Archive for the ‘Invoking Pentagrams’ Category

2013 – lughnasadh


Breaking a Blood Spell

   Posted by: Scrivener

Breaking a Blood Spell Ritual


Invoking and Banishing Pentagrams

   Posted by: Scrivener



Invoking and Banishing 










Oh my god, [they’re] full of stars.”


David Bowman’s final, paraphrased words from 2001: A Space Odyssey
applies not only to enigmatic alien artifacts but to pentagrams and pentacles as well. A pentagram is a precisely drawn five-pointed star (as in the case of Wicca save for second-degree initiations) with the one point up and two downward (spirit over body.) A pentagram is a pentacle inside a circle. A pentagram drawn with the one point downward and two up, for a witch, signifies that they are on a voyage of self-discovery and learning to face the darkness within lest it overwhelm them later. This tradition is similar to the ceremonial magician’s Dark Night of the Soul.” For a Satanist, an inverted pentagram or pentacle is a sign of pleasure over rationality, or that their will is the sum of the law, and love is the law subject to their will.


I have written this short essay because last time at class there was some confusion (most of it on my part) over the proper way to use the invoking and banishing pentagram. This essay is my attempt at clearing some of the confusion and correcting an incorrect supposition on my part. Another reason for the writing, and for that matter, the reading of this small article is that whether it be ritual or magick, your experience will be all the more powerful if you understand why you do or say something rather than reading empty words or following gestures by rote.


Since this paper is not a formal thesis, I have not cited all my sources (what good ceremonial magician would?) only those whose work I have extensively quoted.



The pentagram has long been associated with mystery and magic. It is the simplest form of star shape that can be drawn uni-cursally – with a single line – hence it is sometimes called the Endless Knot. Other names are the Goblin’s Cross, the Pentalpha, the Witch’s Foot, the Devil’s Star and the Seal of Solomon (more correctly attributed to the hexagram). It has long been believed to be a potent protection against evil and demons, hence a symbol of safety, and was sometimes worn as an amulet for happy homecoming. The potency and associations of the pentagram have evolved throughout history. Today it is a ubiquitous symbol of neo-pagans with much depth of magickal and symbolic meaning.

To the Gnostics, the pentagram was the ‘Blazing Star’ and, like the crescent moon was a symbol relating to the magic and mystery of the nighttimes sky.
For the Druids, it was a symbol of Godhead.
In Egypt, it was a symbol of the “underground womb” and bore a symbolic relationship to the concept of the pyramid form.
The Pagan Celts ascribed the pentagram to the underground goddess Morrigan.

Early Christians attributed the pentagram to the Five Wounds of Christ and from then until medieval times, it was a lesser-used Christian symbol. Prior to the time of the Inquisition, there were no “evil” associations to the pentagram. Rather its form implied Truth, religious mysticism and the work of The Creator.

In Medieval times, the “Endless Knot” was a symbol of Truth and was a protection against demons. It was used as an amulet of personal protection and to guard windows and doors. The pentagram with one point upwards symbolized summer; with two points upwards, it was a sign for winter.

During the long period of the Inquisition, there was much promulgation of lies and accusations in the “interests” of orthodoxy and elimination of heresy. The Church lapsed into a long period of the very diabolism it sought to oppose. The pentagram was seen to symbolize a Goat’s Head or the Devil in the form of Baphomet and it was Baphomet whom the Inquisition accused the Templars of worshipping.
In the purge on witches, other horned gods such as Pan became equated with the Devil (a Christian concept) and the pentagram – the folk-symbol of security – for the first time in history – was equated with “evil” and was called the Witch’s Foot.

The Old Religion and its symbols went underground, in fear of the Church’s persecution, and there it stayed, gradually withering, for centuries.
In the foundation of Hermeticism, in hidden societies of artisans and scholarly men, away from the eyes of the Church and its paranoia, the proto-science of alchemy developed along with its occult philosophy and cryptical symbolism. Graphical and geometric symbolism became very important and the period of the Renaissance emerged. The concept of the microcosmic world of Man as analogous to the macrocosm, the greater universe of spirit and elemental matter became a part of traditional western occult teaching, as it had long been in eastern philosophies.” As above, so below” The pentagram, the ‘Star of the Microcosm’, symbolized Man within the microcosm, representing in analogy the Macrocosmic universe. The upright pentagram bears some resemblance to the shape of man with his legs and arms outstretched. In Tycho Brahe’s Calendarium Naturale Magicum Perpetuum (1582) occurs a pentagram with human body imposed and the Hebrew for YHSVH associated with the elements. An illustration attributed to Brae’s contemporary Agrippa (Henry Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim) is of similar proportion and shows the five planets and the moon at the centre point – the genitalia. Other illustrations of the period by Robert Fludd and Leonardo da Vinci show geometric relationships of man to the universe. Later, the pentagram came to be symbolic of the relationship of the head to the four limbs and hence of the pure concentrated essence of anything (or the spirit) to the four traditional elements of matter – earth, water, air and fire – spirit is The Quintessence.

No known graphical illustration associating the pentagram with evil appears until the nineteenth century. Eliphaz Levi Zahed (actually the pen name of Alphonse Louis Constant, a defrocked French Catholic abbé) illustrates the upright pentagram of microcosmic man beside an inverted pentagram with the goat’s head of Baphomet. It is this illustration and juxtaposition that has led to the concept of different orientations of the pentagram being “good” and “evil”.


