The pentagram or five pointed star is an ancient Pagan symbol.
(As is the pentacle–which is a pentagram inscribed in a circle.)
Its history is probably one of the oldest in the Craft, as historians suspect that the Sumerians used the Pentagram in their rituals, and held it as a sacred object. It is for this reason that the pentagram has survived into Wicca as an object to encompass our belief system. The pentagram however is not simply a pretty symbol. It has very deep meanings, though it means different things to different witches.
I wear a pentacle daily, and when people ask me what it means, I often have a hard time choosing the definition. The pentagram is a very powerful symbol, and understanding it can offer the student great insight into her religion.
The top point of the pentagram represent the element of Spirit–it represent the ethereal, the everlasting, and the immanence of the Goddess. It represents our souls; it represents the parts of us that are dedicated to Witchcraft, and dedicated to a spiritual connection to the Earth and to each other. It symbolizes spiritual love.
All of the remaining points of the pentagram relate to the human experience–our lives as being purely profane creatures, made of body and material. The entire pentagram has been said to represent the human–the top point the head and the bottom four the body. In a sense, this is true. The bottom four points will be described below.
The top left point of the pentagram represents Earth.
Earth is the Mother element. It is that element that represent rootedness. It symbolizes security, growth, nourishment–all of the things that the Earth Mother provides for us. The elements Earth is what offers us the ability to explore the spirit, because it gives us grounding. Without Earth we would always have our head in the clouds. Earth is represented by Coins/Pentacles in the tarot deck.
The top right point of the pentagram represents Air.
Air is the element of the mind. It represents thought, intelligence, rationale. It is the element that allows us to examine the spirit and discover where it fits in our lives. Without air, the element of Earth would have little use, for though we are grounded in Earth, we are allowed to reason out our spirits with Air. Air is represented by Wands/Staves in the Tarot deck.
The bottom left point in the pentagram represents Fire.
Fire is the element of the loins. Fire represents passion. It represents that part of us that wants to overthrow reason, to lead by the horns, to plunge on without thinking about our actions. Fire is symbolic of adrenaline, of testosterone, of brashness. Once we have progress past air and have analyzed our spirits and our paths in life, fire allows us determine whether that analysis is right for our lives. Fire is what allows us to say, “I Don’t care if it makes sense, this is what I believe.” Without fire, we could not perform Magick, we could not link ourselves to each other. Fire overrides the intellect. Fire is represented by Swords in the tarot deck.
The last point, the bottom right, is the element Water.
Water represents the cycle of life: we came from the watery dark of the womb, and we return to watery tears of death. Water is the element of emotion. Water is the element that validates our existence as sentient beings, because it allows us to have feelings, but not the brash, unwarranted feelings of fire. Water is the emotion that comes along with understanding ourselves and each other after all else has been discovered. Water is pure love, pure joy, pure sadness, pure anger. Water is not childish–it knows why we feel the way we do. Water is the element that calms fire–it emotion with reason. Water is represented by Cups in the tarot deck.
When the pentagram is inscribed in a circle–a pentacle–it unites all of the aspects of man. It unites the body with the mind, the spiritual with the profane. It reminds us that we need all of our aspects to fulfill our lives as human beings. It reminds us also everything is a cycle–that we will not experience joy without pain, but pain will again give way to joy. When the pentacle is worn right side up, it represent “spirit over the body”. This means that as witches, we recognize the importance of all things, but when we get right down to it, we strive to serve the spirit and not solely our bodies. “An it harm none” means that serving the spirit may mean sacrificing bodily pleasures, but if we are serving the spirit, we can never harm.
When the pentacle is worn upside down in Satanism, it means “flesh over the spirit”, meaning, if it feels good, do it, regardless of who you hurt.
This symbol NEVER HAS THIS MEANING IN WITCHCRAFT!! If a witch wears the pentacle inverted, it means that she is undergoing a period of introspection and self discovery, and that she is going through the underworld to confront her fears and demons and conquer them.