Antique German Compass
Antique German Compass

Hexagram – 1064nm Laser Module K10D06M-10.0W – 915nm diode laser module

Origins and shape

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Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (November 2009)

It is possible that as a simple geometric shape, like for example the triangle, circle, or square, the hexagram has been created by various different peoples with no connection to one another.

The hexagram is a mandala symbol called satkona yantra or sadkona yantra found on ancient South Indian Hindu temples built thousands of years ago. It symbolizes the nara-narayana, or perfect meditative state of balance achieved between Man and God, and if maintained, results in “moksha,” or “nirvana” (release from the bounds of the earthly world and its material trappings).

Another theory, though apparently not very substantiated, about the origin of the shape is that it is simply 2 of the 3 letters in the name David: in its Hebrew spelling, David is transliterated as ‘D-W-D’. In Biblical Hebrew, the letter ‘D’ (Dalet) was written in a form like an upside-down and backwards “L”, but when seen in the Greek, the letter “Delta” () is a triangle. The symbol may have been a simple family crest formed by flipping and juxtaposing the two most prominent letters in the name. The letter “W” in this case could reference the compositing operation of the two Deltas.

Some researchers have theorized that the hexagram represents the astrological chart at the time of David’s birth or anointment as king. The hexagram is also known as the “King’s Star” in astrological circles.

In antique papyri, pentagrams, together with stars and other signs, are frequently found on amulets bearing the Jewish names of God, and used to guard against fever and other diseases. Curiously the hexagram is not found among these signs. In the great magic papyrus[citation needed](Wessely, l.c. pp. 31, 112) at Paris and London there are twenty-two signs side by side, and a circle with twelve signs, but neither a pentagram nor a hexagram.

Usage by Jews

Main article: Star of David

The Star of David in the oldest surviving complete copy of the Masoretic text, the Leningrad Codex, dated 1008.

Magen David is a generally recognized symbol of Judaism and Jewish identity and is also known colloquially as the Jewish Star or “Star of David”. Its usage as a sign of Jewish identity began in the Middle Ages, though its religious usage began earlier, with the current earliest archeological evidence being a stone bearing the shield from the arch of a 3-4th century synagogue in the Galilee . A more enduring symbol of Judaism, the menorah, has been in use since BCE.

Usage by Christians

The hexagram may be found in some Churches and stained-glass windows. An example of this is one embedded in the ceiling of the Washington National Cathedral. Because a similar-looking sign called the encircled pentagram is used in occultism, it was not used in church architecture until Christian architects, both Protestant and Catholic, began to accept the notion that the Star of David is an old Jewish sign.[citation needed] In Christianity it is often called the star of creation.

The Bible makes no direct mention of the Star of David, however, the Catechism of the Catholic Church of the year 528AD refers to the star which led the Magi to Christ as “the Star of David”. In the context, the phrase most likely meant “the star of the king of Israel” rather than the double triangle-shaped symbol used today.[citation needed]

Latter-day Saints (Mormons)

Star of David on the Salt Lake Assembly Hall

Main article: Mormonism and Judaism

The Star of David is also used less prominently by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, chiefly in architecture. It symbolizes the Tribes of Israel and friendship and their claimed affinity towards the Jewish people. Additionally, some independent LDS theologians such as LDS Daniel Rona have further suggested the possibility that the Star of David was actually modeled after the Urim and Thummim, but this is not official doctrine of the Church.

Rastafari

A black star of David is used to identify the black population, in Africa or otherwise, with one of the Tribes of Israel.

Zion Christian Church

A Star of David badge is worn by members of the Zion Christian Church, which has over three million members and is the largest African Initiated Church in southern Africa.[citation needed]

Usage by Muslims

Hexagram in Islamic stonework at the Qutb complex, Delhi, India.

The symbol is known in Arabic as , Najmat Dwd (Star of David) or Khtem Sulaymn (Seal of Solomon), but “Seal of Solomon” may also refer to a pentagram or a species of plant.

In various places in the Qur’an, it is written that David and King Solomon (Arabic, Suliman or Sulayman) were prophets and kings and therefore they are revered figures by Muslims. The Medieval pre-Ottoman Anatolian Turkish Beyliks of the Karamanolu and Candarolu used the star on their flag. Even today, the star can be found in mosques and on other Arabic and Islamic artifacts.

