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Misconceptions - The Pentagram  

The Pentacle or Pentagram in a five pointed star pattern believed to have magical powers. It is believed that the pentacle can be used as a defensive mechanism against witchcraft. People in the past have been known to etch the pentacle onto their doors to help deter witches. Witches also use the pentacle during acts of ritual magic through forming the pentacle in magic circles. It is believed that in the world of spirits the pentacle may act as a vehicle of transmission. There are many witchcraft symbols. Magick is a symbolic path, pagan symbols can be found in the most unexpected places, including churches.

When they rebuilt Windsor Castle after the fire Prince Charles was excited that one of his favourite things was restored in the renovation. It was a Green Man in one of the stairways. The first and most obvious witchcraft symbol is the pentagram. The five pointed star within the circle has been used by various people for various reasons throughout history. It has been found in one form or another as an important symbol of almost every ancient culture. Forms of this symbol have been found in Latin America, India, China, Greece and Egypt. It has been found scratched on the walls of Neolithic caves, in rough diamond shapes. The pentagram was used in Sumerian texts to mark directions and in Babylonian drawings where it marks the path of the planet Venus makes on its travels. It was a secret pagan symbol of the Goddess Ishtar. It was used as a symbol of all five visible planets. Pythagoras the Greek mathematician and philosopher held that the number five was the number of man because of the five fold division of the body as well as the ancient Greek division of the soul. He used the pentagram to symbolize the five elements that made up man. Earth, Air, Water, Fire and mind or spirit. Those same five elements are still represented by the pentagram in witchcraft today. Scriptures especially Hebrew are abundant with references to pentagrams.

Even Christians have used the pentagram as a symbol of Christ during the Renaissance. Before the cross, it was the preferred symbol for jewellery and amulets of early Christians. It is still in use today in the Amish country of Pennsylvania where you can see it painted on barns as a Hex sign to ward against evil influences. The pentagram is a witchcraft symbol of protection. The terms Pentagram and Pentacle are often used interchangeably but there is a difference. A Pentagram is the drawn symbol; a Pentacle is an object in the shape of a pentagram. The pentagram is not always the straight forward five pointed star in a circle. Sometimes it is disguised within more intricate shapes to hide its significance from the uninitiated. In witchcraft the pentagram symbolizes the five elements of Earth, Air, Fire, Water and spirit. Those in turn correspond to the colours of green, yellow, red, blue and white respectively. These correspondences are significant when working magick. The Pentacle is also a tool used in rituals. Usually made of wood or metal it is placed on the North side of the Altar and holds salt. In this form its only elemental correspondence is Earth. The pentacle is also used as jewellery by most witches as a symbol of their faith just as Christians wear the cross or crucifix. Typically the pentacle is warn with one point up, though in the Gardnerian tradition it is warn with one point down to symbolize the person has achieved the Second Degree of Knowledge...

The pentagram is a symbol of a star encased in a circle.  Always with five points, one pointing upward, each has its own meaning.  The upward point of the star is representative of the spirit.  The other four points all represent an element.  All these contribute to life and are a part of each of us.  To wear a pentagram shows you feel the connection with the elements and respect the earth.  The number five has always been regarded asmystical and magical, yet essentially human.  We have five fingers and toes.  We commonly note five senses, sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste.  We perceive five stages or intiations in our lives birth, adolescence, coitus, parenthood and death.

The number five is associated with Mars; it signifies severity, conflict and harmony through conflict.  In Christianity the number five signifies the wounds of Christ on the cross.  There are five pillars of the Muslim faith and five daily times of prayer.  Five were the virtues of the medieval knights generosity, courtesy, chastity, chivalry and piety as symbolized in the pentagram.  The Wiccan kiss is fivefold feet, knees, womb, breasts and lips.  The number five is prime, the simplest star the pentagram requires five lines to draw and it is universal, it is a continuous loop.  The pentagram has long been believed to be a potent protection against evil, symbol of conflict that shields the wearer.  The pentagram has five spiked wards and a womb shaped defensive proective pentagon at the centre.

There is also the upside down pentagram in most common uses, it represents Satan or the world of matter ruling over the Divine or Darkness over light.  Deciding when the inverted star actually came to be known as a symbol of evil can be confusing.  There is no general star actually came to be consensus among historians, some say this happened around the time of the inquisition.  Normally it is only worn by Satanists or Devil worshippers, but the Mormons have used this symbol inverted for quite some time and Mormon apologists have quickly come to their churches defence by insisting that pentagrams have historically been a positive symbol and only recently have become a symbol of evil.  The Freemasons also use this symbol inverted in their ranks ranks, they do worship the "Light Bearer" Lucifer, but they worship him for the light.  So you see someone can take any symbol and change the meaning of it to suit their own needs.  Many mainstream religions believe pentagrams to be evil, this is where ignorance and misconceptions come from....

By Maxine Jane Briggs