Section Two of Four
Introducing the Greek Deity Cronus
When the Romans came into contact with the Greeks, they were
introduced to the cunning, wily, scythe-wielding deity named Cronus
According to the Greek poet Hesiod, Cronus was the youngest child of Uranus and Gaea
and a member of a class of immortals called Titans. He managed to overthrew his father
Uranus and establish himself as ruler of the universe. Cronus, worried that one of his
own children might be able to overthrow him, swallowed each child as soon as it was born.
The image on the right shows artist Francisco Goya's idea of Cronus' heinous act of
swallowing his children. In the painting, Cronus is called by his Roman name (Saturn) and
he's depicted as a monstrous ogre ripping and tearing at the flesh of a (somewhat
precocious) child. The story goes on to tell us that Zeus escaped being eaten and later
defeated his father after a long and hard battle. According to some versions of the story,
Cronus and his Titan comrades were thrown into the depths of Tartarus, the gloomy, abysmal
regions below the underworld. Other versions have Zeus actually pardoning Cronus and
making him the ruler of the Elysian Fields, which are also called the islands of the
blessed. This realm was said to be the small part of the underworld reserved exclusively
for a selected few mortals who had lived on earth.
Cronus Equated with Chronos
The Romans said that
the Greek Cronus was the same as their agricultural deity Saturn. In the Hellenistic
period, the Stoic philosophers tried to ascertain the original meaning of Cronus'
name. The truth is that they were as unsure as we are. Some of them declared that the
name Cronus was etymologically related to one of the several Greek words for time,
They justified their claim by stating that just like how Cronus
swallowed his children in mythology, "time," or "chronos"
eats way at everything. From this confusion, the figure of the bearded and
scythe-carrying "Father Time" was born. Scholars and linguists have recently determined that
Cronus' name and that Greek word for time, chronos, are not related etymologically.
The exact meaning of Cronus' name is unknown, but some etymologists have
suggested that it's pre-Greek in origin. Others have suggested that his name was related
to the Greek word corone
which means "crow." Whatever his name might have meant originally, it's very probable
that Cronus was an agricultural deity that was worshipped in Greece.
The Planet Saturn in Astrology
From what we
know about Greco-Roman mythology, Sailor Saturn's associations with destruction and the
scythe shouldn't be too surprising. Saturn was a scythe-wielding deity who often brought
destruction. Astrology has also traditionally portrayed the planet Saturn as a destructive
and threatening character. Astrologers say that Saturn is a powerful force of restriction.
For hundreds of years, the planet Saturn has thought to be a malefic planet, one of the
bad guys in the solar system. No other planet over the years has created such a nasty
reputation for itself. In the Sailor Moon manga, Saturn is called the "forbidden star"
In astrology, if there was ever a "forbidden star," traditionally it was Saturn. Sydney
Omarr's "New Millennium Guide" contains a section that describes Saturn and its role in
astrology. It says, "Its traditional meaning equates it with the most dire of events and
circumstances. Hell on Earth. Satan. Destruction. All of this smacks of predetermination,
destiny instead of free will."
knows about the Sailor Moon S season of the anime and the Infinite cycle
of the manga would say that description fits Sailor Saturn very well. In both the anime
and the manga, Sailor Saturn possesses the power to destroy entire worlds. In the manga,
Sailor Saturn states that she will bring the ruin because "everything was set up by fate."
She's the one who mustn't awaken because her presence means the ruin to a world, and yet
she will awaken because her arrival was said to be preordained. Moreover, according to the
book Cosmic Connections, Saturn is "also said to govern the body's aging process and
such predations of time as rheumatism, hardening of the arteries, degeneration of of organs,
loss of teeth, and ailments of the gall bladder and spleen." This idea of Saturn
astrologically governing the "body's aging process" is significant because it directly
relates to Hotaru's regrowth later on in the Sailor Moon storyline. Hotaru's rapid growth
can be seen as a symbol of her ruling planet's power in action. The planet Saturn, in
astrology, rules time in the sense of bodily degeneration. The British composer Gustav
Holst, best known for his stellar (pun intended) musical suite The Planets,
described Saturn as the one that represents "physical decay."
When it comes
to astrology and mythology, Sailor Saturn's themes unarguably fit well. Why then is Sailor
Saturn called the soldier of silence? When we say silence, we're referring to a state of
inactivity or taciturnity. In the manga, the two Kanji
that Takeuchi used with the Katakana for the word silence in the name
mean "not moving" or "inactivity." The word saturnine has several meanings in our
language. It can refer to the supposed astrological influence of the planet Saturn. Those
who are born under the sign Capricorn, like Hotaru, are said to be saturnine. Traditionally,
these people are thought of as being gloomy, sad, bitter, cold, not enthusiastic, and
unwilling or unable to respond to change quickly. That word can also convey the idea of
inactivity, gloomy and habitual silence, taciturnity, and the unwillingness to move. The
word is the opposite of mercurial, which conveys the idea of somebody being quick and
changeable in temperament. That word also refers to the planet Mercury and to the Roman
deity with the same name. The idea of gloomy silence has been traditionally associated with
the planet Saturn in astrology.
Meaning Behind Sailor Saturn's Civilian Name
What does Sailor
Saturn mean when she says that she's the soldier who also represents birth? Her
associations with birth are related to the meaning of her name. In Japanese name
can mean "soil
sprouted firefly." The to
means "soil" or the element "earth" and the moe
means "to sprout." Her surname has to do with being born from the soil. In fact, this
name can be seen as an indirect reference to Cronus, Saturn's Greek counterpart. According
to the Greek Mythology Link
"During the reign of Cronos, they say, men did not have children, for at that time, when the
universe revolved backwards, all humans came out of the earth and were therefore called
autochthonous." In Greek mythology, those who are said to be autochthonous are said
to have "sprung from the soil itself." The word comes from the Greek word which means
"self" and another Greek word that means "soil." Symbolically, this means that Hotaru
is the firefly who has "sprung from the soil itself" under the rule of Saturn. The word
originally referred to those who actually sprang from the soil, but later the word's
meaning has been extended to also mean "indigenous" or "native." According to this
definition, those who are native to a particular area are said to have actually sprang
from that soil.
Sailor Saturn and the Mineral Fluorite
In the Sailor
Moon Another Story RPG for the Super Famicom,
we're told that Sailor Saturn has been associated with the mineral known as fluorite.
This might seem to be a reference to astrology and the planetary stone of Saturn. In
reality, however, it's a lot simpler than that. In Japanese, there are several different
words for "fluorite." There are two ways to spell its name according to the English
word, one of which is fruoraito
the spelling used in the game, but there is one native word for it. This native word is
and it means "firefly stone." So, basically, Hotaru, whose name means "firefly,"
is associated with fluorite, the "firefly stone."
© 2000-2003 Ian Andreas Miller. All rights reserved. Those statements refer to all of the original content on these Web pages. All of the other works that are mentioned on these pages are the properties of their authors.