Chapter 16 - The Pentagram- part a
The pentagram has become a symbol which is used to represent the Wiccan tradition, as well as a number of other modern Pagan traditions in more recent times. In the tradition of Wicca it is taken to represents the four elements - Air, Fire, Water & Earth - in perfect balance thereby creating the fifth element, that of Spirit. These elemental attributions can be traced back to at least ancient Greece.
However in the past the association of the pentagram with witchcraft was basically a negative one, serving in an apotropaic manner to protect from the devil and witches. Thus in Germany in the 1820s we find its use described in an amuletic manner:
“on these mountains on the night of the thirtieth of April, the witches, with the fallen spirits, held a great festival, a witch demoniac carousal … on that night they make a pentagram on the threshold of their doors, to prevent his satanic majesty, or any of his imps, from entering their houses.”
This theme is mirrored in Goethe’s Faust, where the pentagram is a protection from demons and devils, which Mephistopheles complains to Faust about.
“Mephistopheles: Remove that parchment, and the path is plain.
Faust: Oh, ‘tis the pentagram that gives you pain.”
This idea was not restricted to Germany, as can be seen by the following example, taken from a story reproduced in two different women’s magazines of the late 1830s in England:
“The dog, or rather the devil, could not escape through the door, on account of a pentagram described upon the threshold; this figure, “the Druid’s foot,” “sive salutis signum,” being a bound which spirits cannot pass without permission.”
Extract from: Wicca: Magical Beginnings written by d’Este & Rankine, 2008 (Avalonia.) PB / Kindle @ https://amzn.to/3Ay4HJr. Shared here with the intention to inspire and inform the now and future generations interested in Wicca and other Pagan traditions inspired by it.