Jessa Crispin on Marsilio Ficini’s Cures For Saturn


Marsilio Ficino was terrified of Saturn. I guess we are all terrified of Saturn, sitting as we do staring at our charts and our upcoming Saturn transits whispering obscenities under our breath. He’s unpleasant, we know this. He takes things away from us, we know this. But Ficino was perhaps even more terrified of Saturn than anyone else and went so far as to develop a whole system to protect himself from his effects.

Every time I read about Ficino, mostly in books by the greats Ioan Culianu and Frances Yates, my crush gets deeper and deeper. He was timid, fearful, fragile. And yet always striving toward harmony, toward that moment when he could stand under the heavens without fear, without armor, and take what the world had to offer. Instead, you get the sense that he spent most of his time hiding under his couch, afraid that Saturn was going to burst through the door at any minute and start setting his furniture on fire. He reminds me a bit of myself.

Ficino was one of those delicious Renaissance polymaths: philosopher, priest, doctor, magician, rock star, etc. He was also an astrologer, but he used it more for healing than for prediction. And for Ficino, what qualified as healing was anything that got you the hell away from Saturn.

He was Saturn afflicted, that’s for sure, with Mars, Moon, and North Node in Capricorn and Saturn sitting heavily on his Aquarius ascendant and beaming its rays hatefully toward just about every other planet in his chart. Ficino just wanted things to be beautiful and delicate, and here was Saturn insisting everything be tough and rigid.

What he wanted was the three graces, Sun, Jupiter, and Venus. Those were the nice planets, the planets of the intellect, of bounty, of pleasure. So Ficino went about trying to bring more of those energies into his life, so much of those energies, in fact, that Saturn’s energies simply wouldn’t find the space to come in and bother him, there wouldn’t be any room.

Ficino’s philosophy and magical system was built entirely around the idea of love. (Which is another reason why I love him so much.) The planets are constantly bathing us and the whole world in their love, but there are certain things — plants, animals, colors, gems, scents — that each planet loves more than others. For example, Venus loves roses, and the Sun loves gold. So if you surround yourself with roses and gold, Venus and the Sun would be beaming their love down extra hard in your direction. If you remove everything that Saturn loves from your home and your life, then his love (which is mostly experienced like the father who shows his love to his son by beating him with a belt to harden him up) would be redirected away from you.

Ficino took this so far as to completely redecorate his house, painting a fresco in the colors of Sun, Jupiter, and Venus above his bed. He wrote, explaining, “Someone may construct… on the domed ceiling of the innermost cubicle of his house, where he mostly lives and sleeps, such a figure with the colours in it. And when he comes out of his house he will perceive, not so much the spectacle of individual things, but the figure of the universe and its colours.” Having constant reminders of this love would direct one’s attention only toward that love, not to the individual things that might bring disappointment or worry.

As I was reading this, with Saturn squaring Venus almost exactly and not, you know, having such a great wonderful time with that, my first thought was, Why did no one ever tell me I could do this? Whether or not it’s silly, I immediately went to the gardening store and bought up all of the plants (including six rosebushes, I am serious about trying to get Saturn out of my space) that are sacred to the three graces and planted them in my backyard. Indoors I began burning Venus incense made by Phytognosis, who are super good and thoughtful in the making of their planetary incenses. I am only kind of sort of seriously considering painting a reproduction of Botticelli’s Primavera above my bed.

Of course Saturn isn’t only an affliction, and he’ll find you no matter what color couch you hide under, but it’s a nice thought. And even if Saturn insists that I spend the rest of this transit weeping in public, at least I have some beautiful rosebushes to tend to now.


Jessa Crispin is the editor of and She is a tarot card reader, specializing in issues with creativity and writing. For more information, go here. Her first book, The Dead Ladies Project, about love and travel and art, is forthcoming from the University of Chicago, October 2015.


Marsilio’s Birth Chart!  This the old style of doing them.

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I am doing the opposite. With Saturn as my ruling planet, I am embracing and looking at the positive effects Saturn has on you. I guess being a rising cap my whole life I’ve learned how to. I embrace the things of Saturn like clocks, metal, crows, and black. In Greek mythology, Cronus ruled during the Golden Age. In other words, under his rule, all was right and well in the world when all understood his principals.

catfish moon

I have Saturn conjunct my sun. I am comfortable, but others are scared or uncomfortable. I dislike it at times,but there it has always been.


