Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Star of David as an Astral Symbol

The shape of the hexagram, two interwoven triangles, doesn't convey necessarily an association of a star or a shield or a seal, but during the course of history Jews called it the Shield of David, Muslims called it Solomon's Seal and Christians called it The The Star of David. It seems that not this SHAPE but these NAMES made people start drawing the Shield of David on shields, Solomon's Seal on Seals and night stars in the skies as The Star of David.

Archaeologists discovered hexagrams as stars or on shields or on seals, and their "proofs" helped dividing the meanings of the hexagram into these three main categories, while actually it is an abstract shape, invented by geometers, and its main meaning, protection, is not depending on any physical thing.
Here's an example for The Star of David as an Astral Symbol Archaeological interpretation:

Herbert G. May reports in his book Material Remains of the Megiddo Cult, (Chicago 1935, p. 6.) about the discovery of a Magen David from ninth or eighth century B. C.  incised on the wall of a temple of Anat, Queen of Heaven, at Megiddo. Professor May explains that "on the south face of the south wall of Room 340, near the southeast corner... is incised a "shield of David" (See above). In view of the religious associations of this building, this sign may be interpreted as the symbol of the fertility goddess, whose model pottery shrines were so numerous in this district. The five-pointed seal of Solomon and the six-pointed shield of David are probably of astral origin with their roots in the fertility cult. This is confirmed in part by the occurrence of both a five- and a six-pointed star on an Astarte plaque from Tell es-Safi. [In a note Professor May refers to a six pointed star made from six lines, not a star of david]:

 Astarte plaque from Tell es Safi
Bliss & Macalister, Excavations in Palestine, London, 1902, Plate 67 No. 15s

Hildegard Lewy, brings the Megiddo artifact as one of the proofs to her main claim in the introduction to her article Origin and Significance of the Magen Dawid, (Archiv Orientalni, Vol. 18, 1950, 330-65) that "the Magen Dawid can represent only one of three planets ... Jupiter Mars and Saturn".

1 comment:

Lucian said...

The shape of the hexagram ... doesn't convey necessarily an association of a ... shield

It does, actually. As you are probably well aware, its origins are ultimately related to the practice of witchcraft, which was the "science" of the day in ancient times (i.e., during Antiquity and the Middle Ages). When magicians used to invoke a spirit or a daemon (which concept is not necessarily synonymous with the Judaeo-Christian notion of demon), they needed to shield themselves from its power, so that it may not harm them. And what shape could offer better protection than symmetrical ones (circles, regular stars, and regular polygons), which geometric figures, being "equal" from all sides, were therefore impenetrable ? (e.g., the diamond, which is the most resistant substance in the entire world, has a regular tetrahedral structure, for instance).