Thanks to the hit TV series on History Channel called Curse of Oak Island, millions of people have now been familiarized with one of the most important symbols in History.
To help you understand the REAL HISTORY of the 8 Pointed Star, you should research on your own – so below is your head start!
To understand any symbol which has been used throughout history, one must go back to the source documents and texts. In fact, this research was just posted by me on Facebook in the Oak Island Groups as something to consider. Why? A person within the group was trying to “layover” the 8 Pointed Star to the “current native population and rebellious ideas of such natives”. In research circles this is called CULTURAL CONTEXT, but what many people actually miss, is WHICH cultural context?
Yes, different eras have different culture contexts. What was a the cultural context a millennium ago, is NOT most assuredly the cultural context of today’s academics and anthropologists. Why? Think of it this way: As an Archaeologists or Anthropologists your career is designed on being published, reviewed, quoted and awarded scholarly awards. Now think about exactly what it takes to win academic awards? Can you zoom to the top of your field saying “Yep, the old guys were right and I confirmed it!” OR “OGM, I have discovered a brand new meaning for this and here is what it means!” Which one do you think gets the recognition?
You are correct – the BRAND NEW definition played over something ancient! Now you can see the problem with symbols and the decoding of symbols.
The 8 Pointed Star has a long and ancient history!
The roots of the eight-pointed stat symbolize the four corners of space. The eight lines are symbolic of north, south, east, and west; and time as well with the two solstices and two equinoxes.
By the middle-ages, the eight-point star is widely used as a symbol in Islamic art. It is called khatim or khatim sulayman, seal of the prophets, as in signet ring. The phrase “seal of the prophets” is also used in the Koran and has particular ideological meaning for Muslims. Moroccan zillij artisans also refer to the eight-point star as sibniyyah, sabniyyah, which is a derivative of the number seven sab’ah. The design of the Muslim khatam was likely inspired by Jewish version, which is the Seal of Solomon. The seal of Solomon is a six point star formed by overlapping two triangles.
An Italian nobleman named Pietro della Valle discovered the use of an eight-point star as a seal in the ruins of the ancient city of Ur (~2000BC), Tell al Muqayyar, in the mid-seventeenth century. He wrote “I found on the ground some pieces of black Marble…which seem to be a kind of Seal like what the Orientals use at this day: for their Seals are only letters or written words…Amongst the other letters I discovered in a short time was…a star of eight points…”
Abraham, the shared prophet of the monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) lived in the Sumerian city of Ur. Excavations from Ur reveal early use of the eight point star, often in the form of an eight petal rosette used in jewelry or metalwork decoration.
The Sumerians used an arrangement of lines as a symbol for both star and God. The linear eight-point star represented the goddess Inanna, Sumerian queen of the heavens and Ishtar (Astarte), the Babylonian goddess known as “The Lightbringer.” An eight-point star enclosed within a circle was the symbol for the sun god. The “Babylonian star-cult is the core and the archetype of subsequent astrology.” For centuries, the Greeks believed that the morning and evening star we different entities. The Greeks recognized Venus as the morning and evening star is 400 BC, 1,500 years after Sumerians. I mention the Sumerian history to show the earliest origins of the eight-point star as a reflection of astronomical observations from one of the world’s oldest civilizations. Sumer is located in an era of the world where several civilizations, such as Babylonian, Arkadian (Semetic), Elam (proto Indo-Iranian), Egyptian, and Greek expanded and retracted.
The shape that most clearly represents Morocco in my mind’s eye is the eight-point star. It is a simple shape made by overlapping two squares. The hard-edged lines make it indicative of Moroccan patterns, which are known for their use of straight lines in contrast to the curvilinear arabesque of the Middle East. It has a feel that is both modern and ancient. What is the meaning behind this particular shape and what does it represent?
In truth, the eight-point star is not unique to Morocco. It appears in cultures around the globe. It can be found on national flags and in religious iconography. It carries various meaning associated with each culture that utilizes it. Eight is an important number in terms of realizing balance, and although it isn’t always illustrated by a star, it appears in the eight-paths in the way of Buddah and eight immortals in Chinesse tradition. Its universal symbolism is one of balance, harmony, and cosmic order. Its pattern is associated early astronomy, religion, and mysticism. It is symbolic of both stars and humanity’s earliest attempts to understand and communicate the order and unity inherent in Creation, nature’s rule.
The roots of the eight-point star symbol are in early astronomy. The eight lines are symbolic of the four corners of space (north, south, east, and west) and time (two solstices and two equinoxes).
How does the pagan symbol for God/star transform itself into an Islamic symbol? What could the connection be between the Islamic use of the eight-point star and its uses as a symbol in Sumerian culture?
Articles show Sumerian history to reveal the earliest origins of the eight-point star as a reflection of astronomical observations from one of the world’s oldest civilizations. Sumer is located in an era of the world where several civilizations, such as Babylonian, Arkadian (Semetic), Elam (proto Indo-Iranian), Egyptian, and Greek expanded and retracted. It doesn’t require much imagination to imagine how these symbol migrated to other cultures and eventually made its way into Islam.
Additionally, all the monotheistic religions accommodate astrology in some way through fact that the stars are part of the Creation. Islam inherited pagan symbols along the same lines as other monotheistic religions, which share the same history and origins. Muslims accommodated ancient symbols inasmuch as they supported the Islamic view of Creation.
Moreover, astronomy plays an important role in Islam in both its expansion, obligations (pilgrimage), and daily act of worship (five times of daily prayer done directed towards Mecca). Astrology had an impact on Muslim scholars as well. As inheritors of ancient texts and avid supporters of scholarly study, Islamic scholars poured over Greek learning, which included meanings attached to the movement and position of the stars. Pythagoras, who is credited as being the first person to call himself a philosopher (lover of wisdom), is of particular important to Muslim scholars. Pythagoras developed a system of belief that centered around mathematics. Pythagoras identified the planets as being spheres rotating around a central fire. Pythagoras also influenced Plato and Aristotle and the philosophies that followed.
The following picture, taken from discoverislamicart .org is of an astrolobe in the Batha Museum in Fez. “This astrolabe includes all of the component parts of the planispheric astrolabes that were indispensable to ancient astronomers for determining prayer times and the height of the stars, and for establishing horoscopes. It is one of the first portable astrolabes in the West.”
As you can see, from the limited information posted above, there are NUMEROUS versions of the 8 Pointed Star but they ALL have a very, very ancient origin! Now, hop on the links below and start learning the various meanings of the 8 Pointed Star!