The Sickle and the Hammer


Ancient representations of Saturn and Mars are displayed in a stone relief and an old coin. Ninurta, pictured in the relief, was identified with Saturn by the Babylonians. The coin depicts a Hellenized leader of Persia, Pharnabazus. Public Domain.  The cropped image of Ninurta is a monumental stone relief from the temple of Ninurta at Kalhu from 883- 889 B.C. The god is Ninurta or possibly Adad and pursues a leonine monster. The images in this photo were altered.

Despite the tendency to see the planets Mars and Saturn as malevolent and harmful, there is another story. Saturn and Mars have positive manifestations. Though they deal with matters that might not always be characterized as fun, bright, and pleasant, both planets are useful, productive, and advantageous. The hammer and sickle are both symbols of Mars and Saturn, respectively. They are constructive symbols. Saturn was often seen as an agricultural deity and the sickle is tied to it. The sickle was used in agricultural societies to harvest grains or to cut grasses to feed livestock. Saturn’s symbolism with the sickle is evident. The sickle is able to sever a part of a plant so it can be eaten. It extracts and cuts the useful part for greater benefit. The sickle acts in a similar way to Saturn in its beneficial manifestations. Further, more generally, Saturn cuts out unnecessary, extraneous, or harmful parts of life, including people, habits, and environmental factors. The hammer likewise belongs to Mars. It applies force to various heads to fuse materials together. It can be used for cooking and preparing food, construction of shelter and buildings, tool creation, and working wood, metal, and physical materials. Mars likewise can be used to build and construct anything. It provides the energy, the grit, and the skill with building tools, whatever they may be. The hammer points to mastery of tools, as it is arguably the first tool humans constructed. Interestingly, Saturn can help with building any system or structure with types of logic, knowledge, and the like. It can help the martial component, which provides the energy and craftsmanship, to build a building, system, or pretty much anything that requires structure. Accordingly, the hammer and the sickle are positive symbols of Mars and Saturn working constructively.  They both vary in the way they are applied as the two planets work quite differently. The following lines have been written with the particular traits of Mars and Saturn in mind, and how they differ.  Continue reading “The Sickle and the Hammer”

Ritual for Uncertain Times


To a reader of existing classical literature, the final centuries of Roman dominion correlated with the rise in popularity of Hecate and Dionysus. Dionysus, as a central god of the Orphic cult, and Hecate, as the deity to which many love spells were addressed, both figure prominently in religious and magical literature. For example, The Orphic Hymns are one of the few sources we have on Greek liturgy and Dionysus has seven hymns addressed to him in them.1 Faraone believes that Hecate along with Hermes replaced the Sun and Moon in love magic from the 1st century B.C. onwards.2 Despite their ubiquity in the written record, there is little evidence that the worship of either became more prominent as the Roman Empire, and the worship of the pagan gods, began to collapse. Dionysus and Hecate were popular prior to the Roman period. The worship of both gods goes back to at least the beginnings of Greek civilization, as Hecate first appeared in Hesiod and Dionysus is mentioned in Homer and Hesiod. Homer and Hesiod are some of the earliest writings and were written at the start of the Greek era. Dionysian cults were a regular part of life in the Greek world, but it seems that in the Hellenistic era and Roman period they became ubiquitous due to their popularity.3 The world the Dionysian cults operated within had many problems for the ordinary and noble Roman alike.The final centuries of Roman rule were a difficult time. During the third century, the Roman world was besieged by invaders, depopulation, economic depression, and militarism.4 The Orphic hymns are dated to roughly the same period by some academics.5 In view of these coincidences, it is interesting to consider that both deities could have seen an increase in their popularity in the final stages of the Roman world’s eventual collapse. Further, the parts of life that Dionysus and Hecate ruled as deities makes them ideal for a number of reasons. The theory that Hecate and Dionysus have a connection to uncertain times will be explored and then a ritual inspired by it will be described.

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Improving Relations with Saturn

Saturn’s  northern hemisphere in 2016 from the Cassini spacecraft. Public Domain. This image has been altered.

