Our names for the days of the week,
are taken from the pages of Teutonic mythology
from the names of pagan gods and goddesses—
except for today’s!
Today’s name comes from the Roman god Saturn—
the titan, Cronos, in Greek mythology,
son of the supreme sky god and the earth,
who forcefully ended the cruel reign of his father
(at the instigation of his mother)
but as as supreme god himself,
ate his own children
because one was predicted to usurp his reign
(sidenote: his wife tricked him when Zeus was born
giving him a rock to swallow instead of a baby).
So, as the story is told,
Saturn arrived in Rome, an immigrant god from Greece,
when Zeus eventually did take over the pantheon of gods
and sent Saturn into exile.
Accepted by the Roman founder god, Janus,
Saturn ruled as the first king in Rome,
teaching agriculture and issuing in a golden age.
His is the oldest temple in Rome
recorded by the highest priests of the state religion,
and his temple was actually used as Rome’s treasury.
In the temple, there was a statue of Saturn, made of wood,
depicting him carrying a sickle,
and the feet of this statue
were bound with fabric.
Identified as god of time and agriculture,
(the symbol of sickle or scythe significant to both),
and also as god of liberation,
he is identified with the big December festival, Saturnalia—
linked to the winter solstice and the new year—
associated with feasting, role reversals, free speech,
gift-giving and general revelry.
Originally December 17, it expanded to a full seven days
beginning December 17,
and for those seven days, the feet of the statue of Saturn
in the temple in Rome were released from their fetters.
Business came to a stop. War efforts ceased.
Slaves ate at the same table with their masters.
Executions were stayed.
And this was all said to reflect the golden age.
Saturn’s day, today.
So remember, today,
gifts and the value of gift-giving,
the blessing within the disintegration of social divisions,
the blessing of priorities other than dominance and business
and violence and death,
and the blessing of surprising inversions:
an immigrant god who becomes the first king,
who was defeated, but rose again,
who has the oldest temple in the city,
a god of liberation who spends all but seven days a year bound—
a god bound who frees.