About The Pentagram...
Graphic Design© Webster's Fantasy 2001
Pentagram article�Lionel Pepper1995
Pentacle Graphic�Robin Wood 1997
Used with permission
The pentagram has long been associated with mystery and magic. It is the simplest form of star shape that can be drawn unicursally - with a single line - hence it is sometimes called the Endless Knot. Other names are the Goblin's Cross, the Pentalpha, the Witch's Foot, the Devil's Star and the Seal of Solomon (more correctly attributed to the hexagram).
It has long been believed to be a potent protection against evil and demons, hence a symbol of safety, and was sometimes worn as an amulet for happy homecoming. The old folk-song : Green Grow the Rushes, refers to the use of the pentagram above doors and windows in the line :" Five is the symbol at your door."
The potency and associations of the pentagram have evolved throughout history. Today it is an ubiquitous symbol of neo-pagans with much depth of magickal and symbolic meaning.
The Pentagram through History.
The pentagram symbol today is ascribed many meanings and deep significance, though much of this is very recent. However, it has been used throughout history and in many contexts:
* The earliest known use of the pentagram dates back to around 3500BC at Ur of the Chaldees in Ancient Mesopotamia where it was symbolic of imperial power.
* Amongst the Hebrews, the symbol was ascribed to Truth and to the five books of the Pentateuch. It is sometimes, incorrectly, called the Seal of Solomon (see Hexagram).
* In Ancient Greece, it was called the Pentalpha, being
geometrically composed of five A's. Unlike earlier civilisations,
the Greeks did not generally attribute other symbolic meanings to the letters of their alphabet, but certain symbols became
connected with Greek letter shapes or positions (eg Gammadion, Alpha-Omega).
* To the Gnostics, the pentagram was the 'Blazing Star'.
* For the Druids, it was a symbol of Godhead.
* In Egypt, it was a symbol of the 'underground womb'.
* The Pagan Celts ascribed the pentagram to the underground goddess Morrigan.
* Medieval Christians attributed the pentagram to the Five Wounds of Christ.
* The Christian Emperor Constantine I used the pentagram, together
with the chi-rho symbol in his seal and amulet.
* In the legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the pentagram was Sir Gawain's glyph, inscribed in gold on his shield, symbolising the five knightly virtues.
* In Medieval times, the 'Endless Knot' was a symbol of Truth and was a protection against demons. It was used as personal
protection and to guard windows and doors.
* The pentagram with one point upwards symbolised summer; with two points upwards, it was a sign for winter.
+ During the long period of the Inquisition, the pentagram was
seen to symbolise a Goat's Head. In the purge on witches, the
horned god Pan became equated with the Devil (a Christian
concept) and the pentagram, for the first time in history
became a symbol of 'evil' and was called the Witch's Foot.
* In the emergence of Hermeticism, graphical symbolism became very important. The concept of the microcosmic world of Man as analogous to the macrocosm, the greater univese of spirit and elemental matter is a part of traditional occult teaching in both western and eastern philosophies. "As above, so below"
The pentagram, the 'Star of the Microcosm', symbolised Man within the microscosm, representing in analogy the Macrocosmic universe.
The upright pentagram bears some resemblance to the
shape of man with his legs and arms outstretched; indeed an
illustration attributed to Agrippa or to Tycho Brae (1582)
illustrates the similarity of proportion in this image, showing
the five planets and the moon at the centre point - the genitalia.
There are other illustrations of the period by Robert Fludd and
Leonardo da Vinci showing geometrical relationships of man to the universe.
+ Later, the pentagram came to be symbolic of the relationship
of the head to the four limbs and hence of the pure
concentrated essence of anything (or the spirit) to the four
traditional elements of matter. - [Quintessence]
* In Freemasonry, Man as Microprosopus was associated with the five-pointed Seal of Solomon. The symbol was used, interlaced and upright for the sitting Master of the Lodge. The geometric properties and structure of the Endless Knot were appreciated and symbolically incorporated into the 72 degree angle of the compasses.
* The womens' branch of freemasonry uses the five pointed 'Eastern Star' as its emblem. Each point commemorates a heroine of biblical lore.
+ No graphical illustration of any association of the pentagram
with evil appears until the nineteenth century. Eliphas Levi
illustrates the upright pentagram of microcosmic man beside
an inverted pentagram with the goat's head of Baphomet.
In ritual magick the sign has long been used as a ritual flourish
of the athame to symbolise invoking or banishing in respect to
* In the 1940's Gerald Gardner adopted the pentagram with two points upward as the sigil of second degree initiation in the newly
emergent, neo-pagan rituals of witchcraft, later to become known
as Wicca. The one-point upward pentagram together with the upright triangle symbolised third degree initiation.
* The pentagram was also inscribed on the altar pentacle, it's
points symbolising the three aspects of the Goddess plus the two
aspects of the God.
* It was not until the late 1960's that the pentagram again became an amuletic symbol to be worn and has since then become firmly established as a common neo-pagan and wiccan symbol, acquiring many aspects of mystique and associations that are today often considered to be ancient folk-lore !
Nevertheless, the potency of a symbol has more to do with its
associations and its commonality than with its antiquity and the
pentagram today is ubiquitous amongst neo-pagans.
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This is a picture of a chi rho amulet, found in an area called Shepton-mallet, in the U.K. It is said to date back to the 5th century A.D. XP or Chi-Rho, which is plainly visible in the design, represents "Christos".