The Lemures Files
  Guest Article: February 12th, 2000

In Defense of Saturn and Pluto

By: Ian Andreas Miller

On the Pretty Soldier Sailormoon Mailing List one of the members sent a very interesting post that talked about the fuss over the supposed Pluto and Saturn "mix up" that suggests that Sailorsaturn should have been Sailorpluto and Sailorpluto should have been Sailorsaturn. Of course, being the mythology, astronomy, and astrology buff I am, I didn't hesitate to respond to him. He found my response very interesting and he said that it would be a good idea to send some of what I wrote to the Amazoness Quartet so that they could put it up as a "Lemures File." At first I didn't want to do this, but then he told me that he was getting a bit tired of the myriad "Lemures" articles that deal so heavily with all the imaginary fighting and closing of sites in the so-called "Sailormoon Community." I agreed whole-heartedly and I refined much of what I said in my original post to the list and created this new article about Sailorpluto and Sailorsaturn. In this article, I shall do my best to show that Ms. Takeuchi didn't make a mistake with the themes of her Sailorsaturn and Sailorpluto characters.

One of the first things he talked about in the post was how the Roman Saturn can be a bit different than the Greek Chronos. I immediately noticed that he made a mistake in his claim, but the mistake is understandable. It seemed that he wasn't quite familiar with the differences between the Greek word "chronos" which means "time" and the father of Zeus "Cronus," a Greek deity. These were originally very different terms and it wasn't until later on in Greek history that some of the philosophers identified their Cronus with their word for time, "chronos." There is no particular deity dedicated to the word "chronos," either. These two words are spelled quite differently in the original Greek, too: "chi- rho- omicron- nu- omicron- sigma" (chronos) versus "kappa- rho- omicron- nu- omicron- sigma" (Cronus). The name Cronus, just to keep it clear, is also often rendered as "Cronos" or even "Kronos" in English. The earliest of the Greek epic works made no connection between the two words "chronos" and "Cronus." Homer, when mentioning Cronus, usually does so when he is stating one of Zeus' myriad epithets, "the almighty son of Cronus." We would think that Hesiod, of all people, would have some more about Cronus. He does and in fact he even shows Cronus to be an exceptionally intelligent deity who is often called the "crafty counsellor." In Homer's Iliad and Odyssey books, and in Hesiod's Works and Theogony books, Cronus is never said to have any official association with time. Later, by the Greco-Roman times, the philosophers tried to find the original meaning of Cronus' name, but the fact is that they were as clueless of what the name originally meant as we are. In fact, they were a little more disadvantaged because they didn't have older written material handy like we do today. It's always a good idea to remember that these terms, "chronos" and "Cronus" were originally separate ideas. I am going to use this fact later on when trying to separate the themes for Sailorpluto and Sailorsaturn.

As for Saturn, he was a completely different deity from the Greek Cronus and a composite deity at that. Saturn is basically a hybrid god who the Romans originally borrowed from the Etruscans and fused into their own minor agricultural god. He was a reaping and sowing god, and it wasn't until quite late in Greek history that he was identified with the Greek Cronus. By that time, unfortunately, Cronus was associated with the Greek word "chronos" and thus the Roman Saturn became a god of time and farming. These two deities are completely different and their histories are very different. Cronus was no doubt a product of Greek oral tradition, with a history of perhaps hundreds and hundreds of years before the times of the Greek epic poets Homer and Hesiod. Those who know a thing or two about classical Greek mythology also know that the earliest stories of the Greek gods and goddesses are by these two mysterious men. We don't know if they really lived, but we do know that in some cases, they don't agree on what is "canon." Both men, for example, tell of two different stories of how Aphrodite was born. Homer, who lived earlier than Hesiod, tells that Aphrodite was the daughter of Zeus and the minor goddess Dione. Hesiod, who lived not long after Homer, says that Aphrodite was the product of Ouranos' severed genitals falling into the sea. Which one should we believe? Both of them!

