The seven planets of the ancients comprised the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. However, the ancients’ religions and mythology speak for their knowledge of Uranus; the dynasty of gods had Uranus followed by Saturn, and the latter by Jupiter. In the clear sky of Babylonia the planet Uranus could have been observed by an unaided eye; but since it was known as a deposed deity, it would seem that at some later time the planet lost much of its brightness.(1)

It is quite possible that the planet Uranus is the very planet known by this name to the ancients. The age of Uranus preceded the age of Saturn; it came to an end with the “removal” of Uranus by Saturn. Saturn is said to have emasculated his father Uranus.(2)

Behind this story there might have been a scene in the sky. In one theory of the origin of the solar system a sideswiping star tears out from the sun a long filament of gaseous material. Similarly Saturn may at one time have “emasculated” Uranus—Saturn was represented by the Romans with a sickle in his hands.

Circumcision may have originated as an emulation of the acts displayed in the sky—when it appeared that Saturn with a sickle emasculated Uranus, the Egyptians, and so also the Hebrews, introduced circumcision, the removal of the foreskin being pars per toto, or instead of castration.(3)

It is not unthinkable that sometime before the age the record of ancient civilizations reaches, Uranus, together with Neptune, Saturn and Jupiter, formed a quadruple system that was captured by the sun and from which the planets of the solar system had their origin—but here nothing but imagination takes over where tradition based on witnessing does not reach.

[According to Hesiod, the catastrophe described as the removal of Uranus by Saturn gave birth to Aphrodite. In Worlds in Collision Aphrodite was identified with the Moon.](4)


  1. Uranus was discovered in 1781 by William Herschel. Its planetary character was not immediately apparent to him—Herschel actually announced the discovery of a comet.

  2. Hesiod, Theogony 133-187; cf. lines 616-623. [Cf. also the Hittite myth of “Kingship in Heaven” in J. Pritchard ed., Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (Princeton, 1950), pp. 120-121.] The similar story of Jupiter emasculating his father Saturn [Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica IV. 984 with scholium; scholium to Lycophron’s Cassandra 76; Proclus, In Timaeo, transl. by A. J. Festugière, (Paris, 1967), Vol. III, p. 255] may be “transfer” or borrowing, but may be a reflection in mythology of similar events.

  3. Circumcision has a hygienic value; it could have been found out and sanctified by the astral events. Having been “commanded” in the days of the patriarch Abraham (Genesis 17:10ff.) it may reflect the latter event, i.e., Jupiter’s emasculation of Saturn. Cf. Sanchuniathon’s Phoenician History in Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica I. ix: “Cronos was circumcis’d in his privities and forced his followers to do the same” (transl. by R. Cumberland [London, 1720], p. 38).

  4. [Velikovsky’s identification of Aphrodite with the Moon has been disputed by several writers; but in the fourth century A.D. Macrobius was able to refer to ancient authorities who affirmed that Aphrodite was the Moon. Saturnalia VIII. 1-3.].