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Article ID: 2878
Age Group: Adult
Posted: July 16th. 2000
The Witches Pentacle (Part II)
by Witchvox Central
The Pentacle, the symbol of Witchcraft, is a bold and fascinating statement about our place in the Universe. The pentagram represents an ancient concept that can be found in philosophical thought in both East and West. Although over 8,000 years old, the image of the pentagram is applicable in our modern world. The pentagram tells us that we have the ability to bring Spirit to Earth; this applies to every area of practical day-to-day living, as well as spiritual thought. The ability of bringing Spirit to Earth is what makes us whole.
Greetings to all Wiccan friends, and "blessed be", as you say!
Good manners insist that first I should introduce myself; well I am a Greek, a male Taurus (born on 1st May - as far as I know, on the very day of the greatest Witches' feast!: ) ), and what we might call an erudite person. I 'm not Wiccan, but try to revive and follow the ancient Greek tradition, the way I perceive it.
During the late years, I am mostly interested in inter-cultural links between peoples, mostly the religion- and Mysteries-related ones. So, it was only reasonable that I perused through Sharynne NicMacha's article on the Pentacle, on which I 'd like to comment on, and tell you about some striking discoveries I made! But, let's put first things first - not necessarily in the order Humanity evolved; the best idea would be to follow the evolution of my thoughts, along with the mainstream narrative of Sharynne's.
*"Imagine the perfect apple." Hmmm... During all my life, I ate tons of apples (Taureans are equipped with a natural gluttony, y' know!), but I don't remember having ever shaken hands (or jaws!) with a "perfect" one. (Former apples don't remember such an encounter, either! ; ) ) Nope! Nowhere within the - literally - dozens of apple pure and hybrid sorts we have down here, in Greece! What I think Sharynne would exactly like to say, is that, indeed, the Pentacle can be found in many a Mother Nature's manifestation. Such as various animals' shells; flowers; even geological rocks.
It is most possible that our instinct (or our genomes, or whatever - choose the one you like) dictates that there is a (most times hidden) beauty in these shapes. Perhaps other species (such as, say, ants) could and would not perceive such shapes as "beautiful", but humans do. In fact, there is indeed the "golden proportion" (the well-known mathematical ratio of two lengths, which is said to form the most beautiful frames for the human eye to see) hidden both in shapes natural AND in the Pentacle (a fact I shall refer to later on), which leads the human mind to the formation of (deep-rooted and not always utterable) "links", joining the Pentacle to Nature.
*About the Pentacle, as a symbol of Divine Knowledge in various civilizations:
The Pentacle is not alone to this end; there are too many similar symbols and symbol sets around the Globe, but, perhaps, the Pentacle is the most widespread of them all (so, it's a piece of cake to a Wiccan eye to recognize the symbol, even if hidden), along with the Swastika. The Pentacle is THE symbol for what number 5 represents, the Swastika for number 4, and, remember here what you might have read or heard about the "divine" interpretation of small integers.
