Today marks Shaani Jayanti !
Who is Lord Shani ( शनि ) ? An Archer, Crow-associated, Son of the Sky Father ; an Enforcer of Divine Justice and the Cosmic Order. He of the Dread Glare, and the Inevitability – not so much of Time (Kala), but rather of Consequence.
This is what ‘Shani’ means in Sanskrit – The Slow Moving One.
On one level, this refers to the twenty seven year long period which it takes Saturn to traverse about this solar system of ours (and then an additional two and a half years to traverse a single astrological sign).
Yet in another sense, it pertains to the Implacability of His Advance.
As a certain J. Cash once put it – one may indeed be able to run on for a long time … but “sooner or later, God’ll cut you down”.
‘Cutting’ down is also most apt an idiom here, given the ‘Scar’ and ‘Scarification’ elements we can figuratively link to Him, via the imprinting (Sanskara) of consequence upon us for our actions (Karma) via His Force. (As a point of interest, the same PIE *(S)Ker which informs ‘Scar’ in our modern English is also the root for Sanskrit कृत्त (Krtta), whence the Krittika constellation .. our term for the Pleiades)
Shani is also occasionally referred to as ‘Crooked’ – however here, too, there is a double (or even triple) meaning. On one level, it is purported to refer to the physical appearance of the God; yet on another, it refers to the wrack and ruin which can be inflicted upon the sinful by His Gaze – and thence, upon that third level, it is a term invoked in the hope that via doing so it ‘averts’ (causes to ‘run crooked’) His Baelful Attentions.
Kona (कोण), one of these terms, handily can also refer to a Bow – the major weapon with which Shaani is equipped. An apt weapon with which the Wrath (Krodha) of Consequence is to be discharged.
Now in the course of my research, I have also come to believe that there is a surprisingly close coterminity between Shaani Dev and Apollo of the Hellenic perspective. The relationship is not perfect, and in truth, it should seem that Apollo bears quite close resemblance to Shiva (Shiva, interestingly, also has शनि as a theonymic, upon occasion). But the parallels, which I have explored elsewhere, particularly around circumstances of parentage, Corvid associations, and certain other elements – are too persistent to be discounted out of hand.
In any case, one further point must be made. And was done so by my own writing, more than two years afore:
It has been said that Lord Shaani is Stern, that He is Severe, that He can be, after a sense, “Cruel” and quick to “Anger”. All of these things are, of course, ultimately and unutterably true. Yet they somewhat severely miss the point. Shaani is also Just.
And if a punishment, a woe, is visited upon one, this does not necessarily nor innately-intrinsically mean that it was an entirely undeserved, or at least, “uncalled” for one. Not in all cases, at any rate.
The lessons may indeed be “cruel”, but that does not, in and of themselves, make them “unnecessary” as a direct correlate nor result. [They may also “continue, until the [comprehension] improves”, to quote a certain other wise axiom which I sourced from somewhere else…]
Rather, “Stern Father” archetypal conduct perhaps regrettably foremost in mind, it is perhaps necessary to quote th words attributed to Genghis Khan:
“I am the punishment of God – If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.”
ॐ शनैश्चराय नमः