The member of the mailing list also brought up astronomy and how it relates to the planet Saturn. He said that he used to have an astronomy book that not only showed the respective planets, but also it pictured the Roman deities who owned the same names as the planets in the solar system. The Saturn section pictured an image of an elderly man in robes with a scythe or sickle in one hand. The description below the image included terms like "agriculture", "death", and "cyclical." These terms should sound familiar when a fan tries to imagine Sailorsaturn and Tomoe Hotaru. In the Sailormoon manga, when Ms. Takeuchi mentions the Silence Glaive, she converts the English words into the Katakana characters "sairensu-gureibu." The second word is "glaive" and not "grave" because "grave" is spelled "guraabu." Often, she also writes in some Kanji and Kana that are related to the English words, but these words don't exactly translate. For instance, she associates the word "glaive" with the Kanji for "sickle," while she associates the two Kanji characters for "reticence" ("chinmoku") with "silence." These smaller Katakana characters that appear above the Kanji and Kana, which are technically called Furigana, are used to clarify the meanings of the Kanji and Kana. An example of this combination of Kanji and Kana can be found in Sailormoon manga volume nine, page eighty-one in the right caption to the right of Sailorsaturn's head. This reference to the sickle brings to mind the saturnine "agriculture" theme.

As a side note, it should be pointed out that Hotaru's family name is very often misinterpreted. The Kanji that are used have nothing to do with death, but in fact it's more of the opposite. The "to" Kanji in the name, which looks like a cross with a horizontal bar at its base means "soil," "dirt," "earth" (the element), and "ground." This same character is used when the Japanese want to write their word for "Saturday," "doyoubi." The second character, the one that has the reading in this case as "moe" means "to sprout" and "to bud." It also means "to show symptoms of." Everybody knows that the word "hotaru" means "firefly" or "glow fly," and so the name Tomoe Hotaru can be interpreted as "the glow fly that has sprouted from soil." There is another Kanji character that also has the reading as "tomoe" and it describes any kind of circular, comma- like character in writing and elsewhere. This can be taken as an example of the "cyclical" reference to the planet Saturn if we want to assume that Ms. Takeuchi intentionally made it so that the Kanji in Hotaru's family name is a pun for this particular Kanji character. This might also partially explain the meaning of the "revolution" reference in one of Sailorsaturn's manga attacks.

As interesting as astronomy and mythology are, we fans of Sailormoon must be careful when we try to explain the themes of Sailorpluto and Sailorsaturn. Astronomy is one of the ways to look at the Sailorsaturn and Sailorpluto "mix up," but if it's the only way used besides mythology, the planets Saturn and Pluto will both confuse a person and throw him or her off quite badly. Another way to look at the planets is in terms of astrology. Astrology is a lot more than just the Zodiac signs and horoscopes, but the planets in the solar system also play their parts. The sun and the moon are also considered planets, while Mars, Venus, Mercury, and Jupiter are often called the "inner" planets. Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are called the "outer" or "transpersonal" planets, while Saturn is called an intermediary between the "inner" and "outer" planets. Much has been written about the planet Saturn, too. The British composer Gustav Holst said it best when he described Saturn: "Saturn not only brings physical decay but also a vision of fulfillment." That quote seems rather like a sort of a metaphysical "death and rebirth." It's interesting how Sailorsaturn is called the soldier of "demolition and nascence" in the manga. The Japanese word for "renascence," or rather "rebirth" isn't even found in Sailorsaturn's Japanese introduction phrase "hametsu to tanjou no senshi, seeraasataan" -- "Assailant of Demolition and Nascence, Sailorsaturn."

With all this talk about Saturn, it might seem that we are leaving poor Pluto out of the discussion. The member of the mailing list unhappily said that "Sailorpluto can't be salvaged" and that she truly doesn't apply to her deity. He went on to say that the only link she has with time is that she has the "blood of Chronos" in her in the manga. The fact is that she is said in the manga to be the daughter of this deity.

He said that Ms. Takeuchi must have been aware of the situation and the Cronus, Chronos, Pluto, and Saturn association problems. I responded by saying that Takeuchi had to been aware of the problems and she demonstrates this in several cases. Pluto, I should point out first of all, is associated with more than death in astrology. Astrology is most likely from where Sailorpluto gets her "time" and "physics" traits. It should also be remembered that Sailorpluto represents more than just "time" in the Sailormoon mythos. The fact is that one of her most common titles in the Japanese writing is "soldier of space and time." She is the one who guards the Door of Time-Space. In 1895 H. G. Wells wrote his novel "The Time Machine" and in that book the main character asserts "there is no difference between time and any of the three dimensions of space except that our consciousness moves along it."

