This is a detailed report of strange days full of pine tree portals, morning glory vines, tachycardia, synchronicities and personal gnosis that preceded (or retroactively followed) my initiation into the sphere of Saturn during a vacation with my wife and daughter on the Canary Island of Tenerife.
In the last years the time after Christmas has always been quite a downer. Berlin falls into a mode of total greyness that just makes you want to hibernate. Usually my freelance economy is also hibernating during that time when there are no jobs around. For this year my partner T. and I decided to escape this misery and booked vacations on my beloved Canary archipelago - first a couple of days on the chthonic gods' black rock altar manifested as the island of Lanzarote and then three weeks on the sacred island of Tenerife. We prepared for relaxed weeks, but ended up in wonderland...
A few days after we arrived on Tenerife things became very strange. It all started on a Wednesday, two days after we arrived by sea with a ferry from Lanzarote. The trip between the islands was beautiful but also wavy and quite long. All tired and unnerved from the journey we arrived at a small and quite cold little hut in the mountains of La Esperanza. The hut was cute but had no heating, just a malfunctioning fireside. That Wednesday we all decided to go for a walk in the forest which according to the map was only minutes away. Remembering the ancient pine trees we had visited last time we came to this island, I let my offline-map-app Osmand show me all points of interest of the "tree" category and chose the closest one to our house.
Ten minutes later we found ourselves in a stunningly beautiful forest of mostly pine trees with eucalyptus groves and small leaved shrubbery on hilly ground covered in an endless carpet of pine needles. The walk was very soothing and gave us back a sense of peace of mind. We eventually arrived at our waypoint marker: a really creepy and old pine tree that must have barely survived a wildfire. Its trunk was hollowed out and from the remaining black bark dripped thousands of threads of golden resin. The bottom part of the trunk was so thoroughly burnt from all sides it created a hole you could see through to the other side, large enough for a person to crawl through.
Well, that's what we did, jokingly calling it a "gateway to another dimension". First I, then my wife T. and a bit more hesitantly, my 3 years old daughter E. stepped through the tree trunk. It was fun! Before leaving I decided I wanted a branch from the tree to keep as a magic wand because maybe the old pine had been struck by lightning which is supposed to be the perfect magically charged wood for wands. I circled the tree four times and threw a small log at one of the branches that broke off. The branch was not as straight as I had hoped for but was a bit crooked like a sickle, but I kept it anyway.
We walked a bit further, had a small picnic and started our way back to the car. Making our way through a bushy and narrow path downhill my daughter started to get a bit tired and bored and made up one of her roleplaying games. She declared: "I am Juno now! You have to call me Juno, OK?” I smiled and nodded and we continued our descent. Suddenly I remembered that the ancient mother goddess who was venerated by the aboriginal population of the Canarian archipelago and who had been syncretized into the Catholic patron saint Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria was assumed to have been the Catharginian goddess Tanit, whom the Romans dubbed "Juno Caelestis." What a curious synchronicity!
In the following night I had a strange dream involving a village road that we needed to urgently pass through and that it had something to do with Saturn. We needed to pick up a brown rental car of the type "Reverend" and it was a brown SUV stretch-limousine. The pick-up location was at a wide sandy beach and there were plenty of people wearing suits wildly racing stretch-limousines across the sand and performing wheelies and other tricks. It was loud and stormy. I looked along the beach and saw a body of a woman lying face down in the wet sand, white roaring waves breaking violently around her. Suddenly a humanoid giant emerged out of the whitewater and carefully picked up the body. The woman was was my wife! I ran to the giant as fast as I could. T. was confused but seemed fine. I thanked the giant and suddenly had a moment of realization. I looked at her, saying "If they are on our side, this must be really important!" Then I woke up.
I obsessively thought about the "Saturn" part all day long. I just couldn't shake it off. In the evening I did a search for "Saturn" in my collected research documents folder on my computer related to myths and archaeological findings of the Canary Islands and found an interesting paper1 I had not read yet. It was about a curious theory that the Canaries must have been visited by Christian missionaries before the official arrival of the Spanish conquerors in the late 14th century, because the aboriginal population mainly venerated a heavenly creator god and his holy mother when encountered. The author found this a too curious coincidence and looked into what numinous creatures local folklore had declared "devils" like in so many other Christianized areas of Europe where the previous pagan gods were either syncretized into Saints or declared evil demons. He found matching stories about "wooly goat or sheep like creatures" with "red eyes" an on one island a "wooly black haired man" who were usually appeased on mountain tops with offerings of milk and butter. The author's theory was that this was probably their god before they started believing in a transcendental heavenly father. He related the goaty god to Baal-Hammon, who was the other prime deity next to Tanit worshipped in Catharge and throughout many areas of North Africa, primarily by Berber tribes. In the paper1 it was mentioned that the Romans saw in Baal-Hammon a form of Saturn.1
Mind blown, I went to bed and thought a lot about everything I had learned. Then it dawned on me: Saturn! Kronos! Baal-Hammon! My dream and the forest walk suddenly made sense in an uncanny way. The pine tree is considered a Saturnian creature. The branch I had broken off: it looked like a scythe! My daughter suddenly coming up with the name "Juno". Tanit!
