The Pentagram is portrayed by movies and books as a symbol that shows that vampires and friends of the devil are at work. Most people are conditioned to believe that the pentagram is synonymous with sexy young night stalkers or devil worshipers and the symbol has taken on the connotation of the embodiment of evil itself. Those in the community of earth based religions know that the truth is something different and that the Pentagram or Pentacle is a revered sign of energy and power. So if the Pentagram isn’t a mark of an evil fallen angel how do we find that there are so many references that portray it as such? We can look back into history and discover some simple truths around the many myths of the symbol.
First we should consider the five sided figure for what its simplicity defines. It is a geometric shape and like all such designs can be described mathematically. The Pentagram is unique in that it is a self-replicating design. A pentagram describes an interior pentagon which then can contain another pentagram and so on into infinity. The pentagram and pentagon are inextricably intertwined.
So how can this simple shape bring forth such images of power and fear? A look at the pattern as it has been used in the past shows us some surprising insights and perhaps some of the reasons for the way it is perceived.
The first known uses of the pentagram are found in Mesopotamian writings dating to about 3500 BC. The Hebrews saw it as a representation of the five books of Moses and even early Christians wore the symbol as a protective amulet. It came into use by the Greeks when the sage Pythagorus began to use it as a sign of protection. It’s hard to fathom how Pythagoras, living around the time of 500 B.C. could have had such an astute understanding of the nature of life and its mysteries. He is known to be the first man to call himself a philosopher and was considered a great mathematician and scientist. It is said that he traveled widely and studied at the great Egyptian learning centers of Memphis and Heliopolis. He gained a great following and eventually founded his own philosophical school at Croton in southern Italy. We owe him not only for the Pythagorean theory of Geometry but also for the theory of Harmonic Ratios upon which all western music is based. Modern computers are run on components designed after the Pythagoreum Theorum and the basis for an overwhelming majority of our music in everyday life is the sound of the perfect fifth designated by the ratio of the “evil” number,.666. Pythagoras is said to have used the five sided Pentagram as a symbol for his followers believing that it is one of natures’ favorite designs. So if this were true, would it not be a simple matter to find examples easily identifiable?
Modern science has shown us that life around us is built upon a combination of elements, substances which are basic components of the structure of matter. We are taught in education classes that elements can be classified in a periodic table according to their atomic weights. We have powerful scientific instruments such as the Electron Microscope which the ancients supposedly did not have and are thought to now have advanced knowledge. In the time of Pythagoras matter was seen as an order of geometric solids known later known as the Platonic solids. Named after the famous philosopher Plato they were depicted in the shapes of cubes, tetrahedrons and pentagonal three dimensional structures.
Through a microscope we can observe crystalline matter in the shape of a three dimensional pentagonal structure, an obvious example of one of these shapes. All life as we know it is based on the element carbon. All plants, animals, sea life and bacteria are carbon structures. A look at a basic carbon block shows us that it can be seen as a series of interlocking hexagons and pentagons, looking exactly like a modern soccer ball.
The five pointed structure is easily seen in observable nature. Leaves and flowers describe the symbol and sea creatures known as the Star fish and Pentagon crab mimic the design. One has to only look at the back of a common rose to see a perfect example of the Pentagram in nature. Is this then the work of the Devil? “So God created sea creatures and every living thing….” Genesis 1 v.21.
There is a more startling connection that reminds us of the ancient wisdom, “as above, so below”. Modern life surrounds us with a constant flow of sounds and images and we spend our lives following a social structure regulated by a clock. We live in or around brightly lit cities and largely ignore the true cycles of life until the changing of seasons brings about an important holiday. But mankind has struggled with the notion of time though through the centuries and different cultures have had to revise their calendars when their years became out of sync with the seasons. Most early civilizations used the moon as a way to keep time and relied on a lunar calendar to count the days. When deviations occurred an astrologer was consulted to correct the problem. The current Common Era Christian calendar was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. Called the Gregorian Calendar it constituted a reform of the Julian Calendar brought into use by Julius Caesar in the first century B.C. Roman time had been marked with a Lunar calendar prior to this and was often chaotic. Sosigenes of Alexandria, a well known scientist and astrologer was consulted and he suggested that they should shift to the Egyptian method of using a solar calendar of 365 days plus an extra day every four years. The calendar was brought into use, however the method did not account for it being 11.25 minutes a year shorter so by 1582 the first day of spring was retarded by ten days. Pope Gregory’s reform brought this shortfall into proper alignment. At this time he also decreed that the New Year would now begin on January 1st. He was aided chiefly by neopolitan astrologer Luigi Ghiraldi in this effort.
