Monday, June 15, 2009

A Pentagram Rant

I have a real problem with the pentagram being given such a bad rap by so many people, especially when the beliefs they hold (and spread) about this symbol are misguided, wrong and frequently detrimental.

I enjoy watching a paranormal TV show that shall remain nameless, and while I find most of the show to be interesting and thought-provoking, I find that several of the cast members who are devout Christians of a specific faith regularly reference the pentagram as a symbol of devil worship, demon possession and something to be feared. And this really bothers me as it propagates the notion that those of us out of the 'broom closet' as it were, and openly wearing one at our throats, are evil, perhaps even satanic, and blatantly advertising it for all the world to see. It only serves to make our pagan lives more difficult than they already are when we are forced to defend or explain our beliefs to those who automatically assume we practice the Black Arts simply because of a small star enclosed in a circle.

The pentagram is a symbol of spirituality, with four of the points representing the four elements of earth, air, fire and water and the fifth representing the Spirit of the Divine. It has actually been in use since at least 3000 BC, where in Babylonia the five directions were astrological and represented the planets Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn and the fifth point, Venus, as the Goddess of Heaven. In Taoism the pentagram represents the five Chinese elements of earth, wood, water, fire and metal. Early Christians at one time used the pentagram to represent the five wounds of Christ (the Mormons still use the symbol in much of their architecture) and it was even the symbol of the city of Jerusalem for a time.

But somehow, somewhere, probably in the 19th c when the occult and all its frightfulness and intrigue took hold of so much of the population, it became something to fear, something unsettling. And while there are some Satanists who use it reversed with the three points facing down to symbolize a rejection of the Holy Trinity, the majority of people who use a pentagram use it to honor Spirit and all that Spirit encompasses in this beautiful natural world. And while it can be symbolic of that which is magickal, as we use it so much in circle, from calling the quarters to decorating our altars, it shouldn't automatically be assumed that the magick it's used for is black and dangerous.

Close-mindedness and ignorance are never a good thing, and when coupled with religious intolerance, they are a very dangerous thing. I try very hard to remain gentle when questioned by curious or concerned strangers about my belief system, even when I feel threatened by their fear and anger. By being kind, even in the face of hostility and derision, perhaps I can teach the truth to a few people who hopefully might in turn enlighten others if the subject of the pentagram and devil worship ever arises again in their lives. In the meantime in my own life, I'll continue to be annoyed by people who should know better (read: people of any faith who are by profession paranormal researchers). Stop spreading hatred and fear. Please.

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