The True Occult Secret of the Pentagram
Note: This is Part II of a two-part series. If you have not read Part I, please do so before reading this article! It has information and explanations that you might need to understand this article in full.
Left: The ancient / occult pentagram symbol. Right: The pentagram in the Texaco logo.
In Part 1, we saw how the big multinational oil corporations use ancient iconic symbols as their logos. The seashell (Shell), diamond (Sunoco), torch of victory (Amoco), shield (Chevron), solar halo (Gulf), and pegasus (Mobil) are all ancient icons that we humans have known and recognized for thousands of years. These symbols are embedded in our collective unconscious as positive symbols, and the corporations have co-opted these symbols to influence and attract customers unconsciously, fully aware that these symbols are inherently attractive to us.
We spoke briefly on each of those logos before, but there is one that deserves a deeper look: here we will focus on the Texaco logo, which is yet another corporate oil company logo that is patterned after an ancient emblem, the pentagram or pentacle.
The pentagram is one of the most curious emblems of esotericism, especially because of its shunning: while the rest of the symbols spoken of in Part I are inherently positive, comforting symbols, the pentagram has always been considered a talisman of power and shunned by the majority of people in fear for thousands of years.
The pentagram appears in many corporate logos. How many pentagram stars can you count above?
A great many people in the world hold the mistaken belief that the Pentagram is an “evil” symbol, representative of the Judeo-Christian “Devil” or “Satan.” In truth, the symbol has nothing to do with the Bible and/or Judeo-Christian conceptions of good and evil.
The Pentagram instead symbolizes the makeup of man: his inner spiritual side and his outer physical side.
Top, From Left to Right: The Texaco logo is a pentagram; Christ as a Pentagram, from Valeriano Bolzan, Hieroglyphica (Basel, 1556); Ancient representation of the Chinese five phases, or elements (Wǔ Xíng). Bottom: From Left to Right: Man inscribed in a pentagram, from De occulta philosophia libri tres by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1486 – 1535).
A pentagram (also known as a pentalpha, pentangle, pentacle, or star pentagon) is a five pointed star drawn with five straight strokes. The word comes from the Greek word pentagrammon meaning “five lined” or “five lines”.
The true origin of this symbol is unknown, and has been lost in time. It does, however, stretch back to prehistory: we know that ancient Sumerians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Babylonians all used symbolic depictions of the pentagram in their arts. The association of magic with the pentagram was evident in these historic uses of the pentagram and continues to be a strong symbolic meaning behind the pentagram; many practitioners of Neo-pagan faiths wear pentagram jewelry, and Wiccans use the pentagram as a symbol of faith.
Not surprisingly, the pentagram has associations with Freemasonry, one of the world’s oldest and most powerful initiatic orders, and perhaps the purest inheritor of the metaphysical and symbolic wisdom of the ancient, pre-Christian cultures:
Left: The Masonic Blazing Star is one of the most important symbols of Freemasonry. Right: The Masonic Blazing Star above the doorway of a building in France. The Blazing Start makes its appearance in several of the Degrees. In the instructions of 1735, it is detailed as a part of the furniture of a Lodge, with the explanation that the “Mosaic Pavement is the Ground Floor of the Lodge, the Blazing Star, the Centre, and the Indented Tarsel, the Border round about it!”
In the 28th Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, the Blazing Star denotes a Freemason, who, by perfecting himself in truth and knowledge, becomes like a blazing star, shining brilliantly in darkness.
This is an interesting description, especially because of the phrase “blazing star” applied to a man. This “substituted secret” echoes an element of truth; namely, that truth that the pentagram symbolizes Man himself. Masonic scholar Rex Hutchins asserts that the pentagram:
“…is the symbol of the Divine in man… The five-pointed star with a single point upward represents the Divine. It also symbolizes man for its five points allude to the five senses, the five members (head, arms and legs) and his five fingers on each hand, which signify the tokens that distinguish Masons.”
Before we delve more deeply into the powerful connection between man and the pentagram, it will be beneficial to take a quick look at an interrelated meaning of the pentagram- its use in ancient magic.
Occult Properties of the Pentagram
The subject of the magical use of the pentagram is vast, and, in many ways, still unchartered. We find this interesting quote on Wikipedia:
“The five-pointed star is representative of the four primal elements (earth, air, fire and water,) and traditionally a fifth, called spirit. The circle binds them together to create life. When pointing up, the pentagram can represent spirituality’s dominance over the material (pentagram) bound inside the laws of the cosmos (circle). The upside-down facing pentagram, meanwhile, represents the physical world ruling over the spiritual, and has therefore been associated with dark magic. Other sources point to its origin in Chinese five-elementphilosophy, as the natural balance between fire, water, earth, wood, and metal. This theory states that the direction it ispointing has nothing to do with good or evil, but rather the upside-down facing circle is for banishing. The circle is again forthe concept the power within is bound by, this time for the circle of life.”
