Saturday, July 25, 2009
A Nod to Velikovsky: His Revolutionary Predictions of Venus, and Her Wild Past
by Milky Way Maid
In 1950, Immanuel Velikovsky first started publishing his revolutionary hypotheses concerning the history of our solar system and in particular of that wayward girl, Venus. Several of his predictions about the nature of Venus were dismissed as so far off the wall as to not merit serious consideration in scientific journals. And yet several of those predictions were later borne out by scientific observation and measurement.
Among those predictions were that Venus was hot, that Venus and Jupiter would emit radio waves, that Venus has a massive atmosphere (i.e. she has high atmospheric pressure), that she rotates retrograde (has a backward spin), that in rotating she turns the same face to the Earth at every inferior conjunction (a girl likes to show her best side during a hot date, after all), that her orbit is nearly circular, that her atmosphere spins much faster than the planet itself, that she may have ground tides, and that she is cooling. All of these have been found to be true by subsequent observations, even though at the time of his predictions, Velikovsky was dismissed as a quack or even a madman.
In 1950, Venus was widely assumed to be very much like a sister planet to Earth, with a similar temperature. Scientists were quite surprised to later find that her temperature is quite high, at least 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Venus (as well as Jupiter) also astonished scientists by emitting radio waves, about three times more than was expected.
The reasoning behind Velikovsky's predictions has not yet been verified, and is possibly unverifiable. He believed that Venus was a captured cometary body that once had a highly elliptical orbit that swung from near an inner-planet Mars to just beyond Jupiter. He believed that records made by ancient Babylonians, Chinese, and others lent backing to a history of Venus that once menaced Earth and Mars with close encounters.
Take for example the problem of the so-called Venus Tablets of Ammizaduga (they are so-called because they were most likely not written during that king's reign). (Ammizaduga was the great-great-grandson of Hammurabi.) It is very difficult to reconcile their observations with any current cycles of Venus, and most astronomers and historians just throw up their hands and toss out the record as impossible. For instance, consider one 1880 translation of the K.160 tablet, held by the British Museum after being excavated from the library of Ashurbanipal by Layard about 1860.
The tablet seems to give a record of Venus' invisibilities at the inferior and superior conjunctions. It says: “In the month Sivan on the twenty-fifth day, Ninsianna (aka Venus) disappeared in the east. She remained absent from the sky for two months six days; in the month Ulul on the twenty-fourth day, Ninsianna appeared in the west, the heart of the land is happy. In the month Nisan, on the twenty-seventh day, Ninsianna disappeared in the west; she remained absent from the sky for seven days; in the month Ayar on the third day, Ninsianna appeared in the east. Hostilities occur in the land, the harvest of the land is successful.” (from Velikovsky Revisited, p. 112)
Since none of us casual readers are familiar with the calendar of the Babylonians, what this means is that Venus was invisible for two months on a superior conjunction, and was invisible for seven days on what appears to be an inferior conjunction. Another group has very regular invisibilities on superior conjunction of three months. At one point it seems that Venus missed a conjunction, or could it be that she could not be seen (Due to anything from heavy clouds to volcanic ash? We may never know.).
Even worse for those who believe that the solar system has always been the way it is now, is a suggestion that Venus may have pushed Mars out of an inner-planet orbit to one between Earth and Jupiter. Historical records do suddenly become quite concerned about Mars' activities.
What can we make of this theory and the controversy around it? One, revolutionary theories are at first attacked as irresponsible or worse. Two, its proponent is attacked as a charlatan or worse. Three, it is likely that the solar system had as tumultuous a past as that of the earth itself.
What if the myth of the birth of Pallas Athena from the head of Zeus is really a story about the birth of the planet Venus from her 'father', Jupiter? And Athena's armor is just a a way of describing Venus' brightness, like the sun shining on metal. (Perhaps the Pallas name denotes the planet's phase as a cometary body?) What if the myth of the affair between Venus and Mars is a story about the close encounter between those two planets in the historical past?
