The six-pointed Star, popularly known as the Star of David or Magen David (meaning “the Shield of David”), is unequivocally tied with the Jewish identity today. However, it was not always so. An ancient symbol, the Star appears across several religions and cultures. It has popped up in the most unexpected places in history. The journey can be traced back to ancient Egypt, King Solomon, and traverses through Arabian witchcraft, Freemasonry, Astrology, Hitler, and the present-day Flag of Israel. The Star also surfaces in seemingly unrelated Indian and Japanese contexts!
The Star in History
The earliest signs of the Star can be traced back to the first century BCE, when Philo, a Jewish Philosopher from Egypt started using the symbol of two super-imposed equilateral triangles. Dedicated to Philo of Alexandria, in Latin, the term ‘opus Alexandrinum’ refers to the period’s mosaic décor comprising geometric patterns, often forming the Star symbol.
An ancient Sumerian Seal dating to -2500 BCE (now housed in the Berlin Museum as Exhibit VA 243) depicts a six-pointed Star as the Sun with planets surrounding it.
Found first in Sumerian ruins, then in Babylonian excavation sites and then in most civilisations that followed, the six-pointed Star is popular among archaeologists as the ‘Star of Ishtar.’
The Star in Astrology
The six-pointed star, known as the celestial hexagram or Grand Sextile in Astrology, is a rare and powerful occurrence known to bestow creative talents and huge success to those fortunate enough to be born with it.
It is believed that the horoscope of King David had two lucky Grand Trines (interlocking equilateral triangles) that formed a Star shape. The symbol was engraved on his armor, and he never lost a fight since, making it a symbol. It also very common finding the Star of David in Jewish modern jewelry, see an amazing collection of Star of David jewelry.
Here are some celebrities born with the Grand Trine in their birth charts: Oprah Winfrey, Neil Armstrong, Stephen King, Eric Clapton, Tom Cruise, and more.
The Jewish Connotation
The Star of David is almost synonymous with Judaism, making an appearance throughout its history.
The Twelve tribes of Israel were believed to be positioned in the desert to form the Star of David shape, with each tribe at one of the focal points.
The Star of David became a symbol of the Jews in 1364, when The King of Bohemia, Charles IV permitted the Jews of Prague to create an identity with a red flag bearing the symbol along with the Seal of Solomon (which is also a Star but with a circle).
Hitler forced the Jews to wear a yellow six-pointed star symbol to differentiate them from others, thus making it a sign of Nazi persecution.
Currently, the Star of David features on the National Flag of Israel.
The Christian Connection
The Star of David is known as the ‘Star of Creation’ in Christianity. The six points denote the six days of creation and also stand for God’s attributes of love, wisdom, magnificence, supremacy, justice, and compassion. An important symbol of the religion, the six-pointed Star motif, appears in several Churches across Europe.
The Sistine Chapel in Rome features the Star symbol prominently as part of its floor mosaic patterns and on the Arch of Titus.
The Muslim Relation
The six-pointed star is mostly discouraged in Islamic structures across Saudi Arabia, with the five-pointed star taking precedence. However, this is more of a political agenda. Moses has been mentioned several times in the Holy Quran as a prophet. Three Abrahamic religions, i.e., Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, share some common beliefs with their monotheism roots.
The Ahmadiyya flag (Muslim community founded in 1835), Lawa-e-Ahmaddiyat, contains a six-pointed star adjacent to a crescent.
Several mosques in South Asia feature the six-pointed star across its constructional designs. Some even have the word “Allah” written within the central hexagram of the star. A prominent example is the Mosque of Makhdoom Sabzwari, located in Mayfair Garden, New Delhi.
The Link with Hinduism
The Star of David symbol appears in Hinduism and is called the “Shatkona” (shat = six, kona = angle), exemplifying the union of the male and female energies and the elements of fire and water. Together, they form the origin or formation of life. The star is a frequently appearing motif across Hindu temples and artifacts.
The hexagram is also used extensively in Hindu Yantras (for performing rituals).
The Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, India (official residence of the President of India), features the six-pointed Star motif in several structures and floor patterns.
The Rastafari Tie
The Rastafarian faith, originated in Jamaica in the 1930s, refers to the star as the Rasta Star of David and usually depicts it in a combination of red, green, and gold, the Rastafarian colors. Haile Selassie, the late King of Ethiopia, revered by the Rastas as the second coming of Jesus, is believed to be King Solomon’s descendant. Hence, Rastafas use the Star of David as their central symbol, and it features extensively on Rasta flags, art, and clothing.
The Egyptian Bond
Triangles and star patterns have been seen extensively in Egyptian contexts. The Merkabah was a sacred formation of the ancient Egyptians, made by joining two pyramids. This formation makes a three-dimensional Star of David and is believed to be a potent tool in metaphysical magic.
The six-pointed star symbol has been found engraved in several Egyptian artifacts and even on an ancient Egyptian temple block.
The Japanese Connect
The Japanese Kagome Crest is a six-pointed star that can be found in ancient Shinto shrines dating back to the 5th Century BC. The symbol is carved into all the stone lanterns at the Ise grand shrine (built after the Second World War). It is believed to ward off evil energies.
The Kagome is associated with a Hata Clan (immigrant clan of Japan). Several Japanese city regalias feature the Star symbol even today.
The Grand Seal of USA
The Official Seal of the United States of America (Great Seal) features several 5-pointed stars above the eagle. What is interesting to note is that these stars are arranged to form the six-pointed star – it’s easy to miss but unmistakable once you see it!