Many of my friends take note of particular astrological phenomena, whether they’re just for the “planetary weather” effects the stars have on our lives, or for their more in-depth and particular motions for elections and magical workings. Mercury retrograde is probably the most common, especially to mock for its (perhaps overblown) infamy in pop culture, but there are many other motions people take note of. One of which is Saturn’s transition into the sign of Capricorn, one of its two domiciles, where Saturn is particularly strong. Saturn takes just under 2.5 years to transit through a sign of the Zodiac, so the last time Saturn was in Capricorn was around the late 1980s and early 1990s.
This is particularly important for people whose natal Saturn is in Capricorn, as it signals their Saturn return, a rough time in one’s life that was the literal astrological definition of “mid-life crisis”. To prepare for my own, I erected and worked a personal shrine to Saturn, and wrote a post about it back last year as Saturn came up on its own position in my own natal chart in late Sagittarius. For that shrine and its works, I came up with a set of altar tools pulling from the Western astrological tradition as well as some things borrowed from the Vedic tradition for his counterpart in that system, Lord Śani. Granted, I didn’t work with it as much as I anticipated due to everything else going on in my life, but I do feel like it helped stabilize those Saturnine energies into a useful focal point in my physical domain.
Given that Saturn is moving into Capricorn, and the fact that the Sun just moved into this sign through the passage of the winter solstice, I think it’s time to bring something out of my own playbook to the table, yes? To help those who are interested in forming a stable, beneficial relationship with this great, powerful planet, here’s the basic ritual I use at my Saturn shrine to call upon the god and seek his blessing in my life.
First, let’s talk about the prime piece, the focal point of my Saturn shrine, an altarpiece I call the Platform of Saturn. Essentially, it’s nothing more than a planetary hexagram, much as we might find in Western qabbalistic or Golden Dawn-type systems, except that instead of the Sun being the center of the hexagram, we place Saturn in the middle instead, and we put the Sun in Saturn’s position. In this way, Saturn becomes the focus of the piece, with the other planets balancing and reinforcing Saturn’s power as the spiritual “center” of the shrine. I went a bit extra with my design for the Platform of Saturn by writing the six-lettered name of the Greek god ΚΡΟΝΟΣ between the points of the hexagram, as well as inscribing the magical characters for the planets (taken from the Magical Calendar) around or inside the hexagram. Plus, when I made the thing, I also put the six-lettered name of God Elohim (אלוהים) at the points of the hexagram on the bevel, using the more angular Phoenician/Paleo-Hebrew script instead of the more modern square script. On the underside of the Platform, I also inscribed the three-by-three planetary square of Saturn surrounded by the Tetragrammaton, the divine name of the Saturnine sephirah Binah; nothing special, but since the piece of wood I used for the Platform has a plate-like recess on the underside, I also use it to cover the old lead Saturn talisman I made back in 2011, further deploying even more power to the altarpiece as a sort of celestial foundation.
The use of this Platform is to act as a base for setting lights and lamps to the planets: six small candles for the non-Saturn planets, and a larger candle (or, in my case, oil lamp) for Saturn.
For this ritual, you will need:
- Six white tealights, or other small candles/amps in the appropriate planetary color
- A clean oil lamp with fresh wick
- A small amount of sesame oil with three drops of myrrh oil
- Clean room-temperature water, preferably from a well or other underground source
- Myrrh resin
- A dry mixture of rock salt and two of your choice of the following:
- Black gram (Vigna mungo, commonly sold as “black lentils”)
- Black rice
- Black mustard seeds
- Black sesame seeds
- Other plants, bark, resins, or organic material associated with Saturn, but most preferably cultivated grains
- Optionally, prayer beads for chanting
- Incense holder, offering glasses, charcoal, source of fire, etc.
In the minutes leading up to an hour of Saturn on a day of Saturn, arrange the six smaller lights in a hexagram around the large central lamp, putting each candle on top of its particular planetary glyph following the pattern of the Platform of Saturn. Get your incense ready, and once you make sure your offering glasses are clean, fill one with water and the other with a few spoonfuls of the dry offering mixture. Fill the lamp with the oil. (Alternatively, instead of using a lamp, you could use a large candle, either white if the other smaller candles are white, or jet black.) Set the incense to the right of the candles, and the water with dry offering to the left of the candles, either in a horizontal line or an equilateral triangle.
At the start of the hour of Saturn, begin the preliminary invocation to the other six planets. Light each candle in turn according to the design of the Platform:
I light this candle and offer its light to the Moon, Lady of the First Heaven, who sings with a pure, sweet voice into our world: Α
I light this candle and offer its light to Mercury, Ruler of the Second Heaven, who sings with a pure, sharp voice into our world: ΕΕ
I light this candle and offer its light to Venus, Lady of the Third Heaven, who sings with a pure, lovely voice into our world: ΗΗΗ
I light this candle and offer its light to the Sun, Lord of the Fourth Heaven, who sings with a pure, holy voice into our world: ΙΙΙΙ
I light this candle and offer its light to Mars, Lord of the Fifth Heaven, who sings with a pure, strong voice into our world: ΟΟΟΟΟ
I light this candle and offer its light to Jupiter, Lord of the Sixth Heaven, who sings with a pure, royal voice into our world: ΥΥΥΥΥΥ
If desired, energetically link the six smaller lights to the central lamp of Saturn at this point, so that all the lights are dependent upon and reflect the ultimate light of Saturn.
