4 January 2014

The Bright Side of Saturn

Golden Age, Aquarius Era and the Ringed Planet

Carlos Cardoso Aveline

Front cover of “The Fire and Light”, and an image of Saturn, the Lord of the Rings 


The following text reproduces chapter
twenty-eight of the book “The Fire and Light of
Theosophical Literature”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline, 
The Aquarian Theosophist, Portugal, 255 pp., 2013. 


“Here and there twinkles a point of light
(…..). If the beacon of Aryan occultism shall
ever be kindled again, these scattered sparks
must be combined to make its flame.”

(“The Mahatma Letters”, TUP, p. 384)

“Procure a sixpenny lamp, keep it
only supplied with oil, and you will be able to
light at its flame the lamps, candles, and fires of the
whole globe without diminishing that flame.”

(“The Secret Doctrine”, HPB, vol. I, pp. 121-122)

In the final chapter we’ll examine the occult link between Saturn, the severe initiatic Master of our solar system, and the statement made by HPB that the earth could be “a heaven” in the 21st century. [1]

For those who are accustomed to the average contents of the media in the first part of 21st century, an optimistic view of the future is rather startling - if not altogether unacceptable.
Yet life is far more surprising than present-day journalism - or fiction.

We have already seen that 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. [2]

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 some extra work to do, and the psychic idiosyncrasies of humanity will enter on a great change.” 

The transition between astrological ages is a complex process, though, and its effects 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 contents 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 Europe, in other words - before the end of the twenty-first century ‘A.D.’.” [3]  

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. And 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”. [4]

The planet has several rings and dozens of moons, and 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 his 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.”[5]

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 role to play in the ladder to heaven taught in the Mithraic Mysteries of ancient Rome. 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.[6]  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.
Mythologically, this planet-spirit also corresponds to the Jewish-Christian god Jehovah. Chronos/Saturn, the stern God in the Paradise’s 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 (that is, personal egos) back into an undifferentiated unity, until the right time has come for them to go ahead. When separation/differentiation finally 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.” [7]

These seven planets are, as Blavatsky 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. [8] 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. 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 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 had 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 the Forum at Rome 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 [the feasts] people ate together [celebrating universal brotherhood regardless of their rigid system of social classes] and exchanged gifts at a public banquet in the Forum.”  [9]   

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 traditionally seen as the seventh day, the day dedicated to rest, prayer and harmony. 

Mythological Saturn was exiled in Rome, and the poet Ovid wrote in “Fasti” 1-235-238: 

“(...) 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 Latium (modern Lazio, hence Latin, etc.) comes from latere, “being hidden”, and refers to Saturn.

The exiled god established himself in the Capitol, the birthplace of the future city of Rome. He founded a fortified city which in some mythological versions is called Saturnia. He was received by Janus, a much older god in Italy, who also had come from Greece. The two gods peacefully shared power in the Latium. 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 seed”.

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.”  [10]   

Life is cyclic, and that enlightened past holds the key to the future. H.P. Blavatsky wrote these words about the next and bright phase of human history which she helped prepare:

“If Theosophy prevailing in the struggle, its all-embracing philosophy strikes deep root into the minds and hearts of men, if its doctrines of Reincarnation and Karma, in other words, of Hope and Responsibility, find a home in the lives of the new generations, then, indeed, will dawn the day of joy and gladness for all who now suffer and are outcast. For real Theosophy is ALTRUISM, and (….) brotherly love, mutual help, unswerving devotion to Truth. If once men do but realize that in these alone can true happiness be found, and never in wealth, possessions, or any selfish gratification, then the dark clouds will roll away, and a new humanity will be born upon earth. Then, the GOLDEN AGE will be there, indeed.” [11]  

In the 21st century, both the silent influence from Saturn and the original teachings of theosophy help us recover something of that higher consciousness which is at the origin of all golden civilizations. In the present cycle it means the awakening of the sixth, intuitive sub-principle, within the fifth, mental principle; in other words, the rebirth of spiritual intelligence, the higher level of consciousness from which the next civilization has been emanating for a few centuries now.

It is a natural process in the new age, to rediscover the bright side of Saturn. This is the proper time to remember that the beautiful ringed planet was for many centuries the sole astrological regent of Aquarius - before Uranus was discovered in 1781. [12]

As Saturn is the co-regent of Aquarius age, it shall play an ever inspiring role during the new cycle. It is in part thanks to this stern Master that the Law of universal brotherhood can be better understood and respected by us already.

The theosophical movement is a central part of the symbolic ladder connecting our humanity to the Masters who guide it.[13] As it crosses the ocean of time, it must remain loyal to the Eastern wisdom.

For this to occur, however, the center or command post of the movement cannot be external. It must be deliberately established in the conscience of each sincere and independent theosophist.


[1] “The Key to Theosophy”, Theosophy Company, India, 1987, 367 pp., see p. 305.

[2] As we saw in Chapter 22, 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, USA, 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, San Diego, USA, 2003, 197 pp., see p. 100.)

[3] “Collected Writings of H.P. Blavatsky”, TPH, USA, volume XIV, p. 27.

[4] “Les Étoiles et les Curiosités du Ciel”, Camille Flammarion, C. Marpon et E. Flammarion, Éditeurs, 1882, 792 pp., see p. 641.

[5] “Collected Writings of H.P. Blavatsky”, TPH, USA, volume XIV, p. 334.

[6] “Mitologia Grega”, Junito de Souza Mourão, Editora Vozes, Rio de Janeiro, three volumes, see volume II, pp. 60-61. See also the book “Mithras, Mysteries and Initiation Rediscovered”, by D. Jason Cooper, Samuel Weizer, Inc., USA, pp. 113-114.

[7] “Isis Unveiled”, HPB, Theosophy Company, Los Angeles, vol. II, p. 294. 

[8] “Isis Unveiled”, volume II, pp. 216-217.

[9] “Encyclopedia of Myths & Legends”, by Arthur Cotterell, Marshall Editions, London, 1989, 259 pp., see page 157, “Saturn” entry.

[10] “Dicionário Mítico-Etimológico da Mitologia e Religião Romana”, Junito Brandão, Ed. Vozes, Rio de Janeiro, 1993, see pp. 268-271.

[11] “H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings”, volume XI (1889), TPH, USA, 1973, p. 202.

[12] “Enciclopédia de Astrologia”, by James R. Lewis, Makron Gold Publisher, São Paulo, Brazil, 1998, 622 pp., see p. 477.

[13] An initial version of this final Chapter [of “The Fire and Light”] was published at “Insight”, the journal of the Adyar Theosophical Society in England, in its Summer 2004 edition. It also appeared at the “The Aquarian Theosophist”, in April 2005.


In September 2016, after a careful analysis of the state of the esoteric movement worldwide, a group of students decided to form the Independent Lodge of Theosophists, whose priorities include the building of a better future in the different dimensions of life.  


E-Theosophy e-group offers a regular study of the classic, intercultural theosophy taught by Helena P. Blavatsky (photo).

Those who want to join E-Theosophy e-group at YahooGroups can do that by visiting https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/E-Theosophy/info.