The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Ms Faith

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Pentagram

 Greeting all,

Let's discuss a sensitive subject.  The Pentagram.  Wait for a moment if you wish to insert creepy, horror movie music right here.

There is still a common fear associated with the symbol of the five pointed star, also known more commonly by its geometric shape, the pentagram. Few symbols associated with the witch have been so completely maligned. 


We react to symbols on a deep, primitive level.  Symbols or images move us deeply, causing feelings that are not necessarily following conscious thought. for instance,  many people may feel trepidation when they see the skull and cross bones or bright red lightening bolts indicating danger, or relief when they spy a police car in an emergency situation. How many times have the male/female  images indicating a public restroom on the wall of a building brought a sense of relief to you?

Symbolic images are meant to convey a common thought to those who see it.  It is because of many years of misinformation and deliberate fear enhancing rumors that have many people skeptical as to the innocence and positive nature of the pentagram. 

The five pointed star shape is thought to have ancient associations.  People centuries ago lived with nature, whereas today we live in spite of it. Ancient man was more attuned to the cycles of nature, the night skies and the heavenly bodies that inhabit those skies.  The planet Venus could be seen with the naked eye and people thought the planet to be a representation of the Goddess. Over several years the planets' path takes on a pentagram design in the night skies.  The movement of the planet  is imperceptible to the naked eye, attesting to the fact 'ancient' mankind had a keen understanding of observing the astronomical world.

The five pointed star or pentagram became a  symbol of the Goddess. Interestingly the early Christian used the pentagram to symbolize the five wounds suffered by Jesus. Before that ancient advanced cultures, such as Babylonia and Greece also used the pentagram in their spiritual work.  The word comes from the Greek Pentagrammon.

In the 1970's a religion started by Anton LeVey in California, which he called Satanism, decided to adopt the inverted, upside down,  pentagram as a symbol for their beliefs.  Wiccans and witches are not Satanists. Period. Satanism is a religion we can touch upon in another discussion.  We always use the pentagram, also known as a pentacle, with the apex pointed up. We never invert the symbol as Satanists do.  

It is very much because of the Church of Satan and its followers, who funny enough, seem to draw some negative and fearful reactions from the general public, that seemed to fuel the negative imagery associated with the Pentagram.  Mix the notoriety attracted by adult Americans proudly claiming association with such negative imagery, as Satan, the Goat's head and the like. Then add  rebellious teens and musical rock bands whose entire world exists in defiance of conformity and authority and you have a nifty symbol designed to spear fear through the hearts of the toughest parents.  Effectively.

I understand how and why people fear the symbol, but to me its beautiful and empowering. To me it is a symbol of the microcosm and the macrocosm.

There are those who see many things within. Today the simple pentagram is often surrounded by a circle, and we call this a pentacle.  The symbol with the circle around shows the five sense of man, with the heart in the center and the universe surrounding all.  That's one way of viewing this enigmatic star.

It has always been a symbol of protection, with its association to Venus, most especially protection of women. The top point for us today, signifies spirit. The great creative energy that many call God, Goddess or a name meaning the same. The four lower points symbolize the four elements. Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Depending on whom you read, there are any number of combinations of where those elements are situated around the star, but it matters not. The symbol simple states that we try to put the spiritual above the physical.

 That's a nice way  to look at my beliefs, I try to put the spiritual above the physical. While always honoring and revering the physical world, the natural world.  

I hope we can now put the scary rumors to rest. Besides its not the symbol that makes a difference in the world, but the person wearing it.

Tomorrow let's discuss Ghosts, Spirits and Hauntings!  Do you  .   .   .   believe in Ghosts? 


(There seems many debates ongoing in the world of the human sciences, anthropology, sociology, theology and such, as well as magickal experts, as to the origins and first usage of the pentagram and its meaning to the cultures who used it.  I have presented the history as I've researched and as such all opinions are mine, even the ones that disagree with the experts.) 



(c) 2010 Enchantments, LLC Portions of this blog post may contain material from my book 'Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies' For more information see www.enchantmentsschool.com

2 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more. So many movies have also done a number on the Pentacle. How many scenes can you think of where the new neighbors get harrassed by all manner of scary beings/happenings only to find that in an adjacent apartment (under the bed usually) is a GIANT PENTAGRAM. Silly stuff.

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  2. Faith-didn't the ancient Druids use the Pentagram also? So silly to be scared of a symbol isn't it.
    Still digging your weblog!
    Karen

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