Venus Calendar

Venus 8 year cycle Rockart

Venus 8 year cycle calendar in rock art from Negev Desert Israel

The Venus cycle, of 8 years, played an important role in verifying the match between the Sun and Moon cycles, which elevated Venus to ranks equal the Moon and Sun in Mesopotamia. The myth The Exaltation of Inanna clearly states Venus role

‘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…’.

The famous cylinder seal called ‘Seal of Ada’ Fig.1 shows the prominent gods in Sumer celebrating the New Year. In the seal’s center Shamash, the sun god, emerges from the mountains waving a sword shining like a sun. He cuts the sky and allows the sun to break into the world. Above him stands Venus; orchestrating the whole scene with her hand directing the moment when the sun rises announcing the New Year.

Fig.1. Shamash stands in the center and above him Innana (Venus) with wings. Isinu is on the right, the god of passing time. On the left is Uru-Ana (Orion) and a Big Dog (Sirius).2300 BC, Sumer.

Venus Cycle 

The Babylonians decoded Venus cycle, in 1500 BC, and discovered that Venus has two useful cycles that can be used to measure time. The first Venus cycle, charted from its travel in the sky, creates an octagon and the second cycle creates a pentagon.

venus cycle

Fig.2.  Cycles of Venus: Venus cycles for 8 years. The pentagonal cycle (left) and octagonal cycle (right).

The octagonal cycle occurs every eight years when Venus completes her long journey around the sun and returns to the same point in the sky where the cycle began. In the Pentagram cycle the Earth, Venus, and the Sun are in line five times during the eight-year cycle. The distance between pentacle vertices is 584 days. Both cycles have become Venus symbols in rock art and other arts, in the shape of a star either pentagonal or octagonal, around the world.

Venus Calendar in Negev Desert Rockart

This rock art,  from the Negev Desert, creates an ingenious Venus 8-year calendar counter, Fig.3.   The wheel with 12 cavities used as a month counter. The 8 branches plant counts the years. The counter is used as follows: A stone added to one cavity for every lunar month that passed. When the wheel filled 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 again until all the plant branches are filled; this marks the Venus 8-year cycle completion. In this scene on the right, Venus riding re-enters the heavenly gate to begin a new cycle.

Venus calendar rock art

Fig.3 Venus cycle counter, rock art from the Negev Desert Israel


The yearly mismatch between lunar and solar calendars amounted to 11 days. Such a great difference caused havoc for the Mesopotamian administration. All social and regulatory activities were dis-synchronized and a method to verify their accuracy was needed. The solution was to use the Venus cycle to certify the lunar calendar. When Venus aligned with the Sun, and Earth once every eight years the calendars match was verified. This method, as vouched by the rock art presented here, used also by the Negev Desert people.


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

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