Albert Einstein, almost ten years later, introduced his famous Special Theory of Relativity that stated that space is always related to time, and that neither one can be separated. In the Sailormoon manga, when the name "Chronos" is spelled out in her attack names, the Kanji characters that are associated with the attacks are for the term "time-space" are always used, so there can be no doubt in her meaning. Do we remember above where the distinction is made between Cronus and chronos? If Takeuchi was trying to mean "Cronus" she might have used some other Kanji to clarify her meaning. Since she uses the Kanji characters for the two words "time" and "space" there is no doubt that she means the Greek word for "time." So the names in the Sailormoon series should be "Chronos," and "Chronos Typhoon" and so on, and without any reference to the Greek deity Cronus. She was making a distinction between the Greek word and the Greek deity. The Chronos deity that Sailorpluto and Chibiusa mention in the anime and manga is the creation of Ms. Takeuchi, herself.

One of the reasons why Pluto is associated with death in astrology is because astrology is borrowing some elements from Greco-Roman mythology. Pluto, by the way, was originally a deity of wealth and since the jewels that made him wealthy were from the underworld, I suppose that is how he became the Roman form of Hades. It should be remembered that, on the other hand, the planet Saturn has been known to people for thousands and thousand of years and eventually, in many Western cultures, it was associated with the deities that suggest death and terror. Poor Saturn got itself a nasty reputation over the years in astrology. It's quite literally the "traditional planet of death," of all things. In 1930, Pluto was discovered and since astrologers were trying to find some sort of meaning of the planet, they used classical mythology for help. Pluto eventually usurped some of Saturn's themes! This may be one of the sources of confusion!

However, Pluto has been found to mean more than death and rebirth in astrology. In fact, the planet also suggests change and transformation. Note that Sailorpluto, while introducing herself in Act 39 in the manga, says the words "I am the soldier of change, and I carry the protection of the planet of time and space, Pluto." I have some things that I managed to type up a while ago from an astrology book called "Cosmic Connections" and I think they would be interesting to read. It deals with a lot of astrology and I think anybody can see how, after reading these, Pluto and Saturn are related to their astrological counterparts.


Ominous Saturn is the most distant planet from Earth still visible to the naked eye. It is also the sixth planet from the Sun, and astronomers once believed it was the Solar System's outermost planet; a cold, solitary pariah in deep space -- alone, but an awesome presence nonetheless. Saturn turns out to be the second- largest planet, after Jupiter. Observations have revealed that the planet is circled by more than twenty moons, but only eighteen have been officially named.

The Greeks identified Saturn with Cronus, chief of the race of giant gods called Titans who ruled the Olympians. Fearful of a prophecy that one of his children would dethrone him, the grisly Cronus ate each child after its birth. But his wife Rhea saved the infant Zeus by offering Cronus a stone in the baby's stead, and Zeus grew up to fulfill the augury. Cronus ended up as a bitter outcast, who the Greeks portrayed as a stooped Father Time.

The Romans grafted Cronus onto an agriculture god they inherited from the Etruscans. The result was Saturn, a god of time and farming. His festival, the Saturnalia, was held every December to celebrate the winter solstice. In the long run, Saturn never entirely shed its ancient negative associations. The word "saturnine" means gloomy and taciturn. Still, astrology finds the planet a complex and vital constricting force that stabilizes Jupiter's expansive optimism. Saturn may indicate adversity, but often it is in the service of the more realistic perspective.

Astrology considers Saturn to be an intermediary between the inner, personal planets and the outer, "transpersonal" planets, those that govern the wider environment beyond the self and an individual's interaction with it. As regulator, Saturn represents authority. Its position at birth is said to determine the relationship between child and father. It also represents internal authority, or conscience and self- control. Failure to heed the limitations they impose is said to mean possible conflict with established social order.

Saturn's influence can inspire or devastate. In positive circumstances, it confers persistence and endurance, prudence, thrift, and managerial skills. Saturn's strong presence in a birth chart may denote a person who is fond of routine and possibly is destined for a career in the military, government, business, or religion. A negative Saturn influence, however, warns of repression, selfishness, cruelty, deviousness, and greed. Saturn's orbit around the Sun takes twenty- nine and a half years. Its first full circle through a person's horoscope, as one approaches the age of thirty, is thought by astrologers to signify a time of change, an opportunity for reassessment and transformation.

