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A witch suspended beneath Saturn as it stations direct, exalted in its own house, cannot lie.
— Cotton Mather

Saturn's planetary alignment is a rare occurrence that happens every seventeen years. During this brief moment in time, a witch can be compelled to speak the truth.


While Saturn is in this particular alignment, unknown mystical forces compel a witch to answer any questions being done to her, though the truth can easily be concealed with cryptic answers. The time duration of this alignment is relatively short and the witch hunter must be cunning in asking the right questions, as well as being able to capture a witch safely. When a witch is exposed to the influences of the planetary alignment, her or his eyes become completely black and assumes a dazed expression.

Throughout the Salem Series[]

Cotton Mather and John Alden resorted to this event to question Rose Browning after having captured her by deception using the Malum as a decoy. Crippled by a powerful narcotic and exposed under the direct influence of the planet, Rose was questioned about the Grand Rite but the old witch was shrewd enough to circumvent questions, twisting the minds of two young men with questions that really afflicted their hearts, namely on their beloved women.(The Red Rose and the Briar)

Memorable Quotes[]

Cotton Mather: "Once every 17 years, saturn stations direct... Exalted in its own house for a few brief moments. This will happen today at nightfall."
John Alden: "And we care because?'?"
Cotton Mather: "A witch suspended beneath saturn as it stations direct, exalted in its own house, cannot lie. Reputable sources say it is why Odysseus himself dallied so long on Circe's Island."
The Red Rose and the Briar
Cotton Mather: "Speak, damn you! Saturn compels you to the truth!"
Rose Browning: [Raspy voice] "What would you know?"
Cotton Mather: "Everything."
The Red Rose and the Briar
John Alden: "I thought you said Saturn would compel her to speak the truth."
Cotton Mather: "It did."
John Alden: "What truth? I heard only riddles."
Cotton Mather: "Sometimes, the truth is a riddle."
The Red Rose and the Briar



  • Astrologically, Saturn is the planet of slow but dangerous changing. Takes its name from the Roman god Saturn (similar to Greek Cronus), which is represented as an old skin and bones man armed with a scythe, sometimes along with a hourglass, to represent death and the inexorable passage of time.
  • In most magical traditions, Saturn is associated heavily with death and darkness and things of a grim nature. It is also the sixth planet in the solar system, which is the number of the beast in Christian mysticism.
  • According to Cotton Mather, the great grey owl is considered Saturn's mascot.
  • Just because witches are compelled to say the truth, it doesn't necessarily mean they will say it directly. Riddles can very well conceal the truth, leaving those willingly to uncover it with something to work on.

See Also[]