Log in

By Scott Wells
Munroe Falls Paranormal Society

Symbols are used as a sort of shorthand to convey particular meanings. In and of itself, a symbol is fundamentally meaningless, and it is only the understanding we bring to it that actually gives it any definition. Any given symbol may have many meanings and so in order to choose the most accurate interpretation for it, one needs to understand the context in which the symbol was created. Context is vitally important as the definitions of symbols vary across time, geography, and culture.

Consider, for example, a simple sign; two lines of equal length, intersecting perpendicularly at each other’s center point. This is known a ‘Greek Cross’, and it is used in Greek Orthodox Christianity and,  in fact,  in early Christianity to represent the cross of Christ’s crucifixion. However, make the same sign in red and it becomes the Red Cross which symbolizes emergency medical care. Place numbers on either side of it, and it becomes a mathematical symbol meaning ‘addition’. Place it within a circle, and it takes on further connotations as a solar emblem, or a Native American Medicine Wheel, or the sign of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

Or, as another example, consider the case of the Latin cross. The Latin cross is today considered the most recognizable and common symbol of Christianity. The Latin cross is the symbol of the crucifixion of Christ. Modern media outlets frequently show an inverted Latin Cross as a symbol meaning the rejection of Christianity. It is frequently portrayed as a common Satanic symbol, which mocks the Christian faith. However, in another context, the inverted Latin cross is known as ‘The Cross of St. Peter” and represents the martyrdom of St. Peter, as told by Origen of Alexandria. Peter, it is said, requested to be crucified upside down, as he felt he was not worthy to die n the same way as Christ. Consequently, The Cross of St. Peter is regarded as a symbol of humility and unworthiness in comparison to Christ. The inverted Latin cross is sometimes used to indicate the Papacy, as the successor to St. Peter as the Bishop of Rome. To add to the confusion however, the Crucifix, a Latin cross with a depiction of Christ suffering upon it, cannot be hung upside down as it is seen as disrespectful of Christ.

This demonstrates that even when it comes to symbols whose meanings are ‘commonly’ regarded as having straightforward definitions, in reality are often much more complex. This underlines the need to identify the context of a given symbol. Blanket statements about the meaning of a symbol, without regard to the purposes of its creators or the cultural definitions of the emblem, are almost never accurate.

An extremely apt example of this can be found in the symbol known as the pentacle, or pentagram.

This is an ancient symbol, consisting of 5 lines connecting end to end to create a five pointed star. Geometrically, this symbol is significant because it represents a mathematical concept known as ‘The Golden Ratio’. The Golden Ratio is defined as a ratio where a line can be divided into two segments, where the length of both segments is the same when compared to the first segment of the line, when the first is compared to the second. In other words:

(A+B) is the same proportional length of A alone, as A is to the length of B.

Another way of visualizing it is through what is known as the Fibronacci sequence. In the Fibronacci sequence, each number is added to the one in front of it, to produce a sequence that goes like this:

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144…

The Fibronacci sequence can be recognized in the natural world when used as a ratio and compared to the measurements of a variety of naturally occurring forms. Examples can be found in seashells, flowers, pinecones, and even whirlpools. Consequently we are accustomed to seeing the ratio and we are aesthetically drawn to it.

The Golden Ratio is commonly found in several geometric figures and was recognized as early as the Greek mathematician Pythagoras. He and his followers used the Pentagram as a symbol identifying themselves as members of the Pythagorean School. The pentagram was variously referred to as ‘Hygeia’ or ‘Health’, and another variant was known as the Pentalpha. The Pentalpha consisted of 5 overlapping capital Alphas, forming a pentagram. In this form, it represented ‘Truth’.

The Pentagram, with its pentagon interior, represented, according to Pherecydes of Syros in his book Pentamychos, a mystical emblem of an ordered cosmos. The recesses in the symbol were considered more important than the points of the star, and represented certain ‘chambers’ in which primordial chaos was sealed away before an ordered cosmos could appear. In this way it represents the Universe and creation itself.

