Arcanum 15: Saturn and The Black Magician
Although the writings of medieval astrologers show little appreciation of the advantages conferred by the influence of Saturn, when prominent in a birthchart, it is probable that those of more ancient times were well aware of them. Yet because the principle he rules in human life and the influence of his vibrations always find their foundation in self-interest, and self-interest more than any other one principle is the source of human misery, when they sought to portray the relation of this Saturn power to life on earth their symbolical pictographs represented the adverse side.
To indicate the more commonly observed motives of Saturn they employed as the central figure Typhon, the spirit of cruel Greed. This horrible monster, borrowed from the Egyptians, is a familiar character of Greek mythology, frightening Venus and her son Cupid so that they jumped into the River Euphrates to escape him and transformed themselves into the two fishes of Pisces, which can be seen as a constellation in the sky. In the language of universal symbolism this legend explains that, when the self-interest of Saturn is present, Love, represented by Venus and Cupid, must depart. It also reveals Pisces as the sign of exaltation of fair Venus.
Saturn, in the pursuit of its object, not only is motivated by self-interest, but unlike Mars, for instance, it works in darkness and through cunning, rather than facing the full light of day. The use of mental powers is typical of all methods to secretly acquire an unfair advantage over others. And when the power of thought is sent against another to destroy or to compel them to do things against their own interests, it is called Black Magic. The one using such iniquitous methods is termed a Black Magician. Thus the ancients, in portraying their teachings relative to the influence of the planet Saturn, not only employed the picture of evil Typhon but presented him in the role of the Black Magician.
Major Arcanum 15 of the tarot, here illustrated, shows Typhon standing triumphantly over the ruins of a temple. That is what the world today is facing [1930s]. Greed for power, the greed of the few within the nation to dominate and control its resources, the greed of military nations to gain for themselves, even at the cost of destroying civilization, control of world commerce and world resources. The ruins of the temple, as pictured on The Black Magician tarot card, now can be seen in actuality in many countries.
Why is it that the medieval authors were so stout in their affirmation that Saturn afflicted in the house of honor (tenth) brought a rise followed by certain downfall? Not because such a position created the inevitability of such precipitation from fame for some few with this position are able to curb its unbounded greed for more and more power. If one keeps reaching for more and more, always there is a grasping for that which is beyond the reach and then the customary fall.
The ancient Masters were at some pains to explain its influence when not curbed thus: Typhon, the emblem of greed, is pictured holding in his right hand a scepter surmounted by a circle resting between two divergent bars. These spreading bars signify the inversive forces that hem and hamper the influence of the spirit, represented by the circle. It is the emblem of that hatred and division which has led in many lands to the persecution of those of different race or of different religious views.
In the other hand this creature of Arcanum 15 is pictured as holding the torch of destruction, whose blaze has been applied to the ruins of the temple, even as today the homes of hundreds of thousands have been destroyed. He is crowned with flame to represent that he is influenced from the invisible world, and he has the wings of a bat to indicate that because of such influence he is a denizen of the realm of darkness. The horn on his nose signifies stubborn rebellion.
The breasts of a woman and the organs of a man indicate him to be hermaphrodite, which because devoid of love is the emblem of self-centeredness.
The body is that of a hog, especially to denote greed. The feet are those of a goat, to indicate the sign Capricorn, the home sign of Saturn, or Satan; and the sign most devoted to material ambitions. And the beings chained at the feet of this monster of chaos also have goatsâ€™ heads, indicating that their intelligence has been used exclusively to further material and selfish ambitions.
This malignant picture of an afflicted Saturnâ€™s influence has the head of a crocodile, symbol of cruelty. The snake emerging from his body, instead of from his brow, indicates the use of creative energy, not for high mental purposes, but for the gratification of purely physical ambitions. It also, through its negative implications, represents mediumship, rather than conscious control; for the chief center of power in disintegrative mediumship is the solar plexus.
The two men with goat heads chained by the neck at the monsterâ€™s feet represent the certain fate that awaits all who use magical power to attain selfish or purely material ends. Sooner or later they become the slaves of the very forces that they have used and are finally completely destroyed in body and mind; and even after passing to the next life these black magicians are chained by their evil deeds in the underworld.
All such evil entities, of this plane and the next, survive by preying on the ignorance and credulity of others, as shown by the sign of sorcery they make with their hands. They are the racketeers and gangsters of both planes; and the picture as a whole indicates the bondage and the fate of those who follow the inversive path and become dominated by the spirit of selfishness.
Arcanum 15 certainly explains the extreme influence of an afflicted Saturn; but when we consider that there are millions of people in these United States who are able to work and who want to work, yet are unable to find employment; and when still further we observe the chaotic despoliation in progress in other parts of the world, and recognize that these are expressions of an afflicted Saturn, we cannot believe this portrait handed down to us by the ancients is much overdrawn.
