Thursday, December 8, 2011

Father Time

Father Time, celebrated even today at the New Year, is known by many names, including Saturn, hence the Roman winter celebration of Saturnalia where the "former" leader of the previous pantheon is honored. In Rome, his statue was bound for the entire year except on His festival.

Why was he bound? Symbolically stopping the passage of time and decay? Because he was of the old pantheon and had to be bound lest he seek revenge on his children who dethroned him? Saturn had done the same to his own father, Ouranos.

How interesting that a new religion took over yet kept the main festival celebration of the old religion. History does repeat itself.
In Roman mythology when Jupiter ascended the throne, Saturn fled to Rome and established the Golden Age, a time of perfect peace and harmony, which lasted as long as he reigned. In memory of the Golden Age, the Feast of Saturnalia was held every year in the winter at the Winter Solstice. During this time no war could be declared, slaves and masters ate at the same table, executions were postponed and it was a season for giving gifts. This was a time of total abandon and merry making. It refreshed the idea of equality, of a time when all men were on the same level. Christians adopted the feast and renamed it Christmas. When the festival ended, the tax collectors appeared and all money owed out to government, landlords, or debtors had to be accounted for. This is another side to Saturn and it's ruling sign, Capricorn: the settling of accounts.
Saturn was once seen as a God of agriculture and fertility- the one who planted and protected the seed. He is also syncretized with one of the oldest recorded Sumerian deities, Ninib, or Ninurta, another farming/fertile deity.

This came up for me today because of my current theatre gig: I am the keeper of time. I set the arrival time, I keep everyone aware of the time by calling it out every 5 minutes for the half hour before we begin. I time the show. I call the breaks and time them as well.

This has taken my meditations to the idea that a cast circle is a time outside of time. Very true. I've been on epic journeys which took days, yet picked up the flow of normal time just minutes later. Time is variable and flexible and in the eye of the beholder- We waste it when we don't have an immediate need for it, yet when we need it we never have enough of it! We're on the clock or off the clock, it flies, it drags... Is Saturn time itself personified?

As for my meditations on the blog today, I'm out of time for blogging and need to be on the clock in a flash! Today I'll leave off with a quick hymn to Father Time, asking for his patronage!

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