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HORUS VOL II. Issue 2
The Planetary Order Revealed in
|Name as Listed||Classical
In studying the four columns 3 through 6 it seems apparent that, based on the physical criteria employed in arriving at them, no clear and distinct order exists in the way the planets have been listed in the book. Table H, which contains four paired lists matching the planetary order as given by Enoch with the planetary order obtained separately for each criterion used, further highlights the apparent disarray. For example, column 1 shows that based on the apparent brightness of the planets, Kruno would be identifiable as Venus, Aphrodit as Jupiter and so on. If we reverse the order of the planets in column 1, that is, list them from the least bright to the most bright, we would then have Kruno correctly identified as Saturn, but Aphrodit would be Mercury and Ermis would be Venus, which is unacceptable. The same difficulty exists when the planetary order in each of the three remaining columns is reversed.
|Kruno||1.Venus||1. Saturn||1. Saturn||1. Mercury|
|Aphrodit||2. Jupiter||2. Jupiter||2. Jupiter||2. Venus|
|Aris||3. Mars||3. Mars||3. Mercury||3. Saturn|
|Zeus||4. Mercury||4. Venus||4. Mars||4. Mars|
|Ermis||5. Saturn||5. Mercury||5. Venus||5. Jupiter|
I do not think we would be justified in accepting the apparent disorder of the matchups in all four columns as proof of an actual dislocation, at some point in time, of the planetary orbits themselves. And from what we have already learned about the observational capabilities of ancient astronomers (see HORUS Vol. 1, No. 1), it would be equally rash to conclude that the planetary list in the Book of the Secrets of Enoch was an ignorant or random arrangement. A solution to the problem is available, and the clue to finding it lies in disengaging ourselves from our modern perspective and looking at the situation from the viewpoint of those ancient skywatchers. I think, that, perhaps overly influenced by what we have already learned of their remarkable accomplishments in observational astronomy, we may have a tendency to attribute to ancient scientists a degree of capability that really may have been beyond them. There is, for example, perhaps no justification in crediting them with the ability to have discovered the correct order of planetary distances (let alone the absolutes expressed in so many units of measure). All we reasonably can expect of them in this regard is to have been able, by use of the simple visual methods and techniques available to them, to have noted and tabulated an apparent order of planetary distances. And this could have come about in the following way.
The five planets listed by Enoch can be divided into two significant categories:
The superior planets are Saturn (Kruno), Jupiter (Zeus) and Mars (Aris).
The inferior planets are Venus (Aphrodit) and Mercury (Ermis).
By observing that the inferior planets never completed the full 360 degree east to west circuit of the earth, but instead periodically rose to a maximum altitude above the horizon (47 degrees for Venus and must less for Mercury), from which they again declined, we can reasonably assume that ancient astronomers eventually came to realize, correctly, that this fact indicated that the inferior planets were much closer to the sun than the three superior planets whose orbits, by contrast, regularly took them across the local meridian and completely around the earth. But it would be an impossibility, from visual observation alone, for them to have correctly determined the relative distances of the planets. Without the sophisticated instruments and methods available to modern scientists (who with them have been able to catalogue the absolute distances of the heavenly bodies), the correct order of planetary distances would perhaps never be known. Any attempt by ancient astronomers to arrive at such a determination would merely have ended up in educated guesswork. Yet when we examine the list as given in the Book of the Secrets of Enoch, it would seem clear, that, in this case at least, it does represent the tabulated result of just such an attempt. Note that Kruno is correctly listed as being, of the five planets considered, on the "uppermost" circle. A synonym for uppermost is highest. Also, Ermis is stated as being placed on the lowest circle, again a correct placement. But by what method of visual observation alone could they have arrive at these conclusions? I now present what I believe to be the probable way by which the planetary listing in the Book of the Secrets of Enoch was derived.
[*!* Image: Figure 1: Relative orbits of the planets. LABELS: Sun; Mercury; Venus; Earth; Mars; Jupiter; Saturn]
It is a fact of spherical trigonometry, as applied to the study of celestial motions, that a superior planet will, at certain times, be north or south of the sun by an angular amount that is equal to the sum of the maximum declination values of both. Such situations occur when the planet reaches opposition (being directly on the other side of the earth from the sun and in a direct line with it), on the day of summer or winter solstice, as shown in Figure 2.
[*!* Image: Figure 2: Diagram of declination difference between the Sun and a planet at opposition. LABELS: Declination difference = 23.5° + 23.5° = 47°. Equator (Equinix); Earth; Planet. Sun].
A common and striking example of the phenomenon occurs with the winter solstice sun setting in the southwest while at the same time a full moon is rising in the northeast, the declination of the sun being 23.5 degrees south and that of the moon being 29 degrees north, the declination difference between the two bodies being the sum of both declinations or 52.5 degrees.
In the case of the three superior planets included in our analysis, the one which attains the greatest declination difference between itself and the sun is Saturn, the next in order being Mars and, finally, Jupiter.