Read this around midnight last night, did a little research & learned lead is related to Saturn in alchemy. I was horrified as after a feng shui practitioner prescribed for me to put some heavy metal in my bedroom 10 years ago a friend gave me a box of stained glass leading which has been under my bed since! Such a terrible realization that I’ve been pulling in Saturn energy all this time! First thing this morning I got rid of it and after further research learned I’ve already decorated with Jupiter, Venus and Sun colors and elements so yay… Read more »


Ah, yes, the joys of being a Capricorn: Saturn, the planet of adversity, is our friend. 😛


Ha- I’m going thru a hard Saturn transit. It’s no fun, but I guess that’s the point?

Part of me wants to try the remedies- lol. I remember reading about chanting certain mantras in Sanskrit to relieve or enhance the energies of the planets.

Mme Chat

I don’t think Saturn is more about Time than any other planets. Surely owning Jup’s expansion, Venus’s blooming beauty, Sun’s self actualization, etc all need time, and time gives all of that to us. I think Saturn is more about Atonement. And owning my experiences of the past years, am grateful for it. I feel i had to figure out what positive break he had to offer me since he’s conjunct my NN.


“But Ficino was perhaps even more terrified of Saturn than anyone else and went so far as to develop a whole system to protect himself from his effects.” Fear: Check. Development of a “system”: Double check Concerned about “protection”: Triple check “You might be having a Saturn transit if….” 😉 😀 This post is quite serendipitous, though – this type of reading is right up my alley at the mo. I just purchased a copy of Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy – this is what happens when your 8th H Mars is juiced by Mercury and Neptune. There *will*… Read more »


…so he was kind of doing Law of Attraction/quantum stuff, yes? Focusing on more of what you want and less on what you don’t want. Cool!


Whatever gets you into the garden for a morning, go with it.


beautiful magical inspiring words, thanks MM, my house is becoming like a painting…kitchen pink, hall purple livingroom chartreuse…had lived with ex with mental health issues for a decade, and the beauty had disappeared- so after finally having the courage to kick him out I have been wrapping myself in colour, last week my daughter (4)told me i had to buy roses for me, it braced me for the piece de resistance this wknd as he wrote me suicide texts and tried to drag me back into that horrid place….bless my daughter, we escaped camping to the sea and jumped over… Read more »


does anyone here have saturn rising? i confess to being really confused by it. seems like they’d be all structure and cheekbones and discipline and badassness (like a good Him AC transit), but then i meet someone (granted, my sample size is like 5) with it and they’re a super slacker or recluse or they have bizarre sleep habits like the lady who goes to bed at 5pm, or they’re my little saggo brother who (sadly) embodies the whole overweight neckbeard stereotype. the only common thread besides the incongruity is that they’re all grumpy. kind, but grumpy. does the melancholy… Read more »


Mine is pretty close to rising, (10º from asc) but Chiron is closer by 7º, and I identify with your observation. Maybe as a child I was more Saturn, disciplined money maker (p/t jobs) self study to be a pilot (yes I’m Aries), but as I got older, the Neptunian/Venusian/Uranian pull was stronger. I teeter on the edge of slacker recluse, with wack sleep habits. Have been on a personal quest to create a life where I am free from restriction or burden of work/life/social constructs or time. Mainly to avoid the stress and anxiety of keeping routines! Don’t know… Read more »


yay, more data and more consistency! wack sleep habits now classified as an official trait. the picture becomes a little clearer. like mud. 😉 seriously tho, thank you.

still don’t understand the why, but i guess that’s ok. ironic, saturn being the chaotic wrench in my neat little ordered stereotype generator.

best of luck with your quest! so very worthy. 🙂

cosmic fleece

First thought – Libran
Googled – yep – DOB Oct 19th …
Kudos Mystic, for the opening of the astro eye.
If you spot aphids on your roses, there is a chilic garlic and oil mix you
can search for online … Dont let rosehips form,
They zap all the sugars and life away from the plant…Lemme know if you have any questions – have worked in a rose garden. xx Vase shape structure – needs clean fresh air flow ! (How very Libran !)

cosmic fleece



actually oct 19th julian calendar, but oct 28 on the gregarian one. 4* scorp sun. nothing in libra (intercepted in the 8th even), uranus in taurus which has gotta be uncomfortable. Desperately Seeking Venus, poor guy.


i always thought of roses as delicate things (ok, thorns) but have you seen those things flowering in a melbourne heatwave? they LOVE it. 40 degrees C, asphalt melting, bring it on. bloomfest. sniiiifffffffffffffff *ahhhhhhh*


humidity somewhere around zero though (or feels like it), maybe that’s the secret

cosmic fleece

Oui oui Pi,
Humidity disastrous if not enough airflow. xx


Roses are apples that aren’t as nice to eat.