“The Pentagram has a long history of occult use. It was by use of a poorly constructed Pentagram that Mephistopheles was able to manifest in the circle of Faust! Magical grimoires of the western esoteric tradition are replete with examples of pentagrams being used as protective and evocatory talismans, or as the seals of circles of the Art which were traced on the floor of the ritual chamber. Literally thousands of examples are extant from the works of Trithemius, Dr. John Dee, Heinrich Agrippa, Kircher, Bruno, and many others, which show the hermetic and kabalistic applications of the Pentagram in ceremonial ritual use.”
—Gregory H. Peters, The Sacred Pentagram
Perhaps one of the most evocative descriptions of the occult powers of this symbol comes from the magician Eliphas Levi (Alphonse Louis Constant), who writes of the Pentagram in his book Transcendental Magic:
“The Pentagram expresses the mind’s domination over the elements and it is by this sign that we bind the demons of the air, the spirits of fire, the spectres of water, and the ghosts of earth. It is the Star of the Magi, the burning star of the Gnostic schools, the sign of intellectual omnipotence and autocracy. Its complete comprehension is the key of two worlds—it is absolute natural philosophy and natural science. Its use, how¬ever, is most dangerous to operators who do not completely and perfectly understand it. All mysteries of magic, all symbols of the gnosis, all figures of occultism, all Qabalis¬tic keys of prophecy, are resumed in the sign of the Pentagram, which Paracelsus pro¬claims to be the greatest and most potent of all.”
In the previous article we examined the way in which ancient icons hold a permanent place in our “collective unconscious.” The pentagram is one of those icons, and is arguably one of the most powerful. It is clear from the research above that our ancestors understood and used the pentagram to tap the full extent of its power. As their descendants, we recognize the power of the symbol through our collective unconscious even if we have forgotten its true power and meaning.
We are alone in our forgetfulness. Multinational corporations seem not to have forgotten. By using the pentagram in their logos, multinational corporations show that they understand the power and truth behind the pentagram, using it to attract consumers instead of giving it to the people.
In January 2010, the present writer was asked to deliver a lecture at the Masonic Lodge in Manhattan, NY. Having accepted, a 25-minute speech was prepared and presented, which details the symbolism of the number 5 as it is connected to the “pentagram,” one of Freemasonry’s oldest and most powerful symbols.
A handout was distributed with the following images.
Five As The Symbol of Man
Left: Man is a pentagram star, from Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa’s De Occulta Philosophia Libri Tres. Middle: The pentagram, a star that shines. Right: Pentagram in the center of the Rose Window of the Cathedral of Exeter in England. The three images above ultimately depict the occult secret behind the number Five. The secret is that five is the number of man in the shape of a pentagram. This relates the ancient Secret Doctrine that man is a star, an eternal soul that shines; that deep down beneath the physical, corporeal body, we are powerful beyond ways we’ve never imagined.
Below is a copy of the speech, which has been edited to fit the present format.
LECTURE BY RICHARD CASSARO. DELIVERED IN JANUARY 15, 2010 AT THE MASONIC HALL IN MANHATTAN, NY:
Tonight we’ll examine the symbolism of the number five; what it means and what it stands for.
Some authors will tell you five is important because in Judaism the Torah contains five books, which are collectively called the five Books of Moses, the Pentateuch. In Christianity, Christ suffered five wounds on the Cross. There are five pillars of Islam (faith, prayer, alms, pilgrimage, fast) while Muslims pray five times a day.
But this in and of itself is not wisdom; noting similarities between religions will not alone help you to understand the world around you. Instead we must look deeper to the reasons five is so prevalent among religions; we must instead realize that they are not independent discoveries but rather memorials or pointers indicating a hidden treasure of symbolic meaning buried beneath the number five.
What deeper truth, then, is behind the number five? How does understanding the esoteric symbolism behind the number five endow a person with more “light” or understanding in the Masonic philosophy?
Simply put: the number five is the human number, the number that symbolizes man and his potential. Man has four limbs and a head, five digits on each hand and toe, five senses, etc. and so forth. The number five is embedded in man, and has been taught as such by the ancient mystery schools of Egypt and Babylon.