The Greeks were certainly not the first to recognize the symbol of the pentagram, and they certainly were not the last. Archaeologically speaking, the pentagram has appeared in ancient Babylon, where, according to symbologist and Sumerian historian Rene Labat, the symbol probably had some directional and astronomical meanings to them. The inverted pentagram was found on seals in the city of Jerusalem for a time, surrounded by the letters YRSLM in Hebrew. The Pentagram has a long history of Christian associations as well. According to scholars, the pentagram was used to represent the five senses, and each point was assigned a letter S A L V S.

Additionally, because the sign could be drawn with a single stroke of the pen, it was said to represent the Alpha and Omega, or Christ himself.

It was used, according to some scholars, to represent the Star of Bethlehem, which guided the magi west to find the birth of Jesus. In this form it meant divine incarnation, salvation, and the Holy Spirit descending to Earth. In some icons of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the inverted  pentagram is used to indicate the Mount of Transfiguration, where Christ spoke with Elijah and Moses, and was elevated above them as the Son of God. The inverted Pentagram appears next to the Chi Rho sign of Christ on the seal of Constantine the Great. Constantine was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, and he legalized the practice of the religion in the Roman Empire. Scholars indicate that the pentagram was a lesser used Christian symbol in this time. The Pentagram was sometimes used by Greek Christians in lieu of a cross when beginning inscriptions.

In the medieval era, it was said to represent the 5 Wounds of Christ, and in the medieval poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the symbol is used on the shield of the hero, to remind him of the Five knightly virtues (noble generosity, fellowship, purity, courtesy, and compassion) and the 5 Joys Mary had of Christ (typically The Annunciation, The Nativity, The Resurrection, the Ascension, and the Assumption). It is also mentioned in this context as representing the five wounds of Christ, the 5 senses and the five fingers of the hand. Popularly, the symbol was used as a sign of protection, and was thought to ward off both Witches and devils. It was used as such from the middle ages into the 20th century. It was sometimes found carved above doors and windows, or on cribs, to protect the infant from harm. It was frequently mistakenly called the Seal of Solomon when it was used like this, in reference to the tales that King Solomon could rebuke and command demons. It is worth noting that the ‘inverted’pentagram, with two points up, is more often seen than the single point up during this time.

The mathematical properties of the pentagram, noted by the Pythagoreans, and man later cultures, continued to influence artwork and architecture for centuries.

It is thought that the floor plans of several Gothic Cathedrals were actually designed according to the aesthetics of the Golden Ratio, and by plotting various points on the floor plans, perfect pentagrams can be discovered.

More overtly, many churches incorporated pentagrams into their outward designs.

The Beautiful north facing rose window of the Cathedral at Amiens, in France, features a large inverted pentagram.

The Marktkirche in Hannover Germany has a prominent inverted pentagram on the side of its clock tower.

The Church of All Saints at Kilham, Humberside, Yorkshire, England displays these on columns that support the Norman doorway of the place.

The aesthetics of the Golden Ratio, and the pentagram became of prime interest to artists during the Renaissance, and they began to incorporate the ratio into their artwork. The relation of the Golden Ratio and the Pentacle in particular to the human body is first seen in the 1551 book Heiroglyphica, by Valeriano Bolzani, largely considered one of the first and most influential dictionaries of symbols ever produced.

In it he displayed a picture of Christ superimposed over a pentagram. This depiction of the pentagram recalls that shown in Henry Cornelius Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, first published in 1531.

