The media has associated the Pentagram with everything unclean and unholy, from devil worshipping to mass murders.
Thanks to Hollywood, with its endless stream of occult movies, the five pointed star has been degraded and abused over and over again.
Show anyone in the street a picture of this misunderstood symbol and the first thing that will, more than likely, spring to their mind is Satanism, evil, black magic etc.
So where do the origins of the Pentagram come from, and why is it seen as a symbol of hatred and cruelty?
IN THE BEGINNING
The Pentagram dates back further than the countless crude movies and T.V programmes with make believe demons and evil witches who can summon fire in the palm of their hand.
To discover the true identity of the Pentagram we have to travel back some 3500 years before Christ was believed to have been nailed to the cross. We have to delve into the very place where many believe agricultural civilisation was born.
The earliest evidence of the Pentagram has been found on pieces of broken pottery at the mouth of the Tigris and Euphrates Valley, which was once the kingdom of Uruk.
This symbol was found along side signs relating to the foundations of written language.
There is also considerable evidence that suggests the Pentagram was used as a seal of royalty by these ancient Mesopotamian people.
So, from the very beginning of recorded time we see that the now mistrusted and evil' symbol of the five pointed star was once a powerful symbol representing knowledge and power.
There are hundreds of examples of the Pentagram being used through-out history; from carvings on clay tablets and pottery, to the mention of it in ancient myths and legends.
The symbol of the five pointed star has appeared on numerous artefacts many religious - found through-out Jerusalem and Palestine, and on a variety of Greek coins from Melos and southern Italy, and later on Roman, Gallic and even British coins.
In many of these examples a letter was inscribed at each of the five points of the star. On the Greek coins the letters Psi, Gamma, Iota, Theta, and Alpha spelled the name of a Goddess Ygieia or Hygieia, which was also the word for health.
These Pentagrams are thought to have been symbols to promote health by warding off disease and death.
Even the ancient Greek Pythagorean Brotherhood (Pythagoras; 586-506 B.C), who were devoted to the study of mathematics, chose the Pentagram as there symbol, seeing in it a mathematical perfection.
Venus, the ancient Roman Goddess of love, perfection and beauty and her physical embodiment seen in the night time sky in the form of the planet Venus, have long been associated with the Pentagram.
The ancients observed that this planet traced a near perfect five pointed star in the sky every eight years. And so she was worshipped and revered as the sacred feminine, and her symbol, the Pentagram became a powerful symbol of love, and protection.
Later on this Goddess was adopted by the Greeks as the Goddess Aphrodite, and thereafter was known by many other names, by numerous religions and cultures across the world.
Great religions have been based on this sacred symbol. The Pentagram has come to represent the five books of the Pentatuse for the Jewish faith, Muslims see it as the five pillars of faith and the five times of daily prayer, and it was also used at the very beginning of Christianity as their Holy symbol. It represented the five wounds of Jesus Christ.
MAGIC AND PERSECUTION
The Pentagram being used for magical purposes is believed to have originated with the early Jewish faith, which dates back many centuries before the dim beginnings of Christianity.
This symbol was seen as Solomon's seal a magical signet ring said to have been worn by King Solomon, which gave him the power to command spirits and talk to animals.
This seal was used in many magical rituals and powerful ceremonial magic, to draw strength from ethereal entities and the cosmos. The Pentagram and the hexagram were interchangeable at this time, and the name Solomon's Seal' was applied to both figures.
For over three hundred years the Pentagram was seen as the symbol of Christianity; but as the use of this five pointed star became more involved with magic, the Pentagram was finally abandoned as the Holy symbol and the crucifix was adopted instead.
The use of magic - and thereby the Pentagram and the belief in any gods other than the Christian concept of the Almighty', was seen as a threat to this newly established religious power, and so was condemned as heresy.
The people continued to find magic enchanting, but the church increased its pressure. Those who still clung to their old religions were persecuted, and the ones who refused to convert to the Christian way of thinking were condemned as witches and were subsequently put to death.
Fear and prejudice gripped the world for centuries. You can read about the Christian Crusades and the witch burnings on many internet sites and in many books. There are literally thousands of accounts and records from that bloody period of human history.
The important fact is that because of these terrible years of persecution, the Christian faith almost eradicated the use of magic and the Pentagram.
Almost, but not completely.
Freemasons - who have their origins in the order of the Temple of Solomon, who later became known as the Knights Templar (founded in 1119 B.C.) to this day still honour the Pentagram as Solomon's seal.
After the suppression of the Knights Templar by Pope Clement V (between 1307-1314 B.C), they went underground to form what became the society of the Freemasons, thereby preserving the use of the Pentagram in one of its early forms.
The symbol also appears in many legends from around the same time.
In Arthurian legend, the Pentagram was the symbol on the shield of Sir Gawain, which represented the five virtues of Generosity, Courtesy, Chastity, Chivalry and Piety. Because of this, the symbol has been known throughout England as the Endless Knot' ever since.
The Pentagram was also secretly used as a symbol for protection during the middle ages. It was painted on houses, or hung above the door inside to ward off evil spirits and witches.
AS IT IS NOW
From the early 1500's the Pentagram was slowly beginning to be used again. And by the 1600's it was used openly as a medical symbol.
By the eighteen century, those who were interested in ceremonial magic were able to publish grimoires loosely based on the old Solomonic texts, and from these much of modern magic has derived.
The Pentagram is now used by many Neo-Pagans through-out the world to represent their faith the way Christians now use the crucifix.
For these pagans the Pentagram or Pentacle (a Pentagram enclosed within a circle), symbolises Mother Earth and her elements, Earth, Air, Fire, Water and the Spirit which unites all living things.
The Pentagram is also being used as a symbol of power and unity all over the world.
For example, the five pointed star is used as a badge of office by the police in the United States of America.
The Pentagram also appears on the coat of arms on two national flags; those of Ethiopia and Morocco. On the Moroccan flags it is said to represent the union between God and the nation.
The five pointed star appears on other national flags and in other places across the globe in it's filled in form, i.e. not showing any separation between the inner pentagon and the five isosceles triangles.
In fact we are surrounded by such stars, if one only takes the time to notice them.
Why then, has the Pentagram still got such a bad reputation if history tells us it is a symbol of power and protection? Why, if we can see the Pentagram in its proper form on a daily basis, do the general public still shrink from it with revulsion?
The answer is that although magic, and with it the five pointed star, are in use today, the fear and prejudice that surround such things from centuries past has never left the public mind.
Revulsion lurks behind every corner like some mythical creature, and the church is always ready to defend such notions.
Orthodox religions always proclaim to know the One Truth', and thereby deplore any and all ways in which one can commune with his gods without the use of some dusty and out-dated priesthood.
And so it seems that those evil times over-shadow any use of ancient symbols and ancient magic.
Is it any wonder that many believe what they see on T.V and on the movie screens, where directors use the public fear to their own advantage?
So strong is the power of the media, that many schools in the United States have banned pupils from displaying the Pentagram on clothing or jewellery because of its negative' undertones and the link with the occult.
But the general public is gradually moving away from such ideas. The great religions of this world are losing their grip on the populace. People care more about the Earth than ever before, and are seeking answers to their spiritual questions from older, nature based beliefs.
What will happen to the Pentagram in years to come? Will it return once more to the sacred symbol it was always meant to be?
Only time will tell.