So I saw this image being shared on Twitter and realized that I had more to say on this subject.
I’ve already explained how in a way, my earliest polytheism was inspired by the Solar System and the planets. Our Earth is deity/deities/has many deities/however you want to unpack that; of course other planets are as well.
One of the things that has been occurring to me lately, a thought that has been half-submerged but slowly taking form, is that astrology provides some excellent scaffolding for devotional polytheism as well. We already do it; Hellenics and Heathens alike frequently use a variation of the planetary day system, focusing on particular deities on the days of the seven day week named for them. Most countries that speak Romance languages have their day names named for the Roman Gods still.
But how to view the planets? This has been a source of anxiety and uncertainty for me. If they are individual Gods and only ever those Gods then one culture owns them, and that is not true. If instead they are reference points for divinities of certain qualities, if they are forms of categorization, axes of quality, not unlike genders, then structured practice can be formed around their movements and actions regardless of the origin of the deity. Hellenistic-era astrology, the one of the periods I am most interested in, came from the melding of a variety of Mediterranean and near Eastern practices, coming out of multiple polytheist cultures that constantly dealt with the “do we worship the same or different Gods as these other people?” problem. I think it is uniquely well suited as an organizational system for devotional and spiritual calendars, and a lens through which to approach and understand deity.
There are Saturnine Gods, and there is Saturn the God, and there is Saturn the planet. As Saturn the planet, Saturn governs the rigorous and severe, the outcast and malcontent and marginalized, the broken, the beaten, and the damned, and by extension, I would observe the Gods of Saturn as those that have or are associated with those qualities. As a God, Saturn is a Saturnine God, obviously.
Perhaps touching on the polycentric model, there are ways to see deities in planets that you might not ordinarily expect. I’ll pick a deity I know well: Freyja. Freyja is often associated with Venus, given Friday is Venus’ day, she is associated with love and beauty and passion, she is good at bringing people together and rules over all the Shiny Things. These are all excellent reasons to associate Freyja with Venus.
Freyja’s name also means “the Lady” as in, a noble title, and is connected to wealth and nobility. Freyja is associated with gold and amber. Freyja’s necklace’s name has been translated as “Brightest Gem” (though that one is debated as far as I know). One of her names is Mardoll, Sea-Bright, and folks associate her with light playing on the water. Freyja is also Solar, clearly.
Not only that, but I know people who associate Freyja with the Moon because she is associated with the feminine, with seidh which is often associated with visions and journeywork among modern practitioners, and with magic and seership in general.
There are many other deities who work with multiple associations: I can see Loki as Lunar, Mercurial, or Saturnine. Hekate has ancient association with the Moon but some of her associations pair her with the Sun or Saturn.
So planets are obviously not clear-cut, one-for-one, archetypes/categories of deities. But if you happen to work with the astrological system for other reasons, they can help to create a useful, already-existing, system that originated in polytheism. A system for timing, for devotion, for magic, for spiritual exploration, and more. There is a deep richness in ancient astrology that provides fertile ground for this. At least, that’s my current theory and I’m very excited about it. And I’ve seen other folks musing on similar things so I know that I’m not alone. It’s interesting to think about as a multi-traditional polytheist who has been seeking frameworks to contextualize all of my own practices within a single system.
I’ll leave off there; there will probably be more posts in this series as my thoughts on it develop. Currently I’m still early on in this journey, but it’s clearly a journey I’m meant to be on.