Agrippa shows a man superimposed over a pentagram, surrounded by astronomical symbols. In describing the symbol himself, he states:

Geometricall Figures also arising from numbers, are conceived to be of no less power. Of these first of all, a Circle doth answer to Unity, and the number ten; for Unity is the Center, and circumference of all things; and the number ten being heaped together retuens into a Unity from whence it had its beginning, being the end, and complements of all numbers. A circle is called an infinite line in which there is no Terminus a quo, nor Terminus ad quem, whose beginning and end is in every point, whence also a circular motion is called infinite, not according to time, but according to place; hence a circular being the largest and perfectest of all is judged to be the most fit for bindings and conjurations; Whence they who adjure evil spirits, are wont to environ themselves about with a circle. A Pentangle also, as with the vertue of the number five hath a very great command over evil spirits, so by its lineature, by which it hath within five obtuse angles, and without five acutes, five double triangles by which it is surrounded. The interior pentangle containes in it great mysteries, which also is so to be enquired after, and understood; of the other figures, viz. triangle, quadrangle, sexangle, septangle, octangle, and the rest, of which many, as they are made of many and divers insections [intersections], obtain divres significations and vertues according to the divers manner of draeing, and proportions of lines, and numbers.

To Agrippa, the pentagram was a sign of man as a microcosm of the Universe. It represented the four elements in balance, and derived its power from the number 5. In writing of the number 5 and its virtues, he notes:

Also this number hath great power in expiations: For in holy things it drives away Divels [devils]. In naturall things, it expels poysons [poisons]. It is also called the number of fortunateness, and favour, and it is the Seale of the Holy Ghost, and a bond that binds all things, and the number of the cross, yea eminent with the principall wounds of Christ, whereof he vouchsafed to keep the scars in his glorifyed body. The heathen Philosophers did dedicate it as sacred to Mercury, esteeming the vertue of it to be so much more excellent then the number four, by how much a living thing is more excellent then a thing without life. For in this number the Father Noah found favour with God, and was preserved in the floud [flood] of waters. In the vertue of this number Abraham, being an hundred years old, begat a Son of Sarah, being ninety years old, and a barren Woman, and past child bearing, and grew up to be a great people. Hence in time of grace the name of divine omnipotency is called upon with five letters. For in time of nature the name of God was called upon with three letters. éãù Sadai: in time of the Law, the ineffable name of God was expressed with four letters äåäé insteed of which the Hebrews express éðãà Adonai: in time of grace the ineffable name of God was with five letters äåùäé Ihesu, which is called upon with no less mysterie then that of three letters åùé.

The pentagram is also discussed in the works of Paracelsus. In an English translation of his Archidoxes of Magic in 1655 entitled ‘Of the Supreme Mysteries of Nature’, Paracelsus describes it:

There is another which excelleth the former in power and virtue, and this hath three Hooks cutting one another through by a cross, and are so delineated, that by their mutual intersection they include six spaces, and outwardly five angles, wherein are written five syllables of the supream name of God; to wit, Tetragrammaton, also according to their true order.

And then goes on to decribe its great powers:

I would gladly knowe, where and in what place in all the Books of the Nigromancers may be found any other, wherein there is made the like against malignant Spirits, Devils, & Inchantments of the Magitians, by all the deceits and devices of the Sorcerers. For they do deliver him that is already inchanted either in his minde or understanding, so that he is forced or compelled to act against his own natural will or nature; or if he suffer any loss or hurt in his body, by the administration of these, made in their just and due time and hour, and being taken in his mouth with a Wafer, Pancake, ot such-like thing, in four and twenty hours he shall be free from the Inchantment.

And later still he notes, regarding the pentagram and the hexagram:

Truly those which we have spoken of, are the true Pentacles to be had and used against all unclean Spirits, which they do all fear, even they which wander in the Elements.

As intriguing as it is to see where pentagrams are found, it is also interesting to note where the pentagram is NOT found. The pentagram seldom makes any appearances in the medieval and renaissance era grimoires of magic that were popular during the time. In the few cases they appear, they are used exclusively as protective devices, frequently surrounded with one of the Hebrew names for God (either the Tetragrammaton or the Pentagrammaton, depending on the number of letters used.). One such example of this is found in perhaps the most famous book of magic that came out of the 14th and 15th centuries, called The Key of Solomon. The pentagram is described in detail within the book Ars Goetia in the Lesser Key as ‘The Pentagram of Solomon’ and it is specified as being a protective symbol, saying:

THIS is the Form of Pentagram of Solomon, the figure whereof is to be made in Sol or Luna (Gold or Silver), and worn upon thy breast; having the Seal of the Spirit required on the other side thereof. It is to preserve thee from danger, and to command the Spirits by.

