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The Mystery Of The Pleiades

Dwardu Cardona

Copyright (C) 1977/78 by Dwardu Cardona, Lewis M. Greenberg and Warner B. Sizemore.

1. The Problem.

The Book of Job, as it has been translated into English, bears a reference to the stellar constellation of the Pleiades the meaning of which has long mystified scholars of Biblical lore. As found in the King James version of the Bible, this reference reads:

"Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?"(1)

The Douay version, however, has it differently:

"Shalt thou be able to join together the shining stars of the Pleiades, or canst thou stop the turning about of Arcturus?"(2)

The words "join together" and "bind" are synonymous but "loose the bands" and "stop the turning" are not. We also notice that the "sweet influences" of the King James version is omitted in the Douay. This tells us that the translators of the Old Testament were not sure of the reference. More than that, we can safely state that the actual astral objects concerned were not readily identified. In the original Hebrew, these astral objects are called Khima and Khesil (variously spelled). Both English versions of the passage quoted above translate Khima as Pleiades but Khesil is translated as Orion in one, and Arcturus in the other. One could ask: Which is the correct translation? One could also ask: Is either of them correct? Actually, one can go further: Since there is obviously some doubt concerning the meaning, or proper identification, of Khesil, can we be certain that Khima has been correctly translated as Pleiades?

Elsewhere in the same book, Khima and Khesil are mentioned together with another stellar object called Aish (Ayish or Ash). The King James version translates Aish, Khesil, and Khima as Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades.(3) The Douay version, on the other hand, has Arcturus, Orion, and Hyades with no mention of the Pleiades.(4) So, therefore, the last question asked above was not really prompted by our zeal to find a new identity for Khima. It is quite obvious that the translators of the Book of Job had no inkling as to what Khima and Khesil really stood for. This is especially true when we remember that the same source, the Douay, translates Khima as Pleiades in one section and as Hyades in another.

Khima and Khesil are also mentioned in the Book of Amos. Here, the King James version sticks to its translation of Pleiades (or seven stars) and Orion,(5) whereas the Douay, forsaking both the Pleiades and the Hyades, has Khima as Arcturus while reverting back to Orion for Khesil.(6)

One may now argue that the King James and Douay versions are so late that they cannot be relied upon for any useful information. But even if we had to go back to the Vulgate and the Septuagint, we find that matters are no different. In the Greek version, the Septuagint, Khesil is translated as Hesperus (the Evening Star) in one instance and as Orion in another.(7) In the Latin version, the Vulgate, Khima is again translated as Pleiades in one instance, as Hyades in another, and as Arcturus in a third.(8) The identifications in the latter are therefore similar to those in the Douay which derived from it.

Had the meaning of the original Hebrew names been lost? If so, how can we recover the correct meanings of these two important names?

Immanuel Velikovsky seems to have no doubt about the subject. In Worlds in Collision, he stated:

"The material for the identification of Khima as Saturn and Khesil as Mars will be presented in a subsequent part of this work."(9)

But since the "subsequent part" or "sequel" to Worlds in Collision was never published, Velikovsky's suggested identifications remained unsubstantiated.* Knowing now in which direction to look, can we verify these identifications of Velikovsky?

[* But see "Khima and Kesil" by Velikovsky elsewhere in this issue. The Ed]

2. The Controversy.

Writing in 1973, Donald Patten, in collaboration with R. R. Hatch and L. C. Steinhauer, also came to the conclusion that Aish, Khima, and Khesil were to be understood as planets.

"Traditional commentaries suppose that these three are constellations, whereas actually they were visible planets moving across the constellation areas"(10)

When it came to identifying these planets, however, Patten, et al. differed considerably from Velikovsky.

"Our supposition is that Arcturus [Aish] was Mars, Orion [Khesil] was Jupiter, Pleiades [Khima] was Venus.."(11)

Our refutation of Patten et al.'s identifications has recently been anticipated by Martin Sieff.

"Writing from a fundamentalist stance, they [Patten et al.] use a good deal of Biblical material... [but] pay scant attention to the testimony of other ancient peoples in myth and astronomical records. Their catastrophic model holds Mars to be responsible for all major catastrophes except the second half of the Flood catastrophe... This completely fails to hold up against the testimony of ancient cultures which Velikovsky deploys; and also fails to explain the conditions which have been found throughout the solar system by the space programme of the last twenty years, and which correspond so accurately with the advance claims from Velikovsky's model...(12)

Yet, out of the three celestial bodies in question, Sieff concurs with Patten, et al. in identifying Khima as Venus. Khesil, Sieff sees as Saturn, while Aish he identifies as Jupiter.(13) In opposition to the above criticism, Sieff paid much more attention "to the testimony of other ancient peoples," but, obviously, he did not dig deep enough. Had Sieff, for instance, identified Khima, through its popular interpretation as Pleiades, with Mars, he would at least have been able to cite the testimony of the Babylonians and the Hindus as evidence in favor of the identification.(14) We would have refuted this identification also but, at least, the source of the misidentification could then have been placed at the ancients' own door. As they stand, Sieff's suppositions can only be bolstered by dim allusions which are somewhat illusory by their very own nature. But allow us to be more specific.

