A five-pointed star circumscribed by a circle, also known as a pentagram or pentangle. Originally rooted in Celtic tradition, it represented peace and protection, similar in symbolic use to the Christian symbol of the cross (but predating it by a margin of hundreds of years). Much like the symbol of the Iron Cross (aka Swastika), which was for a time used by Christians to identify one another during periods of persecution, the pentacle has in recent history been maligned.

Sometimes it's called a peyton, in this case I'm talking about a flat platelike disc with a pentagram inscribed on it. Sometimes they're metal and sometimes wooden or even wax (left over from the days when having a pentacle carved anywhere could cause you to get burned; a wax pentacle could be melted and destroyed quickly). They're symbolic of the element of Earth, aligned with the Goddess and the north. This is the thing that you place in the center of the altar when you're doing a ritual. A lot of the time a ritual will focus on a particular symbol, and that's what you put on the pentacle. You can also put things on it to consecrate them, and you can use it for anything from placing symbolic candles on to using it as your plate to cut a symbolic apple. It's kind of a rip-off to buy one; they're REALLY expensive even for a small one. You're better off doing what I did: make your own. (Mine used to be a circular wooden cutting board; now it's a ritual object! It's magick!)

Magickal tools

Pen"ta*cle (?), n. [Gr. five.]

A figure composed of two equilateral triangles intersecting so as to form a six-pointed star, -- used in early ornamental art, and also with superstitious import by the astrologers and mystics of the Middle Ages.

<-- ?? Usually, it is a five-pointed star, also called a pentagram or pentalpha. See illustr. under pentalpha. The six-pointed is also called Solomon's seal; it resembles the star of David (Magen David) [not listed in the W1913] -->

 

© Webster 1913.

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