Altar Pentacle

The Pentacle is a Magickal tool that some folks do not use. Their reasoning is
sound since it is obviously an adaptation from ceremonial Magick, as is the
athame. These people use only the wand and the chalice in their work. But I
like the use of the pentacle and athame because Wicca has always been quite ecclectic and drawn from several Pantheons and systems. So it doesn’t make any
sense to me to say we can draw on all systems EXCEPT the Kabbalah as used in
Ceremonial Magick. Also I like the way using all 4 of these main tools that
most traditions and practitioners share brings correspondences to the 4 suits of
Tarot cards and to the 4 elements.

The Pentacle is a flat disk, traditionally inscribed on copper and coated with a
clear finish of some type to prevent corrosion after it has been inscribed with
the continuos 5-pointed star or pentegram. This is not an open pentacle like
many witches wear. It is ENGRAVED on the disk. The reason being you put SALT
on this disk in circle and if it was open all the salt would be on the altar, on
the floor, everywhere but where you need it.

I have also, recently, seen some pentacles inscribed on slices of agate put out
by cauldron Crafts in Maryland that are JUST GORGEOUS. Since the pentacle is
feminine and relates to earth either the copper or the stone is appropriate.
However brass I find less so as it is usually considered a solar metal and
masculine. That is why I also prefer to avoid brass chalices. Copper chalices
are avoided because they give off a metallic residue that is poisonous into the
liquid, if they corrode – and alcohol in wine or ale and acid in wine or juice
WILL do this. But copper is perfect for the pentacle.

What you engrave on your pentacle is entirely up to you. The NeoGardnerian and
NeoAlexandrians (as well as the originals of these traditions) have very
specific symbols that they always use. Other traditions sometimes have specific
symbols they require as well. But others just use a plain pentacle, or tht
pentacle with runic symbols of their choosing or whatever has meaning to them.
I have seen beautiful pentacles – in fact our distributor of jewelry carries
them – that are pentegrams surrounded by inscribings of Celtic knotwork.

I have also seen some gorgeous stained glass altar pentacles – my favorite of
these was one where the points where the colors of the elements. The 4 lower
points were the Red, Yellow, BLue and Green my tradition ascribes to the
elements and the top one was silver for Spirit/Divinity. The center and
background were a lovely violet color. Obviously SOMEONE put a lot of work into
it.

One note – a specific coating I have found to work well on copper pentacles so
that the salt doesn’t destroy them is CLEAR NAIL POLISH. This has to
periodically be reapplied however.