Friday, October 9, 2015

Pentacle Vs Pentagram

A five pointed star, encased by an outer circle. Adopted by the first pagan practioners, it is always seen with its apex pointing upward toward the Divine.

The Pentagram is an ancient symbol with many different meanings and representations. One of the original 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. Another interpretation is the creative spirit over all creation, in other words, mind/spirit over matter. Some interpretations place 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. 

In all cases, the star 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 practioners 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.
A customized Pentagram. Used in some covens as a representation of earth. It can also be called the "Shield" which represents divine protection.
Today a coven will often customize a Pentagram into a pentacle to symbolize its focus or magic 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 magical 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.
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.
Pentacle Of Solomon
Also known as the Seal of Solomon, this specialized pentacle is the Magicians Pentacle. This version is a powerful symbol of Divine magical practices, purpose or energy. In short, it is an important symbol of Divine power.
I can represent God or man, and the four elements of nature, along with the five senses, five wounds inflicted upon Christ from upon the cross, and the five points of man outstretched (head, arms, and legs).
It is often inscribed with a "name of power", such as a God, Angel, Demon or spirit. These talismans are used for specific purpose and intent. Aiding the magician in control over the energy governed by that entity.
In this form the seal is used to cast open, protect and close a circle. It used in ceremonies, rituals, as protection and spiritual control. A Magician often embroiders this symbol on their robes, on tools, and within a ritual circle. When worn as a talisman, the symbol represents protection of the wearer from negative or evil energies, against attack from spirits or demons. It also allows the wearer to conjure, command or control those forces which may attack him/her.
Inverted Pentacle
Often associated with the Church of Satan or the Devil, this version of the pentacle is not common used by modern Witchcraft traditions. Truth be told however, the negative view of this version of the symbol is based on misconceptions of Witchcraft employed during the European Inquisition. If the upright version represented "God" or a deity, then the inverted pentacle represented Satan or the underworld. The two lower points pointing upward were said to represent the horns of Horned God Cernuous (the Celtic pagan god).
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 its horns. It is a sign execrated by initiates of a superior rank, even at the Sabbath".
When the Church of Satan was established in the U.S. in 1966, this version of the pentacle was adopted as their symbol of Baphomet. In this form the pentacle is inscribed with a goats head, and Cabalistic symbols which spell out 'Leviathan" an infernal serpent associated with Satan.
It's important to note that the Church of Satan in this form is not a church of the Christian devil. Satan is the Hebrew name of the Egyptian God Set.