Samhain and Saturn – The Beast and the Handsome Prince

Samhain will soon be upon us. Most people know this ancient Pagan festival as Hallowe’en – All Hallows eve. The wheel of the year turns towards winter. The nights are long and cold, the days short and bitter bright. Leaves are falling, leaving skeletal trees on the horizon.

Despite the ‘civilised’ society that we have created, winter still tugs at our far memory. It reminds us that as Mother Nature can be bountiful so she can be brutal. In the past, this was the time of year when animals unlikely to make it through the cold season would be slaughtered and stored to feed the community. It was the time when the last of the harvest was gathered and the remaining food rationed. The period between Samhain and Winter Solstice is the time of no time. We are between the worlds, between dark and light, close to death and life yet touching neither. The earth waits for the light to return.

With children dressed up as ghosts and ghouls and old horror movies playing on tv, the collective psyche faces death with a nervous giggle. It tests our nerves to the limit. We laugh in the face of death, make him a figure to be ridiculed. We do this to trick ourselves into believing that we aren’t afraid. We paint our faces so that death cannot recognise the living from the already dead. We pretend that we have outwitted death.

Samhain is the time of year when we unleash hell on earth. Ghosts skitter along the streets shouting Boo! Death tries to surprise us and surprise us he will because we never know exactly when the lights will go out. Through our laughter, trick or treat and lanterns, we create a safe landscape in which we can confront death and our greatest fear. By laughing at our fears we seek to diminish them.

Fear is rooted instinctively within us. Fear quite simply keeps us safe: it’s purpose to warn us of impending danger. In infancy, children are afraid of loud noises, sudden approach and sudden movement. It is easy to see that these instinctive fears are based on the concept of being hunted as prey. Way back, whilst we humans were ingenious, we were also susceptible to being a predator’s lunch.

But as we grow older we develop other fears. Perhaps in our safer world, our fears have transmuted. Divorced from our natural connection to the land, fear cloaks itself in new guises such as arachnophobia or claustrophobia. Fear and the nature of the thing feared often becomes an eloquent symbolic explanation of the human psyche under pressure. Nightmares flood the conscious mind to warn us of aspects of ourselves that we have disowned or have become fragmented. Cast out from the conscious self, these shadows speak in the only way they can and as loudly as they can. They call us to call them home, back to the warmth of the soul, back to the light.

Monsters lurk in dreams. Monsters are monsters simply because we cannot understand them and cannot communicate with them. Think of Ripley’s ‘alien’ – utterly terrifying because there is no way to reason with this creature. Monsters are nameless because to name a thing is to give it power. By naming it, it triggers a dialogue, we can only recognise that this ‘terrible thing’ is in fact part of us.

Saturn’s position in the birth chart shows where fears are likely to manifest. In ‘Saturn: A New Look at the Old Devil” Liz Greene says

“Saturn’s role as the Beast is a necessary aspect of his meaning, for as the fairytale tells us, it is only when the Beast is loved for his own sake that he can be freed from the spell and can become the Prince”.

Saturn rules Capricorn, symbolised by the Goat. As the old Pagan religion fell to a new order, the Devil became a horned being with goat’s feet, a maligned echo of the goat-foot God of the nature religion. Yet as the Sun moves into Capricorn, we celebrate the Winter Solstice and the return of the light. So Saturn, despite his traditional dark associations is somehow also bound with light. Greene’s Beast [monster] becomes the handsome price [the shining Sun].

Saturn is also Old Father Time, he is the ultimate DEADline. Before telescopes were invented he was the boundary of the solar system: the End. Like the Grim Reaper, he carries the scythe to remind us that in time all things that grow will be ‘cut down’ by Time itself. Death will come.

To that end, Saturn reminds us that our time on earth is limited, we must master our fears in order to achieve. The word discipline which is commonly associated with Saturn comes from the Latin disciplina “instruction given, teaching, learning, knowledge’ (www.etymonline.com)

So Saturn in the birth chart represents both our devil (our ‘demons’) and also where we have the potential to be transformed through mastery of our fears. He shows us where we are bound by time and perhaps what we sense we must achieve before death. The cycles of Saturn often brings the opportunity to confront fear head on – not because he’s a bad planet, not because we should suffer but simply because there are things we have to do in our lives. He brings wisdom which brings light. He helps us to create heaven on earth.

Samhain, Hallowe’en, the Day of the Dead, Dia de Los Muertos. This time of year we can commune with Saturn. What do you fear most? How do you think this is shown through your birth chart? Saturn through the houses of the natal chart gives an indication of where our own personal demons lay but each of these demons can be transformed. Howard Sasportas says that

“By facing Saturn’s challenge, we strengthen ourselves and are rewarded with greater knowledge and fulfillment.”

