Celebrated on December 17, shortly before the Winter Solstice, Saturnalia is the ancient Roman festival dedicated to the god Saturn. What is Saturnalia?

This post looks at a brief history of Saturnalia, the symbolism of Saturn, and different ways you can honor the day.

Saturnalia is considered by many as a pre-curser to our more modern holiday of Christmas.

Saturn represents renewal, stability, structure, intense focus, perseverance, duties, boundaries, discipline, authority, and hard work.

Who is the god Saturn?

Saturn is a god of wealth, agriculture, and periodic renewal.

He ruled the world during the mythic Golden Age, when people lived in a state of peace, harmony, and abundance.

He’s the father of Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, Juno, Ceres, and Vesta.

His equivalent in Greek myth is Cronus.

The festival of Saturnalia

The festival of Saturnalia toppled traditional Roman social norms for the day.

Saturnalia was a time of role reversal, when slaves enjoyed banquets normally reserved for their masters.

It was a carnival day of feasting, gift giving, gambling, free speech and drunken revelry.

It also included human sacrifices at the Temple of Saturn in the Roman Forum.

Saturn was known for accepting dead gladiators as tribute, so gladiatorial competitions were huge during the time around Saturnalia.

Saturn symbolism

Ruling over time and the seasons, Saturn is concerned with the past and the future–and the general passage of time.

Since he rules over time, look to Saturn for lessons and guidance around aging and growing older.

Working with Saturn energy can help you examine your past and younger selves, to see how you’ve evolved and also identify areas where you may still need to grow.

Saturn also symbolizes dominance, power, and restriction. Today, many witches use the symbol of Saturn in binding spells.

Saturn rules over a number of animals, including foxes, snakes, mice, owls, and dragons.

Saturn in astrology

In astrology, Saturn rules Capricorn, and is methodical and purposeful.

It’s known as the planet of karma, and calls for folks to be aware of their personal responsibilities and actions and how they affect others.

Crystals for Saturn

It’s also associated with the color black, and stones like obsidian, jet, onyx and black tourmaline.

To tap Saturn energy, look for crystals that are grounding and stabilizing.

Saturn Energy Meditation

Since Saturn has a restrictive nature, it’s a great time to examine limiting beliefs. Here’s a simple meditation to try.

Close your eyes. Focus on your breathing until your heart rate steadies and slows. Call on Saturn and ask for guidance.


What do I believe strongly right now?

Why do I hold that belief?

Does it still serve me?

Or is it holding me in a negative or unproductive loop?

If this holding this belief is no longer in my best interest, what’s one thing I can do to begin to release it and let it go?

What idea can I replace this belief with that’s more productive for me at this time?

And then? Listen.

When you’re done, thank Saturn for joining you. Write down any ideas or impressions you have, and reflect on them in the days to come.

Does Saturn’s energy resonate with you?

How do you see Saturn’s energy playing out in your life?

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