with the Ides, correlating to the Full Moon.

   This week's holiday is February 24th. On that date the Moon would still be in Capricorn (as on the 23rd), the Sea-Goat ruled by Saturn. Capricorn is an earth sign and deals with structure and hierarchy.

   Our selection both begins and ends with the essence of our Capricornian theme:

   "Now have I to tell of the Flight of the King," (and) "That day was the last of kingly rule."

   The holiday remembers back to the last king to have ruled Rome. But an even more interesting piece is that Frazer himself supplies us with celestial clues in one of his footnotes. In trying to understand the rationale behind the "Flight of the King," he compares the holiday to the Saturnalia, a festival which took place in December.

   "The ancients appear to have generally interpreted the ceremony as an annual celebration of the flight of Tarquin the Proud..."

   "On this view the king who fled... on February 24 may be compared with the mock King of the Saturnalia who held sway during the festival of Saturn in December; and the analogy between the two would be still closer if we suppose that the mock King of the Saturnalia originally personated Saturn himself and was put to death in the character of the god at the end of month's revelry and licence; for we are expressly informed that such a mode of celebrating the Saturnalia was actually observed by the Roman soldiers at Durostorum in Lower Moesia in the early years of the fourth century of our era... But if the representative of Saturn was formerly put to death at the Saturnalia, it may well be that the Flight of the mock King on February 24 was a mitigation of an older custom which compelled him to end his life with his reign. If the analogy here suggested between the King of the Saturnalia and the King of the Sacred Rites (the Sacrificial King) should prove to be well founded, we should be confronted with a curious coincidence of the reign of a mock king at the end both of the old and of the new Roman year, the King of the Sacred Rites reigning at the end of the old Roman year in February and the King of the Saturnalia reigning at the end of the new Roman year in December. How this duplication, if such indeed it was, is to be explained, it would be premature to speculate."

The Planet Saturn


   There is a very simple astrological explanation. As we demonstrate each week, the planet and sign it rules are interrelated, with the same theme flowing through each; it's simply more concentrated in the planet. What Frazer fails to perceive in these two holidays (while catching their interconnection) is that on Feb. 24th, the Moon is in Capricorn, while the Saturnalia is dedicated to Saturn, the ruler of Capricorn. This would lead us to expect some similarly between the two, and here it is, establishing that once again, the guiding essence behind the calendar of the Republic was astrological in nature.