‘Oh, the heart is designed / To run out of time / There’s no pause or rewind / The transmission is live’ – ‘Best Days on Earth’, Trashcan Sinatras
Time can feel like it is standing still when we are suffering. The hourglass is turned sideways, the grains of sand frozen in place.
Time is a fascinating and fluid idea, open to interpretation and simultaneously absolute. In Greek mythology, it was represented by one of the Titans, Kronos, also known to the Romans as Saturn. To the people of ancient civilization, life on earth was a mirror of life in the heavens. They didn’t separate themselves from or elevate themselves above nature in the way that we so often do today.
In many stories, Kronos, or Saturn, was also referred to as Father Time, or The Great Malefic. It was believed that whatever Saturn brought with him, it was not going to be easy or good, and neither was Saturn himself: he was a father who ate his own children upon it being prophesied that one of them would one day depose him (this was famously and gruesomely portrayed by Spanish artist Francisco Goya on one of the walls of his Madrid home). His tidings were something to be dreaded and always portended the worst. Saturn’s place in the heavens is in the constellation of Taurus, the bull, which is itself aggressive and immovable.
This painting represents the times in life when our experience is touched by those tidings, the times that we feel tested, stuck, or hopeless. Though the character has the wings to ascend to great heights, she must stop and sit with Saturn and apply herself exactly where she is before forward motion will be possible again, in spite of the frustration she feels. At the same time, both of them are a part of the interconnected cosmos around them, they are moving forward in the larger stream of time even if they are temporarily sharing the same orbit. Really, they are companions on a journey that is taking them both where they are, by nature, meant to go.
I think it’s the same for all of us, we never really cease in our evolution, even when it feels like we are mired in quicksand and there is no escape, and no one there to throw us a lifeline. Though at times we feel we are hanging suspended inside a bubble of time and hardship, all the while we are being carried on the stream that moves all of creation forward.