None of the books used by witch-hunters during the time of the Great Witch-Hunts (roughly 1450-1700) to identify witches and their practices make mention of the pentagram in relation to witches or Satanism. Books such as the Malleus Maleficarum or the Compendium Maleficarum do not mention the sign despite their in-depth descriptions of Witches’ Sabbaths and the worship of the Devil. King James’ Demonologie also does not make mention of it. Neither does it appear in the skeptical works of Reginald Scott or Johann Weyer. Likewise, the dozens of broadsides and chapbooks published during the time, outlining discoveries of witchcraft and sorcery and their trials also never mentioned the pentagram.

In his 1808 play Faust, Goethe continues the Renaissance magic representation of the pentagram as a symbol of protection, but further goes on to suggest that only perfectly drawn pentagrams might be effective.

Mephistopheles: I must confess, my stepping o’er Thy threshold a slight hinderance foth impede; The wizard-foot doth me retain.

Faust: The pentagram they peace doth mar?

To me, thou son of hell, explain, How camest thou in, if this thine exit bar? Could such a spirit aught ensnare?

Mephistopheles: Observe it well, it is not drawn with care, One of the angles, that which points without, Is, as thou seest, not quite closed.

Curiously, the surviving Grimoires attributed to Faust (who was an actual historical figure, living in 16th Century Germany) do not mention the pentagram at all. Small pentagrams can be seen in the summoning circle found in the Praxis Magica Fausti, published in 1571, however.

Secularly, both the inverted star or pentagram and the upright star are frequently seen, especially in the mid 19th century. Several American flags used by both the Navy and other key government locations. One such was the ‘Great Star Flag’ of 1837, which consisted of 26 upright stars arranged in the pattern of an inverted pentacle. The badge of the Texas Rangers, and other law enforcement agencies of the Old West often used pentagrams in their badges. Moreover, in 1862, the Medal of Honor was introduced as the highest military honor one could receive, and consisted then, as it does today, of an inverted pentagram suspended from a ribbon.

It is significant that no work, religious, occult, or popular, ascribed anything negative to the pentagram until 1855. In 1855, a French priest and occultist named Alphonse Constant, writing under the name Eliphas Levi, published a pair of books called ‘The Dogma and Ritual of Transcendental Magic’ in which he becomes the first person to assign a negative connotation to the inverted pentagram. He cites no source for this statement, and it comes as something of a surprise to students of the occult up to this point.

Levi writes:

The Pentagram, which in Gnostic schools is called the Blazing Star, is the sign of intellectual omnipotence and autocracy. It is the Star of the Magi; it is the sign of the Word made flesh; and, according to the direction of its points, this absolute magical symbol represents order or confusion, the Divine Lamb of Ormuz and St. John, or the accursed goat of Mendes. It is initiation or profanation;  it is Lucifer or Vesper, the star of morning or evening. It is Mary or Lilith, victory or death, day or night. The Pentagram with two points in the ascendant represents Satan as the goat of the Sabbath; when one point is in the ascendant, it is the sign of the Saviour. The Pentagram is the figure of the human body, having the four limbs and a single point representing the head. A human figure head downwards naturally represents a demon that is, intellectual subversion, disorder or madness.

There seems to be little proof of this in folk traditions and magic. The inverted pentagram continued to be used as a sign of protection almost universally. For example, the inverted pentagram appears in the hex signs of the Pennsylvania Dutch.

