Pentacles in Wicca

Pentacle; five-pointed star encased in a circle

The pentacle is perhaps the most recognizable symbol of Witchcraft, Wicca and Paganism. Without the circle, the star symbol is known as a pentagram. The pentacle and pentagram have been used as symbols of faith and protection across various cultures and religions at some point in time. For example, some early Christians used this symbol to represent the five wounds of Christ. Modern usage of the pentacle and pentagram can be found in Wicca, Satanism, and other Neo-Pagan faiths.

The pentacle in Wicca may serve many functions. As mentioned, the pentacle is a symbol of protection. Pentacles may be drawn (physically, mentally, or spiritually) to serve as protective talisman. For example, a house blessing may incorporate "drawing" pentacles in the air around doors and windows to prevent the intrusion of negative energies.

The wearing of the pentacle is believed to provide protection to the wearer. Some believe that a worn pentacle is more effective if it cannot be readily seen. Necklaces, rings, and even tattoos are among the most common forms worn pentacles take.

The pentacle as a tool in Wicca is generally a pentagram engraved or drawn on a wood, ceramic, or metallic disc. Many use this tool to place other objects upon during consecration to dedicate or charge objects to a specific purpose (e.g.: cleanse and bless a stone to be used in a healing spell).

Another usage of the pentacle in Wicca is as a symbol of one's degree in Wicca. In some traditions, an inverted pentacle represents the second degree. Many times the pentacle or inverted pentacle will be worn on ritual clothes or jewelry either as sign of degree within a coven that uses them or for personal preference.

Pentacles and pentagrams in Wicca have a deeper meaning than just a protective and religious symbol. According to most traditions, the five points all relate to the elements that Wiccans believe everything is made from. The elements are Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit. (For more information on the elements, see The Elements page.) Some believe that the circle around the pentagram symbolizes the Goddess and God, or deity. Because of these and other associations made with the pentacle, pentacles and pentagrams may be used as a focal point for meditations, spells, and rituals.

Pentagram with Elemental associations

The pentagram above shows the symbols of the elements by the points of the pentagram with their respective colors.

White = Spirit

Yellow = Air

Green = Earth

Red = Fire

Blue = Water

(NOTE: The order of the elements on the pentagram is different depending on tradition.)

Other traditions associate various meanings to the pentacle. Which meanings ascribed to may have to do with how and when it is used, the way it is drawn, and whether or not it is inverted.

Along with protection, pentacles may be used for blessings. A common practice among Wiccans and Pagans is to anoint the forehead and other parts of the body with oils. Some will use the pentacle drawn with the anointing oil to "lock in" the energy or blessings intended.

Some traditions, particularly those with an Old Witchcraft or ceremonial style, will draw the pentacle differently depending on its intended use or what it represents. Most commonly, the pentacle is drawn starting at the top point with the circle drawn last. Starting and stopping with different points can represent the different elements in some traditions and denote invoking versus banishing in others. Still other traditions may have more intricate systems.

As for whether or not the pentacle is inverted, the meanings generally involve deity (or spirit) and matter. According to one school of thought, when the pentacle is upright, it represents matter seeking the divine. When the pentacle is inverted, it represents the divine seeking or coming into matter. Some view this as more philosophical in how they look at the world around them and their spirituality.

© 2010-2013 by Evylyn Rose