The pentagram. At the sound of its name the average person might think of “Satanism”, you may walk down the aisle of a video rental store and see it on the covers of horror movies, but has it always been this way? Has the pentagram always been associated with evil? How did it come to mean this?
Below are two stars that appear several times on the outside of the LDS Nauvoo temple. These two inverted stars are actually tied deeply to Jesus Christ and have been for a very long time; I’ll explain.
The pentagram, or day star/morning star is an ancient representation of the planet Venus. Jesus Christ, in the New Testament is referred to as both the “Day Star” and the “Morning Star” in connection to the planet Venus.
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:” (2 Peter 1:19)
“I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” (Revelation 22:16)
In eight earth years, Venus will have orbited the sun 13 times and during those eight years, the Sun, Venus and the Earth will experience five conjunctions where they are all perfectly lined up together. If you draw a line connecting these five conjunctions, guess what design you get?
You get a pentagram! There is another potential connection to Jesus Christ in this motif and it’s related to the colors that make up the pentagram. We see the colors blue, white and red and maybe we think that this is out of American patriotism; maybe, but I doubt it. In the book of Moses we read:
For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified; (Moses: 6:60)
Look at the order, it is the same as the colors in the pentagram, blue = water, white = spirit, red = blood. Another amazing connection to Jesus Christ and his divine mission.
Some people think that turning a symbol upside-down makes it take on the opposite meaning. It’s true that some might use that interpretation, but remember, symbols in and of themselves are not good or evil, they only communicate ideas. Take a look at this stained glass window from a Catholic church in my home town and note the upside-down cross:
But wait! Isn’t an upside-down cross symbolic of evil? Isn’t that an anti-Christ symbol? Perhaps, some use it to convey that meaning, but take a closer look down below at the two figures. I suspect that both represent the apostle Peter; the left figure is him as a fisherman and the right figure is him holding what may be the “keys to the kingdom” along with bread, possibly, in his hand. The other reason I believe it is Peter has to do with the upside-down cross.
It is said that Peter was martyred by being crucified upside-down because he did not feel worthy to die in the same way as his Master.
So upside-down doesn’t necessarily mean “evil” it just might signify an alternate meaning that we might have to dig a little deeper to understand. The pentagram was a symbol of good for millennia and was even used as a symbol of Christianity before the cross came along in reference to the five wounds of Christ, look it up.
Here’s a small sampling of examples where the pentagram is used on various Christian churches, both right side up and upside down.
So if it has been used for so long as a Christian symbol, when this association with evil occur? Believe it or not, the pentagram’s association with evil comes from the opinions of one man in the mid-1800s.
A man named Eliphas Lévi, who was once studying to enter the Roman Catholic priesthood, published a book In 1855 called “Transcendental Magic”. He was the first person to declare that an upside-down pentagram meant evil while a right-side-up pentagram meant good. Those in the occult successfully hijacked the symbol and unfortunately the blemish placed upon it still remains. Note that on 6 April 1841, the cornerstone of the Nauvoo temple was dedicated. The decision to incorporate pentagrams into the Nauvoo temple pre-dates the publication of Eliphas Lévi’s “Transcendental Magic” and subsequent connection of this symbol to evil by fourteen years.
In LDS symbology, I believe that the reason we turn the pentagram upside-down is to distinguish it from an upright star which has a different meaning. I believe when we turn a star upside-down it is to represent a planet instead of a star, the downward point indicates the reflection of light from the sun to the earth. A planet does not produce it’s own light, it reflects it from a brighter source, much like Christ reflected the love from the Father to us.
Take a look at the photo of the Nauvoo temple stars again and pay attention to the one on the right. Note the elongated point, extending down toward the earth, this star is also representative of Venus reflecting its light down to a terrestrial plane indicating also the condescension of Christ.
Interestingly, the city of Nauvoo was actually named “Venus” for a couple of years. [source] The more you dig, the more interesting the story becomes.
Symbols are like the letters of the alphabet, their meaning depends on their arrangement and the context in which they are presented. Saying “it is cool outside” could meant that the temperature is low or it could mean that there is something awesome going on ;)
To judge a symbol out of context is to not understand it and we fear what we do not understand. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes strongly in the idea of “restoration” or putting things back in their proper place and context. The pentagram was once an ancient Christian symbol that has only recently been hijacked; I’m glad to see the LDS Church standing by the pentagram and displaying it in a context which reveals its meaning in truth.
It’s time to welcome the pentagram back to Christianity where it belongs.