So, how was the calendar brought into proper alignment? Though we can’t know for sure, there is information that leads many to believe the night sky holds the key.
Few people know a secret about our sister planet Venus. The orbit of Venus has a noted effect when viewed against the backdrop of the stars knows as the Zodiac. In fact the movement is so predictable that it can be used to mark time in a manner, “far more predictable than the proverbial Swiss clock.” Venus is the most accurate indicator of the passage of time available in our skies at night. The path of Venus marks out an eight year pattern in which the solar calendar, lunar calendar and the position of the stars can be synchronized within seconds. To the dismay of many, it can be seen that the pattern forms a perfect pentagram. The light of Venus shines so brightly in our skies that only the Sun and Moon are more prominent. Mound remains at Bryn Celli Ddu and New Grange, dated to 3500 B.C. measure specific arrivals of Venus’s re-occurring journey through our skies. These mounds and stone circles are not only in the British Isles but are known to exist over a wide area of the world including Miami, FL, Boston Massachusetts, Los Millares, Spain, southern Israel and Egypt. The Egyptians were great scientists and astronomers and placed great importance on the movements of Venus. Knowledge of this Venus cycle enables detailed predictions of Solar and Lunar eclipses as well as tidal information that would have been used by Priests and elders to mark holy days and plant crops. The ancient hieroglyph for the morning star Venus had a literal translation of “sacred knowledge”.
The Pentagram is seen in the microcosm as a building block of life. It is seen in observable nature as a normal occurrence. It is seen in the macrocosm as an integral part of the heavens. So is this all the work of the Devil? “When I consider the heavens, the work of your fingers, the Moon and the stars which you have ordained….” Psalms 8, v3.
It was Gregory the Great, (540-604 A.D.) who applied the term Lucifer to Satan from a passage of Isaiah, 14,12, “How art thou fallen from heaven, Lucifer, son of the morning…”. He continued an interpretation that has been used since the early Christian father Origen (185-254 A.D.) had first made the connection between Satan and Lucifer. Origen brought together diverse Old Testament references from Job, Ezekiel and Isaiah. Arguing that Lucifer, the Prince of Tyre, and the Leviathan of Job, were all identical with the Devil he used these texts to emphasize Satan’s pride and his fall from heaven. However the biblical reference was only meant to describe an Assyrian King who had persecuted the Israelites. The term “Lucifer” comes from the Latin “Luciferi”. It has two roots, “Lux” or “Lucis” meaning “light” and “Ferre” meaning “bringer” or “bearer”. Because of Venus’s brightness the ancients regarded it as “Lucifer” the “destroyer of darkness”. It was called a second sun by Pythagoras because of its brightness and was assigned divine qualities by the Greeks and Romans. The Egyptians identified the planet with Isis and gave it the Ankh as its symbol. Even in the Bible it is described, “I am the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” (Revelations 22 v21) In the forgotten history of the church one of the early Popes was called Lucifer as “Yonge and ecclesiastical records prove”. (Blavatsky, Planetary Symbolism, pg. 9)
Some time in medieval Christian theology the association of the term Lucifer began to take on an evil status. Why would we associate the term with the Devil and the symbol of Venus in the night sky with Satan? Perhaps it is because of the ancient worship of the horned Sartre Pan.