The human body has five appendages (2 legs + 2 arms + head). We have 5 fingers and 5 toes. To ancient geometers, our 5-fold symmetry meant that the universe, too, had a 5-fold nature, since man was believed to be a microcosm of the universe.
Symbologist Juan Eduardo Cirlot tells us:
“Traditionally, the number five symbolizes man after the fall, but, once applied to this order of earthly things, it signifies health and love. Esoteric thinking sees this, not as the effect but, in fact, as the cause of man’s five extremities with the number five inscribed also on each hand and foot. This association of the number five with the human figure, common during the Romanesque period, is found all over the world, from England to the Far East. Agrippa of Nettesheim, depicted the image of man with arms and legs apart and related to the pentagram.”
—Juan Eduardo Cirlot, A Dictionary of Symbols
The pentagram is one of the most remarkable and sacred symbols in geometry for precisely this reason. Geometry is, of course, a key to Freemasonry; geometry is one of the ideas that the letter “G” in Freemasonry symbolizes, along with gnosis. This is evident in the incredibly sophisticated buildings that the medieval operative Masons built, intertwining geometry with gnosis to leave buildings that are living testaments to the ancient quest to find the inner, eternal Self:
The Pentagram, then, is one of the most complex and potent magical emblems on the planet. It is a five-pointed star that is drawn with five straight strokes; interestingly, it can also be drawn unicursally, or without picking up your pen from the page.
In studying this image, note carefully the man inside the pentagram. The Vitruvian Man, as discussed earlier, was overlain over a pentagram precisely because the pentagram holds a distinct resemblance to man. Just as your arms look similar to each other but different to your legs, the same holds true for the pentagram: the two arms of the pentagram look exactly like each other but different than the two legs, and vice versa:
The pentagram as the perfect symbol of man. The two “arms” of the pentagram match man’s arms. The two “legs” of the pentagram match man’s legs.
This, of course, teaches us something very important about the pentagram: if geometry is part of the fold of Creation, as Masonic philosophy tells us it is, then the pentagram is no less than the template of man. It is not just the same shape but is in fact one and the same with Man himself.
In essence, then, the pentagram is a core component of Masonic philosophy, in particular its quest to shine and perfect human knowledge: the attribution of “blazing star” to high order Masons is no mistake. Humans themselves are stars, deep down, and humans shine eternally because Geometry is an eternal law and constant of the universe itself.
This star I’m talking about is your eternal soul, plain and simple. As C.W. Lewis tells us:
“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”
Again, “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”
Every soul is a star that shines—this is ancient wisdom.
“Every man and every woman is a star.”
—Aleister Crowley, 1904
As Masons, your philosophy dictates that you are like a great light beneath your physical body, animating it and making it glow with light and life. This is the ancient teaching of the number five and the pentagram; that humans, as stars, are powerful beyond measure, an ideal every Mason must reach after revealing his belief in his own eternal soul:
“…I charge you to regard your apron as one of the most precious and speaking symbols our Order has to give you…Remember that you first wore it with the flap raised, it being thus a five-cornered badge, indicating the five senses, by means of which we enter into relations with the material world around us (our “five points of fellowship” with the material world), but indicating also by the triangular portion above, in conjunction with the quadrangular portion below, that man’s nature is a combination of soul and body.”
—W. L. Wilmshurst, The Meaning of Masonry
“In Masonry, Five is a sacred number… In the Third Degree, we find reference to the five points of fellowship, and their symbol, the five pointed star.”
—Albert Mackey, An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry
The more you can envision this Masonic truth—the fact that beneath your head, two arms, and two legs you are a blazing star—the more you can take control of your body…and shape your own destiny.
This is, of course, a difficult concept to grasp, especially in Western cultures that try to disassociate with the soul and explain the world with only science, labeling those who believe in souls foolish and unprofessional. The record the ancient civilizations have left us, however, speaks differently: they believed in the soul and have left us the symbolic records, like the pentagram and the ankh, in order for us to recover what was once common knowledge.
The concept of the soul, to us, is alien: as a modern society we have disowned it, as mentioned above. The founders, however, had not, and as Masons left us their legacy as well. Evidence for this abounds; consider, for example, the massive pentagram embedded in DC’s architecture- it is a pentagram of crossroads with its head as the White House:
The now-famous pentagram design formed by the intersecting streets in Washington DC, with the ‘head’ of the pentagram pointing directly to the White House.
