Paganism101: What does the Pentacle/Pentagram mean?
When some people see a practioner publicly displaying this symbol their mind probably flashes to some scenes from a horror movie, or some unsavory characters in dark robes doing gods knows what in the woods at the midnight hour.
As long as there will be Pagans or any minority group around no one takes time to learn about and understand there will always be social stigma and sterotypes.
Does the whole of Christendom get critisized for White Supremists/KKK members who burn crosses, a symbol of Christianity and that of redemption? Before the Nazi’s used the swastika, did you know it was an acient symbol of peace? These are extreme examples, but it is to demonstrate that a symbol is just that a symbol and it means nothing unless someone gives it meaning and a purpose.
So what does the Pentacle/Pentagram mean to modern Pagans?
For one, it is a symbol of empowerment, some see it as a protection symbol, some as a symbol of the goddess, in short there is no straightforward meaning, it could mean anything depending on the individual practioner. While some people use it for their own gain, and the purpose of this article and this site is not to pass judgment on anothers path, but to empower the community to find commonground in our diversity, and to reach out and help others unfamilar with our beliefs to understand them better.
Typically to most Pagans especially those that Follow a Wiccan or Wiccan inspired path and also those practioners of Witchcraft out there, the Pentacle represents the four classic elements.
Some see the top point as representing the “fifth element” - Spirit. Or our connection to the divine.
When the five point star is encircled it creates the Pentagram, which is seen as a symbol of protection, the star representing humanity being encircled and protected by the divine as represented by the circle.
Historic fun fact: Some Ancient Christians used the Pentacle to represent the five wounds of Christ, and looked at depictions of the Star of Bethleham recently? Yup, Pentacle.
What does the Pentacle/Pentagram mean to you?
I’m more than a little upset by your examples here. I’m of Jewish descent, with grandparents who survived the Holocaust. Recently, I encountered a swastika in my neighborhood and it made me legitimately fear for my safety. I know the original meanings of the symbol, but the associations are purely negative now, because of how it has been used to symbolize the mindset that people of my ethnicity (and several other racial/religious/ethnic/sexuality groups) should be dead.
Not so with the pentacle. It really feels like a false equivalence to me.
This was not meant to offended. I am truly upset myself if you were as it was not my intentions to upset or make anyone feel uncomfortable or upset. It was simply a hyperbolic example, I use a lot of hyperbole in my writings.
I went back and edited my post and expanded on my musings and analogies, in hope that it might clear up any misconception. Thx.
" And this is not meant to offend people, I know the swastika evokes strong emotion due to how the Nazis perverted it. But it depends upon intent, if you saw a hindu wearing one, which is a peace symbol for them you wouldnt be offended. And while a Pentacle/Pentagram may not evoke strong emotions to that level, some people might be afraid to display thier symbol of Pagan belief, their pentacle or Pentagrams, for fear of fundamentalists, some fundamentalists do get militant when they see someone wearing a pentacle/pentagram they equate it with "devil worship" and things theyve seen in horror movies due to lack of understanding. Like I said these are extreme examples yes. But a symbol is just a symbol. It has no meaning except to the person that gives it meaning. A cross, a pentacle, a squigly line, and yes even a Swastika. People see A swastkia and think "wwII, Nazis, horrible time in history, genocide etc." Which I am not trying to condone with this analogy mind you, its just a hyperbolic example. But they think of that instead of a Sanskirt/Hindu symbol of peace as it was originally intended. Much like someone sees a pentagram/pentacle and think "hollywood horror movie magic" and "devil worship" and not what it really means. (I hope editing this and adding this in helps clarify and clear up any misconceptions or offense, not explaining the analogy may have left. Thanks )"