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, so the pentagram is a symbol of the magickal craft of Witchcraft.
The Pentagram is an image of an up-right five-pointed star (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 coloured 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 Inverted Pentagram:
To those who do not know the true symbolism of the witch’s pentagram (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.