Sieff's conjecture that Job lived in the time of the Patriarchs, despite the variant traditions which seek his lineage through this or that line, accords well with the evidence he presented.(15) Sieff also shows that comparable literature is known from the Kassite period of Babylonian history as well as from Sumer.(16) He does not, however, negate the possibility that the Book of Job was tampered with by post-Exodus editors who introduced those passages using the name Yahweh for God.(17) This, in fact, echoes the belief of C. S. Bryant, who wrote:

"Job is in the purest Hebrew. The author uses only the word Elohim for the name of God. The compiler or reviser of the work, Moses, or whoever he was, employed at the head of chapters and in the introductory and concluding portions the name of Jehovah; but all the verses where Jehovah occurs, in Job, are later interpolations in a very old poem, written at a time when the Semitic race had no other name for God but Elohim; before Moses obtained the elements of the new name from Egypt."(18)

We do not hold the view with Bryant that Moses "obtained the element" of Jehovah's (or Yahweh's) name from Egypt nor do we believe that the Book of Job really predates the time of the Exodus since there are "indications of literary dependence" on the Books of Psalms and Jeremiah.(19) Our belief is that those passages dealing with the motifs of Creation were "lifted" from an older source in which Elohim explicitly denoted the "Creative Principle" and thus the compiler or narrator of the Book of Job allowed the name to remain. This would explain why Jehovah is used only in the introductory and concluding passages of the work while Elohim remains the reserved name in matters traceable to the Creation (Actually, Elohim and Jehovah/Yahweh are not the only names of god found in the Book of Job).(20) That Job lived during the time of the Patriarchs does not necessarily mean that the book which bears his name was written then.

Through the Jewish Encyclopedia, Sieff ascertained that Khima, Khesil, and Aish were to be understood as names of planets, meteors, or comets rather than those of stellar constellations.(21) Sieff also referred to the ancient Near Eastern tradition which supplied the same name for a constellation as well as for a related star or planet. Thus, for instance, the constellation of the Medusa and the planet Venus both received the Babylonian name of Ninsianna(22)

"If the Hebrews had a similar custom it is easy to see how confusion could have set in and misled later translators into thinking that constellations rather than planets were intended by these names."(23)

"With this in mind, we question the usual translations of these names [Khima, Khesil, and Aish] as those of constellations, and follow Immanuel Velikovsky's interpretation of them as being names of planets."(24)

Why, then, did Sieff differ from Velikovsky in the actual identifications of these three celestial bodies? Better still, let us ask: What evidence did Sieff supply in favor of his identifications?

Sieff informs us that the Hebrew Khima (or Kimah) is connected either with the Hebrew "kum" "to heap up" or the Assyrian "kamu" "he bound." Sieff then tells us that "either connotation may be borne in mind when considering the effects postulated by Velikovsky of contacts between Venus and the Earth."(25)

By this we assume that Sieff means to connect the Hebrew "kum" to the "heaping" of the waters brought about by Venus' gravitational pull at close quarters to Earth.(26) But it must be remembered that any body which approaches close enough to Earth would heap the waters up in a similar fashion. In an earlier article, I have already indicated that the "waters of chaos" were similarly "heaped up" by the close proximity of Saturn.(27)

As to the Assyrian "Kamu," it was Saturn together with Varuna/ Uranus, and not Venus, who was known as the "god who binds." The "binding" of this god was a reference to the rings around Saturn which were seen by many of the ancients as a form of noose. Some of the ancients believed that it was Jupiter who originally placed his father, Saturn, in chains. They also believed that Jupiter surrounded himself with bonds.(28) So the derivation of Khima from kamu "he bound" would more properly allude to Saturn or Jupiter. But because, with Sieff himself, we believe Jupiter to have been Aish,(29) we are left with Saturn and/or Uranus as the bound or binding god (The bonds of Jupiter would more probably allude to the distinctive atmospheric bands around that planet.)(30)

Saturn himself is not only represented as bound by Jupiter but, as Yama, the Hindu Saturn, also as the god who binds.(31) Shamash, whom elsewhere we have already identified as Saturn,(32) was also thought to have been armed with "snares and cords."(33) Tammuz, another name for Saturn, is called "Lord of the Snares," even though he himself is bound and prays to be saved from such bonds.(34) Ea, the Babylonian Saturn, is also a god of binding.(35) Even Ninurta, another Babylonian name for Saturn, was deified as a hunter (habilu) because he hunted with a snare (nahbalu).(36) In Maltese, the Semitic language of the present author, "habel" still means "rope."

As for Varuna/Uranus having also been known as the "god who binds," we should point out that there is some tentative evidence in support of this planetary deity having been an earlier alias of Saturn.(37) But if, as it might also turn out to be, the god Uranus was the personification of the present planet coincidentally known by the same name, we could also add that the bonds of this ancient deity have now been given astronomical support by the recent discovery of Saturnian rings around this planet also.(38)

Sieff's next piece of evidence in his attempt to identify Khima as Venus is derived from the word "Keme'ah" "like a hundred." The "Tractate Berachot" of the Babylonian Talmud explains this in relation to the number of stars in the constellation of the Pleiades. Sieff discounts this explanation because, to the naked eye, this duster appears to be composed of only seven stars, although, depending on visibility, sometimes only six can be seen. "However," Sieff tells us, "the extreme brightness implied would certainly fit Ishtar [Venus], 'Queen of Heaven'."(39)

If one is to relate the "hundred-like" allusion to "brightness," Venus would not be the only candidate for such a simile. On and off, Venus might have been the brightest object in the sky between the 15th and 8th centuries B. C. But during the 8th and 7th centuries, Mars was also said to have shone like a sun.(40) Prior to the 15th century, both Jupiter and Saturn shone with an even greater light. In the time of Abraham, Jupiter is said to have made the night bright.(41) Before Jupiter's supreme reign, Saturn also shone as a sun of night.(42) During its flare-up, and for an unspecified time afterwards, Saturn outshone the Sun a thousand times.(43) But even so, to relate "Keme'ah" "like a hundred" to the brightness of the luminary seems to be somewhat unjustifiable.