By the way, something worth mentioning is that the Swastika is an ancient Greek symbol of utmost importance to our ancient Mysteries which Hitler's ultra-secret "advisors" (they were black magicians and no angels, these guys - and they were "ultra-secret", because they 100% avoided appearances in public) told him to paint black and use. Hitler's flag, which was not "the best artistic arrangement of contrasting colors" (like some ignorants say), was a deliberate reversal of the "ascending climax" of Hermetic colors (from "matter" to "God"), putting emphasis on black, matter's color, TREADING OVER red (human beings, life, energy, moving towards God) and - mainly - white (the spirit, God). The interpretation of the raised black Swastika on a red background and in a white circle - according to the ancient Greek Mysteries - is: "unbridled 'black' energy, supported by all people, to overturn the Good God", and the results of such "advising" we 'd better not remember for long, or live (again)!... Note also that, during the 2nd WW, the Swastika and the Pentacle "fought" each other, because the main opponents fought under these emblems!!! Well, the Pentacle "won", but initiated people know very well that the quest for power should be stopped by all means and costs, or else a "damage" of "universal" magnitudes would result. (Do you *really* want me to explain this?!) The choice of the Pentacle as the emblem of some Countries (USA, USSR, etc) was NOT due to chance, too, but this would require a whole book to reason why, not a single article! ; ) But, if you are in a hurry to learn the answer, you might search it by yourselves! It's a good exercise for the mind! ; )
Pythagoras was indeed a great scholar and Myst, but he never really "won his bad self"; he never really passed the worst "exam" of all three his very school imposed on his very students-to-be, namely the egoism test... Pythagoras and Pythagoreans were elitists; they could not accept other people to be so clever as they were, or so connoisseurs on any matter as they were, or so pious and advanced Mysts, as they were. Or more. They also could not accept people who had beliefs contrary to their own; the words "tolerance", "forgiveness", "humor", "love", "partying" were... Greek to them! And those guys were "a law by themselves", too: They *believed* what is usually said as a joke: "MY things are mine, and YOUR things are *ours*!", and "stole" (without flushing) some doctrines and some mathematics from other philosophers, blindly attributing these quotations to Pythagoras, but they were fast on moving the index finger against others, who might try to do the same to any "Omakoeion" (means "the place, where *we listen* - to Pythagoras - *together*"; the name of his school) beliefs. (An interesting hint to pursue: Which organizations, or teams, or whatever, do you see nowadays following these very same traits? And, I mainly mean those of a quest on power and rulership. Well, search for their *Pythagorean*-like philosophy - there is absolutely no other way round! -, and you'll have discovered why our world, Mother Earth, has turned to a s*** pit; it is because bad-smelling substances have replaced brains in some Pythagorean people's heads, long ago.)
That's why Pythagoras left his own father-land, the isle of Samos (south-eastern Greece), to start a wanderer's life when young. That's why he never really understood that the Egyptian priesthood's asceticism (he took the Egyptian initiation, too, not only the Greek one) was a tradeoff for power, and not an end in itself. The vows of chastity and poverty ancient Egyptian priests took and followed were a countermeasure against their absolute power, to attain social balance and avoid revolutions of the poor, NOT something every human should willy-nilly follow, to become "perfect in front of God's eyes". (Note also, that Byzantine Empire used to have eunuchs occupied at very high State office, for the same reasons.) (It is worth mentioning, that asceticism - mainly in the form of sexual abstinence, or Victorian-like sexual hypocrisy - is considered a "correct" attitude until today, due to continuing wrong understanding of ancient doctrines.)
And, last but not least, that's why Milon from Kroton, one of Pythagoras' beloved students led his fellow students against the inhabitants of a nearby city, Syvaris, who became very rich and enjoyed parties and sexual orgies every night. Milon with his followers slaughtered the Syvaritians that night of -510, and this was the beginning of the end of Omakoeion, which was in turn burned down by the infuriated inhabitants of other Greek cities nearby. (Pythagoras was allowed to leave with his family.)
Anyway, egoism and unjustified killings put aside, Pythagoras was indeed a good mathematician and philosopher of that time. As it is well-known, he had his whole philosophy based on the small positive integers (he thought they represented the perfection of the Divine Being). So, he started calculating the reciprocal geometrical shapes, too. There is not any two-angled shape, so we start from the triangle; an equal-sided triangle can be easily calculated (sides and angles as well), as is a square. But, when it comes to a five-angled symmetric shape, oooops!, things get VERY complicated! When we try to find the mathematical relations between the lines, that form the Pentacle, we shall encounter some very special numbers (of "universal" value) with infinite decimal digits, not repeated. These numbers are pi=3.14159..., e=2.71828..., and the "Golden Proportion"=1.618... . So, when Pythagoras run through the infinite decimals, he was almost horrified. But, he remained so calm, as to realize that the "Golden Proportion" etc pop throughout the calculations on the Pentacle sides and lengths as a "natural" fact, and begun respecting the symbol. Finally, he attributed the well-known meanings of the "Origin of the Universe" and the "Perfect Human" to the Pentacle.
