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The Revolving Crescent on Saturn
By David Talbott

[ed. note: this is an experiment, hoping to find a way to add illustrations to THOTH. The attached photo belongs with this article. Please let me know if you are able to receive it.]

The attached illustration depicts four distinctive phases in the daily cycle of the polar configuration:

UPPER LEFT. Here the Sun has set and the crescent is descending to the left. The sky is darkening and the configuration is growing bright. This is the beginning of the archaic "day," which continued to be celebrated at sunset for many centuries after the disappearance of the planetary configuration. Of course echoes of the original timekeeping language occur even into modern times. Archaic words for the brightening of Saturn will usually be translated as the "rising" of the sun, though the literal meanings will be "to grow bright," to "come to life," "to grow strong," etc.

UPPER RIGHT. Now the crescent is directly below, in its midnight position. In the archaic language of the daily cycle, this is the supreme moment of the "day," the moment of greatest brilliance.

LOWER LEFT. The crescent rises to the right as the sky lightens and the splendor of the configuration begins to diminish. Archaic words for this phase in the daily cycle will usually be translated as "evening," which can only foster more confusion.

LOWER RIGHT. At noon, the crescent is directly above, in its weakest phase. Archaic words which are typically translated as "night" refer to this phase in the daily cycle, representing the waning of the sun god's "life," "strength," or "brightness."

To make sense of the comments I intend to submit over the next several days, it will be imperative that readers understand this aspect of the model. If Saturn was at the pole, as required by the global traditions, and the Sun cast a bright crescent on Saturn, no other motion of the crescent is possible. Therefore, the tests of the model can only emphasize the profound contrast between the predictions of the model and the language of the daily cycle expected under the common solar interpretations.

Michel Tavir wants to know: Excuse if I ask, . . . how can the Sun cast a light on Saturn and still be invisible for Earthlings? And: can this be made to match Wal's idea of the whole series of planet being _inside_ the Sun star's sheath?

Dave responds: The brief answer: The arrival of the crescent on Saturn is a distinct mythical event. It is the beginning of a well-defined daily cycle, following the earlier, "timeless" epoch. That requires half of a rotating Earth to be illuminated by light of the Sun. I always assumed, though tentatively, that this event related to a diffuse gas-cloud of some sort, from which the planets gradually emerged. Even after the appearance of the crescent and a more sharply defined daily cycle, my general sense is that the Sun was not seen as a distinct form in the sky. There was a direction from which illumination arrived at the Earth, but not a clearly visible source.

Wal's concept of a Saturnian glow-discharge "womb" came as an interesting variant, and quite promising, I believe. But, no matter how one chooses to explain what was going on physically, the Sun is not a named player in the original myths, though its effects are definite with the arrival of the crescent. This event finds its way into the myths as "the separation of heaven and earth," though that translation of the ancient words can only mislead.

Walter Radtke reported: In Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra) in Syria, an ancient tablet was discovered in the 1950s dating back to 1400 BC. The oldest known musical score, it takes the form of interval names and number signs, and even has lyrics. The text is identified as a hymn to the moon goddess Nikkal.

Walter asked Dave: I was wondering what your take on Nikkal was. I don't recall mention of this deity in your work. Is this another case of erroneous reference to the crescent as being lunar?

Dave replied: Walter, Nikkal is the Ugaritic form of the Sumerian goddess Ningal, clearly a Venus figure. Ningal in the WIFE of Nanna, the so-called Sumerian moon god (Saturn in his crescent-form). Similarly, the Ugaritic Nikkal is married to the "moon" god Yarih. Therefore, the idea that either the Ugaritic or the earlier Sumerian goddess is herself the moon will not stand up. In both she is the SPOUSE of the "moon."

Of course people will not accept that the so-called "moon" god is Saturn without a lot of evidence. But in fact, more than one scholar has already noticed that, in the Babylonian astronomical traditions, the crescent god Sin (Sumerian Nanna) WAS identified with the planet Saturn. One of the great pioneers in the study of Babylonian astronomy, Alfred Jeremias, stated the equation of Sin and Saturn unequivocally. Earlier, Rawlinson had already observed that the crescent of Sin was an aspect of Saturn. Peter Jensen similarly confirmed the identity of Sin and Anu, which leads to the same conclusion. The spouse of the crescent god is the far- famed queen of heaven, the planet Venus, depicted both as a radiant star in the center of Saturn and as a radiant star inside the horns of a crescent. Since the crescent was on Saturn, these two most common representations stand in perfect accord with each other.

Most popular treatments of the crescent-gods in Mesopotamia show no awareness of this enigmatic relationship to Saturn.

Nowhere in the world is the crescent more prominent pictographically than ancient Mesopotamia, the birthplace of astronomy. Moreover, the two most frequent contexts of the crescent defy any identification with the moon in our sky. The crescent is most commonly wrapped around the wheel of the "sun" god Shamash, whom the texts identify as Saturn. We thus recall Rawlinson's original observation that the crescent was an aspect of Saturn. The same crescent, enigmatically, appears atop a cosmic pillar. . . . (T)hese two attributes are core principles of the Saturn model and lead to some of the most persuasive tests of our reconstruction.

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