“An Ancient Star” By Symbologist Michelle Snyder 

For our ancestors, knowledge of the heavens was a decisive factor in survival, and for millennia they recorded astronomical patterns that were observed over generations.

As long ago as 12,500 BC, lunar calendrics, and stellar and solar 24-hour clocking notations were inscribed –  notations which evolved with mankind.

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Sometimes engravings or paintings were made to record these patterns, such as those in Altamira and Lascaux.

One particularly stunning example is the hexagram, one of the oldest and most universal symbols.

This familiar image is known sometimes as Solomon’ s Seal, Magen David, or Star of David.

Hexagons are six-sided shapes. Evident on the crust of the earth, in the formation of rocks, dried corn, and snowflakes, they are formed by pressure from without pushing in all around.

This is the basis of the “hex”: subjects of the “hex” find themselves surrounded by pressure. Hexagrams of overlapping triangles were used in the days of Solomon to contain evil spirits, trapped in the centre by the surrounding pressure, such as with Solomon’s Seal.

Hexagrams are six-pointed stars composed of two overlapped triangles.

The Magen David is commonly associated with Judaism today, but it is actually a relatively new symbol of the Jewish faith, and although it appears occasionally in their early artwork it has never been exclusively Jewish.

An example of this symbol is found in Altamira cave, 16,500 BC, as part of a migratory calendric:

Photo: Duncan-Enzmann, solstice symbol, Altamira Cave, 16,500 BC

The beginnings of hexagram symbol are seen as far back as 77,000 years, with an upward pointing triangle symbolizing winter solstice sunrise and sunset.

By 14,500 BC, summer and winter solstice sunrise and sunset are represented with two overlapping triangles.

With roots in prehistory, the evolution of this familiar symbol can be observed with the following illustration of the winter solstice symbol, summer solstice symbol, and then combined solstices: 

1) Blombos, 77,000 BC           2&3)   Altamira, 16,500 BC

With the simple diagram below, it is easy to depict the movement of the sun from winter solstice through the spring equinox to summer solstice, and back to the autumnal equinox.

Even small children are able to understand and remember; our ancestors taught the very young how to tell time and season astronomically:

Winter Solstice -Spring Equinox-Summer Solstice-Autumnal Equinox-Winter Solstice

According to Christopher Knight in Solomon’s Power Brokers,[1] the hexagram known as the Star of David has roots not only in ancient astronomical observation of seasons, but observations done at a particular place.

The diagram below shows the hexagram created by the sun’s shadows at winter and summer solstices, as it appears at the latitude of Jerusalem.

Illustration from Solomon’s Power Brokers

As with most symbols, the hexagram gained layers of meaning as it flowed through time, adapted and adopted by cultures, coming eventually to symbolize the union of opposites:  male and female, fire and water, error and truth, active and passive, darkness and light, ignorance and wisdom.

These interpretations are not unreasonable considering the astronomical origin of the symbol – from observations based on light and shadow, and symbolizing the opposite extremes of the analemma of the sun at the solstices.

Article © 2019 Michelle Snyder.

For many more posts like this, visit Michelle’s website.

Her books are available at Amazon – all proceeds benefit FREA, the Foundation for Research of the Enzmann Archives, a non-profit founded to continue the publication of the vast area of knowledge contained in the writings of Dr. and Mrs. Enzmann.

Visit FREA’s website for more information.

[1] “Solomon’s Power Brokers: The Secrets of Freemasonry, The Church, and the Illuminati”. Christopher Knight and Alan Butler. 2007. New York: Watkins

the star of david

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Author

The Symbologist Michelle Snyder is a professor of mythology, folklore, and symbolism, an author, speaker, artist, and business owner. Her MPhil in Divinity from the University of Wales, St. David, explored the roots and evolution of symbols and the stories of oral tradition.

2 Comments

  1. The Seal of Solomon is not two overlapping triangles, but rather two interlocking triangles.

    • Actually there are depictions of Solomon’s Seal as a pentagram as well. There are many ‘Solomon’s Seal’ designs. In essence it is a hexagram. The ancient usage is pictured as two triangles, some overlaid, some interlocking, some a solid hexagram. It is a symbol that represents a process, one that is derived from natural science.

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