I’ve been asked more than once what the meaning of the Pentacles I wear hold for me, but recently when asked again, I paused for a moment. It has many meanings for many different people and its basic claim to fame is a world known symbol of Witchcraft. I am one of an unknown quantity of Pagans in this country who wears the symbol with pride as well as joy. Joy because we can wear them without fear. This was not always the case, for some of us much more recently than you might think. In the mid-90’s I met a nurse who was openly told she would be fired if she wore her pentacle in such a way patients could see it. But, when was the last time I even tried to define my personal definition of what the Pentacle stands for.
There was a time when I wore my Pentacles as a challenge, almost as if I dared anyone to voice their objection to me: open that can of worms…I dare you.
But, with years come wisdom and it’s nice to feel that when I have openly visable pentacles on my body I become a face for Paganism, Witchcraft, Earth Religions and the openness to all sources of spiritual fulfillment. I want to be a source of light and laughter in a world of shadows and uncertainties: my spiritual life is what guides me. The Pentacle represents this path, this journey, this spiritual life of mine. That is the first aspect always that comes to me when I think on it.
Starhawk has some suggestions as to more direct use of the pentagram in meditations in The Spiral Dance, among them one where the points represent Birth, Initiation, Love, Repose and Death. The eternal cycle of birth, life, death and re-birth that holds the answer to all our questions within its mystery. The sacred Pentacle is a tool to help focus our intention when used as an aspect of meditation.
Of course I also feel the pull of the sacred directions and elements within the circle of a Pentacle: East/Air, South/Fire, West/Water and North/Earth. But the observant person says, “Those are only 4 points, what is the 5thpoint for?” I’ve heard it explained as Spirit, the spirit that directs the elements and directions. I also see that 5thpoint as being the coming together of all the elements to spark creation, the result of mixing all the elements with spirit. That spark of life that resides in our very center, where spirit and matter mingle and create our unique life experience. The circle that then embraces the 5 points represents to me Above & Below: all that is outside of you. I particularly like the combination of plants or trees with the Pentacle. Trees are such a beautiful example of the idea of “As Above, So Below” seen easily during the sleep of winter. Have you ever studied a bare tree in winter enough to suddenly realize that what you see is a mirror image of what is below the earth’s surface? The root system buried in the nourishing earth would most likely look an awful lot like the above ground branches in the dead of winter.
It was a delightful surprise to receive as a Solstice/Christmas gift from my beautiful friend Mary a lovely box with the image of a pentacle with the Tree of Life, and around the round box are the 4 elements. Don’t you love it when a friend seems to have picked up a direct line into your mind/heart and found something so symbolic at just the right time?