Sieff next turns his attention to the "sweet influences of Khima" as found in the King James version. Sieff informs us that "ma-adanot," translated as "sweet influences," may literally be translated as "dainty food" or "tit-bit." This he then refers to the carbohydrates, or manna, which Velikovsky postulates to have precipitated from the protoplanet Venus during the wandering of the Israelites in the desert.(44) But it should also be known that carbohydrates did not only fall from Venus. If Venus was truly ejected from Jupiter, its gases would have been derived from the parent planet. Jupiter, also, must therefore be rich in gases which, through a similar Venusian process, could have been changed into carbohydrates. In any case, Saturn, as the Cosmic Tree, is definitely known to have precipitated an edible substance.(45) So the falling of manna need not be attributed to Venus alone.

Sieff also tells us that "ma-adanot" has been suggested to be a corruption of "ma-anadot," which means "chains" or "knots." He relates this to "the confusion of the vast and complex cometary tail [of Venus when still a comet], particularly at the time of the entanglement with the earth." The tail's entanglement "could suggest the 'knot' metaphor."(46)

This does not accord well with Sieff's supposition that the Book of Job was written in pre-Exodus time for, according to Velikovsky, the entanglement that Sieff refers to took place during the Exodus, in fact just prior to the crossing of the Sea of Passage.(47)

On the other hand, if "ma-adanot" is to be amended to read "ma-anadot, " the "chains" or "knots" would once again be applicable to the "god who binds," namely Saturn and/or Uranus. Of Saturn's chains we have already spoken. Meanwhile, the magic of knots in relation to the same god has been well brought out by Mircea Eliade.(48) Yama, Shamash, Tammuz, Ea, Ninurta all of them gods "who bind" are all well known as names of the planet Saturn. Does Sieff intend to identify them all as the planet Venus?

Sieff also uses the verse parallelism inherent in ancient Near Eastern poetry in support of his contention.(49) From the Book of Amos, he focuses on the following:

"Seek him that maketh the seven stars [Pleiades] and Orion [Khesil], and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them upon the face of the earth: the Lord is his name."(50)

Repetitive parallelism, according to Sieff, ties the "shadow of death" to Khima while the "waters of the sea" are referrable to Khesil. Here, then, according to Sieff, is proof that Khima was Venus and Khesil was Saturn for it was Venus that was responsible for the "shadow of death"(51) while Saturn was responsible for the Deluge.

Once again, this does not accord well with Sieff's belief in the antiquity of Job for the "shadow of death" manifested itself precisely during the Exodus. Also, the Saturnian Deluge was not the only flood that beset the Earth. During Venus' hellish reign, the Earth was inundated more than once and it was inundated precisely by the sea which "poureth... upon the face of the earth."(52) Meanwhile, although during the Noachian Deluge the sea also transgressed its bounds, the preponderance of the waters fell as rain from heaven and as such was this catastrophe mostly remembered. Therefore, the inundation in Amos more probably refers to one of the later Venusian floods. If Sieff's argument is to be considered valid, Khesil, rather than being Saturn, could therefore more easily be understood as Venus. But though the evidence of repetitive parallelism would have been acceptable, the quote from the Book of Amos given above is not a valid example. Albright has shown quite clearly how this repetitive parallelism was employed.(53) The format does not fit the passage in question. In the quote from Amos, both Khima and Khesil are mentioned in the same verse together with the "shadow of death." The second verse, following the first colon, mentions only the "waters of the sea." If the second verse was a parallel to the first, the "waters of the sea" would be related to the "shadow of death" as well as to both Khima and Khesil. But, actually, in the passage quoted, there is no direct parallelism evident.

As we have seen, the King James version of the Book of Job translates Khesil as Orion. Sieff informs us that the Aramaic Targum Jonathan and the Syriac Peshitta offer the alternative translations of Khesil as Nefilah and Gabbara respectively. Nefilah means "giant;" Gabbara means "hero." He then continues:

"It is agreed that both Nefilah and Gabbara denote Orion. The Aramaic and Syriac names of Orion have been connected with the ancient Oriental tradition that Nimrod... was fettered in the sky by God for his obstinacy in building the tower of Babel."(54)

This connection between Nimrod and Orion has already been pointed out by others.(55) Sieff also reminds us that Nimrod, as Ninurta, is equated with the planet Saturn.

This is not consistent with Sieff's method in identifying Khima as Venus. In the case of Khima, Sieff discounted the traditional and controversial translation of this celestial object as Pleiades. Why, then, does he accept the just as controversial interpretation of Khesil as Orion? Or if Khesil, through Orion and Nimrod, is to be identified as Saturn, then it should follow that Khima, through the Pleiades and Kartikeya, should be identified as Mars. Kartica, the Brahminic name of the month of November, named in honor of the Pleiades, derives its name also from the god Kartikeya. In Sanskrit, the Pleiades were known as the Krittika.(56) Kartikeya was the planet Mars.(57) This connection of Mars with the Pleiades is also upheld by Babylonian astronomy.(58) Mars is there represented as the only planetary delegate of the Pleiades. On the other hand, if Khima's connection with the Pleiades and Kartikeya is to be discounted, then so should Khesil's connection with Orion and Nimrod.

