The Pentagram & Pentacle

The pentagram and pentacle has a long and interesting history, one which ties it to cultures across the globe. Today we think of the pentagram as an occult symbol, a five pointed star. This star has been associated with many things throughout the century. From an ancient symbol tied to the stars above, the elements of pythagoras and symbols in the goetia, the pentacle and pentagram has a mysterious history.

Understanding the history of these two symbols are important for Satanists and occultists alike. People want to know about the Satanic pentagram and it’s meaning.

Mostly we think of the pentacle belonging to the wiccan religion and the religons of the right-hand path. Before they were employed by white magicians, the pentacle had an ancient history.

The earliest ever recorded evidence of the use of the five
pointed star, comes from Mesopotamia. Found in pre-cuneiform writings, existing as far back as 3,500 BC. The five pointed star was used on clay pot inscriptions, possibly representing a celestial or star-like meaning to the Mesopotamians. The Sumerians also employed the pentagram symbol in their culture as well. To the Sumerians, this symbol had become a part of the cuneiform writings, known as the “ub” symbol.

These ancient peoples were inspired by the planet Venus and it’s movement through the sky. The motion of the planet Venus brought it back to the same place in the sky every 8 years. During that time, it formed the five-pointed pentagram star. (1)

Scholars have decided that this five pointed star could also symbolize the four cardinal directions and the fifth point, upwards, as the heavens. There has been a translation of this found and recorded which states that this symbol was used as a means to show that the gods ruled over the four corners of earth and of the heavens.104

The Assyrians, the Babylonians and the Chaldeans used this 5 pointed star as well. These peoples used this 5 pointed star to represent the solstices and the equinox, along with the ritual of regeneration. The
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Babylonians used the image of the pentagram as an astrological association, and within this, the 5 points represented the 5 known planets of the time, which we know now as Jupiter, Mercury, Mars and Saturn, with the fifth and highest point representing Venus (Ishtar) as the Queen of Heaven.

The actual use of the word “pentagram” was derived from the greek translation of the word pentagrammon, which is a word which simply means, “five-lined” or five lines. The greeks were the ones who studied the mathematical and geometrical ideas of perfection within this symbol.

Not only did this symbol have a divine representation, as a symbol of the Goddess Venus and Hygeia, the “pentalpha” as it was called later in greek history represented a geometric shape which represented a mathemetcial perfection. The greeks used this symbol to represent the golden ratio, which is a geometrc shape from which each intersection of its edges sections the edges in
Lucifer, The Dark Light

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the golden ratio which is a formula known as pi, where the length of the longer segment is in perfect ratio to the length of the shorter segment.105

To the Greeks this was a mathematical equation; but eventually after the arrival of pythagorus and his teachings, this symbol once again took on a symbolic meaning as well. The pythagoreans who followed the teachings of pythagorus, used a theory called the “Pentymychos” which is translated as meaning “Five recesses” or five chambers. This symbol was not the one point up star, in fact it was the pentegram, or the two points of the star facing up. This symbolism of the one point of the star facing downwards had represented “Tartaros” or Chaos as it was known to the greeks, and within this symbol was a metaphysical meaning that showed how divine wisdom comes from below, from which the boundless darkness of the inner world of the mychos created and sustained that which was above, on earth. To the
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greeks, the underworld was a source of wisdom.

It wasnt until centuries later, in the mideval times that the neo-pythagoreans, who were not the original followers of the teachings of pythagorus, used the symbol of the pentagram to represent the five elements. This means that the ancient greeks saw the pentagram, with two points downward as a source of wisdom and enlightenment, whereas the neopythagoreans saw this symbol as a representation of the elements. These elements were named Hydor, for water, Gaia, for earth, Heiron, for spirit, Heile, for fire and Aer, reperesenting air. The original pythagoreans did not use this symbol as a representation of elemetal qualities, but rather they used this symbol as a means to illustrate the process of wisdom and creation which came from below.

(1) http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/five-petals-of-venus
Five petals of Venus By Guy Ottewell in Astronomy Essentials

104 Mathematics and the Divine By T Koetsier, L Bergmans,
Inc NetLibrary [quoted from A Mathematical History of
Division in Extreme and Mean Ratio. Waterloo (Canada)
1987

105 Mathematics and the Divine
By T Koetsier, L Bergmans, Inc NetLibrary