This ideogram nowadays represents the Wiccan religion. For Wiccan believers the five points of
the star sign in the circle represent spririt, earth, air, fire and
water, or love, wisdom, knowledge, law and power. A version of this
sign with the fivepointed star filled and with a small circle in its
center, , has been used on tanks and fighter planes
in the USA as a war sign.
This sign can be called a construction-iconic symbol for the planet Venus. This planet is the only one in our system that can clearly be identified with a simple graphic structure unambiguously derived from a plotting of its astronomical movements in space. As the orbit of , Venus, is closer to the sun than is the earth's, it is never seen more than 48 degrees from . This means that is visible as the Morning star or Evening star in the immediate vicinity of . Thus Venus can only be seen from earth just before sunrise in the morning or just after sunset in the evening. During a period of 247 days is visible as the Evening star. Then Venus comes too close to the sun to be visible from earth. Venus remains invisible for 14 days, to reappear as the Morning star, Phosphoros, Lucifer, the Bringer of Light, the Eastern star, , immediately before the sun rises in the east. For 245 days we can see each morning at dawn before it again disappears into the sun's light by getting too close to the sun. The planet is now invisible for 78 days. On the 79th evening it appears once again in the west immediately after the setting of . Venus is now the Evening star, Hesperos, Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty, fertility, sex, and peace.
If one knows the ecliptic (see in Group 38) and can pinpoint the present position of the planets in relation to the constellations of fixed stars in the zodiac (see in Group 35), it is possible to mark the exact place in the 360 degrees of the zodiac where the Morning star first appears shortly before sunrise after a period of invisibility. If we do this, wait for the Morning star to appear again 584 days later (the synodic orbital time of ) mark its position in the zodiac, and then repeat this process until we note back on point one again (six notations on five different positions in the zodiac) as the Morning star, we will find that exactly eight years have passed. If we then draw a line from the first point marked to the second point marked, then to the third, and so on, we end up with a regular pentacle or pentagram.
The following lines are taken from Zehren (see "An annotated bibliography" in the Appendices):
"It was only the planet Venus that possessed the fivepointed star sign. Not one of the innumerable stars above us can by its orbit form this sign ...
"Moreover, the points of the pentagram pointed to five different groups of stars or constellations which were easy to remember; each had a given name ... It was only later discovered that the five points moved slowly throughout the vault of heaven as if they were hands of a giant clock ... Over a period of four years each point of the pentagram was displaced one day, a 365th part of the zodiac circle ... After 1,460 solar years the `hands' stood at their original places. This unit of 1,460 years is the Egyptian Sothis' year and belongs not only to the god Seth-Sirius, but much more to the goddess Sothis. And this goddess was no other than ... Venus herself.
"The space of time between the first appearance of the planet Venus and its reappearance at the same place is exactly 1,460 days, i.e. four solar years, which was the calendar used in antiquity by the Greeks to measure the Olympiades (and also is the time interval between the modern Olympic Games).
"But after 1,460 days Venus becomes the Morning star if it was the Evening star at the beginning of the four years, and vice versa."
The pentagon, (see Group 28), can also be produced by the above procedure, with the difference that one takes into account Venus' first appearance irrespective of whether it is the Morning or the Evening star.
Among those peoples who do not know that the two appearances represent one planet, we thus get two gods or divine powers, both related to the number 8 in two ways. First is visible in one of its two appearances during a period of 245 or 247 days, which is equivalent to eight cycles of the moon. It was possible to see the brightest star in the heavens together with the new moon (or waning moon) eight times before it eventually was "swallowed by the sun", i.e. made invisible by the sun's light. Later, when those peoples had learned to draw a map of the ecliptic (called the zodiac), it became possible to draw , and then each of the two divinities got another close association to the number 8: it took eight years for as one of the two gods to complete a full cycle of the zodiac and return to its initial starting point.
It was only when humans realized that the Morning star and the Evening star were the same planet that the pentagon, , and the four-year period could be linked to .
The Akkadians were the first to realize this. Inanna, the Sumerian queen of the heavens and the daughter of the moon for the Semitic Akkadians became the contradictory Ishtar. Still the queen of the heavens, Ishtar (Astarte) was the holy virgin but also "she who accomodates men", the goddess of battle and war, but also the goddess of beauty, peace and sex.
Three were the highest divinities in the EuphratesTigris region. Their symbols can be seen in almost every ancient mythological representation. They are , the sun god; , the moon god; and , Inanna, Ishtar, Astarte.
