The Pentagram is the most powerful symbol used in Witchcraft and for performing spells. Even so, a lot of people are not aware of its real meaning today and there’s a lot of confusion about it. In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about its definition, how to use it in a ritual, how to use it for everyday empowerment, the differences between some variations like the Pentacle and the “inverted” one, and some more things!
You can watch the video below and also continue reading this article for extra images and words.
What does the Pentagram mean?
Pentagram means “Five lines” in Greek. From this definition, we can already clear some doubts about it. To make it clear, the Pentagram can actually be two totally different things:
- 1) The Musical Pentagram is made of 5 parallel lines, that’s why it has this name;
- 2) The Pentagram and the Star of David are different symbols. The first is a star made of 5 lines and the second is a star made of 6 lines, called an Hexagram. I’ll write more about it below.
So, why are there 5 lines? Is there any explanation for it?
Yes, there is.
Let’s first remember a concept from mathematics: What’s a line? A line is a distance between two points. This way, besides having 5 lines, we also have 5 points connected by them. Each one of these points represents one of the essential elements of nature – also essential to magick and witchcraft.
“The pentagram signifies the domination of the mind over the elements, and by this sign are enchained the demons of the air, the spirits of fire, the phantoms of the water, and the ghosts of earth.Éliphas Lévi
Equipped with this sign, and suitably disposed, you may behold the infinite through the medium of that faculty which is like the soul’s eye, and you will be ministered unto by legions of angels and hosts of fiends.”
Pentagram Elements and the microcosms
Also according to Lévi, the Pentagram represents the “microcosms” and it’s “even more powerful than the macrocosms” which is the Hexagram (also known as the Star of David, Six-pointed star, or even Solomon’s Seal). I wrote about the difference between Microcosms and Macrocosms in my article about the 4 Elemental Beings.
Different from the 4 natural elements – earth, fire, water, and air (wind) that are also attributed to magick, witchcraft, and Wicca -, in the 5-pointed star we include another element called Ether or Spirit. This one is at the top.
In the symbolic representation, the 4 natural elements are the basis of the symbol. They “support” what’s above them.
Ether, or Spirit, is always at the top. By staying at the top, it represents mastery over magick, over power. It ultimately represents the spirits coexists with the other 4 elements.
In simpler words, the Pentagram represents the power one has over the other elements, the total control of their own mind and spirit, the complete understanding of nature’s magical power.
Inside a Pentagram, we are able to draw the perfect human shape. Once again, we have the mind at the top. The only thing which is over all the other ones. This also indicates enlightenment, going beyond matter, beyond material and carnal experiences.
Does this mean ether/spirit owns the other elements?
No. Definitely not!
Unlike the thought that we humans are the biggest and best beings and that we should explore nature to its fullest because it is OBLIGED to provide us with EVERYTHING we want in an unbridled and uncontrolled way, including the destruction of fauna and flora, this means that we can somehow understand them and use them in our magic.
It doesn’t mean we are going to have these elements as they belonged to us. It means we can use their power alongside ours. We can actively use them in our magickal experiences and we can use them naturally because that’s how it works: naturally.
We normally have – or should have – more affinity with one or another element. By constantly working with them we can improve our affinity and we can develop our connections with them.
For example, I had lots of problems with fire. I was always more connected to water. In the past few years, I managed to develop a better connection to fire and now I’m able to use its energy more efficiently. I also have a good connection with the air element and I’m currently working on my connection with the earth element.
It’s almost like an RPG. We get experiences and level up in our performance with each one of them.
Pentagram vs Pentacle
Now that the definition of the Pentagram is clear – if it’s not clear, please read all of it again! – we can move forward. What about the Pentacle? The Pentacle is this Pentagram inside a circle that represents the universe or the universal relation between everything.
But it’s not ONLY this.
The Pentacle has a different and complex etymologic origin. Although we have the “Penta” part that resembles the Greek work for 5, its origin my be in the French language actually!
Magickal and occult studies intensified in Europe centuries ago. So, most of the material we have available today came from countries like France, Italy, England, Germany, and some others.
Pentacle can be understood as something like “pend à cou”, “pendacou”, or “pend cou”. The “pend” part means “to hang” and “cou” is “neck”. This gets more obvious – and intriguing – when we see lots of Pentacles that have no Pentagrams inside. Nonetheless, they continue being Pentacles.
To conclude, a Pentacle is an type of amulet that must be hung around the neck. It can have a five-pointed star inside or not.
