Saturn: Fearing the Devil

Saturn was the stronger malefic in Medieval astrology, representing death and endings. During the Middle Ages, the man in black, or the devil, became synonymous with the planet. The Saturn archetype was set firmly in the earthly, dense plane of reality, considered to be separate from the realms of God, spirit, and the heavens. All kinds of “sin,” such as lust, wantonness, and carnal impulses, were thought to be able to infiltrate the physical world and the earth plane. Saturn’s reputation as the bringer of retribution for our “sins” is enough to give anyone pause for concern. People have often been forced to endure hardship and grow as individuals in the Saturn cycle surrounding their birth charts. 

Saturn was the furthest planet from Earth and the ruler of Capricorn at night and Aquarius during the day, according to traditional astrology. The planets were classified at the time according to their characteristics. Masculine, cold, sad, and “bad” are all characteristics attributed to Saturn. The Roman godfather Chronus is linked to Saturn; he ousted Uranus and then ate his own children to prevent a coup. Saturn is most often linked to the emotions and traits of fear, repression, and authority. Among the more negative features include a propensity toward rigidity, constriction, narrow-mindedness, melancholy, and excessive restrictions. Saturn’s negative impact can be traced back to unfulfilled hopes and dreams as well as personal dissatisfaction in one’s abilities. If Saturn is prominent in one’s natal chart, that person may be paralysed by anxiety and miss out on ample opportunities, and Saturn’s fear prevents him from straying too far from the safety of the familiar (the devil’s shackles).

Anxiety is something that everyone experiences at some point in their lives, and it is difficult to overcome, if at all. The origin of the word “anxiety” can be traced back to the European word “angst” (German). Anxiety comes from several ancient Greek words that indicate “to press tight,” “to strangle,” “to be weighted down with sadness, and load, burden, and affliction.” Anxiety and Saturn go way back in time together. Anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders, thus our anxieties are shared by many. Even if chronic social anxiety brought on by Saturn causes us to avoid social situations, we need not accept our lot in life as perpetually lonely. A woman who was initially terrified of leaving the house overcame her apprehension by getting a job and forcing herself to regularly interact with the outside world. If we take anything away from your story, it’s that the astrological aspects of our charts that make up who we are can change, even if our core nature remains the same.

The planet Saturn itself has a halo, rings that glisten like ice and snow, and is generally regarded as lovely, thus the widespread negative emotions that surround it are perplexing. The sight of snowflakes, ice crystals, and snowballs whirling about is breathtaking from a closer vantage point.

Saturn deals with time and the rings that surround this planet suggest that time is circular or cyclic, that patterns are always repeating themselves. They remind us that we can’t just consider one point in time when making a major decision, but must consider everything relevant that went before it and everything that will come after. This connection between Saturn’s rings and time is confirmed by the difficulty any astrologer has in talking about Saturn without referring to its cycles and what they mean in our lives. By Donna Cunningham

One common interpretation of Saturn’s symbolism is as the cross of matter placed on the crescent of the soul. While our souls may travel everywhere in the universe, our physical forms force us to remain on planet Earth. According to Islamic mystics, Earth is like a fortress with walls around it. Humans’ attempts at evasion are pointless. There has been much discussion about how difficult life may be on Earth. The humourous relationship between Satan and Saturn is also something we are familiar with. Never, however, should it be interpreted negatively:

“To the ancient astrologers (and philosophers) Saturn was the last planet…the farthest planet from the sun. The sun was associated with light, heat and good. Saturn was the planet least exposed to light. It was associated with cold and black. It was the planet of adversity, limitations, of trials. He was not evil. . So Saturn was associated with the limitations that come with the incarnation of the soul in the material world (the aging, the pain, the basic needs, food, warmth, etc)

To the ancient Greeks Pan represented the inferior nature of man, with his animal part. As a representation of the inferior nature of man, he was associated with Saturn. And then later, long after the people tortured and killed one of the nicest guys ever (Jesus), they started inventing ways of making people feel guilty and scared. That is when Saturn became Satan, and the idea of “adversity” was probably out of grasp for their very primitive minds, so they replaced “adversity” with “evil” which was probably a better argument to burn witches, alchemists and astrologers. And the inferior, animal part of man (Pan) became the Devil. The repression of the sexual instincts was one of the surest ways to make people feel weak.

That is why satan looks a lot like a Capricorn-man: goat feet, a tail, goat horns, a goatee, and a triangle shaped-face. Satan was originally not the “temptator” but the “tester”, because that is what Saturn does: Saturn TESTS YOU: when you have a Saturn transit you are tested in that area. That’s just one of the many mistakes of the old Christian church. Or maybe it was their strategy: mixing everything up until it doesn’t mean anything so that they can enslave a disoriented humanity.

Fortunately, the Age of Aquarius is bringing a new light. And of course, but you already know that, the word Saturday comes from there too. Asmodee

Saturn is associated with the Tarot’s Devil card.

Why does this grim figure of oppression appear so late in the Tarot?…The devil bears the number 15, which reduces to 6…The Devil introduces the last line…Does this road to enlightenment take us through the dark world of the Devil? Remember that Dante goes through hell before he can reach Purgatory and Paradise; and that William Blake, the occultist and poet, described the Devil as the true hero of Milton’s poem Paradise Lost….The main illusion is materialism, a term which we usually think of as an over concern with money, but which more properly means the view that nothing exists beyond the world of the senses….Denying any spiritual component to life the materialist pursues only personal desires… Since such narrowness often leads to unhappiness the Devil has come to symbolize misery. When we look at the two figures, however, we do not observe any discomfort in their faces or posture. Notice also that the chains do not really hold them; the large loops can easily come off. The Devils ‘power rests on the illusion that nothing else exists. In a great many situations from political oppression to the personal misery of a bad family life, people only become consciously unhappy when they realize that life holds no other alternatives…

Saturn is an unavoidable fact of life. Then we may change the lead from Saturn into the gold from the Sun. According to the philosopher Jacobi, “to confront a person with his shadow is to reveal him his own light.” Satan’s masquerade is the Bringer of Light, Lucifer.