All this process took him many years to complete - during Pythagoras' time, calculations were made by using the tedious Greek alphabet representation of the numbers, and not the ten-digit number system of nowadays, [Note 1] so it had been far easier to make calculations through Geometry and images, than pure numbers. (Nowadays we have computers, and sometimes we have to *wait* for the result! Just imagine what calculations looked like during those times!!!) So,... that's why the Pentacle was held in high esteem by Pythagoras and the Omakoeion students: The symbol incorporated many a "divine" calculation, therefore PLUS many a Pythagorean teaching, in a strikingly simple way.
*About the evolution of Pythagorean thought:
Indeed, the Pythagorean ideas were not burned along with the Omakoeion. (*Nobody* can burn, or kill, or even fight an idea - however stupid, or evil - by weapons; ideas are fought against by other, better ideas.) The Pythagorean teachings fled eastwards and westwards, to establish the successor thought "Schools" to Omakoeion.
In Egypt, Alexander the Great founded Alexandreia about -330, one-out-of-so-many cities, named after his name, to honor him; but, one who still lives and flourishes nowadays. During ancient times (some centuries before and after the "zero year" of our dating system), Alexandreia was something like a giant cauldron (at this point, I almost can see you, Witches, smile!: ) Ok! Let me put it like his: Alexandria was a kind of a giant Kerrygwen's feast for minds!!!), where different civilizations exchanged ideas; Greeks, Egyptians, Jews, Romans, Arabs, Black, everybody would freely tell his or her tale in Forums, Municipal Baths, and Libraries, and find ears eager to listen to. (All these guys and gals spoke and wrote fluent Greek, the international language of that time.) It is exactly during these years, that the Pentacle was adopted by the Jewish world, through the Essene religious and fighting Order, through the teachings of Neo-Platonic and Neo-Pythagorean Greek philosophers. (The Essenes, who fiercely fought the Romans, founded the well-known monastery-shelter-"school" at Qumran, based on the very exact Pythagorean principles: A religious and fighting fraternity of pious, ascetic, learned men, dressed in white gowns!!!...)
In the West, the Romans set foot on the British isles, but not to the extend they wished to; the Celts fought them fiercely. But, anyway, these two peoples exchanged trade goods and ideas, among which were, of course, the Pythagorean ones. So, it is this way and about this era that the Pentacle started connecting to the British pagans. Note also that another, somewhat older and independent way the Pentacle followed to the British isles, was through the Greek merchants who used to buy tin ore there.
At this point, I should say that the above narrative is exactly what I had in my memory banks on the story of the Pentacle, and when I first read Sharynne's claim about "an 8,000 years old symbol", I frowned upon it. The only way the Pentacle would be made "holy" to people seemed to be *only* through instinct - through the "linking beauty" process I described earlier. How could illiterate people (like, say, the Aborigines of Australia) explain the delicate Mathematics on the symbol? So, Sharynne's claim seemed too unjustified and far-fetched. (I even searched *all* the Witches' Voice URL subpages, to find ancient rock drawings, or something, but in vain...) ...But, all these stood up to a few days ago. If you are curious about what changed my mind, just read on!
*The years passed by, Humanity entered the Piscean Great Month, and the Pentacle re-emerged at some time, as the ultimate pagan symbol on the British isles, and elsewhere. (This happened when Christian rulers became oppressive against the Pagans of the British isles countryside - Think: what else are Robin Hood's "merry men in green", than a guise for leprechauns?!) The story is not so simple, though; If we try to study the European and Middle East History of the last 2,000 years or so, we shall meet with a tangled ball of wool: Christians, Pagans, Moslems, "secret societies", knights, priests, kings, or the utterly poor, all of them actually didn't know what to believe and how. (I 'm over-simplifying things, for the sake of the narrative, because I don't intend to gather all Witch-ean curses upon me!!! I *know* you adhered to tradition, through secret, oral family lore, lovely Wiccan ladies!!!) All of them exchanged ideas, which at times were kept secret, but at times were so bold, as to emerge in public. For instance, the Christian Catholic Church "cursed" the Pentacle, but they also adopted the very symbol they cursed. How? By incorporating hidden Pentacle symbolism in, on, and around the churches and cathedrals!!!
