Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Pentacle

The pentacle is pretty much the universal symbol of Paganism and Wicca, and today I'm (finally) going to talk about it.
The pentacle is the common symbol of Earth on Altars. To bless something with the element of Earth, many people hold the object over a pentacle. This is especially helpful when the object in question cannot be blessed by salt because it is too corrosive or will scratch the object, or by dirt because the object will get dirty.
Sometimes, the pentacle is called a “passive” tool, but I don’t think tools are active or passive: they are all both active and passive, depending on what is happening at the time. Frankly, I don’t quite understand the “active” and “passive” tools.

A “standard” pentagram altar tile is usually made of copper, and is between 5 and 6 inches in diameter. Of course, they come in a variety of sizes and finishes. I’m sure if you looked hard enough, you could find a neon pink one.
Copper is the “standard” because of two main reasons:
1) It is a very powerful and magical metal
2) Gold represents the God and Silver represents the Goddess in Wicca. The pentagram is a symbol of all-encompassing traits (the five elements, the five senses, ect), so having a pentagram made out of gold or silver would then limit the all-inclusiveness. Hence, copper is the next logical choice.
I also expect that in Ye Olde Days, copper was less expensive than gold or silver, but that’s not important.

Of course, there is no reason why you can’t have a silver or gold pentacle on your altar. Some schools of thought say that you SHOULD have more than one pentacle: a large, traditional copper one, and smaller silver and gold ones. Most Pagans, however, say to go with what YOU like.
Personally? I’m not a fan of yellow gold. It’s too harsh, and I don’t think it goes with a lot. I much prefer white gold and silver. In fact, when I ask for jewellery (like for graduation, my grandmother always give you a piece of jewellery) I ask for white gold or silver only. Of the rings that I wear, four of the five are silver toned (the other is black). Some people, like my mother, prefer a mix of gold and silver. Some people like just gold.

Yes, I do have a pentagram, but I don’t always use it as my “earth” element in rituals. I usually use salt or an ankh of mine.

Anyway, I don’t think I really have a point here, so I’m going to do a quick recap:
- Pentacles are earth symbols and usually used instead of salt or dirt
- They are also used as permanent altar decoration
- Traditionally, they are made of copper
- They are used to represent the unity of the five elements


Jaelle said...

Awesome post on the pentacles - I really liked that first picture with your white (clay?) pentacle. I'd never really thought overall about the create/uncreate cycle although it makes so much sense. That's actually a really nice balance.

On a funnier (or not?) side, it took me a couple of minutes to distinguish that those are in fact, vowels, and not symbols of some ancient mystical tongue that I don't understand yet.

---Lea Elisabeth said...

haha, yeah, it took me a second there too. I thought they were runes>.<

I really like that pentacle too. It was the first one that cmae up on google.

hexeengel said...

In Wicca, "active" and "passive" refer in part to elemental associations. Active tools (athame and wand, for example) are associated with the active elements, namely Air and Fire. These elements are active because they are changing and dynamic, charged up and forceful. The passive elements are then Earth and Water, because they are more mutable and slow in their changes and how they change other things, so their tools (pentacle, cup. cualdron, etc.) are considered passive.

Additionally, the God's energy is said to be active, partly because Air and Fire are considered His elements. Likewise, Goddess energy is passive, so Earth and Water are Hers. This is because the God is seen as being more headstrong and vivacious, while the Goddess has more patience and steadfastness.

Another way to think of these energies and elements is as receptive and directive. The wand and athame are used to direct energy, while the pentacle and cup are used to receive it.


A lot of my information is directly copy-pasted frm my own Book of Shadows, collected over the past couple of years from a variety of sourses. I try to credit where I can, and I try to paraphrase and change words around without changing meanings as much as I can.
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