The flag as well is a Masonic symbol, embedding 50 pentagrams in its design; the US coat of arms contains them as well:
The Pentagon is implicitly a pentagram, since a pentagon forms the interior of a pentagram. The symbolic meaning of the pentagon symbol is similar to that of the pentagram, but deep enough to deserve its own lecture. Suffice it to say, however, that there is enough evidence to see that the founding fathers and the builders after them understood the power of the pentagram and encoded it in the US government’s symbols and architecture.
Interestingly, there are many well-established governments across the world that have long known and understood this power also, which is why a pentagram appears on their national flags:
THE EUROPEAN UNION
BOZNIA / HERZOGOVINA
All of these nations clearly have pentagram symbols on their flags. At one point in their history, the leaders of these countries discovered the ancient meaning, sacred geometry and occult power of the pentagram.
The most likely origin of this wisdom was through Freemasonry, which spread throughout the world in centuries past. The connection between leaders of countries and Freemasonry is well-documented by historians; our own government provides evidence of this global connection.
Unfortunately, it is not always benevolent parties that understand the power behind the pentagram and other esoteric symbols. Large multinational corporations have subverted the power of the to attain their greatest good, not yours; they are using this symbolism to increase their profit margin instead of using this esoteric wisdom to teach and empower the masses with their own metaphysical power.
I have a handout that shows a sample, a small sample, of just some of the big corporations that use the pentagram:
Small sample of corporate pentagram logos.
It is very likely you’ve never noticed the large amount of pentagrams used in the logos of big corporations. To use a clichéd phrase, they are using its magic against you and your unconscious mind, tapping into and exploiting what 20th century psychologist Carl Jung called the “collective unconscious”:
“My thesis then, is as follows: in addition to our immediate consciousness, which is of a thoroughly personal nature and which we believe to be the only empirical psyche (even if we tack on the personal unconscious as an appendix), there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually but is inherited. It consists of pre-existent forms, the archetypes, which can only become conscious secondarily and which give definite form to certain psychic contents.”
The pentagram appeals to our “collective unconscious” because our ancestors, since ancient times all the way down through and into the 21st century, have all had experiences with this symbol. A deep and ancient part of your mind or brain knows this symbol, because your forefathers knew it, even though you personally have not had a personal experience with it.
There is much more about the pentagram that we simply don’t have enough time to discuss and delve into here. As mentioned earlier, there is an endless amount of magic and ritual that goes along with the pentagram. Also sacred geometry:
Pentagons and Pentagrams exhibit self-symmetry and infinite fractal expansion. Fractal geometry is evident whenever a part of something resembles the whole. (ie. twigs look like branches, which look like trees, which look like large twigs, which look like branches etc….). Fractal geometry is found throughout plant life and minerals. A seed of a plant contains enough data to construct an entirely new plant. And, in fact, a single strand of an animal’s DNA contains enough data to construct the entire animal (this is why cloning is possible). The fractal symmetry of the pentagon and pentagram is illustrated below
I would like to leave you with one final thought.
If you look again at the handout, you’ll see one example of how operative Freemasons sometimes built pentagrams into the rose windows of Gothic cathedrals.
Pentagram in the center of the rose window on the western facade of Exeter Cathedral in England (c. 1400).
The exclusively Masonic art of reading churches and cathedrals for meaning has been lost in modern times; the rose window and pentagram, is a complex symbol that denotes our soul and the power behind it, a blazing star flowing from the spiritual world into physical existence.
The Freemasons encoded this tremendous secret here into the architecture. They did it to preserve for posterity the true meaning of the pentagram. They did it to uplift man. Their motives were clearly the direct opposite of the motives of today’s big corporations.
Many of these operative Freemasons were our ancestors. They cared and tried to get it right for us, which they seem to have done. Funny how, in today’s world, the youth believe the Freemasons are bad and the big companies like Macy’s are good.
The operative Masons, then, were indeed “good”. They decorated their Gothic cathedrals with rose windows and pentagrams for a reason, a message to both current viewers and later generations that spoke to the Masonic doctrine of the soul and self: a message that the body may die, but the soul will shine on.
Thus, in closing, I would like to leave you with this. When you see the number five or a pentagram, please say to yourself: “Hey, that’s man, body and soul…that’s me, body and soul!”
I AM MAN, I AM THE PENTAGRAM.
Beneath my body, I have a soul, I am a star, an eternal star that shines. I have lived, but I will die. I will sleep, but I will awake, I will die, but I will live.
Thank you all for listening and goodnight.