Why Are 'Stars' Mystic Symbols?

True story. When I was still quite young, I asked my mother why the graphic symbol of a star had five points. She told me that was to represent it twinkling.

Truth-be-told it still bemuses me. A white solid circle. That would be my symbol of a Star. (And yes, not all stars have five points. Duly noted.)

But one way or another, it is clear. Stars are occult symbols. A five pointed star is plainly a pentagram. I wasn’t born yesterday.

Why? Why are stars clearly occult symbols? And where and when did this tradition begin?


Stars ‘twinkle’ due to astronomical scintillation caused by refraction and turbulence in the atmosphere; it’s hard to miss. But, that is not the end of it since other heavenly bodies like planets, the Moon, Sun also have an ancient history of mystical and mythological associations even though they do not twinkle in the same way,

ETA there might be something to what you say, though, e.g. we have Al-Gol the Demon Star, a variable star system, which is then associated to bloody violence.

There are seven pointed stars and six pointed stars and stars that are circles with rays. And it does represent “twinkling”, or more precisely it’s to represent how point sources look to us in real life when the light has to pass through an atmosphere and our eyes.

Some star designs are “occult symbols”, but so are hundreds of other “simple to draw” designs. And they’re occult symbols for the same reason they’re chosen to represent stars. They are pleasing to look at and easy to draw. There might be some reinforcing interaction between the use for the two different purposes, but the most common version for either purpose being the five pointed star is quite likely because it’s the easiest to draw a quick version of.

Seven is generally a much more mystically important number, so if it wasn’t such a beast to draw nicely the seven pointed start would probably have been much more used as an occult symbol. And if you could have something with tree points actually look star like that would have been popular too.

A friend of mine draws a comic strip. For nighttime scenes, he would draw stars as large blobs, with multiple rays radiating from them. A number of people asked him about it. He said, “Before I got glasses, that’s how they looked to me.” There are any number of optical conditions, either in the atmosphere or inside the eyeball, that can cause people to perceive a star as a multi-rayed object.

How many points? Fewer than five, and you have a cross, or a triangle, or a line, which usually have different meanings in most cultures’ symbol sets. Too many points, and it ceases to be a “star” and becomes a “sunburst”, and again, it takes on a different meaning. The 5-point version can be drawn quickly, with a single stroke of the pen or brush.

“Five points” = “star” is an artistic convention that dates back to ancient Egypt (at least). Numerous tomb paintings depict starry skies with 5-point stars.

Stars are less likely to ‘twinkle’ in urban areas, due to light pollution. In those areas, stars look like dim points. And you can’t see the Milky Way.

Stars are occult symbols because for most of the time man has existed we had no idea what stars were, they were a great mystery with no explanation that could be derived from the natural world we could experience. It began somewhere on earth under a clear night sky the first time a good story-teller decided to fill the silence.

^^^ This. Stars are freaking amazing man. Before we knew anything about stars, they were amazing. Now that we know quite a lot about stars, they are even MORE amazing. It is no surprise that stars have been the focus of many mystical musings over our history.

The Bible related stars to angels (Revelation has the phrase the 7 stars are the 7 angels). So stars have been seen as messengers of God in that respect.

As for the points, we see it in drawing of the sun when it is drawn with rays coming forth, perhaps that’s why. I have also seen stars depicted with rays, normally smaller then the sun rays, but the points seem to indicate rays.

" The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches , and the lampstands are the seven churches. Here is the secret meaning of the seven stars that you see in my right hand, and of the seven gold lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches."

Thank you


Yes, but light polution has only been a problem for less than 150 years. Stars have been mystical symbols since pretty much forever.

Was replying to the comment that stars just look like dots, not like spikey things, so why add the spikey things. In the past, they often twinkled, which would have made them look active, perhaps alive.

Geometric construction (straight edge and compass) of a prefect five pointed star requires constructing line segments with lengths A and B such that A/B is the golden ratio as an intermediate step. There were definitely groups if people in the past who thought this property was important and assigned mystical properties to the pentagram as a result. I’m not sure how widespread this was.

Hmm. In Kepler’s Mysterium Cosmographicum, he proposed that God’s geometrical plan for the universe could be understood by relating planetary orbits to Platonic solids:

He also investigated regular polygons, of course.

An icosahedron has twelve vertices and those twelve vertices can be partitioned into three sets of four vertices such that each set of four vertices are the vertices of a golden rectangle and the three rectangles form a set of Borromean rings.

Image link.