I tried to do a search on this in the archives and in Google, with little luck. I really want to know!
We have a pretty good catalogue of stars with different numbers of points. Some of these have particular meanings, depending on the configuration, or are associated with different things: religions, philosophies, concepts, etc.
For instance, a six-pointed star composed of two triangles @ 180º is equated with Judaism. A five-pointed star is kinda a ‘garden-variety star’ used on flags, charts, etc. Eight-pointed stars are associated with some religion (I forget), but I have been unable to find reasonable explanations for seven-pointed stars.
Before we jump in with both feet, I know 7-pointed stars (hereinafter 7-stars, to use shorthand) appear on the Australian flag, and I can find the reason for that device (seven states or territories of the commonwealth). These are what I’d call modern artificial designs. I know that some ‘new age’ commercial enterprises have started calling the 7-star the ‘elven star.’ Totally commercial-artificial. I’m interested in older designs and the meanings thereof.
I have found 7-pointed stars in a variety of places, but have been unable to find explanations for why 7 points, instead of five, six or eight. To wit:
Throughout Polynesia the seven-pointed star appears, often as a central device in a design. Often there is a circle in the center of the star. These appear in tattoos in Samoa, New Zealand, Hawaii, Marquesas, and basket/weaving designs in marquesas ans Samoa.
In some Western American Indian cultures seven-pointed stars appear as design elements.
In these cases, when I inquire about the meaning of the design I am referred to “tradition,” e.g., "that’s the way we’ve always done it.
In some old Babylonian carvings seven-pointed stars appear, sometimes in conjunction with a crescent moon. I’ve found no attempt to explain these.
The shipping line Maersk has a seven-pointed star as a central element in its logo. I tried to communicate with them and received no response. I don’t doubt in this case it represents “the seven seas.”
Actually I am more interested in older explanations; like why did cultures start drawing seven-pointed stars? I know some dopers are part American Indian and some are from New Zealand, others may have access to interpretations of ancient middle-eastern texts, codexes, etc.
I’m interested in any serious explanations you can find.