Saturn and Venus Discussion
By Ted Bond, Ev Cochrane, Dave Talbott
TED BOND SAYS: The Jewish religion, in its origins, aimed to put an end to
planet-worship, especially of Saturn and Venus, who were
worshipped together, and with it the universal practice of human
sacrifice, e.g. the practice of putting the first-born through
the fire, strictly forbidden in Deuteronomy. The Jews were thus
the first people to introduce the notion of an invisible god,
something new, strange, and to many incomprehensible. Sacrifice
did continue, however, as a religious practice, but of beasts
rather than humans. In a passage in Exodus, God still demands
the firstborn of all animals as "his", but the firstborn of
humans are "redeemed". (This was presumably the firstborn of the
"female", since it was tied to the opening of the womb. Note
that Isaac, whose hand was stayed, was the firstborn not of
Abraham but of Sarah.)
It seems that this Semitic people had been worshippers of Saturn,
as their very name, 'people of Israel' shows, as well as the use
of the word 'Elohim' (plural of El[=Saturn]) for the divinity in
passages in the Torah. And what other explanation is there of
the fact that the Jewish day begins at sundown? For the Jews the
disappearance of Saturn as the Sun of Night, and eventually of
the altered Venus-Ishtar-Inanna-Astarte, etc., earlier the benign
mother goddess, as a fiery light in the sky and an agent of
destruction, were of supreme importance.
These were two very bright 'stars' that had disappeared from the
sky. Isaiah (14: 1-13), apparently alluding to Babylon, says "How
art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how
art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I
will exalt my throne above the stars of God." ...
Now in the Isaiah passage what is presumably the Hebrew name
'Shahar' is translated into Greek as 'Phosphorus' and into Latin
and hence into English as 'Lucifer', which were the Greek and
Latin names, respectively, for the morning star.
DAVE TALBOTT SAYS:
This is correct, and it's an obvious source of much later
confusion. It was Babylonian priest-astronomers who later
clarified planetary identifications for the Greeks, so that the
planets acquired new names with direct links to the earlier, and
much more reliable, traditions of Mesopotamia. Ted Bond was
correct in noting the inherent contradiction in identifying Venus
with the source of "devil" imagery (Lucifer). Venus is the
archetypal feminine figure, but this root identity could hold
only insofar as wandering tribes retained the link of gods and
planets. Many peoples–including the Egyptians and Greeks–did
not; they preserved only the stories of extraordinary powers and
forms dominating the sky in a prior epoch. Preserving the stories
did not require clear skies and observational disciplines under
conditions of a shifting celestial order. But maintaining
planetary identifications certainly did require such disciplines.
Insofar as nations did not preserve the link of god and planet,
their imagination was permitted to attach any mythical name
whatever to planets and stars in later times–in the same way
that, still later, we attached mythical names to Uranus, Neptune
and Pluto as these planets were observed with telescopes.
Similarly, all of the major stars and constellations, named long
after the mythical age of the gods, achieved their symbolic
identifications by the same process of projection, just as local
mountains and rivers acquired their sacred names from mythical
powers, inviting horrendous later confusion between archetype and
The original planetary SOURCE of the myths is a much different
matter, and the extraordinary discipline of the Babylonians was
crucial to our ability to connect the mythical archetypes to the
roles of named planets.
TED: Was this a mistranslation, or was Isaiah mistakenly compounding
Venus and Saturn, the two fallen light-giving gods? For in
English Lucifer is standardly identified with the fallen angel
who became Satan or the Devil and, to the best of my knowledge,
this Lucifer has never been identified with Venus.
EV COCHRANE ADDS: Venus was, in fact, depicted as "horned". Cultures from around
the ancient world compared Venus to a long-horned cow. Even the
much later Babylonian astronomical texts speak of the horns of
Venus, a fact which has led many astronomers to consider the
possibility that the ancients viewed the phases of Venus.
Venus was also called Lucifer by numerous Biblical commentators
and scholars. Even so, I believe that the passage in Isaiah
properly refers to the planet Mars, not Venus.
TED: Finally, the pre-Christian religion of Europe, which survived,
vilified as witchcraft, well into the Christian era, had two
divinities, the Horned Man and the Queen of Heaven–who but
Saturn and Venus? And this Horned Man, worshipped by the
'witches', became the Devil of medieval Christianity!
Yes indeed. That the Queen of Heaven was Venus can be
established beyond dispute. The consistency and reliability of
the identification is also a basis of our confidence in the
comparative approach. By drawing our attention to the substratum
of human memory, it helps us to avoid being misled by localized contradictions.
TED: Neither do I myself have any doubt that the golden heifers
inscribed with the tetragrammaton, set up by Jeroboam at Dan and
Beth-El with the proclamation "Behold thy gods, O Israel, who
brought you up out of the land of Egypt," symbolized the same
planetary god represented by the Egyptians as a celestial heifer–Hathor, who all agree was the planet Venus.
DAVE: Yes again. The equation, celestial heifer = Venus, is highly
reliable. It belongs to the root mythical identity of the mother
goddess, and no other planet competes with Venus for this role in
early astronomy. It is the comparative approach which enables
one to work through local elaborations and contradictions to find
dependable patterns of this sort. Under this approach it will be
seen that there is a highly coherent original story of the mother
goddess, always leading us to the planet Venus–despite the
numerous, more random, projections of goddess-attributes onto
other celestial and terrestrial objects in later times.
TED: Was Baal Venus or Saturn or both? Should the breakup of the
polar configuration and all the planetary activity connected with
it be brought forward in time, so as to be in living memory of
the early Jews and confused in legend by the later prophets?
EV: The identification of Baal is a very thorny problem. The
difficulty arises from the fact that Baal is simply a name
meaning "Lord" and that there were many different Baals in the
ancient Near East. None of them, to the best of my knowledge,
were identified with the planet Venus. Rather, the latter was
identified with Baal's consort, Baalit. Some Baals, such as Baal
Hadad, would appear to be identified with the planet Mars.
As for your last question, I don't see any reason to bring the
breakup of the polar configuration forward in time.
[Site note] Ev Cochrane may not see the reason, but the site author does.