Five points for five elements:


While people have been drawing pentagrams for one purpose or another for thousands of years, it was the Greeks, particularly the mathematician, Pythagoras (of a2 + b2 = c2 = the Pythagorean Theorem fame) who first assigned elemental names to the five points of the pentagram. He also furthered some interesting properties of pentagram:


  • The ratio of any two unbroken line segments joined at point vertices, is approximately 1.618~. Check your trigonometry if you don’t believe me. This number is known as the golden mean. The golden mean also refers to body proportions of arms to legs. A normal human body with the arms and legs arranged properly forms the points for a pentacle.
  • A pentacle is unicursal; it is a single unbroken loop.


  • The golden mean may also be derived from the either of the shorter line segments formed from a long line segment where a point breaks such a line.


  • Treating the line segments as cords intersecting a circle provides the basis for some trigonometric and geometric functions. Remember our discussion about “circle geometries?”


The pentagram was adopted by Enochian ceremonial magicians and later by the Golden Dawn (not to be confused with the golden mean.) Somewhere in time, the wice, or witches learned this symbol.


Possibly, witches learned the use of this symbol from the druids. If druids were the priests of their time, then the witches were the village deacons: more accessible and less aloof than their druid brethren. The witches may have learned or copied druidic rituals and then changed them as they saw fit.


Druids were certainly well aware of the Greeks and could have learned some mathematics from them and then passed this knowledge on to the village wice or wicce (hence Wicca.) Much—not all—of witchcraft to me seems like watered down versions of ceremonial magick.


Pythagoras as I mentioned earlier assigned each point of the pentagram one of the basic magickal elements: Spirit or Will, Fire, Water, Air, and Earth.


Over the years the points the elements were assigned to shifted somewhat. One can attribute that fact to differences between Wiccan traditions and the cases where practitioners altered the directions of the elements to correspond more closely to the local geography. As in the case of some who call Air in the north and orient their altars as such. However, most traditions assign the elements as illustrated in fig. 1.


Five Points, Five Elements, and Five Ways to Summon Elementals

Alternatively, a Hypothesis Disproved:


Figure 1: Pentagram element and color correspondences


Pictured above is the pentacle, as we know it, oriented (usually) with one point up and two downward, and girded within circle. Some have proffered the idea that the circle represents protection, and or the fact that all the elements are connected. Personally, I ascribe to the latter notion. Elements and their respective colors assigned to the appropriate points of the pentacle.


In class, we were taught to draw an invoking pentagram by starting at the point assigned to Spirit, then moving in an unbroken motion from Spirit towards Earth as depicted in the next figure. The quarter caller would then proceed from Earth to Water to Air to


Fire and then back to Spirit.     


To draw the banishing pentagram one starts as shown in the adjoining figure and then visits each point in a similar fashion to the invoking



That’s about as far as most witches go even though there are invoking and banishing pentagrams for each of the elements. Therefore, when drawing an invoking or banishing pentagram while calling the quarters, one is actually drawing the invoking or banishing pentagram for the element of Earth.


In my personal practice, I plan to draw the proper elemental pentagram at each of the quarters instead of using the more generic technique. I was experimenting the other day. I was standing facing the east and drew the invoking pentagram for Air. Even though I didn’t call the quarter, I felt the elemental’s presence or at least its interest. Apparently, the act of drawing the pentagram alone is enough at least to get a nod from the quarter guardians.


There is a case for using just the invoking and banishing pentagram in Wiccan rituals. That being that since Air, Water, and Fire (according to their colors) combine to form Earth, it is not considered improper to use just the pentagram for Earth for quarter calls.


However, there are four more possible invoking and banishing pentagrams. There is an invoking and banishing pentagram for all five elements. Generally, the rule for drawing an invoking pentagram is start at the point opposite the element you are invoking and draw toward that element. To banish the element, simply begin at the element in question and draw away to the element directly opposite. See the figures for invoking and banishing Earth.


The exception to the rule is Spirit. The forms for the invoking and banishing pentagrams of Spirit are shown in figures 4 through figures 7.


Figure 2: Invoking Spirit (active)         Figure 5: Banishing Spirit (active)


Figure 6: Invoking Spirit (passive)        Figure 7: Spirit Banishing (passive)


Therefore, to invoke Spirit, one draws to either the left-hand or the right hand-point from the lower either left-hand or the right-hand point. Then, to banish the elemental, you simply reverse the drawing order used for the invoking.


Why are there two sets for Spirit? One set is for invoking the active Spirit and the other for Spirit in a passive sense. Put another way, an active invoking of Spirit is Spirit in a superior position over the element, which is what you would want in most circumstances. Invoking Spirit in an inferior mode or under the elements would be satanic equivalent of an inverted pentagram all that the satanic inverted pentagram stands for (e.g. flesh over spirit.)


Of course, this discussion regarding Spirit is moot since I am not aware of any Wiccan rituals that require Spirit to be called. This is just another one of my little intellectual curiosities.


Finally, to have one of my hypotheses proved wrong. Back when life was simpler and we only had one invoking pentagram, I suggested a better banishing pentagram would be just to draw down the right side of Spirit since the resulting pentagram would be a mirror image of the invoking pentagram used.




I don’t know where I came up with that but I cannot find the source and until I can find a verifiable source that says that, I have to say that my supposition was invalid—just plain wrong. Besides, I think we have enough invoking and banishing pentagrams without adding another one.



Examples of Invoking and Banishing Pentagrams


Air invoking and banishing pentagrams




Fire invoking and banishing pentagrams




Water invoking and banishing pentagrams




Earth invoking and banishing pentagrams









Spirit invoking and banishing pentagrams


Unlike the other elements, there are at least four invoking and banishing pentagrams for Spirit.


Invoking Spirit (active)             Banishing Spirit (active)


Invoking Spirit (passive)            Spirit Banishing (passive)