The pentacle or pentagram is one of the first symbols and magical tools in Wicca that one learns about. This article will be a short guide on how to make sure you have a complete altar with your own personally created pentacle from scratch.
What is a pentacle?
The pentacle is a five-pointed star encased in a circle and is a central symbol in Wicca and other forms of modern witchcraft.
The pentacle has been used as a symbol of Wicca and witchcraft for centuries, but its specific origins are difficult to trace. Some historians believe that it may have originated from the ancient symbol of the pentagram, which has been used for thousands of years as a religious symbol by various cultures worldwide, including the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Egyptians.
The pentacle is typically associated with the elements Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit/Divinity. If you’d like to learn more about the elements, we have a beginner’s guide to elemental magic.
The pentacle is also a symbol of protection and balance. In Wicca, it is used in rituals, spells, and ceremonies and represents the five elements, the four cardinal points, and the center, or the Spirit. It can represent the self, the soul, and the goddess.
What is the pentagram used for?
The pentagram is a five-pointed star that is often used as a symbol in various religious and spiritual traditions, as well as in modern secular contexts.
The pentagram has been used for thousands of years as a symbol of various concepts, including the five elements in ancient cultures, the five wounds of Jesus Christ in Christianity, and the five senses in Western philosophy.
In contemporary times, the pentagram has come to be most closely associated with Wicca and other forms of modern witchcraft.
In Wicca and other neo-pagan traditions, the pentagram is often used as a symbol of the five elements (earth, air, fire, water, and spirit), and is said to represent the five points of the human body (head, arms, and legs). It is also used as a symbol of protection and balance.
In some esotericism and occultism beliefs, the pentagram is associated with the microcosm of human beings and the macrocosm of the cosmos, and with the five senses. The top point represents the spirit and divine, the left and right ones represent the air and water elements and the bottom left and right points represent fire and earth respectively.
In more recent years, the pentagram has also been adopted as a symbol of various modern secular ideologies, such as humanism, and has been used as a symbol of various political and social movements.
It’s worth noting that the significance and meaning of the pentagram vary across different cultures, historical periods, and esoteric traditions.
How to draw a pentagram
You may be asking: What’s the difference between a pentagram and a pentacle?
The pentagram is a five-pointed star, and the pentacle is a magical tool in Wicca created out of a pentagram with a circle around it. This means, we first need to learn to draw a pentagram:
Here is one way to accurately draw a pentagram:
- Use a cup to draw a perfect circle.
- Mark 5 equidistant points around it.
- Use a protractor or angle measuring tool to check that the angles are each 36 degrees.
- Connect the dots to make the star.
Of course, you can take even easier methods such as printing one out and then tracing or pressing through the paper to indent the material you are working with.
Step by step guide for a wooden pentacle
The most common pentacle for an altar is a wooden one.
Here is a step-by-step guide for making a wooden pentacle for Wicca.
1. Gather materials
You will need a piece of wood (balsa, pine, or any other type of wood), a pencil, a ruler, a jigsaw or a scroll saw, sandpaper, a protective finish (varnish, wax, or oil), and any additional decorative elements such as paint, stains, or engraving.
2. Measure and mark the wood
Using your ruler and pencil, measure and mark out the shape of the pentacle on the wood. The pentacle is a five-pointed star and to make it accurate and symmetrical make sure the points are evenly spaced. See the previous section for help and ideas on this.
3. Cut out the pentacle
Using a jigsaw or a scroll saw, carefully cut out the pentacle shape from the wood. Take your time and be precise to make sure that the edges of the pentacle are smooth and even.
You may need to seek help for this step if you want it to look professional. Otherwise, you can use whatever found piece of wood you like and draw the circle without needing to cut.
4. Sand the pentacle
Use sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges or uneven surfaces on the pentacle.
5. Apply finish
Apply a protective finish to the pentacle to protect the wood from moisture and enhance its appearance. You can use varnish, wax, or oil to finish the pentacle.
