Pentacle (or Pantacle or Pentagram)
A five-pointed star formed from five straight lines of equal
length, a symbol frequently used in magical rituals. When a single
point projects upward, with two points on the base projecting
downward, it is used in modern neo-paganism and Wicca
(witchcraft) groups as a symbolic invocation of positive influences.
When turned upside-down, it is used by post-Christian
Satanic groups as symbolic of the invocation of Satan and evil
(in the Christian sense of that term). Satanists frequently impose
the figure of a goat with two ears pointing upward and its
beard pointing downward on the reverse pentagram.
The pentacle has a wide use in religions. It has been used
within Christianity in such a way that the five points represent
the wounds of the crucified Christ. A more common contemporary
use refers back to the star which hovered in the sky when
the baby Jesus was born. It is found on the flag of many Muslim
countries. In ancient Greece, the pentacle was used by the Pythagoreans
to symbolize perfection. In folklore, the sign has
been traced on windows and doors in order to repel witches.
In ritual magic, the pentacle has played an important part
in evoking or repelling spirits. It was usually associated with
holy or unholy names of power and inscribed or engraved with
great care and concentration. A six-pointed version or hexagram
is often known as ‘‘The Seal of Solomon.’’ (See also magical
Valiente, Doreen. The ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present. New
York St. Martin’s Press, 1973.