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Wiccans, tarot card readers and magicians of all stripes have been using the pentacle as a magical tool and talismanic charm since at least the late middle-ages.
In this guide, we’re going to give you a brief primer on this powerful magical symbol, and teach you how to charge a pentacle talisman or keepsake for use in spells, rituals and evocations.
What is a Pentacle?
Newcomers to Wicca and all things magical might be surprised to learn that a pentacle isn’t necessarily the “five-pointed-symbol-within-a-circle” that is often used interchangeably with the similar word, “Pentagram”.
A Quick Definition & History
The word “pentacle” was originally used to describe any kind of magical symbol or talisman that hung from the neck:
“…it seems most likely that it comes through Italian and French from the root pend- “to hang”, and so is equivalent to a pendant or charm hung about the neck. From the fact that one form of pentacle was the pentagram or star-pentagon, the word itself has been connected with the Greek “pent” (five).”The Theosophical Society
Over time, the word “pentacle” began to be used exclusively to define the magical star symbol we know today.
The classic Wiccan notion of the pentacle most likely originates from the 1909 Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck, and symbolizes either the element of earth, or (more usually) all five elements at each of its cardinal points.
We don’t have the time or space in this article to delve into the neo-pagan traditions and history of the pentacle in full, so let’s concentrate on the form of pentacle we’re interested in today:
A five pointed star within a circle, either made into a piece jewelry or etched onto the surface of something, such as a ring or keepsake.
Selecting Your Pentacle
Before we teach you how to charge a pentacle, let’s take a moment to talk about selection:
The pentacle’s power comes from both its symbolism, and the charge given to it by its owner. That makes selecting a pentacle talisman fairly straightforward:
- It doesn’t matter how it looks.
- It doesn’t matter what it’s made from.
- It doesn’t matter where (or how) it’s worn.
The most important part of pentacle selection is to choose something that resonates with you, rather than something that “looks magical”.
Pentacles traditionally represent the material realm and the elemental force of earth. So they can be any range of materials including metal, stone, glass or ceramic.
How to Charge a Pentacle
Once you’ve selected your favorite style of pentacle, it’s time to charge it!
What is Charging?
“Charging” is the act of taking a neutral and inanimate object and filling it with a certain type of energy or power.
In the case of a pentacle, the symbolism of the object already gives it purpose and power. The act of charging the item simply adds focus and helps the magician to form a bond with their talisman, whilst at the same time removing older, residual energy from it.
You can think of the process of charging a pentacle as being a bit like a “reset” or a “reboot”.
Here’s a simple three stage process that any beginner can use to charge a newly acquired pentacle.
Phase 1: Cleansing the Pentacle
Before charging or wearing a necklace, ring or talisman, it should be cleansed, or “neutralized”. An easy technique is to dangle the item into a pool of water, or carefully holding it under a fast flowing stream.
As you feel the cool water rush over your hands, imagine the negative emotions and imprints flowing from the object and carried away by the rushing water.
Try to reach a neutral, contented state. You should feel an overwhelming sense of contentment when the job is complete.
Before cleansing in this manner, please take note of your object and whether it can be submerged in water. You can instead cleanse with incense or smudging if the item will be damaged by water.
Phase 2: Blessing the Pentacle
Next, it’s time to cement everything. Say a small prayer of your choosing to bless the item. Do this while the pentacle is still submerged and you’re in a relaxed state.
If you’re attempting this in a public place and you’re feeling shy, simply whisper the following short line as you lift the pentacle out of the stream:
“Water flows, rocks remain”Romanian Proverb
Doing so should emphasize the pentacle’s status as an element of earth, and leave you with a clean slate for the charging process.
Note: Flowing water, pools and lakes have long been viewed as sacred in pagan religions. Finding such a place in the the middle of a bustling city can be tough. If you can only manage with a running tap or a bowl of water, so be it. However, there are plenty of ways to get creative in the middle of town. Think rivers, ponds, wishing wells or ornamental fountains!
With the cleaning and blessing complete, it’s time to find out how to charge a pentacle:
Phase 3: Charging the Pentacle
The process of how to charge a pentacle depends on the item’s eventual intended use: For many Wiccans, the simple act of wearing the talisman or pendant for a week or more is enough to bind it to the wearer’s person.
During this acclimatization period, it’s fine to take the item off to wash or shower. However, it’s good practice to avoid allowing others to handle or wear the pentacle during the early stages of charging.
How to Charge a Pentacle for Ritual and Magical Use
For more specific rituals and the use of the pentacle as a magical aid in spells and ceremonies, the charging process needs to be a little more specific:
Charging the pentacle for specific uses requires a visualization technique. Try experimenting with this powerful charging ritual.
- Place the pentacle in front of you, within close reach.
- Warm your hands by using friction. Close your eyes.
- When your hands are warm, slowly pull them apart.
Feel the warm energy form into a bubble of power.
- Concentrate your mind into the center of the bubble.
Focus on the intended use of your magical pentacle talisman.
- Say your intention out loud.
- Visualize the bubble growing, stretching and becoming rigid.
Slowly but surely, the bubble changes color to reflect your intentions.
- Use your imagination to force the bubble towards the pentacle.
As the bubble hits the object, it bursts, saturating the talisman with the color of your intention.
- Pick up the pentacle and continue to visualize the glowing color trapped beneath its surface.
The charging process is now complete.
Using the Charged Pentacle Talisman
Now you’ve learned how to charge a pentacle, it’s time to put your talisman to good use! What follows is by no means an exhaustive list. However it should give you a few ideas about how pentacles can be employed in Wiccan magic.
The Spiritual Warrior
From a spiritual perspective, the pentacle is not only symbolic of the earth element, but also of a protective shield. This means that once charged as a protective talisman, it can be likened to the Christian icon of “St. Christopher” or even play a similar role to a crucifix necklace.
In addition, because the pentacle symbolizes a protective shield, it also has connections to valor, ethics and strength of character.
These “chivalric” qualities make a properly charged pentacle a powerful protective charm against the underhanded, the untruthful and the deceptive.
It’s interesting to note that the pentacle might be one of the original chivalric symbols that ended up being used on the badges of law enforcement officials. Make of that what you will!
As an Altar Tool
When properly charged, a pentacle can be placed on an altar. It will cement and reinforce the magician’s connections to the earthly realm.
The power of earth is cohesive and anchoring. By placing your pentacle talisman on your ritual altar, you’re better able to concentrate on the spell or incantation at hand.
As a magical aid, the pentacle is unsurpassed among all of the pagan and Wiccan symbols.
“Behold the pentacle, wielder of elemental earth. What is cast this day is bound this day, as above, so below”What We Knew in the Night: Reawakening the Heart of Witchcraft
Volumes of literature are devoted to the use of the pentacle in ritual magic. Usually, the pentacle serves as a kind of focal point for manifesting spells and visualizations into the physical (earthly) realm.
When used in spell casting, pentacles act as “portals” or “hatchways”. This does have some dubious connections to black magic. However it’s important to realize that some of the most powerful realms outside of the physical world are the ones we conjure in our own minds. The pentacle acts as a bridge, manifesting your inner intent into being.
The pentacle is perhaps the most easily recognized and most powerful symbols in pagan and Wiccan religion. A properly charged pentacle, worn as a talisman, can be a powerful spiritual shield and a potent magical force-multiplier.