Saturn also has a highly beneficial side, one without the due influence of which an individual will remain in obscurity or may even perish from the earth. But before considering this more constructive side, let us take less extreme examples than those pictured in The Black Magician and show how and why it is that too much Saturn influence in a birthchart so often tends to defeat the individual in the aims he seeks.
Perhaps the best way to indicate this is through contrasting the Saturn attitude with the more luck-attracting influence of Jupiter. The influence of Jupiter on everything he contacts is in the direction of expansion. He is the salesman whose goodwill and joviality enable him to sell his wares or his services at the highest price. Large and generous by nature he spends no time in petty haggling over small differences in cost. His customers will buy from him, even if they must pay a little more than elsewhere, because he is such a good fellow.
This disregard of small imperfections in others, the tendency to forgive transgressions and the spirit of give and take which is so essential in life if frictions and antagonisms are to be avoided, may well be symbolized by the belts of Jupiter which may be seen through a small telescope: ever-shifting zones of various colors formed by changes in the planetâ€™s atmosphere. Here there is no suggestion of restriction, of self-interest or of coldness, but rather an impression of a benign and genial giant.
Now look at Saturn through a telescope. There comes a very different feeling. Its cold white is slightly tinged with yellow, but it lacks that glowing warmth which the steadfast yellow light of Jupiter seems to pour forth to cheer his neighbors in the sky. Instead of the somewhat careless disregard of Self which the larger planet seems to indicate, Saturn has built a ring completely around himself to protect his possessions. And this is just what a person with a prominent Saturn in his birthchart is apt to do.
In his cautious and Self-Centered desire to insure that nothing from himself is given to others and that even in the smallest way no one outdo him in bargaining, he has fenced himself and his possessions in. That which the prominent Saturn person constantly overlooks is that a wall which prevents anything from getting out acts quite as effectively to keep anything from getting in. Jupiter gives and spends and makes pleasure for others; and this generous attitude awakens a like response in them. They in turn, feeling a sympathetic glow of generosity, give Jupiter more than he asks and go out of their way to see him prosper. But when they come in contact with the cold ring into which Saturn has withdrawn, they recoil from the barrier and think to themselves that such a one deserves no favors and that the best thing is to shun him entirely.
Greed, however, is not the only outstanding characteristic of an afflicted Saturn pictographically explained by tarot Arcanum 15. It will be recalled that it was due to fear that Venus and Cupid jumped into the River Euphrates. The whole picture on the tarot card is so presented as to give the impression of something greatly to be feared. And many persons who are generous and free even from the slightest tinge of greed, are veritable slaves to this other dominant trait of Saturn which we name fear.
Back of fear and the other thought-elements which Saturn rules, lies a biological heritage as long as that of life upon the earth, a heritage which at every step was influenced by the energies emitted from that cold and yellow orb. And not from idle curiosity, but because such research leads to a comprehension of the functions of those trends, impulses and thoughts which in the life of every person are energized by the Saturn vibrations, is time well spent in tracing the broad outlines of that heritage. When comprehended, it will afford information as to the methods of using the Saturn energies constructively and thus form a guide to more successful conduct.
That is, when we know the source of hindrances within ourselves, know when and how at predetermined times these Saturn factors will be stimulated by planetary energies reaching them, and how to divert such energies as the ancients pictured in The Black Magician into channels that instead of destruction, are completely constructive, we possess a tool by which we can make life more spiritual, more successful and more happy.
Survival in the Universe is based upon Orderly Movement
These Saturn thought-energies which become more active within us when stimulated by planetary aspects to birthchart and progressed Saturn have their foundation in the struggle of the evolving organism to find Safety. They express painfully in human life as fear, greed, envy, grief, worry and forms of self-centeredness. Yet through developing the proper habit systems, the individual can divert them and make them express through some of the pleasant Saturn channels, such as careful planning, system, order, perseverance, elimination of waste and willingness to do hard work.
When it is said that self-preservation is Natureâ€™s first law, this is an acknowledgment that the Saturn-ruled desire for safety cannot be prevented from finding some adequate expression. All life forms, from the first, have been beset with dangers. And the ability to escape from enemies, to avoid harmful conditions and to provide for security is essential if the individual is long to survive.
If he does not survive the period of immaturity, because the Saturn thought-cells were not active enough, he leaves no offspring. Thus from the very first living cell upon the earth, down to present complex surviving species, plants and animals that have lived to propagate their kind have had within themselves a strong desire for safety. Or to state it astrologically, we can say that forms of life unable to respond sufficiently to Saturnâ€™s vibrations have become extinct; and that every plant or creature on the earth today has inherited from all its ancestors back to the very beginning, considerable ability to receive and express the energies picked up, radio fashion, from the planet Saturn.
Now the competition of catch or be caught, of kill or be killed, between the ability to use the planetary energies of Mars and the ability to use the planetary energies of Saturn, among mammals has developed two little glands, which because they each sit like a cocked hat astride one of the kidneys, are called the adrenal glands. It is their function when stimulated by an emergency â€“ real or imaginary â€“ in which the emotions relating to either the destructive thoughts of Mars or Saturn are present, to mobilize the forces of the body for instant and quick action.