It is precisely here that the identities of Khima and Khesil become entangled in a complexity that threatens to becloud the issue. Nimrod was Saturn and Sieff is correct in identifying the bonds which fettered Nimrod to the sky as the rings surrounding this luminary(59) although there is more to the story than just that.(60) The Saturnian bonds we talked of earlier in connection with Khima, Sieff here applies to Khesil. But then Sieff himself tells us that the Hebrew "moshkhah," translated in Job as the "bands" of Khesil, could also be translated as "reins" or "braces."(61) Reins and braces, however, are not to be metaphorically confused with chains, noose, or fetters. It is Mars who was known to have had a chariot drawn by horses.(62) If reins are applicable to any one of the planetary deities, it is Mars that we should look to.

In his attempted identification of Khima, Khesil, and Aish, Sieff paid no attention to the planet Mars. The reason for this seems to have been his belief that Mars, although worshipped as a god since time immemorial, was at first only a minor deity.(63) This is an echo of Velikovsky's own statements.(64) But in Worlds in Collision, Velikovsky did not present any evidence concerning those catastrophes which occurred prior to 1500 B. C. Had Sieff turned to the well known Sha Naqba Imuru (Epic of Gilgamesh) he would have realized that Mars, as Nergal, was an active protagonist during the catastrophe of the Deluge. In the recently translated Era Epos, Mars, called Era and/or Irra, is described as the direct cause of a later second Deluge.(65) Both these floods were connected with Saturn and in both of them Mars played an important part.

There might now be some who would believe that Nergal, Era, and/or Irra were not always names of the planet Mars. If so, the burden of proof lies with them.

3. The Solution.

Despite our disagreement with Sieff's postulated identifications, we owe him a debt for it was he who supplied us with the crucial clue in favor of Velikovsky's alternative identifications. The clue in question is a passage from the Babylonian Talmud which Sieff, calling it a "curious comment," reproduced in his work.

"If it were not for the heat of Khesil [translated as Orion], the world could not exist for the cold of Khima [translated as Pleiades]; and if it were not for the cold of the Pleiades [Khima] the world could not exist for the heat of Orion [Khesil]."(66)

This is "curious" indeed because, in our own research, we had already come across similar statements in reference to Saturn in the work of Klibansky, Panofsky, and Saxl. In their co-authored work, Saturn and Melancholy, Saturn is called "cold" and "moist."(67)

The same work led us to identical statements by other authors. Abu Ma'sar, for instance, states:

"With regard to Saturn, his nature is cold, dry, bitter, black, dark, violent and harsh. Sometimes too it is cold, moist, heavy, and of stinking wind" (Emphasis added).(68)

So, also, with Alcabitius:

"He [Saturn] is bad, masculine, in daytime cold, dry, melancholy..." (Emphasis added).(69)

Epigenes of Byzantium classified Saturn as "cold and windy,"(70) while William of Conches tells us that "Saturn is called cold not because he is inherently cold himself but because he causes cold."(71)

What is also curious is that Sieff himself seems to have found no use for the Talmudic quote in question even though he showed an awareness of Saturn's frigidity when he stated:

"Saturn is the solar system's one 'treasury of snow;'... The Greeks associated the planet Saturn (Kronos) with snow and hail, which were thought to be the planet-god's weapons: Nonnos told of the 'shining victory of Zeus at war and the hailstorm snowstorm conflict of Kronos'."(72)

Dorotheus comes even closer to the statement we started with when he talks of "cold Saturn" and "hot Mars."(73) The best reference, however, comes from Pliny:

"Mars... has a fiery glow... owing to its excessive heat and Saturn's frost, Jupiter being situated between them combines the influence of each and is rendered healthy. "(74)

This last is almost an exact replica of the statement found in the Babylonian Talmud where the heating influence of Mars is ascribed to Khesil and the cooling one of Saturn to Khima. Here, we can also add another clue. C.H. Rawlinson, in his History of Herodotus, tells us that, among the stars, Hea was known under the name Kimmut.(75) Hea, the same as Ea, was Saturn while Kimmut recalls to mind the Khima of the Scriptures.

But perhaps of more importance is the following: In his identification of Khima as Venus, Sieff ignores the most persistent Jewish myth connected with this celestial body. Louis Ginzberg tells us:

"The flood was produced by a union of the male waters, which are above the firmament, and the female waters issuing from the earth. The upper waters rushed through the space left when god removed two stars out of the constellation Pleiades."(76)

It was, therefore, from Khima/Pleiades that the Noachian Flood descended. Yet, throughout the world, we find traditions pointing to Saturn as the source of the Flood. This is a revelation which we owe to Velikovsky(77) and Sieff himself conforms to it.(78) But if Sieff is correct in his identification, the Deluge would have had to come from Venus. There is absolutely no evidence in support of this.

At this point, we can only say that Velikovsky seems to have been correct when he identified Khesil as Mars and Khima as Saturn.

4. The Complexity.

The legend recorded by Ginzberg can now be interpreted as saying that two stars erupted from Saturn and brought the Deluge upon the Earth. Because the ancients used the word "star" to describe various celestial phenomena, "stars" may here allude to planets, comets, or even meteorites. In view of the ancient belief that comets often erupted from the planets themselves,(79) a belief which is also shared by some modern astronomers,(80) we are inclined to think that the word, in this case, stands for comets. Since some of these latter have been known to be of a watery composition, even if their water content is normally thought to be solidified into ice,(81) we therefore assume that what is meant by this legend is that the Deluge was caused by the Earth's passing through the tails of these Saturnian comets. This idea is somewhat similar to that held by both Halley(82) and Whiston.(83) It is definitely one shared also by Velikovsky.(84)

Prudence cautions us to stop right here but our thirst for the truth spurs us on. After all, our aim is not to prove Velikovsky and/or Sieff right or wrong in this or that. The truth of the matter is that we are not yet at the end of our problem.

