Saturnus et Jupiter Optimus Maximus

The image that has come to symbolize 2020, for me, is that of Saturn and Jupiter drawing closer and closer in the night sky. Moving in retrograde much of the year, they both returned to their usual trajectory in October, and converged on Dec 21st - the Winter Solstice.


There will be lots of chatter about the astrological implications of this particular planetary convergence – in the middle of Saturnalia yet – but it is the mythological associations that fascinate me.

That mythic battle between Saturn and Jupiter, the Titans and the Olympians (the first 'war in heaven'), and Jupiter's ultimate triumph over his father, Saturn, marks the end of the Great Golden Age; this may well be the  greatest of all mythic tales. Saturn was known as Cronus in Greek Mythology (chronos - time), and Jupiter, the son of Cronus, is Zeus. The Story goes:

'Cronus learned from Gaia and Uranus that he was destined to be overcome by his own sons, just as he had overthrown his father. As a result, although he sired the gods Demeter, Hestia, Hera, Hades and Poseidon by Rhea, he devoured them all as soon as they were born to prevent the prophecy. When the sixth child, Zeus, was born, Rhea sought Gaia to devise a plan to save them and to eventually get retribution on Cronus for his acts against his father and children.'   Wikipedia

Mythology is not just a collection of quaint stories from the distant past; these stories literally shape our understanding of the world. Myth operates on an unconscious level however, and is one of the key elements of the invisible environment; the 'culture' in which we grow. Since the classical era passed into antiquity, for example, the Arthurian Legends and the Quest of the individual, became the informing myth of our age, here in the  west.  

Much of my 2013 book, Time Enough, was an attempt to illustrate the influence that mythology has on our society, even today. Mythic images are everywhere, but we seldom give much thought to such things. In popular culture, these symbols lend gravitas to even the silliest of stories. That is the power of symbols of course; they speak volumes, to some, and move most others in predictable ways – even if they don't understand the references – because these concepts speak to our collective unconscious.

Although I jump into this story midstream, I hope you'll enjoy the last two pages of chapter 20, 'Art and Life.' Atlas, as you will read, was one of the Titans. This story (below) is more relevant today than it was in 2013. I will share more of this chapter and continue the exploration later.

I see this Winter Solstice convergence as being important, not because of any astrological connotation of course, but rather, because it is symbolic; and symbols have power. As I mentioned in a commentary elsewhere, this 'reunion' could be seen to mark the beginning of a new Golden Age – an Awakening, a new Renaissance even.  It's really up to us, and I think everyone will agree, that after this eye opening year it's time for something positive and uplifting; a restart, not a 'Reset.'

David Ward    Dec 20th, 2020

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