Hexagram


Hexagram

: "For symbols used in the I Ching, see Hexagram (I Ching)": "For a Jewish symbol, see Star of David.": "For Occultic symbol see Unicursal hexagram"

A hexagram is a six-pointed geometric star figure, {6/2} or 2{3}, the compound of two equilateral triangles. The intersection is a regular hexagon.

While generally recognized as a symbol of Jewish identity it is used also in other historical, religious and cultural contexts, for example in Islam, and Eastern Religions as well as in Occultism.

In mathematics, the G2 root system is in the form of a hexagram.

Origins and shape

The hexagram is a mandala symbol called "satkona yantra" or "sadkona yantra" found on ancient South Indian Hindu temples built thousands of years ago [http://www.google.com/search?q=%22south+indian+temples%22+hexagram] [http://www.google.com/search?q=%22satkona+yantra%22] [http://www.google.com/search?q=%22sadkona+yantra%22] . 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 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 much like a triangle, similar to the Greek letter "Delta" (Δ). 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 papyrusFact|date=February 2007(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.

Therefore, the syncretism of Hellenistic, Jewish, and Coptic influences probably did not originate the symbol.

It is also 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.

Usage by Jews

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 [1] . 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. Example of this is one embedded in the ceiling of the Washington National Cathedral. Because the similar-looking sign called the encircled pentagram 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.fact|date=September 2007 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 528 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.Fact|date=February 2007

Latter-day Saints (Mormons)

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.

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.

Usage by Arabs and Muslims

The symbol is known in Arabic as _ar. نجمة داوود, "Najmat Dawuud" (Star of David) or _ar. خاتم سليمان "Khatem Sulayman" (Seal of Solomon), but the latter name may also refer to a pentagram.

Professor Gershom Sholem theorizesFact|date=February 2007 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.

The Arabs and Muslims were interested in arithmetics, and were also strongly drawn to biblical and Islamic tales. In fact, one of the most important persons in early Arab and Islamic literature was King Solomon (Arabic, "Suliman" or "Sulayman"). 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.

In various places in the Qur'an, it is written that David and Solomon were prophets and kings and therefore they are revered figures by Muslims. The Islamic Turkish beyliks of the Karamanid and Candaroglu dynasties used the star on their flag. Even today, the star can be found in mosques and on other Arabic and Islamic artifacts.

Usage by Hinduism and Eastern Religions

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 Star of David shape, which after all is a relatively simple and obvious geometric design.

Within Indic lore, the shape is generally understood to consist of two triangles--one pointed up and the other down--locked 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 mythology.

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.

Kingdom of Karamanoğlu

The same symbol appeared in the flag of the Medieval pre-Ottoman Turkish Kingdom of Karamanoğlu.

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.

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.

Raelism

The pacifist 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.

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. ["The History and Practice of Magic" (Secaucus, NJ: University Books, published by arrangement with Lyle Stewart, 1979), Vol. II, p. 304] 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: 'Thedouble 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 synthesisof 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.'" [John Dee, HieroglyphicMonad, Dr John Dee, WEISER BOOKS, Boston MA/York Beach, ME, page 76]

In the "Encyclopedia of Freemasonry", we read:

"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." ["Encyclopedia of Freemasonry", Albert G. Mackey, 33rd DegreeFreemason, and Charles T. McClenachan, 33rd Degree Freemason, p. 801, as quoted from secondary Source "Codex Magica" by Texe Marrs.]

Bradley, author of "Secrets of the Freemasons", claims:

"the hexagram is widely associated with the occult, and is considered the most powerful of Satan's symbols, containing '666.' Occultists also call it the 'trud' and use it in necromantic ceremonies to summon evil spirits." [Bradley, "Secrets of the Freemasons",page 45.]

Other uses

* In Unicode, the "Star of David" symbol is U+2721 (unicode|✡).
* 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) interpretsFact|date=February 2007 the hexagram to mean the divine union of male and female energy, where the male is represented by the upper triangle (referred to as the "blade") and the female by the lower one (referred to as the "chalice"). 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.

ee also

*Pentagram
*Star of Bethlehem
*Heptagram
*The thelemic Unicursal hexagram
*Pascal's mystic hexagram

References

*Grünbaum, B. and G. C. Shephard; "Tilings and Patterns", New York: W. H. Freeman & Co., (1987), ISBN 0-7167-1193-1.
*Grünbaum, B.; Polyhedra with Hollow Faces, "Proc of NATO-ASI Conference on Polytopes ... etc. (Toronto 1993)", ed T. Bisztriczky et al, Kluwer Academic (1994) pp. 43-70.
* 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

External links

* [http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Hexagram.html Hexagram] (MathWorld)
* [http://www.telisphere.com/~starbird/mandala.html The Archetypal Mandala of India]
* [http://www.schlenkerla.de/biergeschichte/brauerstern/indexe.html Thesis from Munich University on hexagram as brewing symbol]


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hexagram — Hex a*gram, n. [Hexa + gram.] A figure of six lines; specif.: (a) A figure composed of two equal triangles intersecting so that each side of one triangle is parallel to a side of the other, and the six points coincide with those of a hexagon. (b) …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hexagram — 1863 as a type of geometric figure, from HEXA (Cf. hexa ) + GRAM (Cf. gram). I Ching sense attested from 1882 …   Etymology dictionary

  • hexagram — ► NOUN ▪ a six pointed star formed by two intersecting equilateral triangles …   English terms dictionary

  • hexagram — [hek′sə gram΄] n. [ HEXA + GRAM] 1. a six pointed star formed by extending the sides of a regular hexagon, or by placing one equilateral triangle over another so that corresponding sides intersect: see STAR OF DAVID 2. in the I Ching, a pair of… …   English World dictionary

  • hexagram — UK [ˈheksəˌɡræm] / US noun [countable] Word forms hexagram : singular hexagram plural hexagrams a star with six points that is made from two triangles …   English dictionary

  • hexagram — hex|a|gram [ heksə,græm ] noun count a star with six points that is made from two TRIANGLES. The Star of David is a common hexagram …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • hexagram — s ( met, hexagram, best. pl. men) sexuddig stjärna …   Clue 9 Svensk Ordbok

  • hexagram — noun Etymology: International Scientific Vocabulary Date: 1871 a plane figure that has the shape of a 6 pointed star, that consists of two intersecting congruent equilateral triangles having the same point as center and their sides parallel, and… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • hexagram — hexagrammoid, adj., n. /hek seuh gram /, n. 1. a six pointed starlike figure formed of two equilateral triangles placed concentrically with each side of a triangle parallel to a side of the other and on opposite sides of the center. 2. Geom. a… …   Universalium

  • hexagram — noun a) A hollow six pointed star formed by overlapping two equilateral triangles; the Star of David. b) Any of the 64 sets of solid and broken lines used for divination in the I Ching …   Wiktionary


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