The Pentacle and Pentagram
The 'Marine Pentacle' illustrated above is my own design, it was one of many custom pentacles or pentagrams you can find around the world. Within the image you have represented the power incoming and outgoing tides, the Moon and Sun, fair weather and tempest, a pentagram circled by an endless rope. It was the original home page and logo for the Seawitch Artist site, but it began life as a decoration on my China Tea chests and as said on it's own page here.... Marine Pentacle it was inspired by the Star of India medal decoration on the stern of the Tea clipper Cutty Sark. I even entered it into, and won, a jewellery design competition by KA Gold Jewelry , the prize was a gold pentacle based on my own design, so I have a very unique Sea witch pentacle to wear!
Pentacle or Pentagram? Most people call their pentagram pendants Pentacles , with some, especially older witches arguing this is wrong and that the Pentacle is strictly altar pentacle, which I'll explain below, and that the one we wear around our neck, or on a ring, a tattoo even, is strictly a pentagram. I've heard both versions from respected sources, if I'm to be asked I'd just say this argument is a lost cause!
The Altar Pentacle
The Pentacle Witches have on their altar is a disc shaped tool , some of wood, slate or brass, even beeswax . Usually, but not always, decorated with a pentagram that may be surrounded by magickal symbols, but other designs are about too, the Green man seems quite popular. There are even some double sided pentacles that offer both. As said above, there are those who insist that only this is the Pentacle. Like many of the Witches tools, it corresponds to an element, that being Earth. It's uses are quiet numerous
My own Altar Pentacles, of wood and slate, the latter I made myself.
The Pentagram in Wicca and Witchcraft
As well as being as jewellery to express faith and path, and indeed an amulet the pentagram is used by Witches in and out of Wicca in their magickal workings . It's anatomy of a star drawn in five unbroken strokes is divided into the four elements of earth, air, fire and water, and a fifth called aether, meaning spirit, with each of these assigned their own point as seen in the illustration below. Where a circle is present it means eternity, which like a circle, shows no sign of beginning or end. Many feel this is what makes a pentagram become a pentacle, and still a very few suggest it represents the womb of the Goddess. one thing for sure, in that form it certainly makes more comfortable jewellery! It means these things in Druidism as well, who share the wheel of the year with us.
Among it's numerous uses is it's role in circle casting. Each each of the elements except Aether is assigned a quarter of the circle. A witch will draw a pentagram in the air with Athame, wand or even finger at each of the circles four quarters of east (air), south (fire), west (water) and north (earth) when both invoking and banishing them. Those that extend to it (I don't anymore!) will use a different start point for each at both thus.... see illustration below. Each is done in six strokes, the last of course, follows the path of the first to seal the pentagram.
The Inverted Pentagram
The inverted or upside down pentagram in Wicca is worn by second degree initiates, otherwise known as being in the Horns Up position, representing the Horned God among other things. Some don't actually get around to doing it, the jewellery itself is harder to obtain in it's desired form, and I'm sure plenty would avoid or tire of explaining they are not Satanists!
The Pentagram in Christianity
The pentagram has been present in Christianity since medieval times, some say the Crusaders brought it back from the middle east. That it is used to represent the five wounds of Christ is the most popular explanation, sometimes the five senses is also suggested, but I'm not going to confirm that, there's still members of the clergy who can't! They are fairly common in church windows as a means of forming the frame, sometimes they are inverted, it appears they are interchangeable in Christianity. There are two quite local to me, I've illustrated those below.
The Ethiopian and Moroccan flags are the only two flags I can find with true Pentagrams on them in that they are stars drawn in five unbroken strokes although they will mean something entirely different, and the Ethiopian flag appears a bit debatable. Plenty of nations have a blocked in star on their flag, and these, often circled too, appear on tanks and warplanes the world throughout. Israel 's flag has of course a David star, often drawn with two over lapping triangles, a symbol often seen in the occult too, whatever they mean, it's far removed from Wicca & Witchcraft!
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