To me, the pentagram inspires feelings of warmth, awe and joy. It stands for life–the mystery and the balance. The pentagram serves as the universal symbol of the Craft. You can find it in all occult shops and most new age stores. Wiccans tend to wear a pentagram as a pendant on a necklace, a symbol on a ring and more. But what is this symbol and what is the message it really conveys?
As a five pointed star, the pentagram represents each element with one of its points. Many people have heard of the elements Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Then what is the “fifth element”? It’s Spirit. Now there’s a bit of controversy because some Wiccans would argue that Spirit is not strictly an element. Nevertheless, all five items are needed and unique.
Air is associated with thought. Thoughts move in and out of our minds just like a light breeze flows through our hair. Thoughts are the beginning of actions, likewise dawn represents the beginning of new things and Wiccans thereby associate Air with dawn. Further, Air relates to the direction East. East is where the sun comes up and begins the day.
Fire is associated with action. Besides keeping us warm it is the spark that gets us into motion. It motivates our will producing results on the physical plane. Fire is also associated with the direction South. Our ancestors (from Europe) understood that going towards the South, the lands were warmer.
Water is associated with emotion which flows through us. Every thought creates feelings. We remember grandma’s cooking and get that warm fuzzy feeling inside, or we remember that fight with our partner that made us so mad! Water is associated with the West, which is associated with crossing the River Styx and going to the land of the dead.
Earth is associated with stability and with its function as the foundation for other things. Earth keeps us stable and often represents the many mundane things that we need in life. Earth represents the physicality of our bodies and the ground we stand upon. Earth’s direction is North and it is represented by mountains, rocks, crystals and such.
Spirit is the unique element that ties the rest together. It is our spirit that the Gods have given us, which makes us alive. You cannot have life without the other four. We need air to breathe, fire to keep us warm, and water to drink. We need the physicality of our bodies (represented as Earth) to interact with our surroundings. But we cannot truly be us without spirit. What is a soul? It is a piece of the Gods that they place within all that is alive. This soul animates our Air, Fire, Water, and Earth into a living being.
Spirit is a crucial element that is too often overlooked. Because Spirit is the miracle of life itself. We are the pentacle. We are life.