Why is it that the meticulous Babylonians did not mention Venus at all in their earliest records? Why is it that the meticulous Hindus record only four planets prior to the second millennium B.C. -- but Venus is not among them? Perhaps sometime during that period, Venus had been born but was on an elliptical orbit -- then suddenly acted like a comet and became blazing bright
Velikovsky believed that ancient records of a Venus that rivaled the Sun for brightness (according to the Chinese) and blazed “from one end of the cosmos to the other” (according to a rabbinical source) denotes a close encounter about 1450 B.C. when earth passed thru Venus' cometary tail. The Egyptians suffered lack of potable water as a fine red dust turned the waters red as blood. Fish died and rotted in the rivers. The Egyptian Ipuwer wrote: “Plague is throughout the land. Blood is everywhere.” The Babylonians wrote that Tiamat, the monster in the sky, poured out her blood all over the world. The dust phase turned to a meteorite phase, when hail and fire poured down -- perhaps the source of the phrase “fire and brimstone”.
In Mexico, the Annals of Cuaahtitlan says that the sky “rained not water, but fire, and red-hot stones.” Then a rain of burning naphtha, and a paroxysm of earth changes as the gravitational and possibly plasmic forces altered the earth's axis and brought about floods and quakes. China had floods, while Arabia became a desert.
From the Americas to Europe to the Middle East to China, records tell us of darkness that lasted for three days. Again, myth turns this cosmological event into a story. The Babylonians say that Marduk struck the dragon Tiamat (Venus) with bolts of fire. The Egyptians saw Isis (Venus) and Set in deadly battle. The Hindus say that Vishnu battled the “crooked serpent”. Zeus, says Apollodorus, fought the coiled viper Typhon. The dragon or snake-like descriptions are describing the comet-like tail of Venus at that time.
I might add that it is not impossible for comets to change their orbits or cycles. Brooks's Comet Changed its orbital period from 29 years to 7 years after a swing around Jupiter. Comet Wolf changed its perihelion after a close encounter with Jupiter, in 1875 then later reverted to its prior habits after another swing by Jupiter in 1922. The comet Oterma III had its orbit between Jupiter and Saturn prior to 1938, but then had its orbit between Mars and Jupiter; it reverted after 1965 to its prior 'hunting grounds'.
The link between the female goddesses and the snake or dragon was forever immortalized in the story of Adam and Eve, when Eve entertained the snake and caused the end of an idyllic and serene Eden. The group guilt that humanity has borne for supposedly causing the end of an edenic period, is therefore totally mistaken and unnecessary. Oh that we could erase the misogyny that resulted from Venus-Eve's wayward motions.
I conclude that Velikovsky was indeed on to something, although the details are still to be worked out. We need to go back to the historical record, improve the translations and take seriously the observations of the ancient peoples. THEY SAW SOMETHING, and they wanted us to have this record of an extraordinary time!
Also, it occurs to me that it is possible that the Mayan calendar is thrown out of whack by the changes in the length of earth days and years. After the battle of Beth-horon, the year had 360 days and twelve months.; the length of the day would have been equal to 27.5 modern hours, according to Velikovsky; either the earth spun slower or its orbit was a little closer to the sun. Evidence from cuneiform tablets found in the Nineveh royal library record calendric and astronomical data very different from the cycles of today. Perhaps the transition from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar was not merely the result of accrued inaccuracies; maybe it was because the disturbances in earth's orbit distorted our year. Hence the rush by peoples all over the world to adjust their temples, calendars and astronomical markers.
Therefore maybe we should issue a caveat regarding putting too much faith in the Mayan calendar, which was developed prior to these changes. December 2012 may not be a significant day -- or it may be that the end of the cycle actually occurs on another date.
SOURCES: I am reading a book titled “Velikovsky Reconsidered” by the editors of Pensee magazine, which contains essays from the pages of Pensee from 1966-1976 plus papers by Velikovsky. I have also read a couple of Velikovsky's books in the past, Worlds in Collision and Earth in Upheaval.
PS -- You may also wish to read Barbara Hand Clow's book, Catastrophobia, for a psychic or channeled approach to these historical earth changes. She has some interesting things to say about the significance of the change in earth's axial tilt.
PPS -- Please see also my article on the changes in the construction and design of Stonehenge over the centuries.