The Pentacle/Pentagram    

Pentacles

 

Star of life, Witches' foot, Blazing star, Pentalpha, Druid's Root,

Witches' cross, Witches' star, Endless knot, and to some:

Satan star, Goblin's cross

 


For many, the pentacle is an emblem of paganism. Many (including myself) wear a pentacle pendant, ring, or some other type of jewelry as a symbol of their religion - a tangible affirmation of their beliefs.


Pentacle

 

What is it?


A pentagram is a 5 pointed star, the lines used in drawing it still intact. A pentacle is a pentagram enclosed in a circle.

 

In Wicca, when "pentacle/gram" is mentioned it is almost always meaning the "upright" type - one point at the top and two at the bottom. When this is the other way round the pentacle/gram is said to be "inverted". This tends to be avoided by many Wiccans, as we'll see later.


The pentacle is always drawn in one continuous stroke, earning it the title the "endless knot".

 

NOTE: Some say that a "pentacle" is when it is a physical object, whilst a "pentagram" is a drawing or diagram. Others say "pentacle" refers only to a paton - a magickal tool. In this text, a "pentacle" is the encircled type, whilst a "pentagram" is unencircled.

 

What are it's meanings?

 

Pentacle

(My Pentalpha)

 

Pentacle

 

Da Vinci's Man

 

 

Past Master's Jewel

The Order Of The Eastern Star

 

Significances of the number 5:

 

 

Of the placement of the magickal elements:


NOTE: This is not the universal arrangement. It seems to be the one that is most common, however, and it is that one that rings true to me. As shown in the first diagram, the elements are often placed in the order; Spirit - top, Water - top left, Fire - bottom right, Earth - bottom left, Air - top right.


I've found certain patterns in this placement;

 

 

Pentacle

 

The Pentacle, the Golden Ratio and the Fibonacci Sequence:

 

It's interesting to note the relationship of the perfect pentacle with the so-called "Golden Ratio/Proportion".


The Golden Ratio was valued by artists since the Renaissance as forming the rectangle most pleasing to the eye. (I seem to recall hearing once that the ancient Greeks used it as well, but don't quote me.) The ratio between the height and length of the rectangle was the Golden Ratio, which was - "the ratio of height and length is the same as that of length to the sum of width and height."


This ratio is 1.618 approximately, and is called phi.

 

What this means is that you can create a new rectangle, using the length of the old one as the height, and the length of this new rectangle will be the sum of the length and height of the old if you keep the same proportion. You can create a spiral from these rectangles, by adding a square with proportions that were the length;
 

Fibonacci's Sequence

 

The series of lengths & heights of the rectangles formed by this is also interesting because it forms the basis of the Fibonacci Sequence. The Fibonacci Sequence is a sequence of numbers where the next is gained by adding the previous two together. i.e.;  1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, etc.

 

Once you get to 3 & 5 and beyond, divide one number by it's predecessor and the answer will always float around phi.

 

Why do we care about the Fibonacci Sequence? Because the numbers in it are renowned for often appearing in nature - from the number of petals in flowers, to the bumps on a pineapple to the bits of a pine cone.

 

And how do these fit with the Pentacle? The pentacle contains the Golden Ratio. The part of a line that makes up one of the sides of one of the triangles, divided by the part of a line that makes up the central pentagon gives you the Golden Ratio. And so on. i.e.

 

Golden Ratio

 

r / s = phi

 

Try it and see! It's best to make a hypothetical pentacle to save measuring errors. Personally, I think this is a very fascinating and interesting point.

 

 
 

Inverted vs. Upright:

 

Although nowadays many people (pagans included) associate the inverted pentacle with evil, and the upright with good, this is a relatively recent development. Because of the negativity strongly surrounding the inverted pentacle, I personally think it's unwise to use it (and definitely NOT in public sight!), and the "upright = use, inverted = don't" policy is a nice, clean way of defining things. However, here are some of the meanings and uses of the inverted pentacle.

