Footprint in Rock Art

Rockart Heavenly gates Negev Desert

Footprint – Heavenly Gates in Negev Desert Rock Art, Israel

The gates of Heaven are Sumerian imaginary structures floating in the sky that according to the ancient concept serves as a gateway between heaven and earth. In Negev Desert rock art the gate resembles a footprint a symbol and idea copied directly from Sumerian cylinder seals. The gates located at the ecliptic plane intersection with the horizon, the place where the Sun, moon, and planets rise and set. Only one heavenly gate leads to the world center or Paradise and it is located in the North Star vicinity situated above Ursa Major constellation. Only one gate leads to the underworld and it is our grave.

1. The Gate  Astronomical Origins

John C Didier (2009) hypothesize that the imaginary heavenly gate constructed from the stars around the North Pole. This includes the prominent stars and constellations around the North Star, such as Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, and Draco, which appears in many Sumerian cylinder seals, as shown in Fig1. The two Ursa Minor stars define the top and the two Ursa Major stars define the gate bottom. The imaginary lines connecting the four stars create a rectangle that forms the gate. This rectangular area surrounds the region of Thuban, a star in the Draco constellation tail, the previous North Pole star and earth pivot about 5000 years ago. This gate mounted on the heavenly bull back made from the outline of Ursa Major constellation.

sumerian heavenly gate abstraction

Fig 1 Heavenly Gate illustration    Fig2  The Heavenly Bull and the Winged Gate Sumer.  On right, Inanna climbs out the gate

2. The Gates in Sumerian Cylinder Seals

Acadian cylinder seal Fig.2, dated  3000BC, depicts a gate, called in the literature “The Bull and the Winged Gate”. The winged gate supported by the heavenly bull imagined as a mechanism that allowed it to float and move freely in the sky just as birds do. Two gods on the gate sides are powering the gate by passing a rope between them, an action that implies movement, depicting the winding Draco constellation. The gate wings look like sun rays of slightly different sizes symbolizing the rise and set direction. The larger one on the right side in Fig.2 symbolizes the rise direction and the smaller one symbolizes the set direction. The similarity between the gates described by John C Didier, Fig.1, and the cylinder seal in Fig.2 is very clear.

In the  Epic of Gilgamesh 1500 BC contains the gate textual and pictorial testimony as described in Innana and the Celestial bull myth. The cylinder seal, in Fig.2, describes a scene from this myth in which Innana steps out from the heavenly gate carried by the heavenly bull.  She is heading straight from the gate, naked, and runs into the floating boat that sails the celestial ocean that separates heaven from earth. Note the adherence to, the set and the rise wings sizes in this cylinder seal.

3. The Heavenly Gates in Negev Desert Rock Art

Figure4 presents Rock Art examples, from the Negev Desert, representing the Sumerian Winged Gate abstraction. The gates engraved in pairs and look like a footprint of slightly different sizes with attached wings that look like ears. The gate schematic conforms to the ideas presented in the Sumerian cylinder seals, which includes the adherence to the gates and wings sizes. The artist emphasized the differences in rising and setting direction by the size of the gates, wings, and the engraved gate lines thickness. The gates are in the shape of a footprint, which is the body part that walks through the gate.

rock art heavenly gates negev desert

Fig.4  Heavenly Gates  Negev Desert Rockart                                                           Fig 5 The Sun and Moon Gates

Fig.5 illustrates a Rock Art example of four gates. The upper pair is the sun sunrise and sunset gates; the sun appears between them seen as a full circle. The lower pair is the moon rising and setting gates that appear between them. The gate size ratio, of the sun rising and setting, is maintained, however, the moon gates are of equal size since its brightness doesn’t change.

Fig. 6 shows examples of engraved rock art gates from the Negev Desert with its heavenly association. From left to right: 1. Venus entering the heavenly gate (see Venus Calendar) 2. Venus Star hovering above its gates. 3. The moon exits its rise gate (the right footprint), 4. An ibex enters the gate, half of it inside and half outside.

footprint conneion to gate rock art

Fig.6 Examples of heavenly gates and their association  with celestial objects

Fig.7 is an example of Negev Rock Art, which shows two galloping horses carrying a rectangular structure. The horses are a depiction of Ursa Major and Ursa Minor constellations. The lower horse depicts the bull in the Sumerian heavenly gate concept. Its rectangle body with the kneeling posture reminds the shape of Ursa Major constellation, see Fig.2. The upper horse represents Ursa Minor constellation with its long tail depicting Draco constellation that winds between these two constellations. Draco tail crossing, the rectangular structure, points the old North Star Thuban location, from 4th to 2nd millennium BCE.

rock art heavenly gate

Fig 7 The Heavenly Gate and the North Pole carried by two horses representing the constellations Ursa Major/Minor and Draco. Negev Desert Rock Art (photo Razy Yahel)


 Fig.8 illustrates various gates engravings from the Negev Desert. The Sumerian cylinder seals and Negev Desert Rock Art similarity are compelling evidence for the Heavenly Gates abstraction. This includes such details as gates of different sizes, and the attachments of wings, and even a reminiscence of Draco constellation outline, seen as the wavy line in the gate.

heavenly gate examples Negev Desert rock art

Fig.8 Heavenly gate examples from the Negev Desert rock art

More deciphering, in a new book Rock Art in Israel, available online.

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Didier, John C               The Ancient Eurasian World and the Celestial Pivot.

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