The Greatness of Saturn by Robert E. Svoboda
A Therapeutic Method
(Book review 12/2015)
Saturn has been recognized as the most important of the Nine Grahas in other cultures as well as in India. The Chaldeans used Saturn for divination more than any planet. Babylonian and Assyrian astrologers, for whom Saturn was Ninib, god of the south, also called him Shamash, the “sun-star”, anointing him the ‘sun’ (most prominent planet) of the night. Since Saturn is by no means the sky’s brightest planet, his ‘solar’ prominence lies more in his symbolic significance. Western alchemists called him the Black Sun. The Greeks knew Saturn as Kronos (“he who gives measures” = the originator of time), Chronos (“time”), and Cronos (the crow god), the crow being much used in divination, and being symbolic of long life, in both Italy and Greece. Some even believe that the Holy Stone of the Kaaba in Mecca originally represented the god Hubal (Saturn).
In both Indian and Western astrology Saturn symbolizes people who are isolated from the daily life of the rest of the world: custom agents, jailors and jailbirds, ascetics, penitents on religious retreats, healers and patients in isolation wards or sanatoria, latrine cleaners, and grave diggers, to name a few. Marsilio Ficino, the Renaissance philosopher, contributed this list: “We are subjected to Saturn through leisure, solitude, and sickness; through theology, secret philosophy, superstition, magic farming, and through mourning.” (Quoted in Moore, p. 173) Anything that makes us withdraw, physically or mentally, from the thick of things is a function of Saturn.
Saturn, who rules both longetivity and prosperity, can make a king into a pauper, and vice-versa. When Saturn is happy he causes good fortune to sweep through your life, and when angry he destroys everything. He control’s everyone’s destiny. No one can escape from Saturn’s grasp, no matter where he might be in the world. No planet except Saturn can give you both long life and also plenty of things to consume during that life. Jyotish (Astrologers) gives Saturn pride of place because only he can change someone’s fate. So you should know what Saturn has laid out for you and arrange your life accordingly, if you want to live happily and peacefully.”
Saturn teaches endurance and humility. “In esoteric teaching, Saturn is the planet of discipleship, and a disciple is someone who is learning. “ (Greene, p. 194) In the Indian context, however, a disciple is someone who learns by surrendering to Reality, who studies minute by minute everything that Saturn has to teach be it bitter or sweet. True disciples attempt to control their own natures, that they may influence Saturn’s influence on themselves.