Venus Calendar Rock Art

rock art research news. Venus 8 year cycle Rock art

Venus calendar in rock art, Negev Desert Israel

One of the earliest Venus images found on Negev Desert rock art, a solemn reminder of her importance in the region. The Mesopotamians celebrated Venus’s appearance every eight years, which formed an accurate and reliable cycle when she rose as a morning star near the Spring Equinox.  Venus symbolized the image of the Great Goddess Ishtar/Inanna and stands equal to the sun’s and the moon’s celestial glory. The Late Babylonian version of The Exaltation of Inanna, describes Inanna adoration: ‘Oh divine mistress, may you be the one that shines over them, that they call you ‘divine source of all life’, at their sides (the Sun and the Moon), in your dominant position, may you gloriously accomplish your (celestial) crossing, even during the time that Sin and Utu are awake…’.

Venus Cycles

Venus’s importance was more than just reciting astrological omens; its predictable cycles elevated her to the sun and the moon ranks creating a harmonizing heavenly calendar that verified the match of sun and moon cycles. This important calendar knowledge spread out West and East reaching far into Greece (Iurii Mosenkis), Central and Southern America quickly adapted by the Mayan and Aztec Indians.

Venus Octagonal and pentagonal cycles
Fig.1 Octagonal and pentagonal Venus cycles.

Venus’ two celestial cycles can be used to create a long and accurate calendar. The first Venus cycle creates an octagon and the second cycle creates a pentagon (Fig.1). Both have become the symbols of Venus in the ancient world. (see Asia Haleem 2013) The octagonal cycle occurs every 8 solar years when Venus completes her long travel around the sun and returns to the same point in the sky where the cycle began. In the pentagonal cycle: the Earth, Venus, and the Sun are in line five times during the eight years cycle. The distance between the pentacle vertices is 584 days.  Both cycles have become Venus symbols in rock art in the shape of a star either pentagonal or octagonal.

Venus 8 Year Calendar, Negev Desert Rock Art

This rock art creates an ingenious Venus 8-year calendar counter, Fig.3. All of the elements necessary to count the passing of the months and years can be found in this scene. The wheel with 12 cavities counts months. The 8 branches plant, on left, counts the years. The counter works as follows: A stone was added to one wheel cavity for every lunar month that passed. When the wheel fills with twelve stones, it marks the completion of one lunar year. The wheel is then cleared and a stone is added to one of the 8 plant branches. A new count of twelve months begins until all the plant branches are filled with stones; which marks Venus’s 8-year cycle completion. In this scene on the right side, Venus riding an imaginative hybrid animal, with features of camel and horse, re-enters the heavenly gate to begin a new 8-year cycle journey.

Rock Art research news. Venus calendar 8 year cycle rock art israel
Fig.3 Venus calendar in rock art Negev Desert Israel, a counter of Venus  8-year cycle

Other engraved Venus cycle counters,  such as those depicted in Fig.3, demonstrate its use in Negev Desert rock art. Their simpler engraving contains only the years and months counters without fancy decoration. Fig.4  displays an 8 years cycle counter from two different rock art. The left side, in each counter,  counts the  8 years and the right side counts the 12 months.

prehistoric rock art archaeology news. Venus calendar counters rock art Negev Desert Israel,
Fig.4 Venus calendar counters rock art Negev Desert Israel, (photo Razy Yahel)

Venus Synodic Counter, Negev Desert Rock Art

Venus’s synodic cycle is a successive alignment of the Earth, the Sun, and Venus. Each alignment creates one pentacle vertice every 584 days. Five such alignments occur during an 8-year cycle, creating a five-point star pentagram, see Fig. 5, which forms a solar calendar of 8 years.

Rock Art archaeology news. Venus pentegram in negev desert rock art
Fig.5 Venus five-points star, Negev Desert rock art

Already in 4000BC, the  Elamite calendar utilized the Venus synodic cycle, which lasts an average of 577 to 592 days. They divided the Venus synodic cycle into 72 lots of 8 days each. At the count end,  one week with up to 8 days was added for a complete cycle count.

 Fig.6, rock art from the Negev Desert, shows a simple and effective counter of Venus’ Synodic cycle.  It consists of three sun symbols with 8, 9, and 8 rays each (from left to right) that count the synodic calendar days.

prehistoric rock art research news. venus synodic cycle calendar rock art negev desert
Fig.6 Venus calendar counter, Synodic cycle

The count begins from the left sun by placing a stone on one ray, until full,  for each day. The count continues to the middle sun with clearing the left sun. The process continues by filling all the rays in the middle sun, which completes the count of 72. The count continues by adding a stone to the rightmost sun filling all the rays on the right sun. This final stone placement results in simple math of (8X9X8=576). With the addition of days until the Earth, Sun, and Venus aligned the cycle completed exactly as the Elamite scheme mentioned above.


The yearly mismatch between the lunar and solar calendars amounted to 11 days a year. Such a great difference caused havoc for the Mesopotamian administration de-synchronizing all social and regulatory activities. The solution was to use the Venus cycle to certify the lunar calendar. When Venus aligns with the Sun, and Earth once every eight years the solar calendar match was verified.

The Venus rock art shows that people living in the Negev Desert adjusted their calendar by Venus cycles. The idea crossed a thousand miles into the desolate Negev Desert region from the edge of the Fertile Crescent and proves a bond between people living in the Negev Desert with Mesopotamian culture.


Asia Haleem. (2013) The Venus Cycle and Venus worship in the Ancient Near East
Tsikritis M. (2015)   Astronomical and mathematical knowledge and calendars during the early Helladic Era in Aegean “frying pan” vessels
Nicola Scafetta (2014) The complex planetary synchronization structure of the solar system
Iurii Mosenkis                 Minoan  exact  science: SACRAL ASTRONOMY
Yehuda Rotblum  (2018) Rock Art in Israel


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

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