Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Devil is in the details....

The Magic Bus
Nothing geeks out the gullible like a well-placed Pentagram (aka Pentalpha aka Pentangle).  Pop one into your letterhead and you'll have people accusing you of devil worship faster than it takes to say Beelzebub.  That's just what happened in Memphis, Tennessee earlier this month when a woman spotted a pair of pesky pentagrams integrated into the design of a school bus' brake lights.  Every time the bus brakes, which is quite often given what buses actually do, two flaming-red upside-down pentagrams are flashed to the driver behind.

I don't put any stock in Satanism being behind all this, but it does beg the question "Why’d they put it up there? Why’d they put it upside down?" as one local resident asked.

The Pentagram is an ancient symbol, appearing as a logogram in early Sumerian writing.  In the West, its earliest use is said to have been among Pythogoreans, who were in many ways the well-spring of the Western Occult tradition.  Which is fitting, for the Pentagram has long been and continues to be used by occultists of all stripes.

It was also used by ancient Christians as a symbol of the five senses and/or the five wounds of Christ.  A pentagram decorates the hero's shield in the 14th-century English poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.  The poet ascribes the symbol to King Solomon and
says the symbol is key to understanding the work. The poet explains that each of the five interconnected points represents a virtue tied to a group of five. Gawain is keen in his five senses, dextrous in his five fingers, faithful to the salvation provided through the Five Wounds of Christ, takes courage from the five joys that Mary had of Jesus, and exemplifies the five virtues of knighthood.
I have a picture of my mother, which must date to around 1940, standing at the doors of a small church, flowers in her hair, some sort of basket in her hand.  Pentangles form the windows of the church doors.  It's a very Pagan scene; indeed the Pentangle is pretty much the symbol of Wicca.

But why then, is it associated with evil?  Well, the Christian use is pretty much forgotten, but its use by Wiccans, Thelemites and yes, Satanists, is still pretty much current.

As a symbol of evil, it has to be "reversed"; that is to say, the two points have to be facing upward.  This belief is certainly due to the writing of influential occultist Eliphas Levi, who wrote: 
  • "A reversed pentagram, with two points projecting upwards, is a symbol of evil and attracts sinister forces because it overturns the proper order of things and demonstrates the triumph of matter over spirit. It is the goat of lust attacking the heavens with its horns, a sign execrated by initiates."
  • "The flaming star, which, when turned upside down, is the hieroglyphic sign of the goat of Black Magic, whose head may be drawn in the star, the two horns at the top, the ears to the right and left, the beard at the bottom. It is the sign of antagonism and fatality...."
An engraving of a goat inscribed in the pentagram appears in La Clef de la Magie Noire by Stanislas de Guaita (1897) and in our times this iteration is most widely known as Anton LaVey's Sigil of Baphomet.  LaVey copied the image in La Clef, I mean literally, it's the exact same image.  LaVey merely removed the words "Samel" and "Lilith", reversed the colors, then trademarked it.  But that's pretty much par for the course with LaVey.  The Satanic Bible is basically recycled (if not outright plagiarized) material from Ayn Rand, Ragnar Redbeard and John Dee.

Well, if 2 inverted pentagrams are evil, what are we to make of three?  Exhibit 23:  The GOP logo, a stylized red, white and blue elephant.
GOP logo
Discordian founder Greg Hill asked the GOP National Committee the same thing in an open letter dated 1969, found in the recently-published Historia Discordia:
And now I really hate to tell you this, but those three inverted pentagrams on your elephant's riot helmet are specifically used to conjure evil spirits -- when conjuring good spirit one needs must have one point ascending, not one part descending.
Greg's not the only one to have posed that question. To whit:  Mother Claims Stars On School Bus Are Satan’s Symbol, So What’s That Make The GOP?

Good question, chums.  Fnord.

Funny thing is I'd linked to this article on the LoS Facebook page on January 16, just after linking to an article about the conspiracy theories popping up in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo murders.  That article featured a photo with a logo I somehow missed at first.  Here's a better shot of that logo:

BRI Paris logo
This is the logo of the Brigade de recherche et d'intervention, Paris.  The BRI are elite special police used in robbery or kidnapping situations, usually when hostages are involved, and for capturing gangsters.  They're basically police commandos, à la SWAT, created for pretty much the same purpose. 

