Venus: Planet of Harmony: part 1

Venus has played a strong role in mankind’s imagination, being a bright object in the sky in the evening sky and then the morning sky, whilst also viewed as the primary female goddess of the Ancient Near East. To recent astronomers, she is covered in impenetrable clouds, whilst the invention of radar revealed a rocky sister planet to Earth but with no life as we know it. It is perennially associated with the pentagon, because its synodic periods draw out a pentagon within the zodiac in 8 solar years. The reasons it does so are intriguing to say the least, and we explore the unusual numerical characteristics of Venus seen from Earth.

(adapted from a 1994 text, using 2020 hindsight)

The Venus cycle of eight years in which a morning or evening star has five manifestations, dividing the zodiac into a pentagram (Figure 1.6 Sacred Number and the Origins of Civilization)

Part 1: A Nearly Golden Mean

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Astronomical Time within Clava Cairns

In North East Scotland, near Inverness, lies Balnuaran of Clava, a group of three cairns with a unique and distinctive style, called Clava cairns; of which evidence of 80 examples have been found in that region. They are round, having an inner and outer kerb of upright stones between which are an infill of stones. They may or may not have a passageway from the outer to the inner kerb, into the round chamber within. At Balnuaran, two have passages on a shared alignment to the midwinter solstice. In contrast, the central ring cairn has no passage and it is staggered west of that shared axis.

This off-axis ring cairn could have been located to be illuminated by the midsummer sunrise from the NE Cairn, complementing the midwinter sunset to the south of the two passageways of the other cairns. Yet the primary and obvious focus for the Balnuaran complex is the midwinter sunset down the aligned passages. In fact, the ring cairn is more credibly aligned to the lunar minimum standstill of the moon to the south – an alignment which dominates the complex since, in that direction the horizon is nearly flat whilst the topography of the site otherwise suffers from raised horizons.

Cairns at Balnuaran of Clava. plan by A. Thom and pictures by Ian B. Wright
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Three Lunar Orbits as 82 day-inches

Sacred Number and the Lords of Time interpreted Thom’s megalithic fathom of 6.8 feet (as 2.72 feet times 2.5) found at Carnac’s Alignments as a useful number of 82 day-inches between stones in the stone rows of Le Menec. After 82 days, the moon is in almost exactly the same place, amongst the stars, because its orbit of 27.32166 days is nearly 27 and one third days. Three orbits sums to nearly 82 days. But the phase of the moon at that repeated place in the sky will be different.

The stone rows of Le Menec are not straight and in places resemble the deviations of the lunar nodes seen in late or early moon rise or setting phenomenon.
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Use of foot ratios in Megalithic Astronomy

The ratios of ancient metrology emerged from the Megalithic innovations of count&compare: counting time as length and comparing lengths as the longest sides of right triangles. To compare two lengths in this way, one can take a longer rope length and lay it out (say East-West), starting at the beginning of the shorter rope length, using a stake in the ground to fix those ends together.

The longer rope end is then moved to form an angle to the shorter, on the ground, whilst keeping the longer rope straight. The Right triangle will be formed when the longer rope’s end points exactly to the North of the shorter rope end. But to do that one needs to be able to form a right angle at the shorter rope’s end. The classic proposal (from Robin Heath) is to form the simplest Pythagorean triangle with sides {3 4 5} at the rope’s end. One tool for this could then have been the romantic knotted belt of a Druid, whose 13 equally spaced knots could define 12 equal intervals. Holding the 5th knot, 8th knot and the starting and ending knots together automatically generates that triangle sides{3 4 5}.

Forming a square with the AMY is helped by the diagonals being rational at 140/99 of the AMY.
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Precessional Time: Working with Ideas

My third book, Precessional Time and the Evolution of Consciousness is my slimmest (surely a virtue) about how we work with ideas. It has its own conjunctions and disjunctions; where conjunctions are discovered meanings and disjunctions are changes in direction. The book is dominated with the cyclic metaphors of the

  1. Tone Circle of 1st Millennium BC tuning theory (Ernest McClain),
  2. The narrative structure called Ring Composition, found within ancient texts (Mary Douglas) and
  3. The Enneagram brought to the West by George Gurdjieff.

A key power of such cyclic structures is that they belong to a species of Media in which consciousness is both portrayed as a process and freed from the normalising identification with an idea often found in our World View (or paradigm about how “the world” – our environment – works.) As Gurdjieff in particular made clear, identification is part of the world process over which the human mind has to struggle, just like the hero in a mythic tale – within a ring composition – must struggle (as protagonist of the narrative) with an antagonistic force that binds his or her struggle as a demon, dragon, tyrant, etc. preventing a golden fleece, holy grail or other treasure being recovered (Joseph Campbell).

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Old Yard’s Mastery of the Square Root of 2

The old yard was almost identical to the yard of three feet, but just one hundredth part smaller at 2.87 feet. This gives its foot value as 99/100 feet, a value belonging to a module very close to the English/Greek which defines one relative to the rational ratios of the Historical modules.

So why was this foot and its yard important, in the Scottish megalithic and in later, historical monuments?

If one forms a square with side equal to the old yard, that square can be seen as containing 9 square feet, and each of those has side length 99/100 feet. This can be multiplied by the rough approximation to 1/√ 2 of 5/7 = 0.714285, to obtain a more accurate 1/√ 2 of 99/140 = 0.70714285.

Figure 1 Forming a Square with the Old Yard. The diagonal of the foot squares is then 7/5, the simplest approximation to √ 2.
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