Seven-Pointed Star

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.


Partly because it’s difficult to septisect a circle.

Good question.

This page provides a summary of various stars in Christian symbology:

According to this, the Christian symbolism is also the reason for use by law enforcement, a common use which the OP didn’t mention:

Oh, and for Maersk, the explanation isn’t that satisfying:

The first steamship commanded by the company founder had a seven pointed star on the funnel, and the symbol came to hold some personal significance for him. Now, you have to ask why some ship in the late 19th century had a seven pointed star painted on the funnel. has several seven-pointed stars with different histories:

The heptagram, a sevenpointed star
weekday heptagram
and another
weekday heptagram

kind of off topic, but on a mathematical bent, a seven-pointed star is, I believe, the first that can be drawn using intersecting lines in two different ways… (in the same way that the pentagram and the star of david are drawn using interlocking lines.)

If you mark off the seven corners first, equidistantly around the circumference of a circle, you can connect them in a star either by linking each corner with the one two to its left and right, or three to its left and right. One produces a large star with very shallow points, the other with considerably skinner points and a smaller center.

[spent a lot of a time drawing star-shaped patterns when he was younger.]

Ok, chrisk, any idea how to describe these six-pointed stars? I’ve always wondered.

Looks… hmm, not really. They obviously don’t fit into my system, because you can tell that when a line segment from one point goes into the body of the star, as it were, it doesn’t come out again as the other side of another point. They don’t line up.

You could take an angular measurement of the points and use that to define the star… at least, the ones up on top that are completely regular and symmetrical. I don’t think that’s what you’re after tho.

Looks like a pair of overlapped triskelion rather than triangles. One thought is that (since the symbolism of each of the points is explained) that they were made this way in order to avoid confusion with the Jewish star. Doesn’t have to be a point of discrimination, either, could be out of respect for an established symbol.

Thanks to all so far for your leads. In addition to finding new sites, I’ve found new ways to search for additional sites.


“Well, Tonto, it looks like our job here is done.” :slight_smile:

I’m always gratified when anyone(including myself) learns how to find things.

Yeah, that’s what I ran into. When I wrote them asking “why,” they never answered. Perhaps they don’t know.

Since I’ve been using different ways of searching I’ve been finding more than I asked for, yet not what I’m searching for.

Seems even culture abhors a vacuum, I’ve discovered that with the lack of a known ancient meaning for the acute seven pointed star it has been adopted…

by faeries, elves, lesbians, self-imagined werewolves (calling themselves theirianthro… p?), musical groups, and a few more…

I finally discovered why the Cherokee adopted the seven-pointed star, but alas, it was post-modern.

I still have heard nothing about why it appears so frequently throughout Polynesia, and if anyone can get a line on that for me it would be a major breakthrough.

In addition, down in South America, on the Nazca plain, where all those figures were scratched into the soil hundreds of years ago on a scale that makes observing them impossible save from aircraft, there is a carving of a humanoid figurine with seven-pointed stars on the cheeks. Close enough to suggest a possible Polynesian contact (proximity to Easter Island).

I know we have New Zealand dopers, do any of you have Maori friends that might have knowledge of the symbol?? Or are any of you Maori?