Khima's identification as Saturn does not remove the Pleiades' connection with the Deluge. That Ginzberg's source, for instance, meant "Pleiades" when it said "Pleiades," and not Khima/Saturn, is evidenced by the fact that the legend goes on to say:

"Afterward, to put a stop to the flood, God had to transfer two stars from the constellation of the Bear to the constellation of the Pleiades. That is why the Bear runs after the Pleiades. She wants her two children back... "(85)

It should be noted that the Bear (Ursa Major) follows the Pleiades in their rising above the eastern horizon. This part of the legend cannot be made to apply to Saturn. Have we, and Velikovsky, been wrong all along? Or is the second part of the Ginzberg legend a grafted attempt at explaining what the loss of the meaning of Khima had previously left unexplained? If so, why were the Pleiades chosen as a substitute for Saturn? Granted, as we have seen, Khima has been translated as Hyades and even Arcturus besides Pleiades. But only in the Douay and Vulgate versions of the Old Testament. The King James version sticks to its translation of Khima as Pleiades throughout. So does the Babylonian Talmud. Is it possible that the Pleiades themselves were in some way connected with Saturn? That the Pleiades, apart from Khima, were responsible for a widespread cataclysm has already been suggested by others. O.E. Scott, for instance, tells us:

"The idea is generally accepted that this group [the Pleiades] must have been associated in the distant past with some great event, widespread and cataclysmic... Evidently, this star group, in very early times, impressed a wide section of mankind with some great event of a catastrophic nature, in which was a considerable loss of life. Memorial festivals in honor of the dead... throughout a large portion of the ancient world... seem to have been always associated with the Pleiades."(86)

Scott explains this destruction as one of fire:

"[The Pleiades] were associated with the traditions of a widespread destruction by fire from heaven, probably remembrance of a devastating rain of meteors."(87)

But although a rain of meteorites might have easily precipitated to Earth from Saturn after its flare-up, it was with a Deluge of water that the Jewish tradition connected the Pleiades.

The Feast of the Dead is observed throughout the world in the beginning of the month of November. This had been so prior to the Christianization of this festival. All over the world, this feast is somehow connected with the Pleiades.(88) Among the Brahmins of Trivalore, the month of November, as we have already seen, was called Kartica, the "month of the Pleiades."(89) All around the world, a primitive calendar has been discovered which is regulated by the heliacal rising of the Pleiades.(90) Yet the heliacal rising of the Pleiades does not occur in November. According to uniformitarian retrograde calculations, the Pleiades could only have risen heliacally in November twelve thousand years ago.(91) But perhaps from a Velikovskian point of view, they could so have risen at the time of the Deluge. Velikovsky has set the upper limit of the Deluge as having possibly occurred as long ago as ten thousand years.(92) Meanwhile, temples and other edifices have also been discovered to have been, as some still are, oriented toward this rising of the Pleiades.(93)

"Why such apparently unimportant stars should have once acquired such worldwide significance" was a question which modern man found difficult to answer.(94) Although the cluster contains many stars, only six or seven of them are visible to the naked eye. But even these seven are anything but prominent.

"Those stars are only apparently six [for the seventh is sometimes so dim as to be invisible], yet all the world over, among civilized and savage races, in Europe, in India, China, Japan, America, and Africa, this diminutive star group is not merely regarded as seven stars, but what is still more surprising as 'The seven stars,' though the far brighter seven stars of the Great Bear might seem to deserve the title" (Emphasis as given).(95)

Not only do legends connect this constellation with a world-wide disaster, others arose to explain the disappearance, or faint luminosity, of the seventh star among their numbers.

The brightest star of the group, Alcyone, means "the centre."(96) It was called by that name not because it formed the centre of the group to which it belonged, which it does not, but because it was believed to be the centre around which all the other stars revolved.(97) This is a celestial position that only the Pole Star can lay claim to. Now, according to Sidney Collett, Khima, which he spells Chimah, means "hinge, or pivot."(98) This, then, seems to connect Khima more readily to the Pleiades than it does to Saturn. But our bag of surprises has not yet been depleted. On investigating further we find that Saturn, like the Pleiades, was also considered the god of the Pole Star.(99)

Paradise was said to have been located in the land of the Pleiades.(100) Paradise was said to have been located in the north pole.(101) Strange stories of a cosmic tree were told of in connection with the Pleiades.(102) This cosmic tree was also said to have been in the north pole.(103) And, to tie it all together, the Deluge, or one of them, was also believed to have come from the north pole.(104) What does it all mean?

An interesting question now arises. If Khima was Saturn and Khesil was Mars, why do the constellations connected with these two names reverse the identities we have postulated? In other words, why was Khima/Saturn connected with Pleiades/Mars while Khesil/ Mars was connected with Orion/Saturn? Was it through mere coincidence that the translators inadvertently reversed the true identities of these two celestial objects? We think not. In fact we believe that the correct answer to this question could carry us far.

Another question that could be asked is this: Why did the constellations receive the same names as the planets?

