1. A five-pointed star, the points of which represent earth, air, fire, water, and spirit. Pentacles are frequently set within a circle, which can represent the wheel of life, the encircling of the divine, or the union of the material and spiritual realms. Despite Hollywood’s insistence otherwise, the pentacle is not a symbol of Satan or evil.
2. (Archaic) A wide variety of images of mystical importance, usually intended to be worn around the neck. Here, the root is not the Greek pente, meaning five, but rather three Greek roots, pend (“to hang”), a (“to”), and col (“neck). This construction was first used in 14th century France as pentacol, which means “amulet worn around the neck.” Although this meaning is not in common usage today, it is still a descriptor used in some ceremonial magic texts being published today where it is a generic term for many symbols. This explains, for example, why the Pentacle used by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn—a flat, circular object that represents the Earth element—has a six-pointed star on it.
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