Venus Resurrects This Easter Sunday
by John P. Pratt
Reprinted from Meridian Magazine (Feb. 27, 2001)
©2001 by John P. Pratt. All rights Reserved.
Have you noticed Venus, the Evening Star, currently blazing in the west after sunset? From
Native American traditions we learn that in this phase it represents the Savior when he was at the
heights of his ministry. In March it will plunge into the darkness below the horizon even as the
Savior conquered the forces of death in the underworld. Then, in an extremely rare event,Venus
will resurrect precisely on Easter (April 15, 2001) as the Bright Morning Star. That rare
coincidence, which won't happen again for fifteen hundred years, can be witnessed around the
world just before dawn on Easter Sunday wherever the eastern horizon is low and clear. This
extraordinary sight was also witnessed on that Easter Sunday morning long ago when death was
conquered by the Savior of all mankind.
The scriptures contain several references to the Morning Star, which we know as the planet Venus.
In fact, the Savior clearly identifies himself as "the bright and morning star" (Rev. 22:16). Just
what does that mean? Is it simply a figurative reference, meaning that Jesus was the most
illuminating person ever to have come to earth, or is there a meaningful connection to the actual
Native Americans have preserved traditions which suggest that the cycles of Venus, the Evening
and the Morning Star, symbolize the life of their white and bearded god, the Feathered Serpent,
who was said to have visited them during the first century AD. Because of the account in the
Book of Mormon of the visit of the Savior to the Western Hemisphere during that same century,
much has been written supporting the idea that the Feathered Serpent was none other than the
resurrected Jesus Christ. There is much calendrical evidence supporting this identification, some of which will be presented in this article.
1. The Feathered Serpent
Nearly every Native American tribe has a legend of a great prophet who visited them in the distant
past, and who promised to return someday. He was described as being tall, white-skinned and
bearded. He taught a religion of love and service, and he forbade human sacrifice. He also taught
agriculture, metallurgy, astronomy, medicine and government. Moreover, "it was held as true that
he made the calendar." He was known by a variety of names throughout the hemisphere, such
as Totem in Alaska, Tacoma in Washington, Ioskeha in New York, Montezuma in Texas,
Quetzalcoatl in Mexico, Viracocha in Peru, Wako in the Amazon, Temaukel in Tierra del Fuego
and Tiki in Polynesia.. The English translation of some of these names is the "Feathered
Serpent." It was said that he was half man and half god, being the son both of a god and also of a
beautiful mortal virgin. The "feathered serpent" symbol seems appropriate because the feathers,
exemplifying the power to fly to the heavens, represent godliness, and the serpent represents
mortality. This symbolism is virtually identical to Moses's imagery of a fiery, flying serpent
which he used to represent the Savior lifted up on the pole to heal all who would look (Num. 21:6
9, 1 Nephi 17:41, 2 Nephi 25:20, Hel. 8:14-15).
If it is not already clear to the reader that the legendary Feathered Serpent was Jesus Christ, some
calendrical evidence will now be marshalled to testify. First, the timing of the visit of the
Feathered Serpent is given as about the time of Christ in the history written by an Aztec prince who
converted to Christianity at the time of the Spanish conquest. He also specifically mentions the
darkening of the sun and moon, and earthquakes as happening "at the same time when Christ our
Lord suffered, and they say it happened during the first days of the
year." That was written
about the year 1600, long before the Book of Mormon gave a similar account in 1830 (3 Nephi 8).
The former was not published, however, until 1848, and then only in Spanish, so the Book of
Mormon version could not have been copied from it.
The Feathered Serpent.
A second calendrical testimony comes from the Native American traditions that link the Feathered
Serpent to the cycles of the evening and the morning star. They record that "at the time when the
planet was visible in the sky (as evening star) Quetzalcoatl died. And when Quetzalcoatl was dead
he dwelt in the underworld... not until 8 days had passed did the great star appear; that is, as the
morning star. They said that then Quetzalcoatl ascended the throne as god."
This precious intelligence provides two great insights. First, it suggests one way to test the
hypothesis that Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent, was indeed Jesus Christ. The date of his
Resurrection is clearly given in terms that most Bible scholars agree must refer either to what
would have been called Sunday, 7 April AD 30 or Sunday, 3 April AD 33 on our calendar.
