The Pentacle

"In magick, a pentacle is a mandala or focal point for the work it encompasses." This statement was taken from a Wicca 101 Course Outline currently in use by several California Covens of the Fairy Tradition. This would almost indicate to me the use of the Pentacle as and "Altar upon the Altar". Is this really "proper use" of the Pentacle?

"In most traditions of the craft, the pentacle is an Earth pentacle incorporating the symbols that are meaningful to the members of the tradition. It is the centerpiece of the altar, on which objects are consecrated; the water and salt bowls are placed upon it for blessing." This would almost seem superfluous, unless one were using the principle of contagion to give the blessing a little extra "kick"; and even then I wouldn't feel it really necessary if the Altar were properly consecrated in the first place. Why the special identification with Earth? Is it simply because there are other tools on the Altar that are essentially tools of Air, Fire, and Water? The Chalice, Athame, and Censer are all "active" tools in a normal circle ritual, why is the Pentacle "passive" in its use?

"Some traditions call it a Moon Pentacle, and the symbols, while basically the same, are carved into a silver disc. The idea being that consecration and blessing is performed in direct contact with the Goddess. The silver metal of the pentacle providing the link necessary for contagion." OK, this seems to indicate that though the Pentacle is a "working tool", it is also very much a part of the Altar too. I feel this is further born out when the outline goes on to say: "When the pentacle is an Earth pentacle, it is usually made of a metal such as copper. It is normally round, and 5-6 inches in diameter."

Now that I have illustrated the quotations from the outline that have caused a little confusion in my mind, I wonder about the possibilities of expanding these narrow (at least implied) definitions. How about making an inset cut-out place in the center of the Altar top that would accept a removable pentacle (or perhaps a couple of different ones)? One could also do a permanent inlay. The only problem I could see would be for those (like myself) who have special Altar Cloths that they like to use.

As to the material for this tool, how about starting out with a disk of copper (good Earth metal), and fashioning either a gold or silver pentagram upon it, and using gold or silver (which ever was not used for the pentagram) for the other symbols? This is where I got the idea for perhaps having more than one for specific use, depending on the focus of a particular ceremony. It would seem to me that if this tool is to be used for the centerpiece of the altar, it should be so constructed as to reflect all four Elements, as well as links to God and Goddess.

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