Taking It To the Pentagram

Author: Kestryl Angell

When learning to break the cycle of pervasive human pessimism without becoming what others will consider a “hopeless optimist” in the process, one simply has to remember two very important things. Balance is what is being sought, overall. And also remember, ALL things are connected.

This means if you know you have a tendency toward fatalistic thinking (i.e. if you stub your toe and the entire world begins to fall apart around you with you being at the center of all blame for all horrific things on earth… you are a fatalistic thinker. This is only one example.), then you are one that has, for whatever reason, learned to expect the worst from the world’s possible outcomes on matters of probability.

We must, before breaking the cycle we have, learn to understand the roots of the cycle we have in place when we begin. If that thinking tends toward the somber, depressive or “shadow” world and when your intentions seem ignored by the world when things go wrong, that is the first time to start thinking about what it is you’re supposed to be learning from the process.

When taking patterns apart, you can learn to understand them better if you learn to associate proper correspondences between the thought patterns that take you there to their impulses within your mind and emotions they trigger. So, being pagans, one of the best ways to both take things apart and learn to put them back together again in a more organized fashion can be done with an exercise called “taking it to the Pentagram.”

We all learn in the beginning of pagan studies that the points of the Pentagram are associated with the elements of life. Air, Fire, Water, Earth and Ether or Spirit are these elements in their more common and base natures.

Thought and Breathing are the impulses and activities that associate to Air. Likewise, Willpower associates to Fire, Emotional well-being and impulses and personal “flow” associate to Water, Manifestation and Physicality associate to Earth and our dreams, inspirations and Divine Guidance comes from the Ether or Spiritual connection within us.

When fatalistic or pessimistic thinking is so common, even habitual for us, we have to come to understand how our own personal elements became “muddied” and how to clear them again. Each bears out its own natural cleansing process and when we are trying to break ANY negative pattern, even including addictions, we must first break down how the issue at hand affects each part of us in its turn. In this way, we begin to see how the cascade effect within us takes its downhill tumble and eventually learn to stop that tumble before it happens.

When an issue comes up that upsets your balance deeply, the first step in stopping the process is to do just that. Stop. Don’t run, don’t back peddle or make excuses, just Stop.

Stop what you are doing and first and foremost, breathe!

When we are knocked off balance and especially when we are frightened, the first thing we do is start breathing more shallowly, which can eventually lead to hyperventilation and anxiety attacks. Further, if you are a smoker, the stress impulse is to smoke more heavily, further depriving your brain and blood of precious oxygen than can help to lower blood pressure and lessen the sense of anxiety involved with high stress moments. What the brain needs to function best and to help return balance is oxygen. Air.

So, first… remember Air. Breathe! Make yourself count to at least 11. No, that isn’t a typo. 11 is a number of mastery and if you are trying to master your own emotional response, then it is important to break a learned cycle with something designed to do just that little bit more that makes that “wish” into a “reality.” So, rather than stopping at the “count to 10” rule to just calm down… go that little extra number toward mastery of yourself. Breathe to 11 and then THINK about what is happening to your self on every level both as individual responses and as a collective overall action or inaction. Meditate on grounding your excess energy brought on by fear responses and clear your thoughts. Use your reason to begin restoring balance.

The next element to take our issue past is Fire, the element of Will. Fire can help or hinder a situation, depending on how the issue at hand is affecting us. If it is something that drives us to passion of a negative nature, our nature may be to flame a person or situation and thus, make things worse. Burning our bridges isn’t always a useful skill. Sometimes it can be self-defeating. Other times, a cleansing by fire may be exactly what is called for. But the Will MUST be tempered by Air (Clear Thinking) and Water (Clear Emotional output and flow).

So before we let the Will take over and flame a situation, we must temper ourselves by moving on past the immediate response of “But I wanted THAT!” and take ourselves to the next step. Harness that Willpower toward yourself, first. Bend that Willpower to seeing through clarity and flow to where it will best need to be applied later in the process of manifestation. Recognize the perceived “affront” to your immediate Will’s wish and prepare it for focused use further down the road.

Water, the element of emotion and flow is next. For some, especially for water signs, emoting may actually be the first response. In human beings, our feelings are so very strong that we often are carried away by their tides before we even realize we’ve been carried there. Females, as well, being the more mercurial of the sexes of the species, have more of a tendency to emote first and think and clarify themselves second—which is why men, who think first and emote second usually find they simply “don’t understand the female process.” It is because we are on opposing sides of the process at any given moment that breaks down our communications between genders most commonly in high stress situations.

There is nothing wrong with this watery response as long as all elements are responded to in their turn and applied with balanced perspective to the situation. Recognizing the power of our emotions to fuel our dreams and manifestations in life is a very important self-awareness step. But learning to guide those forces is an even more arduous and rewarding exercise.

