Pentagrams: A Defense

golden ratio

Greetings Monster Hunters! Today, we’re going to have a little history lesson, stemming from a review on Blade’s Edge. First, dear Reviewer, God love you. I truly mean that. It was a lovely, kind review, and I thank you for leaving it. However, I want to take a moment to set the record straight about the poor maligned pentagram, because I see your point. It’s hard to get comfortable with something if you’ve been told it’s only used in relation to dark, evil things. It wasn’t always that way, though, and I think we need to provide a little more context so people won’t be afraid of it.

Yes, the poor maligned pentagram. So many people see it as a Satanic symbol, and why not? The Satanists claimed it. What most people don’t realize is that the Satanists use a flipped over-pentagram, circumscribed in a circle (as a Pentangle) with the single point pointing down to make the whole shape resemble a goat’s head. (I’ll let you Google that one if you want to see it. I prefer not to provide links here.)

But that’s not always how a pentagram was viewed. In fact, a right-side up pentagram (simply a word for a five-pointed star bisected by lines to form a pentagon at the center) is a symbol found in multiple religions, including Christianity. No, really, the Christians claimed this symbol all the way into the Middle Ages–the five points were considered symbols of the five wounds Jesus sustained on the cross. A pentagram is also prized because of its aesthetically pleasing dimensions, as shown by the golden ratio pentagram figure shown above (the link takes you to Wikipedia if you want the actual equation). And it’s not only the whole figure–the triangles are in balance, too. Mathematicians and artists have been using and studying this particular shape for literal ages.  Five triangles formed from a regular pentagon to create a mathematical perfection? Of course geometry teachers would love them! (Although, that might prove that pentagrams are evil…hmmm).

Anyway, I digress. My original point is simple. This symbol has been relatively innocent in its use until the last few centuries. As a result, its connotation is automatically assumed to be evil. But a symbol–any symbol–only holds power because we allow it. So I’m taking the pentagram back. My good guys wear right-side up pentagrams. Five points, five wielders. The bad guys (in Legend) are ascribed to an upside-down pentagram…and pervert the symbol to their own use.

Oh, and this is a hint: it serves as a mnemonic to the ancient Chinese representing the five phases…aka, the five elements (wood, metal, water, fire, earth). Just saying…

So…any other thoughts on the pentagram? Are there any other symbols you think should be “reclaimed” from a twisted use?

 

One comment

  • Personally, I have always loved the pentagram. It is a thoroughly misunderstood symbol. I have two in my bedroom over my windows and, aside from throwing pretty lights on the walls, I love them for their shape and was the historically stood for. I was thrilled when the symbol showed up in your novels and that you neither conformed to the modern beliefs nor twisted it in any other way. Thank you for writing this defense of the pentagram.

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