Churches (as well other buildings, built by knowledgeable Architects) are indeed full of the Pentacle symbolism, which is mostly portrayed at the angles above the doors, where the door opening "naturally" converges (at 36 degrees, to represent the upper member of the Pentacle, the Spirit) and ends. Also, at opposing stairs, which intersect at an 144 degrees angle. Now, remember that we cannot actually compare ancient to modern knowledge "digit-wisely", because we have different digit sets. But, geometrical images are identical. So, openings of 36 degrees are very usual and of a clear meaning. (We can find 36 degrees openings on the entrances of older cathedrals, as well as on the bell towers of Gothic churches.) Also, openings of 72 degrees (36 x 2) and 144 (36 x 4, or 180 minus 36) degrees. The 144 degrees opening is exactly what we encounter on the roofs of ancient Greek temples.
We might as well find deviations from this rule, due to the following reasons:
- (a)The real meaning of the Pentacle-like opening was forgotten, or never learned.
- (b)The Architect wanted to compensate for the eye distortion of the straight lines to curves.
- (c)The building style had changed. (In fact, the Renaissance starts on the buildings when straight lines become arcs, and the windows and doors end in a lower. Circular opening.)
- (d)The building was so heavy, the Architect was afraid of collapse, and changed the building lines.
*So, an angular overhead opening over a door always means "Pentacle". Well, this is loud, clear, and perfectly understood. As is the fact, that all the buildings I have presented so far are more recent than the Pythagorean Omakoeion era. But, it is at exactly this point, that I remembered where else had I seen these impish 36 degrees... All my Pythagorean historical structure, which I made *some* efforts to build, nearly collapsed!
There are two more "Pythagorean" buildings, which most prominently display this architectural characteristic over their entrances: The first is the well-known Mayan "Nunnery" palace, at Uxmal. The overhead opening above the entrance is a perfect 36 degrees!!!... And, yes, somebody might say that there is indeed a reasonable solution to the traveling problem over the Atlantic (see pic legend), and the Nunnery is much newer to Pythagoras, so the Pentacle symbolism somehow made it to the Mayans. But, what can we make of an entrance to a tomb *much older* than Pythagoras?... This tomb is found at Mycenae, Peloponnesos (southern mainland Greece), is dated to ca. -1500 (according to the most moderate calculations), and the entrance overhead opening forms an almost perfect 36 degrees angle. "Almost" means that time corrosion doesn't allow for clear lines, but we should imagine the missing part.
What should we think of all these, then? That the priestly orders of many (if not all) ancient civilizations knew of each other's existence, no matter how far they were?... That they all had the Pentacle as their ultimate symbol?... That they had something on mind, about a U.N.-like organization to link all people together, since time-old eras?... Nobody knows for sure, but then we cannot but suspect things, and our minds gallop out there, in the open realms of fertile imagination!
Well, this article reached its end, but the real Quest now begins!
 Just try to, say, add, say, 25 and 75, using Greek letters, and time your effort!... (I'll not draw the ancient "digits" here, because we would be carried too far away, but I 'm asking you to open any Encyclopedia.) The ancient Greeks used a curious number system for long; to be exact, they used about half a dozen calculation digit sets, every one of them originating out of a different usage practice each time (i.e., one of their systems was used to calculate ore weights, another was used to calculate distances, etc.) and out of different cities-countries. The one which was connected to words (i.e. every word and every name produced a "sum" of the reciprocal "values" of the letters contained within, and those sums were related one to another, to reveal the kind of "divine relation" there existed between the two words), the "holy" one, was the most difficult to use, because it was not decimal-based, and contained 27 letters-digits. (The others, having been created out of everyday life, already contained the seeds of a decimal order.) The "holy" system is the one in use during Pythagoras' time, and it remained there for some more centuries, exactly because of it's "holiness". It was during about -250, in Alexandria, Egypt, that one Greek king of the Ptolemy dynasty issued a decree, by which he founded the ten-digit system for practicality.
