During ritual and magical workings, the pentagram is often symbolically drawn in the air using the athame or sword, this is done to either invoke or banish specific energies. Traditionally four of the five points of the pentagram has been attributed to the four sacred elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, with the fifth point (uppermost) representing Spirit:

Earth: Is represented by the lower left-hand point of the star, and is symbolic of Stability and Physical Endurance.

Fire: Is represented by the lower right-hand point of the star, and is symbolic of Courage and Daring.

Water: Is represented by the upper right-hand point of the star, and is symbolic of Emotions and Intuition.

Air: Is represented by the upper left-hand point of the star, and is symbolic of Intelligence and the Arts.

Spirit: Is represented by the topmost point of the star, and is symbolic of Deity the Divine, and the All that Is.

The Pentagram and Pentacle are commonly the most famous symbols of Witchcraft and are symbolic of the power of Spirit as the overriding power controlling elements. As the cross is to Christianity and the six-pointed star to Judaism, the pentagram is a symbol of the magickal craft of Witchcraft.

The Pentagram is an image of an up-right five-pointed star (a single point on top) drawn inside a circle with a single continuous line making the five points equally spaced. To a witch or magician, the pentagram image is symbolic of the mysteries of creation. As such for use in rites and rituals, the image is commonly drawn, etched, carved, or inscribed onto a round disc called a Pentacle. A pentacle can be made from a variety of materials such as wood, clay, copper, brass, silver or gold, and is placed centrally on the altar as a focus of attention. Magically they are used in rites and rituals for consecration, evocation, transformation, and banishment.

Many witches make their own pentacles, which can be as plain or ornate as they choose. They can be decorated with pieces of stained colored glass; stones or gems with due regard to their correspondences, or personalized by adding appropriate symbols, runes, and sigils that have special meaning to the practitioner. By doing so, many are designed and used for a particular purpose or intent. Many people wear a pentacle pendant or ring as a sign of their interest in occult and spiritual matters. Many also wear them as specially charged amulets or talismans. For instance, a pentacle crafted from silver may represent the Moon’s female energies and psychic forces, the same made in gold may represent the Sun’s male energies of power and strength.

During ritual and magical workings, the pentagram is often symbolically drawn in the air using the athame or sword, this is done to either invoke or banish specific energies. Traditionally four of the five points of the pentagram has been attributed to the four sacred elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, with the fifth point (uppermost) representing Spirit:

The Circle around the star represents sacred space, in which the spirit (the fifth element and top-most point of the star) controls the four earthly elements. The four elements are also associated with the cardinal points of the compass i.e. Earth is to North, Air is to East, Fire is to South and Water is to West, and it is to these directions that the pentagram is drawn to invoke or banish their requisite energies. Many witches use this method to invoke the rulers of the four quarters, so that they may protect and watch over their proceeding (see Circle Casting).

The invoking pentagram is drawn with five flowing strokes of the athame or sword, or if you don’t have them the use of your right forefinger will suffice. Point the athame in front of you in a position roughly aligned with the center of the forehead, sweep rhythmically from forehead to left foot (1), to right shoulder (2), to left shoulder (3), to right foot (4), back to the forehead (5 – see diagram).

Invoking Pentagram
The banishing pentagram is drawn again with five flowing strokes of the athame but in reverse order. Start at the left foot and sweep rhythmically to the forehead (1), to right foot (2), to left shoulder (3), to right shoulder (4), back to left foot (5 – see diagram).

Banishing Pentagram
With this method of calling the quarters and while working with magick, the witch is using the pentagram as a symbol of protection and positive power.

Pentagrams can also be using during Craft meditation exercises, in that the points of the star can represent various elemental energies, spirits, or deities. The upper fifth point can be seen as the ruler of the higher mind over the lower elements of our being. It can be visualized as the awakening of our conscious mind to the beginnings of our own human psyche, and then moving beyond the realms of physical form and our limited five senses, to explore the infinite possibilities that exist within the Universe. Try it, sit in a quiet place with a pentacle on your lap, start with the lower points of the star and work your way through each Element to Spirit, then go beyond and see where it takes you. By meditating thus, the next time you place the pentacle in your circle, you may well find its energy is more readily focused and directed.

The Inverted Pentagram:
To those who do not know the true symbolism of the witch’s pentagram (a single point on top), sadly and most often it is associated or confused with the Satanic pentagram, the inverted pentagram (single point down). Given that the up-right pentagram represents Spirit or Deities control over the elements, then the inverted pentagram is said to represent Satan and Chaos. Commonly today the inverted pentagram is depicted with a goat’s head, a symbol adopted and made popular by Anton Szandor La Vey when in 1966 he founded the Church of Satan in San Francisco. This he most probably took from a description made by Eliphas Levi in his book “The Key of Great Mysteries”. In it, Levi describes the inverted pentagram as representing the horns of a goat of the Witches sabbat:

“It is the goat of lust attacking the Heavens with its horns. It is the sign execrated by the initiates of a superior rank, even at the sabbat,” say’s Levi.

The inverted pentagram has also been used to represents a second-degree status of rank in some traditional groups of witchcraft. However, due to its association with Satanism and black magic, many traditions have since substituted other symbols, such as the triangle to represent the same degrees.

