Regarding Pagan and Wiccan symbology, few images are as iconic as the pentagram and pentacle. Often used interchangeably, these two symbols have quite a bit of difference between them – though they share some similarities.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the pentagram vs. pentacle symbol, explore their differences and similarities, and see what each represents in Paganism and Wicca.
In a nutshell;
A PENTAGRAM is a five-pointed star usually drawn using a single continuous line of five straight segments. A PENTACLE, on the other hand, is a five-pointed star enclosed in a circle. The word PENTACLE is formed by combining the words PENTAGRAM and CIRCLE.
The pentacle is often seen as a more powerful version of the pentagram and is often used in spells and rituals.
A pentagram is a five-pointed star with a single point upward. It is the symbol of guidance and protection. It is a symbol of balance and harmony.
Both signs have their origins in ancient times and are still used today by people who practice different forms of witchcraft and paganism.
The pentagram has been used as a protective symbol for centuries. It is believed to ward off evil forces and bring good luck.
The five points of the pentagram represent the five elements: “Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and the quintessence.”
By looking carefully at the shape of the star, it takes the shape of a human being. I.e., the top point is the head, the points on the sides are the arms, and the two bottom points are the legs.
Pentagrams are found in prehistoric times. The pentagram appears in Mesopotamia around 3000 BC as a Sumerian sign, “UB,” which means “corner, angle, regions.” In the cuneiform period (about 2600 BC), it represented the heavens (“Kibratu” in Akkadian) as well as the four directions of space (front, back, left, right); the fifth point represents the “top.” The four directions would also correspond to the planets then known: Jupiter, Mercury, Mars, and Saturn; Venus ( Ishtar, Ninanna, and Inanna ), the Queen of Heaven, is represented by the upper point.
An example of a pentagram on the baptistery of Split (Croatia) dating from the first centuries of the Christian era. The pentagram was the sign of recognition between Pythagorean initiates (from 530 BC).
“The divine Pythagoras never put at the head of his letters neither ‘joy’ nor ‘prosperity’; it always began with Hugiaine! (υγεία Health). That is why the triple entwined triangle, formed of five lines [the pentagram], which served as a symbol for all those of this sect, was called by them ‘the sign of health.”
In the Timaeus, Plato associates the four elements with the four polyhedra, known as Platonic solids (cube/earth, icosahedron/water, octahedron/air, tetrahedron/fire), and he gives the Whole the form of the regular dodecahedron ( Phaedo, 110b; Timaeus, 55c). The dodecahedron has five angles of 108 degrees. By joining the five vertices of the pentagram, five isosceles triangles appear as five-pointed stars: the pentagram or pentalpha.
- In his Elements of Geometry (c. 300 BC), Euclid expounds on the properties of the pentagram and the decahedron in books IV, 11, and XIII, 17.
- The pentagram was for the Gnostics, the symbol of the five elements ( spirit, earth, water, fire, and air).
- In the Second Temple period, the pentagram is used along with the hexagram; it is found on a relief in the synagogue of Capernaum ( 2nd or 3rd century), associated with a hexagram and a swastika.
At the beginning of the 13th century, Villard de Honnecourt used the pentagram as a harmonic drawing, a sort of grid for drawing shapes.
In the writings of magic supposedly belonging to Solomon ( Clavicules de Salomon ), from 1245, in Paris, we often find the pentagram, with the names of gods and characters sometimes traced with blood.
Around 1492, Leonardo da Vinci depicted Man as a pentagram (although the positions of the limbs seem to vary) in his Study of the Proportions of the Human Body According to Vitruvius.
Henri-Corneille Agrippa de Nettesheim, in his famous book on Occult Philosophy (1510, 1533), is the most famous representation of the man-pentagram.
The German polymath and occultist Henri Cornelius Agrippa perpetuated the use of the pentagram in magic.
Like the pentacle, Agrippa thought that the five points of the pentagram were related to the five elements. In this interpretation, the upper point would represent the spirit on high, governing the other four physical elements (fire, air, water, and earth).
On the contrary, it is believed that an inverted pentagram represents a reversal of the natural order of things in such a way that the spirit descends and is subject to the desire for physical matter, resulting in the rise of perversion and evil.
The word pentacle comes from the Greek word for “five” (Penta) and the Latin word for “circle” (circulus). The pentacle is a five-pointed star with a circle around it. It is a symbol of protection and balance.
Many cultures have used the pentacle as a magical symbol throughout history, including the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Celts. In medieval Europe, it was often used as a talisman to ward off evil spirits. Today, it is commonly seen as a symbol of witchcraft and paganism.
The pentacle is also known as the Seal of Solomon and is said to have been used by King Solomon to control demons. The star’s five points represent the five elements: earth, air, fire, water, and spirit. The circle around the star symbolizes unity and infinity.
Pentacle of Protection dates back millennia. Its use was traced during an archaeological dig which revealed ancient remains dating back 2700 years.