Patten, et al believe that this strange usage was inaugurated because the planets were seen to move across the constellation areas.(105) Sieff's suggestion is not much different:

"Perhaps the original linking of planets with constellations came about from the regular appearance of a given planetary body from the area of a certain constellation."(106)

But the correct answer is directly connected to the question asked above concerning the reversal of the identities of Khima and Khesil. And it is to Osiris that we must look to if we wish to answer both questions. It is well known how Set, after having drowned Osiris, dissected this deity's body and scattered the divine fragments over a wide area. The ancient Egyptians also believed that the dispersion of these Osirian fragments was directly connected with the origin of the stars which were seen as the scattered fragments of the "dead sun."(107) Our present Sun is not dead. But Osiris/Saturn, as the sun of night, is.(108)

We stop for breath. Will we ever be able to extricate ourselves from this celestial complexity?

5. A Preview.

In order for the present writer to answer every single question that has been raised throughout this essay, he would have to embark on a project the outcome of which would be a tome many times the thickness of this periodical. In fact the author, in collaboration with others, is, at present, involved in such a project. But to leave the reader of this article with so many threads hanging loose would not be exactly fair. Also, it must be remembered that the main reason behind this paper is to indicate the complexity of the material at hand, to illustrate that the interpretation of myth is not always as easy as it may seem at first glance, and to open the door a little wider on the vast subject of Saturn in the hope that others may also pass through and lend a hand in solving the problems that have beset Velikovskian scholars for over twenty some years. What follows is to be considered a mere outline. But because the problem we have set ourselves in the present paper is far too complex to be solved in a few simple steps, we beg the reader's indulgence, while not wishing to borrow any credence, concerning the lack of referential evidence which would be too voluminous to present here. It must also be understood, as it should go without saying, that the following synopsis is offered as this writer's own theory, that it does not necessarily reflect Velikovsky's views upon the subject, and that it is to be considered, temporarily at least, only tentative.

1) Khima was originally one of a multitude of names foisted on the planet Saturn.

2) After its flare-up, but before its final catastrophic dismemberment, Saturn was surrounded by seven, and not just three, rings. It was these rings that were originally alluded to as the Pleiades. Saturn also possessed an appendage, known to the ancients as the axis mundi, which seemed to connect the "planet" to Earth. The entire apparition was also known as the Cosmic Tree.

3) It is our belief, as it also that of others, that Saturn was at this time inextricably connected to Earth's north polar region in a manner that inspires disbelief and contradicts every known tenet of celestial mechanics as we believe in them today. Thus it was that Saturn was considered the god of the Pole Star. Thus it was that the Cosmic Tree was said to have been located in the same region. Paradise, therefore, was looked for in the same locality. This also illustrates why the Pleiades were also connected with the Pole Star. This unique positioning of Saturn has been the greatest stumbling block in the unravelling of the Saturnian mystery. We are also aware that this supposition is open to the greatest criticism. But already some Velikovskian scholars have been working on tentative physical models to account for Saturn's polar position, models which are as complex as the labyrinth of myth itself.

4) It is also this writer's belief that it was the planet Mars which was responsible for all but the final calamity which befell Saturn. (Of the possibility of an earlier collision between Saturn and Jupiter, we intend to write elsewhere.)

5) During this catastrophe, Saturn was separated from the Earth while parts of its unique configuration, the axis mundi and some of its rings, were also dispersed. It is to this part of the scenario that the cutting to pieces of Osiris/Saturn belongs and not, as Mullen, Tresman, and O'Gheoghan earlier suggested, to the original flare-up of the "planet" as a short-lived stellar nova. The flare of the nova was the "birth" of the god; his "death" was something else.

6) In this way, Mars caused a second major Deluge when Saturn was forced to release the waters it had held in tidal captivity at the Earth's north polar region. (The first major Deluge seems to have been caused by Saturn's own flare-up when, according to Velikovsky, it dispersed the watery content of its structural envelope. There were, however, other minor deluges connected with Saturn.)

7) It was this second major Deluge that originated in the north pole.

8) During the time, after its flare-up, when Saturn continued to shine as a sun of night, the stars, with perhaps the exception of those of first magnitude, could not have been visible in the night sky. The starry heavens became visible in all their glory when Saturn disappeared. For this reason, the stars were thought of as being the dissected members of Osiris/Saturn or of the dead sun.

9) The Earth tipped over and thus Saturn appeared to move to the south pole. For that reason, some myths point to the south pole as the abode of Saturn. This state of affairs, however, was only temporary. The Earth tipped again but Jupiter propelled Saturn away from Earth into the blackness of space and became itself the reigning planet of man's ancient skies. A new era had begun.

10) It was during this time that parts of Saturn's former unique configuration were sought in the newly "created" constellations. It was then that the constellations received their names. It was then that the "seven stars" received the name Pleiades in memory of Saturn's former seven rings. It was then that the mix-up between constellations and planets occurred. Not only Saturn and his dissected parts, but the attributes of the other planets, which also went through an apparent change, were now sought in the constellations.

11) Thus, the feast of the dead, in memory of those drowned and otherwise slain during these catastrophes, became regulated by the Pleiades which, in those days, could have risen heliacally toward the beginning of the month we now call November.

12) The sequence of these catastrophes has to be told in detail in order for one to grasp their enormity. In the ensuing chaos, Mars became confused by some with Saturn. Thus, many of the Saturnian motifs and characteristics are to this day attributed to Mars. But how could Mars, being such a small planet, have been confused with the gigantic Saturn? Venus is also much smaller than Jupiter but it, too, was confused with the king of planets and this confusion, as Velikovsky has pointed out, continues to this day in certain parts of the world. Besides, when Mars clashed with Saturn, it passed between that "planet" and the Earth. Coming closer to the Earth than Saturn, it loomed almost as large as the giant "planet." It must also be remembered that when Saturn was removed into the blackness of space, Mars followed suit. Both luminaries became mere pinpoints of light in the night sky. Looked at in this way, the confusion of such pin-points of light is not hard to conceive. Thus it was that Marduk/Jupiter blamed Irra/Mars for the second Deluge. Others saw Saturn as the direct cause. Both were correct.

