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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:25 am 
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I remember reading in "Before The Pyramids" that the authors (Christopher Knight and Alan Butler) worked out that the use of the number 40 in the Bible led them to conclude that the mysterious light called the "Shekina" was Venus, or Venus and some other planet's conjunction. I read the book several years ago so the details are a bit fuzzy.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:13 pm 
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As concerns the Nebra Disk and its supposed 40 holes, here is an interesting analysis:

THE NEBRA SKY DISK

I have not read the whole thing, as it becomes quite tediously mathematical, but what the author says here is interesting, in consideration of the discussion of what constitutes "science." Obviously, this writer is of the mind that this clearly astronomical artifact serves as a mnemonic device to pass along important information, as I have stated above regarding the symbolism found within myths.

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....artefact as a memory device, based upon easily decipherable, ancient mathematical methodologies. The dimensions of the Nebra disk tell us how it functioned as a memory device for recalling principles of navigation and the lunisolar calendar system. Similar mathematical systems of calibration are built into the Ring of Brodgar in Scotland or the Southern Circle at Avebury Henge*, etc. The Nebra disk is thought to have been fabricated 3600-years ago.

Whether or not the disk contains 40 holes, indicating a possible link to seed germination, Venus cycles or other symbolism, or 39, connoting a relationship to the earth's equator, as this article suggests, we are still looking at an ancient artifact with scientific astronomical observations included in its symbolism.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:18 pm 
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Expanding on a previous comment linking the forty symbolism to the zodiac:
I wrote:
Hesiod wrote in Works and Days "(ll. 383-404) "When the Pleiades, daughters of Atlas, are rising, begin your harvest, and your ploughing when they are going to set. Forty nights and days they are hidden and appear again as the year moves round, when first you sharpen your sickle." These dates have changed by six weeks since Hesiod was written down due to precession of the equinox. The Pleiades are zodiac stars, and this comment from Hesiod means the ancients held that all the zodiac stars are invisible for forty days behind the sun.

Hesiod's Works and Days is a seminal text of Greek Civilization. His description of the forty day hiding of the Pleiades can be used to see the rhythm of the year. All zodiac stars hide for forty days, but the Pleiades are used as the key annual zodiac marker because of their association at Hesiod's time with the hungry period between harvest and ploughing that later became the Christian Lent, so their Easter reappearance marked the celebration of spring.

The Pleiades are a prominent asterism in the zodiac constellation of Taurus, traditionally marking the shoulder of the bull. The group was highly revered, and are seen on the Nebra Sky Disk. The Pleiades are also known as the jewel box. I grew up in Australia calling the Pleiades the little saucepan, Orion being the big saucepan.

Hesiod says the Pleiades are hidden for forty days and nights. This observation sets up a mythic structure regarding the movement of the sun. Ancient astronomers calculated dates by observing the heliacal rise and setting of stars. For example, the heliacal rise of Sirius is the date each year, in northern midsummer, when Sirius is first seen in the dawn's early light, and this appearance was celebrated in ancient Egypt as occurring when the Nile began to rise each year. Similarly, zodiac stars such as the Pleiades have heliacal rise and set dates, which Hesiod says marks the agricultural year from ploughing to harvest.

Interestingly, we may find the Christian practice of Lent in this 40 day hiding of the Pleiades described by Hesiod.

Here are the current seasonal matches:
Spring: Pleiades rise before dawn then set after dusk
Summer: Pleiades rise at midnight
Autumn: Pleiades rise at dusk
Winter: Pleiades rise at midday.

The sun approaches Taurus each northern winter, when the Pleiades are visible in the western evening sky. Hesiod says the time to begin harvest is when the Pleiades are rising. Harvest is in autumn, so it seems he is talking about when the Pleiades are high in the sky in autumn, not their heliacal rise date in winter. Then when the Pleiades are first visible after dusk in the west, the heliacal setting date, Hesiod says to plough, an activity for spring. In between harvest and ploughing, he describes a forty day period between heliacal set and rise when the Pleiades are hidden, which for him was just before the spring equinox in March, now set as the Christian 40 days of Lent. Due to precession of the equinox, this 40 day period when the Pleiades are hidden has shifted back to April-May, and the heliacal rise of the Pleiades no longer marks Passover or Easter.

Not only the Pleiades but all the zodiac stars are hidden by the sun for forty days each year. Like the forty days of the fall of Venus, we find here a major natural forty day cycle used by the ancients to manage time through their calendar, a natural period that is apparently embedded in various myths from Osiris and Noah to Christ and Quetzalcoatl.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:19 pm 
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Quote:
Forty days was the length of time in Egypt that was reckoned for the grain in the earth before it sprouted visibly from the ground. It was a time of scarcity and fasting in Egypt, the season of Lent…


More than you ever wanted to know about wheat at http://www.uky.edu/Ag/GrainCrops/ID125Section2.html

"Under favorable conditions, seedling emergence occurs within seven days."

Whatever is being translated as planting to visible is not related to 40 days.

"The grain fill period can be as few as 25 days or less in high stress environments (hot and dry weather, heavy disease, and nutrient deficiencies) and may exceed 35 days in high yield, low stress environments (disease-free, high soil moisture, and moderate/cooler temperatures)."

This would be the pollination to harvest time and closer to 40 days. Need to find out how long it was for the wheat type grown in Egypt and how long it took. Probably the first type grown so it would be the oldest of myth and "prayer" could reduce the time without anyone having to know it was a different type of wheat. Praise the gods and give the priests 10% for their successful prayer services.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:56 pm 
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Thanks. Of course, we're talking about an ancient perception of germination of seeds at the time, not modern studies. Apparently, the number 40 reflects the ancient perception of grain seeds from when they are planted to when they germinate, as stated.

Evidently this period changes depending on the era, location, temperature, humidity, type of seed, type and depth of soil, etc. I see that some evergreen trees take 30-40 days to germinate, under proper conditions.

In any event, the point is that the 40-day period in ancient times was reflective generally of a seed's germination.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:09 am 
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I have to start posting more completely. Let me try again.

Unless I read to quickly the connection of 40 to germination is based upon what some unnamed translator thought a word meant or term referred to. Maybe that translation is wrong. I would take it as a given that the translation is wrong simply because the number of days is so wrong. It is much easier to say the translation is wrong than try to argue a set of conditions where the number might be right.

Maybe that Egyptian word means something more closely related to 40 days which would be from open pollen/stamen sites to edible food. That is fertility that leads to food and seed that can be planted for a second crop. It is equivalent to the gestation period in animals another popular connection.

You are the pro. Does it make more sense to you in context of the other uses of 40 if it refers to the fruiting ('gestation') period for wheat? And if it does make more sense then if further research finds the word does not mean planting to sprouts but the fruiting time then your theory has a successful prediction. That is a very good thing. It is the kind of reverse check that underscores being correct.

The oldest wheat would have been emmer. I haven't found its fruiting time. But the over 35 days referring to a time of a very good harvest for today's common wheat so the longer the better for the size of the crop.

I have found a lot of things that make more sense if the old ways are understood. I found the earliest bread was more like hardtack. And it was used to make a form of beer drunk through a straw. Of course one can look at bread as the staff of life but when the early uses of bread included beer it clearly meant more than just food to people at the time.

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