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SPN Symbols: Pentagram

mugshot
Sharing another part of my Supernatural symbol presentation from winchestmidwest!
(Devil Trap beginnings here)

The first symbol I researched was the anti-possession tattoo because I was seriously considering getting it myself. I couldn't put permanent ink on my body just because it was part of a tv show I liked, even obsessed over. It had to mean more!

Last year I was lucky enough to speak with the show's head of graphics. She told our group that the symbols used on the show are either real or made with intent. That got me excited and I wanted to find out more!






A pentagram is a five pointed star with lines that cross to each point, like a celtic “endless knot” and it’s supposed to be drawn in a single motion.
A pentacle is a pentagram with a circle around it. It’s the circle that contains and protects the pentagram. In the past century the terms have become interchangeable.

The origin of the pentagram comes from the path that the planet Venus makes in the heavens as seen from Earth. This path takes about 8 Earth years. Ancient astrologers recorded this thousands of years ago!


The upright pentagram has often been associated as pagan or white magic with one point at the top, said to give it unity and harmony.


The inverted pentagram has been associated as dark magic and Satanism. The two points at the top giving it duality and conflict.


It also makes you look really cool when you're performing Death Metal... Ha!


Actually, up until medieval times, the five points of the pentagram represented the five wounds of Christ on the Cross. During these times the pentagram carried no evil implications, after all it was symbolic of the Savior. Even the inverted sign was seen as the transfiguration and ascension of Jesus Christ.

This belief didn’t fade away entirely. For example, this is a Mormon temple in Indiana. Note the inverted pentacle in the window as well as the inverted stars bordering it.


Other examples include this Jewish temple, built in 1862 in Las Angeles, CA.


This is a Catholic cathedral in Tuscany, Italy.


Here in the modern US, this is a symbol used by the GOP in today’s politics.


We honor our military heroes with the Congressional Medal of Honor, which has an inverted pentagram.


In the next SPN Symbol posting, I will cover the three events in history which turned the pentagram from a holy symbol to a negative conotation in today's society.
Thanks for reading!

Comments

( 38 comments )
ratherastory
Mar. 27th, 2011 11:58 pm (UTC)
I can't see them now without thinking "Thank you, Unsolved Mysteries."

Show has ruined me forever. ;)
agent_jl36
Mar. 28th, 2011 08:13 pm (UTC)
Shall we put on our Robert Stack trench coats and remiss? :oD
roxymissrose
Mar. 28th, 2011 12:28 am (UTC)
*Very* interesting! I look forward to the next part!
agent_jl36
Mar. 28th, 2011 08:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks - hope it continues to be interesting!
dragonlit
Mar. 28th, 2011 01:50 am (UTC)
Fascinating background on the symbol. I know some of it but not all. Interesting that the symbol is displayed in those temples/churches. Thanks very much for sharing. I'm going to add you as a friend so I don't miss any future postings if that's okay. If not, just pop me a note and I shall refrain. :)
agent_jl36
Mar. 28th, 2011 08:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I friended back! There is so much history to this symbol and I'll be posting about other histories as well. Hope you continue to find it interesting!
spiceblueeyes
Mar. 28th, 2011 01:51 am (UTC)
Very interesting. I like the pictures that go along with the info.
agent_jl36
Mar. 28th, 2011 08:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I wish I could present the original powerpoint with more graphics and some fun effects, but alas...
tigerlilly33
Mar. 28th, 2011 02:09 am (UTC)
Very cool. I love history, etymology, semiotics. Looking forward to more.
agent_jl36
Mar. 28th, 2011 08:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
hold_onhope
Mar. 28th, 2011 02:49 am (UTC)
Awesome, I loved reading this.

Did you do any research on the flames? I haven't done any myself, but I do have a theory. The anti-possession tattoo is meant to keep demons out, right? To protect the body from evil. What interests me is that on the show, the confinement for angels is a ring of fire fueled by holy oil. Essentially, a circle of flames mean to keep angels in. I know the angels aren't necessarily "good" in terms of the show's representation of them and their interactions with humanity, but in the realm of the supernatural they're still the spiritual opposite of demons. So basically, a pentacle bordered by flames seems to me like it might mean to protect the pentagram inside - to keep it there, so that the pentagram can, in turn, protect the body from evil.

