A pentagram is believed to be a pagan symbol, normally portrayed as a star enclosed in a circle. The star has five points, each one associated with an element. The upward point represents spirit, as the ruling element and the symbol of right. The other four points depict the remaining elements: earth, air, fire and water. The centre of a pentagram can be viewed as a sixth point which represents love/will, and the ability to rule matter from within. The number five has great significance for humans both physically and spiritually. This can be seen in the number of fingers and toes on each side of the body, the initiation stages of our lives (birth, adolescence, coitus, parenthood and death) and the five physical senses we possess. Wearing a pentagram as a jewellery statement is believed to symbolise a harmonious connection with the earth.
Modern fundamental Christians view the pentagram as a symbol of evil, but until the Middle Ages it was seen as a representation of the five wounds that Christ received on the cross. The pentagram was replaced with the cross by the church, as a more fitting image of the religion, and a negative association with the symbol began to surface. In Wicca, the pentagram is seen as a protective symbol against evil, with the five spikes being safely encased within a womb represented by the circle. The symbol shields the wearer and their home from conflict, as well as keeps them physically protected.
The circle around the pentagram, also symbolises the infinite, the cycles of life and nature. The circle touches all points on the star to indicate that the elements of nature, as well as all earthly beings, are connected. In the Wiccan religion, the circled pentagram represents a spiritual containment of the magical aspects of the religion and the witchcraft tradition of keeping secrets. An open pentagram is a star with no encasing circle, and represents an active approach to life. The wearer must be prepared for conflict, which can arise from being unshielded, and practise an awareness of their lifestyle.
In addition to the circled and open pentagrams, an inverted pentagram may also be observed. In this design the top point of the star is facing down, which is in direct opposite to spirit being the guiding element, and represents focus being placed on carnal desires instead of spiritual needs. Modern Pagan practitioners view this inverted pentagram as a symbol of darkness, and an embrace of evil. The symbol originally represented the Gardnerian second degree initiation, and focused on a need for witches to embrace and learn about the darkness within to prevent it from taking over.