The Pentagram is an ancient symbol that has had varied associations of meaning and relevance attributed to it. Esoterically, it has been used as a sacred symbol in Western Hermetics, Eastern philosophies, Christian Gnosticism and other religious practices. In some form, the Pentagram was important to almost every ancient culture, including the Mayans, Greeks and was found scratched into the walls of Neolithic caves and Babylonian drawings. Its most prevalent use in modern times has been in association with Western Hermetics and the spiritual paths of the occult.
The pentagram is a five pointed star. The term Pentacle, which is used interchangeably with Pentagram, is generally applied to the depiction of the pentagram enclosed within a circle. Magickally, this completed symbol references the continuum of the cycle of all things and the presence of the five alchemical elements as contained within that continuum.
A Tool of Working
Used as a sacred tool in Wiccan practice, the Pentacle is used as physical representation of all of the alchemical elements; Spirit, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. It is used as a symbol of earth and in Gaia’s physical form the containment of these elements in the foundations of earth, sky, water, mineral and the Spirit of these elements. For one who uses the Pentacle in ritual and magickal working, it symbolizes the foundations that have been laid in developing affinity and knowledge of the elements and the harmony and balance of the natural world. Its cardinal direction is North.
A Pentagram may be placed on an altar, scribed into the ground in creating sacred space or inscribed on other tools. The Pentagram as a tool of grounding and magnetic attraction is often worn as an amulet in ritual space. In this way, the Pentacle is one and the same with he/she wearing it and is a reminder of their connection to all of the elemental energies present.
The Pentagrams of the Elements
Now imagine using the Pentagram as a tool of connection and synthesis of the subset of elements. Each element contains within itself parts of all of the others and each expression of a subset varies ever so slightly, but effectively in creating something of higher expression that is the synthesis of the two.
The subsets are:
Air of Air, Air of Fire, Air of Water, Air of Earth, and Air of Spirit
Fire of Fire, Fire of Water, Fire of Earth, Fire of Air and Fire of Spirit
Water of Water, Water of Earth, Water of Air, Water of Fire and Water of Spirit
Earth of Earth, Earth of Air, Earth of Fire, Earth of Water and Earth of Spirit
There is very transformative work that can be done in accessing and applying this energy toward your spiritual growth. They may also be used in ritual and spell work. What makes this approach slightly different than simply using the subset of elements individually is their anchoring within the form of the Pentagram. Numerologically, the number Five (5) is the great disrupter and transformer. This is the intent in working with the Pentagrams in this way. To disrupt the status quo and provide the appropriate catalytic energy needed to affect change from a stable baseline.
We use the concept of the Pentagram itself being the stabilizer and form of foundation from which everything else arises. So how would this energy vary if that container of stabilization were Air, Fire, Water or the amplified energy of Earth itself?
Air Pentagram – The Foundation of Mind
The Creative Consciousness
Spirit – The Divine expression of Mind. The well spring of Source for inspired thought and the breath that is immanent in its flow and all-encompassing in its flexibility. This is the breath of creation and the sacred utterance that infuses the first breath of life in its progeny.
Water – The movement of idea and thought. Brainstorming and those “ah ha” moments that pour into our consciousness like liquid. These are those that stimulate the intuitive nature and come in torrential floods as warnings to be heeded.
Fire – These are the thoughts that wake you from a dream-state and demand that you write down all that is needed. These are the ideas that are un-relentless in their demands for attention and can easily become compulsiveness. These are also those thoughts that create spontaneity and become the exciting adventures that are unplanned and abundantly satisfying.
Earth – This is your physical brain and all that feeds its functioning. This is the space of mind that generates electricity and serves as the receptacle of all that comes into its realms. This is the command center of the neurologic system and regulates and coordinates movement throughout the various systems of the physical body.
Air – The state of pure mind. Abstract thought and the beginnings of inventive creation. Nothing is projected from emotion. It is pure logic and analytical thinking whose only process is that of rationale and substantive reason.
Fire Pentagram – The Foundation of Will
The Consciousness of Primal Instinct
Spirit – The Inner Spark that enlivens and is the holographic cell of Light that is contained within the Cosmos. These are the fires of the Cosmos. The fires of the stars and energy of Light that is inherent in all that is contained within the Universe. This is the Cosmic Fire that acts as a prism refracting and deflecting its rays as its emanates out in creative expression as the planets, stars and living matter of the Universe.
Water – The all-pervasive flow of action that carries with it the fires of determination as it carves out its own path of direction. This is the action of will that spills into every crevice and opening that offers itself to the test of change.
Fire – The dynamic and pure form of will expressed devoid of emotional application or mental analysis. It takes burns brightly and with intensity because it knows no other state of being. This is the state of passion without any intended goal of recipient other than the imminent transformation of anything that steps into its bounds.
Earth – The physicality of the digestive system. This is the physiological system responsible for the fires that extract nutrients, discard waste and keep the physical machinery working at optimal capacity. When we speak of will we often equate the fuel of desire or urge with what generates the fires that produce spiritual results. Now think of the digestive system. Hunger (pangs) drives us to feed/fuel ourselves and the urge to make way for new nourishment prods the urge of elimination. Additionally, the digestive system is the space of immunity and providing what is needed to keep us healthy.