Saturn rules Aquarius and Capricorn. It is also said to govern the body's aging process and such predations of time as rheumatism, hardening of the arteries, degeneration of organs, loss of teeth, and ailments of the gall bladder and spleen. Saturn's glyph, like Jupiter's incorporates the cross and half circle. But in Saturn's case the cross is paramount, making matter ascendant over mind and bringing intangibles down to earth.


Almost four billion miles from the Sun, Pluto is a dark, chill sentinel in dead space; its orbit defining the outer planetary boundary of the known solar system. From this distant outpost, the Sun appears not as a fiery and life-giving god, but merely as one of the uncountable bright stars, cold and far away.

Discovered in 1930, Pluto has been found to be the smallest planet. It has a very unstable atmosphere, and it seems that it shares it with its small satellite. Charon is the name of the small satellite, and it's named after the boatman of Greek myth who ferried dead souls across the river Sytx in Hades. Pluto circles the sun once every 248 earth years, in an orbit so elliptical that it sometimes cuts inside Neptune's path.

The Greeks called their version of Pluto Hades, whose name means the "unseen one." They called the realm of the dead, Hades' underground kingdom, Hades also. The three-headed dog Cerberus, who ate mortals and ghosts who tried to escape, guarded Hades' gates. On a rare foray outside his dark realm, Hades fell in love with the daughter of the earth goddess Demeter, Persephone, and carried her off to be his wife. In her grief Demeter let the earth lie fallow, thus creating the seasons of late fall and winter.

Although feared, Hades was also revered -- mostly for his wealth: food grew from his soil, and precious minerals glinted beneath it. His statues were sometimes bedecked with jewels and produce.

As they have with Uranus and Neptune, modern astrologers have struggled to clarify the significance of Pluto. Since it is the outermost transpersonal planet, it is believed to have broad and deep influence, heralding drastic changes that affect entire populations. It also supposedly governs the most profound, universal, and yet personal of human mysteries: death, rebirth, and transformation.

Pluto has aspects that seem especially meaningful to the twentieth century, the era of nuclear threat -- and of the plutonium that echoes the planet's name. Pluto, astrologers say, represents the power of such minute matter as the atom. Befitting its satanic aspects, Pluto was discovered in an era of economic upheaval and world war. But on a more hopeful note, the planet represents evolution, the winnowing of the weak and outworn -- destruction as prelude to building, death leading to rebirth. Astrologers also consider Pluto to be a source of revelation about higher realities. They believe Pluto to be similar to Jupiter in its call to action in the name of principle. Those born under Pluto's influence may feel impelled to root out injustice. Pluto corresponds to useful dissatisfaction, the sort that spurs one toward self-improvement. Those who heed its messages, say astrologers, may benefit by learning from tragedies and pitfalls and by seeking new beginnings.

But the planet's explosive power can be subverted. Those who fail to recognize and accept the negative aspects of their own personalities, for example, tend to crusade against what they perceive as evil in other while ignoring their own faults. In such cases, the crusades can have violent and disastrous results. At their very worst, people with heavy Plutonian aspects in their horoscopes can be criminal or sadistic, wholly without morals or scruples. The planet figured prominently in the horoscopes of the depraved Roman emperor Caligula, as well as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.

Pluto is co-ruler with Mars of Scorpio and Aries. It influences the male and female generative organs, the immune system, and genetically related diseases. Several glyphs have been proposed for the new planet. The most commonly accepted one is the cross surmounted by the circle cupping a full circle, to depict spirit being forged in the crucible of matter.

The astrological descriptions above for the two planets Saturn and Pluto should be enough to show that they very much pertain to the themes of their respective sailor soldier character in the Sailormoon series. Though some fans use mythology and astronomy as reference for finding the themes of these two planets, those arenít the only sources. As it has been shown, astrology also works well. If somebody would at least explain to people what the deal is with Saturn and Pluto, the confusion would eventually be completely cleared up.

Comments on this article can be sent to: Ian Andreas Miller.

Comments made on this page are opinions of the author. They are not necessarily shared by Tripod and the Amazoness Quartet.

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