Buuut that's just me justifying things in my head. :)
agent_jl36
Mar. 28th, 2011 08:31 pm (UTC)
The wonderful thing about symbols is that you can use them or see them as what works for you! At first I saw flames, but now I identify it as a sun. Later on I'll talk about the connection between the sun and pentagram and why it makes an appropriate anti-possesion symbol. And btw - the sun and fire have been interchangeable symbols for centuries, your theory of the tattoo works very well! I like it!
borgmama1of5
Mar. 28th, 2011 03:07 am (UTC)
Oh yay, you got it posted!
agent_jl36
Mar. 28th, 2011 08:31 pm (UTC)
I'm workin' on it! ;o)
metallidean_grl
Mar. 28th, 2011 04:08 am (UTC)
Before you start giving examples of a pentagram on a Mormon temple, and leading others to believe the inference behind the meaning of an inverted pentagram that is placed on a religious building, please read a little further and try and get the full meaning as to why that symbol is there. The "pentagram" is nothing like what you are meaning in your little essay. This sign symbolizes a star, nothing more, nothing less. Please don't making any other kind of inference of this symbol on this building where you may not know the full meaning behind it. Thank you.
agent_jl36
Mar. 28th, 2011 08:56 pm (UTC)
I apologize for any offence and I appreciate you speaking up. I did a lot of research of the pentagram, from pagan to Christian to Satanism and stand by my findings/opinions. There are dozens of meanings and uses behind it and these were just an example of how it is used a variety of ways and religions.

There are reasons behind the use of the pentagram in the Mormon, Jewish and Christian examples I used including as a star but also as a symbol of Christ (before the cross became a better known symbol) and a representation of the 5 books of the Torah. These examples will be on another part of the presentation.

I can certainly provide my sources to anyone who is interested. Thank you again for viewing and letting me know your thoughts.
metallidean_grl
Mar. 28th, 2011 09:09 pm (UTC)
I wasn't exactly offended, more like very, very bothered. The whole presentation was very interesting. However, when it was discussed the meanings of an inverted pentagram as dark magic and Satanism, and then two paragraphs later it was mentioned about how an inverted pentagram is used on the Mormon temple, and other religious buildings, I was very bothered. Because the inference was, to me, a negative one, that somehow, there might be dark magic used in these religious buildings. I would definitely be interested in seeing your sources for use of the pentagram in Mormon and other Christian buildings.
fannishliss
Apr. 12th, 2011 10:35 am (UTC)
I don't know if it might help, but I read the essay as impartial -- she shows three different temples and several other usages of the pentagram, and goes on to clearly state that she'll be talking about how the image gained negative connotations.

just as an impartial third party, I didn't see any implications beyond documenting that the symbol is widely used in perhaps unexpected contexts.
agent_jl36
Apr. 12th, 2011 03:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

I'm wondering if my intent is not reading correctly. Just before the Mormon Temple picture I described how up till the middle ages the pentagram was a Christian symbol and THAT belief didn't disapear entirely, churches and religions still use the inverted pentagram as a holy symbol, not evil as many see it today.

Does that make more sense?
fannishliss
Apr. 12th, 2011 03:58 pm (UTC)
I think it makes a lot of sense. The pentagram has become a bit of a hot-button image, so people are predisposed to see the evil. Maybe the death-metal guy is a bit much :P

I'd love to beta for you if you like!

