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Looking at Occult Symbols: Pentacles and Pentagrams

Jan 22, 2024

Perhaps the perfect place to start is by explaining with symbols are and why they are used: Symbols have been used for many thousands of years. They are a way of communicating meaning that can be understood by many people around the world. Symbols can be words, sounds, gestures, ideas, and images.

Next let us look at Occult Symbols; probably the two most used and seen occult symbols are the Pentacle and the Pentagram.
Pentacles and pentagrams are possibly the most powerful symbols in the occult and witchcraft worlds, and can be found throughout modern society, you may have seen them worn as jewellery, on clothes, tattoos, on posters, banners and in magazines. You will also come across them in occult books and in New Age shops. I have also seen these symbols on the TV and in advertisements, in-face pentacles and pentagrams are quite common symbols today.

Let us look at the two symbols, physically they are very similar. Pentacles are an up-right five-pointed star within a circle and the Pentagram is also a five-pointed star within a circle, but it points downwards.
In occult symbolism both the Pentacle and Pentagram have spiritual meaning and properties.


A white star in a circle

Within Occult meaning pentacles are representative of white magic and good, as well as representing man’s intellect and reason. Pentacles are quite often used as talismans, which are thought to be full of psychic powers. Pentacles also symbolise the feminine element Earth. When we consider witchcraft and this line of thought "Earth" the up-right five-pointed star is thought to have the ability of bringing Spirit to Earth, meaning this is what makes us whole.

If you look at the teachings of the occult society The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, founded by high-ranking Freemasons and active Rosicrucians, you will see that the up-right star represents man with arms and legs extended adoring the Creator. Especially the power of Spirit over the four elements, which is seen as reason over matter. They used this symbol as way to summon and call up spirit, they even used it to summon demons.


A white star in a circle

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For many the Pentagram is probably the most powerful ceremonial rites symbol. It is like the pentacle in so much as it is also a five-pointed star, that instead of pointing up, points down.
Eliphas Levi, one of the most significant and powerful magicians of the 1800’s, wrote about the pentagram in his book about transcendental magic. He wrote:

"The Pentagram signifies the domination of the mind over the elements, and the demons of air, the spirits of fire, the phantoms of water and ghosts of earth are enchained by this sign. Equipped therewith, 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."

This was considered to be a dangerous way of thinking, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, wrote about the "Ritual of the Pentagram" (the up-right five-pointed star) and warned people against mistakenly using the five-pointed star upside down (as the pentagram).
Mother of the New Age Helena Blavatsky, wrote in her book, Studies in Occultism, "there are secrets that kill in the arcana of Occultism".

If we dig deeper into the pentagram, we can see that the upside down five-pointed star is recognized as the symbol of Satan. Anton LaVey, author of the Satanic Bible and The Satanic Rituals, used the pentagram often portrayed as the Goat’s Head (Mascot of the Church of Satan) in a lot of his ceremonies and rituals. He even gives credit to the more ancient occult teachings for the role they played in helping him to foster his Satanic ritual work: "Satanic Ritual is a blend of Gnostic, Cabbalistic, Hermetic, and Masonic elements, incorporating nomenclature and vibratory words of power from virtually every mythos."

The upside-down five-pointed star is the principal symbol used by the Order of the Eastern Star (OES), which is a mixed sex branch of the Freemasons. During rituals, a giant pentagram is laid on the floor of the OES lodge (a bit like a large rug), which is used for its major initiations and ritual work, which is done either inside the pentagram or while trace walking around it. It is believed that prior to taking their "obligations of secrecy," new Order of the Eastern Star initiates have their eyes veiled and are led around the points of the pentagram.

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