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Astrological Saturn has always been associated with the letter of the law. Gnostics have identified Saturn with the god of Early Scripture, whom they regarded as a tyrannical father, obsessed with rigid enforcement of the law. There is a symbolic link between Saturn and the God of Early Scripture through the use of Saturday. Saturn's Day, the seventh day of Scripture, the holy day of rest.
About 1530 Medieval and Renaissance scholars associated Saturn with one of the Four Temperaments of ancient medicine, melancholy. Physicians, scholars, philosophers and scientists, were rationalised to have a strong Saturn placement which gives them a tendency toward melancholy, but also wisdom.
When the Norse and Germanic tribes came into contact with the Greco-Roman tradition of gods, they sought commonalities with the new gods in their own. They took the naming system of days of the week after gods from the Southern Europeans as well, giving English speakers the weekday names used today. Saturn is a clear exception to this; usually some variation on the planet name is the name most used in other Latin European languages - Jueves (Jove, for Jupiter) in Spanish, for example - but the Germanic languages and English, instead of converting a Greek god to their own, named Saturday after the Roman god Saturn (Greek Cronus). Although there is a fairly clear connection in Norse mythology and Greek mythology, with Cronus' father being one of the Titans that are pretty close to any one of the numerous types of Giants in Nortse legend, the Roman Saturn did not acquire this part of the myth, and so it seems reasonable to assume that the connection was not possible with what was imparted to them by their cultural contacts. Odin, the patriarch of the gods and the one who hung from the World Tree Yggdrasil to receive the Runes of Knowledge, is a very good fit for Saturn's stern wisdom as well, but it would seem the Norse felt that this suited the role of communicator of knowledge better, so they made him the psychopomp equivalent to Mercury/Hermes.
Saturn's function is contraction, which gives Saturn (called since ancient times "The Greater Malefic") a somewhat polarized role against Jupiter (called "The Greater Wikipedia:Benefic") in astrology.
In Hindu astrology Saturn and Jupiter are considered natural neutrals, but under closer relations become enemies (although William Lilly disagrees with this and considers them both friends). Similarly, Saturn is considered cold (slow) and dry (separate) whereas Jupiter is considered warm (speedy) and moist (inclusive). Where there is light Saturn brings darkness, where there is heat Saturn brings cold, where there is joy Saturn brings sadness, where there is life Saturn brings death, where there is luck Saturn brings misfortune (and sometimes heavy consequences for bad judgment or mistakes), where there is unity Saturn brings isolation, where there is knowledge Saturn brings fear, where there is hope Saturn brings skepticism and stalling. However these effects are not always negative. Saturn's properties of contraction and "crystallization" are said to create solidness in the world and give lasting form to everything physical and principle. Saturn is considered the only planet that doesn't cause over-expansion when negatively aspected with Jupiter, but rather causes Jupiter's expansion to remit.
Death, particularly in old age, has been associated with Saturn since ancient times. At times the freedoms created by the other planets are abused so that remorse follows. Saturn's color is black. The element associated with Saturn is lead.
Saturn often stands for the father in the Wikipedia:natal chart, as does the Wikipedia:Sun, however with Saturn it usually indicates problems with the father. Saturn indicates a tyrannical, domineering parent who seeks to mold his children in his own image and force them to live by his standards. Children often become "swallowed up" by such domination. Saturn's connection with agriculture suggests the nature of time. Saturn rules the "Golden Years" of retirement and old age.
- Guttman, Ariel & Johnson, Kenneth. Mythic Astrology: Archetypal Powers in the Horoscope. Llewellyn Publications.
- Parker, Julia & Derek. Parker's Astrology: The Definitive Guide to Using Astrology in Every Aspect of Your Life (New Edition). ISBN 0-7894-8014-X .
- Woolfolk, Joanna Martine. The Only Astrology Book You Will Ever Need. ISBN 1-58979-377-3