The Elemental Pentacle, the most famous symbol of Witchcraft is a bold and fascinating statement about our place in the Universe. When the pentacle is drawn or written, the image created is called a pentagram. The pentagram represents an ancient concept that can be found in philosophical thought in both East and West. Although over 8,000 years old, the image of the pentagram is applicable in our modern world. The pentagram tells us that we have the ability to bring Spirit to Earth; this applies to every area of practical day-to-day living, as well as spiritual thought. The ability of bringing Spirit to Earth is what makes us whole.
In Craft rituals, the pentacle is a round disk inscribed with a pentagram and placed upon on the altar. The disk can be made of many different materials.
In more dangerous times, the pentacle was crafted from disposable materials such as clay or dough. To be caught in possession of a pentacle in those days could very well endanger your life.
Nowadays, pentacles are crafted in metals such as copper, brass, silver or gold. Many Witches make their own from stained glass or by etching stones or wood. The pentacle can also be personalized by adding appropriate astrological symbols, runes and other sigils (magical symbols) that have special meaning to the practitioner.
Many Witches wear a pentacle pendant or ring as a sign of their religion or as an amulet or talisman. The pentacle crafted from silver represents Moon energy and psychic forces. The same symbol made in gold represents the Sun energies of power and strength. Many pentacles come with embedded stones which can represent birth months or a particular energy that the wearer wants to attract.
During magical operations, the pentagram can be drawn in the air by the athame or sword. When drawn a certain way, it is used to either invoke or banish energies. Used on the altar, it becomes a focal point to draw in and send out the intentions of the spell or working. The simplest spells of this kind are those involving candle magic. A candle of the appropriate color is charged and place on the pentacle.
Traditionally, each of the five angles has been attributed to the five metaphysical elements of the ancients:
FIRE: (lower right hand corner) represents courage and daring.
WATER: (upper right hand corner) represents emotions and intuition.
AIR: (upper left hand corner) represents intelligence and the arts.
SPIRIT: (at the topmost point) represents the All and the Divine.
The origins of the pentagram go back to remotest historical antiquity. As far back as pre-Babylonian Sumer, it has been venerated by many civilizations. To the Jewish peoples, it symbolically designated the Pentateauch, the Five Books of Moses It has survived under a variety of titles, such as “The Druid’s Root” and “The Witches Star”.
To the followers of Pythagoras, it was called “The Pentalpha” being composed of five interlaced A’s or Alphas. The Alpha being the first word of the alphabet, we can perhaps view it as showing forth unity in the midst of multiplicity. The individual as part of the Whole.
To ceremonial magicians, the points can represent various elemental energies, spirits or deities.
It is the ruling of the higher mind over the lower elements of our being. It signals the awakening of cosmic consciousness and the beginnings of our own human psyche moving beyond the realms of physical form and the perceptions limited to the five senses. It allows the infinite possibilities that exist within the Universe and frees us to explore and to grow.
This becomes a graphic portrayal of Spirit ruling over the five elements. When the pentagram is placed within a circle, it’s energy is focused and directed. The pentagram upright, to those of spiritual perception, represents the redemption of Spirit from matter by ruling over it.
Used inverted, with the top point pointed downward, it represents a second or third degree status in some traditional groups. Many of these groups have since substituted a triangle form for the same degrees because of the association of the inverted form of the pentacle with Satanism and black magic.
The number five is attributed to the influence of Mars. Thus some Witches think of the five pointed star within the circle as force or power contained and controlled by divine wisdom.