Magic Pentacles and Talismans

Whether a mark of honour or a lucky charm, pentacles and talismans are the basis of magic rituals. There are great principles in nature, which magicians and shamans have always respected: each effect always has a cause or a group of causes; to intervene in this natural chain of causes and effects therefore generates a confusion which may in turn bring about certain upheavals. Indeed, nature has its laws which should not be transgressed with impunity.

Because of this, magicians never performed a magic ritual nor used a magic formula lightly. But, apart from only acting in certain circumstances, under certain conditions, according to well-defined criteria and, of course, exclusively at the right time, they used to take great care when practising their magic rituals, conferring upon them a certain solemnness which is still found in all the religious rites of the world. This solemnness is what pentacles were supposed to represent. As for protection, it was gained thanks to talismans.

From Pentacles To Talismans

From the Greek pente, meaning ‘five’ and perhaps klaios, ‘key’, the pentacle was referred to as the five-pointed star during the Middle Ages. In all ancient philosophies, Number 5 was a symbolic representation of the five constituent elements in world harmony. Thus, as clearly explained by Plutarch in his Parallel Lives during the 1st Century AD, The World (…) comprises (…) five worlds which form its Harmony: one is Earth, another is Water, the third is Fire, the fourth is Air and the fifth is the Sky,

the latter being called Light by some, Ether by others and finally Quintessence by some others’.

It is on the basis of these 5 constituent elements of World Harmony, such as it was defined by Plutarch, that all pentacles were drawn by magicians. Thus, nothing was left to chance. However, most of the pentacles used in ritual and practical magic also drew their inspiration from the symbolism of the Kabbala and that of the planets. Thus, there were pentacles dedicated to the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, each one being used for specific purposes. In addition, the number-letters of the Hebrew alphabet, which constitute the code of the Kabbala, were always found on them.

Pentacles presented themselves in the shape of metallic medals, either in gold, associated with the Sun, in copper for Venus, or in silver which was generally attributed to the Moon. But some of them were also made of alloys which the alchemists had obtained by combining certain metals together. Then, they were engraved with letters, Numbers or symbols which held a magic character.

Often, pentacles were used as a support for the magic formula pronounced by the magician. Talismans appeared later on, and in a way, they were pentacles which could be worn, first in the shape of a ritual ring, a sign of honorary title obtained by the magician during his initiation, then as a simple design drawn on a piece of paper or cloth which a person could wear so as to benefit from a certain magic protection.

Although the word talisman is of Arab origin, it is in fact derived from Ancient Greek when it meant ‘religious rite’, before taking on the meaning of ‘accomplish, finish’ during the 17th Century. This leads us to believe that, little by little, the symbolic figures of the metal pentacles were drawn on to paper, and that an initiate would receive them when he had accomplished or finished his studies.

Some Pentacles and Talismans

The pentacles of the Sun

This pentacle was supposed to preside over all the rituals whose purpose it was to free people from their constraints, their obligations, their material problems, or from a destiny that was too heavy to bear. By analogy, it was later used to protect individuals from the Inquisition or from the risk of being imprisoned and being found guilty.

This is a pentacle which might be greatly appreciated in our modern societies, when gambling and all games of chance are so popular. Indeed, its purpose was to bring luck to those who gambled. But it was also beneficial to all traders who, by wearing it, could hope to see their business prosper. Finally, when engraved in pure gold, it was a token of considerable fortune and invulnerability.

The pentacle of the Moon

It was supposed to protect the wearer from all dangers of water, but also from the bad temper of others. In addition, it was thought to stimulate the imagination, inspiration, intuition … and glandular function.

The pentacle of Mercury

This pentacle was much appreciated as a help for reflection, for studying, but also for meditation. In other words, it had a toning effect on the mind for he or she who would wear it.

The pentacle of Venus

As you would expect, this pentacle was very much in demand, since it was believed that it would bring the wearer

the true love to which he or she aspired. But it was also worn to win the friendship of others, and the favours and protection of guardian angels.

The pentacle of Mars

Here is a pentacle which could still be very useful today. According to the tradition, it gives strength when faced with adversity and enables you to win over your enemies, whoever they might be, or, for instance, to receive help and protection during a court case.

The pentacle of Jupiter

This pentacle enshrines all kinds of protections and benefits. It was dedicated to the Archangel Michael, leader of the cohort of angels, whose Hebrew name signifies ‘he who is like God’.

The pentacle of Saturn

This pentacle had great power since it enabled one to be impervious to the hate of others or to drive hate away from one’s heart.

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