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Origins and Meanings of the Pentegram

-----I’ve been getting a lot of inquiries about the origin of the pentagram. So I conducted a little information safari. This is some of the information I’ve found. I hope it helps.

-----The pentagram is a “unicursal figure”, which is just a fancy way of saying that it can be drawn with a single stroke of a pen (or pencil). The drawing instrument doesn’t have to leave the paper. Each line in the pentagram is dependent on the others. The lines are irrevocably connected to one another. No one line is more important than another line.

-----Rudolf Koch may have explained it best in his book THE BOOK OF SIGNS:

“The pentagram, a five-pointed star (can be) drawn with one stroke of the pen...The pentagram has had several different significations at different times in the history of man...The Pythagoreans called it the pentalpha (because it looked like five capital ‘A’s’ interconnected), and the Celtic priests (called it) the witch’s foot. It is also known as Soloman’s Seal, known in the Middle Ages as the goblin’s cross...It also represented the five senses;...Amongst the Druids it was called the sign of the Godhead,...This sign was also populary believed to be a protection against demons, and, by analogy, a symbol of safety. It is believed, too, to be the emblem of happy homecoming, whence it’s employment as an amulet.”

-----The pentagram has meant many things to many different people. The oddest of these, however, is the Catholic Church. During various periods in the Middle Ages, the pentagram was used by the Catholic Church as a symbol of truth. Some Athurian legends indicate this use. J.R.R. Tolkien’s translation of SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT further supports this claim:

-----Stanzas 27-28:

-----“Then they brought him his blazon that was of brilliant gules with the pentangle depicted in pure hue of gold. By the baldric he caught it and about his neck cast it: reight well and worthily it went that knight. And why the pentangle is proper to that prince so noble I intend to tell you, though it may tarry my story. It is a sign that Solomon once set on a time to betoken the Troth, as it is entitled to do: for it is a figure that in it five points holdeth, and each line overlaps and is linked with another, and every way it is endless; and the English, I hear, everywhere name it the Endless Knot. So it suits well this knight, and his unsullied arms; for ever faithful in five points, and five times under each, Gawain as good was aknowledged and as gold refine’d, devoid of every vice and with virtues adorned. So there the pentangle painted new he on shield and coat did wear as one of word most true and knight of bearing fair.

First fautless was he found in his five senses, and next in his five fingers he failed at no time, and firmly on the Five Wounds all his faith was set that Christ received on the cross, as the Creed tells us; and wherever the brave man into battle was come, on this beyond all things was his earnest thought: that ever from the Five Joys all his valour he gained that to Heaven’s courteous Queen once came from her Child. For which cause the knight had in comely wise on the inner side of his shield her image depainted, that when he cast his eyes thither his courage never failed. The fifth five that was used, as I find, by this knight was free-giving and friendliness first before all, and chastity and chivalry ever changeless and straight, and piety surpassing all points: these perfect five were hasped upon him harder than on any man else. Now these five series, in sooth, were fastened on this knight, and each was knit with another and had no ending, but were fixed at five points that failed not at all, coincided in no line nor sundered either, not ending in any angle anywhere, as I discover, wherever the process was put in play or passed to an end. Therefore on his shining shield was shaped now this knot, royally with red gules upon red gold set: this is the pure pentangle as people of learning have taught. Now Gawain in brave array his lance at last hath caught. He gave them all a good day for evermore as he thought.”

This ends the first part of a series of documents on the pentagram. I will try to write the second one ASAP. Brightest blessings, and may the light of the Goddess brighten the path to understanding.

Merry Part, HornDawg