Online Encyclopedia of Western Signs and Ideograms

Symbol 28:24


28:24 · The fivepointed star without crossing lines is one of the most common and important Western ideograms. It is used in the flags of some 35 countries, both Western and Eastern. Its first appearance on a national flag is believed to have been in 1777, when the United States of America declared itself an independent country.
    This star is also the most widely used military symbol and is found on the tanks and fighter jets of all the superpowers, as well as in the armed forces of all other countries on officers and petty officers' uniforms. It is, in this particular use, related to 2822 in this group, and to 2713, the sign for the planet Venus as the Morning star and the goddess of war. For nearly all armed forces on this planet the golden fivepointed star without crossing lines is the symbol par preference of military rank and power. For its origins and a description of its relation to 41a07, look up 2911 in Group 29.
    The fivepointed star is also a symbol of ideologies and appears together with other structures to denote different creeds and belief systems: with the hammer and sickle it represents Communism; with palm leaves, Scientology; with the crescent moon, Islam; with a T-sign inside the star, Tupamaros (the now defeated socialist city guerilla movement in Uruguay in the 1970s). With crossing lines in the sign 3505, it represents the Bahai religion. These are just a few of the ideologies using the fivepointed Venus star as their logotypes.
    2825a has several other uses. It denotes the Bethlehem star. It is sometimes a sign to indicate an especially good quality product or achievement (recall the fivepointed gold and silver stars that were used in the lower grades at school). Philatelists use it to mean a stamp that has not been postmarked.
    It is also a sign of protection associated with security and safety. 2272, for example, indicates emergency exits and storage spaces for safety equipment.
    As 2825a can also appear alone, doubled, or multiplied several times to denote varying quality from mediocrity to excellence, it is sometimes used in the same way for varying degrees of coldness in a freezer. Normally, however, one uses the sixpointed star for this meaning because of its relation to crystallized water; 2825a has no other relation to the idea of coldness than that its a star sign.
    Like 2860 this sign is associated with law and order and is found used as a police badge and sheriff's star in several states (2860, however, is more common). On gravestones it is used to indicate the date of birth although 2867 is much more common for that meaning.
    Variants of 2825a have been used as marks of cadency for the third son in heraldry. See cadency in the Word Index for data. 2825a is a sign for the Eastern star (along with 6611 and 3013b). The Eastern star is the planet Venus when it appears as the Morning star. The Bethlehem star is often drawn 2825d. It was this star that the three wise men, the Magi, saw and followed to Bethlehem when Jesus was born. The Bethlehem star is a typical Christmas symbol, as is the eightpointed Venus star.
    There is a theory propagated by certain researchers of symbolism that the star observed by the wise men was, in reality, several planets and/or distant suns that conjugated at the time of Jesus' birth (a few years before the beginning of our present chronology). But those who study the night skies and different conjunctions know that it is almost impossible for a conjunction, whether of planet stars or fixed stars, to be mistaken for a single star. And even if this in fact were the case, all the stars involved would have been clearly distinguishable as separate celestial objects a few hours (planet stars) or a few days or weeks (fixed stars) before and after the conjunction. Whether the South and Central American pre-Columbian Indian cultures ever were able to plot Venus' movements we do not know for sure, but they certainly seem to have been able to do so, and they had a fivepointed star, albeit lacking in graphical precision: 2643.
    Although 2825a is so very common in the Western culture it is used in a relatively small number of other than military modern sign systems. In philately it is used to mean stamps that are not postmarked. In some cartography it represents capitals of countries, centers of communication, cities and towns. It is also used on some nautical charts to signify sources of light and lighthouses. \displaypicya{1.2in}{6536001}
    In the world of comic strips only about ten non-pictorial ideograms are used. 2825a is one of them. Pain in a part of the body is marked by such signs, sometimes with some 1611b and/or 1611c in between them like in 6503. The pentagram, 2713, is also used in this way, but not so commonly.