Why Use the Pentacle?

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From ancient magic to modern day horoscopes and Zodiac signs, occultism is about symbols. While horoscopes are hardly limited to a few enlightened people (and most everyone is familiar with at least one of the Zodiac symbols), Astrology itself remains much more esoteric, as do many of the other magics and occult traditions, that have continued. We have integrated many old world magic arts into the modern one, such as the magic square, from which the game Suduko is likely derived.

The pentacle, amongst all symbols and sigils, is perhaps one of the least understood and one of the most feared of all of the occult signs. Often used interchangeably with the word pentagram (the otherwise innocuous 5-pointed star most of us learned to draw in grade school), the term pentacle means an amulet on which the symbol of a spirit has been drawn, while pentagram refers directly to the star itself. There has been some suggestion that “pentacle” comes from a word meaning only “necklace”, and refers to any amulet worn about the neck, which is hardly a signifies evil in and of itself. There is even a famous symbol known as the Pentacle of the Arts which bears the name of God (Elohim), as well as those of guardian angels, written in an alphabet specifically created to write angelic names.

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Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa was one of the theologians who brought the use of the pentagram into popular use, liking the mathematical aspects of its 5 points. The evil reputation comes because, when turned so that 2 points are facing to the top it resembles a horned beast and there have been many famed scholars, beginning with Eliphas Levi (who is also responsible for changing the suit of “Coins” to “Pentacles” in Tarot), who have stated that this orientation stands for evil. Whereas with a single point at the top it is said to represent the Divine’s control over the four elements and to be basically a symbol for good.

Several different pentacles may be found in the famous grimoire called the “Key of Solomon”, which provides information on how to cleanse oneself and otherwise prepare for invocation of a daemon. This book illustrates how the pentacle, and occultism in general, was once thought to be connected with God and holy things, even while it gives the names of various beings to call forth and control with a pentacle.

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