Second, it allows us to reconstruct the symbolism of the entire cycle of Venus.
The first test perfectly fits one of the two proposed resurrection dates. On Sunday, 3 April 33,
Venus was indeed rising as the Bright and Morning Star, whereas it was some three months past
the rising in AD 30. That coincidence provides circumstantial evidence both that Christ was the
Feathered Serpent, and also that the AD 33 date is correct for the Resurrection.
It is the second insight that provides the key to reconstructing the entire Venus Calendar. This
calendar allows us to pinpoint the exact day that Venus resurrects, and hence to appreciate the fact
that it will again resurrect precisely on Easter Sunday this year. In order to understand the Venus
calendar, we must first consider the motion of the evening and the morning star.
2. Cycles of the Dawn Star
Venus is closer to the sun than is the earth, which means that it can never be in the sky opposite the
sun. If you see a bright star rising in the east after sunset, it cannot be Venus because Venus is
always near the sun. Thus Venus is called the evening and the morning star because those are the
only times it can appear in a dark sky. The illustration shows the key points in the orbit of Venus,
as seen from the earth, so think of both the sun and the earth as at rest in this diagram, with Venus
circling the sun with a period of 584 days. When Venus is at position (1), it is invisible, being
nearly in front of the sun. Then it rises about 4 days later at (2), when it first arrives at a great
enough angle from the sun to barely be visible before sunrise, only to immediately disappear in the
sun's light. Venus then rises a little earlier every morning until it becomes a blazing beacon before
it nears point (3), where it reaches its maximum angle of over 45 degrees from the sun. It
continues for an average of 263 days total as a morning star, at which time it disappears at (4).
About 50 days later it rises at point (6) a dim evening star in the west, dim because it is so far from
the earth. It then spends another 263 days, or nearly nine months, as an evening star before it
again disappears at (8). As it nears the earth it gets its brightest about a month after passing point
(7). It is near this brightest point at the time of this article's publication (20 Feb 2001), and it will
stay that bright for about two weeks. So if you haven't seen it, be sure to go look immediately
because it is so brilliant it will cast a shadow on a moonless night. It also appears to be a crescent
shape if viewed in a telescope, because it is coming between us and the sun. After disappearing
from the western sky, it spends about 8 days being invisible between the earth and the sun. Thus,
the total period of the evening/morning star cycle is 8 + 263 + 50 + 263 = 584 days. The next figure
shows how these cycles appear to an observer. The actual path of Venus can be very erratic,
sometimes changing to be from south to north. It truly appears to be a "wanderer," which is the
meaning of the word "planet."
The mystery of how Venus relates to the life of Christ is solved by the Native American legends.
The first appearance of Venus as a morning star "was probably the most important single event in
Mayan astronomy. . . ." one noted astronomer concludes, "Little wonder that the theme of death and
resurrection finds symbolic expression in the interaction of these two bodies" (the sun and
Venus). Knowing that the setting of Venus as an evening star represents death, allows us to
fill in some other orbital symbolism. The rising of Venus as an evening star would represent birth,
which is especially appropriate because it rises dim, like a newborn baby. Venus then slowly
grows to manhood, but when it reaches its brightest point, it quickly plunges into the earth, even
as the Savior was killed in his prime. This year, Venus will disappear toward the end of March.
The planet then resurrects, becoming visible to the trained eye again probably about 5-10 April,
depending on observing conditions. But as we will now see, there is a calendar date indicated for
the official resurrection date of Venus, on which it is bright enough for all to see. That date this
year coincides with Easter Sunday, 15 April 2001.
The Mayans provided us with a pattern for the four precise orbital points that were most important
to them. Three of the four points were those of birth, death, and resurrection, which match fairly
well the actual cycle of Venus. The fourth point has been a mystery. It occurs 90 days before
birth, rather than 50 as one would expect if it coincided with the setting of the morning star.
