I recently came upon a great translation of the ancient Greek Orphic Hymn to Saturn. One line really stuck out to me – “To whom perfection and decrease belong.” I think this is a little difficult for many of us to wrap our heads around. Decrease? How is that something to praise?
Living in a world that expects constant progress, growth, and expansion, it’s understandable that we sometimes fail to recognize the beauty of decrease. But I think it’s an important quality, and an essential aspect of what makes Saturn great.
· Decrease can save us. While most of us can see the beauty of growth, it has its dark side. What is cancer other than unchecked growth? What about infection? Is that not a result of bacterial, fungal, or viral growth overwhelming our system? What about a pandemic? Isn’t that the rapid expansion of a virus throughout the world? In these situations, Saturn is exactly the ally we need. The energy of decrease puts an end to out of control expansion and gives us the chance to fight back.
· Decrease can save us – from ourselves. A number of society’s ills can be traced to the expectation that growth and expansion be everlasting. Through increased industrialization and consumption, we’ve depleted the planet of its vital resources and likely irreversibly changed the climate. It’s clear that we need to curb the growth. During the early days of lockdown, the number of vehicles on the road decreased significantly, and this led to a significant reduction in pollution and the amount of carbon being put into the air. Once again, decrease wins the day.
· Decrease can make life easier. Remember early 2019, when Tidying Up with Marie Kondo swept the nation? If you’re not familiar, she urged viewers to go through everything they own and throw out anything that didn’t spark joy. Her version of hyper-simplification became a huge hit, and many people felt a noticeable sense of peace and clarity when giving her ideas a try. And even if that doesn’t appeal to you, all of us have certainly had moments when there was just too much – too much work, too many social obligations, too many competing priorities. In moments like this, Saturn’s energy of decrease is a soothing balm.
I don’t discount Saturn’s malefic aspects, and I certainly don’t mean to make the argument that decrease is always a good thing. Anyone who’s ever taken a pay cut knows that it can be awful. But I do think that there is a flip side to that energy. If we’re mindful of what we’re going through and choose to work with Saturn in a mindful and intention way, there’s a lot of benefit to be had.
Do you have any stories of decrease or simplification being a positive thing?