Saturn smokes me.

Saturn 2° of Cap in 6H opposing my Asc. Saturn currently heading to the start of 5H. Doing self-esteem issues- big time coupled with NN just gone backwards past conjunct- doing relational reappraisal. All seems to be confluing to new territory for me. I can do by myself despite my Moon in 7H where Pluto is Rxing. I can do Libra, which naturally enough, despite my 3 other Cardinal placements laughing at the predicament.

Dont run from Saturn. Be like the Dingo.


???Me too. (last sentence)

I think l meant despite my 3 other Cardinal placements laughing at me for having to do LibraNN.


good onya PF. self knowledge is king.


This stuff been happening for some months now…..and really the past year or so with small realisations along da way; self reflection has slowly been manifesting itself.

But it seems to have exponentialized lately.


be like the dingo… like eat your own babies before he does?? i suppose that’s a way to look at it 😯


Funny. No, in a bushfire, the dingo runs ahead and rests. Then runs thru the flames to the burnt area and survives. Monotremes and Marsupials try to outrun the fire, get exhausted and are either burnt or drown seeking safety.


thank you for translating into americanese. i was picturing goya, but yours makes sense. pace thyself.


I want to read about astro-geomancy now! Gem just created an outdoor space for our cats on the balcony. It consists of black net screens to keep out the bees/mosquitos (one is allergic) and a black screen door. However, I must say that it is rather amazing how much the doors and screens frame the space. It’s actually looking better than the nondescript area that it was before? I think that is so Saturn. Now I am thinking to look up plants and colours and make it a sacred space for star viewing! No more summer mozzies. God it makes… Read more »


i know!!! where is the jupiter area? saturn is the yellow star? MYSTIC PLEASE DO THIS!!!!!

sacred space screened balcony sounds super lux. yay!!!


Thx! And YES, we NEED astro-geomancy!!


I think I kind of am in love with Saturn at this point. So, uh, I’ll hang out with him, I need him to get a lot of awesome stuff done. if he gets up in your roses, just tell him I might be getting “off task” and send him to our trine fantastic.

Lux Interior is My Co-Pilot

Reminds me of a feng shui manual I read once that cautioned against over-fenging for love—something like WARNING: too many paired items/red candles/love charms in the boudoir may alarm potential suitors.

Saturn IS hardcore as fuq, but BOY do you emerge stronger!!


Aw, but what if you have Capricorn in your chart? I’m a Sun Capricorn, I’m not going to ditch my first house, even if I like the idea of attracting Jupiter and Venus. Also, like Capricorn, I think Saturn is maligned. Surely he has good points – he helps you get your work done! I was really enjoying the break of Saturn in Sagittarius too – Saturn in Scorpio was nearly as bad as my Saturn Return (Saturn in Libra a couple years ago now THANK GOD) and I am hanging on for September for this last bit to finish…


Yeah, whatever you say about Saturn you can’t deny that it is about Work Ethic!
And if Mr F has anything, it appears to be a work ethic 🙂 FLOWERS MORE FLOWERS


I see the words ‘terrified’ and ‘timid’ and I just think ****redacted**** having said that it’s probably not a bad idea to give a boost to the energy of the ‘disadvantaged’ (? hmm) planet in a crunchy square situation. I would like to stick up for saturn and say it is not hateful. needs balancing with joy though, like any planet needs balance? maybe flowers a good idea (was he a libra? lol) with saturn on an aqua asc, maybe he became dogmatic about things being beautiful and delicate and he eventually inadvertently expressed saturn anyway, just with more flowers,… Read more »


redacted ok (it’s my aries i can’t help it) but yes commend his determination to fix. so yes, all that capricorn.


“with saturn on an aqua asc, maybe he became dogmatic about things being beautiful and delicate and he eventually inadvertently expressed saturn anyway, just with more flowers, haha”

That’s SO what happened! I have a friend who calls it ‘the inverse flow of energy’. Or I guess it is a form of Murphy’s Law.


I was thinking too, I mean this guy sounded like he just basically WORKED really hard (Saturn, mars in cap) on his/to mitigate his perceived fears, failures and inadequacies (moon in cap). I mea. Jessica Crispin has a point (lots, of course) – basically his courage to effect change, mars in Capricorn will overcome no matter what


Lovely piece of writing!! I don’t think we can escape structure entirely and to my mind Saturn represents those elements like the green coding of the Matrix.

