The Pentalpha, Pentacle, Pentagram

The Pentalpha, Pentacle, Pentagram, or Five-pointed Star, has always had very mysterious powers ascribed to it, and Rennet, Bishop of Peterborough, says: "When it is delineated on the body of a man it points out the five places wherein the Saviour was wounded, and, therefore, the devils are afraid of it." No evil spirit could pass where it was displayed, and for this reason it was always used in magic ceremonies to "bind with," as the spirits of darkness can have no power over the magician who stands within this Pentacle or is provided with this symbol. Audrey says: "It was used by the Christian Greeks (as the sign of the Cross was later), at the heading of MS. and at the beginning of books for 'good luck's sake.'"

In the Middle Ages it was looked upon as a symbol of immense power, and was worn for health and safety, both in the spiritual as well as in the physical sense; and the magical Pentacle in the western window of the southern aisle of Westminster Abbey is one of the emblems still existing to prove that the worshippers of old were deeply read in Occult lore. Eliphas Levi describes it "as the seal of the Microcosm through which Man can command the powers and beings of the Elements and restrain Elementals from evil." In Illustration No. 134, Plate X, it is shown with the symbols of the Planets and the Sacred Names of God which give it added power and efficacy.

Scott, in Marmion, describing a wizard, also alludes to this Talisman as follows:

"His shoon were marked with cross and spell, Upon his breast a pentacle"; and in Germany it is still considered a Talisman against the powers of witchcraft.

MEDIaeVAL TALISMANS.

MEDIAEVAL TALISMANS.

Plate 10

The Kabala

The Kabala, the source and inspiration of numerous Talismans, came into being very soon after the establishment of the Christian Religion, when the Jewish Rabbis developed a complete science of Divine things, received, as the name implies, by direct revelation, according to which all created things from the highest to the lowest are ruled, through the ten principal names of God, acting first through the nine orders of the Angelic Hosts and blessed souls, and through them to the Celestial Spheres, Planets, and Mankind. Lower degrees of Angels and celestial influences, known as Intelligences, ruling each element, nation, language, animal and vegetable life, atmospheric conditions, emotions and aspirations. The early Christians had great faith and belief in the power of numbers, and their magical formulas were largely composed of letters having numerical values, usually expressed in Hebrew. Sometimes Greek letters were used, which, combined with astrological formulas, attracted the good influences of the Angels and Intelligences ruling through the Planets, the houses of the Zodiac, their triplicities and degrees.

One form described as the Table of Jupiter, which is illustrated on Plate X, Illustration No. 139, contains sixteen numbers which total up to thirty-four whichever way they are added. This, with the Divine names around it, is to be made in a plate of silver when Jupiter is strong, and was worn for riches, favour, peace, and concord, to appease enemies, and to confer honours and dignities.

The Good Spirits

The Good Spirits were always working to preserve mankind from the machinations of Evil Spirits; the Jupiterian Spirits working especially to preserve Justice and Mercy on Earth. This Talisman may be seen reproduced in Albrecht Durer's picture of "Melancholy." The complete set of the Planetary Tables with their Angels and Intelligences, together with full instructions for their making, may be found in the Magus by Francis Barrett.