The Babylonian Talmud contains a legend about King Solomon being kidnapped by Ashmedai, the king of demons. He succeeded in kidnapping the king by stealing his “seal of Solomon”, although according to the Talmud this seal was simply a metal coin with Hebrew letters meaning the name of God, inscribed on it. It is possible that the seal was altered in the Arab tales. The first appearance of the symbol in Jewish scriptures was in oriental Kabbalistic writings, so it is possible that it was an alteration of the pentagram under Arab influence.

Professor Gershom Sholem theorizes[citation needed] that the “Star of David” originates in the writings of Aristotle, who used triangles in different positions to indicate the different basic elements. The superposed triangles thus represented combinations of those elements. From Aristotle’s writings those symbols made their ways into early, pre-Muslim Arab literature.

Usage by Hinduism and Eastern Religions

Diagram showing the two mystic syllables Om and Hrim

Six pointed stars have also been found in cosmological diagrams in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The reasons behind this symbol’s common appearance in Indic religions and the West are lost in the mists of antiquity. One possibility is that they have a common origin. The other possibility is that artists and religious people from several cultures independently created the hexagram shape, which after all is a relatively simple and obvious geometric design.

Within Indic lore, the shape is generally understood to consist of two trianglesne pointed up and the other downocked in harmonious embrace. The two components are called ‘Om’ and the ‘Hrim’ in Sanskrit, and symbolize man’s position between earth and sky. The downward triangle symbolizes Shakti, the sacred embodiment of femininity, and the upward triangle symbolizes Shiva, or Agni Tattva, representing the focused aspects of masculinity. The mystical union of the two triangles represents Creation, occurring through the divine union of male and female. The two locked triangles are also known as ‘Shanmukha’ – the six-faced, representing the six faces of Shiva & Shakti’s progeny Kartikeya. This symbol is also a part of several yantras and has deep significance in Hindu ritual worship and history.

In Buddhism, some old versions of the Bardo Thodol, also known as The Tibetan Book of the Dead, contain a hexagram with a Swastika inside. It was made up by the publishers for this particular publication. In Tibetan, it is called the ‘origin of phenomenon’ (chos-kyi ‘byung-gnas). It is especially connected with Vajrayogini, and forms the center part of Her mandala. In reality, it is in three dimensions, not two, although it may be portrayed either way.

In the endocrine system, Anahata is associated with the thymus gland, located in the chest. This gland produces white blood cells, that combat disease, and bring equilibrium to the body. The functioning of the thymus is greatest before puberty and is impaired by the appearance of sex hormones in the blood stream from puberty onwards.[citation needed]

Many Western occultists[who?] associate this central chakra with the central sephirah, Tiphereth, in the kabbalistic tree of life. Christian kabbalists in particular associate this sephirah with love, healing and Jesus Christ as God the Son.

The Shatkona is a symbol used in Hindu yantra that represents the union of both the male and feminine form. More specifically it is supposed to represent Purusha (the supreme being), and Prakriti (mother nature, or causal matter). Often this is represented as Shiva – Shakti.

The Shatkona is a hexagram and looks exactly like the Star of David in Semitic lore.

Anahata: The Heart Chakra

Anahata, or Anahata-puri, or padma-sundara is related to the thymus, located in the chest. The thymus is an element of the immune system as well as being part of the endocrine system. It is the site of maturation of the T cells responsible for fending off disease and may be adversely affected by stress. Anahata is symbolised by a lotus flower with twelve petals. (See also heartmind). Anahata is related to the colours green or pink. Key issues involving Anahata involve complex emotions, compassion, tenderness, unconditional love, equilibrium, rejection and well-being. Physically Anahata governs circulation, emotionally it governs unconditional love for the self and others, mentally it governs passion, and spiritually it governs devotion.

Usage in heraldry

In heraldry and to a lesser extent vexillology a “star” is assumed to be a six-pointed figure, like a Star of David, but not hollow and with radiating wavy lines. The more familiar five-pointed star shape is known as a mullet or molet.

