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Posts Tagged ‘pentagram’

Written by:
Wendi Friend

Gazing into blackened sky, it’s the stars that are appreciated or wished upon. Actors, singers, dancers and artists are referred to as stars because we associate them with brightly shining glimmer and glitz. When a student does well on a paper, they’re often rewarded with a star. Our human bodies, when standing with arms outstretched to our sides with legs shoulder length apart, form the shape of a star. An apple sliced sideways presents us with a five-seeded star. Christmas trees are topped with stars. Even songs for children call attention to the enchanted sparkle of stars. Yet, if a star encased within a circle is encountered, some will shudder, associating it immediately as something evil.

Sadly, many people of today’s world shun the pentagram. Thinking it a sign of black magick or devil worship, there are countless people who don’t understand what the pentagram represents or the history behind this symbol. Truth be known, the pentagram has been in use for more than 8,000 years throughout a variety of cultures and has been appreciated for myriad reasons including geometry, spirituality, numerology – and yes, for magick.

While it is true that some people have inverted the symbol to represent black magick or satanic worship, those numbers are minor in comparison to the thousands of years and cultures who have put the upright symbol to use for positive purposes, including Christians. How can you tell an inverted pentagram from an upright pentagram? The symbol most often (but not always) associated with Satan worship or dark magick presents a star with dual points facing upward, whereas the pentagram reflecting the single point at the top is more commonly used, representing positive energy. To understand this more effectively, one must know what it is the five points of the star represent.

In several belief systems, each point of the star represents a unique element: Spirit, Earth, Air, Fire and Water. The majority of us can agree that without these elements, there is no human life. This is the elemental perspective; but to make it more personal, these elements can be associated with more human aspects.

The element of Earth represents our physical being, our bodies. Water is associated with our emotions, how we feel. Fire is the element of action, everything we do and Air equates to our mental being, everything we think. The final point of the star, the one facing upward, is spirituality, also associated to our psychic abilities or our sixth sense.

With the single point upward, one is signifying spirituality governing the other elements. However, in the cases of devil worship or black magick, the two points of emotion and action (water and fire) are upward, indicating personal, physical pleasure above all else. Appropriately by this definition, it is the inverted pentagram appearing on the Devil card of the Rider/Waite deck of Tarot cards.

That being said, note that negative associations with the pentagram were non-existent prior to the nineteenth century. Bear in mind, though, that the duel points upward does not necessarily imply or encourage negative energies as many religions use different positioning of the pentagram points to represent various levels of initiation. Other point positions can indicate time of year as well, such as the single point upward to represent summer, while two points upward is indicative of winter.

There is no singular definition for the pentagram that is right for all. In fact, one can check Webster’s dictionary and won’t find the word pentagram. An Internet search at Dictionary.com provides the definition of a pentagram as being “n. a star with 5 points; formed by 5 straight lines between the vertices of a pentagon and enclosing another pentagon.” But for millions of people spanning thousands of years, the meaning of the pentagram is defined differently.

Dating back to approximately 3500 B.C., the pentagram has been used by Jews as a symbol of Truth and representative of the five books of the Pentateuch., by Egyptians and Celts symbolizing the underground womb or the Goddess Morrigan, by Gnostics as ‘The Blazing Star’, by Druids as symbolic of Godhead, by Christians as the Five Wounds of Christ, by Mathematicians for it’s geometric shape, by the Greeks who called it Pentalpha, by freemasons, magicians and the list continues through present day use.

The pentagram has been believed through the ages to be protection against evil; a symbol of Gods and Goddesses; a sign of royalty; knightly virtues of generosity, courtesy, chastity, chivalry and piety; a sign of life and humanity, the five fingers of man; symbolic of humanity reborn; representative of man’s quest for enlightenment and more.

Pentagrams have adorned buildings of various faiths, doors and windows as protection for homes, have been worn as amulets to protect the body and are used in magickal workings for purification and power. In addition to its diverse purposes, properties and presentations, the pentagram has been known by several names, including the Endless Knot, the Goblin’s Cross, the Pentalpha, the Witch’s foot, and the Devil’s star, to name a few.

Numerology lends its own flavor to the five points of the pentagram. Sulis.net reports, “Five is the quintessential number – it appears in all major religions and philosophies around the world in many forms. It permeates nature, math, art, literature and music. The pentagram is a widespread sacred symbol used in Ancient and modern times throughout almost all cultures of the world.”

Numerology.com lists the number five as being in accordance with the characteristics of adventure, change, freedom, exploration, variety, sensuality, unattached, curious, experienced, periodicity, knowledge seeker, knowledge teacher, traveler, imagination, child-like, playful.

Additionally, the number five is represented in Tarot by the Hierophant; in Astrology by Mercury, Venus, Taurus and Leo; in Runes by Raidho; in I Ching #15 Ch’ien; in the Tree of Life by Geburah, Severity (power); by the Hebrew letter He’, Nun; in Shamanism by the Bull Elephant; in Alchemy as earth/man; in the elements as Air and Fire; in the Aura by earth tones. The number five is represented by the colors blue-green (turquoise) and orange, is represented in gemstones as Turquoise and ruby, by the musical note G and is even associated to specific months in the year and days of the week!

As well as possessing the magick and mysteries of the number five, the pentagram is the most basic form of a star shape that can be drawn universally with a single line. With five distinct points and a womb shaped pentagon at the center, even architecture has employed the shape in such buildings as the Pentagon, a point of political power in the United States.

Too many people around the world currently associate the pentagram with something of evil nature or intent without knowing its origin or possible meanings. Considering the historic and widespread use of this symbol, not to mention its natural attributes apparent in plants and animal life, the instant negative association is a sad testament to closed minds or lack of knowledge.

Not every person wearing a pentagram charm, tatoo or emblem is a devil worshiper. Not every person wearing a pentagram is a witch. Not every person wearing a pentagram is a Christian, or a Jew or a mathematician. Whether used as a religious symbol or an amulet of protection, there must be a reason that this five pointed symbol has been an important tool throughout the ages. What does the pentagram mean to you?

Sources:

http://www.dictionary.com
http://www.flindersclubs.asn.au/pagan/paganism/pentagram.html
http://paganandproud.bravepages.com/ThePentagramitsrealhistory.html
http://www.fabrisia.com/pentagram.htm

http://www.witchvox.com/basics/pentacle.html
http://lilpagan.hyperchat.com/pagan3.html

http://www.sulis.net
http://www.numerology.com

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