[Grand Lodge]
[Calendar] [Search] [Resources] [History] [Links] [Sitemap]
One of the arguments used by anti-masons to support their claim that Freemasonry is satanic is to refer to the masonic use of the pentagram. The short answer to this accusation is that the pentagram is not mentioned in any masonic ritual or lecture and is not contained within the lessons or teachings of Freemasonry.
True in essence, this response will not satisfy anti-masons who can point to the many books about Freemasonry that include the pentagram, or at least the five-pointed star, in their iconography, and the writings of such spurious, irregular or psuedomasonic authors as Count Cagliostro, Éliphas Lévi and Aleister Crowley. Although the pentagram, as a geometric figure, is of interest to freemasons since it is also a representation of the Golden Ratio, its esoteric significance is only of historical interest.
It also isn't satanic. The claims of Lévi and Crowley that there is any esoteric significance to the relative position of the star points is demonstrably not based on any observable astronomical event nor on any published precedent.
Symbols mean what the users want them to mean—and meanings change. Although Venus is termed the bright morning star or Lucifer; and the pentagram is claimed by Lévi to represent the Baphomet; and the celestial motions of Venus sketch a pentagram in the sky; it does not follow that the pentagram represents Lucifer or that Lucifer equates with the Baphomet. Or that any of this has anything to do with Freemasonry.
The pentagram

What is
the pentagram?
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 and, alpha, the letter A. [1]

Capernaum, 300 CE. [5]
The pentagram (also called pentacle, pentalpha, pentancle, pentagle, or pentangle) is thought by some occultists to trace its esoteric significance to an astronomical observance of the pattern of Venus' conjunctions with the Sun and has had many meanings in many cultures through the ages. [2]
Although common usage often is to refer to depictions of a five-pointed star as pentagrams, a distinction can be made. The outline of the pentagram or "endless knot" is a five-pointed star, but the five-pointed star itself does not necessarily represent the pentagram. While religious fundamentalists rarely make any distinction, some occultists and modern Wiccans will make even further distinction and define the pentacle as the pentagram inside a pentagon or circle. Historically, the pentacle referred to any amulet, often incorporating an hexagram. "The words pentagram and pentacle (or pantacle) is not necessarily connected with the number 5. Pentacle probably comes from an old French word for 'to hang' and means a talisman or, by extension, any symbol used in magical operations." [7] There is little agreement on these distinctions.

Babylon, 900 BCE. [6]
A further distinction should be made for its usage in European heraldry where stars are generally termed estoiles or mullets. Estoiles, at least in England, will have six wavy rays. Unless specifically described, if the rays are straight the star is termed a mullet and has five points. It should also be pierced since, properly speaking, it does not represent a star but depicts the rowel of a spur. It has no connection with celestial stars or the pentagram. [3]
Note should also be made to the "barn star", a decorative illustration, often in the shape of a five-pointed star but occasionally in a circular "wagon wheel" style, used to adorn barns. Originally, and most commonly, seen in German and German-American farming communities, claims of the symbol's origins as a warding sign are questionable.
Éliphas Lévi claimed, with no justification or historical precedent, that the pentagram with one point upward represents the good principle and one downward, the evil. It should be noted that many subsequent authors have repeated this arbitrary distinction. [4]

from Fara [12]
(c. 2600 BCE)
What does
the pentagram
De Vogel, Goff and Van Buren [1] tell us that the use of the pentagram dates back to Uruk IV (c.3500BCE) in ancient Mesopotamia where the general sense seems to be "heavenly body." By the cuneiform period (post 2600 BCE) the pentagram or symbol UB means "region," "heavenly quarter" or "direction". "That this symbol always has a specific unambiquous meaning continues to be an unsupported hypothesis."[13] 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). [10] Examples elsewhere are infrequent. [2]