Part 1 - " In the Beginning "
The pentagram symbol today is ascribed many meanings and deep significance, though much of this is very recent. However, it has been used throughout history and in many contexts:

The earliest known use of the pentagram dates back to around the Uruk period around 3500BC at Ur of the Chaldees in Ancient Mesopotamia where it was found on potsherds together with other signs of the period associated with the earliest known developments of written language. In later periods of Mesopotamian art, the pentagram was used in royal inscriptions and was symbolic of imperial power extending out to "the four corners of the world".

There may be a connection here with the presence of the pentagram in Tantrik art. To the Gnostics, the pentagram was the 'Blazing Star' and, like the crescent moon was a symbol relating to the magic and mystery of the nighttime’s sky.

 For the Druids, it was a symbol of Godhead. In Egypt, it was a symbol of the 'underground womb' and bore a symbolic relationship to the concept of the pyramid form. The Pagan Celts ascribed the pentagram to the underground goddess Morrigan.

In Medieval times, the 'Endless Knot' was a symbol of Truth and was a protection against demons. It was used as an amulet of personal protection and to guard windows and doors. The pentagram with one point upwards symbolized summer; with two points upward, it was a sign for winter.


Part 2 - " After the Inquisition "

In the foundation of Hermeticism, in hidden societies of craftsmen and scholarly men, away from the eyes of the Church and its paranoia, the proto-science of alchemy developed along with its occult philosophy and cryptical symbolism. Graphical and geometric symbolism became very important and the period of the Renaissance emerged.

The concept of the microcosmic world of Man as analogous to the macrocosm, the greater universe of spirit and elemental matter became a part of traditional western occult teaching, as it had long been in eastern philosophies. "As above, so below". The pentagram, the 'Star of the Microcosm', symbolized Man within the macrocosm, representing in analogy the Macrocosmic universe.

The upright pentagram bears some resemblance to the shape of a man with his legs and arms outstretched. In Tycho Brahe's Calendarium Naturale Magicum Perpetuum (1582) occurs a pentagram with the human body imposed and the Hebrew for YHSVH associated with the elements. An illustration attributed to Brae's contemporary Agrippa (Henry Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim) is of similar proportion and shows the five planets and the moon at the center point - the genitalia. Other illustrations of the period by Robert Fludd and Leonardo da Vinci show the geometric relationships of man to the universe. Later, the pentagram came to be symbolic of the relationship of the head to the four limbs and hence of the pure concentrated essence of anything (or the spirit) to the four traditional elements of matter - earth, water, air, and fire - spirit is The Quintessence.

Eliphas Levi was a profound expositor of the Kabbalah and was instrumental in opening the way for the rise of the Victorian lodges of western mystery tradition - the Order Temporale Orientalis (O.T.O.), the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (G.D.), the Theosophical Society, the Rosicrucian’s (Fellowship of the Rosy Cross), and several others, even the modern lodges and traditions of speculative freemasonry. Levi was also instrumental in taking the tarot from being a gypsy fortune-telling device to a powerful set of symbolic images relating closely to the Kabbalah (or as it is now called in the west, to distinguish its development from the original Judaic form - Qabalah). It was Levi who designed upon the form of the pentagram such associative inscriptions as in the Pentacle of the Tetragrammaton and him who renamed the suit of 'coins' as 'pentacles.

The workings of ritual magick in the orders took the symbolism of the pentagram and its elemental attributes, along with those of the hexagram, and incorporated them as ritual flourishing or signing of the athame (ritual knife) to symbolize invoking or banishing in respect to elemental associations. The Golden Dawn did much to advance and disseminate the roots of modern hermetic Qabalah around the world in its time of strength (from 1888 to around the start of the First World War), and through the writings and work of a number of its adepts and adherents, notably Aleister Crowley, have come some of the most important ideas of today's Qabalist philosophy and magick. Aleister Crowley also had an association with the remaining traces of the old pre-Reformation 'hereditary' witches, notably through Old George Pickingill and with Gerald Gardner, generally considered the founder of modern witchcraft.

In the 1940s Gerald Gardner adopted the pentagram with two points upward as the sigil of second-degree initiation in the newly emergent, neo-pagan rituals of witchcraft, later to become known as Wicca. The one-point upward pentagram together with the upright triangle symbolized third-degree initiation. (A point downward triangle is the symbol of First-Degree Initiates). The pentagram was also inscribed on the altar pentacle, it points to symbolize the three aspects of the Goddess plus the two aspects of God in a special form of Gardnerian Pentacle. The writings of Gerald Gardner, an initiate of old Dorothy Clutterbuck, and of his associate Doreen Valiente, brought the long-withered stem of witchcraft - the Old Religion - out into bloom once more, after centuries of occlusion, with the caution that the general misrepresentation of its former nature had made wise, and the new religion of Wicca was born.

It was not until the late 1960's that the pentagram again became an amuletic symbol to be worn. Co-incidentally with the rise of popular interest in witchcraft and Wicca and the publication of many books (including several novels) on the subject, there was a reaction to the Church. In its extreme, one aspect of that reaction was in the establishment of the satanic cult - The Church of Satan - by Anton LaVay. For its emblem, this cult adopted the inverted pentagram after the Baphomet image of Eliphas Levi. The reaction of the Christian church was to condemn as 'evil' all that took the pentalpha as a symbol and even to condemn the symbol itself, much as had been the post-war attitude to the swastika.


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Thanks for this Mystic. I will be explaining parts of it to my grandson who queried a pentacle in my local pagan shop. 


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