13) Although there are other direct links connecting both Saturn and Mars to the Pleiades, it was partly this confusion between Saturn and Mars that led to the confusion between their respective constellations, the Pleiades and Orion. Both constellations are to this day connected to both Saturn and Mars.

That, in brief, is the sequence of events responsible for the mystery and complexity surrounding the Pleiades. There is, of course, much more to the story. Mars, in fact, was a veritable child of the Pleiades. Its father was Saturn. But for a mother, the red planet had the seven rings surrounding Saturn. Mars was the only god in antiquity given such a multiplicity of maternal progenitors. All this, and much more, is upheld by the scattered testimony of the ancients. The details of this reconstruction and of what took place before _ will, however, have to wait for future articles by this and other writers. This synopsis has only been presented here in the hope that it will help others in their research concerning this most fascinating subject.


NOTE: The author wishes to thank Cantor Murray Nixon of Vancouver, B. C., Canada, for his assistance in researching the sacred literature of the Jews.


1. Job, 38:31.
2. Ibid., Douay version.
3. Ibid., King James version, 9:9.
4. Ibid., Douay version.
5. Amos, 5:8.
6. Ibid., Douay version.
7. Compare, for instance, Ibid. in the Septuagint (5:8) as well as Job in same (9:9, 38:31).
8. Ibid., in Vulgate version.
9. I. Velikovsky, Worlds in Collision, (New York, 1950), p. 208, note 4.
10. D.W. Patten, R.R. Hatch, and L.C. Steinhauer The Long Day of Joshua and Six Other Catastrophes, (Seattle, 1973), p. 204, note 1.
11. Ibid.
12. M. Sieff, "Planets in the Bible:I - The Cosmology of Job," in the Society for Interdisciplinary Studies Review, Vol. I, No. 4, (Spring 1977), p. 32, continuation of note 19 from p. 21.
13. Ibid., p. 18.
14. See below.
15. M. Sieff, op. cit., p. 17.
16. Ibid.
17. Ibid.
18. C.S. Bryant to I. Donnelly, MS letter, in I. Donnelly, Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel, reprinted as The Destruction of Atlantis, (New York, 1883/1971), p. 277.
19. M. Burrows, "Job," in the 1959 edition of Encyclopaedia Brittannica, Vol. 13, p. 76.
20. See, for instance, J. Morgenstern, "The Divine Triad in Biblical Mythology," in the Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. LXIV, (1945), p. 17.
21. M. Sieff, op. cit., p. 18.
22. Ibid.
23. Ibid.
24. Ibid.
25. Ibid.
26. I. Velikovsky, op. cit., pp. 70-76, 85-88.
27. D. Cardona, "Let There be Light," in KRONOS, Vol. III, No. 3, (1978), p. 39.
28. A. de Grazia, "Ancient Knowledge of Jupiter's Bands and Saturn's Rings," in KRONOS, Vol. II, No. 3, (1977), p. 65.
29. M. Sieff, op. cit., pp. 18, 19-20.
30. A. de Grazia, op. cit., pp. 65 ff.
31. M. Eliade, Images and Symbols, tr. by P. Mairet, (London, 1961), p. 99.
32. D. Cardona, "The Sun of Night," in KRONOS, Vol. III, No. 1, (1977), pp. 33-35; L.M. Greenberg and W.B. Sizemore, "Saturn and Genesis," in KRONOS, Vol. I, No. 3, (1975), p. 46.
33. M. Eliade, op. cit., pp. 108-109.
34. Ibid., p. 109.
35. Ibid.
36. J. Lewy, "The Old West Semitic Sun-God Hammu," in the Hebrew Union College Annual, Vol. XVII, (Cincinnati, 1943-44), p. 433.
37. L.M. Greenberg and W.B. Sizemore, "Astral Kingship," unpublished.
38. "Rings Around Uranus," in Time, (April 11, 1977), p. 55.
39. M. Sieff, op. cit., pp. 18-19.
40. I. Velikovsky, op. cit., pp. 254-255.
41. L. Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews, (Philadelphia, 1961), Vol. I, p. 232.
42. D. Cardona, op. cit.; L.M. Greenberg and W.B. Sizemore, (see note # 32).
43. I. Velikovsky, "The Pitfalls of Radiocarbon Dating," in Pensee, (Spring-Summer 1973), p. 13; D. Cardona, (see note #27) p. 49.
44. M. Sieff, op. cit., p. 19; I. Velikovsky, (see note #9), pp. 134-139.
45. J-P Hallet (with A. Pelle), Pygmy Kitabu, (New York, 1973), p. 235.
46. M. Sieff, op. cit.
47. I. Velikovsky, (see note #9), pp. 76-81.
48. M. Eliade, op. cit., pp. 110 ff.
49. See, for instance, W.F. Albright, Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan, (New York, 1968), pp. 1-52.
50. Amos, 5:8.
51. I. Velikovsky, (see note #9), pp. 126-134.
52. Ibid., pp. 70-76, 100-104, 148-152.
53. W.F. Albright, op. cit., pp. 10-28.
54. M. Sieff, op. cit., p. 19.
