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Upright Pentacle/Pentagram

Upright pentacles and pentagrams are among the most widely used religious symbols. They have been used in many eras and by many cultures and religions of the world: by ancient Pagans, ancient Israelites, Christians, magicians, Wiccans and others. The following pentagram-using groups are listed in chronological order:


This symbol apparently originated as the symbol of a Goddess who was worshiped over an area which extends from present-day England to Egypt and beyond. Her name was Kore (a.k.a. Car, Cara, Carnac, Ceres, Core, Kar, Karnak, Kaur, Kauri, Ker, Kerma, Kher, Kore, Q're, etc.). As Carmenta she was said to have invented the Roman alphabet. From her alternative Roman name Ceres have evolved many English words: cardiac, carnal, cereal, core, corn, and kernel. The port of Caraalis, (now Cagliari, the capital of Sardinia), was named after her.

Kore's sacred fruit is the apple. When an apple is cut through its equator, both halves will reveal a near-perfect pentagram shape at the core, with each point on the star containing a seed. Many Wiccans, other Neopagans and Roma (a.k.a. Gypsies) continue to cut apples in this way. The Roma refer to the core as the Star of Knowledge.

In ancient Greece, Pythagoras (586 - 506 BCE) established a school which pursued knowledge in mathematics, music, religion, and other specialties. Driven underground, his followers used the pentagram as a secret sign to identify themselves to each other. The Masonic Order has traditionally traced its origins back 2,500 years to the Pythagoreans.
Kore was worshiped within the Coptic Gnostic Christian religion in Alexandria, Egypt, during the 4th century CE. Her festival, the Koreion, was held yearly on JAN-6. This was adopted by the Christian church as Feast of Epiphany (a.k.a. Twelfth Night). 2 This date is still celebrated as Jesus' birthday in Armenian churches, and is observed with more pomp than is Christmas by the Greek Orthodox church. 3
In England, the Koreion became the Kirn - the Feast of Ingathering. The Christian church later adopted it to the Feast of Our Lady of Mercy. 2
During the times of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament), the pentacle was the first and most important of the Seven Seals - an amulet whose seals represented the seven secret names of God. It was inscribed on King Solomon's ring, which is often called Solomon's Seal in error. 4 Each point of the pentagram was also interpreted as referring to the five books of the Pentateuch - the first five books in the Hebrew Scriptures; a.k.a. the Torah.
The Celts believed that the pentacle was the sign of the Goddess of the Underground, who they called Morgan (a.k.a. Morrigan). The concept of five points seems to have permeated at least one of the Celtic lands. "Ireland had five great roads, five provinces and five paths of the law. The fairy folk counted by fives, and the mythological figures wore five-fold cloaks." 5
The five points of the pentagram have been interpreted as representing the five wounds of Christ (2 wrist, 2 ankle and 1 side).
The Roman Emperor Constantine used the pentagram in his seal and amulet. 6
It has been referred to as the Star of Bethlehem.
It was used to symbolize the star which allegedly led three Zoroastrian astrologers (a.k.a. the three wise men) to the baby Jesus; it was called the Three Kings' star.
The English warrior Sir Gawain, a nephew of King Arthur, adopted the pentagram as his personal symbol and placed it on his shield. 7 It appeared in gold on a red background. The five points symbolized "the five knightly virtues - generosity, courtesy, chastity, chivalry and piety." 6
Tarot cards originally had a suit of coins or discs. These were changed in the 19th century to pentacles when the Tarot became associated with the Kabbalah. They eventually became the suit of diamonds in modern playing cards.
It has been widely used by past Christians as a protective amulet.
During the three centuries long burning times, the Christian church burned alive or hung tens of thousands of innocent people accused of Witchcraft, Satan worship or other heresy. The meaning of the pentagram changed. It began to symbolize a goat's head or the devil in the form of Baphomet. "The folk-symbol of security - for the first time in history - was equated with evil and was called the Witch's Foot." 6

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The pentacle and pentagram are the main symbols used by Wiccans and many other neo-Pagans. The religion of Wicca is based in part on ancient Celtic deities, symbols, days of celebration, etc. They are an Earth-centered religion whose days of celebration follow the phases of the moon and the seasons.Their total membership in the U.S. is on the order of 750,000. That would make Wicca about the 5th largest organized religion in the United States, behind Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism.

Many religious and spiritual groups use the pentacle or pentagram today in a secondary role.



Background
The pentagram originates as one of the oldest religious symbols and was associated from its very birth with both a belief in its supernatural powers and rituals of human sacrifice.
In mathematics, a pentagram (sometimes known as a pentalpha or pentangle) is the shape of a five-pointed star drawn with five straight strokes. The word pentagram comes from the Greek word πεντάγραμμον (pentagrammon), a form of πεντάγραμμος (pentagrammos) or πεντέγραμμος (pentegrammos), a word meaning roughly "five-lined" or "five lines".
The earliest known use of a pentagram in any culture was found in Mesopotamia cultures during the earliest civilizations from around 2,500 to 3,500 BCE. In the Sumerian language, the pentagram (always inverted with two points up and one point down) served as a pictograph of the word "UB" meaning "corner, angle, nook; a small room, cavity, hole; pitfall".
In turn, the word UB (original name for pentagram) literally signified the most important religious ceremony of the various Sumer cities at which they sacrificed people to their most important female goddess, the "Queen of Heaven" also known as Inanna/Ishtar and in later centuries known as Athena/Cybele and Venus. The Sumerians would big a great pit and depending on the type of ceremony, would either place a large fire at the base of the pit into which people would be thrown, or bound and tossed (as in the case of the death of a king). As a result, the pentagram has always been an official symbol of the "Queen of Heaven" from the beginning of time.
From around 2,000 BCE, the pentagram took on the additional meaning of representing the five major gods of key Akkadian/Sumerian mythology, with each god representing a point and the whole star representing Ishtar as "Queen of Heaven". The pentagram and god association also had an astrological connection as the star represented the five brightest celestial bodies in the night sky- the planets of Jupiter, Mercury, Mars, Saturn and Venus- the brightest.
Under the Amorites (Neo-Akkadians) of Ugarit, Mari and Ebla, the pentagram came to symbolize the act of supreme sacrifice or Moloch in worshipping Astarte still with pits, but also more sophisticated forms of sacrifice such as ovens.
However, under the Pythagorus religious cult during the 6th Century BCE in Greece, the Pentagram was completely reinvented from being the single most evil symbol of all religious talismans to being a symbol of good.
Under Pythagorus and his religious movement, the pentagram was given its "Wicca" positive attributes of a symbol representing the five classical elements: water, earth, idea, heat and air with the complete symbol representing the Greek goddess of health: Hygieia. While none of these attributes have any historical substance to the original intent, design or real meaning of the pentagram, the popularity of the "positive pentagram" have remained today.
The confused world concerning the pentagram
The world has become confused when trying to establish the origins and real meaning of the pentagram.
In one instance, there is a substantial amount of contradictory information about the significance of the shape of a pentagram. The original Sumerian, Akkadian, Jewish Black Magic and Middle Ages Black Magic practices strictly adhered to the earliest of designs with a pentagram (as shown above) being two points up, one point down, with the left and right triangles being smaller than the up or down triangles.
Today, most pentagrams sold as black magic symbols are too geometrically perfect compared to the ancient original design used throughout black magic history, while many versions promoted as "good" are more in common with the ancient original design.

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