By loving the beast within and accepting it wholly, the beast is transformed into the handsome prince. Darkness becomes light, fear is overcome and we are able to accept the gifts of Saturn.

Below I have written some suggestions of the fears/challenges that Saturn can represent in each houses (The Beast) and the possible gifts of Saturn (The handsome Prince). Please feel free to share your experience of Saturn and what fears you think he represents in your own chart in the comments section.

SATURN IN THE FIRST HOUSE
Beast

Inhibition, lack of self confidence, hypochondria, pessimism, self doubt, undefined guilt, feelings of inadequacy
The Handsome Prince
Common sense, dutiful, responsible, personal well-being, a realist, natural self-assertion, hard-working, willing, a lighter outlook later in life.

SATURN IN THE SECOND HOUSE
Beast

Fear of poverty, fear of using one’s talents, lack of self-worth, fear of relying on someone else financially, fear of sharing (physically and emotionally).
The Handsome Prince
Discovering one’s true talents, innate perseverance, ability to make money from personal skills, strong personal values.

SATURN IN THE THIRD HOUSE
Beast
Fear of not knowing enough, fear of expressing oneself, fearing one’s own mind.
The Handsome Prince
Serious thinking, an organised mind, refined communicative abilities, intellectual self-discipline, strong concentration, tact.

SATURN IN THE FOURTH HOUSE
Beast
Fear of being unwanted or abandoned, fear of being not good enough, lack of inner stability, feeling un-rooted.
The Handsome Prince
Discovering one’s true worth, creating a stable base for oneself, creating a solid identity.

SATURN IN THE FIFTH HOUSE
Beast
Fear of creative self-expression, stage fright, inability to play, lack of spontaneity, afraid to relax, feeling un-loveable.
The Handsome Prince
Making a living from one’s creative gifts, a gift for teaching children, a slow unfolding of inner joy.

SATURN IN THE 6TH HOUSE
Beast
A workaholic, feeling inferior, fear of deviating from routine, fear of illness.
The Handsome Prince
The responsible colleague, the trusted manager, high service to others, humility

SATURN IN THE SEVENTH HOUSE
Beast
Fear of relationships, fear of vulnerability, fear of enemies, fear of commitment
The Handsome Prince
Committed partnerships, wise unions, stable relationships, trust.

SATURN IN THE EIGHTH HOUSE
Beast
Fear of intimacy, fear of letting go, sexual inhibition, fear of death, arachnophobia, fear of change.
The Handsome Prince
A talent for investment, honed intuition, an ability to transform one’s life.

SATURN IN THE NINTH HOUSE
Beast
Fear of God, fear of heights, fear of flying, fear of the future, a sense of meaninglessness
The Handsome Prince
The ability to be a serious student, a deep thinker, an upholder of the law, an ability to write, a talent for symbolic language, strong faith, spiritual security,

SATURN IN THE TENTH HOUSE
Beast
Fear of being judged wanting, fear of not being recognised, fear of never achieving,
The Handsome Prince
Respect of peers, success through hard work, an ability to shoulder responsibility, dedication.

SATURN IN THE ELEVENTH HOUSE
Beast
Fear of crowds, fear of loneliness, feeling trapped within one’s own ideals.
The Handsome Prince
A loyal friend, a group leader, a powerful humanitarian, ability to achieve your goals

SATURN IN THE TWELFTH HOUSE
Beast

Fear of mental illness, fear of imprisonment, paranoia, feeling unacceptable, fear of loss of identity, fear of the unknown.
The Handsome Prince
Deep inner wisdom, the strength to carry on, comfort in one’s own company, ability to reconnect with lost aspects of the self, a deep sense of vocation.

References
Saturn: A New Look at the Old Devil by Liz Greene
The Twelve Houses by Howard Sasportas

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Leah

    thanks for this thoughtful, evocative and wise piece. The Buddhists talk of “forging the diamond soul” through facing and working through major life challenges: for astrologers, these are represented more than anything else by Saturn’s placing in the birth chart.(I have to thank Steven Arroyo for my discovery of this expression which I have used in my own writings about Saturn)

    I have a 12th House Saturn, and during a long period of withdrawal from the world owing to energy burnout, found reflecting on that Buddhist statement very, very supportive. Believing that through suffering you CAN cut another facet on the diamond, helps to get you through the dark night….

  2. Hi Anne
    Thank you 🙂
    ‘Forging the diamond Soul” That is indeed a beautiful and expressive concept. I hadn’t heard of it but it is very apt for the Saturnian trials!

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