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The Star of David

The Star of DavidThe Star of David

The Star of David, or "magen David" (Shield of David), is a six-pointed star formed by two interlocking equilateral triangles. It gets its name from the tradition that David carried a hexagram-shaped shield during his defeat of the giant Goliath. The more mystical aspects of the symbol are discussed in our exploration of the hexagram. Like the Taoist symbol for Yin and Yang, the hexagram is suggestive of an overriding unity and a union of opposites, and it is a potent symbol of the macrocosm (God, the Universe or Higher Energies), and of the relationship between the macrocosm and the microcosm (Humankind, the Earth or Manifest Energies).

The symbol has deep-rooted links to the Kabbalah, with the upward-pointing triangle (the symbol of the element Fire) representing the yearning of the manifest to reach or return to the Divine, and the downward-pointing triangle (the symbol of the element Water) signifying the descent of the Divine into matter. Where these two meet in the center of the Star, a point of balance and beauty is reached, corresponding to Tifereth on the Tree of Life. The surrounding points correspond to the sefirot surrounding Tifereth on the Tree, with Binah representing the supernals (being the most manifest of the trinity), and Yesod implicitly touching the earth of Malkuth. The Kabbalistic form of the hexagram is illustrated in our discussion of the hexagram. In Kabbalistic magic, the symbol is often referred to as the Seal of Solomon and employed for its magical and protective properties.

Israeli flag The Star of David is sometimes known as the Creator's Star, in which each of the six points represents a day of the week and the center corresponds to the Sabbath. It is a strong symbol of Jewish identity, and remained so even during the dark days of Nazi persecution when Jews were forced to wear a yellow hexagram as an identifier. The Star was incorporated into the flag of the State of Israel (right) in 1948.

The six points of the hexagram can also be considered as representing the six syllables of the oldest and most important mantra of Tibetan Buddhism, "Om Mani Padme Hum," with the center representing Om itself. This is further explored in our discussion of the synthesizing HexagrOm.