Athena's Web Weekly Column

Week of Apr 7th - Apr 13th, 2006

Crooked Minded Cronos

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  Saturn is riding high in the heavens currently. It may be found in the constellation Cancer, just short (west) of
Saturn and Rings

Saturn and Rings

the Beehive Cluster and the Aselli, the central grouping of stars in the middle of the Crab. It is thought to be in the early degrees of the sign Leo in the western system of tropical astrology, what we look at in this column each week. With even a small amount of magnification, whether through an economical telescope or a good pair of binoculars, the rings of this planet may be seen on a clear night, and is well worth the effort.

Beehive Cluster

The Beehive Cluster in Cancer

  Saturn is most often remembered as the father of Jupiter, deriving from the Greek tradition of Cronos being the father of Zeus. Saturn was the youngest and craftiest of the children of Uranus (Sky) and Ge (or Gaia, the Earth). As in many contemporary marriages, Mom was not happy with Dad. In this case though, Mom fashioned a sickle out of flint and gave it to her son, telling him to help her and do something about Dad. According to the myth, Uranus would come down each night and lie with Ge, and so Saturn hid behind a stone and waited for Dad's nocturnal visit, and then jumped out and castrated his father, who retreated to the sky, and never assumed his throne on Earth again, which Saturn promptly took over. Another ancient tradition involving Saturn states that he was a deity of agriculture and of the fertility of the Earth, and that his sickle relates to this function, and not the former.

  In fact, all of the above are true if we examine these themes thoughtfully. Saturn has always been regarded as the ruler of time; some would say it is Father Time with his sickle. Time is the result of the union of heaven and earth (the child of Uranus and Ge), and it was marked, in the past, by observing the heavens at night, when the stars came out.
Cronos eating his children

Cronos eating his children

Time was calibrated by the use of standing stones and natural markers on the horizon by cultures around the globe. Cronos was thought to eat his children, which many find to be a repugnant concept, but Time does indeed 'eat' his children as from dust we came and to dust we return. The only ones Cronos did not eat were the ones he regurgitated, the immortal gods, his offspring, which represent love and passion, curiosity and emotion, and all the human qualities we so readily identify with in day to day life. Saturn was indeed an agricultural lord, because time rules over the seasons, and with the development of the calendar (one of the original functions of observing the stars), agriculture became more manageable as civilization started to pull together in a coordinated, synchronized effort.

  In astrology, Saturn rules difficult conditions. The Mathesis of Firmicus Maternus, written in the 4th century AD, is one of the last and most complete of the astrological works of the pagan world, and it goes into great detail about Saturn through the natal chart. Some examples of the mythological character of Saturn (Cronos) can be found here.

  "Saturn, when located by day on the ascendant, will bring the native to birth with a great cry. The one born will be the eldest of all children or, if any is born before him, that one will be separated from the parents. That god always, (when born) by day, on any of the angles, will make the native the first-born or the first to be reared, or he destroys those that were born before..."

  Is any of this true? Only Time will tell.

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