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When Misfortune Is Enow...
As researched by Shea Thomas
The blue star is a wonderful piece of symbolism with several potential meanings including mystic insight, magick, healing, protection, and martial defense.
In its primary meaning the blue star is likely a reference to a pentagram (a five pointed star) or a pentacle (a pentagram enclosed by a circle). The pentacle/pentagram is also sometimes known as the Celtic "Witch's Foot," [n.1] the Seal of Solomon, or the Eastern Star. [n.2]
The pentacle, in turn, sometimes stands for the five elements of earth, air, fire, water, and spirit; and is often used this way as a symbol of universal totality. Inverted, the pentacle is used by some Wiccan traditions to mark the rank of second degree; or as in some Satanic traditions, an idealized representation of the horns, ears, and beard of a goat.
In other representational meanings, the pentacle stands for the idea of “mankind” corresponding to the head and four limbs of a human. It also bears relation to the five digits of a hand or foot. Often, it is used as a cartographic symbol for capital cities and forts – perhaps as a direct reference to the star-shaped or pentagonal shape of many fortifications. Finally, in perhaps is strongest meaning, the pentagram is a symbol for the planet Venus.
Among planetary symbols, the pentagram stands alone as the only one that can be precisely derived by plotting the movements of an astrological body. Carl G. Liungman describes the unique phenomenon in Dictionary of Symbols (W.W. Norton & Company. Pp. 333-334. 1991):
"If one knows the ecliptic, and can pinpoint the present position of the planets in relation to the constellations of fixed stars in the zodiac, it is possible to mark the exact place in the 360 degrees of the zodiac where the Morning star first appears shortly before sunrise after a period of invisibility. If we do this, wait for the Morning star to appear again 584 days later (the synodic orbital time of Venus) and mark its position in the zodiac, and then repeat this process until we have the five positions of Venus as the Morning star, we will find that exactly eight years plus one day have passed. If we then draw a line from the first point marked to the second point marked, then to the third, and so on, we end up with a pentagram."
The remarkable clockwork nature of Venus also set the time of the Greek Olympiads (it takes four years for the star to return to its original position) as well as the Egyptian "Sothis Year," which was the number of years it took the pentagram described by Venus to make one full rotation in the sky (1460). [n.3]
Depending on the season, Venus is known both as Phosphoros (The Morning or Dawn Star) as well as Hesperos (The Evening Star). In a syncratic sense, other goddesses associated with this star include Aphrodite, Sothis, Inanna, Ischtar, Astarte, Diana, and Athena. [n.4] The war/love duality of many of these goddesses, perhaps an echo of the twin dawn/evening roles of the star itself, is also reflected in the more common symbolic uses of the pentacle which are primarily those of protection and war. Indeed, in a practical sense it may not be surprising that martial action is paired with love, peace, and protection, as the former is often a pragmatic necessity in order to preserve the later. Especially when, as in the Rede of the Wiccae, "misfortune is enow."
As a protective sign
The pentagram has long been used as a protective symbol. In Nordic countries, the pentagram was drawn on the doors of barns and storehouses to ward off trolls and invoke the aid of protective forces. In Japan and Western cultures generally, the pentagram was often used to ward off evil. [n.5] More recently, the pentagram made a reappearance as a symbol of protective witchcraft in Tim Burton’s movie Sleepy Hollow. [n.6]
As a martial sign
The pentagram also has a very strong military connotation. It is used almost universally as symbol of military rank (such as the five-star general). It appears on the sides of U.S. warplanes and in the shape of the U.S. Pentagon. In Sun Tsu’s Art of War, the pentacle was used on maps to mark the locations of military fortresses. [n.7] Wearing a "blue star on thy brow" may also be a reference to the blue body-paint (a blue dye made from an herb called Woad) worn into battle by the ancient Britons.
As a healing sign
The color associated with the blue star concept is often corresponded with healing, likely as a biological reverse of red, which is often tied to injury. If the color of blood stands for hurt, then something that is "bloodless" (or blue) becomes the symbol of its inverse, i.e., healing, health or wholeness.
As a psychic sign
A star worn on the brow may also be a reference to the "third eye" or "sixth chakra" which sometimes manifests itself through the colors blue or indigo. The third eye primarily represents spiritual intuition, insight, and inspiration. More dynamically, it may also be a reference to the actual process of psychic awareness as it involves Chakras, which in one account is cast as a violet-blue ray of vitality ("prana") that flows up from a vortex at the spleen through the throat and head. [n.8]
As a literal sign
Finally, it should be mentioned that there is also (quite literally) a blue star called "The Witch Head Nebula." A blue-shifted reflection nebula, this "star" resides about 1000 light-years away near Rigel in the constellation of Orion. [n.9]