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Open letter to science editors


HORUS VOL I. Issue 2


Dear Friends:

We are happy to present HORUS in color.

The editorial task does have its rewards in the unexpected discoveries that spring up out of the blue. In this issue, C. Bowen reviews some ancient traditions that suggest Venus was once a "battle star" specifically that military action was associated with the appearance of Venus as the Evening Star.

A leading archaeoastronomer has noticed that an ancient Babylonian astronomical tablet and the Mayan Dresden Codex both indicate that Venus is invisible for 90 days from her disappearance as Morning Star to her reappearance as Evening Star. He remarked that this was curious, since the actual disappearance interval is more like 50 days. But, nevertheless, all the visibility and invisibility intervals of the Mayan and Babylonian records correspond.

With this 90-day interval and the possible role of Venus in the collective psychology of military activities in mind, I recalled that during World War II the Army mass-produced commissioned officers with a 90-day period of intensive training (somewhat contemptuously referred to by the GIs as 90-day wonders). When I mentioned this to a friend, he told me that, according to Dept. of Interior records, his grandfather was enrolled 29 May, 1862 in Company F, 85th Regiment for The War of Rebelling, and was released on 23 September, 1862. He never saw action. Curious about this short period, my friend told a Civil War buff, about it. The specialist's research showed that, during the early phase of the Civil War, troops were recruited and trained, and then released if not needed. These were known as 90-day units. He confirmed that my friend's grandfather had been enrolled in such a unit after Spring planting.

In ancient times, both sides expected the other to attack when Venus appeared as the Evening Star, so we understand if they prepare for battle while Venus is invisible. But we can also expect the training period to be 90 days in light of the 90 days allowed for superior conjunction invisibility in the astronomical records. But even in modern times we have 90-day training periods during the Civil War and World War II.

Alban Wall's article "The Stonehenge: What is it?" explains how the Stonehenge was used as a calendar, including the phases of the Moon. This reminded me that not too long ago, our own calendars also included phases of the Moon, and of the old tradition of planting by the Moon. Then it occurred to me that the calendar used by Grandfather's grandfather did not hang on the kitchen wall. Rather, it hung in the evening (or morning) sky. Today we dismiss planting by the Moon as mere superstition. But in reality, they were planting by the lunar calendar.

The rules for planting and other seasonal activities were passed down orally in a form easy to memorize. The reason for them was soon forgotten. As long as it worked, the ordinary individual was content to call it providence ... But pieces of these traditions were still remembered long after environmental changes outdated them. Was it Giorgio de Santillana that claimed that the word "superstition" as it originated meant leftovers of ancient knowledge"?

Superstition does not originate without a reason. Why was the number 13 considered unlucky by the Egyptians? Why do the Hebrews associate the destruction of the Passover with the same number? Was it because the catastrophe which befell the land of Egypt occurred on the 13th day of Thoth?

But how about Friday the 13th? Noting that the days of the week are associated with the Seven Planets (see "The Planetary Week" in a future issue), we find that Friday is Venus. Is this association a mere coincidence, or was Venus involved in some ancient natural catastrophe?

As Alice said, "Curiouser and curiouser."

W.J. Douglas


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