Museum of Freemasonry - Masonic Library
Venus is the second of the four terrestrial planets, from the sun, and is, after the Sun and Moon, the brightest object in the sky, being fifteen times brighter than Sirius A, the most prominent star. We call the planet Venus the morning star when it appears in the east at sunrise, and the evening star when it appears in the west at sunset, although the ancients called it Hesperus in the evening and Phosphorous, or Lucifer, in the morning. Because of the distances of the respective orbits of Venus and the Earth from the Sun, Venus is never visible more than three hours before sunrise nor three hours after sunset, and it may also surprise you that Venus can be seen in broad daylight, provided you know where, and when, to look after reference to an almanac.

Galileo made the first telescopic observations of the planet in 1610. The discovery that Venus and Mercury exhibited phases like the Moon, convinced Galileo that the planets must revolve around the Sun and not the Earth. When viewed through a telescope, the planet Venus exhibits Moon-like phases, and a full Venus appears at its smallest when it is on the far side of the Sun at a distance of 257 million kilometres from us. Maximum brilliance is seen in the crescent phase when it is much closer to Earth at a distance of only 41.4 million kilometres.

Venus’s complete cloud cover and deep atmosphere make it difficult to study from the Earth, and most knowledge of the planet has been obtained through the use of space vehicles, particularly those that carried probes that descended through the atmosphere to the planetary surface. The Americans sent Mariner, Pioneer and Magellan missions to Venus and the Russians despatched Venera and Vega missions, the latter were primarily involved in investigating Halley’s Comet and the study of Venus was a secondary objective.

Some of those missions were flyby and others were orbiters but the most information was obtained from probes launched from the mother ship, that descended to the planetary surface and broadcast scientific data, albeit briefly. The Venera landers operated for about an hour, returning information, including photographs of the surface to the craft in orbit above, before being crushed by the huge atmospheric pressure of the planet. The orbiter relayed the data back to Earth where it was eagerly studied. The Magellan probe, launched in 1989 stayed in orbit and began transmitting radar images of the planet in 1990. They have been computer-processed to form spectacular three-dimensional views of the terrain which will probably never be seen by human eyes.

The surface temperature on Venus is highly uniform and is about 462 C, hot enough to melt lead; the surface pressure is 96 Earth atmospheres, making Venusian atmosphere on the surface, denser than water; the atmosphere consists almost wholly (97%) of carbon dioxide with only traces of nitrogen, oxygen and water vapour. The base of the cloud is approximately fifty km above the surface and the cloud particles are concentrated sulphuric acid. Beneath the cloud it’s light, but hazy. The sulphur content of the clouds is of volcanic origin and the sulphuric acid never reaches the surface as rain because it evaporates at the cloud base and can only remain in the atmosphere as cloud. The planet has no detectable magnetic field which was an unexpected find and is attributed to the slow rate of rotation or spin of the planet.

The chemistry of Earth and Venus are not that different it’s just that the CO2 on Earth is largely tied up in oceans and in limestone that does not exist on Venus. Many scientists argue that Venus, being closer to the Sun, was subjected to a so-called runaway greenhouse effect, which caused any existing oceans to evaporate into the atmosphere, where the water molecules broke down under ultra-violet radiation. The hydrogen atoms of the water molecules could have been lost to space and the oxygen atoms to the crust where they combined in rock-forming silicate minerals.

The reason for both Venus’s brightness and for the lack of knowledge is the same: the thick blanket of clouds that reflect 76% of the sunlight reaching it. Cloud patterns and weather features can be discerned as streaks in the cloud tops that give some information about wind motion, the upper-level winds circling the planet at 360 km/h. These winds cover the planet completely, blowing virtually at every latitude from equator to pole. Tracking the motion of descending probes has shown that, despite the scale of these high-speed upper-level winds, much more than half of Venus’s tremendously dense atmosphere, near the planets surface is almost stagnant. If the surface movement is virtually nil why should the upper level winds blow at 360 km/h?

Venus rotates very slowly on its axis, and the direction is retrograde (opposite to that of Earth and all other planets). Curiously the same side of Venus always faces the Earth when the two planets are closest. At such times, the side facing Earth can be viewed and mapped by Earth-based radio telescopes that “see” through the clouds.

What has been determined is that 85% of the surface is plains. Superimposed on those plains are small and large volcanoes and some impact craters. There are no small impact craters, i.e. less than 8km, probably because all small meteors burn up in the dense atmosphere. The highlands exhibit varying morphologies comprising; elevated plateau; folded mountain ranges, and shield volcanoes, among others.