Scholars have concluded that it must have some ritualistic significance. Because of the
symbolism of the other three points, I propose that the fourth point represents the beginning point
of the cycle. I refer to it as creation, and it probably represented conception. The
point some forty days thereafter, when Venus descends into darkness most likely would represent
the moment of "quickening," when the spirit enters the body, which was an important concept to
Native Americans. These points are labeled in Figure 2. The Native Americans also identified a day when the Feathered Serpent "ascended the throne as god" which is probably near the point where Venus becomes brightest as a morning star, but my research has not identified that point with certainty
Because we have no extant version of a long term Venus calendar, I have invented one based on
these points identified by the Mayans. I have not yet finalized the details of this calendar, but there
is a preliminary version on my web site. The uncertainties, however, are minor and do not
affect the conclusions of this article. The important point here is that there is a precise date
indicated for each event.
3. Jesus Christ, the Bright and Morning Star
Several of the key dates in the life of Christ occurred on the "holy days" on the Venus Calendar. Although the birth date
of the Savior has been somewhat controversial, the evidence to me seems compelling that the
Savior was born during the night preceding Thursday, 6 April, 1 BC, which is indicated as
Passover that year. The Venus calendar day begins at midnight, when Venus can never be
seen. If the birth was before midnight, then it would have been on the very beginning day of the
Venus cycle, 1 Creation. In light of the multitude of Venus alignments which I have discovered, I
propose that Jesus was born before midnight, when Passover coincided with the beginning of the
It also appears that the Savior's baptism occurred on the day of atonement on the Judean calendar,
Saturday, 6 Oct 29. That day coincides with the last day on the Venus cycle before Prime, and the day on which he began his 40-day fast coincided with the day 1 Prime on the Venus calendar. On all of
these sacred calendars both the last day and first days are usually considered holy, even as the days
Sunday and Saturday in our seven-day week, with Christians celebrating the first day of the week
and the Hebrews the last. Thus, both the day of the Savior's baptism, and the day he began his fast would be considered "holy days" on the Venus calendar. The other six holy days are 1 Creation, 1 Birth, 1 Resurrection, and the day preceding each.
The Savior began his ministry on Saturday, 6 April 30, which is the precise equivalent of his
baptism day, but with Venus on the morning star side of its orbit, rather than the evening star side.
I have not yet been able to determine it that is also a key orbital point, although astronomically we
would expect it to be. As mentioned earlier, it could likely represent godhood, being a bright
point after resurrection.
There is, however, no question about the alignment of the day of the Savior's resurrection. On the
Venus calendar, if the resurrection was after the midnight which began Sunday, 3 April 33, then it
coincided with the day 1 Resurrection on the Venus calendar. Thus of these three key dates in the Savior's
life, all of them coincide with Venus holy days. The best symbolism, however, was that preserved
by the Native Americans: The resurrection of the Savior coincided exactly with the resurrection of
Venus. That means when the darkness cleared away in the morning, after the destruction
experienced by the Nephites, one of the first sights that would meet their eyes would have been the
rising of the Dawn Star, heralding the overcoming of death.
4. The Resurrection Easter Repeats.
This Easter Sunday we will have an opportunity to witness the resurrection of Venus precisely on
Easter Sunday morning. That is an extremely rare event. There are two important dates in L.D.S.
Church history which occurred on similar dates. First, the return of the prophet Elijah, prophesied
by Malachi at the close of the Old Testament, occurred on Easter Sunday, 3 April 1836, which was
calendrically one of the most similar days in history to that of the resurrection of the Savior.
To my knowledge, however, the similarity did not include any Venus symbolism. Another
important date in Church history was the coming forth of the Book of Mormon on Thursday, 25
March 1830. That day, which was New Year's Day on the Hebrew Calendar, was also the
day 1 Resurrection on the Venus calendar. The planet Mercury, which is also an evening and
morning star, was also at the same day of its cycle on both of these dates as it was on the Easter of
the Savior's resurrection, acting as a second witness that these alignments were not due to chance.
Thus there was symbolism for the resurrection of the Book of Mormon, when it could again speak
to us like a voice from the dust. But that date was not Easter Sunday. Thus one of these
dates aligned with Venus, and the other with Easter, but both of them aligned also with the planet
Mercury. In the case of this coming Easter the alignment is with both Easter and Venus, but not
with the planet Mercury.