The thought of fear or anger, worry or irritation, greed or lust, generates an electric discharge which follows a nerve from the brain directly to the adrenal glands. This squeezes adrenaline from them into the blood stream, which in turn is followed by highly complex reactions which put the body immediately on a footing of fight or run away. Which the creature or man does, depends upon whether the images before his attention are those of combat or of fear. If they are of the Saturn type, the emergency is met by using the mobilized forces to seek safety.
Fuel must be present in abnormal quantities to support unusual activities; therefore sugar for that purpose which has been stored in the liver is released into the blood. That all the energies may be used in fleeing, digestion and other activities of the alimentary canal cease. That the predator, or feared opponent, may not get a good grip, the skin becomes moist and greasy and the hair stands erect. To frighten him away, the pupils dilate; to prevent bleeding if he does receive an injury, the blood tends more quickly to clot; and to give the maximum speed and strength in the organs of flight, blood is squeezed from the blood lakes of the liver and spleen and diverted to use in the limbs.
Such instant mobilization of blood, fuel and electrical energy when a danger presented itself was a decided advantage to any creature not having the power to reason or plan. The instant and violent reaction to fear enabled it to live in an environment fluid with dangers, and its instant and violent reactions to the feeling of greed enabled it to maintain itself in a region of dearth when other creatures starved.
Unlike civilized man, wild animals turn their attention promptly to other things as soon as a danger has passed. Even the caveman, once the dying embers of the fire grew dim and shadows no longer haunted him from his cavern walls, probably drew the bear skin which served as his only garment closer about him and forgot the weird shapes until he lit the fire another night. At least during the day, as he had no stored food supply and hunger drove him on, he was altogether too preoccupied with the chase to harbor fears except when danger actually was by his side.
But as man advanced in civilization and learned more and more to use his brain, his nervous system became more and more refined, more and more responsive to mental images. And the emotions arising from such mental images, in proportion to the increased delicacy and sensitiveness of the nervous system, more and more perfectly tuned it to pick up corresponding planetary energies in volume.
The physical body can stand the strain of mobilization occasionally to meet a real or imaginary emergency in response to fear. Anxiety and worry, however, present an almost endless train of fear images. They tune the nervous system to pick up discordant energies from the planet Saturn in volume, adding them to the energies of the unconscious mind. And they keep the body on an emergency basis.
Blood is taken from the liver and spleen, digestion and assimilation cease; the liver is caused to release its sugar into circulation. As a result of the type of foods attracted by the discordant Saturn thought-cells in the unconscious mind, food is partaken which lacks either in mineral salts, vitamins, or other essential elements. From this and from the inactivity of the organs responsible for assimilation, the body suffers from one or more of the chronic deficiency diseases.
It is doubtful if primitive man and wild animals suffer often from diabetes. Their imaginations are not lively enough. But the civilized man who worries tunes his nervous system to pick up Saturn energies and to release adrenalin into his circulation. One function of adrenaline is to release sugar stored in the liver through counteracting the insulin which holds it there in the form of insoluble glycogen. When through worry, or repeated fear images, adrenalin is persistently released, sugar in the blood cannot be converted by insulin into the insoluble glycogen; and instead of being stored is promptly washed out of the system. The individual then has diabetes.
Brotherhood of Light research work has determined that only people who have a prominent and afflicted Saturn in their birthcharts may develop cancer. And we who have analyzed many charts all know from observation that a prominent and afflicted Saturn indicates a predisposition to grief, worry, fear and the other typical Saturn thoughts. Research work also has brought out that at the time cancer develops there is always a progressed aspect to Saturn, within one degree of perfect; and very frequently a progressed aspect from the Sun. And from observation we know when people come under a progressed aspect to Saturn, especially if Saturn is prominent and afflicted in the birthchart that responsibilities or losses are attracted which, unless some other trend of thinking is deliberately cultivated, brings fear, worry or grief.
We are justified, therefore, especially in view of the effects of the abnormal adrenaline secretions upon the humors in which the body cells are bathed, in stating that fear, worry, self-pity and the other discordant Saturn thoughts are the cause of cancer and the typical deficiency diseases.
Let us admit, therefore, realizing the effect of fear and greed upon the individual as well as upon society, that the ancients were justified in picturing the destructive influence of Saturn as The Black Magician. At the same time let us recognize that the energies of any planet can express either destructively or constructively.
Whenever the individual, therefore, begins to feel fear, worry, anxiety, greed, envy, grief or self-pity, let him substitute for them and with as much pleasure as possible, thoughts of order, system, careful planning, persistence, elimination of waste and a willingness to progress through hard work. Thus the energies of Saturn, diverted from any avenue pictured in tarot Major Arcanum 15, will be utilized and assist him to a more bountiful life.
(This concludes part 16 of 23)