Saturn and the Deluge
Following the rabbinical sources which declare that
the Deluge was caused by two comets ejected by the planet Khima, and our
interpretation of the planet Khima as Saturn, we begin to understand the
astrological texts, such as certain passages in the Tetrabiblos of
Ptolemy, which attribute to the planet Saturn floods and all catastrophes
caused by high water.(1)
The planets presence in Aquarius especially brought
expectations of heavy rains and flooding(2)
as is attested, among others, by the first-century Roman author Lucan.(3)
Many of the ancient astrologers were in agreement on this point.(4)
In a work entitled Speculum astrologiae, Junctinus ascribes inundations
to the action of Saturns comets.(5)
Cuneiform texts contain prophecies of a deluge taking place when a comet
assumes a direction with its head towards the Earth.(6)
Philosophers of antiquity who were not astrologers also
expressed their belief that Saturn is in some way related to moistureamong
them the pre-Socratics Philolaus and Philodemus,(7)
and, somewhat later, Plato.(8)
The elder Pliny wrote in his Natural History that it is well known
that heavy rains follow transitions of Saturn.(9)
Servius asserted that Saturn is a god of rains . . . . When in the
sign of Capricorn, he causes very heavy rains, especially in Italy
(10) and again: Saturn is the god
of all that is humid and cold. (11)
Proclus recorded the beliefs of the Pythagoreans: Again, in the
heavens, Ares is fire, Jupiter air, Kronos water. (12)
Nonnos referred to ancient Kronos, heavy-kneed, pouring rain.
(13) Hippolytus wrote of the beliefs of
a member of the Peratae sect: But water, he says, is destruction;
nor did the world, he says, perish by any other thing quicker than by
water. Water, however . . . they assert (it to be) Cronus. (14)
We recognize that the astrological connection between Saturn and catastrophes
created by high water has a very ancient origin.
In the Chaldean story of the Deluge, as told by Berossos,
Kronos (Saturn) disclosed to the king Xisuthros that a universal flood
would begin on the 15th of the month Dasios. Abydenos says: Kronos
announced to Sisithros that a flood would pour from above. (15)
II. 8. 84. Similar statements may be found in Hephaestion I. 20.
Lastrologie grecque (Paris, 1899), p. 96 and n. 1; cf.
J. Geffcken, Eine gnostische Vision, Sitzungsberichte
der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (1899), p. 699.
Lucan, Pharsalia, transl. by R. Graves (London,
1956), Bk. I, 11. 640ff: It is not as though this were the Watercarriers
month, and the cold and malicious planet Saturn had lighted his dusky
fires aloft, thereby raising a truly Deucalionian Flood to overwhelm
Codicum Astrologorum Graecorum X, 249, 2ff.
Speculum astrologiae p. 317a. Cf. F. Boll, Sternglaube und
Sterndeutung, 4th ed. by W. Gundel (Leipzig, 1931), p. 114.
Die Keilschriften prophezien
bereits, dass eine Hochflut eintritt, wenn der Komet diese Richtung
[mit dem Kopfe nach der Erde] einnimmt. F. Boll,
op. cit., p. 114; Cf. Jastrow, Die Religion Babyloniens
und Assyriens (Giessen, 19??), Vol. II, p. 696, n.1.
Cf. Klibansky et al., Saturn and Melancholy,
p. 138, n. 39.
Pliny, Natural History II. 106: Igitur
(sidera) in suo quaeque motu naturam suam exercent, quod manifestum
Saturni maxime transitu imbribus faciunt.
Commentarii in Virgili Georgicas I. 336: Saturnus deus
pluviarium est, unde etiam senex fingitur . . . Hic autem in Capricorno
facit gravissimas pluvias, praecipue in Italia.
I. 12: Quod Saturnus humoris totius et frigoris deus sit.
Cf. Paulys Realencyclopaedie XI. 1987-1988, where
Kronos is described as representing rivers and water. The ninth-century
Arab astrologer Abu Masar wrote: [Saturn] presides over
works of moisture . . . lakes and rivers. (Introduction to
Astrology, Bk. IV, quoted in Klibansky et al., Saturn and Melancholy,
Diadochus, In Timaeo 32b. [In his commentary
to Euclids Geometry (I. 402. 21), Proclus ascribes a
similar conception to the pre-Socratic philosopher Philolaos.]
Refutatio Omnium Haeresium, Book V, chapter 11 in The Ante-Nicene
Fathers, Vol. V. Hippolytus lived between the years 170 and 236.
Julianum I. 5. Cf. Syncellus, Chronicon 28 and Eusebius,
Praeparatio Evangelica IX. 12. Cf. also the account of Alexander
Polyhistor in Cyril, Contra Julianum, loc. cit. [
The traditions of the Hindus assign the Deluge to the end of the Satya
yuga and to the reign of Satyavrata, who is acknowldged to be Saturn
(E. Moor, The Hindu Pantheon , p. 108). Cf. Sir W. Jones,
On the Gods of Greece, Italy and India, Asiatick Researches
Vol. I (1799), p. 234: The Satya, or (if we may call it)
the Saturnian, age was, in truth, the age of the general flood.
. . . Brahma (i.e., the planet Saturnsee below, section
The Worship of Saturn, n. 5), is said to have warned Manu
of the Deluge soon to engulf the world (The Mahabharata, XXXX);
and when the waters of the deluge covered the earth, Brahma is described
as floating over the expanse of the ocean (Agneya Purana, chapter
IV; cf. S. Shastri, The Flood Legend in Sanscrit Literature [Delhi,
1950], p. 51). An ancient woodcut published by Athanasius Kircher
(China Illustrata [Amsterdam, 1667], p. 158) portrays Brahma
(identifiable by his four faces, or chatra mukha) as seated
on a rayed disk, apparently Saturn, that hovers over the waters of
the Deluge. Cf. F. Maurice, Indian Antiquities (London, 1800),
Vol. II, opp. p. 352. The woodcut illustrates the third avatar of
Vishnu and, more specifically, may be inspired by the words of the
Padma Purana: then the lord . . . floated over the vast
ocean, void of the sun and the moon. . . . (Shastri, The
Flood Legend, p. 41; compare also Psalm 29: the Lord sitteth
upon the flood ).].