0.618... : 1 : 1.618...
Historically, it does not appear to be equated with Venus. Venus is equated with the Sumarian goddess, Ishtar (Ishhara, Irnini, Inanna) whose symbol is an eight or sixteen point star. Amongst the Hebrews, the five point symbol was ascribed to Truth and to the five books of the Pentateuch. In Ancient Greece, it was called the Pentalpha. Pythagorians considered it an emblem of perfection or the symbol of the human being. The pentagram was also associated 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 symbol of the heavens. Burkert says that the pentagram had a secret significance and power to the pythagoreans, and was used as a password or symbol of recognition amongst themselves.[3]
Albert Mackey says that as a talisman for health or good fortune,[18] the pentagram has been found on Egyptian statues and Gaulish coins. [14] He goes on to say, incorrectly, that Druids wore it on their sandals, hence the German Druttenfuss a word originally signifying Druid’s foot. [4] De Vogel cites Eisler for an example of a pentagram on an Attic red-figured cup from the early 5th cent, BCE. [15] Inman mentions what may be a common link between the Greeks, Aryans, and Etruscans; a coin bearing a pentagram and the characters PENSU (Etruscan for five) was found in a fictile urn at Volaterrae and is depicted in Fabretti’s Italian Glossery, plate xxvi., fig. 358, bis a. [5] During the Roman Republic the pentagram represented the building trades. [16] Its use in England may have been associated with the Druids, but was certainly not influenced by the Pythagoreans.[17]

Bronze coin
, Pitane, Mysia, 300-400 BCE.
Solomonic texts of the Mediaeval period gave great importance to the pentagram, under the name "Solomon’s Seal." Gershom Scholem writes, "In Arabic magick, the ’seal of Solomon' was widely used, but at first its use in Jewish circles was restricted to relatively rare cases. Even then, the hexagram and pentagram were easily interchangeable and the name was applied to both figures." Latin versions of Solomonic texts, used the word "pentaculum" to refer to all the various circular devices associated with Solomon’s seal, even though most of them do not actually contain a pentagram. [6]
The first English mention of a pentagram appears In the legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Stanzas 27-28 (1380 c.) where Gawain, traditionally the Celtic sun-hero, carries a shield "...shining gules, With the Pentangle in pure gold depicted thereon."
It is a symbol which Solomon conceived once
To betoken holy truth, by its intrinsic right,
For it is a figure which has five points,
And each line overlaps and is locked with another;
And it is endless everywhere, and the English call it,
In all the land, I hear, the Endless Knot.
Here the pentacle represents the five wits, the five fingers, the five wounds of Christ, the five pure joys of Heaven’s queen with her child and the five virtues: generosity, fellowship, purity, courtesy and mercy.

Gold coin, 209 BCE. [7]
The upright pentagram resembles the shape of man with his legs and arms outstretched. Tycho Brahe, in his Calendarium Naturale Magicum Perpetuum (1582) illustrates a pentagram with human body imposed and the Hebrew for YHSVH associated with the elements. An illustration attributed to Brahe’s contemporary, Henry Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim, is of similar proportion and shows the five planets and the moon at the centre point. [†] Other illustrations of the period by Robert Fludd and Leonardo da Vinci show geometric relationships of man to the universe.
Mephistopheles, in Goethe’s Faust (1808) calls the pentagram a witch’s foot as a charm to guard against evil but doesn't determine its alignment:
Mephistopheles.Let me own up! I cannot go away;
A little hindrance bids me stay.
The witch’s foot upon your sill I see.
Faust. The pentagram? That’s in your way?
You son of Hell explain to me,
If that stays you, how came you in today?
And how was such a spirit so betrayed?
Mephistopheles. Observe it closely! It is not well made;
One angle, on the outer side of it,
Is just a little open, as you see. [22]
The reference to it being open is ascribed to the contemporary knowledge that the planet Venus is not in exact resonance with Earth.
Jemdet Nasr [11]
In ancient times the "Star of the Sea" was sometimes depicted as an inverted pentagram. This may explain why those early American flags that displayed inverted stars — such as that flown by Commodore Matthew Perry in 1854 — were connected with the navy. [20]
Modern Wicca has developed its own significance for the pentagram, derived from a limited selection of sources : "A pentacle is a physical representation of the pentagram, a five-pointed star in a circle, which symbolizes the four elements in balance with Spirit and is drawn like this: [illust. one point up in circle].[21]
It can be seen, then, that the pentagram has evolved, from a pre-Christian symbol for a Mesopotamian city or later symbol for health or the heavens, to an early Christian symbol for Christ Transfigured, or truth, and then to a mediaeval talisman to guard against evil. 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. Midwives and herbalists note that their practice of medicine has often been proscribed as witchcraft; their use of a symbol of health was as misunderstood as their own practices were reviled by paternalistic and oppressive theocracies. [8] Students of religious intolerance have noted that a symbol that can be ascribed to the Jews, Arabs or pagans will inevitably acquire negative connotations in the zenophobic climate of mediaeval Europe. These theories lose weight when the pentagram’s use by the medical profession of the 16th century is noted. [19] The root causes are difficult, if not impossible, to document. The only real fact to be gleaned from this history is that the pentagram had, and has, many meanings.

