pentagram

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pentagram

1. a star-shaped figure formed by extending the sides of a regular pentagon to meet at five points
2. such a figure used as a magical or symbolic figure by the Pythagoreans, black magicians, etc.
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This pentagram, from a fourteenth-century manuscript, is designed to facilitate the acquisition of “all secrets of knowledge.” Courtesy Fortean Picture Library.

Pentagram

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The pentagram is a five-pointed, star-shaped figure usually drawn with the single point upward. It is also known as Seal of Solomon, pentalpha, Star of Logres, goblin's foot, witch's cross, and Druid's foot.

As a magical figure, its origins are lost in time. Eliphas Levi describes the pentagram as signifying "the domination of the mind over the elements." It is generally associated with the life force, much like the ancient Egyptian ankh, and was often associated with the Microcosmic Man—a figure of a man, with arms and legs extended, superimposed on a five-pointed star. For medieval alchemists, magicians, and philosophers, the pentagram symbolized man as the microcosm. As Barbara Walker says, "Man is the world, the world is man, and his genitals are the center of the universe." It was considered an illustration of the principle "as above, so below."

The pentagram has always been associated with magic. The five points represent the four elements—earth, air, fire and water—surmounted by spirit. According to the fourteenth century tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the pentacle was sacred to Morgan, the Celtic death-goddess, and in the tale was carried on a blood-red shield in her honor.

The Golden Dawn's "Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram" includes a self consecra- tion by drawing the pentagram on the body, touching with the tip of a ritual knife. A similar consecration (done either on oneself or on another) is found in some traditions of Witchcraft, where the forefinger is dipped into oil or salted water and then touched to the forehead, right breast, left shoulder, right shoulder, right breast, back to forehead. In some degree systems (e.g. Gardnerian), a variation of this ritual is part of the consecration for first degree. An inverted pentagram—with the two points upward—is for the second degree, and a pentagram surmounted by a triangle is for the third degree.

An inverted pentagram is not necessarily a sign of evil. How and by whom it is used may suggest good or evil. Reportedly, Satanists use an inverted pentagram, often portrayed superimposed on the head of a goat. In that sense it is a negative symbol, whereas an inverted pentagram used in Wicca is a positive symbol.

In modern-day Witchcraft, a pentagram is described in the air, using an athamé, to seal a consecrated circle. It may also be drawn with single point uppermost to invoke and with two points upward to banish.

Pentagram

 

a regular pentagon on whose sides are constructed isosceles triangles of identical height. In particular, the triangles can be equilateral or can be formed by extending the side of the pentagon. In the latter case the pentagram is a star-

Figure 1

shaped polygon that can also be formed by the diagonals of a regular pentagon (see Figure 1).

References in periodicals archive ?
If the pentangle is understood to represent the perfection of the connected virtues, the question then becomes a matter of which virtues are dealt with in the poem.
Bellamy represents Sir Gawain in his armour and pentangle at the outset of his journey.
Carroll, an FBI man who ended up working in the Pentagon for over 20 years, some of them alongside Robert McNamara, as first director of the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency, and who shattered the young Carroll in the Cuban Missile Crisis era by urging the teenager to drive their family south of Washington to Richmond, Virginia (or further) should the north-east United States be hit by Soviet nuclear weapons while his father was at his post in the pentangle.
By the time it reaches Gawain's pentangle emblem, which one might have expected to be its key exhibit, the book seems to have largely run out of steam.
Somewhat bizarrely, St Mary was omitted from Sinclair's pentangle --including it and excluding St Alfege creates a neat pentangle north of the Thames, while the opposite renders the pentangle undrawable.
The host remains true to the terms of engagement, but the games--and how Gawain plays them--highlight his inability to meet the standards of his pentangle and, thus, to be the man whom the pentangle affirms him to be.
For the most part, our adding two categories of actors to the golden pentangle model tends to give an even larger agenda-setting role to elite groups--because they are more likely to be transnationally linked--than is the case for the iron triangle model.
One of the founder members of Pentangle, Bert has made a staggering 21 albums.
6) Thus, were we to blazon the shield of Gawain, it would be something like 'Gules a pentangle or'.
I have done so because of the general historical plausibility of scholasticism as a context for a poem written at the end of the fourteenth century, and more specifically because the imaginatively central symbol of the pentangle is drawn from scholastic sources.
Sunday starts with Luke Jones, Afro Mio, Rabscallion and Rhino and the Ranters, followed by Cecil Sharp House Choir, Galleon Blast, Steve Tilston, Laura Gibson and Jacqui McShee's Pentangle.
Some made it, like Tyrannosaurus Rex, Steeleye Span, Pentangle and Fairport Convention, while others, left their mark on music in a more subjacent way.