Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Hook - or, Saturn the great benefic

                                             Saturn eating his children, Disney version

When reading ancient texts, we usually come across the planet classification into malefics and benefics.

It is, in itself, a good thing: it helps us to distinguish one planet from the other in a quick way. Saturn and Mars are malefics, Jupiter and Venus are benefics, the others are neither.

The problem is: we shouldn't take this classification as describing the planets' essence. Nothing created is evil. If that's true down here, in our world of generation and corruption, let alone in the sky.

In fact, Mars and Saturn are not essentially malefics, but merely unpleasant to us. They symbolize virtues, qualities, aspects of life that not only are beneficial, but also invaluable. It only happens that they are unpleasant.

An easy way of understanding it is watching "Hook" (a 1991 movie starring Robin Williams as, sorry, Peter Pan, and Dusting Hoffman as Captain Hook. No, I'm not kidding. It was exhibited again on TV during Christmas week in Brazil).

It's a movie made for kids, full of flaws in the script, and may annoy fans of the classic Peter Pan story (or at least, classic Disney cartoon). But it does convey an essential truth.

Movie summary (yep. Full of spoilers):

Peter Pan one day decided to leave Neverland, to grow up, marry, have responsibilities, and those things associated with becoming an adult. He forgot all about his adventures and turned into a busy father with little time to spend with his children.

He's forced to go back because Hook kidnapped his kids (in order to make him fight the one-handed pirate again).

He remembers who he is, saves his kids, wins the fight against Hook and goes back home, to the "great adventure of living".

It's easy to note, from this brief summary, that Peter Pan's greatest adversary is not Hook, but Saturn. Time, choices, responsibility, limits - everything the ponderous planet means is oppressive to the boy that wouldn't grow up. Even now, that he finally did, the probems go on - as an adult, he forgot all about his past.

He eventually learns to live with those bitter blessings, though. Saturn turns the adventurous boy into a middle-aged man with responsibilities, labour and problems, and makes Wendy grow old and become a grandmother... but these limitations were the things that brought him a wife and two kids. These difficulties are inevitable; in fact, they're good. Good as a purgative to a sick person, as exercising to overweight people, as waking up early and shaving to someone who's unemployed - it's never the "funny" thing to do.

Peter's not the only one fighting time, however. Captain Hook - whom time (a crocodile which had already eating one of his hands, which would chase him to finish the meal, while slowly ticktacking behind his ship - few images are more Saturnine) had already hurt - wants things to go back to how they were when Peter was his young enemy. That's why he smashes clocks. that's why the sole change he dared do was killing the crocodile. He disguises his falling, white hair with a wig, paints his eyebrows and moustache, dresses Peter's son as a childish version of himself... he's trying to beat old Saturn, but it's a fight he can't win. He ends up - literally - being swallowed by him, as we all will, but without benefitting from his gifts. He got older, but not wiser.

Let's not imitate old Hook. Saturn brings many advantages; he's as good as Venus's sweetness, or Jupiter's magnanimity; he just happens to be less nice.

Think about it, next time you need to wake up early, or go on a diet.

My best.

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