The pentagram was a significant symbol from ancient times, with the earliest signs being on Mesopotamian potsherds from around 3500 BC. The pentagram’s use in the City Seal of Jerusalem has led to its confusion with the variously titled Seal, Shield, or Star of Solomon. Though both the five AND six pointed stars are referred to by this name in Hebrew history. The image shown is taken from a fragment of a 4th Century BC jar handle with a seal impression of an inverted pentagram with the Hebrew letters YRSLM (Jerusalem).
The Templars, with their intimate connection of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, adopted the pentagram as a core symbol of their order – the symbol was often used by the early Christians to represent the five wounds of Christ. However, did the Templars use it purely as a Christian symbol, or was there a more specific ‘pagan’ connection to the order? Was the Pythagorean meaning of the figure important to them? As in the Mystery Schools and later, Freemasonry. Did the hermetic movements of the Renaissance, the Freemasons and Rosicrucians inherit this symbol from the Knights Templar? It should be noted that historians state that the pentagram in association with the Devil or Satan was non-existent before Éliphas Lévi’s nineteenth century depiction of Baphomet. Historians point out that The Inquisition of the early 1300s does not appear to have made any connection between the pentagram and the Knights Templar’s alleged worship of the Baphomet, which is said to be a human head – rather than the ‘goat headed’ entity later depicted by Lévi. Neither the Rule of the Order, the eleven charges against the Knights Templar, nor the eight Papal Bulls promulgated against them make any mention of the pentagram or its association with the Baphomet. Claims that the pentagram was satanically significant to the Templars appear to be unfounded, state Historians. Aleister Crowley wrote that the inverted pentagram represents the individual (microcosm) in a “Solar orientation”, meaning not “earth oriented” and that it had been used as a symbol of the Baphomet; the divine androgyne. Crowley identified this as Capricornus -’The Godhead’. He interpreted the “averse” (as he called it) pentagram to indicate the New Aeon transcendence of Horus over Christianity.
The Roman Emperor Constantine I – subsequent to his defeat of Maxentius and the issuance of the Edict of Milan in 312AD, ascribed his success to his subversion of Christianity and incorporated the pentagram, inverted of course, into his seal and amulet.
Pentagram: from the Greek, “pente”, meaning five and “gramma”, a letter; the pentagram is a five pointed figure formed by producing the sides of a pentagon both ways to their point of intersection, so as to form a five-pointed star. Pentalpha: The triple triangle, from the Greek words meaning five, alpha and the letter A. It was originally seen as a positive symbol until the Middle Ages.
Some occultists trace its esoteric significance to an astronomical observance of the pattern of Venus’s conjunctions with the Sun, which has had many meanings in various cultures through the ages. It was used as a talisman to ward AGAINST evil, before occultists and latterly, Satanists corrupted it by way of ‘inversion’.
The use of the pentagram dates back to Uruk IV (c.3500BCE) in ancient Mesopotamia where the meaning is “heavenly body.” In the Cuneiform Period (post 2600 BCE) the pentagram or symbol means “region,” “heavenly quarter” or “direction”. It is found on potsherds in the location of Uruk (near the mouth of the Gulf), and more frequently on Jemdet Nasr (3100-2900 BCE) and Proto-Elamite tablets (3000-2500 BCE). Amongst the Hebrews, the symbol of the pentagram was ascribed to Truth and to the five books of the Pentateuch. In Ancient Greece, it was called the Pentalpha. Pythagoreans considered it an emblem of perfection or the symbol of the human being. The pentagram was also associated by the Greeks with the golden ratio (which it includes), and the dodecahedron, the fifth Platonic solid, which has twelve pentagonal faces and was considered by Plato to be a divine symbol of the heavens. Thus it had a secret significance and power to the Pythagoreans, which they supposedly used as a password or symbol of recognition amongst themselves. Early Christians viewed this symbol as a representation of the Transfiguration of Christ, as well as the five Wounds of The Saviour.
The pentagram also has been found on Egyptian statues.
Kabbalistic texts of the Mediaeval period gave great importance to the pentagram. Under the name “Solomon’s Seal”- the hexagram and pentagram were easily interchangeable and the name was applied to both figures, as previously stated. The first mention of a pentagram in the English language appears in the legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Stanzas 27-28 (1380AD.) where Gawain, traditionally the Celtic sun-hero, carries a shield with “…shining gules, With the Pentangle in pure gold depicted thereon.”
Hermetic illustrations and diagrams by Robert Fludd and Leonardo da Vinci show geometric relationships of man to the universe, depicting the pentagram in a positive light. Its re-emergence as a humanist or hermetic symbol of man’s relationship to the cosmos and its later reversal from a symbol guarding against evil, to a symbol representing evil, has been ascribed to many causes. Moreover, it also features on Tarot cards and is used extensively by rock musicians, Wiccans and the like.