6. Decorate (Optional)
You may choose to decorate your pentacle with paint, stains, or engraving. Personalizing it with symbols, sigils or entities related to your practice.
Perform a consecration ritual to charge the pentacle with energy and dedicate it to your spiritual practice. A full consecration ritual is given below.
It’s important to remember that you can use different types of wood, sizes, finishing, and decorations and to choose what fits your preference and tradition. Also, you can consecrate the pentacle before or after decorating it, depending on your beliefs and practice.
Consecration and use of the pentacle
In magical practice, pentacles are often made of various materials, such as wood, metal, or clay, and can be engraved or painted with various symbols and designs that correspond with the intended use of the pentacle.
For example, a pentacle made of wood with an image of a tree may be used in rituals that involve the element of earth and nature, or a pentacle made of metal with an image of a flame may be used in rituals that involve the element of fire.
The pentacle is also used as a tool for scrying and divination, by having symbols, sigils, mantras, or names of the entities related to the question or ritual inscribed in it, the pentacle becomes a focal point to meditate and reach the altered state of consciousness necessary for scrying or divination.
There are many different Wiccan consecration rituals that can be used to consecrate a new pentacle, and the specific ritual will depend on the tradition and personal preferences of the practitioner.
However, here is an example of a basic Wiccan consecration ritual that can be adapted to suit your needs:
- Create a sacred space. This can be done by casting a circle, calling the elements, or using some other method to create a protected and sacred space.
- Cleanse the pentacle. This can be done by passing it through incense smoke, anointing it with oil, or using some other method to purify the object.
- Charge the pentacle with energy. This can be done by holding the pentacle in your hands and visualizing it filling with powerful, positive energy. You may also choose to recite a mantra or a spell to empower the pentacle
- Consecrate the pentacle. This can be done by speaking words of consecration over the pentacle. You may also choose to use a specific god or goddess to consecrate the pentacle by calling upon them and asking for their blessing (I recommend Aradia).
- Use the pentacle. After the consecration, the pentacle is ready to be used in rituals, spells, and ceremonies.
It’s important to note that there’s no set way of performing a consecration ritual, and the specific elements and language can vary depending on the practitioner’s tradition or personal preference.
This can be done with a specific intention or goal in mind so that the pentacle can be used for a specific purpose. Also, consecration rituals can be done on specific days and times to align with the energy of the day and the intended purpose. See the Wiccan Wheel of the Year for ideas on special holidays.
The pentacle in tarot
The pentacle is a symbol that appears in the tarot, specifically in the suit of pentacles (also known as coins or disks) in the minor arcana. The pentacle is often associated with material wealth, practicality, and physical manifestation.
In a tarot reading, the suit of pentacles often represents practical matters such as career, finance, and physical health.
The pentacle cards can indicate that the querent is focused on material success and may be working hard to achieve their goals. They can also indicate that the querent is well-grounded and pragmatic and that they are making responsible, practical decisions.
A pentacle card can also represent manifestation, for example, the Four of Pentacles indicating being too attached to wealth or material possessions and being afraid of losing them.
The Ten of pentacles often represent material stability and the achievement of long-term goals and the satisfaction of having a stable and prosperous family.
Reversed pentacle cards can indicate that the querent is facing financial difficulties or is not taking practical matters seriously. They may also indicate that the querent is not in touch with their physical needs or is neglecting their physical health.
Further reading on Wiccan tools
- Make Incense from Kitchen Scraps
- Wiccan Garden Supplies
- Incense Holders
- Types of Incense
- Wiccan herbs and herbal magic
- Lithomancy stones
- Making witch bells
- Make a Wand
- The Wiccan Chalice
- The Wiccan Scourge
- Wiccan cingulum
- Wiccan cauldron
- Brooks, D. (2020). Wicca Altar and Tools – Wicca Altar for Beginners: The Complete Guide – How to Set Up and Take Care, What to do and What NOT to do with your Wicca Altar + 10 Unique Spells. Independently published.