Please understand that I am not expecting any great event to occur on Easter this year. Similar alignments have occurred in the past and to my knowledge they were not accompanied by any event the world would notice. But it
seems like a wonderful time to actually witness the rising of Venus on Easter, just as it occurred at
the Savior's resurrection. Just how rare is this alignment? Only one day of every 584 days is the
day on which Venus resurrects, which can occur on any day of our year. Thus, we would expect
about one Easter Sunday every 584 years to have this alignment. I checked to see when it will
happen again, and it turns out that the next 1,500 years are not average, because it will not occur
for more than another 1,500 years. So this is an event of a millennium to witness.
How can you best observe it? About an hour before sunrise on Easter Sunday, you should be
somewhere where the eastern horizon is low, away from mountains if possible. Most of the
United States will then have Daylight Savings time, so sunrise will be about 6:00 a.m. rather than
5:00 a.m. Even then it depends on where you live in the time zone, so listen to your
local weather report.
I will be giving a special Easter Sunrise and Venus Rise Service at 6 a.m. in Utah Valley discussing the importance of
these calendrical alignments in the Savior's life. If you would be interested in attending it, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions
as to where it will be. It will be outside so there will be plenty of room for anyone interested.
5. Other Venus Cycles
There are many Venus cycles used throughout the scriptures. Perhaps I should mention a few here
so that the reader will understand that the Venus alignments mentioned so far are not merely due to
5.1 8-Year Cycle
There is an 8-year cycle which realigns both the moon and Venus with the year. The alignment is
not perfect but it is close enough so that 8 years from this Easter, Venus will again be very near its
Resurrection day on Easter Sunday. It won't be on the precise day, but it will be close enough that
it will look about the same. Then 8-years after that it will be a little farther off, until Venus is no
longer even close to the resurrection point at Easter.
The most obvious occurrences of this cycle in the L.D.S. church are the dates for baptizing
children. If a child is baptized very near to the eighth birthday, then the baptism date will be
similar to the birth date on our calendar, on the Hebrew calendar which includes the moon, and
also on the Venus calendar. Note that the alignment is excellent. Five cycles of 584 days for
Venus require exactly 8 years of 365 days (both equal 2,920 days). This suggests that ordinance
dates may be important in each of our lives, and not just in the life of the Savior.
5.2 40 Years
There are many 40-year periods mentioned in the Bible. Forty years is a set of five 8-year Venus
alignment periods, after which the planet realigns with the planet Mercury. As has already been
mentioned, Mercury is an important second witness to many of these dates and has the same 8 holy days illustrated above during a 116-day cycle. It appears that many
of the forty-year periods mentioned in scripture refer to Mercury/Venus alignments which coincide
with Hebrew holy days.
5.3 430 Years
There are at least four references to 430-year periods in the scripture, and it turns out that 430 years
is another Venus realignment period, when Hebrew holidays can occur on the same day of the
Venus cycle. We are told that the Exodus occurred 430 years to the very day from the beginning
of the sojourn of Israel (Ex. 12:40-41). What is the point being made about the accuracy of the
very day? That may have to do with the fact that the Venus cycle is exactly 157,073 days, and
knowing that, one could figure out the exact day of the Exodus. It was also 430 years from the
birth of Peleg to the death of his father Eber (Genesis 11:17). Having the hint that the dates might
be separated by a Venus cycle could be a clue to discovering the exact dates. Another example is
the prophet Ezekiel was told by the Lord to lay on his side for a total of 430 days, which
represented 430 years (Ezek. 4:5-6), which again could be a big chronological clue. Then, it turns
out that the one chronological correction that the Prophet Joseph Smith made to Genesis was that
Enoch did not live 365 years as stated in Gen. 5:23, but rather 430 years (Moses 8:1). What
difference does that make? What does it matter if he lived 365 or 430 years? Perhaps it is important
to know that Enoch was born and translated on a Venus cycle.