Jerusalem seal [9]
Is the
a Christian
Constantine’s seal[12]
The pentacle’s use in the City Seal of Jerusalem has led to its confusion with the variously titled Seal, Shield, or Star of Solomon. Early Christians attributed the pentagram to the Five Stigmata of Christ or the doctrine of the Trinity plus that of the two natures of Christ. According to Biedermann, from then until mediaeval times, it was a lesser-used Christian symbol. [1] Its form implied truth, religious mysticism and the work of Creator. Roman Emperor Constantine I, after his defeat of Maxentius and the issuance of the Edict of Milan in 312CE, ascribed his success to his conversion to Christianity and incorporated the pentagram, one point down, into his seal and amulet. [12]
Webber tells us that "...the five-pointed star signifies our Lord’s Epiphany" and that it is a symbol of the "revelation of the Christ Child to the Gentile wisemen." He warns that "It must not be used as a Christmas symbol." He also defined it as the Star of Jesse, or of Jacob and assigns it the meaning of Heavenly Wisdom. He illustrates it with one point up but doesn't define the alignment in his text. [2] Hume notes that "It was at one time used by the Greek Christians in liu of the cross at the beginning of inscriptions...." [3]
Templar gravestone, Tomar, Portugal (Rod Thorn photo)
Although other authors have claimed the five-pointed star as a Christian symbol, describing it as the "Jesus' star" or the "Star in the East", a review of Christian art from the early Mediaeval period to the Renaissance will reveal few examples. [4] Becker refers to the pentagram as a symbol of Christ as Alpha and Omega, and as a symbol of the five wounds of Christ. The five-pointed star is also defined as a symbol of Christ, "the bright and morning star": and, inverted, one point down, it represents the descent of Christ — i.e., His Incarnation. [5] An early depiction, reproduced by Eckhardt, from a carving on a wall in the Baptistory of St. John at Split in Yugoslavia is dated from the eleventh century. The site was originally the Temple of Aescielapius, a god of medicine. [6] (Encyclopedia Britannica,vol. 11, p. 107, terms it a Temple of Jupiter.)
Baptistory of St. John [6]
While depictions of the five-pointed star or pentagram equating it with Jesus are rare, it should be also noted that they are non-existent in any depiction of the Devil or Satan before Éliphas Lévi’s nineteenth century Baphomet. [7]
There are a number of examples of the pentagram found on buildings of a religious nature in Europe. [13] Notable examples can be seen on gravestones in the Claustro da Lavagem in the Convento at Tomar, Portugal, the monastery of Ravna, Bulgaria and the Church of All Saints at Kilham, Humberside, Yorkshire, England, which incorporates the symbol on the columns which support the Norman doorway. [10] It is indented on the gateposts of the churchyard of S. Peter’s, Walworth, England, built in 1824. [11] There are also a number of examples in the sketchbook of thirteenth century stonemason, Villard de Honnecourt. [8]
Further examples of the pentagram’s use in Christian architecture can be found in a large carved inverted star in the centre of the north transept rose window of Amiens Cathedral in France, built between 1220 and 1410 C.E.; a huge inverted five-pointed star on the steeple of the Marktkirche, or Market Church in fourteenth century Hanover, Germany; the numerous inverted stars that surround a statue of Mary and the Christ Child in Chartres Cathedral circa 1150 C.E.; the interlaced star depicted in the "Berthold Missal" drawn in the Benedictine Abbey in Weingarten Germany circa 1225 C.E.; an inverted nativity star in the sculpted capital of a cloister pillar from the twelfth century C.E.; and various Orthodox paintings that illustrate the Mount of Transfiguration.[14]