The Earth’s closest neighbour in its journey around the Sun is Venus, just 41 million km away. The Earth is 150 million km from the Sun and Venus’s almost circular orbit is 109 million km from the Sun. There are many similarities between the two planets, so much so that Venus was called our twin planet in space and it was hypothesised that beneath the cloud cover was a tropical paradise awaiting the first visitor from Earth. We now know the truth to be vastly different with the horrendous heat, overwhelming pressure and highly acidic atmosphere. Despite Mercury being closer to the Sun, Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system. Rather than being a paradise, it is more like hell and colonization is a very remote possibility perhaps centuries away, if at all.

When scientists first measured the rotation rate of Venus using radar in the 1960’s, they expected a fairly fast rotation rate, similar to that of earth and Mars. What they found, was a rotation taking 243 days, longer than the planet’s year of 225 days, and in the wrong direction, i.e. from East to West or, a retrograde motion.

The main work of the Russian probes has been to analyse the rocks around their landing sites, and to collect samples for internal analysis, in addition, the Soviet spacecraft were equipped with cameras to photograph the landscape. A few colour photos and many black and white have been taken and I can show you in the South.

Against the background of the Zodiac, Venus completes a five pointed star shape every eight years and returns to its exact starting place after five cycles, or forty years.  Every eight years it marks a point in time when the solar calendar, the lunar calendar and the sidereal calendar all coincide within two minutes. After five cycles, i.e. forty years that time is synchronised to within fractions of a second, providing a calendar and a clock that was used to set the time of day until the 1950’s when even more-accurate atomic clocks were developed. Put simply, Venus is the metronome of our world. Understand this and such other vital functions as the seasons and the tides, and you master your environment both in terms of farming and seamanship, ensuring that you will eat and trade efficiently. This was of great importance to early civilizations and well repaid the centuries of observation necessary to learn this.

Megalithic observatories were created at Newgrange in Ireland some 5,500 years ago to accurately measure the Venus cycle and mark the Winter solstice. This was an important measurement tool for these ancient astronomers because when viewed from Earth, Venus was the most accurate indicator of the time of year, in the solar system.

The study of Phoenician gods revealed three goddesses to be different aspects of the planet Venus. A similar trilogy exists in the Norse pantheon, but with different names. It is believed that the Phoenicians, or Canaanites carried their beliefs with them when working on the Temple for Solomon and may have affected its ultimate design. The family of William St. Clair of Roslyn fame, hereditary Grand Masters in early Scottish Masonry include both Jewish and Norse ancestors, so it is possible that Venus became involved in early Masonic ceremonies via Scottish Freemasonry.

It is said that the first known name for the city of Jerusalem was Urushalim, “Uru’ founded by “Shalem”, the name of the Canaanite god of Venus in its evening setting, but Solomon’s Temple was facing in the opposite direction, towards Venus rising in its role as morning star. We can be certain that King Solomon’s Temple was built by Canaanites who were known to worship Venus, also we can understand that Solomon had no tradition of his own to give him the knowledge of how to build a temple that was properly constructed to interface with the heavens. However it is perplexing that these Venus worshipping Phoenicians were allowed to build the house of God.

Biblical scholars have noted from passages such as I Kings 11.5 that Venus was worshipped by Solomon in her special form as the deity of the Phoenicians and he fell out of favour with God. The official worship of Venus as Astarte, the Queen of Heaven continued in the Kingdom of Judah until circa 600 BCE.

Moses created Princes of the Tabernacle and the initiations took place when the Pentagram, or blazing star was to be seen in the east. A blazing star that is referred to as a Pentagram can only be a reference to Venus which had long been associated with the pentagram because of the planet’s apparent movement around the sun when observed from Earth. It is suggested that when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in year 70 of the Christian Era, a number of the Princes of the Tabernacle managed to escape to locations across Europe. It was from these families that the men came, who went on to found the Knights Templar.

The modern Masonic Temple is designed along the same astronomical lines as the Temple at Jerusalem, with the free standing pillars of B and J marking the extremities of the rising sun at the summer solstice in the North, and the winter solstice in the South. On the equinoxes the sun rose between the two pillars in a position due East and on certain dates the planet Venus rose as a bright star ahead of the sun to shine brightly through the dormer into the holy of holies.

