Symbolism of the Number 7 Notes by Dr. Honora M. Finkelstein Sevens are very important in the poem. There are seven temples from which Inanna withdraws; she gathers the seven me  (which appear to be powers of mastery, similar to the Hindu concept of siddhe powers); she has seven items with which she dresses herself; and she encounters seven gates through which she must pass. Numerology associates the number seven with lessons to be learned, so the time has come for learning lessons.  The earth was considered from ancient times to be under the influence of seven planets, including the sun, the moon, and the planets we know as Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn. Also, seven has significance in terms of the time- space continuum: there are seven notes in the musical scale and seven colors in the light spectrum; modern physics posits that matter is the same thing as light, except it has been slowed down (through sound) to material form.  As for time, the Bible gives us seven days of creation, and ancient wisdom links the number with seven aeons.  So seven may well represent the time-space continuum, over which Inanna is Queen. While I have not found information from Sumer on the seven planets, in the slightly later culture of Babylon the gods associated with the planets were Ninib (Saturn), Marduk (Jupiter), Nergal (Mars),  Samash (sun), Ishtar (Venus), Nabu (Mercury), and Sin (moon). The seven-day week comes to us from Babylon, with each god ruling a particular day, and Babylonian astrologers gave every hour of the day a ruling god, with the same pattern of gods repeating every seven hours and then starting over again, throughout the course of the week, and of course coming back to where it started at the beginning of the next week. Because of this progression, the first hour of each day was ruled by a different god, referred to as the Controller of the Day. So time was definitely under the control of the planets. Inanna, like Ishtar of the Babylonians, was believed to be the living embodiment of the planet we know as Venus, which at different times in its revolution around the sky appears either as the morning star or the evening star. And the planet Venus is the third brightest object in the sky, so bright that on a moonless night, it casts a discernable shadow. Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas in their book Uriel’s Machine (London: Arrow Books, 2000) call the planet Venus the “metronome of the solar system.” The orbit of Venus appears from Earth to move in the shape of a five- pointed star with the sun at its center, and taking 40 years to repeat the process.  Its movements are so reliable that Knight and Lomas say, “If one understands the position of Venus, one knows the time and date to a precision measured in seconds over hundreds of years.” Knight and Lomas also observe the following points about the orbit of the planet Venus: Astronomers used the appearances of Venus to correct the civil calendar up until the last century when atomic clocks were developed that gave a more accurate calendar correction. The five-pointed star is a sacred symbol in Freemasonry, and gives its name to the women’s auxiliary of Freemasonry, the Order of the Eastern Star. All Masonic lodges in England have a five-pointed star shape in their ceilings. The five-pointed star was the Egyptian hieroglyph for “knowledge,” probably because anyone who understood the movements of Venus was in possession of important scientific knowledge, which not only helped calculate time but gave information about planting, the inundations of the Nile, and harvest. The five-pointed star is connected in many traditions to the five-petalled rose (dogwood flower and possibly rose of Sharon), symbol of resurrection and the virgin birth. And yet another association not mentioned by Knight and Lomas is the title of the pentagram as the “sign of man.” We will have occasion to examine some of these associations further as we proceed through the course.   Made with Xara Website by Susan Smily