Air – This is the space of concept. The concept of an intended goal that stimulates the need to act in whatever way is in accord with realization of that goal. This is the image that calls into being what is needed to complete the process of out-picturing the end result. Air provides the necessary “oxygen” that keeps the fires of will (and desire) burning. As pure Will takes command the flow of air (mind) drops away, no longer needed, and the inexorable heat of intention becomes the bellows of sustenance.
Water Pentagram – The Foundation of Emotion
Spirit – The dialogue of “knowing” that flows from the Divine in continual stream of healing and intuitive awareness. Gnosis is birthed in these waters and it is from this gnosis that the pause of reflection and the all living compassion of stillness flows.
Water – This is the space of pure feeling that reaches deeply into the stores of the unconscious. This is the place of memory of past experiences and the feelings they evoked which have brought you to the present state of response (or reaction).
Fire – The extremes that ignite us to passion or cool us to apathy. This is the Fire that ebbs and flows as encounter each new opportunity for response and action. This is the molten lava that streams out of the eruption of volcanic pressure and is slow, steady and lasting in what it burns away.
Earth – The waters and fluids that flow through our physical body. These would include the blood and the hormones secreted from the endocrine system. This would also include the bodies response to drawing moisture into itself from the physical surroundings and the release of toxins and cooling of the body through the excretion of sweat.
Air – This is the energy that oxygenates the waters encouraging the current to move strongly towards its source. These are the boiling waters that bubble up heated by directed flame. This is the steam that rises from the surface in wave like currents veiling the clarity of what lay ahead and leaving an illusory vision imprinted in memory.
Earth Pentagram – The Foundation of Manifestation
This Pentagram is the one that most closely resembles our normal use and singular concept of the Pentagram as the Tool of Earth containing all of her elements.
Spirit – This is the foundation from which has emanated a seed of our true nature into physical form to learn the lessons of that existence. This is the space of our true state of Being; the unknowable that we merge back into at physical life’s end. This is the desire to know the purpose of life’s worth and the measure of our progress in our eternal cycle of rebirthing. This is the pre-eminent foundation that was, is and forever shall Be.
Water – The way in which we move through the world. The ease with which we navigate the challenges of a mundane existence and the flexibility that we allow ourselves as life ebbs and flows along its course. We could think of this energy as that of the waters continually and rhythmically striking the edge of the shoreline. With time and persistence the shoreline changes in response to the pressure. And with each exertion of pressure against what appears to be solid unmoving ground, there is a slight giving way, a slight change in response and this is what carves the new shore without its complete destruction.
Fire – We could consider this energy as being the action we take. This is the call to carefully tend the fires that prod us on and to be attentive to how widespread their flames reach. We use this as the tempering of what would lead us on a path less productive and when the need-fires of hearth and home require our fueling. This is the realm where intention and determination are developed as each action causes a reaction and each reaction becomes the catalyst for another action, ad infinitum.
Earth – This is the physical body we have taken as form of expression in this lifetime. This is the Temple of potential and the working machine that insures our survival. Our bodies are the ultimate test of our devotion to the Divine. If we truly believe that we are part of the Divine then the way in which we honor our physical bodies remains in accord with how we honor Deity. This is not to say that there is no room for faltering in the care of our physical form, but effort would be made and awareness of when we were less than kind to ourselves would develop.
Air – This is the energy of our thoughts and ideas. These are the products of pure Mind having been acted upon by analysis, sorting and drawn down into a place of concrete consideration. These are the plans for what will be made manifest and the energy of thought that went into that planning. Intellect emerges as a way of differentiation and weighing of the validity of what arises as thought as we refine our perceptions and build our base of information.
The Quint-essential Tool
My suggestion for working with these would be to use them as experiential and contemplative tools. Use only one at a time, perhaps beginning with the Pentagram you wish to gain more insight and experience with. For instance, I am a very Air-based individual and have worked very hard to connect with the emotional aspects of myself. I would begin my work, then, with the pentagram of Water using each of its points as a frame of reference and insight as I explore their meanings within the context of my own personality. What would begin as a contemplative act, would then become opportunities for me to experience the nature of emotion as expressed through the Fires of creativity. I would seek out opportunities to engage both my mind and my heart in creating something. As I moved through each point, the space of contemplation about that energy and the bridge of connection towards application and experience would begin to shift my perceptions and responses. This would occur slowly and possibly transparently at first, but eventually with continued practice and perseverance, I would be able to call into action the foundations built on my Pentagram of Water and when the normal recourse would have been to process only from the mental, emotion would temper and balance.
I see these Pentagrams as being infinite in the possibility of exploring them from many different perspectives. The more frames of reference you can apply to any spiritual tool the more you are adding to the foundations you have established that anchor and stabilize your mundane life and your spiritual work. Five blessings on your journey:
Five Blessings As You Begin Your Journey…
May the wisdom of the winds flow through your thoughts
May the passion of the eternal flame ignite curiosity
in your heart
May the waters of the Great Mother soothe and heal the challenges
you encounter in your seeking
May the strength of the gifts of nature and life’s energy
feed, comfort and sustain you
May you always reside in the Brilliance of your Divine Self
Resources to Learn More about the Elements:
A Year and A Day on the Wiccan Path: Lesson Two
The Natural World
The Elemental Year: Aligning the Elements of Self
R. Fennelly.2013.Serpent’s Gate
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