Lo Saturnalia! In ancient Rome, the wild, naughty street festival of Saturnalia was a lavish harvest holiday, at one point lasting a full week, marked by December 17. Historically, this is the earliest example we have of gift giving at this time of year and is one of the many pagan ancestors of Christmas as we now know it.
During Saturnalia, the world was turned upside down. All work, commerce, and warfare were cancelled. Slaves wore the hats of the free and all ate and drank until they couldn’t stand, in a Mardi Gras festive atmosphere, complete with animal and at least one human sacrifice to the gods.
In astrology, Saturn is often viewed as a restrictive, cold-hearted jerk of a planet, so why would his Roman god representative be celebrated in such a way that… well… seems astrology Saturn would view as “irresponsible?”
It is here that we can uncover some of astrology Saturn’s true, and often forgotten nature. In ancient Rome, Saturn was the god of harvest, of sowing and reaping. In this spectrum of sowing and reaping, we are kept in check by time, effort, responsibility, consistency, quality of work, integrity, and problem solving.
The quality of the harvest is dependent on all those things. So where Saturn is in our natal charts or where is transiting, we often experience what feels like restriction. What it really is, is the sacred cycle of sowing and reaping and we must accept that the harvest will be equal to how well we have followed Saturn’s rules of time, effort, responsibility, consistency, quality, integrity, and problem solving.
I’m not saying it’s not hard! In fact, it’s hard to the point of the ancients saying “eff it” to all their rules, laws, and “civility” in order to cut loose and CELEBRATE at the completion of this cycle. Especially for them, the quality of their celebration was equal in grandeur to the bounty of harvest…which Saturn well knows. This is why we are asked to persevere. Saturn knows how delicious it is to reap when you’ve sown so well.