The next days were weirdly interwoven with synchronicities. I felt strangely disconnected from life and seemed to experience everything from a weird observer perspective. I obsessively started to think about doing a ritual for Saturn or Baal-Hammon. Maybe using the Trithemius method from "Seven Spheres"? I didn't have my "table of practice" with me. I would need to make one. I needed materials, incenses, candles, corresponding plants... The moment I had just finished this last thought I just finished parking our car next to a park in the city of La Laguna and almost fell into a gigantic hedge completely overgrown by purple Morning Glory vines. There it is! A Saturnian plant! We walked through the city and past a large mural sculpture made from plastic trash. It was a black crow! A Saturnian animal! Needless to say that I noticed SUVs everywhere we drove to, all in this weird brown color like the one in my dream.
One afternoon we took a walk along the large meadows surrounding the little house we had rented for our vacation. Suddenly a large flock of sheep entered our neighboring field with their archaic looking shepherd and his dogs. Half of the livestock were sheep, the other half a strange looking breed of black and very wooly goats with very long corkscrew-like horns. "Baal-Hammon" I thought. The "wooly goat god" of the Canaries. Also "Capricorn" popped into my mind. Of course. The sun just entered the sidereal zodiac sign of Capricorn, home of the planet Saturn who would also join his sign in the upcoming days. This was too much!
At night I couldn't sleep well. Something really bothered me. It was the fact that the Catharginian cults of Tanit and Baal-Hammon were tightly connected to human sacrifice, specifically child sacrifice. Followers had allegedly offered their firstborns to their gods, unless the whole story was just Greek, Jewish and later Christian propaganda. Nobody really knows. But it bothered me a lot, being a father and all. I did not want to go that path of syncretizing Saturn with Baal-Hammon. It just felt: wrong! In the night I had a nightmare of which the only image I remembered upon waking in panic was holding the limp body of my daughter in my hands.
Another evening my wife and I had a long and serious talk about our current life. It was a talk that had been long overdue. About our financial situation. About our job situation and occupational outlooks. About the lack of overview over our assets. About living from day to day, the lack of perspective and planning. About stability and getting our shit together. It was good. We also had more and more serious talks about what we want in our life. About where we want to live our life. About how much we loved it here and whether we want to stay in Berlin or relocate to the Canary Islands. A once wild dream suddenly became a concrete topic that needed attention, consideration, planning. Saturn in Capricorn. It all felt appropriate and weirdly controlled, as if external forces made us finally have these talks.
I felt very light-headed and dizzy one early evening and went to bed earlier than usual. I felt weirdly sick. My body was completely exhausted, but my mind was highly alert. I took this as an opportunity to try to induce "sleep paralysis" and attempt and out of body experience. It didn't fully work. I was able to shift my awareness around in the room and even push it outside of the house, but wasn't sure how much of it was just vivid imagination. It was a strange evening and I had feverish repetitive dreams that night without actually having a fever. The following evening our daughter seemed extraordinarily restless and crazy. Even for a three and a half year old. She was clumsy and whiny and when my wife took her on her lap to comfort her she suddenly said: "her heart seems very fast!". I put my ear on our daughter's chest and counted. 22 in 6 seconds. Holy Shit. A heart rate of 220 beats per minute! We calmed her down and went to bed, hoping for her pulse to slow down during her sleep.
The next day we rushed to the hospital. The closest one was the University Hospital Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria. How appropriate, I thought. We were treated nicely and with patience, although the emergency ward was completely overcrowded and in chaos. Nobody spoke English or German, yet we managed with my very limited Spanish. The very young doctors in the pediatric section did an electrocardiogram and gave our little one a shot of adenosine. A heart reset. It stops the heart for a moment. It is a very scary thought. But it works. It did work. Her little heart reset to normal speed and we were very relieved. She was very scared and confused. Poor thing.
Apparently she had relapsed into a fairly common heart condition she had as a small baby which she was supposed to be cured from a long time ago. During the next 6 hours staying in the hospital for observation so many things went through my mind. About parenthood and responsibility. About not taking things for granted. About more awareness of risks. About protecting my child better from insensible doctors. About fear of loss and parental anxieties. It was hell. But my daughter loved it. So much attention and hours of cartoons.