Levi's Drawings

Pentacle  Pentagram

 

Pentacle (encircled) vs. Pentagram (open):

 

It is said that the pentagram signifies openness (about your beliefs, presumably), and sometimes aggressiveness. An open, active approach to your beliefs. On the other hand, a circled pentagram suggests that which is protected or hidden (self-contained.)


The circle represents eternity, infinity and completeness, as well as the cycles of nature. An example of this self-containedness could perhaps be in the reputed use of the pentacle to contain demons/entities. (I've heard this refuted by some, though..) The pentacle, in my limited experience, seems to be the more popular and used form of the pente.


The circle "stresses our connection with the universe as a whole", and I agree that the "as above, so below" viewpoint is not really represented by the open pentacle.


It could also be argued that the protective qualities of the pentacle are not there (or as strong) in the unenclosed version.

 

Invoking vs. Banishing:

 

Invoking (Deosil)

 

 

Deosil 

In witchcraft this is the ritual act of moving
around a circle in a clockwise direction.

 

To call the spirits one starts at Spirit tracing to Fire (1), tracing to Water (2), tracing to Air (3), tracing to Earth (4), tracing to Spirit (5), and finishing the pentagram with Fire (6); This is invoking  power to begin a meditation. The Fire attracts the Sprits.

 

  Banishing (Widdershins)

 

Widdershins

In witchcraft this is the ritual act of moving
around a circle in a counter clockwise direction.

 

To dismiss the spirits one starts at Spirit tracing to Earth (1), tracing to Air (2), tracing to Water (3), tracing to Fire (4), tracing to Spirit (5), and finishing the pentagram with Earth (6). (This is called "grounding" - Letting the energy created by invocation be dissipated back into the Earth.

 

 

Cinosam, That's my Wiccan name!

 

 

The Rule of Three

Ever mind the Rule of Three
Three times what thou givest returns to thee
This lesson well, thou must learn
Thee only gets what thou dost earn!

 

The Tameran Wiccan (Egyptian Eclectic Wiccan):

 

ISIS   RA

ISIS                                                         RA

 

My ANKH

My Ankh

 

This page is a compilation of information that I found in various places on the net as well as my own books and my own practice. Note that there are many iterations of the mystery and significance of both the Pentagram as well as the Pentacle. This is just my slant on it. I understand that there will be some of my reader's that may be either confused, frightened, somehow thinking that Brian has lost his mind. I assure you, this is NOT the case. What you have read is based on facts, (too many sources to credit). Albeit, you may think that this entire page may be biased. Could be. Some Pagan's, (Such as most Wiccans) believe that the Elements, Water and Air should be reversed. My reasoning for believing the order is that when I trace a pentagram, I use the 'sticks' to guide me, rather than circling the circumference of the pentacle, thus in order to preserve true balance, one must alternate Male, Female, Male, Female, The One. (ie: FIRE, WATER, AIR, EARTH, and SPIRIT). Also, as is with my case, there is truly only one Deity, it is the same one that I was brought up with. I call it "The ONE", and The "Supreme Being". There are many ways to communicate with the creator. Sometimes, you pray directly to it, and sometimes you use channels to communicate. (ISIS and RA for example, note the balance of a Female combined with Male). The reason why I refer to the ONE as it, is because I believe that The ONE is made up of two incarnations, ISIS and RA. This is from Neo-Pagan, Egyptian Eclectic - called Tameran Wicca. The beauty of this religion is that you can make it what you will, so long as "Ye Harm None". Which is more than I can say for an awful lot of other, more popular, organized religions. To be truly challenged, a person must at some point stop trusting in what was taught to them as children, and re-thinking the entire self and your relationship to the universe. Rarely does something like this happen easily. It usually comes from a life/death experience, altering your entire being. One that tests your metal down to it's innermost core... some of you know what I went through, and am still experiencing.

*Song is The Mummer's Dance. Click here for the lyrics.