LEGENDS TO PICTURES
[1a, b]A picture scanned out of the well-known Time-Life book series on the Sciences - the one about Mathematics. The ratio of clockwise to counterclockwise spirals is 21: 34 (better seen on the small image), and these two numbers are two terms of the well-known "Fibonacci" number series, where each term is the sum of the two previous ones: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, ... The ratio of any two successive terms of this series (allegedly already known to Pythagoreans, of whose "lost" books Fibonacci found and read a copy somewhere) yields the "Golden Proportion" 1,618..., to a better and better approximation, as numbers grow bigger. The "Golden Proportion" is hidden on the Pentacle, directly ringing a bell somewhere within us, that the Pentacle is closely linked to Mother Nature.
This lady is a High Priestess of Athena, the ancient Greek Goddess of Wisdom. Young women like her used to be the "official" marching escort to the walking around of the Goddess' statue, during the yearly feasts to honor Her. It is worth seeing, however, that the Swastika is clockwise (meaning "Power"), and not counterclockwise (meaning "Wisdom") - a "Schauwastika" in Sanskrit, the Greek name of the symbol being "Iera Tetraktys" = the "Holy Four-Radiant" -, perhaps due to the fact that Athena is not only THE Goddess of Wisdom, but a war Goddess, too ("Athena Promahos"); or the fact that "perfect humans" need to attain balance. (Other statues depict ladies dressed in counterclockwise Swastika-decorated robes.)
The pic is scanned out of one-of-so-many tour guiding books, sold outside Parthenon. [[book = PARTHGUI.JPG]]
The cover of the 3rd volume of Mr. Dakoglou's book (see also the related note on it). It is clear that the writer explores (apart from the meaning of the Pentacle) the Pythagorean - and Platonic, as well - philosophy of the (celestial, ideal, divine, etc.) "spheres".
This image displays the "good" (i.e. perfect, "God-like" human - elevated spirit) and the "bad" Pentacle (the goat, symbol of material things of which somebody cannot "let go" and elevate to God; also, a symbol of an animal-like sexism, 'cause goats are mere sex machines, when their reproduction days come). (Actually, the goat is the symbol of Saturn-ruled Capricorn, the sign of the "lowest energy level" of the zodiac. SAT-urn, SAB-baoth and SAT-an represent one and the same God, the good and bad aspects of the old "Father Time" Saturn; it is exactly due to this relation you see on the image, that people started linking the Pentacle with "Satanism". But, to be 100% exact, the goat is a mixture of Saturnian attitudes AND Pan, the goat-footed ancient Greek God of Nature. Pan is goat-*footed*, while Saturn, the Capricorn, is *all*-goat-like, but further explanation on this symbol mixing would take us too far. For the moment, it would be enough to note that Pan, too, is "hated", as a symbol of very ancient, pre-Christian pagan times.)
This image is scanned out of one-of-so-many anti-Freemason books around, but it is most probable that the Freemasons have drawn this image themselves. (Perhaps their "official" Encyclopedia would best clarify the situation.)
[5a, b]The Exeter Cathedral (ca 1350-1400), where we see a Pentacle on the facade!... Note also that the smaller windows around the Pentacle change from 4-angled to 5-angled and vice-versa. (Remember what I wrote earlier, about 4 and 5!...) The inside part of the (Normandic) Durham Cathedral (ca. 1093-1128), which honors the upper member of the Pentacle (the "perfect man's head", the Spirit), above the very door to the Sanctuary. The member's opening is about 55 degrees (see main text on openings), a sign that the builders probably didn't know the exact meaning of what they made! (They must have simply copied ideas out of other churches.)