Water is a very powerful element, as it not only assists to temper others, but often shows us the way past or through difficult circumstances that appear, at first glance, to be impossible to traverse. But when we realize that water can permeate even stone (the bones of Mother Earth Herself) , even the most difficult blocks in our lives seem less daunting if we can only figure out how to create that flow again. So if we have applied clarity of thought (air), clarity of will (fire) and then clarity of emotion (water) by recognizing our own fear, anger and need for a positive outcome, we can then move on to the next step…manifestation.

Earth, the element of physicality and manifestation, is not the last step on the Pentagram Path, but is the one at which most stop their own personal process of growing and understanding. We humans think that once we have a “reality” in the palm of our hands, the journey is over. Our requirement is fulfilled. This is an incorrect assumption. It is merely a step that holds great satisfaction for we body bound human beingsWhen we see a dream or inspiration manifest into a physical reality, we have a strong tendency to see our work as finished. Yet, more often than not, manifestation is only where a journey’s first layer ends and the next begins. It IS an important thing to celebrate, but should never be seen as the “be all and end all” of any growing process or human life. It is simply a celebrated step on the path to growing more into our personal selves and returning balance through a greater understanding of our own process and our own ability to assist ourselves with that process.

Sometimes this can include things like the act of going to the doctor for medical assistance if you find that there is a valid bio-chemical component to your repeated negative issues, whether it is temporary by case or a genetic imbalance you were born with or which may have manifested as you got older. But manifestation isn’t all there is to the cycle of growth, nor should it be a place you stop for overly long. To do so is to get stuck and in time, this can bring its own set of problems.

The completion of any cycle ends where it began, but one hopes, on a level of greater understanding and totality than the previous cycle began. It is the next step up on the spiral, if you will. Thus, as with any journey of this sort, whether positively or negatively perceived, is in the Ethers, the realm of Spirit. Dreams and inspiration begin here and often, so do our imbalances.

When we are dis-eased with ourselves at our deepest levels, it often manifests in illness or injury so that we are forced to “hold still and LOOK at this situation/pattern/addiction/issue!” It is usually a very uncomfortable and unwelcome place for us, which is why this sort of internal and deep dis-ease is what often spurs people to go through life-changing spiritual journeys and experiences, even what some call epiphanies.

The Universe forces us to the lessons we need, not always the lessons we want. But if we learn to be grateful for all lessons and learn that negatives and pain are a perception that can be changed for the better simply by applying different patterns of understanding to the experience, we can see our way to the next level and thus, move forward with more clarity into the next cycle of manifestation.

It seems a very simple concept in print, but it can be one of the most difficult to truly manifest within ourselves that exists. The reason is the fact that as human beings, we often have a tendency to perpetuate our own misery rather than seeing our way clear of it. It becomes so familiar to us that it is the “known evil” we comfort ourselves with rather than facing our fears of failure. We always expect perfection from ourselves, as though we should “Know!” how to live life without chaos and imbalance…or for some, the opposite is true.

Yet in either direction, without some chaos there is no movement in the Universe and without order, the Universe would fall apart. The two will remain in balance, whether we “lowly humans” understand it all or not. But the search for balance within ourselves is personal and we CAN do something about that set of perceptions that keeps us locked in cycles of our own misery.

So, when you return to the Ether, look at what went before you and see the lesson. What did you learn? What should you have learned sooner? How much more could have been accomplished if you had truly looked at ALL the viewpoints involved instead of just your own? If you are truly connected to everything in the Universe and those around you…how did your ripples affect others?

Do you wish to affect them the same way in the future? If yes, how do you continue the positives? If no, how do you break the cycle the next time around? If you know you have a tendency to see things in life through filters of negativity—whether by habit or experience—what is the reason you perpetuate that view rather than allowing for newer, clearer, healthier, broader ones that function more efficiently for you? All these answers start and come back to the Ethers in our lives.

Once you have made your way at least once around the Pentagram with your issue, also look at this idea. If you find yourself stuck or lacking or sluggish in any of the elements, your helpers and hindrances are right there staring at you. If you are, stuck in say the element of Water and feel backed up in a negative or self-destructive flow, look to the elements on either side for helps and stability factors to help restore balance.

For Water, the elemental helpers are Fire and Earth. Fire helps dissipate too much water and the Earth soaks it up and grows with it. So should you. Get your Will aligned to help move you to a healthier mind-set (Fire) and then ground off the excess energy into the Earth to be absorbed and used as fertilizer for new growth (Earth) . This idea can be moved to any of the elemental points and used the same way. The balances are there if you only stop to look at them.

When these questions have been answered, then through thought and breathing, aligning your will, getting healthy flow and manifesting a healthier reality, you can take direction again. The Will fires the heart of the matter and an intense desire for changes swells the seed of growth within and the cycle of learning begins again.

Remember the Pentagram and when things aren’t clear or negatives are all you can see, then remember that each element has a balancing polarity within its own elemental life which you can influence for positive change within yourself and when properly blended, they can create magnificent realities that only you can dream up and make real.