The shield of David or Magen David is the fundamental symbol of the Jewish religion. However, this symbol has a more ancient origin and was not always associated with the people of Israel. The Star of David has many meanings, sometimes it is called simply a six-pointed star without connection with the Jewish tradition. Consider everything in detail.
The story of the six-pointed star
A hexagram is a simple symbol consisting of two triangles superimposed on each other. This symbol has been used since ancient times by different nations for different purposes. It can be found in Ireland, India and the peoples of Central Asia. In ancient Phenicia, the hexagonal star was a symbol of the goddess Astarte, it can be found on Islamic amulets and in early Christian symbolism.
Interestingly, in the Middle Ages, the six-pointed star did not carry sacral meaning for the Jewish people, the first mention of David’s shield as the symbolism of the Israeli people was found in the twelfth century in the Hadashi book Eshkol HaKofar. And in the 14th century, this symbol appeared on the buildings of synagogues in Germany and began to be used as a decoration for mezuzahs and amulets.
A little later, Kabbalistic texts began to decorate with a star, and soon the hexagram decorated the flag of the Jewish people and the official seals of the Jewish communities of Western Europe. In the 18th century, a star appears in the countries of Eastern Europe as a symbol of Jewry, it was depicted on Jewish tombstones. And already in the nineteenth century, Magen David became the official symbol of the entire Jewish people scattered around the globe.
The flag of the State of Israel, which we are accustomed to see, appeared in the final version only in 1897, after it was approved at the First Zionist Congress. During the fascist domination Magen David of yellow color became the seal of the shame and persecution of the Jewish people in the territories of Europe occupied by the Fuhrer.
The shield of David or the Star of Salvation has its own legend of origin. Jews believe that King David used 6 poles covered with cowhide to protect him in military operations. This legend is believable or not, history is silent. However, historians say what the six-pointed star means is not the only Jewish symbolism.
For example, in Hinduism, a hexagon has long denoted the fourth chakra - anahata. Two inverted triangles symbolize the unity of the masculine and feminine. This symbol was used by yogis long before the appearance of David’s shield in Palestine, and even more so in Western and Eastern Europe.
In certain areas of the Middle East, the six-pointed star had the meaning of the symbol of the goddess Ishtar (Astarte), it was widely used in the magic of amulets and talismans. In the Middle Ages, the hexagram was used in alchemical literature, and archaeologists found many witch bottles with six-pointed stars.
In connection with such a wide and widespread use of the hexagram, a single interpretation of the sign does not exist. The six-pointed star acquired the significance of the symbol of the Jewish people only in the XIV century, when it began to be depicted on tombstones. Up to this point, Magen David did not exist as a sign of Judaism.
The most common interpretation of a star is considered to be the combination of two opposing principles or things — a woman and a man, a man and a god, heaven and earth. The sign 6, the end star, can signify both the unity and harmony of opposites, and the struggle between them. For example, it may be a struggle between the carnal and the spiritual, the real and the non-real.
In the Hebrew understanding, the 6 vertices of the triangles denote 6 days of creation, and the central part - Shabbat (the seventh day). For Christians, the Star of David had the meaning of Bethlehem and symbolized the 7 days of creation. Later it was replaced with a seven-pointed one, and then with an eight-pointed star. On the old icons you can see the whole image of the hexagram, without division into triangles.
In ancient times, the hexagram served as an amulet that protects against evil. In the modern world, a hexagonal star is not accepted as an amulet because of its belonging to the Jewish people. However, if one recognizes the sacred meaning of the symbol, then it becomes clear that this is just a prejudice.
Hexagram can serve as a shield from both evil spirits, and from quite material enemies. Medieval magicians were convinced that the hexagram worn around the neck reveals the secrets of the past and the future. For Freemasons, the Star of David acquired the meaning of the symbol of wisdom, the alchemists saw in it the comprehension of the mysteries of life and associated it with immortality.
So what does the star of David really mean? It depends on your world view and goals. If there is a need to develop intuition and penetrate the secrets of life, this amulet will help develop superpowers. If there is a need for protection from evil forces, the Star of David will be able to fulfill the role of guardian. Hexagram is also suitable for those who wish to master the art of prediction.