Eventually we could go home. When I left the building to get our car I saw a rainbow in the sky above the city. Problem was that I couldn't find our car anymore. Where had I parked it? I randomly walked up and down the small roads around the hospital. They all looked the same. Then I saw the rainbow again, at the end of a small street. I took a turn and walked towards it to get a better look and suddenly there it was in front of me: our car!
That evening I was scared to the bones. Baal-Hammon. Saturn. Child sacrifice. A moment of death before the heart resets. My nightmare of holding my limp daughter. It was way too much. I wanted it all to stop. I suddenly felt almost compelled to do a ritual. Not to start something, but to stop it. The next day I gave my wife a day off to recover from the stress and I took my daughter to Puerto de la Cruz, to do something nice, buy her ice-cream, visit some playground. The secondary objective was to go to the local Esoteric shop and a paper shop to buy ritual accessories. A quartz crystal. Storax incense. Black paper. Silver pen. It had to be done.
At some pont it hit me! Saturn! Father of time! Of course! I realized that everything that happened in the last days had the strange taste of initiation to it. I remembered the Jovial initiation I did last year. The feeling of outside perspective on my own life. The sparks of inspiration. The lessons and emotions. All the weird synchronicities that happened after I initiated into the sphere of Jupiter. This was the same but different. Why did all of this happen BEFORE my initiation ritual and not AFTER? Why? Because Saturn rules time! He can do whatever the fuck he wants with it. Why not reverse it and let the initiation ritual ripple into the past instead of the future, or why not both ways? It was crystal clear to me now that I had to do the ritual as soon as possible. I decided to do it on the 25th of January. New Moon in sidereal Capricorn, sun also, and Saturn just entering his home sign too. Plus it was a Saturday. Perfect space weather. I asked my Tarot whether it was a good election and what to expect.
To my defense: it wasn't just me who felt this omnipresent looming weirdness. T. felt it too. Ever since we crawled through that creepy tree, she said. Oh god, that tree. It was true. Like another dimension! We decided that we needed to go back and crawl through it again – this time from the other side! And we were not joking.
On Friday and especially on Saturday I felt awful. Very depressed and sad for no apparent reason, anxious and clumsy and very snappy. Tired and unnerved we barely managed to go back to the tree, but we did. It had to be done. I circled it four times, this time clockwise, and all three of us climbed back through the gaping hole in the charred trunk.
We suddenly felt very relieved and strangely happy and walked back to the car.
In the evening I packed all my ritual accessories I had gathered and prepared in the days before and got into the car around sunset. I drove down the village road to a hedge I had spotted before. Overgrown by Morning Glory! I harvested a few vines with the purple flowers and hit the road uphill towards the mountain. It was pitch black as I drove up the serpentine roads through the forest. After cancelling a hike up to the mountain top due to the darkness and also deciding not to use a cave near the road due to unbearable urine stench I spontaneously opted for a manmade cave I had marked on my phone-map a few days before. It was just off an easy to find hiking path and should be doable even in the darkness.
I was a bit scared walking through the forest at night but I felt excitement and an urge to push through with the plan. I climbed down a steep hill into a small valley in total darkness, slipping on the pine needles and mossy rocks. My phone reception went dead. I should have left my coordinates. Fuck it. Let's do it. I eventually found the cave! It was a small horizontal mine shaft from old attempts to dig a tunnel for water. There are thousands of these on the island. This one was around a meter in diameter and just two meters deep into the rock. But it was dry and clean and fortunately too inaccessible to be used as a toilet. It was perfect!
I set up my altar and table of practice, decorated it with the flowers and checked the time. Almost an hour left until the appropriate planetary hour of Saturn. I crawled back out and sat down on a rock. I closed the flashlight and looked around. Complete darkness. Complete silence. Just the wind in the treetops and omg, the stars!
I was mesmerized by the beauty of the night-sky. The Pleiades were right above my head and I saw a satellite pass by when I looked up. I stared into the sky for a long time lying on my back enjoying each moment that seemed like eternity. Then it was time for the ritual.
It took quite a while. I started with the day's prayer of my ongoing novena to La Virgen de La Candelaria and did a full Headless Rite following my usual new moon routine. The cave filled up with the incense smoke and hummed in resonance with the frequency of my voice while I recited the prayers of the Seven Spheres protocol. I was an amazing feeling.
After I was done I had such an intense feeling of relief and peace of mind that I got high from it. Absolute Clarity.
I somehow made it back to the car and drove home. The remaining days on the island were dominated by peacefulness and joy. Hardly have I felt so happy and clear minded. My family too.
Cold and dry in the head. Capricorn season.