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Pentagrams vs Pentacles

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A short article that discusses what the difference is between a Pentacle an a Pentagram.

Pentagram ~

Meaning 5 pointed star was Adopted by the first pagan practitioners. It is always seen with it's apex pointing upward toward the Divine.

Used extensively in Babylonia and Ancient Greece, it stood for magical energy and associations. Those who wore it on their apparel showed without fear their practice of witchcraft freely. Another meaning is that the four lower points represent the four aspects of the world; {earth, water, air, and fire} with the fifth top point representing the divine spirit.

To expand on the specific details on the meaning for each point.

Earth: The lower left point - Stability and Physical Endurance.

Fire: The lower right point - Courage and Daring.

Water: The upper right point - Emotions and Intuition.

Air: The upper left point - Intelligence and the Arts.

Spirit: The topmost point - Deity the Divine, and the All that Is.

Another meaning is that for Neo-Pagans it represents the deity 'The Horned God'. It is also represented with the Planet Venus and Venus the Goddess. Every 8 years astronomers can make a constellation around venus in the shape of a five pointed star. Yet, another interpretation is the creative spirit over all creation, in other words, mind/spirit over matter.

In all cases, the pentagram is encircled by a wheel, representing the continual flow of life, or energy.

When used in ritual, Pentagrams are drawn at the beginning to set a witches protection, positive power and is used to control the elements. Commonly drawn in the air with a wand or athame, the starting point varies from tradition to tradition and according uses or intent. For instance, some Covens draw a Pentagram in the air with an athame or sword. Others use a feather, or wand and still others use other tools or methods. Some begin at the top and start the star from the top point to the bottom right, others start at the bottom left and move upward to the top. The important part is that the star and circle are drawn in one continuous motion, never broken.

In addition the intent of the ritual also determines the manner in which the Pentagram is drawn. When used to invoke a spirit or particular energy is drawn differently than one used for a banishing ritual. They can be used in meditation, self discovery and even formalized classes. They are used to enhance the knowledge of the practitioners and open their soul to further enlightenment of the Coven's working deity. In these cases the points of the star can be related to characteristics of the deity, such as knowledge, wisdom, vision, communication, and the name of the deity itself.

Pentacle: A customized Pentagram encased in a circle. Used in some covens as a representation of earth. It can also be called the "Shield" which represents divine protection. A pentacle in all definitely is actually considered an amulet that is used for magical invocations, rituals, hexes, and spells. The pentacle is meant to be a symbol with which the spirit draws upon for added strength and energies.Even though pentacle and pentagram are similar in spelling, pentacle does not represent "five" rather, it represents magical energies and any design or shapes could be considered pentacles. If they were drawn with five points they were often referred to as hexagrams, not pentagrams

Today a coven will often customize a Pentagram into a pentacle to symbolize it's focus or magik aspects. Much like the pentacle to the right. Covens often use this as the sigil of initiants into the group or gathering. In formalized covens this initiation is segregated to second degree witches.

When written or drawn, the pentacle becomes a Pentagram. When used in magic the pentacle is made of clay, wax, or earthenware. In some traditions it's cast in gold, silver, copper, pewter or iron. In this form magical symbols or sigils are added to the casting. The pentacle is then used to consecrate a magickal circle or as a magical tool or talisman.

In rituals such as 'Drawing Down The Moon', the pentacle maybe laid out within the magical circle by the High Priestess with arms and legs outstretched, representing birth and rebirth. The High Priestess might simply stand in the center of the circle and assume this position as well.Pentacles were often used for protection against demons and negative entities. They were used and still are used extensively for these purposes within paganism and wicca. They can either be adorned around the neck as a necklace or charm, or they can be used as altar tiles or patens for altars.

When worn as a talisman or amulet, as a ring or pendant, natural metals or wood are used. When carved from wood, the object is linked to nature or the natural world. When forged in gold, it is linked to mental clarity, wisdom and energy. When forged in silver, the talisman is linked to the Moon and psychic energies.

I have heard conflicting opinions about the fact that the pentagram is, in fact, the point down star affiliated with Anton LaVey and satanism. But I don't believe this to be true I have found on more occasions than not the pentagram is the star and the point faces upwards and the pentacle has a circle around it. The pentagram being 2-d and the pentacle being 3-d. Another misconception about the pentagram in Wicca is which way it points. Again, you will find common misinformation that says the pentagram is ?evil? if point down and ?good? if point up. The point down is most commonly associated with Satanism, because the largest branch of Satanism (Church of Satan, est. 1966) adopted the inverted pentagram with a goat head inside of it as their symbol.In the 19th Century Eliphas Levi reported that the symbol represented the goat of Satan, facing heaven horns upward ready to battle heaven. In the Key Of Mysteries, Levi reports "It is the goat of lust attacking the Heavens with it's horns. It is a sign execrated by initiates of a superior rank, even at the Sabbath".

Ironically, for a time, the Christian Church used the pentagram as a symbol of the 5 wounds of Christ.

So in summary the pentagram is a 2-d, 5 pointed star with no circle and is printed on paper only; while a pentacle is a 3-d 5 pointed star that can be printed or an amulet, talisman or charm. Just something tangible.

This article was contributed by
This article was contributed by The Seven Doves.
Read their Book of Rituals.
Read their Book of Spells.

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