The layout of every Masonic Temple is said to be a model of Solomon’s Temple, and today every Master Mason is raised from his temporary death by the pre-dawn light of the rising Venus at a symbolic equinox. The rising of Venus was central to Canaanite theology and was associated with resurrection, as it is in Freemasonry in our third degree.

When the candidate is raised from his tomb his head rises in a curve towards the East to meet Venus which is also rising above the horizon. The East-West line marks the equinox, the point of equilibrium between the two solstices, when there are twelve hours of light and twelve of darkness. It appears that some rituals of Craft Masonry are based upon astronomy and have a heritage well over five thousand years old. The W.M. directs the candidates gaze towards the East where he can see a five-pointed ‘star’ rising before the sun at dawn. The planet Venus as she moves around the sky touches the path of the sun in just five places, just like the W.M. embracing the candidate at just five points, when he is raised.

Cyclical appearances of the planet Venus, in a pre-dawn rising against a particular part of the sky were clearly of great importance in the early period of Jewish Kings as the Bible tells us. Saul, David and Solomon, all ruled for forty years, a full Venusian cycle. It seems that Freemasonic ritual aligns with the astral cultic practices of the royal lineage of Jerusalem, the city of Venus.

The authors Knight and Lomas are Freemasons and conclude that after 14 years of research and four books culminating in The Book of Hiram, they have found the missing link between Judaism and Christianity on the one hand and the secret Masonic tradition on the other. Freemasonry is a major untapped source of information about our past that is in danger of being lost, forever because of lack of knowledge of the rituals. To lose the information buried within in its rituals, before it is properly understood would be throwing away one of the true treasures of the western world. There seems to have been a hidden astral agenda, in mainstream Judaism and Christianity, that has survived in the Masonic tradition and been reinforced by Norse beliefs in the power of the Bright Morning Star we call Venus.

The picture that has been revealed is that some of the rituals of Craft Masonry have been based on astronomy and have a heritage that is over 5,000 years old. They found a chain of belief that has survived being passed through several different cultures to end up in modern Masonic Temples, where it is now faithfully recited without a proper understanding from whence it came, nor what it represents.

WM and brethren it is up to us to try and understand the rituals, which, have been so much a part of our Masonic lives. We should endeavour to look behind the words in future to form greater understanding of those rituals, and I hope that this talk tonight will in some way inspire you to do the same. I have based much of the latter part of this talk on The Hiram Key and can only include a fraction of the findings contained therein. I would hope that you keep an open mind on the subject and read it for your own satisfaction, and you can decide if it is fascinating, or controversial. Incidentally the book is available at our Library for borrowing by interested brethren.

VW Bro Robert Taylor


Anat                                                    Hebrew

Asherah                                               Canaanite

Asherat                                                Canaanite

Ashtar                                                 Canaanite

Ashtoreth                                            Phoenician

Astart                                                  Hebrew

Astarte                                                 Canaanite

Baalat                                                  Phoenician

Baalat-Gebal                                        Phoenician

Bright Star of the Morning                  Masonic

Freyja                                                  Norse

Frigg                                                   Norse

Hamaliel                                              Masonic

Hathor                                                 Egyptian

Hesperus                                             Greek

Inanna                                                 Sumerian

Ishtar                                                   Sumerian

Lucifer                                                 Old English

Matrona                                               Hebrew

Morning Star                                       Masonic

Nut                                                      Egyptian

Phosphorous                                       Greek

Salem                                                  Canaanite

Sekhmet                                              Egyptian

Shachar                                               Canaanite

Shalem                                               Canaanite

Uatchet                                                Egyptian



Venus                         Earth

Equatorial distance in kilometres                     12,104                         12,756

Sidereal period of axial rotation                       243.16 days       23H 56M 4S

Inclination to orbit                                           178 deg             23 deg 27 min

Density in kgm per cubic metre                       5,250                           5,517

Comparative mass                                           0.815                           1.000

Surface gravity                                                0.903                           1.000

Escape velocity in km per second                    10.36                           11.20

Albedo or reflectivity of light                            0.76                             0.36

Average distance to the Sun in mill km           109                              150

Average distance to the Sun in A.U.               0.72333                      1.00

Length of year in Earth days                           225                              365


Notes   A.U. = astronomical unit, the average distance from Earth to Sun.

Sidereal time = time based upon Earth’s rotation relative to Sun. Sidereal day =        one Earth revolution on its axis relative to Sun.

Sidereal hour = one twenty fourth of a sidereal day.