Here's a link to brief history of the Brigade, in French.  The logo is basically a target overlooked by a horned and bearded, red-eyed figure, a demon at least, if not Satan himself.  It's an especially evil-looking creature which I figured for a gargoyle.  For some reason it seemed familiar and I guessed it came from Notre-Dame and in fact, I'm right.  This photo describes it as the "famous chimera [or gargoyle] on top of Notre-Dame de Paris".

In the original, the demon overlooks Paris, on the watch, one would suppose, for sinners, taking notes, taking names.  The BRI has turned him into a black figure, like themselves, in black fatigues, body armor and ski masks, ever-watchful, but unseen.  Like at the business end of a scope on a sniper rifle.  A visual ode to the surveillance state.

This logo might indicate something sinister after all....


  1. i think the GOP image you included is slightly different from the one in this link that you shared:

    But those school bus tail lights. I think they screw in and maybe land upside down, sideways, or one point up. Because I've noticed them in Minneapolis one point up. Wonder if some joker thinks it's funny to only screw them so far?

    1. It is indeed! I hadn't really noticed. It's fundamentally the same though. Given the religious/weirdo wing of the GOP, I'm surprised they've left those stars downward-pointing. Their not pentagrams though, so maybe no one's complained? Funny how Kerry Thornley cottoned to it so long ago!

      So Minneapolis has the pentagram lights as well? When I was in Tampa I didn't notice any. As for your wondering, I kind of wonder that as well ---- like they're intended to be one point up but some stoner dude at the depot's like "Whoa dude, devil lights! Killer!"

    2. Apparently the Medal of Honor is also an upside-down five-pointed star:

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. I wonder how many other upside-down stars appear in govt/military/law-enforcement contexts?

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I think the GOP change it, deliberately, every so often as a sign of distress. During the Reagan years the stars were normal. In the '60s I can imagine they inverted it. Not sure what it was in the 90s, though some are under the impression that they inversion only took place in 2000. It has stayed that way. I think they are just too stupid now to even remember that they were making political statements and neglected to continue the tradition and it stayed in it's distressed position even during the Bush years. Or, perhaps, it has stayed that way because of 911 and on into the Obama years.

    1. Heh, good call, Terry. I didn't realized their star had been rotating over the years like that. Some articles about this:

    2. On the other hand, I found this post on Reddit:

      I did a little research, and I think this post is bullshit. The stars have always been upside-down. Searching google images I found this:

      1984 Reagan button:$_35.JPG

      Another one:

      GOP logo from 1976:

      GOP button from 1972:

      So the stars did not change in 2000. They've always been inverted.

      However it is still kind of strange that the democratic ones are not inverted and the republican ones are.

    3. I think the second post is incorrect, because your first post's second link has an image with the stars pointing up?

    4. Hi Terry, good to hear from you! This question could be for Gid, as well. Are you saying that the stars go upside down during Democratic presidencies and up during Republican ones, at least up until Bush? That would make sense, as flying the US flag upside down is a sign of distress....

    5. I propose Gid contacts the GOP and asks 'em 'bout it....

  5. I am thoroughly confused now. I suppose a collector of GOP paraphernalia - if such an animal exists - would be the only one who could shed light on it.

    1. I'm equally confused, Terry. I googled the author of the Mother Jones piece, hoping that I could contact her to see what she knows, but she seems to have only been there for a short time, many years ago, and she didn't write much.

      If the past is murky, we could test our hypothesis by forecasting future GOP star directions.

      If a Republican wins the next election, will the stars rotate?

    2. It appears to be all over the place - up or down - with no rhyme or reason or consistency. See here, for instance:

      Although it appears the official national committee has always preferred the stars pointing down.

  6. Only a complete DUMBASS would look a the stars on the MOH and think about a pentagram. Likewise, the GOP symbol. Some of you jackasses seem to have a lot of time on your hands. Why don't you go look at historical US flags down through the years- see if any of those have stars that are not pointed up. You may be surprised.

    You may also get an education. Then WE would be surprised!

    1. Lighten up, you're being uncivil. The post is light-hearted and the ensuing comments valid. Scratch the uncivil. You're being a dickhead and lack imagination.


Thanks for taking the time to comment!

Need to add an image? Use this code: [ximg]IMAGE-URL-HERE[x/img]. You will need to remove the the boldface x's from the code to make it work.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.