Both pics are scanned out of "The Story of Art" book, by E.H.Gombrich (Phaidon, Oxford, 1989).
[5c]Here we see the "St. John of Kollakion" chapel, in Rodos island (southeastern Greece). This chapel, with a door overhead at a perfect 72 degrees opening, lays in ruins today, but is the very same chapel, where the Grand Magistrus of the Knights Hospitallers used to go to attend to the Mess. It is located close to the Magistrus' Palace. Note that both the Hospitallers and the Templars were not-so-fervent-Christians, but clearly Hermetic orders; this is evident, due to their usage of black, red, and white colors on their clothes, and to the symbols they adopted. (The very first Grand Magistrus of the Templars, Hugh de Payens - as far as I can remember, his name really means "Hugh of the Pagans"!!! -, a Belgian allegedly of Jewish origin, wore a red Pentacle sewn over his white gown, while his followers had sewn the Christian Cross!!!) The former represent the Qabbalistic "pile" of mercy, while the latter that of strictness.
[5d]The Parthenon in Athens, Greece, the most famous temple of Goddess Athena. The 144 degrees roof angle opening is more than evident. Actually, the opening is about 150-something degrees, because both Parthenon Architects (Iktinos and Kallikratis) "counter-compensated" the psychological visual effect of the human eye, to turn straight lines to curves.
[6a, b]Both pics are scanned out of the "Atlantis - the Poseidon Country Archives" book, [[book=POSEIDWN.JPG]] by the late Theodoros Axiotis (a Greek of our era). Axiotis has been an advanced Myst, and made too many genious links between ostensibly "irrelevant" facts. His books are not for the inexperienced reader, and - unfortunately - have not been translated in English, as far as I know. The drawing by Frederick Catherwood is inaccurate, because the opening is depicted as of 30 degrees. But, we should remember that Catherwood drawed on-site, without many means (carrying things in the rain forest is tedious enough!...), and 30 degrees is an angle drawn easily.
The spirals around the door (an 100% ancient Greek Mysteries symbol, denoting the evolution - of Humanity, of mind, of the Universe) directly relate Mayans to ancient Greece, which makes us wonder about travels over the Atlantic, during the Antiquity. Who started them? How?...
According to some writers and researchers, this tomb represents the Great Mother's legs spread apart, so that the dead can re-enter the Great Womb (through the Great Mother Earth's "genitals"), where we all come from. Tombs of this kind are most often artificial, and indeed resemble a pregnant woman. The pic is scanned out of the "Atlantis" book.
*"The Great Mysts"*, by Edward Schure. (I 'm retranslating the title from Greek in English.) This book is already more than one century old, and contains some unacceptable mistakes. (For instance, Moses was not "the Great Spirit's reincarnation under Cancer, because Moses was clearly a Capricorn... unless I don't know Astrology!) Anyway, it is a pleasant reading, and a "must have".
*"Pythagoras' secret Code and the Decoding of his Teachings"*, by Hippokrates Dakoglou.
This is a four-volume work, filled with "heavy" Mathematics (Mr. Dakoglou is a pensioner Civil Engineer, and a very clever man), along with geometrical images. Certainly not a title to read in bed, before sleeping! It's only a pity that this title is not translated in English yet. (Greek editorial companies, compared to their counterparts of the English-speaking world, are but fledglings. It's a matter of the number of readers-to-be; there are only about 15 million Greek-speaking persons on Earth, not all of which are avid readers of books who specialize on a certain subject, say, Pythagorism.)
I clarified the Pentacle symbolism myself after I read THIS book.
"The medieval Town of Rodos, and the Grand Magistrus' Palace": a tour guide (sold at the "Old Town" at Rodos) by Elias E. Kollias (Greek Ministry of Culture edition - 1994). [[HOSPITAL.JPG]]
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