Golden Age, Aquarius Era and the Ringed Planet
Carlos Cardoso Aveline
Saturn, the Lord of the Rings
An initial version of the following article was
published at “Insight”, the journal of the Adyar
Theosophical Society in
in its Summer England
2004 edition. It also appeared at the online
magazine “The Aquarian Theosophist”, in April 2005.
In the last paragraph of one of her books, Helena P. Blavatsky made the famous statement that the earth could be “a heaven” in the 21st century, if compared to 19th century. 
For those who are accustomed to the usual content of newspapers and television networks in this first part of 21st century, such an optimistic view of the future may be rather startling - if not altogether unacceptable.
Yet life is far more surprising than present-day journalism - or fiction. Writing in 1887, the founder of the modern esoteric movement gave the dates and duration of recent astrological ages, indicating that the year 1900 was to be the end of Pisces Age and the starting point for the Aquarian Age.
She saw that the expansion of higher mind brought about by the new age of Aquarius would be dramatically painful at first. In the same paragraph, referring to the equinox, she added:
“When it enters, in a few years, the sign of Aquarius, psychologists will have extra work to do, and the psychic idiosyncrasies of humanity will enter into a great change.”
The transition of astrological ages is a complex process, though, and its effects may take a few hundred years to become perfectly visible. The 21st century is a strong numerological figure which equals 3 times 7 - and HPB made a bright prophetical statement as to the karmic content of this period:
“(...) Error is powerful only on the surface, prevented as she is by Occult Nature from going any deeper; for the same Occult Nature encircles the whole globe, in every direction, leaving not even the darkest corner unvisited. And, whether by phenomenon or miracle, by spirit-hook or bishop’s crook, Occultism must win the day, before the present era reaches “Sani’s (Saturn’s) triple septenary of the Western cycle in
in other words - before the end of the twenty-first century ‘A.D.’.” 
Strong words, indeed, and the fact that HPB mentions Saturn in these lines is not entirely casual. From an astrological point of view, Saturn is the stern Master of the lower quaternary or basic self in human beings. That is not a problem, though. The upper triad or spiritual soul has nothing to lose from the slow, powerful movements of that planetary spirit whose physical vehicle was called by Camille Flammarion the “marvel of the solar system”.
When we think of this planet - which has seven rings and dozens of moons - we must bear in mind that there’s a difference between its body and its spirit. HPB wrote:
“Saturn, ‘the father of Gods’ must not be confused with its namesake - the planet of the same name (...) . The two - though in one sense identical, as are, for instance, physical man and his soul - must be separated in the question of worship.” 
So the material planet Saturn is the vehicle of the mythological Saturn. Although there is a clear difference between material and spiritual aspects of this planet, the interaction between them is very much like the relationship between physical man and his soul.
This planet is the Master of Karma, Time and Structures. It presides over our karmic harvest, but it is also the regent of Kriyamana Karma, the new karma we choose to plant at each moment. Saturn helps us make use of present opportunities in order to attain a lasting happiness.
Master of concentration, Saturn has an important rule to play in the ladder to heaven taught in the Mithraic Mysteries of ancient
. It is said that this ladder has seven
steps. The first one corresponds to “the sky of Saturn”, that is, the spirit of
that planet. In any sacred ladder, the
first step upward presides over the transition between the lower ground and the
way to heaven. The first step makes us confront the borderline between the material and divine dimensions of life.
Thus, astronomically, Saturn is the planet of the rings and establishes the limit
between the “domestic” and the “galactic” sections of our solar system. Rome
Mythologically, this planet-spirit also corresponds to the Jewish-Christian god Jehovah. Chronos/Saturn, the stern God in the
Golden Age, tries to preserve spiritual life by preventing the personal ego from prematurely separating
itself, at the end of the first races. It “devours” its children (personal
egos) back into an undifferentiated unity, until the right time has come. When
separation/differentiation prevails, then there is the severe and solemn
warning from the Saturnian Lord, who sends Adam (third root-race) away from the
Garden and into the hard world of dualistic life (Genesis, 3).
Saturn has many names, and in “Isis Unveiled” we read:
“Ilda-Baoth, the ‘Son of Darkness’, and the creator of the material world, was made to inhabit the planet Saturn, which identifies him still more with the Jewish Jehovah, who was Saturn himself, according to the Ophites, and is by them denied his Sinaitic name. From Ilda-Baoth emanate six spirits, who respectively dwell with their father in the seven planets.” 
These seven planets are, as HPB explains in the same paragraph, Saturn, Mars, Sun, Moon, Jupiter, Mercury and Venus, the same celestial bodies that form the Mithraic ladder to heaven.
HPB acknowledged Saturn as the king of golden age . In many different traditions there is a direct relationship between the awakening of the higher mind and the emergence of golden ages. In Buddhism and other religions, gold (or yellow) is a symbol of divine consciousness and spiritual soul. Any golden age is an age of buddhi-manas or spiritual intelligence, and there is a direct connection between this higher mind and Saturn.
