Hounds & Jackals as Venus Counter

The Petrie Museum has a game called Hounds & Jackals or 58 holes, from Egypt’s Middle Kingdom and widely found elsewhere, in the ancient world. Two players had a set of sharp ended sticks with animal heads, which sat in each of the 29 + 29 = 58 holes. The top hole is larger (as with the Cretan 34-hole circular kernos, at Malia in Crete).

Cretan 34-hole Kernos

One can see the possibilities in such artifacts stored objective numerical information while being kept, within the cultural life of the people, through having a valuable everyday purpose (rather like the 52 playing cards do). This was exactly how Gurdjieff saw it that, he proposed a meeting of wise men in Babylon, it was seen that ancient knowledge would be forgotten were it not that art, games, buildings, dances, music and so on were designed to incorporate the knowledge until such time that human would be able, once again, to understand what they meant. In his book Beelzebub’s Tales he termed such artifacts as being logominisms, loosely translating to “meaning objects”.

The common hole, top and center in the Petrie example, can be counted twice so that then, 58 holes can count 59 days which is then two lunar months in days. There is then a strong resemblance the Blanchard Bone, interpreted by Alexander Marshack to be day count over two lunar months.

above: Alexander Marshack’s schematic of the engraved marks on the Blanchard bone. Courtesy Harvard University, Peabody Museum. https://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/28/rosenberg.php
below: Engraved and notched bone from the Aurignacian of l’abri Blanchard des Roches à Sergeac, Dordogne, photographed at the Musée d’Archeologie Nationale et Domaine, St-Germain-en-Laye https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blanchard_plaque.jpg

A legominism has such a strong sense of utility within a culture, as say a game or temple building, that the original information is rendered subliminal for anyone not familiar with the counting of time as having enabled cosmic knowledge to exist at all, in the first place, as a stone age technique.

Counting The Synod of Venus

The visible phase of Venus takes 440 days. This can be broken down into 11 counts of 20 days each,

  1. between emergence from the sun in the West, as an evening star eventually lost in a superior conjunction with the sun; followed by another 11 counts of 20 days each,
  2. between re-emergence from the Sun in the East, as a morning star, then to disappear again; behind the sun.

Venus was a very important planet as the goddess Ishtar, so the tracking of her synod was very visible at the latitude of the Mediterranean and Middle East. The planet resonates with the earth due to the Fibonacci ratio of 8 to 5 so that 8 years of 365 days equals 5 synods of 584 days – each synod moving its sky phenomena to a new location on the Zodiac, describing the pentacle (associated with the Goddess and with living things), around the earth (see Matrix of Creation).

While 59 holes could signify two lunar months in days, the significance of that is less than a counted calendar for Venus, after she reappears from behind the Sun relative to our location, on the Earth.

To count such a large count on a small number of holes, the count would have to reuse the outer holes of 20 days, either side, and use the inner holes as a tally for how many 20 day periods have been counted. When the tally has reached the top for 201-220 days, it will block the last count drawing attention to moving past the 20th day, and descending left, from the common hole, at which point Venus has changed from being an Evening Star in the west but a Morning Star in the East. The eastern morning star was considered of different character, preceding the sunrise ( for example the Maya city states often started a war with another city when it appeared).

Proposed scheme for using the 58-hole game board to track the visible manifestations of Venus over 440 days.

The form of the game board seems to be close to the form of the manifestation of Venus where West is on the right and East, on the left, that is looking South. There is an anthropomorphic resemblance to a female torso with shoulders, clues perhaps to the sublimated time-factoring within the “game”. A hound is a hunting dog while the Jackal, scavenger of the dead, became the God of Death and the Afterlife and the duality is seen as parts of a single whole, a necessary dynamism.

(Wikipedia: The Pharaoh Hound or Kelb tal-Fenek is a Maltese breed of hunting dog. It is traditionally used for rabbit-hunting in the rocky terrain of the islands; the Maltese name means “rabbit dog”.)

This interpretation might be wrong, but the demonstration here is that quite complex counting of celestial phenomena is well within the scope of so-called primitive cultures, for whom sky phenomena were of important part of life.