Chronos or Saturn
Angered at the imprisonment of her children, Gaea induced her youngest-born, Chronos, to overthrow his father. As Ouranos one night descended to his treacherous spouse, Chronos armed himself with a sharp sickle, and cruelly mutilated him. But from the drops of blood, flowing from the wound, there arose a two-fold offspring. Prom that which fell upon the earth there arose a race of Giants and also the Furies.
The former were enormous ogres, all hairy, breathing flames and storms, with loud cries and dreadful hissing, hurling glowing rocks against heaven. The Furies were three fearful sisters, having pale, contorted faces, flaming eyes and clawlike hands, in which they carried scourges made of biting serpents. The Giants fitly represent the last fearful profanations of the Antediluvians, and the Furies their eternal punishments.
But the blood which fell into the sea gathered around it the white sea-foam (aphros), out of which arose the loveliest and most beautiful of the goddesses, Aphrodite or Venus
Astarte. This wonderful myth suggests the thought that when celestial conjugial love was lost in the Most Ancient Church, a remnant of that love was preserved among the gentiles— and spiritual conjugial love arose in the new or Ancient Church.
Having overthrown his father, of whom nothing further is related, Chronos now released his imprisoned Titan brethren and with them ruled supreme over the world. It is evident that he represents the last period of the Most Ancient Church just before the Flood, at the time of the final Judgment upon it. Hence we always find his frowning, sinister figure armed with the fitting symbol of a Sickle,—sometimes circled by a serpent biting its own tail,—and a Sickle always signifies "judgment" and "the end of the Church." In later ages, from the general significance of this symbol, Saturn came to represent'' old father Time,'' and also '' Death, the harvester,'' and finally he was looked upon as the benevolent patron of the harvest, but this was after the true correspondences had been forgotten.
The dying Ouranos had prophesied that "crooked-counselled" Chronos would himself be served with the same fate that he had meted out to his father. Fearing this end, Chronos devoured all his children immediately after their birth. Does not this suggest that everything of innocence, every newborn perception of good and truth, was profaned by the Church which existed before the Flood? As soon as perceived, it was at once swallowed up by the love of self, that is, was perverted by being applied to the puffing up of self-conceit and the excusatory confirmation of evil. Thus no new good or truth could any longer come forth from heaven to earth, and mankind would have perished in spiritual death, if the Lord in His Mercy had not now established a new Church upon the earth. Rhea, the sister-wife of Chronos, finally gave birth to a last son whom she quickly hid away in a cave on Mount Ida, while to her devouring spouse she gave a stone, wrapped up in swaddling clothes.
The story, in its literal form, has humorous as well as gruesome features, but within is hidden the pearl of spiritual truth. The birth of Zeus, or Jupiter, represents the coming of a new Divine Revelation, the Ancient Word, for the upbuilding of a new dispensation, a new Church, the second or Ancient Church, the Church of the Silver Age.
This new Word, however, was not in form an internal Revelation such as was with the most ancients,—the men who had "the Word of God written upon their hearts." The Divine Truth could no longer be communicated in the form of celestial perceptions, (for these would at once have been perverted or "swallowed up") but it was now necessary to hide the Divine message under the sensual appearances of a literal sense. It is this literal sense which is represented in our story by ''the stone wrapped in swaddling-clothes," which was given to Chronos to devour. In other words, the perverted Church of the Antediluvians was permitted to fall upon the letter of the Word, which they could pervert to their heart's content, while the internal sense, the Divine Truth itself,—the young Jupiter,—was safely hidden from their knowledge. Thus it was in the days of Enoch, "who was not, for God took him." And it is the same in our own days, when the Heavenly Doctrine of the Internal Sense is being miraculously hidden from the Old Church, while the theologians and "the higher critics" are freely permitted to fall upon and devour the mere letter of the Word.
The genuine doctrine of the Ancient Word was in the beginning received by a very few persons, and the Ancient Church, like every new Church, grew very slowly and unknown to the world, yet steadily increased in the knowledge and understanding of the new Revelation. This fact is strikingly represented by the story of the guarded childhood of Jupiter, in the cave on Mount Ida,—a name which, in all the ancient tongues, signifies knowledge and insight. But as soon as full grown, young Jupiter attacked and dethroned his cruel father, and compelled him to vomit forth all the children whom he had devoured.* This means that the goods and truths which had been perverted, misunderstood and thus remained ''undigested'' with the perverted Church, were now freed from their perversions and restored to their true use and value in the new Church. Thus also at the present time, the truths and goods of Science, Philosophy, and Ethics have been misunderstood and perverted by the fallen Christian Church, but all will nevertheless be restored to their true use in the Lord's New Church.