We find inspiring information in Arthur Cotterell’s “Encyclopedia of Myths & Legends”. My own interpolated words are underlined, in brackets:
“Saturn, like Kronos, was regarded as the ruler of a distant Golden Age, when life was easy and peaceful. During this age, he taught people how to till the fields and enjoy a civilized way of life. As early as the fifth century BCE Saturn’s temple stood in front of the Forum at
and acted as the treasury. His festival,
the Saturnalia, took place in December [at the entrance of the Sun in
Capricorn] and lasted seven days.
During the revels [ feasts ] people ate together [celebrating
universal brotherhood regardless of their rigid system of social classes]
and exchanged gifts at a public banquet at the Forum.”  Rome
Present-day Christmas is also celebrated in December and under the sign of Capricorn, whose regent is Saturn. It is a time for celebrating universal brotherhood, too, and for exchanging gifts; a time which goes on for little more than seven days, from December 25th through January 1st. As to our week, Saturn-day is the seventh day, the day originally dedicated to rest, prayer and harmony.
Mythological Saturn was exiled in
and the poet Ovid wrote in “Fasti”
“(...) In this land Saturn was received, when he was expelled by Jupiter from the celestial realm; hence the name of the Saturnian people, used for a long time by our folks, as also his land was called Latium, because here the god hid himself.”
Indeed, according to ancient etymology the very word
(modern Lazio, hence Latin, etc.)
comes from latere, “being hidden”,
and refers to Saturn. Latium
The exiled god established himself in the Capitol, the birthplace of future
and founded a fortified city which in some mythological versions is called
Saturnia. He was received by Janus, a
much older god in Rome Italy, who
also had come from .
The two gods peacefully shared power in the Greece .
The coming of Saturn to Italy brought
about the aetas aurea, golden age, when, as says Ovid in Metamorphoses
(1-107-10), “springtime was eternal and the gentle breezes caressed with their
smooth breath the flowers born out of no
Virgil writes of this golden age: “Sometimes there were rivers of milk, and sometimes of nectar [the drink of gods], and the land produced everything with no effort from the peasants. Everything belonged to everybody and there was a deep peace”. And Virgil adds in his “Georgics”, 2, 538-540:
“Thus was life on Earth when golden Saturn ruled;
There was no sound of battle trumpets yet,
Nor the tinkle of swords in the hard anvil.” 
In the 21st century, Saturn’s influence and lessons help us recover at least parts of the golden consciousness which leads to a golden society. In our present cycle, it means the awakening of the sixth, intuitive subprinciple, within the fifth, mental principle; or simply the rebirth of a spiritual intelligence, a higher level of consciousness from which the next civilizations must emanate.
It will be a natural process in the new age, to rediscover the bright side of Saturn. It is already the proper time to remember that this beautiful ringed planet was for many centuries the astrological regent of Aquarius  - before Uranus was discovered in 1781.
Being the co-regent of Aquarius age, Saturn shall have an ever inspiring role during this new cycle, a time when the law of brotherhood taught by the Mahatmas and Sages can be better understood and respected.
 “The Key to Theosophy”, Theosophy Company,
1987, 367 pp., see p. 305. India
 H. P. Blavatsky wrote: “It is a cycle, historic and not very long, but very occult, lasting about 2,155 solar years (….). It occurred [in] 2410 and 255 B.C., or when the equinox entered into the sign of the Ram, and again into that of Pisces”. (“Collected Writings of H. P. Blavatsky”, TPH,
Volume VIII, p. 174, footnote.) And
Geoffrey Barborka commented her statement: “Since 2155 years is the time-period for the
duration of each of the cycles of the age of Aries and Pisces, and as the
Piscean age began in 255 B.C., the date of the beginning of the Aquarian age is
1900 A.D.” (“Secret Doctrine Questions & Answers”, by Geoffrey Barborka,
Wizards Bookshelf, India , 2003, 197
pp., see p. 100.) San Diego,
 “Collected Writings of HPB”, TPH,
XIV, p. 27. India
 “Les Étoiles et les Curiosités du Ciel”, Camille Flammarion, C. Marpon et E. Flammarion, Éditeurs, 1882, 792 pp., see p. 641.
 “Collected Writings of HPB”, TPH,
XIV, p. 334. India
 “Mitologia Grega”, Junito de Souza Mourão, Editora Vozes, Rio de Janeiro, three volumes, see volume II, pp. 60-61. See also Mithras, Mysteries and Initiation Rediscovered, by D. Jason Cooper, Samuel Weizer, Inc.,
 “Isis Unveiled”, H.P.B., Theosophy Company,
Volume II, p. 294. Los Angeles
 “Isis Unveiled”, volume II, pp. 216-217.
 Marshall Editions,
, 1989, 259 pp. 23 cm x 30 cm, see page
157, “Saturn” entry. London
 “Dicionário Mítico-Etimológico da Mitologia e Religião Romana”, Junito Brandão, Ed. Vozes, Rio de Janeiro, 1993, see p. 268-271
 “Enciclopédia de Astrologia”, by James R. Lewis, Makron Gold Publisher,
622 pp., see p. 475 São Paulo,
The above text was revised by the author in October 2011.
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