Isn't that Star of Bethlehem a Pentagram?
Well, of course it is.
Just as the Saxon Eostra (or whatever spelling catches your
fancy) lent her rabbit and name in English to Pasch. Also, the
day of Christ's Mass is actually the festival of the birthday
of Mithra; many of the honorifics bestowed on Mother Mary were
originally those of pagan goddesses, and St. Brigid arose from
the desire to anoint the stories and virtues of the old Celtic
Goddess. Far from shocking the Christian, these facts should
affirm to him or her that there is, in truth, only one Deity
to whom all paths which are followed in love and in humble sincerity
The adoption of the Pentagram for the Star of David is a good
example of the deliberate processes in which the old Christian
denominations appropriate those things that they like from the
cultures they encounter. In their minds, they have many imperative
reasons for doing so. Put simply, if there is only one Deity
then any attempt by anyone to communicate with that Deity should
result in conversations that other folks also seeking the Deity
The Master spoke of this in part when He mentioned "other
sheep in other flocks" during the Good Shepherd discourse.
As is written in Philippians 2:13 "It is God, for
His own loving purpose, Who puts both the will and the action
into you (to do good)."
For us who follow the path of Earth Spirituality, this is the
manifestation of the Goddess in Her nurturing nature living
in and through us. For as we follow the paths of magical mysticism,
we are always brought to greater choices, to either draw down
the substance and nature of the Deity into our being or to try
to turn away from it to more selfish ends.
The language is different, true, from the Catholic "actual
grace" or the Protestant, "living faith;" but
an open minded analysis of what the language means leads to
the same point. Because we have experienced the Love of the
Goddess, of the Lord and the Lady, or the Primaeval Urge, or
whatever your personal vision
of the Deity may be (even the classic "Ancient of Days"),
we in turn find ourselves desiring to continue not only in that
relationship, but to share the benefits of it with others. We
want the flowers to bloom in glory, the bees to swim in honey,
and all creatures to live in joyful, harmonious abundance.
Again, this is fancy language for discovering how to live as
Divine Children in the house and land of a loving God. It is
the metamorphosis achieved by turning mystically to the Divine
Source of life and existence, the "metanoia", the
the turning towards the Deity in such a way that we begin to
become more obviously like the Deity in our own being As
St. John wrote in his first Epistle (I John 4:16), "God
and anyone who lives in love lives in God, and God lives in
him." Further on, John points out that whoever loves the
parent, loves the children of that parent too. So we in our
turn love the many creatures who each have their own way of
showing us some of the sublime and loving hand of the Mother
who begot all of them.
So given that if something is showing us this kind of wonder
then it must have roots in the Breath of the Deity, it makes
sense for Christians to accept it as a sign of the action of
that Deity. Paul did this in Athens, for instance, when he appropriated
the altar to "the unknown God" as the starting point
of his discourse. In the same way, he elsewhere appropriated
the images of the race and even of the gladiatorial combat for
the struggles of the spiritual path. Again in Philippians he
wrote: "Fill your minds with everything that is true, everything
that is noble, everything that is good and pure, everything
that we love and honor, and everything that can be thought virtuous
and worthy of praise
What does all this have to do with the Star of Bethlehem?
Centuries before Christ, the Greek philosophers began realizing
that their myths on the surface simply were not adequate stories
to account for the depth of responses that religious experience
created. So they sought within their myths for the deeper message
which revealed the greater Divine forces lived out in the stories
of their gods.
They soon came to see these "gods" as faces or aspects
of some incomprehensible power which transcended all the stories
and began working towards the idea that beneath all the stories,
all gods were gods because they revealed to us ways in which
we could relate with, communicate with, the underlying Source.
One of the tools which they found very symbolic of this process
and reality was mathematics. Indeed, in the field of geometry
they became giants whose work in many ways has never been surpassed.
One of these mathematician philosophers, Pythagoras, was studying
the pentagram, an already ancient sacred symbol. He discovered
that if one is to join the corners
of the interior pentagon across the middle of the figure, a
new pentagram would be created. Then he noticed that if you
not only joined the tips of the star together into a pentagon,
but continued the lines further another new pentagram would
be created. Theoretically, this process could be repeated infinitely!
Now Pythagoras was a religious leader as well, he or his followers
made many discoveries just now being "rediscovered"
in the fields of color therapy, aroma therapy, and music therapy.
They also made a large number other great discoveries in geometry.
Remember, however, that they were conducting this research to
discover more about the nature of Deity and their spiritual
place in the cosmos.
For Pythagoras, the Pentagram became the best symbol of the
infinite nature of the human spirit extending forever
into both the macrocosm and the microcosm and illustrated perfectly
the truths of the elemental balance in his being as well. Here
was a sign showing the intrinsic union of the planes and making
alive the fundamental principle, "as above, so below."
Along comes this mystical Jewish heresy which decides that
its message must be true for the whole universe for it to be
true for themselves. In their culture, they already have the
concept of the star being the mystical representation of the
features of the Divine King, the Divine People, and so forth
in the Star of David. Yes, the Mogen David is a Hexagram. Yet
they were deliberately searching for symbols to say that this
is something new but also connected to the truth of the ancient
The Pentagram filled this need perfectly.
It was a star of mystical meaning. Moreover it was the symbol
of the perfect human reaching infinitely into all the realms.
How better to encapsulate the mission that they saw Jesus fulfilling?
It stated the message of a real man who is also the mystical
path to the Eternal Existence. Moreover that in this physical
person, embodying the physical elements of the universe, the
Transcendent Deity reached into our own bodies as well.
Then there were the five points, already linked to the five
elements, the Christians saw this as also good imagery for the
five points in which the dissonance and the disorder of our
world penetrated into Jesus. Feet, hands, and heart (though
in some iconographic representations, the spear is shown thrust
thru the crown of thorns to pick up that resonance as well),
the five wounds, shown upon the points of the star.
So the Star of Bethlehem in is a pentagram and holds
all the real meaning of the pentagram as well. Now if the pentagram
HAS to be a pagan symbol to you, then perhaps in another strange
twist, so does the miraculous birth and the opening of the path
to perfect union with Deity represented by the story of Jesus
should be another pagan symbol (as indeed many parallel stories
in other cults reveal).
In the same way, as the birth of Jesus was the birth of the
Divine Life among humans, so was the birth of Mithras, the Persian
sun god. Since nobody knows when Jesus was actually born (My
personal favorite is the Vernal Equinox the competing
January dates for "old Christmas" arise from various
calendar reforms in different places and different times), and
since so many Christians were closet Mithraists (the two cults
being very similar in certain ways), the Church leaders declared
that they would appropriate that feast for themselves (thereby
perhaps keeping a few more parishioners in church on that day
and out of the sacred grottoes).
Indeed, just as Mary blithely assumed the honorific, "Queen
of Heaven" which was once the title accorded to Asherah/Ishtar;
Jesus was loaded down with the titles of the Solar Deities which
his worshipers encountered. The symbolism of the dying god reborn
worked just fine. "Sol Invictus" which was supposed
to mean "unconquered Sun" just as easily meant "The
Only Unconquered", and so it went.
Besides, the Mithraic cults used the Star of Bethlehem too
already and ----- hopefully, you now get the picture.
Santa Claus, the improbable juncture of a Balkan Bishop - Martyr
and Father Christmas (old man Yule) of the north, is another
story maybe next year.....
Meanwhile, Seasons' Greetings!
Article by Ambrose Hawk
Brought to you by Ambrose Hawk Consulting, email firstname.lastname@example.org.