A pentagram is an image of a five-pointed star, often inscribed within a circle. This image, also called a pentacle, has been associated with magical spells for centuries. The image is often displayed on a a small flat disk usually made of wood, wax, clay, or some kind of metal that can be worn on a cord around the neck. In ancient times magicians often used these as amulets to protect themselves from attacks by evil spirits or as talismans that enabled them to conjure and command spirits. In modern times pentacles have a similar use.

Most often they are used to protect the wearer or help the wearer achieve a specific goal, in which case the material chosen for the pentacle depends upon its intended magical use. Throughout history the pentagram has been compared to a human figure, with one point as the head, two opposing points as the arms, and two lower points as legs. To many who believe in the pentagram’s magical powers, the solitary point at the top represents pure spirit, and the other points represent the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water.

Witches often incorporate pentagrams into their magical work by drawing the symbol during various spells and rituals and by using it as a focus of concentration that helps them turn thoughts and desires into reality. They also routinely draw a circle around the pentagram because they believe that this circle strengthens the pentagram’s magic and offers additional protection to the user. The origin of the pentagram’s association with magic is unclear. However, the symbol appears in writings related to an ancient Hebrew mystical system known as the kabbalah, whose beliefs have influenced many occult groups throughout history.

A pentagram within a circle also appears on rings worn by members of a mystical brotherhood founded by the Greek philosopher Pythagoras (c. 570–c. 500 B.C.)


  • Magic and Spells
  • Witchcraft


The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning