The integumentary system comprises the skin and its appendages acting to protect the body from various kinds of damage, such as loss of water or abrasion from outside. The integumentary system includes hair, scales, feathers, hooves, and nails. It has a variety of additional functions; it may serve to waterproof, cushion, and protect the deeper tissues, excrete wastes, and regulate temperature, and is the attachment site for sensory receptors to detect pain, sensation, pressure, and temperature.
Kronos castrated his father with a sickle from Gaia. Hence the ‘sickle’.
We learn in the Third Degree lecture that the Scythe is an emblem of time, which cuts the brittle thread of life, and launches us into eternity. In classic Mythology, the scythe was associated with Saturn, the god of time, which in turn taught men to use the implement in agriculture. Many illustrations of time as a figure show an old man, usually bearded, having a hour glass in the one hand, and a scythe in the other. The scythe is often associated with destruction. However, upon deeper reflection, the scythe cuts the old to make way for the new – and thus the cycle of life repeats itself. For example, in order to gather the harvest (grain, which feeds life) the giver (in this case the plant) must be killed. Until the fifteenth century, it was not the scythe, but the sickle that was portrayed in similar ways the scythe is today. This probably reflects the changing implements used in farming. It should be noted, that the 13th Major Arcana Card in the Tarot, Death, depicts a scythe not cutting down life, but the wordly illusions. This also corresponds with its meaning, which is not the end, but the beginning of a cycle. In this case, the scythe is a positive tool – one that opens the door to the realm of the true and invisible reality.
the planet Saturn represents the alchemical metal, lead. The image mimics the scythe of Saturn, the god of the harvest and time. The qualities of Saturn include limitation, protection, and restraint; lead is therefore used historically where these qualities are required- it is still common to see lead-lined caskets, and it is traditional to keep scriptures and religious relics shielded in lead reliquaries.
Alchemically, lead was the prima matera, or primal matter, and represented the putrefaction and decay necessary for new life.
The sigil is similar to the Hebrew letter Tau, which also has associations with time and death(alchemy). Saturn is also the roman correspondence of greek god Chronos, the personification of Time (mythology).
Carl Jung says: “The prima materia is ‘saturnine,’ and the malefic Saturn is the abode of the devil, or again it is the most despised and rejected thing, ‘thrown out into the street,’ ‘cast on the dung-hill,’ ‘found in filth” (alchemy/psychology).
The latter belong to a personal psychology, to the personality of the ego which is in the world, whereas the unconscious is not, but is rather a world itself.
It is really a projection of the unconscious, as we saw clearly in many of the definitions, for the Middle Ages, as well as Antiquity, saw the unconscious in nature.
We could define the unconscious as a psychical existence in ourselves of which we are unconscious.
The prima materia was a genuine numinosum, a holy, psychic/spiritual substance which allowed the alchemists to consciously experience both the light and dark sides of God within themselves. As Jung puts it, “the individual is confronted with the abysmal contradictions of human nature, and this confrontation in turn leads to the possibility of a direct experience of light and darkness, of Christ and the devil.”
Symbolically speaking, the prima materia corresponds to lead, which relates to Saturn-Chronos, the negative father. One of the prima materia’s many symbols is a weak and infirm old man, the mythic dying king, or “senex,” who has lost touch with feeling, with eros, with relatedness, with creativity, with compassion, and with love. This figure of the rigid-old-man-negative-father is symbolic of a calcification of consciousness which, out of fear of its own weakness, holds onto and becomes addicted to power and control. The dying old man represents a dominant position in consciousness which has outlived its usefulness, and thus becomes an obstacle to the growth and development of consciousness. This archetypal figure is in need of being liquefied and de-solidified, of being given an alchemical bath in the healing waters of the psyche.
Saturn, the corrupted patriarchy, mythologically speaking, is the governor of the prison, the one who binds us and seemingly limits our freedom, while simultaneously being the supreme tester and great purifier. Paradox is the language of alchemy, as it is an expression of the unified point of view in which the seeming opposites are no
t so opposed to each other after all.
To be under the spell of Saturn-Chronos, the dark father, “Father Time,” is to be entranced and absorbed in linear time at the expense of the timeless dimension of our being. To recognize that we are playing out on the world stage the mythic process of the negative patriarchy is to have an expansion of consciousness in which we step into a mythical dimension where time is not “chrono-logical.” When we snap out of the spell and logic of linear time, we wake up to “dreamtime,” where time is experienced as a radial-matrix whose center is here and now. Dreamtime is not linear but circular, not fixed but fluid, not mechanistic but natural, not historical but a-historical. Dissolving the figure of father time, of living by the clock, we become introduced to the “syn-chronic” order. The synchronic order, whose timing frequency is a universal factor of synchronization, is a realm of infinite interconnectedness and inter-resonance between everything and everything else. In the synchronic realm the microcosm and macrocosm are synchronistic, mirrored reflections of each other, different iterations of the same underlying, harmonic fractal. This inter-nested fractal reflects a singular nowness eternally unfolding in endlessly diverse and novel patterns.
Symbolic awareness is the very expansion of consciousness which nonlocally dissolves the rigid and fixed archetypal figure of Saturn-Chronos, the negative father, throughout the whole field, like pouring water on the wicked witch of the west, only in this case the whole world becomes “fluid,” and thus ripe with new possibilities.
Saturn – skin, hair, teeth, bones, joints, knees, spleen