Is the
pentagram a
The masonic significance of the pentagram is controversial. While it often appears on masonic regalia and decorative illustration, nowhere is it mentioned in masonic rituals or lectures. This does not mean though, that individual freemasons, aware of its historical usage, have not used it to illustrate their own personal interpretations of Freemasonry.
The "Blazing Star" of masonic usage is not to be confused with the five-pointed star. Early tracing boards depict a sixteen or fifteen point star, one notable five pointed pentalpha and a number of "glories" with no discernable number of points. Mackey points out that the earlier tracing boards depicted a star with five straight points superimposed over one with five wavy points.
Freemasonry has traditionally been associated with Pythagoras, and among Pythagoreans, the pentagram was a symbol of health and knowledge; the pentagram is consequently associated with initiation, as it is in masonic iconography. From Coil’s Encyclopedia: "The Pentalpha is said to have had a great many symbolic and mystical meanings, but it has no application to Freemasonry...."
Mackey tells us "The Medieval Freemason considered it a symbol of deep wisdom, and it is found among the architectural ornaments of most of the ecclesiastical edifices of the Middle Ages." There are also many examples of both the pentagram and five-pointed star being used as stonemasons' marks during the Mediaeval cathedral building period. Although claims have been made for earlier usage, the greater number of examples date from the twelfth through sixteenth centuries. [1] George Godwin claims that these marks were handed down from generation to generation and could still be found up until the nineteenth century. [2]
One notable early use of a pentalpha in Freemasonry is the mark of Sir Robert Moray, who used it when he signed the Minutes of the Lodge of Edinburgh, Mary’s Chapel sometime after his initiation on May 20, 1641. He is recorded as using it in his signature prior to this date so, although he referred to it as his mason’s mark, it was not derived from masonic teachings. Later it appears on the titlepage of a collection of masonic lectures, The Spirit of Masonry, published in 1775.
The use of a five-pointed star or pentagram in some Grand Lodge seals and banners as well as on the collar or jewels of office worn by the masters of lodges and Grand Masters of Grand Lodges is of interest to students of masonic history and art. But its absence from the ritual and lessons of Freemasonry point out that its value is ornamental and any symbolic value is a matter of personal opinion. Many masonic authors have expressed their opinions on the topic, but with no masonic authority.
The pentagram, or five-pointed star, can be interpreted as a representation of the golden ratio. The golden ratio was of great importance to architects and stonecutters. Whether early freemasons made this interpretation is a topic of some controversy.
Those who would freeze the angle of the compasses in the masonic square and compasses at 72° to equate it with the pentagram, ignore the many representations which set the angle at anywhere between 32° and 90°.
As regards that appendant body, the Order of the Eastern Star, Mackey notes that Rob Morris, author of their ritual, wrote that the choice of name was made to correspond to the masonic Five Points of Fellowship and the pentagon which he termed "The signet of King Solomon."

Is the
with two points
ascendant a
symbol for
It has long been a truism within occult circles that the pentagram, when one point is ascendant, is a symbol for the positive principle, and when two points are ascendant it is a symbol for the negative principle.
This is derived from a claim made by Éliphas Lévi that the direction of the rays of the pentagram determine if it represents the good or evil principle: one point up representing order and light, two points up representing disorder and darkness. Lévi gives no justification or citation for this arbitrary distinction and goes on to arbitrarily equate the pentagram as a symbol for the Baphomet or goat headed god. [1] This ignores, or distorts, the pentagram’s inclusion, one point down, in Constantine’s seal, the later mediaeval depiction of it as a medical symbol of health, and its Christian representation as a symbol of the Transfiguration of Christ.
Aleistar Crowley wrote that the point down pentagram indicates the individual (microcosm) in a "Solar orientation", meaning not "earth oriented". Also that it had been used as a symbol of the Baphomet, the great androgyne. He interpreted the "averse" pentagram to indicate the New Aeon transcendance of the old Osirian/Christian limitations. [2]
Manly P. Hall made the further startling claim that 'the star may be broken at one point by not permitting the converging lines to touch; it may be inverted by having one point down and two up; it may be distorted by having the points of varying lengths. When used in black magic, the pentagram is called the "sign of the cloven hoof," or the footprint of the Devil.' Like so many esoteric writers, he fails to provide any evidence. [3]
No known graphical illustration associating the pentagram with evil appears until Lévi in the nineteenth century. The Inquisition of the early 1300s does not appear to have made a connection between the pentagram and the Knights Templar’s alleged worship of the Baphomet. 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 significant to the Templars appear to be unfounded. Its use in hermetic manuscripts is rare. [See Appendix I for additional illustrations.]
It is only in the later twentieth century, and the creation of the American Church of Satan, that the inverted pentagram has become a popular symbol for Satan. They ascribe its usage to its appearance in Oswald Wirth’s La Franc-Maçonnerie rendue intelligible a ces adeptes II, "Le compagnon," Paris: Derry-Livres, 1931, p. 60.
Is the pentacle a symbol for Wicca?

