Venus Calendar Rock Art

rock art research news. Venus 8 year cycle Rock art

Venus calendar in rock art, Negev Desert Israel

Deciphering rock art from Israel,

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…’. (the moon and the sun).

Venus Cycles

Venus’s 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. The knowledge about this calendar spread from the East to the West and far into the Americas.

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

Venus’s two celestial cycles form a long and accurate calendar. The first Venus cycle creates an octagon and the second cycle creates a pentagon (Fig.1).  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. A pentagonal cycle occurs when the Earth, Venus, and the Sun are aligned five times in an eight-year cycle. The distance between the vertices of the pentacle is 584 days. Both cycles became Venus symbols in rock art in the form of an octagonal or pentagonal star. 

Venus 8 Year Calendar, Negev Desert Rock Art

Fig.3 shows an ingenious Venus eight-year calendar rock art. All the elements necessary for counting the passing of the months and years can be found in this image. The wheel contains 12 cavities to count the months. On the left, an 8-branched plant counts the years. The counter works as follows: For every lunar month that passes, a stone is added to one wheel cavity. When the wheel fills with twelve stones, it marks the completion of one lunar year. The wheel is then cleared and a stone is placed on one of the eight plant branches. A new count of twelve months begins until all the plant branches are filled with stones; this 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 eight years of engraved Venus cycle counters, such as those depicted in Fig.3, demonstrating their utilization in Negev Desert rock art. Their simpler engraving contains only the years and months counters without fancy decoration. In Fig.4, you can see two different rock art pieces that depict an 8-year cycle counter. The left side, on 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’ synodic cycle consists of successive alignments of the Sun, the Earth, and Venus. Every 584 days, one pentacle vertex is created by each alignment. Five of these alignments occur every eight years, creating a five-pointed star pentagram, as shown in Fig.5.

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

Each day is counted by placing a stone on one of the rays of the sun, starting with the left sun. When the left sun fills, counting continues to the middle sun after clearing the left sun. In a similar way, the counting continues until all rays in the middle sun are filled with stones, which concludes the count of (8X9)=72. Counting continues by clearing the left and middle suns and adding a stone to the rightmost sun. The left and middle suns count continues until all rays of the rightmost sun have been covered. When all the rays are filled with stones the count amounts to (8X9X8=576). Adding the days until the Earth, Sun, and Venus are aligned completes the counting cycle according to the Elamite scheme. 


The yearly mismatch between the lunar and solar calendars amounts to 11 days a year. This kind of difference caused havoc for the Mesopotamian administration, desynchronizing 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 is verified.

Observations of Venus rock art show that people living in the Negev Desert adjusted their calendars based on the cycle of Venus. This idea crosses over a thousand miles from the edge of the Fertile Crescent into the desolate Negev Desert region and proves the existence of a bond between the people of the Negev Desert and 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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