In the early religious beliefs he was the symbol of male fertility and was depicted perusing ancient forests in search of wood nymphs or sexy young females. Significantly he was seen as having the lower torso of a goat and sporting a pair of horns on his head. Christianity if its fervor to discredit the old religions came to label the free and fun loving Pan as evil and the goat god as a depiction of the Devil. But then Christianity has long waged war on so-called Pagans. “Temples were destroyed and people tortured and killed from Iceland to South America, from Ireland to Egypt in the name of Jesus Christ.” (Lyn Picknett and Clive Prince, The Templar Revelation, pg. 364)
It was King Ra-Neb, the second Pharaoh of the second dynasty of Egypt, about 2850 B.C. who first introduced the veneration of the Goat of Mendes. Medes was a city in the northwest Nile delta and the sacred goat, often called Chem or Ham was the Zodiacal goat of Capricorn. His symbol was the inverted Pentagram with two downward sloping side points representing ears and the single base point as a chin and beard. From the earliest times then even the inverted pentagram was an indication of spiritual worship. Today, though the inverted pentagram is thought by many as a symbol of the worship of Satan and Black Magic this can be seen as a product of the media treatment of the Pentagram as a whole.
Embarrassing to the church was the fact that horns had become associated with Godly communication and objects of kingly adornment due to a mistranslation of the Hebrew word for “ray”. It was for this reason the famous sculptor Michelangelo (1475-1564) added horns to his infamous statue of Moses in front of the Roman monument to Pope Julius II.
What of the simple five pointed star which is a Pentagram? Is it not the same symbol repeated fifty times on our own Nation’s flag? How many countries use stars as symbols around the world and how many businesses have stars in their logos? The star is used as a symbol of quality in the ratings of Hotels and Restaurants and teachers give their students stars as a reward for excellent performance. Is this all the work of the Devil? The obvious answer is no. There are some who would suggest that the use of the Pentagram would become evil or the sign of the Devil it were inferred by intent. However it seems contradictory when the symbol has been used for so long as a sign of protection and strength.
One of the fastest growing religious groups is known as Wicca. This is a diverse nature-based spiritual movement that began its modern revival in England about 1948 under the guidance of Gerald Gardner. Wicca draws on ancient roots to combine old ways with modern life and has opened up for many a holistic sense of spiritual power and grace. However these people are often derided because of the use of the word “witch” and their practice of inscribing Pentagrams. According to modern principles adopted by The Council of American Witches they believe that, “we do not accept the concept of “absolute evil” nor do we worship an entity know as “Satan” or “the Devil”. In his book The Complete Book of Witchcraft, Raymond Buckland describes the Pentagram as, “the symbol of an ancient concept that people have the ability to bring Spirit to Earth…the ability to bring Spirit to Earth is the ability to make human beings whole.” Wiccans have a code to live by known as the “Wiccan Rede”. This includes the idea, “A witch seeks to control the forces within that make life possible in order to live wisely and well, without harm to others, and in harmony with nature.” This is far from the sinister view that the modern mind conjures when the idea of a Pentagram arises. Yet the disinformation is carried and passed on daily. In general people are seen to be openly hostile to the idea of any type of reference to a Pentagram.
There are many who believe that peoples of these beliefs and in fact people of any faith other than their own are lost and don’t know that they are following the ways of the Devil. This view holds out the premise that people are ignorant, uninformed or perhaps “spiritually stupid”. Some people believe that they are the “chosen ones” or hold in their hands the true doctrine of God and therefore moral high ground. Needless to say there is not one among us who is not a sinner. John 8, v7, “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone…”. Little known about so called “pagans” is the fact that all of these people both ancient and modern believe that one god is responsible for the wonders of life around us. The manifestations of nature and the cycles of life have been personified in the belief systems of these different religions yet they can be seen as wholly spiritual.
The Pentagram has been found extant in the ruins of the ancient Sumerian city of Uruk dating back to the 4th millennium BC. There are examples of the symbol throughout history showing that these civilizations not only understood the geometric proportions of the symbol but assigned spiritual meaning to it. It is inherent in nature, seen in the stars and exists as a building block of life. The truth about the Pentagram is that it is a symbol of our unity with god and the universe and is something to be used in contemplation of our place in the world.