With so many planets residing in Saturn ruled signs in the coming months, it’s as good a time as any to establish or revisit a personal relationship with Saturn. There are many signs that one’s relationship with the planet of frigidity and darkness requires mending. They can range from feeling distant and unfamiliar with Saturn’s characteristics to viewing them with dread and hatred. Whether or not Saturn has a problematic relationship with an individual, there are a few ways to improve or reconnect with the planet.  Continue reading “Improving Relations with Saturn”

Ritual Diary: Introduction

A stick of incense and a candle burn during a ritual to Aphrodite. Photo by Mad Sage Astrology.

In a series of articles called Ritual Diary, the greater aspects of spirituality will be explored. Posts in the series will be published intermittently on an ongoing basis. They will entail the sharing of all aspects related to performing rituals for gods. That will include suggestions for props and altar items, scripts, and references to relevant ancient sources. It will also be a means to share views and experiences related to the practice of rituals to various gods, goddesses, and planets. Some experiences might lead to insights or discoveries, and those might be expounded upon. Articles in the series will not be written by an expert with extensive background or experiences. Rather, they are written by someone new to the practice so they will reflect the views of a newcomer.

Advice for the Road Ahead

Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node present further challenges until December 2020

From top to bottom, clockwise: Saturn on the equinox. Photo by NASA, Public Domain; Kingdom of Pluto; a view of the underworld with Pluto and Proserpina enthroned at center, surrounded by demons; set design from ‘Il Pomo D’Oro.’ Drawing by Ludovico Ottaviano Burnacini, Public Domain; Beowulf and the dragon. Photo by J.R. Skelton, Public Domain.

The skies above us point to hardship, crisis, and obstacles. The sign Capricorn holds heavy, intense, soul- crushing planets. In the tropical zodiac, Pluto entered Capricorn for good in November 2008. It currently resides at 20 degrees Capricorn. Saturn moved into Capricorn December 19, 2017 and now sits at 14 degrees. The South Node ingressed Capricorn in November 2018.  Since last November, all three malefics have been a part of daily life. The meeting of all three planetary phenomena is fierce, all-consuming, adverse, and shrouded in uncertainty. While the stellium in Capricorn is a potential train wreck, there are ways to move forward. Continue reading “Advice for the Road Ahead”

Awesome Free Online Astrology Resources for Beginners

Clockwise, top to bottom: Ben Dykes on a book cover, a Google search of the keywords Linda Goodman, and a Twitter thread . Photo by Mad Sage Astrology.

There are more and more people that are exposed to astrology nowadays, and some not only accept and find it interesting, but also want to learn more. Newcomers have to navigate a plethora of astrology related websites and articles, with little to guide them. It can be overwhelming, and as a consequence progress is slow. This article was written to provide guidance for newfound astrology enthusiasts. The best resources online can be found on Twitter, websites, and keyword searches of prominent astrologers on platforms like Youtube, Facebook, and Google.

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Heaps of Virgo

Mercury with his caduceus, in his chariot, drawn by cockerels. Engraving by C. Lasinio after Raphael, 1516. CC BY 4.0

Currently, the Sun, Venus, Mars, and Mercury are all in Virgo. They are forming a trine with the nasty configuration of the year, the Pluto, Saturn, and South Node conjunction in Capricorn. They also form a trine with disruptive Uranus in Taurus. With so many traditional planets in Virgo, there is a huge emphasis on all things Virgoan. There are many benefits to reap.

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Armor of Helios


Two parts cuirass from Southern Italy, Marie- Lan Nguyen, Public Domain.

The Chaldean Oracles, an ancient text, offered advice to visualize armor of light that preceded magic work. The armor was named the Armor of Hecate. After reading about the imaginary armor, I experimented with visualizing it. It was an electrifying experience. It led to the conclusion that the Armor of Hecate was a potent exercise, and a useful addition to include in future spiritual work. In fact, the exercise planted a seed for a later development. One weekend afternoon, I sat upon a quiet mountaintop. I meditated and performed a ritual to Helios on the planetary hour of the Sun. The thought then occurred to me that there was an Armor of Helios that drew upon the solar deity’s vast resources, characteristics, and protection. It was suitable for certain types of meditation, ritual, and spiritual work. I then thought it out, tried it, and found it was worth sharing. The Armor of Helios was inspired by worship of the sun god. It reflects a special relationship with the deity, one that seemed to just happen through coincidences, dreams, and personal gnosis. The Armor of Helios befits the sun deity, the master of truth, healing, wisdom, success, and protection. Below, I’ve shared instructions for creating the armor. Continue reading “Armor of Helios”