YuleTide: The Twelve Deities of Solstice #8 – SATURNUS
Posted by invizweb on December 27, 2008
During my tenth year, my aunt purchased me a book introducing me to the mythology and the Gods of Greco-Roman antiquity. Throughout my primary school days, I was told that Roman God Saturn(us) and Hellenic God Cronus were one and the same. That is in fact, not the case; Saturn was deity worshipped during the Etruscan civilization as Satre. A legend dictated that a man identifying himself as Saturn assisted in developing agricultural techniques to an early Roman king. Thus bringing about what would be called “a Golden Age,” the festival of Saturnalia, celebrated from December 17 to December 23, was dedicated to him. Since Cronus was thought to have brought a Golden Age after slaying his tyrannical father, God Ouranos, the two Gods Cronus and Saturn were syncretized. Cronus is most famous for the castration of his father and for then the swallowing of his own children to prevent them from overthrowing him.
Saturn in the Roman State Religion was the God of Justice and Prosperity. To rural Romans, he also was the God of Agriculture, (specifically God of Corn), and God of Abundance as well. Saturnus is the only Roman God who still has a day named after him, Saturday, as the other 6 days of the week in the Anglicized version of our Calendar system is dedicated to Norse Gods (Sunday Sunna, Monday Mani, Tuesday Tyr, Wednesday Wotan/Odin, Thursday Thor, Friday Frigga).
In Astrology the planet attributed to his namesake, Saturn, is attributed dually to Capricorn and Pisces. Capricorn is attributed to the settling of debts, so they are abolished on the feast. Likewise, Saturnalia in addition plays on and inverts the dualities; slaves were given he rights of their masters, and men and women reversed roles. Thus slaves and slaveholders gambled side by side on the days of the festival. Men and women in drag would have been the custom. Pansexual orgies were also said to have randomly broken out.
Note to Saturn: I apologize for identifying you as the Lord of Time since Cronus is attributed to that (and that was actually much later during the Middle Ages when Hermeticism sought out Roman-Egyptian syncretic magic rites for answers to the Universe, and misconstrued Cronus for Chronos).
Below is a video based on a comic found originally on E-sheep.