It is also worth noting that Levi incorrectly identifies the animal used in the rituals of the city of Mendes with a goat. In fact, in the descriptions of the rituals used by Herodotus specifically mentions that the people of Mendes would NOT sacrifice a goat, and instead would use a ram in their sacrifices. The God of Mendes was known as Banebdjed, or The Ba of Djet, and was depicted as a ram headed man draped in the fleece of a ram.

Levi worked with English occultists, who eventually went on to form what was known as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Despite this, Levi’s work was not translated and published in English until 1896. It is curious however that even members of the Golden Dawn do not necessarily agree with the Levi’s claim that the inverted pentagram represents evil. His translator, Arthur Edward Waite, repeated this belief in his own works. However, perhaps the most famous member of the Golden Dawn, Aleister Crowley, explained that he believed the inverted pentagram represented spirit manifesting into the material. In this he echoes the medieval ideas that the symbol represented the Star of Bethlehem, and represented the incarnation of God on earth, through Christ.

The representation of the inverted pentagram as connoting something evil is also denied in the foundations of Wicca. Gerald Gardiner, founder of the modern Wicca movement used pentagrams as symbols to indicate the level of instruction a person had received in the craft. The first degree was a simply pentagram with a single point up, the second degree was an inverted pentagram, and the third degree of initiation was represented as an upward pointed pentagram with a triangle superimposed over the upper-most ray. He did not assign any particular meaning to it, other than to note that the points of the pentagram were a reminder and indicator of the 5 elements; Earth, Fire, Water, Air, and Spirit. Gardiner’s interpretation has proved popular not only with Wiccans, but with other neo-pagan religions that have since developed.

In the 1960s, Anton Szandor LaVey founded the ‘Church of Satan’ in the United States, and needed a recognizable symbol to use as a logo. He trademarked the now infamous inverted pentagram superimposed with a goat’s head, surrounded by the Hebrew letters for ‘Leviathan’ as the official logo of the Church of Satan. LaVey used the inversion to represent the suppression of the spiritual in favor of the carnal. At this point, the inverted pentagram was linked with Satan and Satanism in the popular imagination, largely due to the flamboyant and charismatic LaVey’s promotion of his Church during the 1960s and 1970s.

Media outlets, such as television, Hollywood, and record companies, were quick to capitalize on the association with the imagery for their own benefit. The inverted pentagram began to appear in Hollywood horror movies, television programs, and on heavy metal album covers. With each appearance, the connection between the pentagram and Satanism grew.

During the 1980s, there was a wave of hysteria that passed through the United States, called ‘The Satanic Panic’. People began to report ‘repressed memories’ of abuse at the hands of satanic cults that their families were involved in. In the end, once the FBI investigated these reports, it was discovered there was no truth to them. But the belief that there was a massive Satanic Conspiracy throughout the United States was a popular one among conservative and fundamentalist Christians. They began to promote the idea that the pentagram was always a sign of Satan Worship, and used it to ‘prove’ satanic conspiracies in such unlikely places as The US Government, the Freemasons, and even the Mormons.

The ‘Pentagram Window’ at the West Virginia State Penitentiary at Moundsville gained notoriety when it was featured on the television show ‘Paranormal State’. In the show, the Ryan Buell tells the audience that ‘most’ groups that utilize the inverted pentagrams are Satanists and Satan worshipers. This is supposedly corroborated by guest and author Michelle Belanger.

The problem is that not only is this is simply untrue, it was absolutely not true at the time the window was constructed in the late 19th Century.

Construction on the West Virginia Penitentiary was begun in 1866. It was completed in phases over the next hundred years, with prisoners doing the bulk of the work. The so-called ‘Warden’s Tower was built in the second phase of the construction, and was completed in 1876. The ‘Wheel’ which separated the main entrance, the administrative offices, and the prison proper was installed in 1902, and was one of only 2 in the world at the time. The building would necessarily have had to have been completed by the time this was installed.

