Symbol Series: 8-pointed star #2

Welcome back! Let’s continue to uncover the meanings behind the symbolism of the 8-pointed star. Building on the first explanations I gave about this symbol, it’s easier to see that it’s a planetary, directional, and calendrical symbol. Knowing these key meanings contributes toward understanding why the 8-pointed star and its variations are such ancient and widespread symbols.

Venus, Moon, Sun--Sumerian bas-relief.
Venus, Moon, Sun–Sumerian bas-relief.

Now, let’s go deeper (but still briefly) into the planetary and calendrical meanings of the 8-p0inted star. As you see in the image to the left, the planet Venus is depicted as an 8-pointed star, the Moon is a crescent, and the Sun is a circle with 8 sets of inscribed wavy lines radiating out from a circular center. All of these planets have important calendrical meanings in association with the 8-pointed star symbol.

From our perspective on Earth, Venus’ orbit creates quite a lovely pattern in the sky. Over the course of ten conjunctions with the Sun, Venus outlines a pentagon shape (or five-petaled rose shape) in the sky. To understand this Venus cycle and it’s celestial pattern, you need to know two astronomical time periods relating to Venus.

#1. The synodic period: “the time Venus takes to be seen again from the Earth in the same position with respect to the Sun (but not necessarily to the stars). It is 584 days long (583,92 days to be exact) or just over 19 months.”[European Southern Observatory, www.eso.org.] During its synodic period, Venus moves exactly 1.6 times around the zodiac belt.

#2. Five synodic periods create the the pentagon shape, which comprises one Venus cycle. The Venus cycle is 7.993 years or 8 years to a fraction of a day. And even more wonderfully, Venus returns to nearly the exact part of the zodiac every 8 years. Hence the widespread symbol of Venus as an 8-pointed star!

The Moon's 8 phases.
The Moon’s 8 phases.

Moving from Venus’ meaning for the 8-pointed star, let’s take a look at the Moon. Because we see the Moon throughout its monthly cycles, it’s easier to recognize the 8-pointed star (or 8-petalled flower) of the Moon. It’s the Moon’s eight phases during its cycle.These phases are: new, crescent, first quarter, gibbous, full, disseminating, last quarter, and balsamic. Most people are more familiar the new or full moons as well as the half or “quarter” moons as they’re called. The other four are crescent shaped moons in relation to light and darkness as you can see in my illustration to the right.

Within this drawing, the 8-fold path of generation, growth, fruition, and harvest is also shown. You may have heard this as: birth, life, death and rebirth. This particular four-fold phrase is hugely popular among many mythologists, anthropologists, and psychologists. While this can be a succinct reference to the Moon’s phases, cycles of life and death in the natural world, or our own phases of existence, it skips over the other important parts of the whole 8-fold cycle.

Again, it’s very similar to just being familiar with four phases of the Moon rather than eight. Ancient peoples around the world didn’t dilute the rhythms of the Moon and Life. Instead, they observed, them, learned them, and then integrated them¬† in their entire lives. Especially for women, becoming familiar with the Moon’s 8-fold pattern could help us become more connected and at ease with our own monthly cycles and our lives as rhythmic beings.