Saturday, April 2, 2011


For the most part, I don't wear much jewellery.  I have some nice things; some are relatively expensive (these are mostly gifts from my parents for various milestone birthdays or achievements), but mostly what I've got is pairs of earrings of the sort that you can get as a three-for-ten-dollars deal at low-budget accessory shops.  Strange, offbeat earrings are one of my guilty pleasures, though I rarely indulge in a new pair.  But almost every day, I wear a chain necklace with a seven-pointed star on it.

I have two of these; one has a circle around the star, and the other is slightly smaller, bearing just the star itself.

The two pendants, side by side for a size comparison.

I wear the smaller one when I want to be more subtle about the fact that I'm wearing something that has immense symbolic value to me—for example, whenever I'm doing anything related to my church.  (Though the Pentacle is a better-known Pagan symbol than the Elven Star, there are obvious similarities, and wearing the circle-variety septegram would probably prompt the people at my church to ask me questions that I'm not sure I'll ever be ready to give them the answers to.)  In many ways, I think that the Elven Star is a great symbol for me, personally, as a Christo-Pagan, and this is why.

First, although some Pagan traditions do use the septegram as a religious symbol—Faerie Wicca and Blue Star Wicca are the first examples that come to my mind—it is by no means a commonly-known symbol, and if I'm wearing the pendant that doesn't have the circle, I can simply pass it off as a star-shape that I thought was pretty.  (That would be a heck of a lot more difficult with my pentacle, which is surrounded by representations of the phases of the moon, even if the top of it does also include a Christian cross.  Click this link if you'd like to see what it looks like—but I must note that the price given by this vendor may be a bit high as I bought mine for significantly less, though that could easily be because I bought mine offline at a local shop whose owners deal directly with the manufacturers of the goods they sell.)  Second, the number seven is a tremendously important number in the Christian tradition—stretching right back to Christianity's Jewish roots.  From God being said to create the world in seven days, to Jesus telling Peter to forgive people "seventy times seven" times to the many things in Revelations that come in sets of seven (just to name a very few), it's a highly important number.  And finally, if I stretch things just a little, I can even justify my use of the Elven Star through numerology; my birth path number, as determined by adding all the digits of the date of my birth together and then adding the digits of that result until there's only a single digit, is seven.

So, because—like the pentacle, oddly enough, which was once used to signify the five wounds of Christ—the seven-pointed star could arguably be called a very valid symbol for a Christo-Pagan.  To me, the shape of this particular star even evokes the image of a cross, or even an angel.

But you know what?  Even if I didn't have these particular justifications for my adoption of the Elven Star, whether or not it's in a circle, I'd still use it.  The things it symbolizes to me personally—time, perspective, and truth, among other things—are justification enough.  Because that's the wonderful thing about symbols; they don't have to mean what you're told they mean.  We choose whether they have meaning for us.  We choose whether to accept the meanings we're given for them.  A pentacle doesn't have to signify Wicca—and for the many non-Wiccan Pagans who use the pentacle as a symbol for their spiritual paths, it doesn't.  An upside-down cross, while popularly linked with Satanism, is also a very Christian symbol; St. Peter, we are told, was crucified upside-down, insisting that he was not worthy to be crucified in the same position as his Lord had been; in this context, it's used as a symbol of humility.  And of course the swastika, now forever linked with the evil that was Hitler's rule over Germany (and a few other places later on), was once considered a symbol of luck and protection.  Consciously or not, we give our symbols the significance that they have.  The holiest symbol in the world to one person might just be a weird-looking shape to someone else.

As so many things do, symbols ultimately come down to the power of choice.  That's what I think is so wonderfully interesting about them.  That symbols can mean everything, or nothing, or something somewhere in between, to various people—just because they choose to interpret them as they do—it's an amazing thing, and that's something I think is worth thinking about.

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