Transit of Venus

At lunchtime yesterday, I got out my ‘solar eclipse’ glasses to check out the transit of Venus. The weather was perfect for observation and my boss, lured by the winter sunshine and the simplicity of the glasses (he’d already tried the pinhole technique without success), decided he’d try to photograph the event for posterity.

He just wasn’t sure he’d be around for the next transit in 105 years. It took considerable ingenuity to rig up a suitable system, using only cardboard off-cuts, but his efforts were worth it. One of his photos is featured.

All of this recent focus on the planet Venus has a bit of extra fascination for me. I’ve been collecting names for the ‘morning star’ recently. This is because I’m in the middle of writing up some teaching material for my latest fantasy novel, Daystar.

Yes, there’s quite a few by that name at the moment but I’ve been working on this one decades, so it’s hard to change. Daystar is an archaic term, which is actually disputed in meaning: some places say it refers to Venus and some say it’s another name for the sun.

One thing’s for sure: in a transit of Venus across the face of the sun, you’re definitely observing the ‘daystar’, whatever it originally was.

It’s been a real treat for have an excuse (as if I needed one, being a name ferret) to look up more names meaning the morning star. Actually, my findings have put me in a bit of a quandary. I have a white fawn in Daystar and only yesterday I found the perfect name for her. But it would require a shift of all names to implement this one, so I’m looking for a way around it.

‘Ayelet hashachar, the gazelle of dawn, the morning star (Hebrew)

Arousyag, the morning star (Armenian)

Arundhati, the morning star (Bengali)

Danica, the morning star, variants include Danika, Daanika (Danish)

Éarendel, possibly the morning star, inspiration for Tolkien’s star-mariner Eärendil (Anglo-Saxon)

Fetuao,  the morning star (Pacific Islands)

Lucifer, light-bearer, son of the morning, the morning star (Latin, from Hebrew)

Gwendydd, white-browed, the name of Merlin’s sister, a doorway goddess, the morning star: variants include Gwendolyn, Gwendolena, Gwenddydd, Gweneth, Ganeida and Venotia (Welsh)

Heylel, light-bearer, son of the morning, the morning star, Lucifer (Hebrew)

Kōpū, the morning star (Māori)

Orvandil’s Toe, probably the morning star, possibly related to Éarendel  (Norse)         

Phosphoros, the morning star (Greek)

Tariq, he who knocks on the door at night, morning star, variants include Taariq, Tarik (Arabic)

Zornista, the morning star (Bulgarian)

Zorya, guardian goddess who watches over the doomsday hound, the morning star, variants include Zaria and Zarya (Slavic)

And of course the sun of righteousness, Jesus as the daystar that rises in our hearts (2 Peter 1).

The thing that strikes me about all these names is the ineffable sense of wonder all cultures seem to have had about the Morning Star. That, as a precursor to the dawn, it has always inspired people everywhere.


  1. Anne, lovely to read!

  2. Lyn Churchyard

    I like the first two names best – they both have somewhat of a musical sound to them.

    About time you wrote another novel 🙂

    • I’m thinking through the plot! I’ve got to admit that ‘Ayelet and Tariq are the ones that appeal to me.

  3. Elizabeth Klein

    Ancient astronomers called Venus the morning star, evening star and a wandering star. This jewel of the sky, with its many colours, is the brightest celestial body apart from the sun and moon. Among many nations, the star has always been a symbol of regal power. It often heralds the rise of and future glory of a monarch. So, no matter how you look at it, the morning star points to Jesus.
    Jacob’s prophecy in Genesis 49:9-10, says, “The sceptre will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his. Then Balaam, in Numbers 24:17 said, “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a sceptre will rise out of Israel.”
    Normally, I would not read these scriptures twice, but in light of the Venus transit, they became very significant, especially to my own Bethloria Chronicles.
    Jacob calls Judah a Lion. Venus, or the morning star, rose in the constellation of Leo (Latin for lion). Jesus is called the ‘the Lion of the tribe of Judah’. On the day the Magi followed the Star to Jesus, Mercury, Mars and Jupiter formed a vertical line at the hind feet of the constellation Leo. They created what looked like a sceptre—between his feet! Amazing!
    Legend says that the Founder of the Magi was Daniel. The Magi observed this sceptre, which was the symbol of kingship. They connected the rising of His star to Jacob’s prophecy. Jacob’s and Balaam’s prophecies are both fulfilled with the sceptre and His star in Leo. What’s more, the star set off in the direction of Jerusalem!
    When the Magi arrived at Bethlehem, they could see the night sky clearly because it was a small town with only one street. The Star of Bethlehem, which the star later was called, rose before sunrise on March 27 A.D. 1 (according to ancient astronomers). It went down in the west, over the house where Mary and Jesus were staying before Passover. The Magi came to that house in the evening, following His Star.
    Now, here are a few strong ways in which Venus and its transit correlates to my own books. There may be others.
    • This jewel-like planet possesses false rainbow-colours due to its different altitudes. In Firelight of Heaven, the seven, rainbow-coloured crystals of the Morning Star are stolen and dispersed in lost kingdoms;
    • The restoration of the Morning Star’s crystals heralds the return of the true king;
    • The soon transit of the Morning Star in my novel heralds its destruction by the sun because it does not have its dazzling, protective cloak of colours.
    Time is running out!

    • Hi Elizabeth

      I note you’re using 1 A.D. as the time of Jesus’ birth – a notion very out of fashion in the last couple of decades. So much so, I read books which state baldly, as if it were a factual detail, that Jesus was born in 7 B.C.
      However, I did a lot of research for The Singing Silence and came to the conclusion that the dates for Jesus’ birth have been put back because it’s widely considered that Herod died in 4 B.C. This is not a certain date, despite the way people act. All that we know for certain is that he died around the time of a lunar eclipse. Various people have looked at this independently and conclude this was in 1 B.C.
      It’s a bit of a pity that there is no year zero in many ways. Unless Jesus was born on January 1, there will be always parts of a year that are out of sync. Even granted the fact that the date of December 25 was originally chosen so that Jesus, circumcised on the eighth day, would come into the Abrahamic covenant on January 1. I have a sense there’s some wonderful symbolism there but I’m not quite sure what it is.

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