Towards Mons Saturnus

"Maier’s journey through the planetary houses begins with Saturn, who is the coldest, heaviest, and most distant of the planets, the maleficus and abode of evil, the mysterious and sinister Senex (Old Man), and from there he ascends to the region of the sun, to look for the Boy Mercurius, the longed-for and long-sought goal of the adept. It is an ascent ever nearer to the sun, from darkness and cold to light and warmth, from old age to youth, from death to rebirth. But he has to go back along the way he came, for Mercurius is not to be found in the region of the sun but at the point from which he originally started." —Carl Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis

The cyclic work of Saturn begins at death rather than birth. He is Sol Niger who illuminates the corpse in its grave and the forest in decay with a veil of shadows and silence. His graven image is a reaper and resurrector, wielding a scythe in one hand and a serpent swallowing its own tail in the other. The fermentative microcosm that nourishes the growths of fungi and flora upon a rotting corpse is his active alchemy. He may seem a cruel teacher, but it is not without purpose, and certainly not without the gift of wisdom and humility in return.

Memento mori.

Do not squander the precious moments of this fragile, transient dream. Love deeply and fully, cherish every minute as if it were your last, pursue the Great Work with passion, and never cease cherishing and honoring those who have dissolved into the rifts of Time. Allow every thought, action, indulgence or pursuit of ecstasy to become a supreme art, while taking pleasure in the simple details of life, the most menial of tasks and labors.

Especially with awareness of this fragility, we become all the more conscious of tragedy. After the loss of a loved one, we are never the same; we undergo an alchemy of our own, the mortificatio, which is conceivably the most negative of the alchemical operations as it reverberates from the saturnian nigredo. Darkness, torment, despair, failure, sorrow, rotting, and death. In the throes of mourning, the mortificatio is a devastatingly cruel arcana, but it opens a gateway to dramatic transformation if we can find a stable passage through the seemingly impassable barriers of melancholia.

“To turn inward to melancholy is to move to a distant place within, to the cemetery of the soul. Cemeteries are usually located at the edge of cities, and that is where Saturn takes the soul. In alchemy he was imagined as a tomb, and his children were grave diggers, as we have seen. Not only is there construction taking place 'in Saturn', but also burying.” —Thomas Moore, The Planets Within

Echoes of the saturnian are found in humus and stone: cornerstones of the necropolis.

Redeunt Saturnia regna.