Young Severus is studying your essay. :D
midsummerly
Mar. 28th, 2011 06:27 am (UTC)
very nice entry!! really interesting :)
agent_jl36
Mar. 28th, 2011 09:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I hope you will continue to check in!
loveinprogress
Mar. 28th, 2011 11:57 am (UTC)
Wauw you did a lot of research haha! Very interesting. And 'It also makes you look really cool when you're performing Death Metal' made me lol so much XD
agent_jl36
Mar. 28th, 2011 11:45 pm (UTC)
Oh those death metal-ers. Why so serious? :oD
gothabilly13
Mar. 28th, 2011 04:38 pm (UTC)
Very nice presentation. This symbol is very old, like prehistory old.
There are many places through out the world that bare this mark of protection and spiritual balance. There are images in the Vatican too. It has weight and reason behind it and no religious leader would use this five pointed star without knowledge of it's history, just as everyone knows the symbolism behind the six pointed Star of David.
The Pagan religions view it as a human with their arms out stretched looking up to the sky I.E. God. Much like DeVinci's man in the microcosm. It also represents the five elements of creation, air, fire, water, earth and soul.
Much of the bad connotations associated with it come from the conversion of Pagan country folk to Christianity.
One thing I really love about the show is that Sam points out that it does more to protect you than draw anything dark.
agent_jl36
Mar. 28th, 2011 11:53 pm (UTC)
Exactly - In fact, I'll be discussing exactly that in other posts!

There's a lot of thought and research the shlow's writer's and graphic artists do. They know they have a smart audience!
fannishliss
Apr. 12th, 2011 10:24 am (UTC)
I was also going to mention the association with the human figure in paganism and in Leonardo's diagram. :)
great minds! :D
mizra
Mar. 28th, 2011 04:38 pm (UTC)
That's pretty interesting. I like hearing a little history behind iconography, even if it's a show. Great job and thanks for putting this together!
agent_jl36
Mar. 28th, 2011 11:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks, man! Hope you enjoy the rest as well!
(I just have to say one more time - staring at your icon - how effin' epic 'Frontier Land' is going to be.. just because of those damn hats. Unf!)
mizra
Mar. 29th, 2011 04:46 pm (UTC)
Oh... really, I think I am looking forward to that more than the two-hour finale. REALLY. THE BOYS (Jensen especially) in cowboy hats? BEING AWESOME. I can't wait!!

On another note, O/T: Funny, how Smallville gets their 2-hour finale and WE have a two-hour finale. Smallville is ending... I'm just saying. It's a bit odd. I know it's to play catch-up, but I'm not sure if we got a greenlight yet or not. Did we?
agent_jl36
Mar. 31st, 2011 02:20 am (UTC)
Haven't heard official word but I'm putting my money on yes!
tlcprovider
Mar. 28th, 2011 04:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing. That was very interesting. I am taking a world religion classs and have found many symbols and characters from SPN within relgions of the east and west. I look forward to your next installment.
agent_jl36
Mar. 28th, 2011 11:46 pm (UTC)
Very cool! Let me know if you find a good reference book or website!
xxsafixx
Mar. 28th, 2011 06:12 pm (UTC)
You're so awesome for doing these:)
agent_jl36
Mar. 28th, 2011 11:56 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you like it! Thanks1
fannishliss
Apr. 12th, 2011 10:33 am (UTC)
This is a fantastic overview of the symbol. You rock! Great work!!!! thank you for sharing. :)

I totally did not know about the pathway of Venus. Exciting. Since "Lucifer" is actually a title for Venus, the Lightbringer, as the Morning Star -- this makes perfect sense that the path of the planet through the heavens would become associated with this beautiful, geometric, bilaterally symmetrical symbol.

My concern with the Supernatural graphic is that the lines of the pentagram are broken. This has always bothered me! It's meant to be one continuous line, but in the graphic, the lines are presented as broken, visually passing under or behind, like in graphic representations of the Celtic knot. To my understanding, the Celtic Knot is primarily a visual decoration, so it's okay for our minds to make those connections where visual the line passes out of view --- but the pentagram takes on magical significance in this particular usage of the demon protection tattoo, so it would seem to me like breaking the lines is very significant. any thoughts on that? :)




agent_jl36
Apr. 12th, 2011 04:05 pm (UTC)
The broken lines you see in the SPN pentagram are meant to signify a single line, woven through the other lines. I've seen it done on many other symbols to indicate one line woven in itself. On some symbols it can identify which direction the line is drawn as well.

Great question! I'm glad you not only noticed, but asked!
fannishliss
Apr. 12th, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC)
oh, wow, I never thought about the direction aspect!!! does that apply in this instance?

the visually broken line has always bothered me, because of the way one breaks the line to let something escape -- like the demons always do, or like Castiel does when he throws Meg across the line of Holy Fire. :P
( 38 comments )

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