Also he’s about moderation and order so trying to escape him certainly will lead to tragedy! He will balance that notion or vacuum without any effort. What comes up must come down etc. I think including him respectfully and conceptually in a way that is positive would be more successful!? For me anyway..
Great fun to read about him – I must see his chart!


yes.. i kind of think, ‘avoid saturn, fail at everything’ lol and with mars in capricorn you can’t *not* do saturn surely

virgo kathleen

I kind of love this concept. It feels naughty to even consider trying to get rid of Saturn. He’s like a strict parent you don’t want to disappoint but is always disappointed anyway. And he’d be out in the cold like “Oh come on let me back in for your own good” and he’d be right. I have a Cap Moon (conjunct Neptune) and my Saturn is in Sagg but it’s squaring my Sun and my Mars (ouch). So those squares really bother me. However if I can just invite the ‘good’ planets in then maybe that will help. I’m… Read more »


in the link it says that the red are the actual placements via solarfire and the green are his (wrong) calculations. i want to know what’s up with the jupiter in pisces in the middle. to me that says pisces ac.


I see Saturn as integrity through hard work, so I like Saturn. I don’t see him as a strict parent, but at times yes I could see how he would come across as that.

virgo kathleen

I like Saturn in the sense that I’m thankful that I do have that drive, that I can hunker down and do the hard work.

At the same time I feel like I never have any fun – especially lately – and I just want to lighten up and relax. But, having a Cap moon, I feel bad whenever I’m not being productive. So, I could really use a break from Saturn sometimes.


To master Saturn we must master time.
Until then we remain in his prison of certain death. Time waits for no man. Hence our greatest malady, deathfear.
Overcome the fear of death and one begins to master time. Outside of time Saturn has no power over us.


But we can’t ever really escape time while embodied I think? Maybe for moments, but the body is finite and has expiration date if not the energy that manifests it..


Remember when my 8 year old explained to me that the body IS a time machine ? I mentioned it here many years ago and it still resonates for me. So yes, taking on a body is an acceptance of a time period of limitation that has one promise, the eventual end of limitation, the end of suffering…death. If there was no escape clause I doubt we would ever take on a body in the first place.


Its the only appointment that everybody keeps dead on time.


I DO! Your gorgeous boy.. 🙂 . Haha, I wouldn’t incarnate like this permanently!
And you mention that other important word ‘master’. Learning about limitation (time enhanced) is good prep for other endeavours, but I think the concept of Mastery is more important to Saturn!


Maybe similar to the akashic records? I think that might be like a broader version, another parallel.


i kind of get this. once you get past ‘omg dying’, and realise death is everywhere anyway, just bring it, it’s a driving principle of existence, you scratch the flimsy thin silver layer off the instant-win Ticket to Life and there is the prize: death, (doesn’t matter how many tickets you buy), then you can sort of abandon consequence in ways that didn’t seem allowable (at least psychologically) before. it gets me down but then other times gleeful abandon. still finding feet i guess.


I know / love someone from afar who is with this everyday…its strange, I am sure at some level they would be slightly outside of the human condition with the brutality of deadly disease so close. Dispassionate of loss, that I cannot ever be, my moon, mercury, mars, chiron, neptune all water! Me on the other hand, not good with death. Sentiment and much heart break, from deaths of lost loves previous saturn in scorpio cycle, BUT then I wonder why have I worked (when much younger, as a teenager) caring for people who were dying before me, some imprisoned… Read more »


ah, yes, true ASR, what experiences these must be ..
i suppose to add, it’s not something i consider to emotionally detach from, in a careless way, more that it’s a new source of vitality, kind of enriching daily life, to know that this is a limited time. xx


Yes. When I’m having trouble deciding whether to ‘just do it’, I remind myself that the worst that can happen is that I am killed, and that that can only happen once. Most ventures pass that test.


yes. it’s like, well what am I here for if not to try lots of stuff while inhabiting a body.


There have been many mentions in last few (recently) read books about dissolution, release from physical form. Something about losing a sense of self, ego, for positive reasons, rather than from dependency. I wonder about this, natal pisces mars conjunct chiron, in constant tension to pluto, uranus…

Then again there was another book The Etheric Body, in which it is explained how there is another entity, layer of us so to speak. Maybe we are not as contained we think? Btw, I didn’t read this. Its in my mother’s collection, I think it would articulate what this thread is offering.


phew thanks for this line of commenting DL,i am struggling with a fear/change thing and I think this has helped – a timely refresher 🙂


Micallef said: “Time waits for no man…..and few women”.

Tropic of Pisces

Jeepers, I’m surprised he could get out of bed with that chart although Jupiter in Leo must have been a boon. What do the double red/green Sun, Jupiter and Venus symbols signify?

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