5.4 A Strange Scripture
What is the strangest scripture you can think of? While you think, here is one of the strangest
scriptures that I know. The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that Enos was 134 years and
4 months old when he was ordained to the patriarchal priesthood (D&C 107:44). Now why
would the Lord bother to tell us about those other four months? Was he hoping that we would
know that 12 Venus cycles equal almost exactly 7,007 days (being a miniature of the 7,000 years
of temporal existence), and that Enos might have been ordained when he had completed 7 such
cycles which would take 134 years and 4 months? If so, we might be able to deduce the exact dates of his birth and ordination, and perhaps those dates would be important to know.
If that scripture is not strange enough for you, then I would challenge you to top the one only a
few verses farther in that section. There we are told that Mahalaleel was 496 years and 7 days old
when he was ordained (D&C 107:46)! When was the last time you heard that one quoted in
church? Who cares about seven days in the life of someone 496 years old? Or could it be a clue
needed to solve a puzzle which might otherwise be ambiguous? Another set of candidate strange
scriptures are those where we are told the precise day on which the Great Deluge began, how long
it rained, on what day the ark rested, when the mountains were seen, when Noah released some birds,
and, strangest of all, the precise day on which the earth was dried (Gen. 7:11-8:14). Knowing that
Genesis is a revelation from God and not a bunch of campfire stories might allow one to discover
that the story of the flood contains a grand chronological template.
The point of all of this is mainly to convince you that there are a lot of unusual chronological tidbits
in the scriptures, and that God might actually expect us to calculate some very precise dates in
Hopefully you will think of the Savior's mission whenever you see Venus, especially during the
next two months. It really is a beautiful and striking symbol of the Savior. It has
the pattern of his whole life mission. And hopefully we will take the time to at least try to see
Venus in the morning sky on Easter Sunday morning, in an event that probably won't be repeated
for over a thousand years.
The Venus Resurrection Easter Sunrise Service was held at 6:00 a.m. on Sun 15 Apr 2001 at Thanksgiving Point, Lehi, Utah. Click here to see the program and list of those who attended.
- See Hunter, Milton R., Christ in Ancient America, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1972.
- Juan de Torquemada, Monarquia Indiana (Madrid, 1723), vol. 2, pp. 40-50, quoted in Hunter, op. cit. , p. 31. Torquemada was a Catholic priest in the sixteenth century who preserved many Native American traditions.
- O'Brien, T.J., Fair Gods and Feathered Serpents, Bountiful, Utah, Horizon Publishers, 1997, p. 30. His book investigates a wide variety of possible identifications of the Feathered Serpent.
- Millett, Ronald P. and Pratt, John P., "What Fiery Flying Serpent Symbolized Christ?", Meridian Magazine, 9 Jun 2000.
- Hunter, Milton R. & Ferguson, Thomas S., Ancient America and the Book of Mormon,
Oakland, Kolob Book, 1950, p. 190.
- Aveni, Anthony F., Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico, Austin, Texas, U. of Texas Press, 1980, p. 187.
- Pratt, J.P. "Dating the First Easter," Ensign (June, 1985), pp. 59-68.
- The period of Venus is only about 225 days relative to the stars. That is called the sidereal period and
is the one listed in most planetary tables. But the cycle of the evening and morning star derive
from the phases of Venus as seen relative to the sun, and it requires an average of 583.92166 days,
the "synodic period," for its completion.
- These are the average periods given by Aveni, op. cit., p. 89. These are averages, the actual intervals can vary by weeks. The Venus calendar, however, is based on average periods.
- Aveni, op. cit., p. 86.
- Aveni, op. cit., p. 187.
- There is a calendar conversion program on my web site. It is not documented, you have to find it by selecting "Venus" from the calendar list.
- Pratt, J.P., "Passover: Was It Symbolic of His Coming?", Ensign, (Jan. 1994), pp. 38-45.
- This date is indicated by the Hebrew Calendar because it was the day of atonement, which is the proper day for reconciliation and covenant-making with God. It also explains why a multitude would be gathered to hear John the Baptist and be baptized. See Pratt, J.P. "What Every Mormon Should Know About Astronomy," Meridian Magazine, 12 May 2000, section 3.
- Pratt, J.P. "Symbolism of Passover and of Elijah's Return," Ensign (July, 1985), pp. 55-64 (section 3).
- See Pratt, J.P. "What Every Mormon Should Know About Astronomy," Meridian Magazine, 12 May 2000 (section 3).