The Wiccan Pentagram: Common Misconceptions

Everyone, or nearly everyone, knows what a pentagram is. For anyone unfamiliar with the term, the more common “star” may help clarify.

A simple pentagram.

It’s common practice for people to draw this when they want to seem “evil” or “satanic.” We’ve all been to Hot Topic, so, and we’ve all seen the rings, necklaces, earrings, shirts, pants, wallets, watches, and everything else printed with this symbol. But what is it really?

Well, it’s not the symbol of evil that many people seem to think it is. The general symbol, though inverted and added to, was adopted by Anton Szandor LaVey when he founded modern Satanism, but there are noticeable differences between his Symbol of Baphomet and the common Pentagram.

There are a few differences between this and the Pentagram shown above. This is a lot spookier.

 At its base, the Pentagram is a symbol of protection. All unicursal (drawn with one line) symbols are, actually. Geometric figures, such as stars like this, when drawn without lifting the pencil, are symbols of protection, not evil. I hope you kept that receipt to Hot Topic.

As far as its other meanings and origins, they are fairly simple. The Pentagram has five points. Five is the result of adding Two, a feminine number (magically speaking), and 3, a masculine number (again, magically speaking). This means that it is a symbol of unity, harmony, marriage, and the like.

According to Pythagoras, the guy who really made the Pentagram a popular thing (though it had been around long before him), each point also represents an element. These elements are the basic divisions of body and soul (5, according to Pythagoras, was the number of Man, not as a gender, but as a being). The elements earth, air, fire, water, and ether (or psych, depending on your interpretation) were assigned to the points of the Pentagram. It was thought that with these elements in harmony and unity, as on the Pentagram, the body and soul would be in perfect health. The Pentagram was a symbol for good health.

Pythagoras actually used the symbol of a Pentagram like modern Christians use the Cross, making one with his hand as a greeting. It meant good health, and was a symbol of Hygiea, the goddess of healing. If you want to try it, it’s very simple:

  1. Start with your hand at your left breast.
  2. Bring your hand to your forehead.
  3. Now down to your right breast.
  4. Then to your left shoulder.
  5. Then the right shoulder.
  6. Now back to the start (left breast).

So, to summarize, drawing a Pentagram on your arm in pen does not make you Satanic or hardcore. In fact, if you believe in it, it’s a sign of good health and protection. That’s why I wear mine around my neck, and on my finger.

Source: Nozedar, Adele. The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Signs and Symbols: The Ultimate A-Z Guide from Alchemy to the Zodiac. London: HarperElement, 2008. Print.