The prison is built in the Gothic Revival style. Gothic Revival was intended to convey a sense of conservatism and stern morality, recalling the architecture of Medieval Europe. Architect A.W.N. Pugin, who worked primarily in the Gothic Revival style and is credited with popularizing it in England, considered the Gothic Style to be the product of ‘true Christian’ principles and beliefs. This attitude was typical of architects working in this style, and was a reaction to the more ‘liberal’ Classical and republican styles of architecture that had been popular in the 18th and early 19th Century.

The four story administration building housed administrative offices on the third floor, and the warden’s quarters on the 3rd and 4th floors. The main stairway to the upper levels is in the center front of the building, directly above the main entrance. The stairwell separates the front wall of the building from the front wall of the warden’s apartments. For a very brief time, the third floor held female prisoners, but this was swiftly changed. The Warden was expected to live on site, and the female prisoners were moved to another building.

The pentagram window is in the fourth floor, directly above the main stairwell. This would allow exterior light shining through the front windows of the building to shine through into the front hall of the Warden’s Apartments. Such a window would have been a necessary part of the lighting of the rooms in an era before electricity. There is some evidence to suggest that the window was covered over at some point. The panes of glass in the window were painted a uniform shade of gray, apparently to help protect the surface of the glass from scratches and dirt while covered. Where Paranormal State implies that it was covered for some sinister reason, such as preventing people from knowing there were Satanists involved, the carelessness with which it was covered, first by paint, and then by wood, suggests that it was simply covered in an attempt to protect it from damage.

The fourth floor stopped being used as the Warden’s quarters in 1951, when a new house was built on a lot adjacent to the prison. The upper floor, where the window could be found, was no longer used as living quarters and became subject to deterioration. Boarding up the window is a reasonable safety precaution, given its location over the main stairway.

The window is divided into frames emulating a leaded glass window, though the ‘cames’ of the glass are in fact, wooden. The entire Window suggest an Italianate design, rather than Gothic Revival, but this is hardly surprising given that this part of the prison was not intended for prisoners, and was meant to be living quarters for the warden and his family. There is an inverted pentagram central to the window, and above it is a second circular pane. I believe this second pane may have held a piece of stained or painted glass, probably with a decorative pattern in it, perhaps even the State Seal. Given the Gothic Revival style of the architecture, the pentacle was probably chosen due to its pleasing aesthetics and possibly secondarily for its perceived Christian meanings. The architects would not have considered it an ‘evil’ symbol, as it simply wasn’t perceived that way at the time of its construction.

While Satanism is extremely unlikely, it is possible that Freemasonry had some influence over the design of the window. The pentagram appears occasionally in Masonic artwork and construction, and is itself the emblem of the Order of the Eastern Star, the women’s arm of the Freemasons, established in 1850. It is known that several early wardens of the Prison were freemasons, as were many of the politicians of the day, so it would not have been out of place for a Masonic sign to appear in the a building in which they were involved. Freemasonry was extremely common for prominent US figures during the 18th and 19th centuries. However, the Eastern Star is usually drawn with each point in a distinctive color, and with an additional symbol in each ray. These are said to represent 5 heroines of the Bible, consisting of Adah, Ruth, Esther, Martha, and Electa. In recent years, the internal pentagon of the emblem has been rotated so that it is no longer a traditional pentagram.

The proportions of the Pentagram in the window are in keeping with the Golden Ratio, and suggest that the main reason for its presence was aesthetic. Its placement in the building is also quite interesting. It faces west, so that the light of the setting sun would cause the window to glow with soft golden light while the sun was setting. That it is found in the west is suggestive of the Star of Bethlehem, which also appeared in the West and guided the Magi to the birth of Christ. Its inverted orientation echoes the medieval symbolism of the Holy Spirit descending to Earth offering salvation for all mankind. This also seems to be a sentiment that would make sense in the context of a prison.

The context of the pentagram window simply does not support the idea that there were Satanists responsible for its construction. Satanism has never been a widespread or popular belief, and it was practically unheard of in 19th century West Virginia. We cannot assign to this symbol a meaning it did not have when it was created, nor give it a purpose that contradicts the culture that created it. We certainly cannot give it a connotation that did not become popular until a hundred years after it was made.

