The so called 'inverted' pentagram will be familiar to everyone as the ubiquitous symbol of evil, common to Hollywood movies and satanic societies alike. The ‘upright’ pentagram is also a common and well known occult symbol, which can be found in many diverse spiritual traditions. One religion in which this symbol is particularly prominent is the modern Pagan practice of Wicca.
The association between witchcraft and the five pointed star is a long one, reaching back towards the obscure origins of the craft itself. In the past it is known that the inverted version of the pentagram was used as a symbol of witchcraft. Most witches today, however, seem to prefer using the symbol in what is generally called the upright position. Whether this switch happened due to a feeling that the inverse symbol was just a Christian slur and an attempt to condemn the practice of witchcraft with what is, in truth, a symbol of evil, or whether the strong association of the symbol with evil in the public imagination simply made it too distasteful to use is not at all clear to me. But what is clear to me is that this change was a mistake.
Feel very confident that a thoughtful study of the actual meaning of the pentagram, in both positions, shows that the ‘inverse’ position is the proper symbol of witchcraft.
The basics are not disputed, and are common knowledge: the five points of the star represent the four elements of material existence – earth, water, fire and air – and the fifth element of quintessence, or pure spirit. The interpretation of the so called ‘upright’ pentagram is also commonly known, and I do not dispute it. The single point of spiritual essence depicted at the apex, above the other four points, represents the superiority and dominance of spiritual existence over material existence.
The problem occurs when you over-simplistically assume that reversing the orientation of the symbol yields an identical but opposite meaning, i.e. the dominance and victory of the material over the spiritual. This logic is most probably derived from that of that other popular satanic symbol – the inverted cross – which actually has no esoteric meaning at all, and is merely a symbolic act of desecration, perversion, and enmity towards Christianity and what it represents.
To find the true meaning you must first recognise that the characteristics of the spiritual essence revealed in the ‘upright’ pentagram are neither comprehensive nor universal characteristics of spirit. Indeed it should be self-evidently clear that dominance and victory are peculiarly masculine concerns; that is, they belong t the realm of the divine masculine – our father in heaven.
Having this it is, I would suggest, logical to assume that the character of the ‘inverse’ pentagram is indicative of the divine feminine. In other words this symbol does not represent the dominance of the material over the spiritual for the simple reason that it is not actually about dominion at all.
So what is the true meaning of the witch’s pentagram? I would suggest that it represents the spiritual essence which nourishes and sustains life – the spirit of our mother earth.
Both versions of the symbol can be seen as good or evil according to how they are manifested. In the feminine form it can show material things being given higher value than spiritual things and therefore moral corruption, just as the masculine form can conceal the twisted ‘holy warrior’ whose lust for the dominion of his faith can lead to the mass murder of innocents. Esoteric symbols represent divine laws and truths – they are not evil – people are evil.