Usage in theosophy

The Star of David is used in the seal and the emblem of the Theosophical Society (founded in 1875). Although it is more pronounced, it is used along with other religious symbols. These include the Swastika, the Ankh, the Aum, and the Ouroborus. The star of David is also known as the Seal of Solomon that was its original name until around 50 years ago.

Usage in Raelism

The International Raelian Movement (IRM) uses a hexagram. The root of this symbol, according to the founder of the IRM, Rael, can be attributed to its use by genetic engineers from extrasolar planets who are allegedly the same entities referred to as Elohim. According to Rael, these space travellers came to Earth and synthesized life from non-living matter in 7 laboratory bases which contained the symbol.

Some meanings which involve particular variations of this symbol are supported by the IRM, such as “well being” (where “swastika” means “well being” in Sanskrit) and “infinity in time” (as Hindus see the swastika as a symbol for “eternal” cycles). In Raelism, the upper and lower triangles represent “as above, so below”, which refers to either the likeness between the creators’ past and created’s future or the repeating fractal hierarchical structure in the universe. “As above so below” is also well known in Wicca as the last statement of an invocation or ritual in order to bring the change of events from the upper world to the lower world (our world).

The IRM has long-term plans to build a temple complex or embassy that would, at around the time of a Technological Singularity, and before 2035, support the arrival of prophets of major and some minor religions after a spectacular descent from an interstellar journey. Rael (or the Elohim, as Rael would put it) requires that the embassy contain the “symbol of the Elohim”. The symbol initially used by the Raelian movement was the source of considerable controversy linked to a proposal to build the Raelian embassy in Israel since it resembled a hexagram with the image of a Swastika embedded in its center.

Usage in occultism

The hexagram, like the pentagram, was and is used in practices of the occult and is attributed to the 7 ‘old’ planets outlined in astrology.

The six-pointed star is commonly used both as a talisman and for conjuring spirits in the practice of witchcraft. In the Book The History and Practice of Magic, Vol. 2, the six-pointed star is called the talisman of Saturn and it is also referred to as the Seal of Solomon. Details are given in this book on how to make these symbols and the materials to use.

Dr. John Dee, the court astrologist of Queen Elizabeth I, in his book Hieroglyphic Monad, includes the following quote:

“‘Mahatma Letters,’ page 345: ‘The double triangle viewed by the Jewish Kabbalists as Solomon’s Seal is…the Sri–Antana of the Archaic Aryan Temple, the Mystery of Mysteries, a geometrical synthesis of the whole occult doctrine. The two interlaced triangles are the Buddham-Gums of Creation. They contain the ‘squaring of the Circle,’ the ‘Philosophers’ Stone,’ the great problems of Life and Death–the mystery of Evil. The Chela who can explain this sign from every one of its aspects is virtually an Adept.’”

Traditionally, the Hexagram can be seen as the combination of the 4 elements. The triangle with the point upwards symbolises Air, and with a horizontal line across its center symbolises Fire. The triangle with the point downwards symbolises Earth, and with a horizontal line across its center symbolises Water. The two combined create the Hexagram, and hence a combination of the elements.

Usage in Freemasonry

From the Encyclopedia of Freemasonry:

“The interlacing triangles or deltas symbolize the union of the two principles or forces, the active and passive, male and female, pervading the universe… The two triangles, one white and the other black, interlacing, typify the mingling of apparent opposites in nature, darkness and light, error and truth, ignorance and wisdom, evil and good, throughout human life.”

33rd Degree Freemasons Albert G. Mackey and Charles T. McClenachan quoted from Codex Magica by Texe Marrs

The hexagram is featured within and on the outside of many Masonic temples as a decoration. The hexagram, one of the world’s most ancient symbols, may have been found within the structures of King Solomon’s temple, from which Freemasons are inspired in their philosophies and studies.

Other uses

A six-point interlocking triangles has been used for thousands of years as an indication a sword was made, and “proved,” in the Damascus area of the Middle East. Still today, it is a required “proved” mark on all official UK and U.S. military swords though the blades themselves no longer come from the Middle East.

In Unicode, the “Star of David” symbol is U+2721 ().

There is a plant named Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum multiflorum) in the lily family.

