The time taken by Venus to seemingly orbit the Earth (i.e. a Venus synod) is currently 584 days, so that 5 Venus synods are equivalent to 8 ‘practical’ earth-years (of 365 days). Venus has a sidereal orbital period of 225 days, and 13 of these periods equal 8 practical earth-years. In both cases, the numbers composing these ratios are consecutive Fibonacci numbers, and therefore give approximations to the golden section: 8/5 = 1.6, and 13/8 = 1.625. Venus rotates extremely slowly on its axis: its day lasts 243 earth-days, or 2/3 of an earth-year (the same ratio as a musical fifth). Every time Venus and earth ‘kiss’, Venus does so with the same face looking at earth. Over the 8 years of the 5 kisses, Venus will have spun on its own axis 12 times in 13 of its years.
Thus, in 8 years Venus has 5 inferior conjunctions (when it lies between earth and sun) and 5 superior conjunctions (when it lies on the opposite side of the sun). Plotting either of these sets of 5 conjunctions in relation to the zodiac produces a five-pointed star or pentagram, the segments of the constituent lines being related according to the golden section. There is a slight irregularity, for the pentagram is not completely closed, there being a difference of two days at the top. This irregularity generates a further cycle, as it means that the pentagram will rotate through the whole zodiac in a period of about 1200 years. It is interesting to note that the pentagram was associated with the Babylonian goddess Ishtar-Venus, and that depictions of Venus as a five-pointed star have also been found at Teotihuacan in Mexico. In theosophy, Venus is said to be closely connected with our higher mind (manas), the fifth principle of the septenary human constitution.
Fig. 9.2 Teotihuacan: stellar symbol of Venus dispensing its influence
downwards towards the earth.
Fig. 9.3 The Venus pentagram.
According to theosophy, the key numbers to the solar system lie in a combination of the year of Saturn and the year of Jupiter, expressed in earth-years (Purucker, 1973, pp. 3-15). About 12 earth-years (11.86) make 1 year of Jupiter, and about 30 earth-years (29.46) make 1 year of Saturn: 12 x 30 = 360, the number of degrees in a circle and the number of days in an ideal earth-year. (Theosophy says that an earth-year oscillates above and below 360 days over very long periods of time.)
The whole process of evolution can be summed up as a descent of divine consciousness-centres or monads into matter, and their subsequent re-ascent to spirit, enriched by the experience gained on their aeons-long evolutionary journey. This process can be symbolized by two interlaced triangles, known as Solomon’s seal or the sign of Vishnu, the upward-pointing triangle representing spirit, and the downward-pointing triangle representing matter. Significantly, as Saturn and Jupiter revolve around the sun, they mark out two interlaced triangles around us every 60 years! The upward triangle is formed by their conjunctions and the downward triangle by their oppositions. Once again, there is a slight irregularity: after 60 years the conjunction does not take place at exactly the same point; there is a gap of 8 degrees, so that the interlaced triangles slowly rotate through the entire zodiac in a period of 2640 years. There are 432 of these 60-year Jupiter/Saturn cycles in a precessional cycle of 25,920 years.
Fig. 9.4 Conjunctions and oppositions of Jupiter and Saturn.
The sun is the heart and brain of the solar kingdom and the regular sunspot cycle is akin to a solar heartbeat. The sunspot cycle has a major impact on earth, especially terrestrial magnetism and the climate. Over the past 250 years its length has varied irregularly between 9 and 14 years, averaging 11.05 years. Sunspots peak shortly after Jupiter passes the point in its orbit closest to the sun. (The ‘ideal’ sunspot cycle is said in theosophy to be 12 years, so there would be one such cycle for each year of Jupiter.) The sunspot maximum does not occur exactly in the middle of the sunspot cycle. The ascending part of the cycle has a mean length of 4.3 years – very close to the figure of 4.22 years that would divide the 11.05-year cycle exactly according to the golden section.*
*Theodor Landscheidt, ‘Solar activity: a dominant factor in climate dynamics’, www.john-daly.com/solar/solar.htm.