Hexagram

By Barbara G Walker

From Barbara G Walker's The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, entry on "Hexagram"

 

Hexagram

The familiar design of two interlocked triangles is generally supposed to have represented the Jewish faith since the time of David, or Solomon; therefore this hexagram is known as Magen David (Shield of David), or the Star of David, or Solomon's Seal. Actually, the hexagram had nothing to do with either David or Solomon. It was not mentioned in Jewish literature until the 12th century A.D., and was not adopted as a Jewish emblem until the 17th century.1

The real history of the hexagram began with Tantric Hinduism, where it represented union of the sexes.2 The downward-pointing triangle was the Female Primordial Image or Yoni Yantra, existing before the universe. In the course of infinite time, the Goddess conceived a spark of life within her triangle, the bindu, which was eventually born and developed into a male, symbolized by the upward-pointing triangle. He united with his Mother to form the Primal Androgyne.5 The sign of this union was the hexagram, called Sri Yantra or Great Yantra. "The downward-pointing triangle is a female symbol corresponding to the yoni; it is called 'shakti.' The upward-pointing triangle is the male, the lingam, and is called 'the fire' (vahni)."

A personification of the Great Yantra was Bindumati, "Mother of the Bindu," described in myth as a divine harlot. She ruled the forces of nature. She could command storms by the power of her magic and halt rivers in their tracks, a miracle copied by several holy men in Egyptian myth, and later by Moses.

From the Tantric image of the sexual hexagram arose a Jewish system of sex worship connected with the medieval Cabala, and a rabbinical tradition that "a picture is supposed to be placed in the ark of the covenant alongside of the tables of the laws, which shows a man and a woman in intimate embrace, in the form of a hexagram."5 [Hey -- Jewish porn goes waaay back, right Dude?]

The Cabala was developed by the Jews of Moorish Spain after the crusades brought eastern Goddess worship into their ken. Cabalists used the hexagram as Tantric yogis used it, to represent the union of God with his Female Power, Shekina ['shock and awe'], the Jewish form of Shakti-Kali. As Shakti was the essential soul of any Hindu god, so Shekina was the essential soul of the Cabalistic God. As in all religions of the Divine Marriage, Cabalistic Judaism discovered man and woman to be earthly images of God and Goddess; and sexual union of mortals naturally encouraged its like in the supernatural realm. Therefore sexual intercourse was "a sacramental act in the service of a God and his consort (or perhaps vice versa: a Goddess and her consort)."6

The Zohar identified Shekina with Torah, "the law," as the older Gnostic Goddess was identified with her own virgin form Maat, "the law" or "Truth." A man aspiring to mystic wisdom had to become a "bridegroom of Torah," for the law was embodied in a maiden, like the enlightening lady-love of contemporary bardic romance, which was also inspired by eastern Goddess-worship.

(QUOTE) For the Torah resembles a beautiful and stately damsel, who is hidden in a secluded chamber of her palace.... She opens the door of her hidden chamber ever so little, and for a moment reveals her face to her lover, but hides it again forthwith-----He alone sees it and he is drawn to her with his heart and soul and his whole being... . When he comes to her, she begins from behind a curtain to speak words in keeping with his understanding, until very slowly insight comes to him.(UNQUOTE)7

The hexagram stood for the complete union of the sage with Shekina-Torah. Attribution of the hexagram to Solomon as the magic "Solomon's Seal" probably arose from the popular view of Solomon as enlightened by a sacred marriage, suggested by the erotic love poetry of Solomon's Song in the Bible.

1. Encyc. Brit., "Magen David." 2. Jung, M.H.S., 240. 3. Rawson, A.T., 74, 82. 4. Zimmer, 147. 5. Silberer, 197. 6. Lederer, 188. 7. Cavendish, T, 73.

 

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