From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
a Pentacle
This is a pentagram, a symbol that looks like a star in a circle.

A pentacle is a five-pointed star, with all lines the same length and all angles the same. Also, "pentacle" can mean any object that protects its owner (talisman), including a pentagram.

A pentagram is a pentacle drawn in a circle so the points of the star touch the circle.

The pentagram means different things to different people. These meanings have changed over time.

Religious meanings[change | change source]

In ancient times, the pentagram was used as a Christian symbol. It stood for the five wounds that Jesus Christ received during his crucifixion (the nails in each hand and foot, and the spear wound in his side).[1]

In the past, the pentagram was commonly seen as a symbol for good and for protection against evil.[2]

Today, the pentagram - especially an upside-down pentagram - is the most commonly used symbol of Wicca.[3] The pentagram or the pentacle in Wicca stands for fire, water, earth, air, and spirit.[3]

Some Satanists, especially members of the Church of Satan, use an upside-down pentagram as a symbol for their religion. The Church of Satan's official symbol is an upside-down pentagram with a goat head inside, called the Sigil of Baphomet.[4][5] ("Sigil" means "symbol.")

In Taoism, a pentagram shows how the religious elements (earth, water, wood, fire, and metal) are related.

The pentagram in literature[change | change source]

In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a 14th century romance story, the pentagram is mentioned as a symbol for Gawain's good character and truth.[6][7]

More recently, the meaning of the pentagram was discussed in The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. According to the book, the pentagram actually belonged to the ancient religion of Pagan Sun Worship, and was tied to the female planet Venus: every 8 years Venus traces a perfect pentagram across the sky.[8] The book says that the pentagram was a symbol for the sacred female, but was later taken by Christianity and said to mean the devil in order to destroy beliefs that females were sacred.[8]

Other uses[change | change source]

A pentacle is on the flag of Morocco.[9]

References[change | change source]

  1. Child, Heather; Colles, Dorothy (1971). Christian Symbols Ancient and Modern. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. ISBN 0-7135-1960-6.
  2. Lévi, Éliphas (1999) [1896 (translated), 1854 (first published)]. Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual [Dogme et rituel de la haute magie]. Trans. by A. E. Waite. York Beach: Weiser. OCLC 263626874.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Valiente, Doreen (1988) [1973]. An ABC of Witchcraft Past and Present. Custer: Phoenix Publishing. p. 264. ISBN 0-919345-77-8.
  4. "The Sigil of Satan". Retrieved 2012-11-10.
  5. "United States Patent and Trademark Office". Retrieved November 10, 2012.
  6. Arthur, Ross G. Medieval Sign Theory and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987. pp. 22, 26. ISBN 0-8020-5717-9
  7. Morgan, Gerald (1979). "The Significance of the Pentangle Symbolism in "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight"". The Modern Language Review 74 (4): 769–790.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Brown, Dan (March 31, 2009). The Da Vinci Code. Anchor. ISBN 978-0307474278.
  9. "Flags of the World: Africa:: Morocco". United States Central Intelligence Agency – The World Factbook.