Owing to their similarity, the words pentacle and pentagram (a five-point unicursal star) are sometimes confused. The words pentacle and pentagram are not from the same language root and are not synonyms.
A pentagram (sometimes known as pentalpha or pentangle) is a five-pointed star drawn with five straight strokes. Pentagrams, contrary to popular literature and movies, are not considered "evil" or "Satanic." Quite the contrary. They are a sign of protection, faith and divinity across many religions and belief systems. They are symbolic of the 5 wounds of Christ in Christianity; have associations within Freemasonry; are associated with the planet Venus; have magical associations; were used by the medieval neo-pythagoreans. Many Neopagans, especially Wiccans, use the pentagram as a symbol of faith and protection similar to the Christian cross or the Jewish Star of David.
Eliphas Levi's Pentagram
from Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa's Libri tres de occulta philosophia
used in Neopagan tradition to represent earth, air, fire, water and spirit
A pentacle, or pantacle, is an amulet used in magical evocation, generally made of parchment, paper or metal. It does not neccessarily have 5 points, and is often a hexagram or square. The Tarot suit of coins is often called Pentacles, and show discs inscribed with Pentagrams.
The Second Pentacle of Jupiter
The First Pentacle of the Moon
The Golden Dawn's Earth Pentacle
The pentacle of the Art, as given in Pietro d'Abano's Heptameron
The Pentacle of the Art as given in a 19th century publication of The Sixth Book of Moses, incorporating characters of the Alphabet of the Magi. This is an instance when a pentacle happens to be in the shape of a pentagram.
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