Pentacle vs Pentagram: What’s the Difference?

Pentacle vs Pentagram
The main difference between the pentacle and pentagram is that the pentacle contains a pentagram, but has a circle around it. The pentagram is a five-pointed star that represents the five elements of nature.

The pentacle and pentagram are often used as synonyms. Both symbols are ancient and were used by pagans, neopagans, and Wiccans. Satanists and the Church of Satan use the upside-down pentagram. However, both symbols are different, despite their similarities. 

The pentacle is a five-pointed star within a circle. At the same time, the pentagram is a five-pointed star drawn as a continuous line. The symbols are unicursal and represent the five elements of nature. The pentacle is a pentagram inside a circle.  

Pentacle vs Pentagram: Key Differences


In math, the pentacle is a pentagram with ten line segments and no internal lines. The pentagram is a polygon with fifteen line segments. It’s a commonly used symbol in geometry. 


The word pentacle comes from Latin, where penta– means five. It’s also a French term referring to an ornament hung around the neck. The pentagram has Greek origins and implies a figure with five points. Pente is five, and gramma means character or what is written


The pentacle is more popular as a sigil or tool used for various Wiccans and pagan rituals. It is worn as a talisman, amulet, or charm for protection from evil forces. The pentacle can ward off negative energies. A silver pentacle improves psychic abilities, while a gold pentacle unlocks the ability to gain wisdom. 

The pentagram is not commonly used as a tool in rituals or worn for protection. However, it has a similar role as the pentacle used by Wiccans. Tarot practitioners use the pentagram to charge crystals. 

pentacle vs pentagram
The pentacle is used as a talisman, amulet, or charm to fend off evil.

Earliest Records 

The pentacle was first used in the Middle French language and was referred to as a talisman. The usage can be dated back to around 1328. The pentagram was used between c.4500 BC and c.1900 BC in the Sumerian civilization and is older than the pentacle.

Association with Evil 

The pentacle is not always associated with evil (though some get confused and call it a sign of the devil or Satan).

The pentagram was appropriated by Satanists and combined with a goat head to form the sign of Baphomet. The inverted pentagram is associated with evil or black magic. It has two points of the star pointing upwards with a goat head superimposed on it. 

Is Pentacle the Same Thing as Pentagram?

No, the pentacle is not the same as a pentagram though they are similar.

Both are magical symbols and are used in witchcraft. The use of the pentagram by Satanists made Wicca rely on the pentacle to avoid being termed evil. This continues to serve as a point of confusion for outsiders.

What Is a Pentacle?

A pentacle is a symbol with five points. However, it is more famous as a five-pointed star enclosed in a circle.

Each point of the star represents an element: air, water, earth, fire, and spirit. These are connected using a circle, thus creating balance and harmony. This pagan symbol is a part of different cultures and is also used in Christianity as a protective sign. 

However, the French poet Eliphas Levi gave the symbol a dark connotation by saying that the upside-down design symbolizes the devil. According to him, the inverted pentacle is an image of Satan with two horns. Wiccans strongly deny this theory.  

pentacle vs pentagram
An example of a pentacle tattoo


The pentacle originated in the 14th century as an amulet worn around the neck and comes from the Middle French words pentacol or pendacol. The pentacles are made of wood, metal, paper, etc. It is also called pentalpha

What Is the Significance of the Pentacle?

The pentacle is linked to the element earth. Neopagans use it as an altar tool to cleanse the space. It’s also a key part of tarot cards and one of the four elements representing the zodiac elements. 

The pentacle is the element earth and represents Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn zodiac signs in tarot. The minor arcana has 14 pentacle cards (Suit of Pentacles), starting from the ace of pentacles and ending with the king of pentacles. The symbol represents work, finances, career, success, prosperity, and other material aspects. The pentacles are also called coins in some tarot card sets. 

What Is a Pentagram?

The pentagram is a star pentagon or a pentangle. It’s a logogram from the word ub, meaning nook, small room, corner, or angle.

The symbol is also seen as a man standing with his arms stretched on the side and legs wide apart. The top point represents the head, and the bottom points represent the legs. The ends/ points of the star denote U-G-I-EI-A in Greek, starting at the top point and going clockwise. 

pentacle vs pentagram
Wiccans use the pentagram to represent the five elements.


The earliest signs of the pentagram are found in Egypt. A pentagram-inscribed jar belonging to 3100 BCE prod was located north of Thebes. Ancient Mesopotamians used pentagrams on slabs, tablets, and pottery. The ancient Greeks used the symbol for health and divine blessing and called it a way to express the golden ratio. 

What Is the Significance of the Pentagram?

The Celts used the pentagram for health, fertility, healing, sexuality, and battle. The symbol represented the Celtic goddess, Morgan.

In ancient Judaism, the pentagram symbolized the five books of the Torah. It’s associated with the wounds of Christ in Christianity. For Pythagoreans, the pentagram represented perfection. 

Heinrich Cornelious Agrippa, a German polymath and occult writer, said that the pentagram’s points also represented nature’s elements: air, water, fire, earth, and spirit. According to him, the pentagram represented the proper order of things in the upright position and could invoke evil when reversed.

pentacle vs pentagram
An example of a pentagram during a Wiccan ceremony

How are These Symbols Used in Witchcraft Today?

Wiccans, magick practitioners, healers, and tarot readers use the pentacle and pentagram for cleansing, healing, and alignment with nature.

The symbols help charge their tools, banish negative energy, and create a protective aura around a person. The symbols can be worn as jewelry or tattoos or used as decorative art on their tools.

If you’ve enjoyed this article, check out this post on other aspects of Wiccan symbolism.


Vanessa's liberal arts background has prepared her well for Symbol Scholar. A self-proclaimed theology nerd, Vanessa has interests in world religions, Reformation theology, history, and more. When she's not working, Vanessa enjoys spending time with her family, reading, exercising, and watching professional basketball.

Recent Posts