The Pentacles we find in the Lemegon attributed to Solomon don’t have any Pentagram inside. Similarly, the ones from Éliphas Lévi – inspired by “Solomon ones” – contain different kinds of symbols. Likewise, all the Pentacles found in Solomon’s Goetia also feature no five-pointed starts!
By the way, Éliphas Lévi and, sometime later, Aleister Crowley used to write “Pantacle” and not “Pentacle”. This may have been a way to differentiate the symbols and not generate any confusion like we have today.
However, more recently in 1909, we have the Rider Waite Tarot in which the suit of Pentacles is depicted with circles with the Pentagram inside. Later, we have Gerald Gardner, the founder of Wicca, that refers to Pentacle as a circle with the five-pointed star inside too.
And this gets very popular! That’s why there’s so much confusion about it.
The image below depicts a Pentagram:
Now, the image below depicts a Pentacle:
The next image depicts a Pentacle too, but with a Pentagram inside!
Pentagram as a universal symbol of Magick
The Pentagram is a universal symbol of magick because it contains many pieces of information inside it. This is the reason why it is used for more than thousands of years in different cultures and sects, including the Catholic Religion, with similar meanings: the magickal power, the connection and understanding of the elements of nature, the evolution, the enlightenment, the spiritual evolution and etc.
Symbols have the unique capability of “talking” to our mind, regardless of language. That’s why symbols also have another ability: adaptation.
Throughout time, symbols adapt and change. They acquire new meanings and continue expressing them in our unconscious mind. Due to this adaptive ability, it gets difficult to trace back a timeline and understand origins and symbolic mutations.
Why am I writing this?
Because the Pentagram acquired new attributions throughout history too. And the most keynoted one is the Inverted Pentagram, the symbol used by the Satanists.
Inverted Pentagram meaning
The Inverted Pentagram is the symbol of the Church of Satan created by Anton Szandor LaVey in 1966. It is a redefinition of the Goat Pentagram created by Stanislas De Guaita in the book La Clef de la Magie Noire (The Key of Black Magic) in 1897 that is actually inspired by Baphomet of Éliphas Lévi found in the book Transcendental Magic: Its Doctrine and Ritual in 1854.
To make it visual, you can find an infographic below showing the “evolution” of the Inverted Pentagram:
It’s interesting to point that Baphomet (also known as Baphomet of Mendes) presents a NORMAL Pentagram on its head. Have you noticed it? Baphomet itself represents the Hermetic Principles, the balance between forces that are normally opposites but complementary. It also represents evil, things that are bad, chaos, disorder, and the lack of principles. Today it’s mostly interpreted as the Devil – everything which is outside the Catholic Church is considered
Now, going back to the Pentagram: it’s only natural that symbols acquire new meanings or change their original meanings over time. Even so, their nature and essence remain the same. In this case, this symbol is always related to magic, the power over the elements, the capability to use and be awakened to magick, and so on.
By the way, the Inverted Pentagram has nothing to do with the “Catholic Satan“. The Satanists are atheists and materialists. These principles are reflected in the Inverted Pentagram.
When we consider the Pentagram as the mind, the spirit over the elements, over the matter, and seeking enlightenment, we can ultimately understand the Inverted Pentagram as the mind or spirit trapped in the elemental realm, praising the material experiences over the spiritual ones.
Therefore, the Inverted Pentagram symbolizes the eternal material and carnal experience.
It’s not the Devil or Satan from Christianity. Although people may consider it as its depiction.
Solomon’s Pentagram meaning
Another “type” of Pentagram commonly found is the Tetragrammaton, also known as Solomon’s Pentagram. It’s actually Éliphas Lévi’s Pentagram.
In this symbol, besides the traditional five-pointed star, we also have a huge variety of united symbols that represent opposite things or energies.
The word Tetragrammaton refers to the 4 letters that form one of God’s names in Hebrew: YHWH.
How to use the Pentagram?
Now that we know all about the Pentagram and its variations, there’s one question: How to use it?
I am the type of person that believes everything must be simple. We, humans, complicate things. And these complications are made on purpose so things can become inaccessible, exclusives, hard, etc.
Therefore, if you look for information on how to use a Pentagram, you’re going to find MANY ways to do it. Among these ways, you’ll find the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram that used to be performed by Aleister Crowley in Thelema (I’ll write how to perform it below) and you’re also going to find tips on how to draw a Pentagram to summon or banish a specific element and other types of energies.
I use it like this:
I have some Pentagrams around here. I have already used them as a Pentacle for a long time. Today I mostly use it as a way to enhance my own power and my spells. After I perform a spell, I “add” a Pentagram so I can always be reminded that I control my own power and that my spell is powerful enough to bring me what I want.