55. G. de Santillana and H. von Dechend, Hamlet's Mill: An Essay on Myth and the Frame of Time, (Boston, 1969), pp. 166, 177.
56. Ibid., p. 125.
57. Ibid., p. 157.
58. P.F. Grossmann, Planetarium Babylonicum, (Rome, 1950), p. 279.
59. M. Sieff, op. cit.
60. Actually, the bonds which fettered Nimrod to the sky included the added Saturnian appendage of the axis mundi, concerning which the author intends to write at a later date.
61. M. Sieff, op. cit.
62. Homer, Iliad, xv, 119; Virgil, Georgics, iii, 91.
63. M. Sieff, op. cit., p. 20.
64. I. Velikovsky, (see note #9), pp. 244 and elsewhere in same work.
65. G. de Santillana and H. von Dechend, op. cit., pp. 323, 436, 448, 451.
66. The "Tractate Berachot," 58b, of the Babylonian Talmud, as cited by M. Sieff, op. cit., p. 19.
67. R. Klibansky, E. Panofsky, and F. Saxl, Saturn and Melancholy, (London, 1964), pp. 127-195 passim.
68. Abu Ma'sar, Introduction to Astrology, as cited in Ibid., p. 130.
69. Alcabitius, Introductorium Maius, as cited in Ibid., p. 131.
70. Epigenes of Byzantium, as quoted by Seneca, Naturales Quaestiones, vii, 4, 2; see also Cicero, De Natura Deorum, ii, 119.
71. William of Conches, Philosophia, as cited and paraphrased by R. Klibansky, et Al in op. cit., p. 181.
72. M. Sieff, op. cit., p. 20. (NOTE: The quote from Nonnos as cited by Sieff is from the Dionysiaca, xii, 52-63).
73. Dorotheus, as cited by R. Klibansky, et al in op. cit., p. 148.
74. Pliny, Natural History, II, vi, 34, (Loeb Classical Library).
75. C.H. Rawlinson, History of Herodotus, (London, 1862), Vol. I, p. 493.
76. L. Ginzberg, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 162; see also J.G. Frazer, Folk-Lore in the Old Testament, (London, 1918), Vol. I, pp. 143 ff.
77. I. Velikovsky, (see note #43), p. 13.
78. M. Sieff, op. cit., p. 20.
79. I. Velikovsky, (see note #9), pp. 271, 288; see also Pauly-Wissowa, Real Encyclopadie, Vol. XI, Col. 1156; also Seneca, De Cometis.
80. I. Velikovsky, "Worlds in Collision in the Light of Recent Finds in Archaeology, Geology, and Astronomy," supplement to his Earth in Upheaval, (New York, 1955), p. 291; S.K. Vsekhsvyatskii, "Indications of the Eruptive Evolution of Planetary Bodies," as read at the McMaster University Symposium (Velikovsky and the Recent History of the Solar System), Hamilton, Ontario, June 1974; Idem, "The Origin and Evolution of the Comets and Other Small Bodies in the Solar System," in KRONOS, Vol. II, No. 2, (1976), pp. 46-54.
81. D.H. Menzel, A Field Guide to the Stars and Planets, (Boston, 1964), p. 304.
82. L.C. Stecchini, "The Inconstant Heavens," in The Velikovsky Affair, ed. by A. de Grazia, (New York, 1966), p. 93.
83. W. Whiston, New Theory of the Earth, (1696).
84. I. Velikovsky, verbally, in Velikovsky: The Bonds of the Past, a CBC documentary by H. Zemel.
85. L. Ginzberg, op. cit.
86. O.E. Scott, The Stars in Myth and Fact, (Idaho, 1947), p. 153.
87. Ibid., p. 155.
88. R.G. Haliburton, "Primitive Traditions as to the Pleiades," in Nature, Vol. 25, (Dec. 1, 1881), pp. 100-101.
89. Ibid.
90. Ibid.
91. Ibid.
92. I. Velikovsky, (see note #43), p. 13.
93. R.G. Haliburton, op. cit .; Idem, "Orientation of Temples by the Pleiades," in Nature, Vol. 48, (Oct. 12, 1883), pp. 566-567.
94. Idem., (see note #88).
95. Ibid.
96. Ibid.
97. M. Proctor, Legends of the Stars, as cited by C.K. Bayman, Flying Saucer Review, Vol. 8, (Jan./Feb. 1962), pp. 15-17.
98. S. Collett, The Scripture of Truth, pub. in U.S.A. as All About the Bible, (New Jersey, 1972), 20th ed., p. 281.
99. G. de Santillana and H. von Dechend, op. cit., p. 136.
100. R.G. Haliburton, "Primitive Traditions as to the Pleiades," in Nature, Vol. 25, (Feb. 2, 1882), pp. 317-318. (NOTE: This is a different article from the one cited in note # 88, the more recent one having been written in answer to some comments offered by E.B. Tylor in Nature, Vol. 25, (Dec. 15, 1881), pp. 150-151).
101. W.F. Warren, Paradise Found, (Boston, 1885), in toto.
102. G. de Santillana and H. von Dechend, op. cit, p. 213.
103. F. Lenormant, "Ararat and Eden," in The Contemporary Review, (Sept. 1881), p. 461.
104. G. de Santillana and H. von Dechend, op. cit., p. 219.
105. D.W. Patten, et al., op. cit., p. 204, note 1.
106. M. Sieff, op. cit., p. 18.
107. W. Max Muller, Egyptian Mythology (Boston, 1918), p. 94 and p. 385, n. 5.
108. D. Cardona, (see note #32), pp. 34-35.

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