The Faery Star: Magick and meaning

The Faery Star: Magick and meaning

The seven-pointed Faery Star is an emerging symbol in contemporary magick.  Also known as a Fairy Star or Elven Star, it is most often used to represent the world(s) of Faery.  It can be displayed as a protective shield, a focal point for meditation, or a symbol of the Shining Realms.  Learn more about the star's meanings and use in this short article.

The Septagram

The seven-pointed star is called a heptagram, septagram, or septegram. (In a Fae-worthy fluke of language, all three versions are correct.) This glyph has had mystical associations for centuries--probably longer, since the number seven is important in many spiritual traditions around the world. 

Medieval alchemists used the seven-pointed star to stand for the seven alchemical metals and their corresponding planets.  But it may also stand for the seven colors, the seven musical notes, the seven sisters (Pleiades), or any of the many sacred things that come in groups of seven.   In Hermetic Qabalah, the septagram can represent the sphere of Netzach and the corresponding planet of Venus.  Aleister Crowley also chose a septagram as the seal of Babalon, the Great Mother and sacred whore of Thelema.

The septagram, because it has an odd number of points, can be traced in a continuous line.  Its unbroken form helps give the star its identity as a symbol of Eternity.

The Faery Star

The Faery Star is most often shown as a continuous figure with elongated points. (A {7/3} regular heptagram, for you geometry nerds.) No one can really say how or when the motif became incorporated into modern Paganism, but it is now a common sight in books, in jewelry, and on altar tools.  Many practitioners use the Faery Star instead of, or in addition to, the familiar five-pointed pentagram.  Some say that the seven-pointed star reflects planetary (celestial) magic, while the pentagram encompasses magic of the elements and the Earth.

Some of the most thoughtful exposition of the Faery Star is found in Emily Carding's book, Faery Craft.  She presents the Star across seven chapters, with meditations and exercises linked to each point.  Other resources for working with the Star are available, including rituals, Tarot spreads, and more.

Expanding the Pentagram

The most recognizable symbol of Pagan practice is the five-pointed pentagram.  The four lower points represent the four elements, with the top point representing the "fifth element," the quintessence.  In other words, the pentagram is shorthand for the four directions of the Earth plane, and for the presence of Spirit (North, South, East, West, and Above).  The pentagram locates a point in space, and animates it with life force.

The most appropriate symbol of the human magician is the pentagram.  The pentagram mirrors the shape of the human body.  (Add two more points, and it has wings!)  Allegorically, the pentagram evokes the four tools at the Mage's hand, and the Will to use them well.  No other glyph matches its centering and protective power. 

The Faery Star expands our awareness of directionality from five to seven (North, South, East, West, Above, Below, and Within). Because "Below" and "Within" are generally hidden from sight, they hint at the unseen Realms of Faerie. Curiously enough, the land of Faerie is usually said to exist either in the imagination (within) or in a hidden place, perhaps in the Underworld (below).

A Few Words of Caution

It should be obvious at this point that the Faery Star possesses enormous power as a magickal glyph.  It is a fruitful image for contemplation, and appears to act as a genuine gateway to the Other realms.  As a Fae-identified subculture has embraced it as tribal badge, it is increasingly visible and available.

Like so many aspects of Faerie, this Star is seductive and hypnotic, but potentially dangerous.  Folklore abounds with tales of humans who are careless or reckless enough to venture into Faerie, usually with dire consequences.

Probably no class of beings is as diverse and unpredictable as the Fae. I would recommend treating the Faery Star like any other portal, and cover or obscure it when not in use.  Faery Star tattoos and other permanent installations should be carefully considered.

The Faery Star can be of great use, but is not a symbol to be employed lightly or emblazoned on every available surface. Symbolism is the native language of the Fae, so be mindful of what you mark as theirs!

Read more by Michelle Gruben here.

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