In my paranormal romance trilogy, the members of the secret society have star tattoos. It’s actually a 12-pointed star in a double circle. After I shared the cover design for the first book the other day, a few people asked me, “Does that symbol mean something?”
In the story, the symbol dates back to when the secret society had twelve outposts around the world. They have a lot more outposts in the present day, but the symbol just kind of stuck.
This got me thinking about star symbols and star meanings. There’s a lot of lore about this icon!
Star Tarot Card Meaning
In the Tarot deck, the star card represents hope, inspiration, and renewal. It looks forward to the future and brings peace of mind. I think it would be a great tattoo for anyone starting a new life after graduation, after a divorce, or after giving up an addiction.
Here’s a pretty cool tarot tattoo based on the star card.
One famous five-pointed star that’s very popular in tattoos is the Nautical Star. This symbol is associated with the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Coastal Guard, and the U.S. Marines. It’s often done in red and black for tattoos.
Because the Nautical Star is a representation of the North Star, it can also symbolize finding your way in life or finding your way back home.
The Nautical Star tattoo has been a symbol for lesbians and is sometimes used as a general LGBTQ symbol. It’s also associated with the Irish and punk rockers.
I believe this is one of those tattoos that some people think are overdone, but my feeling is, if you like something, it doesn’t matter if you’re the only one into it or a billion people are into it.
The other famous five-pointed star is the Pentagram. Pythagoras (who was a very strange guy, by the way), used it as a symbol for a human. The Pentagram was also a symbol of Christ’s five wounds in early Christianity (that’s one of the reasons why it’s on Sir Gawain’s shield in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.)
Today it’s mostly used as a symbol of Wicca, often within a circle. (In this form, it’s usually called a Pentacle.) It represents five elements: earth, air, water, fire, and spirit. Freemasons also use the pentagram symbol.
Wiccans don’t believe in the Devil, but Satanists sometimes use this symbol upside-down. I think it’s the same way that they’ll sometimes use an upside-down Christian cross, as a form of mockery. This is a recent development, though. For centuries, an upside-down cross was the cross of St. Peter, a sacred symbol for Christians.
I’m sure everyone is familiar with the Star of David, the symbol of the Jewish faith. This symbol started to get widespread usage in Eastern Europe in the 19th century, though its identification as the Star of David dates back to at least two centuries before that.
A six-pointed star in a circle is known as the Seal of Solomon. Legend has it that Solomon had a magic ring with this symbol, set with four stones from four different angels, which allowed him to control demons.
This variation of a six-pointed star, called a unicursal hexagram, was used by Aleister Crowley. Crowley was by most accounts a pretty terrible guy. The great Irish poet W.B. Yeats couldn’t stand him.
My favorite TV show Supernatural has been using this symbol. In the show, it has no connection to Aleister Crowley, but is used by the Men of Letters.
A fat seven-pointed star like this is a symbol of Aleister Crowley’s Ordo Templi Orients.
A pointier seven-pointed star is called the Elven Star or the Faery Star in Wiccan and neopagan traditions. You can read more about that here.
It’s been adopted as a symbol of Otherkin, people who feel they are an animal spirit in a human body.
The star is also associated with the archangel Anael.
These are very popular in quilts! In some Islamic traditions, this is the star that Solomon used to capture djinns, rather than the six-pointed one.
In some ancient mythologies, the 8-pointed star represented Anu, the god of the heavens.
This variation of an eight-pointed star is Star of Lakshmi in Hindu tradition. It represents eight kinds of wealth: victory, patience, health, knowledge, nourishment, prosperity, mobility, plus the usual riches.
This nine-pointed star is a symbol of the Bahá’í faith. The number nine represents perfection in this tradition.
A nine-pointed star like this sometimes represents the nine Greek muses. It can also represent the Fruits of the Spirit listed in the book of Galatians in the Bible: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
This star is often called an enneagram, but the enneagram today usually refers to a personality typing system.
This isn’t a very popular symbol. It’s sometimes associated with the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. In Christianity, it can represent the twelve disciples minus Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Christ, and Peter, who denied Him. (This seems a little hard on Peter, who went on to do a lot.) I know the Masons used this symbol, but I’m not sure how.
In Kabbalah, this represented the Tree of Knowledge and spiritual obstacles.
The Statue of Liberty stands on a pedestal in the shape of an eleven-pointed star, and there are many conspiracy theories related to this. Richard Morris Hunt, a Freemason, designed the pedestal. The sculptor was also a Freemason, and the whole concept of the statue, “Liberty Enlightening the World,” is probably Masonic in origin or at least influenced by Masonry. You can read more about that here.
Here’s the one I used in my book, and it’s not particularly popular, either. However, it has been used to represent the twelve disciples of Christ. It can also represent the twelve tribes of Israel. In my story, it’s the symbol of a secret society that’s been around for centuries and that fights supernatural evil.
All of this is just based on my poking around on the Internet, so if you have any additions or corrections, please let me know. And if there are other esoteric symbols you’d like me to dig into, let me know that, too, because I love that kind of thing! Thanks so much for reading, and have a great week!