The five-pointed star, also commonly called a pentagram, has been in use for thousands of years by a variety of cultures. Most uses of the pentagram in Western society today descend from Western occult traditions.
Occultists have long associated the pentagram with with several beliefs including:
- Humanity or the human body, representing two outstretched arms, two legs, and the head
- The five physical senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste
- The five elements: spirit, fire, air, water, and earth
Orientation of The PentagramNineteenth century occult groups such as the Golden Dawn held that the point-up pentagram represented the rulership of Spirit over the physical elements, while a point-down pentagram represented the descent of Spirit into matter or matter subsuming Spirit. It is largely this interpretation that led the religion of Wicca to adopt the point-up pentagram and Satanism the point-down version as their representative symbols.
It is initiation or profanation; it is Lucifer or Vesper, the star of morning or evening. It is Mary or Lilith, victory or death, day or night. The Pentagram with two points in the ascendant represents Satan as the goat of the Sabbath; when one point is in the ascendant, it is the sign of the Saviour. By placing it in such a manner that two of its points are in the ascendant and one is below, we may see the horns, ears and beard of the hierarchic Goat of Mendes, when it becomes the sign of infernal evocations. (Eliphas Levi, Transcendental Magic)
The Union of OppositesThe pentagram sometimes represents the union of opposites, generally expressed as male and female, in order to generate a greater whole. For example, Wiccans sometimes see the pentagram as representing the Triple Goddess (as three of the points) and the Horned God (with the remaining two points representing either his two horns or his dual light and dark natures). Cornelius Agrippa speaks of the number five generally representing the union of male and female as the sum of two and three, with two representing the Mother and three representing the Father.
Protection and ExorcismThe pentagram is commonly accepted as a symbol of protection and exorcism, driving away evil and other unwanted energies and entities.