According to the researchers, the latter belonged to the Sumerian culture, a civilization that developed in the regions near the Euphrates more than 6000 years ago.
Since then, the use of this symbol has persisted and crossed from one civilization to another.
- The Greeks are indeed the first to benefit from this heritage. According to their design, the pentacle is related to the symbol of the deity Aphrodite.
- For the Romans who ruled 700 BC, it represented life, unity, and the ouroboros, a symbol that reflects the eternal cycle of nature. Throughout Hebrew culture, the pentacle is seen on the ring worn by King Solomon, known as the Seal of Solomon.
- In the Middle Ages, Christianity took hold of the use of the pentacle to represent demons and witches. As far as the modern world is concerned, this symbol is widespread in the occult sciences.
These are based on the five elements and find their meaning through the five branches of the pentacle. For modern magic, which is heavily dominated by Wiccans, this figure is used as a means of protection.
In Christian terms, the pentacle is initially associated with the pre-Christian “pagan religion” and used as an amulet and talisman of luck and protection.
With Christianity already established shortly after the fall of the Roman Empire was certified, everything that would not have revolved around the Christian god was considered “pagan,” and the pentacle was no exception.
It is also attributed to the “five wounds of Christ,” meaning during his crucifixion (hands, feet, and side).
Thus the pentacle persisted throughout the Middle Ages (including appearances in the magical book attributed to King Solomon ー” The Key of Solomon, “14th and 15th centuries).
It is already in the Contemporary Age when the first uses as an instrument of black magic appear: rotated 180º (inverted), as happened with the cross of the antichrist, with two points up and one down, in the book “The key of black magic” (1897).
Historical records have revealed that the French poet, writer, and scholar Eliphas Levi first ascribed a dark connotation to the pentacle, saying that an inverted one could represent the devil himself. According to Levi, when two points of the pentacle are facing upwards, the image of Satan, with his horns, is summoned.
Since then, the pentacle has been seen in the media as an omen of evil and demonic possession. It did not help to modify this interpretation that the Satanic Church (which, despite the name, is mostly of atheists who do not worship Satan) used the inverted pentacle with a goat’s head drawn inside as its main symbol. This emblem is known as the Seal of Baphomet.
The Difference Between the Pentagram and the Pentacle Symbol
When talking about the pentacle and the pentagram, the critical distinction concerns their historical origins since they differ. The only difference between the two, in terms of physical characteristics, is that the pentacle has a perfect circle surrounding a pentagram.
In former times, this difference meant that the pentacle provided more excellent protection than the pentagram offered. It is because the power of the first, apart from the presence of the five elements, was also strengthened by the combined action, harmony, and balance between them.
Likewise, there is little consideration of the differences between these two symbols within modern occultism. That is because both are closely related to the occult, especially when they are drawn upside down or with two points facing up.
There is no real difference between the pentagram and the pentacle; they represent the same thing differently.
The pentacle is generally seen as being more “complete” than the pentagram, as it includes the circle, which is seen as symbolizing unity and balance.
Pentagram Vs. Pentacle: Similarities
The pentagram and the pentacle are both ancient symbols with a long history of use in magic and ritual. Both symbols consist of a five-pointed star, but there are some essential differences between them.
The pentagram is a symbol of protection and balance. Rituals often use it to ward off negative energy and invoke positive forces. The pentacle, on the other hand, is a symbol of power and success. It is often used in magic spells and rituals to attract wealth, success, and energy.
While the two symbols have some similarities, they also have some essential differences. The most obvious difference is that the pentacle has a circle around the star, while the pentagram does not. The process represents the unity of all things and the universe’s infinite nature. It also amplifies the power of the pentacle.
The pentagram is an ancient symbol with a long history of use in magic and ritual. It is a powerful symbol of protection and balance. The pentacle is also an ancient symbol with a long history of use in magic and way. It is a powerful symbol of success and power.
Pentagram Vs. Pentacle: Which is more powerful?
There are many different magical symbols, each with unique meanings and purposes. Two of the most well-known characters are the pentagram and the pentacle. So, which is more powerful?
The answer may surprise you. While both symbols are incredibly potent, the pentacle is more powerful than the pentagram. Here’s why:
- The pentacle is a symbol of protection. It wards off negative energy and keeps evil at bay. The pentagram, on the other hand, is a symbol of power. It amplifies your ability and can be used to achieve your goals.
- So, if you’re looking for a symbol to help you protect yourself from harm or keep negative influences at bay, the pentacle is your best bet.
- If you’re looking for a sign to help you achieve your goals or tap into your power, the pentagram is what you need.
The history of the pentacle and the pentagram expresses the resemantizable nature of signs and symbols since their definition can (and does) vary, depending on the overall perspective in particular social and historical contexts.
It is safe to assume that in a few years or decades, pentacles and pentagrams could have a completely different meaning than they are attributed to today.
Either because they recover their original noble meaning as protective symbols or acquire completely new purposes, this change may occur in the future.