In the religion of Wicca, there has been a lot of confusion surrounding the pentacle and the pentagram. Sadly, in many cases, the use of the pentagram symbol has been incorrectly linked with Satanism and darkness – but this association could not be further from the truth.
In this article, we are going to be looking into this in a little more depth and examining the difference between the pentagram and the pentacle – is there a difference? If so, what is it?
What is Wicca?
Before we get started, it is important to understand where these symbols come from, as we mentioned, there has been a lot of false association between these symbols and darker occult groups.
However, it is imperative that we understand that the pentagram and pentacle derive from the ancient Wiccan religion which is anything but dark.
You may have heard the religion being referred to as Paganism but both are two of the same. Wicca finds its origins in the western world -one of the lesser religions to do so with many faiths having started in the eastern world.
According to Britannica, the Wiccans are practisers of witchcraft and worshippers of nature. Whilst the religion is widely recognised as being a relatively new practice, there is no denying that witchcraft goes back much further than this.
Pentagram vs Pentacle – What’s The Difference?
Whilst there may be a lot of confusion over the difference between the pentacle and the pentagram, the reality may surprise you since the main difference is nothing more than simple geometry.
The pentagram is a star of five points and serves as the Pagan or Wiccan religious symbol. On the other hand, the pentacle is simply the same star of five points enclosed within a circle.
For the most part, the pentacle is a round disc that is made from natural material and the pentagram is drawn or drafted within this. But more on that later.
It is important to keep in mind that, unlike the Satanic inverted five-pointed star which represents the spiritual aspects of life being represented by physical parts of the earth – the pentagram represents one spirit and the four natural elements.
This clears up any confusion between the two since those who practise Paganism do not wish to be associated with those practise much darker arts.
As we have discussed, the pentagram is a star that features five points and is used as the religious symbol for Wicca – this is in the same way that the cross is used by Christians and the Star of David is used by those in the Jewish faith. Each of the five points represents earth, wind, water and fire as well as the spirit.
Whilst this symbol is used in the Wiccan religion, there is evidence of it being used as far back as the Sumerians when people would use the star to represent the physical aspects of the human in relation to the elements. In addition to this, we frequently see the pentagram being used in ancient Greek and Babylonian cultures.
Wiccans used the pentagram to symbolise spiritual shielding and to represent intelligence from the ethereal world, however, it is also a way of representing how the mind can be dominant over the elements.
Whilst the symbol has been widely used in Hollywood movies as a way of promoting fear – think of a new tenant in a haunted house peeling back the carpet to reveal a giant pentagram and somehow or other going on to face evil beyond all measure. Sounds crazy, right? That’s because it is.
This common misconception that the pentagram is used for evil needs to be removed because, in reality, the symbol is, in fact, used to repel evil spirits who are believed to flee in its presence.
They are powerless yet in contrast, good spirits such as guides are towards the pentagram allowing it to be used for good. It is believed that the pentagram gives endless possibilities.
The pentacle, a pentagram which is enclosed in a circle, is used to represent good magic, otherwise known as white magic.
It is also used to symbolise light and love. Unlike the pentagram, as well as representing in the elements, the five points of the pentacle are in reference to North, East, South and West as well as the spirit.
Furthermore, the pentacle stands to represent the Goddess and the God. The reason that the circle is used to encase the pentacle is to represent all things being united as one and a love for nature.
There are a variety of uses for the pentacle, quite often it is worn as a talisman in the form of a ring or bracelet, perhaps or simply carried around by a person. However, some Wiccans believe that simply having the pentacle printed on a t-shirt is enough to harness its power.
When wearing the talisman, the individual will be protected from negative energy which will be repelled by the symbol.
We see pentacles in many sizes and forms but one of the most common is a small disc carved from wood which demonstrates a link with nature and everything within the natural world.
Other pentacles may be formed from gold and it is believed that these are able to boost energy, clear the mind and encourage wisdom. Finally, many Wiccans use a pentacle made from silver which provides a link to the moon and is thought to invoke psychic abilities.
When used in magic, the pentacle is thought to have the power to control energies, both focusing them as well as directing them, however, in addition to this, the pentacle will also serve as a powerful form of protection from demons, evil spirits and negative energy which seek to destroy or undo spells and rituals.
Whilst taking part in these, practitioners tend to be at their most vulnerable point so this protection is even more important. In some cases, the pentacle may even give one the power to control negative energies.
The symbol is also frequently used in and around the home as a further form of protection. It is widely believed that placing a pentacle outside the home will prevent negative energy from entering and will offer protection to all those who dwell within.
Interestingly, the pentacle is used in magic rituals when it is drawn using an athame or a sword and depending on the ritual itself, the pentacle may be drawn in various ways but however it is done, it is extremely sacred and should be performed correctly.
For example, a pentacle which is being used in a banishing spell may be drawn differently to one which is being used to invoke something.
Types Of Pentagram And Pentacles
There is only one type of pentagram and this refers to the geometric star shape that we have discussed in this article so far, however, when it comes to the pentacle – there are two main types. Let’s look at these a little more closely.
The Magicians Pentacle
A magicians pentacle refers to the disc that we discussed earlier on, in which a pentagram is carved. In some cases, you may hear this being referred to as the pentacle of Solomon. It is believed to be an extremely powerful symbol that is associated with the power of the divine.
According to different branches of the religion, this pentacle can have a variety of meanings, some of which are;
- The 5 wounds that Christ suffered on the cross
- Man or God and the four elements
- The senses
- The head, legs and arms of an outstretched man
No matter which of these things is being represented by the magician’s pentacle, there is no doubt that this is a powerful symbol that offers great protection to the magician whether carried as a talisman or embroidered onto clothing.
There are some variations of this type of pentacle which come in other shapes and each of these is designed to achieve it’s own purpose – love, revenge, wealth etc.
The Inverted Pentacle
As we have discovered, the inverted pentacle is often associated with Satanism however, before this association was made, the symbol was frequently used by those in the Wiccan faith. When used negatively, the upside-down pentacle refers to God being below the devil (the devil is represented by the two points that symbolise horns.)
This symbol was used by Pagans to denote a lower rank in a coven, however, with its now Satanic links, most Pagans have discontinued its use.
The pentagram and the pentacle are very similar, with the pentagram being a star shape whilst the pentacle is a disc which features this star shape and is used as a form of protection by those who practise the Wiccan religion.
Unfortunately, there has been a lot of confusion between these good symbols and the inverted pentacle which is often used in the church of Satan, for this reason, those within the Wiccan religion have stopped using this version of the symbol.
There are many uses for a pentacle including in spells and for the protection of the home.