Star of David

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The Star of David, known in Hebrew as the Shield of David (Hebrew מָגֵן דָּוִד) or Magen David (Biblical Hebrew Māḡēn Dāwīḏ) is a symbol whose shape is that of a hexagram, the compound of two equilateral triangles. The hexagram has been in use as a symbol of Judaism since the 17th century, with precedents in the 14th to 16th centuries in Central Europe, where the Shield of David was partly used in conjunction with the Seal of Solomon (the hexagram) on Jewish flags. Its use probably derives from medieval (11th to 13th century) Jewish protective amulets (segulot).

In Judaism

The Star of David is used as the symbol of Judaism. It is placed upon synagogues, sacred vessels, and the like, and was adopted as a device by the American Jewish Publication Society in 1873. However, as the online Jewish Encyclopedia states:

The Jewish view of God, which permitted no images of Him, was and still is opposed to the acceptance of any symbols, and neither the Bible nor the Talmud recognizes their existence. It is noteworthy, moreover, that the shield of David is not mentioned in rabbinical literature. The "Magen Dawid," therefore, probably did not originate withinRabbinism, the official and dominant Judaism for more than 2,000 years.[1]

In Theosophy

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky says that the six-pointed double triangle symbolizes the macrocosm:

The six-pointed star which is the figure of the macrocosm . . . composed of two triangles respectively white and black—crossed and interlaced (our Society’s symbol)—known as "Solomon’s Seal" in Europe—and as the "Sign of Vishnu" in India—is made to represent the universal spirit and matter, one white point which symbolizes the former ascending heavenward, and [the lower point] of its black triangle inclining earthward.[2]
The double triangle representing symbolically the MACROCOSM, or great universe, contains in itself besides the idea of the duality (as shown in the two colours, and two triangles—the universe of SPIRIT and that of MATTER)—those of the Unity, of the Trinity, of the Pythagorean TETRAKTYS — the perfect Square—and up to the Dodecagon and the Dodecahedron.[3]

Stanza V.3 talks about "the six directions of space". One interpretation given by Mme. Blavatsky relates this to the "double triangle":

By the “Six directions of Space” is here meant the “Double Triangle,” the junction and blending together of pure Spirit and Matter, of the Arupa and the Rupa, of which the Triangles are a Symbol. This double Triangle is a sign of Vishnu, as it is Solomon’s seal, and the Sri-Antara of the Brahmins.[4]

Master K.H. writes:

The double triangle viewed by the Jewish Kabalists as Solomon's Seal, is, as many of you doubtless know the Sri-antara [Sri Yantra] of the archaic Aryan Temple, the "mystery of Mysteries," a geometrical synthesis of the whole occult doctrine. The two interlaced triangles are the Buddhangums of Creation. They contain the "squaring of the circle," the "philosophical stone," the great problems of Life and Death, and — the Mystery of Evil. The chela who can explain this sign from every one of its aspects — is virtually an adept.[5]
Of course you know that the double-triangle — the Satkiri Chakram of Vishnu — or the six-pointed star, is the perfect seven. In all the old Sanskrit works — Vedic and Tantrik — you find the number 6 mentioned more often than the 7 — this last figure, the central point being implied, for it is the germ of the six and their matrix. It is then thus . . . [the interlaced triangles inscribed in a circle] — the central point standing for seventh, and the circle, the Mahakasha — endless space — for the 7th Universal Principle.[6]
The interlaced triangles — the upper pointing one — is Wisdom concealed, and the downward pointing one — Wisdom revealed (in the phenomenal world).[7]
The double triangles symbolize the Great Passive and the Great Active; the male and female; Purusha and Prakriti. Each triangle is a Trinity because presenting a triple aspect. The white represents in its straight lines: Gnanam — (Knowledge); Gnata — (the Knower); and Gnayam — (that which is known). The black-form, colour, and substance, also the creative, preservative, and destructive forces and are mutually correlating, etc., etc.[8]

Theosophical Seal

The Two Triangles are also present in the Theosophical Seal.

Notes

  1. Magen Dawid ("David's shield") at Jewish Encyclopedia
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. III (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1995), 250-251.
  3. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. III (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1995), 313.
  4. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine vol. I, (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 118.
  5. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 111 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 378.
  6. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 111 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 378.
  7. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 111 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 378.
  8. Vicente Hao Chin, Jr., The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett in chronological sequence No. 111 (Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1993), 379.

Further reading