Geometric Shapes and Their Magic Meanings
Because basic geometric shapes are so simple in construction, they are found all over the world and have a wide variety of uses and meanings. However, there are a variety of meanings that are more commonly ascribed to these shapes, particularly when used in a magical context.
Circles commonly represent unity, wholeness, and infinity. Without beginning or end, without sides or corners, the circle is also associated with the number one. In some cases, there is a distinction between that which is contained within the circle and that which lies without.
Circles are often seen as protective symbols. Standing within a circle shields a person from unwanted entities or influences outside of the circle. Conversely, a circle can also be contained, keeping that which is inside from been released. The most common use of the circle in Demonolatry is to balance the energies that raise during a ritual.
The Ouroboros is a circular symbol created by a creature feeding off its own tail, or else two creatures feeding off each other’s tails. In both cases, the shape created in a circle, represents such ideas as completion, uniting of polarities, regeneration, and eternity.
Circles are frequently used as sun symbols, as well as representing things associated with the sun. The astrological symbol of the sun is a circle with a dot in the middle. The same symbol is often used to represent gold, which is strongly associated with the sun.
The Element of Spirit
The element of spirit, seen as an element equal or superior to the physical elements of fire, air, water, and earth, is commonly represented by a circle.
Spirals are some of the oldest geometric shapes in ancient artwork, dating back at least to the Neolithic period. As such, we know very little about their religious beliefs and can, at best, guess about general meanings of symbols based on context.
In Western society, the triangle most often has highly Christian meanings when used in a religious context. Because the Christian God is a trinity – Father, Son and Holy Ghost united in a single godhead – he is commonly represented by a triangle. As a three-sided polygon, the triangle represents the number three, which is meaningful to many groups. As such, triangles and other symbols made of three parts may be used to present such concepts as past, present, and future or spirit, mind and body.
As a Summoning Symbol
Some occultists use the triangle as a summoning symbol. At the culmination of a ritual, the desired being is expected to appear within a triangle inscribed upon the floor. The occultist often performs his ritual from the protection of a circle. In Demonolatry we don’t use triangles cause there is no need to have the Spirit limited in a triangle.
Point-up and Point-down Triangles
The orientation of a triangle can be important to its meaning. For example, a point-up triangle might represent a strong foundation or stability, as it is rooted to the ground through a solid base.
The elements of earth and water formed from point-up triangles, even thou these are the two more material elements. Symbols for air and fire are formed from point-down triangles.
The point-up triangle can represent male energy, and fire and air are masculine elements. The point-down triangle can represent female energy, and water and earth are feminine elements.
Point-up triangles can also represent ascension toward the spiritual world, while the point-down triangle can represent a descent into the physical world.
The uniting of a point-up and point-down triangle creates a hexagram.
The cross is most well-known in its Christian context as a symbol of sacrifice and salvation in reference to Jesus’s death by crucifixion upon a cross. However, the cross has numerous other religious meanings as well, most of which have to do with groups of four, corresponding to the four points on the cross.
Crosses very commonly represent the earth and the physical universe, particularly in Western culture. This comes primarily from two associations: the four physical elements (earth, water, air, and fire) and the four cardinal directions (north, south, east and west). Indeed, the astrological symbol of Earth is a cross inside a circle. The same symbol is also known as a sun cross or solar wheel and has been associated with the sun and its four seasons.
Crosses share many properties with squares, which tend to have even more material meanings than crosses.
Because the number four is commonly associated with material things—the physical elements, the directions of the world, the seasons of the world—both squares and crosses are often used as symbols of the material world itself. However, a square has a visual solidness that a cross lacks. A square has volume. It contains space.
Pentagram – Five-Pointed Star
The five-pointed star, also commonly called a pentagram, has been in use for thousands of years by a variety of cultures. Most uses of the pentagram in Western society today descend from Western occult traditions.
Heptagrams / Septagrams
Seven-pointed stars are known as heptagrams or septagrams. There are two different configurations for heptagrams, the acute heptagram, shown here, and the obtuse heptagram. In addition, the heptagon – a seven-sided polygon – can also represent the same things as a heptagram.
The ancient world recognized only seven planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, plus the Moon and Sun. (Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are not visible to the naked eye and thus were unknown.) The heptagram often reflects these seven planets. This is particularly important in western occultism, where systems of correspondence were often based upon astrological correspondences. It was understood that each planet radiated certain influences. Understanding those influences directly is the realm of astrology.
But it was also accepted by many occultists that those influences were soaked up and re-projected by items that had connections with specific planets. For example, gold radiated success and perfection precisely because it corresponded to the sun, which radiates the same qualities.
Because the planets are all represented equally in the heptagram, the symbol can also be one of balance, equally representing the seven great powers of planetary magic.
Furthermore, the pairing of the numbers three (spirituality, in reference to the Christian trinity) and four (physicality, in reference to the four elements and the four cardinal directions) can also represent universal balance. Orientation can sometimes be important here. The points over four can symbolize spirit ruling matter, while four points over three can be physicality ruling spirit.
The acute heptagram is sometimes called the Elven Star or the Faerie Star and has been widely adopted by the Otherkin – people who believe they are supernatural beings such as elves, fairies or dragons trapped in human bodies.
Enochian Angel Magic
Heptagrams and heptagons are commonly used in John Dee’s system of Enochian angel magic, which is strongly rooted in sets of seven. The most famous example is Dee’s Sigillum Dei Aemeth.
Heptagram Correspondences – Days of the Week and the Seven Planets
The heptagram can represent the seven days of the week. In the Judeo-Christian context, it can, therefore, be a symbol of completion, as the universe was wholly created within the seven-day week.
In addition, each day of the week is associated with one of the planets.
By following the circle counter-clockwise, starting at the moon, you find that the planets are listed in the order in which they were understood to exist in an earth-centric system: Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn.
By following the lines of the acute heptagram, you find them listed in the order of the days of the week: Moon (Monday), Mars (Tuesday), Mercury (Wednesday), Jupiter (Thursday), Venus (Friday), Saturn (Saturday) and the Sun (Sunday).
The unicursal hexagram is a six-pointed star that can be drawn in one continuous movement. Its points are not equidistant, and the lines are not of equal length (unlike a more standard hexagram). It can, however, fit inside a circle with all six points touching the circle.
The unicursal hexagram is commonly depicted with a five-petaled flower in the center. This is a variation created by Aleister Crowley and is most strongly associated with the religion of Thelema. Another variation is the placement of a small pentagram in the hexagram’s center.
For those working within a Kabbalistic system, the decagram can represent the 10 sephirot of the Tree of Life. A decagram can specifically be formed by overlapping two pentagrams. This can reflect the union of opposites, as point-up and point-down pentagrams can each have their own meanings. A pentagram can represent the five elements, and some see each element as having a positive and negative aspect. As such, any decagram (not just one made by overlapping pentagrams) might also represent the positive and negative aspects of the five elements.