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A star is an ideograph whose outer edge forms a symmetrical polygon (usually rotationally so, but if not, bilaterally) whose vertices alternate between joining outward- and inward-pointing pairs of edges. The figure may be the border or interior of the polygon, or one or more closed polygonal paths that include all of the border and also have some legs crossing the interior. Impressions of astronomical stars provide the term, but specific uses may exploit the connection or not. Stars often represent the unity of states within a country when they are used as a part of the flag.
The five-pointed star, if drawn with points of equal length and angles of 36° at each point, is sometimes termed a golden five pointed star. If the colinear edges are joined together a pentagram is produced, which is the simplest of the unicursal star polygons, and a symbol of mystical and magical significance. Originally, the five-pointed star (pentangle), forming a pentagram within it, represented the ten tribes of Israel that broke away from the ruling class of Judah, Benjamin, and the Priests. There are ten "Vav" or "man" that form the five points. A circle was also added around the Israelite Star because it was the letter "Samek" meaning, "death". Today's modern Pagans tend to use all three symbols, rather than making any distinction. The golden five-pointed star is a very common ideogram in the western world, and has particularly strong associations with military power and war. The Asian giant LG Corporation's initials actually stand for "Lucky Goldstar" (and not "Life is Good" as many Westerners are led to believe). Many communist countries (such as China and Vietnam) and symbols (the hammer and sickle) also incorporate five-pointed stars.
The five-pointed star is used as the symbol of the People Nation alliance of gangs from Chicago. Blood gangs who originated from New York known as the United Blood Nation also use this as a symbol as they have emulated the People Nation alliance.
In the Armenian Pantheon, there is a goddess called Astlik/Astghik. In the Armenian language Astgh means star, Astghik - Little Star. Compared with Ishtar, Astara, this goddess' sign should have been the (probably)eight-pointed star.
The pentagram, a five-pointed star drawn with five straight strokes
Several varieties of six-pointed stars are used in Western culture:
Apart from the foresaid mentions, six-pointed star formations are rare as an ideograph in Western cultures except in the case of law enforcement badges. In astrology some formations of a six-pointed star can signify fixed stars. In some rare instances it can signify the date of birth on a gravestone, synonymous with the five-point star.
A seven-pointed star appears in the flag and heraldic symbolism of Australia. In the Australian context, the seven points (also known as the Commonwealth Star, the Federation Star, the Seven Point Star, or the Star of Federation) is a seven-pointed star symbolising the Federation of Australia which came into force on 1 January 1901. Six points of the Star represent the six original states of the Commonwealth of Australia, while the seventh point represents the territories.
The Seal of the Cherokee Nation has an acute gold seven-pointed star in its seal.
The seven-pointed star is also used as a symbol of the Trinitarios gang from New York City.
A heptagram or septagram is a seven-pointed star drawn with seven straight strokes. There are two kinds of heptagrams:
flag of Ha'il state (1834-1921)
A two-color, 8-pointed star associated with the American Friends Service Committee and other Quaker service groups since the 1870s is sometimes called "the Quaker star".
A nine-pointed star is the most common symbol of the Baha'i Faith, the number nine being significant in the religion.
The flag of Nauru uses a twelve-pointed star representing the 12 tribes on the island.
|This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (September 2009)|
Graham, Dr. O.J. The Six-Pointed Star: Its Origin and Usage 4th ed. ISBN 0-9689383-0-2
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