Yet despite the fact that the true nature of had been discovered and established in the Euphrates-Tigris region, the barbaric priests and medicine men of the Greek tribes continued to believe that the Morning and Evening stars were two separate entities. When the people in Greece developped more of a civilization the differences between the corresponding two divinities became more accentuated than in other cultures. With the overall development of their civilization these differences crystallized into Athena, the Morning goddess of hunt and battle, and Aphrodite, the Evening goddess of love and beauty. It was not until about 400 B.C. (some 1,500 years after the Sumerians) that the Greeks discovered the unity of and . Diogenes Laertius writes: "... and it is believed that he [Parmenides, 400 B.C.] realized, as the first, that the Evening and Morning stars were one and the same star, which Favorinus relates to us in his fifth book of `Worthwhile thoughts'. Others claim that it was Pythagoras."
Throughout history we find that one of Venus' two aspects has always been overemphasized, and this has occurred in nearly all cultural spheres. The planet as goddess of hunt, battle, and the new day is symbolized by the sign for the waning moon, "the dying snake", , plus the construction-iconic ideogram for Venus, , that is . (From the Middle Ages and up to modern times Venus as the Morning star and goddess of battle was represented in the Near East by the eightpointed star or eight-petalled flower, as in .)
No comparable graphic symbol for as the Evening star goddess, embodying the divine qualities of beauty, peace, lovemaking, and sexual pleasures, seems ever to have existed. If we return to the Euphrates-Tigris region we find that Ishtar, the goddess of war, fertility, and sexuality, somewhere between 2000 and 1000 B.C. began to be symbolized by the sign , in which one fourpointed star structure is overlapping another. The Morning and Evening stars were thereby graphically united, which most probably meant that in the existing body of astronomical knowledge both stars were then known to be appearances of the same heavenly body. As far as the Greeks are concerned, even after they had realized that there was only one planet they continued to overemphasize one of its appearances. It was Athena, the goddess of war and special divinity of the warmongering and slave-holding Athens, who predominated at the cost of Aphrodite. In the later Odyssey, Aphrodite is hardly mentioned.
It has continued in this vein. The planet as the Morning star, , has given us the symbol of war par preference: . The other ancient Venus symbol, the rosette with eight petals, , is rarely seen. And the combination , which would have represented the planet as Aphrodite, the Evening star, together with the young bull, the new moon, is neither seen in Western nor in Eastern ideography.
Last, we should mention that , , and all represented a divinity of fertility and not only a goddess of war and of sexual pleasures. The most illustrative symbol for this particular aspect of the Venus goddess must be a young woman with her child. When a new, domineering and expansive ideology like the Christian faith discovers that it cannot wipe out an ancient and well-established mythological structure, almost as impossible to get rid of as is the brightest star in the sky of planet Earth, it can adopt this structure ("if you can't beat them, join them") and attempt to change it by giving the symbol new meanings. This is only partially possible, though. The new ideological establishment can try to emphasize and encourage those elements that agree with the new ideology, and at the same time suppress those that do not. The ardent advocates of the Christian ideology thus approved of fertility, but disapproved of its relation to sexual pleasures and tried to suppress this aspect of fertility. As a result we still have, after 2,000 years of ideological domination by the Christian faith, a holy female god, an Inanna, a goddess of fertility, albeit a very strange one, a fertility goddess who has managed to bear the best earthly fruit of all, a human child, without having engaged in un-Christian lustful and lecherous sexual activities with a man of flesh and blood.
The Morning and Evening star goddess continues to be a central role player in the mythology and lives of the peoples around the Mediterranean, but as the chaste Virgin Mary, a goddess in an ideology that emphasizes suffering, warfare, death, and martyrdom much more than intimate sexual relations, sensuality, and love between men and women. These 2,000 years have been characterized by the conflict between high but often stupid ideals and a hateful practice; by the conflict between the two fish bound together and forever trying to swim in different directions, ; by the sign of Pisces; by Jesus. From this comes the whore and madonna-complex and the worship of the virgin vulva, (see Group 44) which, instead of being a symbol for fertility and lecherous intimacy and pleasure, has been turned into a symbol for a man living without sexual relations, Jesus; for torture, for the degradation of one human by another, for the crucifixion of the son of the Venus goddess.
What, then, will happen in the new Aquarian Age? Will the two fish forever trying the impossible fade away? Will the aspect of finally be pushed into the background? Will regain its original meaning, and the aspect of dominate from now on? The author of this work is happy to state that in spite of the recurring outbursts of collective insanity in the backyards of the global village this, in fact, is how it looks today.