There is no connection between Satanism which can be defined as a Christian heresy, and Wicca, which encompasses a range of faiths based on a pantheistic earth worship or modern interpretations of what has been termed the Old Religion. Wicca,though, has also laid claim to the pentagram. On 30 June 2006 The Pagan Pride Project issued a statement in "support of the efforts of other Pagan organizations, including the Lady Liberty League, the Covenant of the Goddess, the Aquarian Tabernacle Church, the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, Circle Sanctuary and others, to influence the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to grant official recognition of the pentacle, a universally recognized symbol of Wicca and other Pagan faiths, as a symbol permitted on the headstones of Pagan servicepersons who have died as members of the American armed forces."
Summum, while not wiccan, can be listed under the broad catagory of "new age". They have registered what they term the Divine Logo, the pentagram, circumscribed by a pentagon and circle, as the trademark of Summum (U.S. Reg. No. 1,270,427).

Agrippa (1531) [2]
Is there
a link between Satan and Lucifer?
There is no Biblical authority to claims that Lucifer and Satan are names for the same being.
In Revelation, Jesus referred to himself as the bright and morning star (Rev 22:16). In 1263 Pope Clement V commissioned the Franciscan monk, Roger Bacon, to investigate apparent problems arising from this translation. Bacon discovered papers by Jerome where, on his deathbed, the latter recanted the Latin Vulgate translation due to errors caused by haste. Jerome particularly singled out the Isaian translations. Bacon’s report that "Lucifer" was the Messiah and not the devil earned him incarceration until he recanted. [1]

Jerusalem seal [1]
Is there a link between the pentagram and Venus?
A curious, and somewhat astronomically irrelevent, occurance of cyclical positions of Venus will determine the points of a pentagram figure in the morning or evening sky during certain times of the year. Plotting the recurrence of Venus' westward elongation from the Sun, over six consecutive synodic periods, will create the points of a pentagram. Historically though, the pentagram has not been a symbol for Venus, neither planet nor goddess.

Medal of Honor (USA)
How is the pentagram used today?
Recalling the distinction between a pentagram, or endless knot, and a five-pointed star; the pentagram is rarely used outside of esoteric or occult circles. Its use in promoting rock music — specifically heavy metal — is noteworthy only as an example of the evolution of the symbol and the lack of real content.
That said, the five-pointed star, as a symbol of power and authority, bravery, honour and virtue, is an ever-present icon. Almost exclusively depicted with one point up, the five-pointed star is found on police badges, military vehicles, fourteen American state flags and on at least forty-five national flags. The Moroccan flag was the only one to depict the pentagram until 6 February 1996 when the Ethiopian government added a yellow pentagram on a blue disk to the more popular flag of green-yellow-red horizontal bands, adopted in 1897. A rare usage with one point down can be found on the American Congressional Medal of Honor.
Further study would reveal many other uses of the five-pointed star in corporate logos, commercial advertising, cinema, popular culture, and in all forms of graphic design. It is not exclusive to any one nationality, religion, faith or creed. It simply represents what the user wants it to represent.
Appendix i
A selection of Mesopotamian, Mediaeval, Renaissance and other pentagrams:
Appendix ii
Examples of pentagram usage from the mid-nineteenth century to the present: <freemasonry.bcy.ca/anti-masonry/pentagrams02.html>
Appendix iii
Examples of pentagram usage in corporate logos and commercial advertising.
Appendix iv
Examples of pentagram usage from cinema.
Appendix v
Examples of pentagram usage from popular culture.


© 1871-2014 Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon A.F. & A.M. Updated: 2007/06/18