Because the orbits of the inferior planets lie inside the orbit of earth, those bodies cannot reach opposition, and the facts of spherical trigonometry limit the maximum declination difference between either body and the sun to a value that is less than the maximum declination of the sun itself, namely, 23.5 degrees.
A complete listing based on the criteria of maximum declination differences possible between the sun and each planet is:
Each of the three superior planets will cross the local meridian at maximum declination in the indicated order, with Saturn crossing furthest north (or south). If in north latitudes we consider the north celestial pole as being "up", as in common parlance it generally is, then we might say that in its periodic crossing of the celestial sphere Saturn, Kruno, moves along the "uppermost" circle. On a "lower" circle moves Mars, Axis, and, though its actual distance is more than three times as great as that of Mars, the planet Jupiter, Zeus, crosses the heavenly vault on a "lower" circle still. This can be diagrammed as follows:
[*!* Image: Figure 3: Relative maximum declinations of the planets. [The inferior planets do not transit the celestial sphere but remain close to the sun at all times. They are shown here as "evening stars"] LABELS: Saturn; Mars; Jupiter; Venus; Mercury; Sun; Horizon; Celestial equator]
Due to the curvature of the earth which causes the horizon to "drop away" to the north or to the south of the observer's position, declination values of celestial bodies are magnified at times of rising and setting to a degree that varies with the observer's latitude. On the day of summer solstice, for example, at latitude 40 degrees north, the sun, with a declination of 23.5 degrees north, has an amplitude (angular distance north of east) of about 32 degrees, an increase factor of some 36%. Such an amplitude exaggeration would make the angular distances between the maximum rising or setting points of the planets much more easily discernible to anyone making a regular study and observation of them.
That ancient astronomers made use of the horizon as a natural and convenient reference scale for measuring and correlating movements of the heavenly bodies is a well-attested fact. In numerous articles in HORUS and KRONOS dealing with Stonehenge as a luni-solar calendar, 1 have amply demonstrated that the horizon-marking method was the principal system used in setting up the sunmoon calendar device that the site represented. By noting the maximum setting (or rising) points of the planets along that scale, and thereby the relative degree to which each, in its separate celestial journey, "wandered away" from the sun, the astronomers erroneously deduced that the order thus derived represented the correct relative distances of the planets.
[*!* Image: Figure 4: Relative maximum amplitudes of the Sun and the planets at setting. LABELS: Western Horizon. Sun; Mercury; Venus; Jupiter; Mars; Saturn].
What they were actually dealing with, however, were what are referred to in modern astronomical terms as parallels of declination, circles on the celestial sphere running east to west parallel to the celestial equator (equininoctial) and corresponding to terrestrial parallels of latitude. These coordinates define a star or planet's position on the celestial sphere north or south of the equinoctial, and it is clear that these are the "heavenly circles" discussed by Enoch in his astronomical dissertation. What he stated, in effect, was that the planets, in their cyclic movements upon the celestial sphere, Kruno (Saturn) attained the highest parallel of declination ("first uppermost circle"), Aphrodit (Venus) the second circle, Aris (Mars) the third circle, etc.
The order in the diagrams showing the relative maximum declinations (or amplitudes) reached by the planets, matches that as given in the list in the Book of the Secrets of Enoch - with one obvious and glaring exception. Venus (Aphrodit) is clearly out of place. (Adherents of the Velikovskian theory of planetary catastrophism may draw from this whatever they are able.) It is not plausible to conclude that such misplacement is either an observational error on the part of the ancient astronomers, or a reporting error on the part of Enoch. From the standpoint of celestial mechanics, either of two possibilities could account for the fact that, in the Enoch listing, Venus has been assigned to a position between Saturn and Mars:
[* For complementary material bearing on the subject of possible significant anomalies in the orbital movements of Venus, I refer the reader to articles by Charles Raspil in Vol. I, Nos. 1 and 2 of HORUS.]
Thus the determination of the planetary order in the book of The Secrets of Enoch, based on the declination maxima, is in contrast to early Babylon, Greek, and Egyptian arrangements which, deviating considerably from actual planetary distances, obviously were set up purely to serve astrological and numerological considerations. In time a planetary scale emerged which was generally accepted as indicative of a true geocentric order of distances.
In any case, the sequence in the Secrets of Enoch shows convincingly that the celestial information contained in it was gathered strictly by observations of the rising and setting of the various heavenly bodies along the horizon, the identical method to that employed by the ancient astronomers at Stonehenge.
[*!* Image. Figure 5: Stonehenge as a data gathering observatory. Schematic diagram showing how the site was ideally suited to observing, measuring and correlating the movements of various celestial bodies. The rising points within the Stonehenge Avenue of the Sun, Moon, and the three superior planets at their maximum northerly declination is as indicated. LABELS: North Bank; Moon; Horizon; Saturn; Mars; Jupiter; Sun; Avenue; South Bank; Azimuths; Heelstone; Aubrey Hole. East.]