When we talk about Pentagrams as objects, including Pentacles, it’s always a good idea to purify them before using them. Similar to stones and crystals, the production of these objects is unknown to us and there are many production stages that involve many different kinds of energies.
So, in order to purify an object, I suggest you pass it in an incense smoke such as clove, cinnamon, sandalwood, white sage, or palo santo. You can also “bathe” it with coarse salt.
Feel free to energize it with the energies from the Sun and the Moon by leaving the object 24 hours outdoor.
If you work with Gods and Goddesses, these are some Deities you can dedicate the object to:
- Hecate, of course;
- The Morrigan;
- many others.
The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram
You’ll find below how to perform the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, widely used by Aleister Crowley in Thelema. This step-by-step is for you to have an idea of how to perform it. I suggest asking a practitioner to help you if you intend to perform it.
This ritual is commonly known as LBRP and it’s divided into 3 parts. Here they are, according to WikiHow:
Part 1 — The Kabbalistic Cross:
01 — Stand in the center of your room, facing east, and imagine that you are a towering figure and the earth is a tiny sphere below you. Feel yourself to be the center of the universe.;
02 — Look up into space and imagine a sphere of white brilliance. See this light descend to the top of your head;
03 — Reach up with your right hand (or ritual dagger (Athame) and pull this white light down to your forehead. When you do this vibrate the word ATAH (ah-tah);
04 — Move your hand down your body, feeling the light being drawn down through you in a beam. Touch your breast, move your hand over the groin area, pointing down, vibrate MALKUTH (Mahl-koot [h], and imagine there is now a shaft of light running through you, connecting the light source above your head, to the earth below you;
05 — Touch your right shoulder and imagine that a beam of light from the shaft passes through that point and your right side, into space. Vibrate VE-GEBURAH (v’ge-boo-rah).
06 — Do the same with your left shoulder and vibrate VE-GEDULAH (v’ge-doo-lah).
07 — Bring both of your hands to your breast and clasp them together as if praying and vibrate LE-OLAHM, AMEN (lay-oh-lahm, ah-men). You are now standing in the center of a cross of light that reaches to the ends of the universe.
The Kabbalistc Cross is done.
Part 2 — The Pentagrams:
01 — Move to the east of your area (or at least be facing east) and trace with your finger/wand/Athame a large banishing pentagram in the air before you. Visualise it glowing in flaming blue light. Perform the Sign of the Enterer and vibrate YOD HEH VAV HEH (yode-heh-vahv-heh). Perform the sign of silence;
02 — Keeping your finger or tip of dagger in the center of your pentagram, move to the south quarter, and trace a bright white line to the center of the south of your circle. These lines connect your pentagrams;
03 — Trace another pentagram the same way, now perform the sign of the enterer and vibrate ADONAI (ah-doe-nye). Perform the sign of silence, remembering to keep your right arm out in front of you;
04 — Carry the white line of light to the west, repeat the steps of tracing and charging your pentagram, but this time vibrate EHEIEH (eh-hey-yay);
05 — Carry the light to the north, do the same one last time, and vibrate AGLA (ah-gah-la);
06 — Carry the white line of light back to the east, and connect all your pentagrams together. You should now be surrounded by four blue flaming pentagrams in the 4 equal corners of your circle you’ve just made.
07 — Walk back to the center of your circle and turn clockwise to face east.
Remember to vibrate the words as if they were a mantra.
Parte 3 — The Calling of The Archangels:
01— Once again, visualise the Kabbalistic cross you made earlier, extend your arms out to make this shape. Now call each one of the Anchangels:
“Before me, RAPAHEL”
“Behind me, GABRIEL”
“On my right, MICHAEL”
“On my left, URIEL”
“For around me shines the pentagram”
“And within me shines the six ray star”
02 — Visualise a brilliant hexagram within your chest.How to perform the LBRP on WikiHow
I presented in this article everything you need to know about the meaning of the Pentagram as well as its inverted version and some other curiosities. I hope it’s clear for you and I also hope it answered your main questions.
On Amazon.com you can find many options of Pentagrams to buy as pendants, rings, cloths for your altar and oracles, and so many other options.
Some books I recommend can help you to understand not only the Pentagram better but other magickal symbols and other subjects related to Witchcraft and Magick. Some of them are:
- Transcendental Magic: Its Doctrine and Ritual (Éliphas Lévi);
- Alchemy and Mysticism (Alexander Roob);
- The Kybalion (The Three Initiates).
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