Viewing symbols without reference to anything other than our modern age inevitably leads to misinterpretations and misunderstanding. Misunderstanding leads to a false view of history, and worse, a distorted picture of the modern age as well. Deliberately perpetuating falsehoods and half-truths is deplorable. Critical thinking and informed, educated speculation is what drives us forward and what provides a firm foundation for developing and bettering ourselves.

Bibliography

Agrippa, Henry Cornelius Three Books of Occult Philosophy. Edited by Donald Tyson. Llewellyn Publishing, St. Paul, 1993.

Based on the London edition published in 1651

Anonymous, Praxis Magica Fausti; And or The Magical Elements of Doctor John Faust – Practitioner of Medicine. Manuscript/ 1571

The original manuscript can be found in the Municipal Library of Weimar. Online edition can be found at http://asiya.org/index.php?topic=MagicalAthenaeum

Anonymous, The Continuum Encyclopedia of Symbols, Becker, Udo ed., Lance W. Garmer, Trans Continuum, New York: 1994, p. 230

Anonymous, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight trans. By J.R.R. Tolkien. Ballantine Books, New York. 1975. Page 38-39

Ferguson, George Signs and Symbols in Christian Art. Oxford University Press, New York: 1966, p. 59.

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, Faust.  Charles W. Eliot, editor. Grolier Enterprises Corp., Danbury, Connecticut. 1982 page 59-60

Guazzo, Francesco Maria. Compendium Maleficarum. Trans. by E. A. Ashwin. Dover Publications, Inc. New York. 1988.

This edition is a reprint of the 1929 edition.

Hutton, Ronald . The Triumph of the Moon: A History of Modern Pagan Witchcraft Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. 2001. Pg. 179

Knapp, Sister M.A. Justina, Christian Symbols and How To Use Them. The Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee: 1955.

Kramer, Heinrich and Sprenger, James. The Malleus Maleficarum. Trans. by Montegue Summers. Dover Publications, Inc. New York. 1971.

This edition is a reprint of the 1928 edition.

Labat, René (with Florence Malbran-Labat) Manuel d’Épigraphie Akkadienne (Signes, Syllabaire, Idéogrammes), Paris; Librairie Orientaliste Paul Geuthner, 1988 (Sixth edition).

See symbol 306 for the pentacle.

Levi, Eliphas Dogma et Rituel de la Haute Magie. Trans. by A. E. Waite. Rider and Company, England, 1896.

PDF edition transcribed by Benjamin Rowe, 2001

Liungman, Carl G. Dictionary of Symbols W.W. Norton & Company, New York, London. 1991

Paracelsus, Of the Supreme Mysteries of Nature. Trans. by R. Turner. Printed by J.C. for N.Brook and J. Harison; 1655

Microfilm copy

Sophistes, Apollonios “The Pythagorean Pentacle” http://www.cs.utk.edu/~mclennan/BA/PP.html , 1996, revised 1999

One Response

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. eons and infinity

    Thank you for a well informed and cited article. I am a fan of “paranormal State” however after seeing the Pen State episode I felt a little ..jilted??.. While I would never assume that Ryan Buell did not experience what he claims in the warden’s area, I was definitly confused by the implication of the 100+ year old window somehow being the cause, or that the community who built the structure where somehow involved in something sinister. I have seen many architectual elements in my travels that make me wonder about symbolism and interpretation but I felt Ryan and his Team did not take enough time to investigate this particular symbol correctly. Within 5 minutes with Google I was able to “debunk” the Satanism claim and with in another five minutes I found this article.
    I believe there are more things in Heaven and Earth then we can know but I think ascribing false symbolism to something only sets us back from finding the truly curious and perhaps paranormal. again Thank you.

    October 21, 2010 at 5:12 am

You must be logged in to post a comment.