Light the myrrh incense and the lamp of Saturn. Invoke the planetary presence of Saturn according to a prayer of your choosing; for this, you might use the Orphic Hymn of Saturn, or an invocation from a grimoire such as the Heptameron, the Hygromanteia, or the Picatrix (as I used in my Saturn talisman creation). Recite this prayer at least once, preferably three times.
Dedicate the light of the lamp to Saturn:
I light this lamp and offer its light to Saturn, Lord of the Seventh Heaven, who sings with a pure, dark voice into our world: ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ
Grant as this light shines upon this place, so too, Lord Saturn, shine your light upon us, gently and kindly enlightening us, illuminating our paths, and keeping us safe from all harm!
Dedicate the incense to Saturn (putting more on at this point if necessary)
I burn this incense and offer its smoke to Saturn, Lord of the Seventh Heaven, who sings with a pure, silent voice into our world: ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ
Grant as this incense rises up and fills up this place with its sweet heavenly smoke, so too, Lord Saturn, fill our spheres, souls, and spirits with your blessing, essence, divinity, and presence!
Dedicate the water offering to Saturn:
I pour out this water and offer its power to Saturn, Lord of the Seventh Heaven, who sings with a pure, profound voice into our world: ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ
Grant as this water is poured out for your refreshment and enjoyment, so too pour over us your blessing, cleansing us from all pollution, cleansing our ways of all obstacles, cleansing our senses from all obstructions, and cleansing our hearts from all wickedness!
Dedicate the dry offering to Saturn:
I set out this grain and offer its strength to Saturn, Lord of the Seventh Heaven, who sings with a pure, heavy voice into our world: ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ
Grant as this grain and salt are set out for your nourishment and satisfaction, so too strengthen us inwardly and outwardly, in our bodies, souls, spirits, and minds, and protect us from all harm while giving us space to grow without undue burden!
At this point, continue the worship and exaltation of Saturn however you choose. This is the point where I would first begin a chant for Saturn using a set of prayer beads; in my case, I chanted the Sanskrit mantra for the planet of Saturn 108 times on a mala made from black volcanic rock soaked in a magical Saturn oil. Such chants, if desired, could be any of the following:
- AUṂ PRAṂ PRĪṂ PRAUṂ SAḤ ŚANAIŚCARĀYA NAMAḤ
- AUṂ SHAṂ ŚANAIŚCARA NAMAḤ
- ΙΩ ΦΑΙΝΩΝ ΙΩ ΚΡΟΝΕ ΙΩ ΙΩ ΙΩ
- IAVE SATURNE MAXIME NITIDE SEVERE
After chanting an appropriate number of times (33, 81, 108, 27000 etc.), continue praying, communing, or meditating with the presence of Saturn thus called. Once finished, thank Saturn however you will; if this is a once-off ritual, give him a polite and trusting farewell, but otherwise, if this is part of a shrine installation, there’s no strict need for that.
At the end of the planetary hour, put out the lamp of Saturn, and let the other candles burn out on their own. Once the hour is over, be sure to clean off physically and spiritually, or do some light solar work to balance out and brighten your personal sphere so as to not get too burdened with the heavy weight of Saturn. This isn’t to banish its energies, but to balance them out so as to be able to better incorporate them as human beings.
Compared to the Western tradition of planetary invocations, Hinduism has a rich body of prayers, chants, and texts to appreciate. Veneration and worship of the planets as gods in their own rights is alive and well in Hinduism, and many temples have a section just for the Navagraha, the nine planetary gods (seven planets, plus the North Node and South Node as planets of their own). There are plenty of ways to make offerings in the Hindu system, which is where I got the inspiration for some of the dry offerings and the use of sesame oil. Still, some of the prayers are positively splendid (when they don’t need to be chanted 23,000 times over), and one of my personal favorites is a prayer to Lord Śani for protection and blessing of one’s body. In a sense, it’s a Saturnine version of the Lorica of Saint Patrick, and thus, I call it the Vedic Shield of Shani:
I bow down to the slow-moving Śani, whose complexion is dark blue like the ointment of nilañjana. The elder brother of Lord Death, he is born from the Sun and his wife Chāyā.
O god of night-blue skin dressed in night-blue silk, who wears a crown, who rides the vulture, who gives misfortunes, who wields the bow, who has four hands and is the son of the Sun, be pleased with me always and happily grant me your blessing!
Let the son of the Sun protect my head!
Let the darling son of Chāyā protect my eyes!
Let the strong brother of Yama protect my ears!
Let the child of Sūrya protect my nose!
Let the bright god always protect my face!
Let he with a pleasant voice protect my own!
Let the great-armed god protect my arms!
Let my shoulders be protected by Śani!
Let my hands be protected by he who does good!
Let the brother of Yama protect my chest!
Let he who is dark protect my belly!
Let my stomach be protected by the lord of all planets!
Let the slow-mover protect my hips!
Let he who makes all ends protect my thighs!
Let the sibling to Yama protect my knees!
Let my legs be protected by him who goes slow!
Let all my organs be protected by him who wears the cloak of darkness!
Let all my body be protected by the darling son of the Sun God!
AUṂ PRAṂ PRĪṂ PRAUṂ SAḤ ŚANAIŚCARĀYA NAMAḤ
With that, I hope that you have a happy time Saturning, no matter whether you’re coming up on your first Saturn return or are looking forward to the blessed release of your fourth!