In alchemy, the two triangles represent the reconciliation of the opposites of fire and water. Non-Jewish Kabbalah (also called Christian or Hermetic Kabbalah) interprets[citation needed] the hexagram to mean the divine union of male and female energy, where the male is represented by the upper triangle and the female by the lower one. Moreover, it derives four triangular symbols from it (two triangles crossed like a capital letter A and two uncrossed) to represent the four elements: water, fire, air, and earth. This use of the symbol was used as an important plot point in Dan Brown’s popular novel The Da Vinci Code and the Da Vinci Code film cites this as the origin of the star.

In southern Germany the hexagram can be found as part of tavern anchors. It is symbol for the tapping of beer and sign of the brewer’s guild. In German this is called ‘Bierstern’ (beer star) or ‘Brauerstern’ (brewer’s star).

A six-point star is used as an identifying mark of the Folk Nation.

The main runways and taxiways of Heathrow Airport are arranged roughly in the shape of a hexagram..

A hexagram in a circle is incorporated prominently in the supports of Worthing railway station’s platform 2 canopy (UK).

Other hexagrams

Other hexagrams can be constructed as a continuous path.

unicursal hexagram

Two uniform star-polyhedra have hexagram vertex figures

One star polyhedra has hexagram faces

D2 symmetry

D3 symmetry

Vertex-transitive

D3 symmetry

Edge-transitive

Ditrigonal dodecadodecahedron

Great ditrigonal icosidodecahedron

Great triambic icosahedron

See also

Pentagram

Star of Bethlehem

Heptagram

The thelemic Unicursal hexagram

Pascal’s mystic hexagram

References

Grnbaum, B. and G. C. Shephard; Tilings and Patterns, New York: W. H. Freeman & Co., (1987), ISBN 0-7167-1193-1.

Grnbaum, B.; Polyhedra with Hollow Faces, Proc of NATO-ASI Conference on Polytopes … etc. (Toronto 1993), ed T. Bisztriczky et al., Kluwer Academic (1994) pp. 4370.

Graham, Dr. O.J. The Six-Pointed Star: Its Origin and Usage 4th ed. Toronto: The Free Press 777, 2001. ISBN 0-9689383-0-2

Wessely, l.c. pp. 31, 112

Footnotes

^

^

^

^ sivasakti.com: Iintroduction to Yantra

^ The Chakra Bible, Patricia Mercier, Octopus Publishing Group Ltd., 2007, p. 199

^ “The History and Practice of Magic” (Secaucus, NJ: University Books, published by arrangement with Lyle Stewart, 1979), Vol. II, p. 304

^ John Dee, Hieroglyphic Monad, Dr John Dee, WEISER BOOKS, Boston MA/York Beach, ME, page 76

^ P315-316 of ‘The Wicca Bible’ by Ann-Marie Gallagher. ISBN; 978-1-84181-250-2. Same information also found in many other books.

^ Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Albert G. Mackey, 33rd Degree Freemason, and Charles T. McClenachan, 33rd Degree Freemason, p. 801, as quoted from secondary source Codex Magica by Texe Marrs.

^ bbc.co.uk

^ wikipedia.org image Worthing railway station platform 2 canopy

External links

Hexagram (MathWorld)

The Archetypal Mandala of India

Thesis from Munich University on hexagram as brewing symbol

v  d  e

Polygons

Listed by number of sides

110 sides

Henagon (Monogon)  Digon  Triangle (Trigon)  Quadrilateral (Tetragon)  Pentagon  Hexagon  Heptagon  Octagon  Nonagon (Enneagon)  Decagon

1120 sides

Hendecagon  Dodecagon  Triskaidecagon  Tetradecagon  Pentadecagon  Hexadecagon  Heptadecagon  Octadecagon  Nonadecagon (Enneadecagon)  Icosagon

Others

Apeirogon

Star polygons

Pentagram  Hexagram  Heptagram  Octagram  Enneagram  Decagram  Hendecagram  Dodecagram

Categories: PolygonsHidden categories: Articles needing additional references from November 2009 | All articles needing additional references | All articles with unsourced statements | Articles with unsourced statements from February 2007 | Articles with unsourced statements from September 2007 | Articles with unsourced statements from February 2009 | Articles containing Arabic language text | Articles with unsourced statements from October 2008 | All articles with specifically-marked weasel-worded phrases | Articles with specifically-marked weasel-worded phrases from October 2008

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