THE FEAST OF
SATURNALIA - June 21
- © OF THE ORDER OF MERCURY
WNTER SOLSTICE CELEBRATES the darkest day of Winter. Since the most traditional Solstice Celebrations were many centuries ago, very few people who erect their annual X-mas Tree & adorn it with stars are thinking about the Tree's origin as a Pagan symbol, or the fact that the pine-tree was dedicated to Lady Ops (Mother of Lord Jupiter, and wife to Lord Saturn), and that the pine-cone is sacred to Lady Venus - Mother of all living. Saturnalia (in Latin), or more commonly known as Yule (in Scandinavian), heralds the birth of a New Year - represented by the birth of the Child of Promise (the Sun God's return): hence, when the coolest of Winter is behind us we may look forward to the start of longer days & extended hours of sunlight. Lord Saturn (Father of Lord Jupiter), from whom we get the word Saturday ruled in the golden age before Father Jupiter came to power, and is represented by the Sun at its lowest aspect at the Festival of Saturnalia. As Sol Nigran (Dark Sun), Saturnus is the Sun before the dawn of consciousness, and refers to the golden age when life was instinctual & death was celebrated. The Saturnian Kingdom was the time before humanity had knowledge of good & evil. When Father Jupiter established the Olympian dynasty, Lord Saturn was banished to the west, but not destroyed, and still exerts influence from over the western horizon - where the Sun is dark again. During Yule, the Earth is frigid, most plants are inanimate, hence the Old Sun (represented as Father Saturn) is also approaching death: only to be succeeded by His Son - Prince Jupiter. It is believed that Lord Saturn lies enchanted, asleep, in a cave of gold on an island near Britain. There He dreams the future, and the nymphs that minister His needs report His dreams to Father Jupiter. In this allegory we can see the conscious mind (Jupiter) benefiting from the unconscious (Saturn) through the medium of dreams.
Saturnalia is a time of reversal, a turn-around from inner-reflection to outer-expression. It was the original X-mas, being the most popular Roman festival. In ancient Pagan times, it was marked by a reversal-of-roles, in which slaves & masters switched places. In the Saturnalia festivals, we set aside conscious customs, laws & principles & return for a week to the paradise of unfettered instinct. The popular colours worn on this occasion have usually remained green, white & red, and the popular red Pileus (Free-man's hat) was worn by everyone in Rome. Saturnalia has always involved activities such as the giving of gifts, playful interaction & dancing with multiple groups of people, and jovial music & hymns. Anciently, conventional sacrifices - akin to those of the Old Testament Hebrews - were also performed. Saturnalia is ultimately a time for mothers & children, and the giving-of-gifts. In whole, Saturnalia celebrates the Sun (as well as Lord Jupiter) overcoming the power of winter (the tyrannical-rule of Lord Saturn), with the hope of Spring when life is renewed & reborn. On this glorious occasion, we also give praise to the birth our Lord & Lady - Apollo & Diana (the Holy Twins of Father Jupiter & Mother Latona).
The Winter Solstice - in the Northern Hemisphere - is celebrated at X-mas time, however as Australians & New Zealanders, etc, now living in the Southern Hemisphere, we need to re-align these Sacred Sabbats to our own calendar. Hence in Australia & New Zealand, Saturnalia is to be celebrated in June.
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