These are geometrical designs representing the mysteries of
deity and creation, therefore supposed to be of special virtue
in rites of evocation and conjuration. Major diagrams are the
Triangle; the Double Triangle, forming a six-pointed star and
known as the Sign or Seal of Solomon; the Tetragram, a fourpointed
star formed by the interlacement of two pillars; and the
Pentagram, a five-pointed star. These signs were traced on
paper or parchment or engraved on metals and glass and consecrated
to their various uses by special rites.
The Triangle evoked a universal trinity found in all things
deity, time, and creation. The triangle was generally traced on
the ground with the magic sword or rod, as in circles of evocation
where the triangle was drawn within it and, according to
the position of the magician at its point or base, so the spirits
were conjured (summoned up) from heaven or hell.
The Double Triangle, or the Sign of Solomon, is symbolic
of the macrocosm, and is formed by the interlacement of two
triangles its points thus constitute the perfect number six. Magicians
wore it bound on their brows and breasts during ceremonies,
and it was engraved on the silver reservoirs of magic
The Tetragram, symbolic of the four elements, was used in
the conjuration of the elementary spiritssylphs of the air,
undines of the water, and the fire salamanders and gnomes of
the earth. In alchemy it represented the magical elements salt,
sulphur, mercury, and azoth; in mystic philosophy, the ideas
Spirit, Matter, Motion, and Rest; in hieroglyphs, the man,
eagle, lion, and bull.
The Pentagram, the sign of the microcosm, was held to be
the most powerful means of conjuration in any rite. It might
represent good as well as evil, for with one point in the ascendant
it was the sign of Christ, and with two points in the ascendant
it was the sign of Satan. By the use of the pentagram in
these positions, the powers of light or darkness were evoked.
The pentagram was said to be the star that led the Magi to the
manger where the infant Christ was laid.
The preparation and consecration of this sign for use in
magical rites was prescribed with great detail. It might be composed
of seven metals, the ideal form for its expression, or
traced in pure gold upon white marble never before used for
any purpose. It might also be drawn with vermilion upon lambskin
without a blemish prepared under the auspices of the Sun.
The sign was next consecrated with the four elements,
breathed on five times, dried by the smoke of five perfumes (incense,
myrrh, aloes, sulfur, and camphor). The names of five
genii were breathed above it, and then the sign was placed successively
at the north, south, east, west, and center of the astronomical
cross, while the letters of the sacred tetragram and various
kabalistic names were prounced over it (See Kabala). It was
believed to be of great efficacy in terrifying phantoms if engraved
upon glass, and the magicians traced it on their doorsteps
to prevent evil spirits from entering and good spirits from
This symbol was used by many secret and occult societies, by
the Rosicrucians, the Illuminati, down to the Freemasons of
modern times. Modern occultists translate the meaning of the
pentagram as symbolic of the human soul and its relation to
The Pentagram is placed with one point in the ascendant.
That point represents the Great Spirit, God. A line drawn from
there to the left-hand angle at the base is the descent of spirit
into matter in its lowest form; where it ascends to the righthand
angle, it typifies matter in its highest form the brain of
man. From here, a line is drawn across the figure to left angle,
representing mans development in intellect; while progress in
material civilization, the point of danger from which all nations
have fallen into moral corruption, is signified by the descent of
the line to right angle at the base. The soul of man being derived
from God cannot remain at this point but must struggle
upward, as is symbolized by the line reaching again to the apex,
God, from which it issued. (See also ceremonial magic; magic;
magical instruments and accessories; magical vestments and
Barrett, Francis. The Magus A Complete System of Occult Philosophy.
London, 1801. Reprint, New Hyde Park, N.Y. University
Thompson, C. J. S. The Mysteries and Secrets of Magic. London,
1927. Reprint, New York Causeway Books, 1974.
Waite, Arthur Edward. The Book of Ceremonial Magic. London
William Rider & Son, 1911. Reprint, New Hyde Park,
N.Y. University Books, 1961.
Woodroffe, Sir John. Sakti and Sakta. Madras, India